Summer Lemon Sponge Cake

 

Hello my wonderful readers!

How have you all been? As you can see, I haven’t really had much time to blog and cook as I have been spending time at the school and after with my little one. I stay at the school along wth my baby and once we are back we continue with activities etc together. Not cause blogging is not as interesting, its just that it really feels nice to spend time with Adi. In the last few weeks, as a mother there are so many changes in my little one and its just the best. I couldn’t imagine not sharing these changes with him. The perks of staying home with your baby, I guess 🙂

For March – April the temperatures are soaring like crazy and apparently they are only going to get worse. So I decided to make a little lemon sponge cake for the evening tea. The cake is light and spongy and so so delicious. Paired with a cup of tea this makes the perfect summer evening tea.

As the days go by there is this reality that hits you that these moments, hot, cold, summer or rain, will never come back. Little precious moments with the little boy and as a mum the only thing you want is for your little one to be able to make decisions on his own with a sensible head. As a parent we are so so weak. Some times even if its for his good, it takes a lot out of me to keep a straight face when I am trying to explain why he should do some thing . Or when I ask him if he wants to go to school and he replies with “OR THE MALL? ” like its really an option .. lol…. secretly I think he enjoys the car / auto ride to and from the school more than anything. He holds the railing behind the auto driver and pretends to be driving the auto with all the expression and sound effects the auto and its driver. Once we are home, everyday he makes a fuss to enter home. Cause he knows its time for lunch and then his afternoon  sleep which is such a struggle!! But in all its the best feeling to see his little black straight hair flutter gently when he runs to jump, his little look from the corner of his eye when I ask him to keep back things or when I say “What did Amma say?” and he says ” No Skweeeeming ” … These little moments make my heart warm and every moment worth living. Oh my there I go again about how I love my little honey bee.

Ok back to the recipe. You want all the ingredient at room temperature and do not forget to butter and dust the pan WELL!

Ingredients :-

  1. Flour – 1 + 1/2 cups
  2. Butter – 1 cup
  3. Eggs – 3
  4. Butter milk – 1 Cup ( whisked well)
  5. Caster Sugar – 1 + 1/4 cup
  6. Vanilla Extract – 1 tbsp
  7. Lemon Zest – from 2 lemons / 1/4 cup
  8. Lemon Juice – from 2 Lemons
  9. Baking Powder – 2 tsp
  10. Extra butter and flour to grease and dust the pan
  11. Extra powdered Sugar for dusting

 

Instructions :-

  1. Pre Heat the oven to 180C
  2. Grese and dust a pan with butter and flour. Make sure to tap out the excess flour
  3. Now in a large bowl, add the butter and sugar . Cream till pale and fluffy
  4. Then add the eggs one at a time. Make sure to cream the mixture well and incorporate as much air as possible.
  5. In a large pan, mix the flour and baking powder. Sieve the mixture thrice to incorporate air and to distribute the Baking powder well in the flour
  6. Now into the butter and egg mixture, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract and mix well ( if you are using a hand whisk this is easy, the same can be done with a hand held whisk)
  7. Next add the butter milk to the lemon egg mixture and mix well
  8. With a spatula divide the flour mixture into 3 and slowly fold the flour into the  buttermilk butter egg mixture ( wet mixture)
  9. Once you have added all the flour to the wet mixture, your batter is ready! ( do not over mix the batter)
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and tap to release bubbles
  11. Pop the cake tin into the pre heated oven and bake for 45 – 50 mins or till the tooth pick inserted comes out clean
  12. Cool completely on a cooling rack and then turn it out onto a plate
  13. Finally dust with powdered sugar and lemon slices !

 

Enjoy your summer Tea party ❤

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Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

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OLD POST – NEW PHOTOS 🙂

 

Hello Wonderful readers!

So you know how i have been going on and on about how cold its been and how we haven’t been able to step outside cause of the continuous rains. Its actually been more than a week since the rains started and it just doesn’t seem to stop. I was hoping it would rain continuously on the days after Diwali but that did not happen. Those two hours of no rain was filled with the horrendous sound of fire crackers bursting right up the road. It really doesn’t make sense to me. Yes when I was a little girl I loved to burst crackers with friends on Diwali but once I was in high school we never burst them. And it wasn’t like my parents hated it but I understood how bad the side effects are. A close friend of our family lost her husband during Diwali cause of the harmful gases that are emitted during that time. Asthma patients have it really bad during that entire week and so does poor little “pepper” (my lhasa apso) who also has a tough time with all the noise and smoke during Diwali time. That being said I do love lighting lamps around the house and filling our dinning tables with all sorts of sweets. My father LOVES bengali sweets and we make it a point to make as many as we can and buy more 🙂

Well its the week after Diwali, the days are short, cloudy, cold and chilly! The nights are ice cold. My son looks like an apple in the winter cold and he sleeps a lot. Thats why I have the time to make and post photos off late 😛

So we have been making and ordering lots and lots of soup and I decided why not share my simple roasted tomato soup. Its really simple and you do not really need to be there when it all happens. We have it with toasted bread but if I could I would love to have it with a grilled cheese sandwich. But each to their own. This one is my simple recipe.

Ingredients :-

  1. Tomatos – 6 – 7 ( ripe and red) all and any kind – red, black, cherry etc
  2. Garlic – 10 – 12 ( use 2 entire pods cut in the middles for bolder flavor)
  3. Rose Mary – 1/2 tsp
  4. Thyme – 1/2 tsp
  5. Chilli Flakes – 1/2 tsp
  6. Pepper – 1 tsp
  7. Salt – according to taste
  8. Vegetable Stock – 2 cups ( more if required)
  9. Olive oil – to drizzle over the tomatoes before roasting
  10. Basil and cream for garnish

Instructions :-

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a baking tray with foil
  2. Now cut into 6 equal halves and cut the garlic into 2 halves
  3. Then add all dry spices – rose mary, thyme, oregano, chilli flakes and a little salt ( you add more later so just add a little at this stage)
  4. Now mix well to distribute the spice evenly with the tomato and garlic
  5. Spread the tomato and garlic over the foil evenly and make sure there is space between them to roast evenly
  6. Pop the tray into the oven and roast for 25 – 30 min ( the skin will begin to shrink and sizzle)
  7. Once the tomatoes and garlic are ready in a pan add 1 tsp of oil and add the roasted tomato mix
  8. Pour the vegetable stock. Close and cook for another 15 – 20 mins
  9. Add pepper and salt and season to your desired taste
  10. Finally transfer the mixture into a mixture and blend to required consistency
  11. If you do not like thick soups then bend for little longer that 10 mins and then push the soup through a soup strainer
  12. Serve hot with bread or grilled cheese sandwiches

Strawberry doughnuts with Honey and Lemon sugar

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Hello My dear wonderful readers,

How are you all doing today? So it was cheat day the other day and I had one of these and OMG I had to give them away cause these doughnuts are so so addictive. Strawberry season is here and I think I would use it in everything and anything. This is my second strawberry recipe for the season and let’s be honest, I can never have enough of these ruby red beauties. These doughnuts are baked and not deep fried so they are more cakey than fried but trust me when I say this, one bite and you wont be able to go back evaaaa!! These pink rings of heaven are the perfect mix of sweet, tart, fresh and  “munchy”. Those little red spots on the donuts are the finely chopped strawberries. The key is to dunk them in honey when nice and warm and therefore the lemon sugar melts into the doughnuts and OH MY GOD., the magic is insane!

In fact I baked 12 of these but only 11 got to the photos 🙂 cause these donuts, my friend, are just so awesome!! lol

So while I was baking these my little munchkin decided it was time for him to play in the kitchen as well. So when I was whisking and piping, my little boy was sitting on the kitchen mat, making “rice, mutta (eggs) and cheese ” which is when I was reminded about how I went to the toy store to see if I could get him a kitchen set or a toy oven but to my surprise all the kitchen toys were only in this hideous bright pink with photos of little girls making food. So what I couldn’t understand is – why is that only girls like these kind of games? I mean some of the best chefs in the world are men and they are respected all over the world, then why is it that boys cant be allowed to play with the same kind of toys. Also why is it pink?? I have never come across a pink kitchen my entire life! And no working real kitchen can ever function to its fullest if it where white or pink! Why not have a kitchen that is the same colour as the real thing! Anyway the bottom line is, I decided if he wants to play he can play with the stuff in my kitchen and when he is old enough I will help him learn and understand that there is no job that was either reserved for men or for women. Girl or boy we all deserve equal opportunity and equal respect for the choices we make.

Now back to the doughnuts, just like all my bakes, (unless otherwise specified) make sure the ingredients are at room temperature and the baking tray is well prepared. Try not rushing this step cause these doughnuts will just pop out easily if you do so. Now for the recipe

Ingredients :-

  1. Butter – 1 tsp
  2. Flour – 2 cups + more for dusting the pan
  3. Baking Powder – 1 tsp
  4. Oil – 1/2 cup
  5. Sugar – 1/ 2 cup + more of dusting
  6. Eggs – 2 large eggs
  7. Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tsp
  9. Salt – 1/2 of 1/4 tsp
  10. Nutmeg – 1/4 tsp
  11. Butter Milk – 3/4 cup
  12. Strawberry – 1 cup ( chopped fine)
  13. Red food colour – 1 small drop ( optional)
  14. Lemon Zest – from 2 limes
  15. Honey 2 tbsp

Instructions :-

  1. Pre-Heat your oven to 180 C
  2. Prepare your doughnut pan by brushing butter on the inside of your baking pan. Make sure to butter the hole in the centre too . This recipe makes 12 doughnuts
  3. Now lightly dust the buttered pan with flour. Invert the pan and shake of the excess flour. Set aside
  4. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and sieve twice
  5. In another bowl, add the oil, eggs, apple cider vinegar , vanilla, sugar and butter milk. Whisk together till the sugar has mixed well with mixture
  6. Then add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in 3 batches. Make sure to mix well at every addition of dry mixture to the wet
  7. Once you have all the dry ingredients mixed, add the chopped strawberry and colour
  8. Mix well to combine
  9. Now pour the mixture into a piping bag. Snip the bottom and pipe the batter into the prepared doughnut pan
  10. Fill till 80 % of the hole
  11. Pop into the oven to bake for 20 mins or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  12. While that is baking lets make the lemon sugar
  13. In a plate, zest the lemons. Then add 1/2 cup of caster sugar. Now with dry hands, mix the sugar and lemon zest. You will see the sugar turn a light green colour
  14. Once the doughnuts are done, let them cool for 5 mins
  15. Then when the doughnuts are still warm, using a pastry brush, brush honey on the face of the doughnut
  16. Then dunk the doughnuts into the lemon sugar
  17. Place on a cooling rack to dust of the excess sugar
  18. Your strawberry doughnuts with honey and lemon sugar are ready

 

Strawberry, Thyme and Caramel Brioche Sticky Buns

Strawberry Still

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Hello my dear wonderful readers!

Is it Thursday already???? Some times I cannot believe how the days go by. My little monkey a.k.a my son 🙂 is also growing up so fast. Let me tell you why I say that. My little boy has a cold and till yesterday what comes so easily to us, was the hardest thing for him. What is that one thing that we often do when we have a cold? we blow our nose! But my little 2 year had no clue how to blow his nose. All he would do is a “kaaaarrkkkkkkkk” sound into a tissue if I ask him blow his nose. Yesterday some how, I asked him to do the same and guess what?? it worked!!! He actually blew his nose!! Now I know you are thinking OMG what is this woman talking about! So here is something, parenting is such a roller coaster, that every single minute you learn and you grow. You do not have to be a parent to a human, it could be a cute little pup or cat or any animal you want to appreciate what i am saying. When they are tiny they are so fragile that once they start showing signs of growing up, every step calls for a celebration. At least I do. Your child is a celebration of your life. The joys I have found as a mum are unparalleled and can never be forgotten.

Now coming back to this recipe. It was actually a test recipe but given that I made quite a few yesterday and only 4 remain, I think it would be apt to share the recipe with you all. So I asked my dear husband to buy some fresh thyme for a dinner I was making and he got this huge packet of thyme so needless to say, you might see a lot of “Thyme” based recipes coming your way 🙂

Strawberries and thyme are a match made in heaven. So if you wanna make a fun snack with fresh strawberry jam or even store bought organic jam then this is just the one. When I was a little girl my mum would always make me have a jam sandwich and a tall glass of milk on the table just before I went out to play. This recipe reminds me so much of those days.

The bread is not just any bread. It is the most fluffiest, softest, tastiest bread ever. Because of the addition of butter and eggs this bread is just delicious just by itself too. The little thyme adds a certain mystical, lemony smell and taste. Winter mornings with a cup of tea and these buns are the perfect breakfast in bed option too.

Ingredients for the bread :-

  1. Flour – 2 cups
  2. Sugar – 5 tbsp
  3. Yeast – 2 tsp
  4. Salt – 1/4 tsp
  5. Milk – 2/3 cup (warm)
  6. Water – 1/3 cup
  7. Eggs – 2 (lightly beaten)
  8. Butter – 105 gms (softened and at room temp)

Instructions :-

  1. In a bowl combine milk, sugar and yeast. Set aside till frothy and bubbly
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour and butter. With the hook attachment mix till a bread crumb consistency is achieved
  3. Then add the eggs and mix well
  4. Next add the yeast mixture and milk in a steady stream with the mixer on low
  5. Once you are done, add the salt and let the dough mix for 10 – 12 mins on medium speed
  6. Mean while oil a glass bowl with 1/2 tsp of oilve oil and set aside
  7. Now you will notice that the dough is quite wet but that’s ok, continue mixing till the dough is nice and elastic
  8. Finally tip the elastic dough into the prepared bowl
  9. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place till the dough doubles in size ( 1 – 3 hrs)
  10. During that time. Lets assemble the ingredients for the filling

Ingredients :-

  1. Strawberry Jam – 2 cups ( depends on how thin you roll out the dough)
  2. Fresh Thyme – 4 tbsp
  3. Caramel – 3 tbsp ( or as required)
  4. Egg – 1 (whisked well)
  5. Butter for greasing

Instructions  :-

  1. Pre Heat your oven to 200 C and grease a cupcake tray with butter. Set aside
  2. Flour your work counter with flour and dump the flour into the counter. Make sure to deflate the dough in the bowl first
  3. Slowly knead for 1 min till it forms a ball. Divide the ball into 2 equal halves
  4. Then using a rolling pin, roll out a rectangle 40 cm x 20 cm
  5. The using a pastry brush, evenly spread the jam over the rolled out dough ( if it very thick pop it into the microwave for 30 sec)
  6. Once you are done with the strawberry layer, sprinkle the thyme leaves
  7. Then drizzle the caramel over it
  8. Now slowly starting from the longer side roll inwards. Flour your hands, if you find the dough is sticky
  9. Once you have a nice long roll, cut into equal circles. I used a thread for this. Slip a thread under the log, come around it from both side, make a tiny knot just once and pull tight through
  10. As you make the circles place it in the prepared cupcake tray
  11. Once you are done with all of the dough in the same manner, using a pastry brush, lightly coat the tops of the rolls, with the eggs wash
  12. Pop into the oven for 30 Mins or till golden brown. Once done, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack
  13. Allow to cool till warm to touch, then pop them out of the cupcake molds and place on a cooling rack to cool completely
  14. Serve with hot milk or tea

Parsley, roasted garlic and Lime Garlic Knots

 

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!

How are you all doing today? As the weather changes and the cold sets in, I find myself pulling out my blankets, fuzzy socks and jackets out. So in anticipation of soup season, I also have a feeling we will have a lot of bread making in the house too. Did i mention I ruined my oven? Yes, so while I was getting the house ready for Diwali, last month, I cleaned the oven and when I turned it back on, the whole house lost power!!! Yeah I managed to destroy my favorite kitchen apparatus and I havent gotten around to getting the company guys to come take a look at it either (talk about being lazy) :-).

So this time I made my bread in the “convection” mode of my microwave oven and to my pleaseant surprise in really does work! how awesome is that. Now did I mention that this recipe also incorporates, whole wheat? Yes, sir it does!! So I added equal amounts of bread flour and whole wheat flour to make these babies so that they are not all that unhealthy and make a perfectly wholesome meal when paired with a big bowl of healthy soup.

Do you guys love the small bread baskets that they serve in Italian restaurants? With the flavoured butter? I am a sucker for them. While my husband refuses to have it cause he says its a distraction from the main food. I say I love it all.. hahaha..

Ingredients :-

 

  1. Bread Flour / Maida – 1 + 1/4 cup
  2. Whole Wheat Flour / Atta – 1 + 1/4 cup
  3. Sugar – 1 tbsp
  4. Salt – 1 tsp
  5. Oil – 2 tbsp
  6. Yeast – 1 tbsp
  7. Water – 1 cup (warm)
  8. Garlic – 9 cloves
  9. Lime – 1
  10. Parsley – 1/4 cup (chopped fine)
  11. Butter – 50 gms (at room temperature)

 

 

 

Instructions :-

    1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add sugar, water and yeast. Set aside to rest for 10 mins. In 10 minutes it should have become nice and frothy
    2. Into the same bowl, add the flour, salt and oil
    3. With the hook attachment on, turn on the mixer to a medium speed for 7 – 10 mins
    4. It will form a nice sticky dough
    5. Grease a big glass bowl and tip the dough mixture into the bowl
    6. Let it rest for 2 hours or till the dough has doubled in size
    7. Meanwhile, drizzle a little oil over the garlic cloves and put them into an oven at 200 C for 15 min or till they are golden and almost black on the outside. Once they have cooled down, with the back of your spoon, press them to form a nice paste
    8. Now take a bowl and add the melted butter, zest the lime, chopped parsley and garlic paste. Season with salt and mix well and set aside
    9. Peheat your oven to 200 C and line a baking tray with baking paper
    10. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip the dough onto a floured surface.
    11. Slowly knead the dough for 2 mins
    12. Then make a large ball and cut it into 2. Then cut them into 5 each. You should have around 10
    13. Slowly roll out the dough into long rolls
    14. Then just like you tie a shoe lace, tie the knot with the rolled out dough
    15. Once you have made the knot, place on the prepared baking tray. Do the same with the remaining dough
    16. Dip a pastry brush in some olive oil and brush the tops of the knots lightly
    17. Place the tray in the pre heat oven and bake for 15 – 20 mins or till lightly golden on the top
    18. During this time, melt the butter mixture in a microwave
    19. As soon as the knots are ready take them out of the oven and dip them into the melted butter
    20. Use a mitten while you dip the knots as they will really hot!!
    21. After dipping them, place them back on the tray
    22. Just before you serve them, brush again with the flavored butter!!

 

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate covered Chocolate Cookie hearts

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Hello my dear wonderful readers!!

Its been so long and there has been so much happening, I do not know where to begin! We finally moved to our own place and I am so excited cause there is so much sun light and space in the form of big balconies! lol. So to start our sweet journey at the new place, I decided to make these simple yet decadent cookies. Hey you know what I discovered, if you want to get rid of the smell of paint in a new place, all you need to do is bake some thing nice! I made these cookies and the paint smell reduced considerably. The next day I made some biryani and that sealed the deal.  hahahahaha…

These cookies are super easy to make and are perfect if you want to make chocolate cut out cookies.

Ingredients :-
1. Flour – 2 cup
2. Baking Powder  – 1/4 tsp
3. Cocoa Powder – 4 tbsp
4. Demerara Sugar – 1 cup
5. Butter – 100 gms
6. Milk – 4 tbsp
7. Salt – one pinch

 Instructions :-

1. Pre Heat your oven to 180 C – Using your baking paper or silpat mat, line your cookie baking tray
2. In a bowl combine butter and sugar. Beat well for 2 – 3 mins
3. Then add the baking powder, salt, flour, cocoa powder. Then slowly add the milk to flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon and once the dough comes together use your hands and bring it all together
4. Finally you will reach a nice thick doughy consistency
5. Lay a baking paper over your kitchen counter and place the cocoa dough in the centre
6. Then place another piece of paper over the dough ( the same size as the paper underneath (40 cm x 40cm)
7. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a nice thin size
8. Then remove the paper over the dough and using the cookie cutter, cut out the desired shape
9. Slowly place the cookies over the prepared baking sheet. These cookies do not expand so its ok to not leave too much space between the cookies 
10. Bake for 20 – 25 mins ( do not wait for the cookies to turn dark brown)
11. Once they are ready , place them on a cooling rack and they are ready for their dressing 🙂

For the glaze
1. Micro wave, 50 gms of dark chocolate in spurts of 30 seconds each. Make sure to put out the bowl every 30 seconds and mix with a spatula. This will help prevent the chocolate from burning
2. Dip the cooled chocolate cookies in the melted chocolate and place over a wire rack to let the excess drip down
3. Sprinkle with your favorite kind of topping / sprinkle!!

Healthy Flax Seed and Oat, Raisin Thins

 

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!!

How have you all been? Its been a long time since I got down to blogging and trust me when I say, the last week has been such a life changer! Have you ever looked down from a flight that is just about to land? That moment when you see tiny cars and thin trees and wormy roads? That’s the moment you realize how small you really are! We have been travelling a lot for the last few days and I have come to the firm belief that, no matter how hard you try, some things cannot be controlled. Its sad when people who drink and smoke their whole lives, live happy without a care are fit as a fiddle while people who are so cautious about their physical and mental health might have the worst medical condition. I guess what I am trying to say is that, what really matters, is that you live each minute of each day to its fullest and you do your part. There is no point living a vegetarian life when our mind is full of vengeful thoughts. There is no need for an argument with your spouse when life itself is full of challenges thrown at you every day. Every time I have fought or scolded some one its makes me feel like all I did was bring negativity into the room and nothing stands a chance to improve.

While such tumultuous thoughts run through my head, my cup of hot green tea was beckoning for a little some thing to go along with it. Much to my dismay, reaching for the cookie jar had only resulted in a depressing after thought of how many calories I have to burn the next day or why my greedy tongue has not been able to make its peace with 3 cookies undoubtedly made with much more sugar than flour or butter 😛 . So here was my answer!

A simple #NO GLUTEN! NO FLOUR, REFINED SUGAR FREE COOKIE- ( OH! did i mention no butter too)

These are so really simple to make all you need is a fork and two bowls. So lets get to it ….

 

Ingredients :-

  1. Instant Oats – 2 cups
  2. Raisins – 1/2 cup
  3. Flax Seed – 3 tbsp
  4. Virgin Coconut Oil – 1 cup
  5. Egg – 1
  6. Palm Sugar – 1 cup
  7. Cinnamon Powder – 1.2 tsp
  8. Vanilla Extract – 1.2 tsp

Instructions :-

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 150 C and line a baking tray with parchment paper
  2. In a bowl, mix oats, flax see, raisins, palm sugar, cinnamon powder and give it a good mix with a fork ( make sure you do not have any lumps of sugar)
  3. In another bowl, crack open the egg. Add the coconut oil and vanilla extract. Give it a good whisk with the fork
  4. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the oat mixture and set aside to soak for 10 mins
  5. Then using the same fork give it a good mix once again to coat the oats well with the egg mixture
  6. Now using a small ice cream spoon or a normal spoon scoop out even portions of the oats and egg mixture and place on the baking tray
  7. Then with the back of the fork press down to flatten
  8. I like these nice and thin, so they snap when I bite into them
  9. Bake in the pre heated oven for 10 – 15 mins (till they turn light brown )
  10. Once they are done leave to cool completely – remember they will be soft when they come out of the oven but leave to cool completely and they will crisp up soon!!
  11. Store in an air tight container once cooled