Crusted Icecream

As promised, here’s the recipe for the ice-cream dessert. It was inspired from a recipe from allrecipes.com, which is my recipe mecca!

Chocolate Cake – 200 g
Butter – 2 tbsp
Chocolate Icecream – 400 ml (family pack)
Vanilla Icecream – 400 ml

Aluminium Foil

Crumble the chocolate cake (I used Britannia since I was too lazy to bake one) and mix with cold butter to make a dough. Don’t worry if it is not smooth.
Use the aluminium foil to line a square or rectangular box. Make sure there is an overhang of foil on all four sides. Pat the chocolate dough to cover the foil-covered inside of the box. Try to make the thickness as even as possible. Pour in the softened icecream (one flavour). Freeze for an hour, then add the other flavour of icecream.
Free overnight. To serve, invert the box on the serving plate. Gripping the foil overhang to the plate, slowly lift up the box. Peel off the foil and enjoy!

Instead of making 2 layers of icecream, you can add it in alternating scoops for a different look, or make a ribbon effect with vanilla icecream and chocolate sauce.
I haven’t tried it with any other flavour yet, but I’m sure the basic recipe can be changed with different flavours of cake and icecream. Maybe I should try a pineapple/strawberry combo next time?

Apologies to all!

I’m sorry, dear blog, for ignoring you for a month! Cooking virtual food and reading about the foods of foreigners took up so much of my time that real cooking and real writing both took a backseat. Hoping to remedy that now!

Just to let you know, I hadn’t given up on cooking for a month (what an idea!!!), just the blogging of it.
Here’s some of what I have been up to in the past month…

A vanilla and chocolate layered icecream dessert, with a crumbled chocolate cake crust. Made it for my parents’ anniversary since we all love icecream!

Gujiya and Shakarpare made for Holi… And this is when I got really close to blogging about it, but then realised that every single Indian food blog I could find had a gujiya post for Holi!
Pav-bhaji! Yes that is butter on top, and yes, that is the only butter the whole dish had 😦

Then we started running out of spices, so we had to clean and grind some… Red chillies and coriander seeds drying in the sun.
Back to cooking and this time is was brinjal stuffed with pickle masala in gravy. Inspired by a dish I had at Khan Sahib, GVK One. If you haven’t been there yet, I suggest you change that as soon as possible. Awesome ambiance and delicious delicious food! And great service too!
Kharbuja seeds being dried in preparation for peeling.
Even before mango-season starts, comes the season of kharbuja or musk-melon. Mango lovers would likely kill me for this, but I prefer a good musk melon over mango! And the best part? You can eat the seeds too! 
And there was the lasgana that I made (my first attempt!) that looked and smelled so good that we had finished almost all of it before I remembered that I should have taken pictures. Will definitely be making it again!
The rising heat has brought with it the rising demand for ice-cream. And this was the perfect time to bring out the peppermint extract that I brought from the US nearly an year ago and had been hoarding ever since! Out came the extract, and the chocolate chips, also from the US trip (Hi, My name is Swati and I am a hoarder) and, combined with some local maal, resulted in the dessert-heaven sitting in my freezer right now – Mint Chocolate Chip Icecream! To anyone who does not worship Mint Chocolate-Chip, I say – no, that won’t be polite here. Oh well, insert worst curses you know.
Next on my to-cook list are a few recipes from my fellow-bloggers that set my mouth-watering…
Thanks everyone for reading my update! Hope to be more regular in posting now… 🙂 

Muffinz!

Yes, so I was supposed to post photos of the muffins yesterday. Well at least I’m getting to it today. Except the “today” has already turned to tomorrow, and the yesterday should have been the day before! Maybe that is why you are not supposed to be up late at night – so as to not get confused about dates and relative time references!
Anyway, now that there are just two muffins them left, I figured I better get to writing this post. So here are my little beauties… yes they were little, more like “mini-muffins” in a lovely daisy shape (Thank you Walmart!)

I only made twelve coz thats how many my pan will fit at a time. And since this was my VERY FIRST BATCH OF MUFFINS, I tried out three variants – almond, chocolate chip and tutti-fruity. Unexpectedly, while all of them tasted good, the tutti-fruity turned out to be the best, though its usually not a favourite of mine.
Here’s a close-up shot of an almond one.

Next stop: Banana Oat Muffins!

Hot n Sweet Tofu

Julia’s spirit finally kicked in a day late, inspiring me to concoct this sweet and spicy tofu and babycorn curry. Of course, this is definitely not French, but it is from a modern day Americanized adaptation of a traditionally non-American dish, so I think its close enough. Confession time: My only inspiration was mom complaining about the pack of tofu I’d bought a month ago and frozen… Under threat of it being thrown into the garbage, what choice did I have? Raiding the fridge threw up some babycorn also, so in it went!

I started by sauteing the tofu, sliced babycorn, and onions in oil (separately). Put aside. Then I added a bit of fresh oil into the pan along with minced ginger and garlic slices. When cooked, I added soy sauce and a spoon of sugar. Let it cook without stirring till the sugar was partly caramelised, after which I added vinegar, sliced red chilles and water. Added all the veggies and cooked on low till the tofu absorbed the liquid. At that point I realised that I’d need more curry in order to eat it with rice, so I added more water and a bit of cornflour to thicken it. Adjusted the salt, turned off the gas and finally added some chopped garlic greens (fresh from my own garden, thank you very much!) for a bit of colour and its was done. It tasted really good. Next time I’m planning to make iit with chicken!

P.S. Made muffins today for the first time ever… Photos tomorrow!

Julie&Julia

When I started this blog, one of my friends suggested I watch the movie Julie&Julia, a movie based on the book by Julie Powell which explores the intersection of her (Julie’s) life with that of the sensational Julia Child. The starting point of  the story is Julie’s decision to start a blog about her attempt to cook every recipe in Child’s cookbook within one year. As a movie that focuses on two of my passion – writing and cooking – how could it fail to interest me? While I didn’t see any connection with my blogging or culinary aspirations, Child’s name was familiar enough, and the story intriguing enough, for me to try to get a the movie almost immediately, an easy endeavour. But days passed and the movie got pushed to the bottom of the pile. Until tonight.
Watching the movie, the most recurring thought in my mind was “How did the two of them manage to find such amazing husbands, and where do I find myself one of those?” While certain scenes explicitly make us realize just how understanding Eric is of Julie’s moods, self-absorption, etc, my admiration for Paul is much greater.
Husband-hunting aside, this is supposed to be a food blog and to the topic of food I shall return. It is of  course impossible to escape visuals of food and the process of cooking while watching this film. Now usually when I read something about food, I get inspired to invade the kitchen and DO something. Except today, when I felt nothing of the sort. Maybe its the fact that it is 2 AM, but I admit I am disappointed. And a little worried.
I absolutely loved how food, and more than that cooking, have been given such a central role in the movie. Cooking is educational, creative as well as therapeutic, it is an expression of love as well as an assertion of self. It is an investment, an act of faith and hope.
I liked the movie, but I do have a problem with the concept of invoking Julia by cooking from Julia’s recipes.
When Julie cooks the Beef Bourgignion,she claims it is Julia’s Beef Bourgignion, when in fact it can be nothing other than JULIE’S Beef Bourgignion. How can one cook make another cook’s dish? How can a cook fail to invest of oneself in whatever he/she is cooking? I don’t believe it is ever possible to perfectly replicate another’s recipe. Even something as simple as tea will vary according to the person who makes it.

Toastizza!

Point to you if you understood that this is Pizza Corner-inspired. After all they are the ones who have Conizza, Sandwizza etc etc. I was there yesterday for dessert (not pizza!), well technically the dessert was from Cream and Fudge Factory, but we were sitting in Pizza Corner to eat it. AND my birthday lunch yesterday featured Pizza, AND I just had more pizza for dinner today, so obviously I have pizza on my mind. I don’t think Pizzas can run, so I’d have to say that I have pizzas are rolling through my mind. What all of this pizza-festival resulted in is my idea for a new dish that I’d like to call Toastizza.
I love pizza (especially homemade), but warming up the oven seems like too much work sometimes. So if you could just pop the pizza in the toaster? It would be cooked in a snap. So here’s my recipe for Toastizza. (Note: This will only work on a 4-slice Toaster)

1 six-inch pizza base
2 tbsp pizza sauce (do not sub with tomato sauce, please!)
1/2 cup sliced vegetables (onions, capsicum, corn, mushrooms. You could also go fancy and do olives and jalapenos)
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp grated Amul cheese
1 tbsp grated Parmesan (if you have this one, I am extremely jealous!)
1 tsp butter
seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, coriander, etc)

Melt butter, saute the vegetables till they are cooked but still slightly crunchy. Add milk, cheese and seasoning. Cook for 2 minutes or till cheese melts and lightly coats the vegetables.(Sauce should not be runny)
Toast the pizza base in the Toaster. Quickly spread the pizza sauce and top with the vegetable mixture. Eat!
Pizza in 15 minutes, faster than delivery!

Author’s Note: I have not tried this one yet, so If you could please try it and let me know how it turns out? 😉

Prepping for my Birthday!

After much deliberation, I have finally decided what to do for my birthday. Now anyone who knows me, will understand that when I say I have finally decided, how many hours I must have spent pondering over this, how many options, ideas, decisions and pseudo-decisions (which were actually sad little dreams just pretending) I must have trampled my way through to get here. But yes, I have now decided.
The first thing I have decided is that this year I like the colour red and its various shades, inlcuding pink. So everyone coming to my party must wear red/pink. You can wear other colours also of course, but your outfit must have a substantial/ very noticeable touch of red.
The second thing is that I want to have a pizza party! (Thank you Endless Eats for the idea!) Its a make-your-own-pizza event, so we can all have exactly the kind of pizza we want. I will provide the pizza base, tomato sauce and cheese, and some of the toppings I like – paneer, capsicum, onion, tomato, sweet corn, sweet red capsicum, sun dried tomato.
Condiments – pepper, paprika, coriander, green chilli, oregano, basil, garlic salt, and olive oil.
If there is something else you’d like me to include, let me know in the comments and I’ll see if I can find it!
So that’s it folks. 22nd February, 11 AM, my place. Bring your crazy pizza ideas and your appetite! (And my present, of course. Hint, hint…) And don’t forget to wear red, and RSVP in the comments so I’ll know how many people to prepare for!