Go nuts over Nutella Brownies!

Nutella, a brand of sweetened hazelnut cocoa is everyone’s favourite, be it any age. It’s a versatile ingredient, isn’t it? Use it as a spread for toasts, filling for cupcakes, spoonful as it is.. or even Nutella Brownies.

I’m not here to promote it but it’s easier to call a Nutella Brownie a Nutella Brownie and not a Sweetened Hazelnut Cocoa Brownie, right!!! Going nuts over the name.. don’t. Instead, try your hand on these decadent brownies, they are so so so so so delicious that it’s not even funny!

Don’t believe me? Then give it a try now. It’s as easy as i don’t know what..

  • 1 1/2 Cup Nutella
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Castor Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Paste/Extract (use a pure extract pls)
  • 3/4 Cup of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

That’s about it. Now, let’s get on with making the Nutella Brownies.

  1. Line a rectangular pan (usually used for brownies) with parchment
  2. Pre heat your oven to 180 degree celsius for 15 mins.
  3. Sift all dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, salt and keep it aside
  4. Melt 1 cup of Nutella over a double boiler or in a microwave (for a 1 min) and add in the butter and mix well
  5. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla for about 2 mins – no point using fancy hand blenders and all. A traditional whisk is just fine.
  6. Pour in the Nutella and butter mixture to the eggs and whisk well.
  7. Add in the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined
  8. Pour in the batter in the lined tin and scoop in few tbsp of Nutella here and there.
  9. Bake this in a preheated oven at 180 degree celsius for 40 mins.
  10. Cool completely before slicing. Whenever you want to serve, just warm it up and drizzle some more Nutella goodness on top… may be with a dollop of Vanilla Ice Cream.

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Isn’t this a piece of heaven? Or rather pieces of heaven. Pls pls pls try this else you will regret it.. Then do not blame me 😉

Will be back with another recipe soon. Till then, keep cooking, keep loving!

Freshly Baked Whole Wheat Bread!

I am a bread fan and I am a working woman. So, when I’m running late, all i need to do is grab two slices, add peanut butter jam or butter and veggies and leave. But, i just can’t ignore the fact that the industry breads (available in the markets) are whole wheat only for the namesake. They use preservation chemicals and loads of color… Plus it’s not whole wheat.

Anyways, I love eating bread. Period. I need no reason to make a freshly baked whole wheat bread for my family and myself. So, here’s the recipe. All you need is –

  1. Whole Wheat Flour – 200 gms
  2. All Purpose Flour – 50 gms
  3. Salt – 7 gms
  4. Water – 130 ml
  5. Milk – 60 ml
  6. Castor Sugar/Regular Sugar – 14 gms
  7. Active Dry Yeast – 14 gms
  8. Oil – 10 ml
  9. Extra Flour for dusting
  • Sieve the dry ingredients and keep aside.
  • Warm some of the water (lukewarm) and add the sugar and yeast.. Let this rest for 10-12 mins until it starts smelling and foams up
  • Add the yeast water, milk and remaining water to the dry ingredients and need a soft dough.
  • While making the dough, if you feel the dough is tight.. Add little more water.
  • Once the dough comes together, topple the dough onto your kitchen surface $dusted with some flour) and knead for a good 10 – 15 mins (use the heel of your hands to knead and pull back the dough with your fingers – this basically releases the gluten in the flour thereby making your bread soft).
  • Ball it up and leave to rise in an greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a cling film. Let the dough rest for 45 mins in a warm area.
  • Uncover the dough and knock back to release the air inside. Add the oil and knead again.
  • Grease your bread mould and dust it. Tap outwards and remove extra flour. Roll the dough into a nice ball (close to the shape of the mould) and place it in the bread mould so it fits rights in.
  • Brush the top with oil and cover with a cling film and leave the dough to rise for 45 mins in a warm area.
  • Just before baking, brush some milk on the dough and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree C for 20-30 mins or until the surface is golden (I used middle rack)
  • When you take out the bread from the oven, brush some butter on top.
  • Leave for 10 mins and then take it out of the mould and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Use a serrated knife to slice the bread.

It’s comforting, homely and undeniably delicious. Ohh.. and the smell of freshly baked bread is a trip to heaven !

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PS: you can even add sauted onion + spices/ fried garlic pieces + Italian season etc to make a flavoured bread.

The recipe might seem tedious but it’s not. Trust me and give it a shot. Happy Baking guys!

A breakfast to die for! I’m seriously serious!

Sabzi Kachori with Green Chillies and Tamarind Chutney.

If you happen to be in Kolkata (India), wake up early morning and head to Sharma’s for a Sabzi Kachori breakfast! It is hands down, the best breakfast in the world!

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Sweet Love!

Something’s are best when unchanged. Just like Calcutta’s good old Mishti Doi.

Mishti Doi is synonymous with Bengal and the Bengali’s are renowned world over for this sweet fermented yogurt.

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Fro Yo Love!

It’s been 18 years and i am still hoping to shed off the extra kilos from my body! My weight loss pattern has been a yo yo one. There have been times when I’ve lost 15 Kgs over 3 months and then, I’ve not even lost an ounce.

Over the time, I’ve realized that every individual is different and so is his/her body pattern. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. It is important to keep trying. It is more important to never ever give up! Some people might encourage but mostly, you will come across people who will look down upon you. Ignore all and keep walking.

And to keep myself going, i need to treat myself once in a week. Trust me guys, whether you are on a diet or no diet, a tad bit of indulgence is essential. So, i made some delicious Chocolate Banana Frozen Yogurt. And this recipe is a healthy one and packed full goodness.

The below recipe will serve 4 portions.

  • Bananas – 2 (sliced and frozen)
  • Honey – 3 Tbsp
  • Yogurt – 3 Tbsp
  • Vanilla Extract – 2 Tsp
  • Cocoa Powder – 1 Tbsp

The ingredients are not very many but they are just the right ones.

  1. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend it all for 3-4 mins.
  2. Pour it in an airtight container and freeze for about 6 hours. Preferably, overnight… That way, you need not wait for the froyo to set.
  3. I garnished my portion with some walnut caramel crumble but you can enjoy it just like that. I somehow feel that one can never go wrong with Bananas, Chocolate and Walnuts.. it is after all, a classic combination.

Can this recipe get any simpler or what!

As quoted by someone “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” And if it is your favorite fruit whipped up with some yogurt, it wouldn’t hurt at all.

Mango-ey Memories.

Summers are here… And with summers, comes the season of mangoes!  Yes, mango itself can be considered  a season. It is at the onset on spring that the raw mangoes hit the markets and we are all geared up to make pickles, sherbet, chutneys etc.

You will be amazed to know the variety of mangoes available in the market. I don’t know all but I can definitely  name a few – Alphonso, Banganapalli,  Chausa, Dussehri, Totapuri, Langra (my favourite), Kesar, Himsagar, Kishan Bhog..  It’s a long list.

Mangoes are an integral part of our meals – could be a mango shake to beat the heat or in the form of Aamras, that is eaten with chapati/rice in India. I have very fond memories with this fruit – just after dinner,  my dad used to sit with a platter of mangoes and a knife.  He used to cut the mangoes into chunks and feed us with his hands. And whenever he used to feed my mum,  all she said was “no darling,  I’m full.. I don’t want mangoes” and then after a pause, she used to take the piece and relish it! My sister, my dad and I had a great laugh over it..  This still is a ritual in my house.

Now that I live in Mumbai, I miss home. I miss eating mangoes with my family. So,  I cooked a delicious Mango Rice Pudding..

 

Here’s the recipe. This will make for 2-4 servings.

  • Rice – ½ Cup
  • Milk – 750 Ml
  • Cardamom – 2 Pods
  • Mango Puree – 1 Cup
  • Mango Extract – 1 Tsp
  • Sugar – ½ Cup or as per taste
  • Mango Pieces – 2 Tbsp for garnishing
  • Saffron and Almonds for garnishing
  1. Wash the rice and soak it for 30 mins. I used a particular kind of rice available  in East India – these are small grained. You could even use Basmati or any long grained rice.
  2. Pour milk in a vessel and bring it to a boil.  
  3. Add in the rice along with a pod or two of cardamom and cook till it is 3/4th done.
  4. Add in half cup sugar and stir.. Be careful with the sugar as the mango puree will also lend it’s sweetness. ++ when you cook with love,  the food is always sweet. Cheesy, but true!
  5. Cook till the rice is soft but not mushy.
  6. Turn off the heat and let the pudding cool for a bit..
  7. Add in the mango puree along with few drops of mango extract. Stir well.
  8. Let the pudding come to a room temperature and then, refrigerate it for 3-4 hours.
  9. Serve in little ramekin like bowls and garnish with saffron and almond flakes.

 

Now, I’ve  found another Mango fan in my family – my mum in law.  She just loves mangoes.. So much, that she can live on them all summer and if given the option, all her life. 

I hope you will give the recipe a try and create sweet memories  with your loved ones.

Aloor Dom!

Born and brought up in Kolkata, I have an inclination towards the typical Bengali
Cuisine. When I say Bengali Food, a variety of fishes and meats might pop up in
your head. But it might strange sound to you like it does to my friends and colleagues,
I’m a vegetarian. Yes, I was born in Kolkata… Yes, I was even brought up there…
Yes, my family stays back in Kolkata… Yes, I love Bengali Food… But, I AM A
VEGETARIAN. For people who aren’t aware, Bengali cuisine offers a whole lot of
variety for vegetarians as well. You will be amazed… believe me!

One of my
favourite dishes is Luchi with Aloor Dom! Aloor Dom is a simple and a very
humble dish – baby potatoes cooked in a spicy gravy. Apart from the key being
the well-cooked baby potatoes, mustard oil is what gives the dish it’s distinct
flavour.

 

To serve about 5 people, you will need.

  • 500 gms baby potatoes (par boiled)
  • ¾ cup mustard oil for frying potatoes
  • 3 tbsp. fresh mustard oil for making gravy
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (Jeera)
  • 1-inch cinnamon 
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 4 to 5 black pepper corns
  • 1 green cardamom (optional)
  • ½ Cup Poppy Seeds (soaked and finely ground)
  • 1 Large Onion (ground to a fine paste)
  • 2 Large Tomatoes (ground to a fine paste)
  • 2 tbsp. of Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 tbsp. of Green Chilli Paste
  • 2 tsp of Turmeric Powder
  • 3 tsp of Red Chilli Powder
  • 2 tsp of Coriander Powder
  • 2 tsp of Garam Masala
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • Salt as required
  • 1 tsp of Sugar
  • 2 tsp of Ghee
  • Freshly Chopped Coriander for garnishing (optional)
  1. Rinse the baby potatoes well. Take 4 cups water in a pan and add the potatoes. Boil them till it’s par boiled/ half cooked.
  2. Drain and peel the potatoes. This might seem to be a tedious task but it’s worth the outcome! Watch TV or listen to music… do what you wish to. But, enjoy cooking. That’s what makes your food so delicious!
  3. Using a skewer, poke tiny holes in the potatoes all over. This is done so that when cooking on dum (where it gets the name from), the potatoes absorb the flavours of the gravy. Dum actually means cooking for a long time on slow flame.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Add a couple of spoons of water and mix well.
  5. In a deep bottom pan, heat some mustard oil. Add a tsp of turmeric powder and little bit of salt. Add the parboiled peeled potatoes and begin to fry them on a low to medium flame. Keep tossing in between.
  6. Once golden, remove the potatoes on a kitchen towel. Cool the potatoes and prick them with a skewer again. This time, don’t poke much… Let the potatoes be!
  7. Lower the flame, add some more mustard oil. Let the oil heat up once more and add it the khada masala (whole spices) – Cinnamon Stick, Cloves, Cardamom, Pepper Corns and lastly, the caraway seeds. Sauté till you smell the fragrance of the masala.
  8. Add the ginger garlic paste along with chilli paste. Fry for about a minute and add the onion paste. Sauté till pink.
  9. Add in the tomato puree and fry till the oil comes up. That’s how my dad taught me how to identify a cooked gravy base.
  10. Now, it’s time to pour in the poppy seed paste… Cook for another 2 minutes.
  11. Remember, we mixed in our dry spice powders in a bowl?? Add in the dry spice mix and cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt as per taste.
  12. Throw in the fried potatoes and toss well till the potatoes are well coated with the gravy.
  13. Pour in the water. Cover and cook the potatoes on low flame for at least 15-20 mins or even, 30 minutes.
  14. Add in a tsp of sugar and adjust the salt. Cook for 2-3 mins or till the water dries up, not much though. The gravy should be thick.
  15. Time for the finishing touch. Just before taking out the potatoes, add in the ghee and cover for a minute. Let the scent of the ghee seep into the potatoes.
  16. Take the spiced up babies out in a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with freshly fried Luchis. You may even enjoy these with rice/roti/naan/bread… anything your heart desires.

 

The dish is rich and full of flavour but it is not a difficult recipe. So, get into your kitchen now and give it a try.

If you eat this kind of vegetarian food, I’m sure you will not regret turning into one!

To my life long Valentine.

I was a typical girl who believed in love, friendship, celebrating days just because it is a “cool” thing to do. And also because, the entire world was doing the same. 

When i got married, my thinking and my ideologies changed. Valentine’s Day was just 4 days after my wedding. Mine was a love marriage and so, i was expecting lot of surprises and celebrations. It was a usual lovey dovey morning.. I had filmed the entire day in my mind – surprise bouquet of flowers, chocolates, cake cutting, gifts etc. Nothing of that sort happened. It was a simple yet enjoyable evening with friends, movie and dinner night out. 

On returning home, i asked my husband why he did not wish me “Happy Valentine’s Day Sweetheart” and why he didn’t shower me with gifts and love all day long.. after all, it is the day of love! He just said one thing.. “Babe, i do not want to show off my love for just one day.. I want to keep the love and spark going for 365 days and for years to come.” He won. And honestly, i am more than happy to lose myself to a man who loves me for who i am. 

I’ve been married for 4 years now and things have only changed for better. Anuvrat (my husband) had been travelling entire last month and returned day before yesterday. To surprise my better half (actually, my best half)… i baked him his favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes – moist, rich flavour and dense red color. The cupcakes were fluffy and delicious with “to die for” cream cheese frosting.

 

Here’s the recipe for 24 mini cupcakes, you will need.

  • 117.5 gms Self Raising Flour
  • 7.5 gms Cocoa powder
  • 125 gms Castor Sugar
  • a pinch of Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Butter Milk
  • 135 gms Butter
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Red Food Color (the food color qty varies as all colors and gels have different intensity)
  • ¾ tsp Cider Vinegar
  • ¾ tsp Soda Bi Carb

For Cream Cheese Frosting, you will need.

  • 120 gms Cream Cheese
  • 75 gms Butter
  • 420 gms Icing Sugar (sifted)
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  1. Line the mini cupcake tin with liners and pre heat your oven at 170 degree Celsius 
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, castor sugar and salt in a large bowl and mix thoroughly
  3. Add eggs and butter to the flour mixture and whisk well
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the butter milk, food color and vanilla extract. Add this red liquid to the flour mix. Beat well for a minute or so on high speed. Scrape down the sides and mix again. 
  5.  In a small bowl, add cider vinegar to the soda bi carb and pour this fizzy mix to the red velvet batter. Beat well for a couple of seconds or until thoroughly mixed
  6. Scoop the batter in pre lined cupcake tin and allow them to bake at 170 degree Celsius for 22 minutes
  7. Take them out when done and allow them to cool completely

While the cupcakes are baking, make your frosting. This way you will not waste a minute on delaying the eating part! 

  1. To make the cream cheese frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 1 or 2 mins. 
  2. Add the icing sugar in parts and keep mixing on low speed.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract and scrape down the sides with a spatula
  4. Whisk the frosting another minute or two and keep in the fridge

Time to assemble the cupcakes.. Fill in your piping bag with the frosting. Use the star nozzle to create beautiful swirls. Red Velvet Cupcakes look ridiculously pretty with the delicate cream cheese swirls and they taste so so good.

 

 

 

Make these cupcakes for all your loved ones. Spread happiness and celebrate love all year long!

Bread Feast for Dinner

Focaccia is one of my favorite Italian Breads! You can bake it in no time. Tons of herbs and toppings, gives you tons of flavour. A wonderfully easy recipe, i usually end up making Focaccia and Soup when my husband’s not home for dinner (which is almost everyday, not that i’m complaining) or when I’m too lazy to cook! 

A big bowl of Tomato Basil soup and a Focaccia all to myself… gives me a great sense of comfort. 

 

Here’s the recipe. You will need:

  • 250 gms Refined
    Flour 
  • 5 gms Salt 
  • 5 gms Sugar 
  • 1 gm Improver   
  • 7 gms Fresh Yeast   
  • 15 ml Olive
    Oil/Garlic Oil 
  • 150 ml Water   
  • Kosher
    Salt as per taste
  • Freshly cracked Black Pepper 
  • Herbs 
  • Toppings (any topping will do – sun dried tomatoes/dried veggie mix/onions/olives/jalapenos/dried garlic/caramelized onions etc. This completely depends on your taste and how experimental you want to be with your bread). I go wild when i cook 😉
  1. Sieve the refined flour, salt and improver together.
  2. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in water and make a dough. Rest the dough for 10 mins.
  3. Add oil (you can even use garlic oil, gives it a great flavour) to the dough and knead with the help of knock back process. Cover and keep aside for proving.
  4. Lift the dough ball and place on a greased and dusted pan. 
  5. Now, dock the dough with oily hands and press them towards the corners, just how we make a fresh pizza. 
  6. Add herbs like rosemary, fresh oregano, chopped basil, thyme, chilly flakes or any herb of your choice.
  7. Add toppings – I used the dry vegetable mix that got from Turkey. You can read my blog and you’ll know which one i’m talking about. 
  8. Add Kosher salt and crack some pepper on top. Bake in a pre heated oven at 175°C for 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. Finish it with a drizzle of extra virgin Olive Oil, cut into wedges and serve warm. 

 

Focaccia makes a great bread for sandwiches. You can even serve it as a starter with some Hung Curd and Cheese dip at your party. Load it with cheese and broil till the cheese melts and… your cheesy pizza is ready, one to die for. I’m telling ya.. be careful! 

 

Hope you will try out the recipe and leave your comments. After all, blogging is all about learning from new people, new experiences, everyday. 

Many Turkish Delights.

Istanbul is the mystic hallmark that ties Europe and Asia since the ancient times. Without a doubt, Istanbul is certainly one of the most mesmerizing places I’ve seen! I had been planning the Turkey trip for over two years and like they say in the Law of Attraction, it worked… I think, consciously or unconsciously, I only prayed
to go for a holiday, and that too, to Turkey!

From the dipping rock formations in Cappadocia to the ruins of the Ephesus, from the warm thermal pools in Pamukkale to the sandy beaches of Antalya, visiting Turkey has been a surreal experience. Istanbul, in particular, is absolutely breathtaking. It seems like I’ve left a piece of my heart there and I keep going back.

The day used to start with a sandwich breakfast every morning. Bright red ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, variety of cheese, eggs and bread! I usually get bored of eating the same thing again and again. Though the breakfast spread was similar at
all locations; i didn’t get tired of eating even a bit. Take a look at the bright ripe
organic tomatoes… believe it or not, the tomatoes were as big as duce balls. I
was fascinated with these cutie patooties because in India, I haven’t really seen
such huge tomatoes!

 

The Spice Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest bazaars in the city. Vibrant spices along with jewel like Turkish delights, are an eye candy for thousands of tourists and locals who come here every day. I visited this shop called Mis Mis there. The
shopkeeper Akram Sam, a wonderful gentleman who ensured that he kept his
customers happy. I got to taste Baklavas and Fresh Turkish Delights. That one shop was a bazaar in itself – so many varieties of dry organic teas, Lokums (aka Turkish Delights) and spices. I ended up shopping and how!

Let me share few pictures of the specialties that I came across at the Spice Bazaar! 

Spices of course.. 

 

Turkish Delights 

Soft and chewy, Turkish Delights are best when tasted fresh. The most prominent flavours are Pomegranate and Pistachio. Other flavours include Saffron, Almond, Lemon, Chocolate, Figs, Rose and many more.

PS: Do not buy the dry ones. Loaded with confectioner’s sugar and taste bad. 

 

Dry Teas

 

Talking of teas, I miss few moments of silence & calm accompanied by a tiny glass of instant Apple Tea! An all-time classic, sweet with that crusty apple flavour, Apple tea is refreshing and delightful! It makes me happy in an instant.

 

Thank you Turkey, for giving me wonderful memories to cherish and a taste that will linger on for a while.