Cardamom Coconut Panna Cotta and Turmeric Cake Crumb

Cardamom Panna Cotta Turmeric Cake Crumbs

A delightful dessert for two, this light, smooth, cardamom coconut panna cotta is accompanied by crunch from some leftover turmeric cake. I read the Momfuku Milk Bar book and fell inspired by Christina Tosi’s philosophy of using all sorts of things from your pantry and freezer in your baked goods. The idea of repurposing leftovers speaks to me, because I really dislike wasting food. It is one of the main reasons why I bake in small quantities as much as possible and without resorting to using 1/4th of an egg because really the quantity of egg decides how small my baking project will be. Trust me it is a pain to measure out 1 ½ tbsp of egg for something. I have tried. One of the first google searches I did when I was tinkering with the idea of starting a blog was “what do food bloggers do with excess food”, coming in after “how do food bloggers stay fit?” Well I did not find any satisfactory answers to both questions. I suppose everyone tackles it in their own way. So, I picked going small where my baking was concerned. We are two people so I had to think about […]

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Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Semifreddo

no churn strawberry ice-cream

This no churn strawberry ice-cream or semifreddo is super easy to make, creamy and delicious. The balsamic roasted strawberries make extra sauce that you can douse the ice-cream in!     When warm spring-like days arrive much earlier than they should, do you rejoice, smile like a goofball all day, instantly dig out your shorts and hit the nearest ice-cream shop or do you secretly fret about global warming? I do both! Then I eat an extra portion of dessert because ofcourse dessert is the solution for everything. That is why I make this strawberry semifreddo in mini loaf pans so I can dig into my very own cute little loaf of creamy, goodness. Fretting aside, we had a beautiful weekend here in Toronto and everyone seemed happy. We got over-excited and went for very long walks (I call it death march) then suffered from ‘feet sole’ pain! Then Steve picked up pints of strawberries because they were on sale and since I prefer to turn fruits into dessert than eat them raw like fruits should be eaten, I decided that this is a weekend for ice-cream. Strawberry ice-cream. And since I have been dying to roast strawberries ever since that first […]

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Chocolate Stout Cake w Brown Butter Frosting

This decadent chocolate Guinness cake slathered with a speckled, deeply nutty brown butter Swiss buttercream and doused in a whiskey caramel sauce is truly a celebration cake that is sure to make you feel happy! 30 is not the birthday that launches you harshly into your middle age. 30 is the birthday where you celebrate the end of an era - the 20s – where mistakes were made (lots of ugly ones), lessons were learnt (mostly in a bad way), discovering who you are felt impossible and highs of first real job, first serious relationship, first real apartment, first independent foreign travel were only dimmed by the lows of those ‘firsts’ not living upto their expectations. But there is a delicious excitement in goofing up and blaming it on lack of experience and naiveté. There is mystery and intrigue and desperation in finding out how your life will turn out when you are a grown up. When I turned 30, I told everyone that next year I will celebrate 29 and subsequently keep moving the clock backwards. Well, I didn’t do that. Forgot to buy 2 and 9 numbered candles. So here I am 31! Anyhow, who wants to repeat the absurdities of the 20s. Sure it was fun and exciting times. 20s or any fun time is just that only because there is a limited period to it. Just as clearance sales are exciting because, they are on for only a week! So, I celebrated my 31st birthday, trying not to fight it too much, with a grown-up chocolate cake with brown butter frosting – a bit more elegant than chocolate on chocolate (which by the way is always my first choice of cake) If it is my birthday celebration cake, there had to be booze in it. So instead of making my most favorite chocolate cake, I went with a Stout Cake adapted from Epicurious only in the method. I used Nigella’s slightly easier method of adding everything into the same pan. The can of Guinness had been sitting in my pantry forever and I wouldn’t let Steve drink it because I was storing it for ‘baking purposes’. My cake tops cracked, I think because I baked it in 5inch pans and poured a lot of batter into them. So 6 inch would do the trick. Anyway, I simply chopped off the cracked tops, it did not affect the taste. These cakes are lip-smacking delicious. Earthy and intense and a dark chocolate lovers dream. A brown butter buttercream only seemed appropriate because it is my new love and I like to make beurre noisette just for the nutty fragrance it makes in my kitchen. There seems to be Whiskey caramel sitting in a jar in my refrigerator at all times so I was more than happy to add an additional boozy element to this cake. Finally the pile of crushed chocolate cookies on top because as a baking blogger there is always some cookies or cake leftovers in the fridge which you can throw on top of a cake for extra goodness and no one can stop me from eating pure indulgence in this form on my 31st birthday! Celebrate! Chocolate Stout Cake w Brown Butter Frosting Ingredients – Makes one 6 inch 4 layered cake For the Cake 1 cup stout 1 cup, 2 sticks unsalted butter – cut into pieces ¾ cup Dutch cocoa powder 2 cups flour 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar ½ tbsp. baking soda ¾ tsp salt 2 large eggs ½ + 2tbsp sour cream Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and line two 6” round pans with parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper sticks out to form higher walls. Pour the stout into a large saucepan and place on medium heat. Add butter pieces and heat till melted. As soon as all the butter has melted, add in the sugar and cocoa powder and whisk till fully incorporated and smooth. In a measuring jug or small bowl, beat the eggs and sour cream thoroughly and add to the stout mixture. Mix well. Finally add the flour and baking soda and whisk till completely mixed. Pour into prepared pans and bake in the lower third of the oven for 35 – 40 minutes or till a skewer toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven. Let cool till safe to handle. Turn cakes onto a wire-rack and let cool completely. Stick in the freezer for atleast one hour before frosting. For the Brown Butter Swiss Buttercream 1 ½ cup butter 1 ½ cup fine granulated sugar 4 egg whites 1/4 tsp salt Heat butter in a small saucepan on high heat. Once it starts to bubble, stir intermittently with a rubber spatula and keep a eye. Once you see specks of dark brown and smell deliciousness in the air take it off the heat. As it cools, stir it once in a while so that it solidifies evenly or all the good brown bits will settle at the bottom. It should be completely cooled (slightly chilled) and solidified but still a little soft. Whisk sugar and egg whites together and set it on a double boiler over simmering water. Using a candy thermometer is recommended for accuracy. Whisk occasionally and heat the mixture to 140 – 160F. Test the mixture between your thumb and index finger to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture feels silky smooth between your fingers. As soon as it reaches this temperature, take it off the heat, transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high for a good 7 -8 minutes till peaks form and the mixture is cooled. Once this meringue mix is completely cool, replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment and run on medium high. Start adding the butter in pieces. Keep whisking till fully incorporated and the buttercream is smooth, glossy and stiff. Whiskey Caramel Sauce – ½ cup Assembly When the cakes are completely cooled, cut of the tops evenly with a serrated knife. Then cut both cakes into halves to make 4 pieces. Here is a great video showing how to cut a cake in layers. Place one layer on a cake stand. Spoon butter cream into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and pipe a border on the cake layer. Spoon some Whiskey Caramel onto the cake within the piped barrier. With a offset spatula, spread some buttercream on top of the caramel and smooth it. Repeat two more times. Place the topmost layer of the cake. Spread some buttercream on the top and sides with the spatula to frost lightly. Spoon some caramel sauce on top and along the edges. IF you have some leftover chocolate cake or cookies, crush and pile on top for extra indulgence. Best enjoyed at room temperature in shockingly large pieces.

This decadent chocolate Guinness cake slathered with a speckled, deeply nutty brown butter Swiss buttercream and doused in a whiskey caramel sauce is truly a celebration cake that is sure to make you feel happy! 30 is not the birthday that launches you harshly into your middle age. 30 is the birthday where you celebrate the end of an era – the 20s – where mistakes were made (lots of ugly ones), lessons were learnt (mostly in a bad way), discovering who you are felt impossible and highs of first real job, first serious relationship, first real apartment, first independent foreign travel were only dimmed by the lows of those ‘firsts’ not living upto their expectations. But there is a delicious excitement in goofing up and blaming it on lack of experience and naiveté. There is mystery and intrigue and desperation in finding out how your life will turn out when you are a grown up. When I turned 30, I told everyone that next year I will celebrate 29 and subsequently keep moving the clock backwards. Well, I didn’t do that. Forgot to buy 2 and 9 numbered candles. So here I am 31! Anyhow, who wants to repeat […]

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A Very Grapefruit-y Trifle

Grapefruit curd

Grapefruit is in season and many of us may have a bitter-sour relationship with it, but in dessert form it transforms into a sweet, tart, bright fruit that is far from the diet-food version of itself. Full disclosure – I struggled with this one. In my very first FBC newsletter I came across the call for recipe round-ups for January. It is citrus month and by the time I saw the mail, the deadlines for lemon and orange had already passed. Ofcourse I wanted orange. Who doesn’t want orange! Grapefruit and lime were still open opportunities so after giving it a thorough thought, I decided to go with grapefruit. Primarily because I have this hate-hate relationship with the fruit that began in Dubai when I went through a crash diet phase where I force-fed myself half a grapefruit every morning, before coffee! Yikes. I had held on to that for way too long. It was time to let go. Challenge myself and all! I had this amazing idea of making grapefruit kulfi. I did make grapefruit kulfi after grilling and pureeing the fruit and cooking the milk down to half and freezing the weird concoction that seemed wrong even before […]

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Golden Milk Cake

Golden Milk Turmeric Cake

Golden Milk Cake is the ‘cake’ version of golden milk or turmeric spice milk. It is warming and cozy and light and fluffy and full of aromatic spices. The cardamom glaze is sweet and sticky with a heady fragrance. To be honest, I am feeling like I am going back to office after two weeks of fun, awesome, indulgent holidays. You know, like it is my very first day at my first job and I know nothing, I am clueless about what to do, how to do and so I switch on my assigned computer, grab a mouse and rotate it on the screen or click random folders frantically to look busy. I feel the pressure of 2017 on me! Especially for the blog, like I need to give it more validation by investing more time and energy into it. And often, with stress comes, turmoil, indecisiveness, nail biting, day-dreaming and total blanket blankness. I planned to work on my new calendar – nothing, I planned to do a couple of recipes in advance – blank, I planned to study and experiment with Pinterest – nada. From time to time I find myself in this state of blank immobility. I […]

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Spiced Chocolate German Buttercream

Chocolate German Buttercream

The spiced chocolate German buttercream inspired by cozy fall evenings and Mexican hot chocolate, takes these moist and decadent chocolate cupcakes to new level of indulgence. Did I mention there will be some spicing up going on here? Here comes another one – for cozy, rainy, chilly or somber days when you feel like cuddling up with a spiced warm chocolate-y beverage but the craving does not stop there and you also need a decadent frosting-y cake but then you are terrified of your uptight self who will judge you for your weakness. Well it happens to the best of us! I am in one of those moods, not because of the weather – luckily we have been having gorgeous, sunshiny, crisp days here in Toronto, but because I have been thinking about concepts of happiness and reaching for more or reaching within yourself to find more, and transformation and courage and beauty and basically giving life a big hug! No, I am not having a mid-life crisis or revelation. And no, I usually don’t sit around with these thoughts for fun. I read this beautiful article on experiencing happiness by my very good friend and sister-in-law and it makes […]

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Spices in Desserts – a revelation

Spiced Brownies

I think there will be a lot of spicing up going on here. A bit of heat is called for in the chilly months. Right? It is so strange my relationship with spices in desserts. When I was a kid, I hated it when I found whole cardamom pods or little pieces of nutmeg in Gajar Halwa or Rice Puddings or Mango pulp (Aamras) or Gulab Jamuns. It would put me off completely. I suppose that is how my love for chocolate and cakes began. There was no threat of hidden spice ‘landmines’ waiting to explode with every other bite! It was safe. Chocolate, vanilla and blackforest pastries alongwith jam rolls fashioned after lamingtons was my idea of what comprised of western desserts. And that was good. They were all safe. Ofcourse as I grew older and especially once I moved out of India, the scope of ‘western desserts’ started to broaden and to my utter dismay I found out that spices (read Cinnamon) are extensively used. There were pies, and crumbles and fruit crisps, muffins, carrot cake (!)and what not and I ran away from them as soon as the scent of cinnamon hit my nostrils. I remember in my […]

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Gajar Halwa Cookie Cups

Gajar Ka Halwa Nankhatai recipe

Many Indians get nostalgic at the thought of Gajar ka Halwa I suppose. It is a common dessert made at home and served at restaurants. I am not sure if the same goes for ‘nankhatai’ though – a kind of crumbly, melt in your mouth eggless cookie aromatic with ghee and cardamom. I am Trick or Treating right now and trying to write about Diwali. This is bizarre, I can’t wrap my brain around it. The two worlds are so far from each other. To me, this seems unusually quiet for a celebration that involves morbid costumes, dark house decoration and sugar highs – and it is busy on our street – I have handed out candies to atleast 100 kids and expecting a hundred more. Back in India, wherever you are in the city, you can hear fireworks going off. The sound of celebration in the air. Homes are decorated with strings of light, colourful lanterns and diyas. Those who celebrate Diwali, are dressed up in silks and chiffons, sequins and gold embroideries, the beautiful saris, vibrant lehengas and elegant kurtas. Of course, there is the sugar rush and food coma, mainly due to several fried foods, ghee laden […]

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Phirni – Indian Rice and Coconut Pudding Tart with Granola Almond Crust

Coconut Phirni recipe Rice Coconut pudding

It is Diwali season in India – the festival of lights and crackers and sweets and gifts and pretty clothes. A rich, creamy rice pudding or Phirni is one of the popular desserts back home. This version is a take on the classic, served in a granola tart base. My head has been full of Halloween, just like the blogging world is full of Halloween desserts. Then the other day I was Skyping with my mom and she mentioned Diwali holidays coming up soon and I realized that it is indeed Diwali season back home. And just like there is thanksgiving and Halloween and pumpkin talk everywhere in this end of the world, plans for Diwali – shopping for clothes, crackers, lighting, home décor, sweets making, invitations – are being laid out in India. It is easy to forget when you are away from home, busy immersing yourself in a new culture, learning its ways and discovering new things; it is fun, but it is also equally fun to celebrate your own culture in small ways in a different country. To share the spirit from back home with new family and friends here. And although the two celebrations are as […]

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Summer Galettes

Summer Fruit Galette

Make this super easy dough and keep it in your freezer. When you find yourself with lots of fruits that you got at the farmer’s market, make little galettes or one big mixed fruit tart and enjoy summer in its true lusciousness. I think what I really want to write is “10 tips for great Airbnb living”. I think that it has the potential to become a great post. Once I write it. Once I figure out those 10 tips. We are on our 5th BnB right now since we moved to Canada in January this year, and besides the packing and unpacking and the poor quality of beds, we manage rather well I must say. Right now we have settled ourselves in the first capital of Canada – Kingston, also known as the “Limestone City” due to the many buildings constructed using local limestone. This quaint little city, with its beautiful waterfront with hundreds of boats and thousands of seasonal tourists is our first pit stop on our summer escape from Toronto. They have a lovely farmers’ market at the Springer Market Square which is in the heart of downtown and very hard to miss. The quality of produce […]

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