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I am a professional and a cook,rather a cook by choice and passion.Cooking is something I fantasise about.When I first thought of starting a blog,a thousand ideas coursed through my mind,albeit,none stood the sands of time.Except for the thought of a food blog accompanied by subtle nuances from daily life and from the world around me!



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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday to my blog!

Its hard to believe,but yes,my blog turned one today at the stroke of twelve!Happy B'Day to my blog!

It feels just like the other day,when sitting by the window, watching big,fluffy snowflakes perch on the denuded branches of a nearby birch tree, I was besotted with the thought of writing a blog. I had been thumbing through lovely blogs all over the internet for quite some time, and a wish to create something of my own whirled inside my head. I have never been either an avid writer nor a glorious cook,but somehow I now thought of marrying them together.It would be an online diary of sorts - so to say - something to chronicle the daily gruel that I was rustling up and also some specialties every now and then. Home cooking was what I had wanted to concentrate on!
                                                   Pic source: http://www.dlightonline.com
Thus self-inspired, I wrote my first post, this very day last year and set foot in this hitherto unexplored arena. I found it thrilling to be writing about myself,my recipes,things that were going in my everyday life - I wrote about the world round me.I relished scurrying about my kitchen space arranging my dishes for a fancy photo session, I made use of my china at the littlest opportunity available and soon enough,I was enjoying it all!

Well,it pays to be honest,I guess and so I must say that the number of people visiting my blog and leaving comments were not so flattering still.Not that I expected tons of footfalls at the earliest - I knew I was still a nascent existence in blogsphere - but still a part of me wanted to have more people dropping by and letting me know their thoughts.

And true to my wish, the visitors slowly started trickling in.My blog changed looks and for hours,I mulled over widgets and gadgets to embellish my piece d'art (if I may unabashedly call it so!).It felt so good just to imagine that someone had visited my blog and had gone through my posts - the happiness was too much to explain!In course of time I made friends out here as well, and they cared enough to leave me their precious thoughts!Thanks for all thoughts you have been kind enough to leave on my blog - each one has really meant a lot to  me!

And of course, there were the 'lurkers'!They would hover around my blog but never ever care to leave a line.It somehow felt akin to peeping stealthily through someone's window and looking askance the moment the door would be opened!These lurkers had been so rampant for a while,that for some time I actually expected them to figure on my Feedjit list as frequently as all my 'known' friends! Dear Lurkers, its not that I do not like you treading here, but I believe it is polite to leave even a line if I am visiting someone's blog.At least, I would be happy to know you and your thoughts!
                                                  Pic source: www.birthdaygreetings.in
Anyway, so here I am celebrating my dear Blog's 1st Birthday!I had a friend of mine bake me a lovely Coffee Cake with flavored cream cheese snugly nestling between baby soft Sponge layers.It was for a different occasional altogether, but since I could not bake one for my blog today, I'll post it in its honor!

Wish me luck for my second innings out here and hope you enjoy the recipe!:)See ya!

Coffee Cake with cream cheese filling:
You will need:
For the Sponge:
Cake flour - 150 gms
Castor (or granulated) sugar - 150 gms
Unsalted butter - 100 gms (at room temperature)
Baking soda - 1 teaspoon
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
2 big eggs
Vanilla Extract - 1 tablespoon
Coffee powder - 2 teaspoons
Lukewarm water (to dissolve the coffee powder)

For the Cream cheese filling:
Cream cheese - 125 gms
Castor (or granulated sugar) - 100 gms
Vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons
Whipped cream - 100 gms

Cocoa powder for dusting on top

How it was made:
1. To make the sponge cake, take the eggs in a bowl and add the sugar to it. With a beater, cream the egg and the sugar together till the eggs become a light yellow.Next add the unsalted butter and beat well again.

2. In a separate bowl,sieve in the cake flour,baking powder and baking soda and mix well. Next add the cake flour mixture to the creamed egg and fold the mixture well. Take care not to beat it after adding the cake mixture;just fold to incorporate the air in and that is what will make the sponge cake light.

3. In a small cup, take some lukewarm water and dissolve the coffee powder in it.Once the cake flour mixture is folded well, add in the coffee and fold it in.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Take two baking tins and butter the insides with some melted butter. Now separate out the cake batter into two equal portions and bake them both together to get two sponge cakes.

5. Once the cakes are done (you can check for a toothpick or knife to come out clean), allow them to be in the oven for 10 more minutes even after they are done. This way the lightness of the cakes will not be crumpled by the heavy air outside and will be retained.

6. For the cream cheese filling, take the cream cheese(again at room temperature) and add in the sugar and vanilla extract. Mix very well with a spatula till it turns smooth and creamy. Next add the whipped cream(room temperature here again!) in dollops and keep on mixing, till you get a spreading consistency.
7. In a serving dish, place one sponge cake and smear half of the cream cheese evenly over the cake.Place the second sponge cake on top and smear the rest of the cream cheese filling on top. Smoothen it out evenly to cover the top. Next,using a sieve,dust Cocoa powder thickly over the white cream cheese top. That will not only cover all the unevenness,but will also complement the taste of the coffee flavored sponge cakes.

Phew!So much so about writing a lengthy cake recipe.My friend was patient enough to dole out three sponge cakes instead of two to have two heavenly cream-cheese filled layers.I was content with writing about only two here.You can make three layers if you wish to!Happy baking!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spicy Chicken Keema Tikki to spice up your V Day!

The little girl glanced at the watch on her wrist. It was a very recent possession - her dad had been away on work and when he came back this morning,he had remembered to pick something for his little girl.And it was the watch. A cute one with a yellow band and a butterfly perched on the second's hand,fluttering about the dial with every single tick!She was so excited and needed to tell someone.

Her tiny elbow nudged the little boy sitting next to her - he was trying hard to put his mind into sharpening his pencil,when the nudge came. She smiled shyly and stuck our her left wrist, a glowing pride all over her face.The little boy tapped on the dial and a smile lit his face when he saw the butterfly.

He pulled out his satchel and reached inside. Out came a tiny carton and he carefully pried it open with jagged nails.With a beaming smile,he held out a small toy car on his little palm for the girl to see.She took it in her hands and they giggled.She had a gift and he had one too - and they had shared the excitement of their gifts with each other.
That day,after school.when the little girl walked away holding onto her mother's hand,she looked back at her friend.He was still standing with the toy car in his hand and a quizzical smile on his innocent face. She waved back and kept looking on.She had a friend - one to share her happiness with!She trundled off with a happy smile on her face and promised to herself that she would save the last cookie and bring it for her new friend the next day!And yes,they remained friends forever!

A very Happy Valentine's day, my dear friends and here goes my recipe for Spicy chicken Keema tikki or spiced up patties fashioned out of minced chicken to spice up your V Day!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Scrambled eggs topped Ramen - quick,simple and cool!

There are times when I desperately grapple with my memories - some good, some not so good and some that I so longingly hold onto!To augment this,my memories share a very strange rapport with musical strains.It almost feels like there is this weird propensity to hole up the the strains of a music and the events happening in my life at that point in time, in the same crevice of my brain.So whenever I listen to some familiar melody,I am immediately reminded of events that have happened in the past!A meticulous timekeeper,huh!

Does this happen to everybody?I'm not sure,but it does happen to some people and a couple of my friends can vouch for that!

I am in the mood for some slow and haunting music and surprisingly enough....something with a tinge of soul,something brooding.Yes,at times I do feel that we need to introspect into ourselves and what else to help us do that than some calming,soul-stirring music.Some music for you too,my friends...one of my all-time favorites that I keep on coming back to...again and again...

Enough of heavy introspection - now to some light-hearted food talk! The other day I managed to chance upon an exciting event at Srivalli's lovely space 'Spice your life' and the event calls for simple and easy yet attractive as well as nutritious breakfast recipes for kids.Either something that kids like to eat or we loved to eat as kids.
Well,for me Instant Noodles and Ramen,to be precise,has always been a rocking favorite,even a life-saver at times!I have always cared not to show utter nonchalance to the magical panacea and instead of gulping down the boiled version,I always try to do a mix and match of ingredients here and there just to make the same thing taste differently and appealingly!
So today I will post my recipe for Ramen with scrambled eggs and this post will go out to Srivalli's event as well!Do try out this uberly simple recipe sometime and let me know if it appealed to you taste buds!So long!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Peas Pulao with Brown rice - yet another Brown rice wonder!

This post of mine goes to the 'Monthly Mingle' event hosted by Meeta on her lovely blog titled 'Whats for lunch honey?'.For the month of February,the event is being hosted by Astrid on her blog 'Paulchen's Food Blog?!' and the poignant theme for this edition is 'Small Bites:Soul Food For Your Loved ones'. Also linked to Debbie'e event 'What's on the menu Wednesdayand 'Midweek Fiesta # 6at Amy's place!
After a lot of deliberation for the last couple of weeks, I finally found time to invite a couple of our friends to dinner this weekend.The whole rigmarole of cramped timelines at work,coupled with a sniffle here and a sneeze there,had left me grumbling like an old hag!I desperately needed thriftless laughter and mindless banter to roll over my household - and who better to do that with than our dear friends!

The very thought of that gave me a reason to busy myself in something that I liked doing lots - decking up my den!There was this woven coverlet in burnt sienna that a cousin of mine had gifted me and I paired it with the earth brown cushions resting cosily by the wall on the divan.A bevy of pristine white long-stemmed Calla lilies made way into the sparkling vase by the window. A crocheted  tablecloth in shades of creamish white flew over the chairs and settled gently by the corners.

The Husband deftly propped up a wind-chime in place - how I had always wanted this to be tinkling and chiming with every gush of the slightest strong breeze ringing out a hollow note throughout the house!
                Pic source - http://sindianavisions.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/calla-lily-2/
By evening, my den was a tidier version of itself and ready to welcome our friends.The menu was fairly elaborate - all home churned stuff.The air was light and so was my head!

We had a long evening -  a lovely respite from the dull monotony of everyday life!The happy faces and shattering laughter,unbridled banter and free flowing thoughts struck a chord somewhere deep in our hearts.In the fast-paced world,where everyone is holed up in cubes and pie charts dominate our nightmares,there are days as this,when the heart does dare to kindle hope in true companionship.

Do you feel just the same?
Pic source - www.wayn.com
Of the dishes that I had managed to rustle out for our lovely friends, I will post my Peas Pulao recipe. I had learnt this very simple recipe from  one of my dear friends, when she had cooked it using Brown rice one balmy summer evening, a couple of months back. It does actually get ready in minutes and this time around,I had again used Brown rice just because a couple of my friends are health-conscious and hence too head-over-heels in love with brown rice. But the recipe works just as well with any ordinary long-grained rice.

Although I say this is a Pulao, I was not gutsy enough to cook it the traditional 'Pulao' way with the rice soaking up and cooking in measured quantity of water.I was too scared that I'd let the brown rice overcook and spoil its texture and hence I did it my way of cooking the rice first to the required texture and then tempering it.

I seek holy forgiveness of the Puritans!

My other recipes with Brown Rice are here:

And the brown rice steals the show!