The last week has been amongst the most stressful ones I’ve been through this year. It had started to reach a point where I felt like the stress was starting to have an actual, physical impact on me, making me listless and unwell, like I had a hangover, except with zero alcohol consumption.
The Pineapple Upside-down cake was never my favourite sort of cake. Most of the time it’d be dry or overtly sweet, and somehow, cooked pineapple was never something I was a really big fan of (case in point, Hawaiian pizzas). I do remember growing up with picture of this cake in magazines and cookbooks with its perfectly circular rings of pineapple with bright red cherries in the middle as a symbol of a ‘higher’ culinary artform that I never expected to achieve.
Delhi carrots have been in season for a while, and one of the best things to do with them is to turn them into delicious Gajar halwa— a light (if prepared this way) and relatively healthy preparation for the winters. This is something I cook up more than twice a year, and have been working on a recipe that maximises its nutritive value (in providing adequate fibre, beta carotene and potassium).
Inertia and procrastination have kept me from posting here for a while now, but I plan to fix that this month. I’ve always wondered how many people out there actually read these posts; not just follow but actually read them. Then the other day I actually ran into someone at a party who has been a regular reader of both my blogs and I felt like I ought to get back to it, even if it were for a small group of people.
I’ve been looking for a recipe for a good boozy chocolate cake for a while now. Not the ones with a ‘hint’ of brandy or vodka or rum, but one that punches you in the face like a tequila shot (while not necessarily having to be tequila), while still being delicious enough to want to finish the rest of the slice that booze-punched you in the face.
Sometimes, I bake when I’m blue. As therapeutic as the exercise is, I think I enjoy baking and cooking as a celebration a lot more. I’ve had a pretty tough bunch of months in the recent past, and I thought I’d commemorate the (hopeful) end of this period (and the arrival of winter) with apple pie.
Many recipes (especially custards and lemon tarts) call for the use of multiple yolks, but most of these recipes aren’t thought through completely, and end up with large amounts of egg white that mostly have to be thrown away. Some people make egg white omelettes out of them, others find different uses, from thickening corn soup (Indian restaurant style), egg washes or even face masks.
I bought a bag of hazelnuts last month, and I’ve been looking for things to do with them ever since. I’d bookmarked this recipe for chocolate hazelnut biscotti a while back, but only recently did I realise that this recipe used ingredients (other than the hazelnuts) that would already be in the home of anyone who bakes.
Almond biscotti is a deceptively simple thing to make. While you’re mixing up the batter, you’re thinking, “well, this is all very easy, it barely calls for any special technique or wrist action, hand skills or wild hand-eye coordination”. It starts getting complicated right after this. The initial assembly takes about half an hour, but at the end of a 134 baking minutes (a loose 150 counting the spaces between sticking things in the oven, taking them out and rearranging) I figured that this didn’t qualify for the “easy” category anymore.
My earliest memory of choux pastry is from college. We used to order up éclairs, because as impoverished students, the moderately priced chocolate éclair was just about within budget. The lightness of the pastry convinced me quite early that to make this would be an act of great skill and workmanship.
Cherries are now in season here in Bombay (and possibly other parts of the country too). I’ve never been a big fan of Indian cherries as they always seem to cook in a bland way and lose flavour and colour. This season however, has seen the plumpest, darkest cherries ever.
This is probably the second or third post (and surely not the last) I’ve put up that has been a product of a relatively sudden and massive chocolate craving. The humble soufflé has been made out to be this complicated thing that requires great finesse and skill and has a 50:50 chance of collapsing on itself and being an utter flop.
I had a massive chocolate craving last week, which I decided to satiate with these salted caramel tarts. I’d picked up this really nice Valrhona 70% dark chocolate (with little cocoa nibs in it) at Changi Duty Free in Singapore and I felt guilty not putting it to some good culinary use. I’d devoured alost a third of it (35g, in fact), but there was just enough left to make a batch of tarts.
Mango season is almost ending, with the onset of the monsoons here in Bombay. But there still are parts of the country where you’ll find mangoes in the markets.
The idea to make this cake happened spontaneously one day, when I thought to myself that chocolate and mango would work so well in a dessert together. A short bout of Googling later, I came across this recipe and I knew I had to make it one weekend. So I did.
The traditional approach when it comes to making mango desserts is to always use Alphonso mangoes. I believe this is a little unfair to the absolute abundance of different varieties of mangoes available in the country, each with it’s own special flavour, texture and sweetness.
Until I actually made it myself, I always thought making cheesecakes was something reserved for the advanced baker. This cheesecake is actually put together in a blender in just moments.