Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate ganache frosting

Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate ganache frosting

“The Pursuit of Happyness”, a brilliant movie starring Will Smith and Jr. Will Smith (sorry guys too lazy to google his name), is a story about a man striving to find happiness for himself and his son. It is a story about a man who blows off his entire money on an unsuccessful business; his wife leaves him and his son; he struggles every day to find a place in a shelter house to spend the night. Yet he fights back all the odds to find those moments of happiness with his son and tries to kick-start his career as a stock broker and life again.

We spend our entire life struggling to find that ultimate happiness. But is there something called as Absolute Happiness? Is there any radar to measure the level of happiness? Happiness utterly fits into the Einstein’s relativity theory. Happiness is relative to the standards defined by the people in our life. Inner and true happiness cannot and will not wait for something ultimate to happen. It is the day-today small little pleasures which bundle up and make us happy. So let us be happy in every small little joys that life has to offer us. It can be as simple as losing 500 grams of weight, spending mindless hours with your friends, finding your own ten rupees note from your old pants, sudden dark clouds on a hot summer afternoon.

Lately, one of my many reasons to be happy is baking those cute little cupcakes and muffins. These are literally small little packets of joy and pleasure for me. I bake these for my friends and loved ones and love to see when they relish it to the core. It brings a gleam and twinkle in my eyes and inspires me to improve and do better and yummier the next time. I find my happiness by having not more than one whenever I bake. Obviously I don’t wish to have a “Muffin Top”. Read the rest of this entry

Pav Bread (Basic white bread)

Pav Bread

Pav Bread

First of everything is special – first baby steps, first day at college, first shower of the season, first crush, first kiss or first Love! These ‘firsts’ always create butterflies in stomach and a warm feeling in heart. Then, how about a ‘First comeback’ guys??? I know I have been away for quite a while but then better late than never. So, yes this first comeback is giving me that warm feeling with a lot of goose bumps. The level of anxiety is more than the first time I started writing here. I wanted to write about something which even I tried for the first time.

During these last few months I laid my hands on baking bread. Baking bread is like a perfect mystery novel. There are few simple looking characters, few the usual suspects, smooth story line but Booomm during the climax scene there can be super twists in the story. Throughout the book we keep an eye on those fishy little characters but the main culprit turns out to be someone we least expected. But that’s the beauty of a good mystery novel as well baking – you never know what you are about to get in the end. We need to put our self out there to bake that humble loaf of bread.

The ingredients will do what they are supposed to do but in the end what will matter is the amount of love you put in extra. Baking bread is also like nurturing a love relationship. Be kind, be tender, be attentive and most importantly Be Patient!!! You might fail in your initial attempts, but you need to be consistent and self learn from your failures. And finally you will get a rewarding end when that loaf will rise to its glory and the whole house will be filled with the warm aroma of freshly baked bread.

And as the few say, ‘Don’t fall in Love, But Rise in love’, so does your bread will do!!!  Read the rest of this entry

Creamy White Sauce Penne Pasta

Creamy White Sauce Penne Pasta

I moved to Mumbai almost 3 years back and like any other Indian, coming to Mumbai was a big fascination for me. I always thought ‘Bombay’ would be full of glamour and bollywood people roaming around. Every morning I used to flip directly to Bombay Times and read about page 3 gossips and high profile parties in the town. It was a time for me when I can actually go to the places where these celebrities go. I read somewhere long back that there is this Italian restaurant in Juhu called “Del Italia” and it was Madhuri’s (ya ya our very own dhak-dhak girl) favourite eat out place in Mumbai. So one day while crossing the juhu beach I saw the same place!! My excitement level was sky high to dine at a place which is Madhuri’s favourite.

Ya I know how lame it sounds, but c’mon back then I were a new girl in the ‘tinsel town’. Any ways we entered the restaurant hoping to have some great time. Ambience was just perfect, open air roof top restaurant, sea facing table and candle light. I mean why wouldn’t this be anyone’s favourite!!!
Coming down to food this was my first ever italian meal (I don’t count pizza outlet’s pizzas as Italian whatsoever). I was in a fix on what to order as I had absolutely no idea what is what. So the waiter suggested us to try veg Alfredo pasta with a portion of garlic bread on the side. So we ordered the same. When our food was served it looked so pretty but believe me or not I hated the pasta on first go. It was too bland for my taste buds at that time. I thought too bad, Madhuri and my choices don’t match! But I didn’t give up on trying liking white sauce pasta. And finally the fateful day arrived when we went for midnight buffet at the Sahara Star. The freshly prepared warm white sauce penne was served. I don’t know but there was something magical about it. The moment I had my first bite I told myself, yes this is it I am totally in love with this. Perfectly cooked penne, topped with creamy n cheesy white sauce, crunchy colourful bell peppers and right amount of herbs. Sheer divine!!! Ever since then, I am a big big fan of Italian cuisine. Thanks to the ‘Little Italy’ outlets which serves delectable veg Italian food. Read the rest of this entry

Khas-Khas ka Halwa (Poppy seeds Dessert)

Khas-Khas ka Halwa

Generally speaking I don’t have a sweet-tooth as such but yes I drool over a few desserts. One of my favouritest (I think it should be word as we cannot define so many amazing food with just ‘favourite’) dessert of all time is Khas-khas ka Halwa. The warm aroma used to get diffused in the whole house when my mom used to prepare this halwa. It is absolutely a comfort food which will lift up your mood no matter how much low you are feeling. In fact, once I and my bestie ‘K’ had a bad day in college. So we watched a movie together – ‘The Notebook’ (beautiful movie to say the least) and finished the whole box of khas-khas ka halwa at a go! When I was in hostel my mom used to always send me this halwa which can be stored in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. But now as she has realized that I can cook and all, she now sends me a jar full of poppy seeds and expects me to prepare the halwa by myself. Not fair!!! To Mom – “I can cook doesn’t means that you should stop sending me the halwa, it is one of those speciality of yours which tastes heavenly. And I will never be able to replicate it, no matter what”.

Poppy seeds are obtained from opium poppy which is dried into seed pods. Opium is widely used as a drug which is produced by using the latex of the unripe fruit. So although poppy seeds are very nutritious it might contain slight traces of alkaloids (God knows what does that means but yes over eating might makes your head spin round!!!). In a lot of countries like UAE, poppy seeds are banned for drug control reasons.

Khas-khas is used in various gravies to give them thick texture and a distinctive flavour. It takes any normal recipe to all together a different and rich level. It is also widely used for garnishing purpose. Khas-khas ka halwa is a very easy and mouth-watering desert to prepare on any occasion. Also it is a delight for the weight watchers as it uses very less ghee and sugar.

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Cheesy Poha Cutlets

Cheesy Poha Cutlets

Being a hard-core and heart-core Indori indefinite love for Poha comes naturally to me. As a child, I used to ask my mother to pack Poha in tiffin almost every alternate day. During college days, me and friends used to go to chhappan(a very famous eating area in Indore with 56 shops so it is called – Chhappan ) for Poha and Jalebi breakfast. Any Indori will swear on this amazing breakfast combo.

Even to this day I love having Poha for any meal of the day. Poha is dehusked rice which is flattened into light dry flakes. Poha is again one of the most versatile ingredients to have in your pantry. Traditionally, it is used to make Poha upma, Poha chivda, etc, but you can experiment with Poha to make a lot of other dishes.

Yesterday, I was having a few of my friends over at my place so was thinking of making something quick and delicious for them. So I made Cheesy Poha Cutlets as a snack which was given thums up by my friends. Cutlets can be either shallow fried or deep fried but as I was having a little time crunch I opted for deep frying. Shallow frying in a non-stick pan is a better option if you are counting those extra calories.

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