Spring Blues & Happy Hues: Raspberry & Dark Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

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I’m feeling blue, how about you? Would you believe today we are on the last public holiday of the year (not counting the half day off we get for the Danish Constitution day) until Christmas!!

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All the holidays here are concentrated around Spring and then there is a complete drought till Christmas. Well, the 6 weeks of annual vacation do make up for it though, so I really shouldn’t complain :D

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At least the sun was shining for most of the weekend and I took the opportunity to finally get around to painting a board with this pretty shade of aqua.

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I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Makes me think of the sea and summer vacations even when it is raining outside :D

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In the meantime, I am keeping myself and the family happy with this luscious frozen yogurt. Raspberry and dark chocolate are made for each other, aren’t they?

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This is a no-churn, no cook recipe, that takes 5 minutes prep and a couple of hours to chill. And pretty healthy too, since it contains a bare minimum of sugar and no cream.

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Deliciously creamy from the greek yogurt, pretty pink and tart from the raspberries interspersed with dark chocolate chips, this fro-yo is sure to put a spring in your step (yes, yes, I love my puns!)

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I love the fact that it does not need an ice cream machine. Just be sure that you leave it out of the freezer for about half an hour before you want to serve it and muddle it up a little bit with a fork.

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 And serve it with some ripe juicy raspberries on the side. So delicious and so refreshing with the added delight of dark chocolate chips!

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How ‘Springy’ is it in your part of the world? Blooms and blue skies all around? Or rainy and gray? Or are you baking in the sweltering heat? And what are you cooking up? I would love to hear all about it :D

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Here’s the recipe.

Raspberry & Dark Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: Approx 5 minutes plus chilling time
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Ingredients:

2 cups Greek Yogurt (10% fat)
2 cups fresh Raspberries
1/4 cup Sugar (add more if desired)
1/3 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
More Raspberries to serve

Directions:

Place the Greek yogurt, raspberries and sugar in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
Press the mixture through a strainer to remove the raspberry seeds.
Fold in the dark chocolate chips.
Pour into a container suitable for freezing, close the container and put the container in a freezer bag.
Freeze for a couple of hours.
To serve, take out of the freezer and leave the container at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Mush up the frozen yogurt with a fork and serve with more raspberries.

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Pucker Up: Rhubarb & Port Crumble

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Hmm… so we are in the later part of May, almost summer. It should be getting warmer, shouldn’t it? The weather is nicer, sure, but errr… 15 C is not quite what I have in mind for a garden party!

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I hope it gets hotter soon, though I’m sure when it does, I will complain about how hot it is ;)

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In the meantime though, we have rhubarb in the farmers’ markets and supermarkets and it is gorgeous!

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It is the perfect weather to make some wonderful Rhubarb Crumble. An Autumn dessert in a Spring avatar, using Spring produce :)

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The tart, hard rhubarb gets transformed into a gorgeous soft, tangy mush in this crumble and when topped with a crisp layer of oats, walnuts, flour and butter, it makes for an utterly irresistible dessert.

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 Baked to golden perfection… isn’t that delectable?

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I poured in a dash of port to the rhubarb while it was stewing and it deepened the color of the rhubarb and added another layer of flavor.

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It was so good, we managed to finish off that entire pan in 1 day, going back into the kitchen, for seconds and thirds :D

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It was absolutely delicious and perfectly accompanied by vanilla ice cream! I can imagine how brilliant it will be with some thick homemade vanilla custard… there’s always next time :P

DSC_0161I am bringing this luscious taste of spring to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. This week’s co-hosts are the supremely talented Juju @ cookingwithauntjuju and Amanda @ The Chunky Chef. If you haven’t visited their blogs, you seriously need to! And while you are at it, do join us at the Fiesta :D

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Here’s the recipe.

Rhubarb & Port Crumble

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: Approx 60 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

500 grams Rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch chunks
100 grams Sugar
3 tablespoons Port

For the crumble topping
100 grams All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
85 grams Rolled Oats
85 grams Butter, chilled
50 grams Dark Muscovado Sugar
50 grams chopped Walnuts

Directions:

Put the chopped rhubarb into a saucepan with the sugar and Port.
Cover and simmer on a very low heat for 15 mins, adding more sugar if you want.
When soft (but still holding its shape) and sweet enough, pour the rhubarb into a medium baking dish.
Heat oven to 200 C.
To make the topping, rub the flour and butter together with your fingers until you have a soft, crumbly topping.
Now add the sugar, rolled oats and nuts, mixing together with your hands.
Scatter the topping over the rhubarb and bake for 30 mins or until golden brown on top.
Serve warm by itself, or with Vanilla Ice cream or Custard.

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Mango Mania: Basil-infused Aam Panna

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Mango, that most luscious, most divine, most celebrated of fruits… oh how I miss mango season!

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When markets overflow with the sea of golden-hued fruit and the enticing, heady aroma of mangoes fills the air…You can almost smell mango season before you see it :D

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Mango is an important part of the Indian culture. It is our national fruit after all! The mango motif is very closely related to the Indian paisley motif and the leaves of the mango tree are used in many auspicious ceremonies.

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I am utterly crazy about ripe, sweet mangoes, especially the Alphonso and Kesari varieties and can have them at anytime of the day or night and in many, many forms: simply sliced, in milkshakes, ice-creams, kulfis, aamras puri…

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But I am also nuts about sour, raw mangoes. Slice them open and sprinkle some salt and chilli powder on them and enjoy the sharp tartness… drool-inducing deliciousness!

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As soon as raw mangoes appear, pickling frenzy begins too and the smell of fresh pickling spices is everywhere. These spicy, tongue-tickling pickles are carefully stored, sent to loved ones across the country and cherished at every meal, throughout the year.

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Besides pickles, the other summer favorite made with raw mangoes is this fabulous, healthy cooling drink called Aam Panna. Raw mangoes are cooked and then ground with sugar and spices to make a drink that is delicious and nourishing at the same time.

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I can’t remember the last time I saw raw mangoes, so when the husband came home one day with some of these green lovelies, I did a happy jig and decided to make some lovely, refreshing aam panna with them.

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Generally mint is added to this drink, but I decided to go with Basil, as I just love the flavor of basil in drinks and I must say it was a really delicious combination! The tart mangoes, the hint of spice, the fresh basil, the sweet jaggery…a perfect warm weather drink.

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I hope the lovely bloggers at Angie’s Fiesta Friday with join me in raising a toast to the golden king of fruits with this wonderful thirst-quencher! Today’s party is being hosted by Justine @ Eclectic odds n sods and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook. Can’t wait :D

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Here’s the recipe.

Basil-infused Aam Panna

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Time: 35 minutes
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Ingredients:

3 large green, unripe Mangoes
1⁄2 cup grated Jaggery (substitute with brown sugar)
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon Black Salt (Kala Namak; optional)
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground Cardamom
1⁄4 teaspoon ground Cumin
10 Basil leaves
4 cups ice-cold Water

Directions:
Combine mangoes and 8 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until mangoes are tender when pierced with a knife.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer mangoes to a plate.
Chill until cool enough to handle.
Peel, pit, and transfer pulp to a blender. Add basil leaves, jaggery, pepper, black salt, if using, the cardamom, cumin, and ice-cold water.
Purée until smooth and serve in ice-filled glasses, garnished with more basil leaves.

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A Munchkin’s Delight: Devil’s Food Cake with Strawberries & Violas

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I have been ridiculously busy the last few weeks, with work, exams and life in general and blogging has taken a backseat as a result. I hope that will improve, especially since I am itching to cook with all the beautiful spring produce in the stores :)

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Last weekend, our lovely munchkin was baptised, just like her dad was many moons ago, and we threw a small party for some of our closest friends to celebrate her baptism and fourth birthday.

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With my crazy ironic sense of humour, I thought it would be fun to make a sinful devil’s food cake to celebrate a baptism. Perhaps I need treatment!

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This cake sure delivered on all its promises: a tall, triple-layered, moist, super-chocolatey cake with oodles of glorious, fudgy, chocolate frosting…

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 The recipe is from the queen of over-the-top deliciousness, Nigella herself, so you know it is going to be can’t-stop-myself-from-tucking-in-at-midnight good!! To take it up a notch, I added lots of ripe, juicy strawberries and some violas. Perfect for a spring soiree, don’t you think?

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The munchkin could barely wait to cut into this cake! She was dressed in a gorgeous, new, white dress which combined with this rich chocolate-brown deliciousness, was a recipe for disaster, but I think we escaped with minimum damage :D

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The day after was Mother’s Day, which I unfortunately spent at work, wrapping up some projects, but it was wonderful to come home to the munchkin, her dad, delicious leftovers and a slice of this heaven :D

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Doesn’t it look utterly divine? I am off to check the fridge if there’s any of this gorgeousness left! You guys, please try making this fabulousness at home! Seriously, so, so good!!

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Here’s the recipe (adapted from Nigella).

Devil's Food Cake with Strawberries and Violas

  • Servings: 20-24
  • Time: 2.5 hours
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the cake
100 grams Cocoa powder (sifted)
200 grams Dark Brown Muscovado Sugar
500 ml boiling Water
250 grams soft Unsalted Butter (plus some for greasing)
300 grams Caster Sugar
550 grams plain Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 large eggs

For the Frosting
250 ml Water
60 grams Dark Brown Muscovado Sugar
350 grams Unsalted Butter (cubed)
600 grams best-quality Dark Chocolate (finely chopped)

Strawberries and Violas to decorate

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Line the bottoms of three 20 cm/ 8 inch round spring-form tins with baking parchment and butter the sides.
Put the cocoa and dark muscovado sugar into a bowl with a bit of space to spare, and pour in the boiling water.
Whisk to mix, then set aside.
Cream the butter and caster sugar together, beating well until pale and fluffy. This will be faster in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
While this is going on – or as soon as you stop if you’re mixing by hand – stir the flour, baking powder and bicarb together in another bowl, and set aside for a moment.
Dribble the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and sugar – mixing all the while – then drop in 1 egg, quickly followed by a scoopful of flour mixture, then another egg. Continue till all eggs have been added.
Keep mixing and incorporate the rest of the dried ingredients for the cake, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture, scraping its bowl well with a spatula.
Divide this fabulously chocolatey batter between the 3 prepared tins and put in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Take the tins out and leave them on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes, before turning the cakes out to cool.

As soon as the cakes are in the oven, get started on your frosting:
Put the water, muscovado sugar and butter in a pan over a low heat to melt.
When this mixture begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan so that all the chocolate is hit with heat, then leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.
Leave for about 1 hour, whisking now and again – when you’re passing the pan – by which time the cakes will be cooled, and ready for the frosting.
Set one of the cooled cakes, with its top side up, on a cake stand or plate. Slice off the bulgy bits, so you are left with a nice flat top.
Spread with about a quarter of the frosting, then top that with the second cake, also with the top bulge sliced off.
Spread with another quarter of the frosting and top with the third cake.
Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides, swirling away with your spatula.
Top with lots of strawberries and violas, if desired.
Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

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A Delicious Mess: Baked Black Beans Chilaquiles with Homemade Enchilada Sauce

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The name of this dish is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? Well, the dish stands up to that protracted description, trust me ;) Robust flavors, and so many elements, that you will scramble to get a bit of each component into each mouthful…

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It may look messy, unrefined, a bit all over the place, but the flavors are so, so good, you won’t be able to resist going for seconds, or even thirds :D

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Chilaquiles is a Mexican dish, made with fried corn tortilla pieces slathered with a spicy chilli sauce. Cheese and other toppings are added and the tortilla are cooked till softened. They are then served with salsa, fried eggs, beans, avocados, sour cream… the list of toppings is deliciously long!

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It is also one of those any time of the day kind of dishes: eaten for breakfast, lunch or anytime in between. I can imagine making a large batch of these and having them for every meal on a busy day! So scrumptuous!

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I used Rye tortillas instead of corn and with my disinclination for anything fried, I decided to bake the tortilla pieces instead. They crisp up wonderfully and are so much healthier.

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For the chilli sauce, I made an enchilada sauce from scratch. It uses very basic ingredients, most likely already available in your pantry and it tastes so much better than anything store-bought.

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I made a large serving of these with black beans for lunch today. So delicious, so filling, so full of protein  and no meat in sight! Plus the munchkin had a lot of fun trying to say ‘Chilaquiles’ in between mouthfuls <3

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Do try to make these for Cinco de Mayo or anytime you are in the mood for something Mexican, comforting and utterly delectable! I hope my friends at Angie’s Fiesta Friday enjoy them! Today’s soiree is being co-hosted by the lovely Anna @Anna International. Come on and join us!

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Here’s the recipe (inspired by The Bojon Gourmet)

Baked Black Beans Chilaquiles with Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  • Servings: 3
  • Time: 15 minutes for Sauce 30 minutes for Chilaquiles
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the Enchilada Sauce
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon Red Chili powder (not cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 cup Chicken or Vegetable Stock

For the Chilaquiles
2 large 20 cm Rye Tortillas (you can use Corn Tortillas instead)
3 Spring Onions, chopped
2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil
1 can cooked Black Beans
2 large pods Garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Enchilada Sauce
4 large Eggs
1/2 cup grated melting Cheese (I used a combination of Cheddar & Gouda)
A small bunch Cilantro

To Serve
Chevre, crumbled
Salsa
Sour Cream or Thick Yogurt

Directions:

Make the Sauce
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add flour and stir together over the heat for one minute.
Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through oregano).
Then gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps.
Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until thick.
Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

Make the Chilaquiles
Preheat the oven to 180º C.
Cut the tortillas into eighths and place on a baking sheet.
Spread on two baking sheets. Bake until crisp, 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide skillet set over a medium flame.
Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring until tender, a couple of minutes. Add the black beans, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.
Place the tortilla chips in a large bowl, pour in the enchilada sauce, and toss with your hands to coat.
Oil a large baking dish and place the tortilla pieces in a single layer.
Top with the black beans. Sprinkle on the cheese.
Use the back of a soup spoon to make 4 hollows in the chips. Carefully crack the eggs into the hollows and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt.
Place in the oven and bake until the eggs are set to your liking, 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the oven, scatter the chevre and cilantro over the top, and serve immediately with the salsa, sour cream and more enchilada sauce for drizzling over the tops.

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Rhapsody in Brew: Masala Chai

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Tea or Chai is the lifeblood of most Indians (except some parts of South India, where filter coffee is the preferred pick-me-up). Indians drink 30 percent of all tea produced globally and that is something considering that India is the 2nd largest producer and exporter of tea in the world :D

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Tea is so ingrained in the Indian culture that it has also crept into popular phraseology. Take ‘Chai-Pani’ for instance. Literally, it means ‘Tea & Water’. But when someone asks you for ‘Chai-Pani’, they are asking you for a small bribe or favor!

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Though tea is made in most households twice a day, tea stalls are also a very large part of the street culture. Little tea shacks (called ‘Tapri’  in Mumbai) dot most streets and offer tea and a few snacks to people on the move.

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It is a joy to see these chai-wallahs brew tea! Their deftness as they pour tea from one jar to another to froth it up, the little cloth used to strain the tea, the tea poured into little cups or glasses, the ‘half-serve’, called ‘cutting-chai’… it is one of those quintessential Indian experiences :D

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I remember a visit to this hilly factory town in north India for work and on the way, I stopped at one of these roadside stalls for tea, which was served in little clay pots. After the tea was drunk, the pots would be thrown into a basket, collected and recycled into pots that would quench some other weary travellers thirst :) So quaint, so delightful!

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About 90 percent of Indian households are tea drinkers and everyone loves their cuppa just so! Some like it extra strong, some like it more milky. And some like it with a little something extra, like Adrak Chai (Ginger Tea) or Masala Chai (Spiced Tea).

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My daily potion is Adrak Chai, but on special occasions, I love to brew a pot of wonderfully aromatic Masala Chai. Beautiful spices and strong black tea are a gorgeously potent combination.

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Instead of making a spice blend, I like to boil the tea with whole spices, just slightly crushed; the fresh spices impart a richness that is simply divine.

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So, do yourself a favour, ditch that coffee and make yourself a cup of this lovely concoction! You’ll love it, I promise ;) Oh and stop saying ‘Chai Tea’ anything. It’s like saying ‘Tea Tea’! Total nonsense!

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And while you are at it, remember,in India, tea time is not just about tea. There is always something to munch: something savory, something sweet, something to dunk in the tea… Try your hand at some crunchy Goli Baje, delectable Mawa Cakes, fabulous Kothimbir Vadi, gorgeous Vanilla Madeleines or super easy Khari biscuits :D

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Here’s the recipe.

Masala Chai

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 cup Water
2 teaspoons Black Tea Leaves or 2 Black Tea teabags
2 inch piece Ginger
2 Green Cardamom
1 Black Cardamom
1 Star Anise
2 inch piece Cinnamon
3-4 Black Peppercorns
3-4 Cloves
1 cup Milk
3-4 teaspoon Sugar (as per level of sweetness desired)

Directions:

In a saucepan, heat the water. Crush the ginger and the spices and add them to the water.
Bring the water to a boil and keep boiling for about 5 minutes, till the spices release their flavor.
Add the tea leaves (or tea bags) and sugar and simmer for another 5 minutes, till the water is dark red or brown in color..
Add milk and bring the concoction to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the tea for 2-3 minutes.
Strain the tea right into tea cups.
Serve the hot masala chai with snacks (ideas in the post above).

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What I would Feed Elaine: Kerala Mixed Vegetable Ishtu

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So this week, I am playing host, albeit virtually, to a very special person. She is, I think, the healthiest eater I know! She is completely honest about her food journey and how it has now brought her to a place where she truly enjoys what she eats and how good it makes her feel.

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Isn’t that inspirational? Meet Elaine, who blogs at Foodbod :D She makes healthy look oh so good! Nut butters, fabulous dips, goodness bars, beautiful salads… and don’t even get me started on her sourdough breads!! Glorious!

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She loves and eats lots of vegetables, but no meat, no junk food and no refined sugars. She does love her spices though and that makes us soul-sisters, doesn’t it :D Elaine runs this series called ‘What would you feed me?’, where she challenges fellow food bloggers to come up with healthy dishes that they would serve her, if she came to dinner.

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When it comes to cooking for Elaine, I know it has to be something extremely flavorful and clean, a dish where you can taste and experience each ingredient that has gone into it. Something fresh, that also looks and tastes wonderful!

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I thought through a lot of vegetarian curries, many of which were prime candidates for the ‘What would I feed Elaine?’ challenge. But knowing Elaine’s love for vegetables, I wanted a dish where the spices don’t overpower the vegetables. Where the veggies shine through, still retain their crunch and are the real stars :D

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So, drumroll please… I present to you, Elaine, the divine Kerala Ishtu!! All the way from God’s Own Country! Talk about temple food :)

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Delicately spiced with whole cloves and cinnamon, freshly crushed peppercorns, with just a hint of turmeric thrown in to impart that golden hue, this ‘Ishtu’ or stew lets the vegetables do all the talking.

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They are quickly stir fried in coconut oil (another favorite of Elaine’s) and then simmered for a couple of minutes in coconut milk. Ginger and curry leaves provide the finishing touches. Clean eating at its best!

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This stew is generally made with only potatoes, but I’ve also eaten some with carrots and green beans in them. When I went to my supermarket yesterday, I found some gorgeous pink radishes, which I thought would work really well in the stew (and they did!)

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Instead of green beans, I added sugar snap peas, which tasted just brilliant here :) I really, really love the flavors in this gorgeous, delicate stew and I hope Elaine will too.

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Ishtu is traditionally served with Rice Appams (the kind that Angie made!), but I bet it will taste scrumptuous with a loaf of Elaine’s beautiful sourdough bread, to mop up all that fragrant sauce :)

Hurry on over to Elaine’s for the recipe!

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