Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Vanilla Stars

Yields: 25 cookies (approx) 


All-Purpose Flour (Maida) - 3 cups
Baking Powder - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Butter - 300gms
White Sugar, fine granules - 1 1/2 cups
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Vanilla Extract - 2 teaspoons

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
  2. Sift together all-purpose flour and baking powder twice together.
  3. Cut the butter through the sifted flour until it forms a crumbly mixture.
  4. Add sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Knead well until it forms a soft dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 4 dough balls of equal size.
  6. Roll each ball into 1cm thick disc.
  7. Using a cookie star shaped cookie cutter, stamp out the stars.
  8. Place the dough stars on the baking tray.
  9. Bake for about 10 -12 minutes until the base starts browning. 
  10. Remove the trays from the oven and place them on cooling rack for about 10 minutes. The cookies which are slightly soft on top will harden as they cool down.
  11. Serve and preserve the rest in an air tight container.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Refrigerated Strawberry Cake

Serves: 8 to 10


For Layer 1:

Vanilla Sponge Cake (bake well in advance, click here for recipe)

For Layer 2:

Strawberries, hulled - 10 to 12
White Sugar - 1/2 cup

For Layer 3:

Milk - 2 cups + 1/2 cup
Custard Powder - 4 tablespoon
Sugar - 1/3 cup
Heavy Cream - 1/2 cup

For Topping:

Strawberries, sliced - 4 to 5
Tutti Frutti - 1/2 cup
Walnuts/Pecans/Almonds, chopped - 1/2 cup

To Serve

Stemmed Glass/Straight Glass - 8 to 10


  1. Bake the cake in a rectangle 12" x 8" baking tray. Allow it to cool down completely. It is best to bake 24 hours before you want to serve the cake.
  2. For layer 2, take strawberries in a blender. Pulse it a few times until they are reduced to small chunks.
  3. In a sauce pan, take blended strawberry and 1/2 cup sugar. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, until it thickens slightly. Let it cool down to room temperature. Strawberry Compote is now ready.
  4. Meanwhile, for layer 3, in a small bowl mix custard powder with 1/2 cup milk. Keep aside.
  5. In another saucepan, bring 2 cups of milk to boil, add sugar. When the sugar melts, turn off the flame.
  6. Now add custard powder + milk mixture.  Mix thoroughly.
  7. Place the sauce pan back on flame (low flame). Cook for a minute, stirring continuously. Due to thick consistency, it might get burnt very quickly at the base, so take care to stir continuously on low flame. Turn off the flame and let it cool down to room temperature. 
  8. Add heavy cream to the prepared custard. Whisk thoroughly until it is smooth and creamy.
Assembling the cake:
  1. Using the mouth of the stemmed/straight glass used for serving, stamp out the cake into 8 to 10 cylinders.
  2. Place each cake cylinder in each serving glass. Prick the top of the cake using a fork.
  3. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of strawberry compote on the cake in each glass. Spread it evenly.
  4. Layer it with 3-4 tablespoons of custard + cream mixture.
  5. Top it Strawberry slices, chopped walnuts/pecans/almonds and tutti frutti.
  6. Refrigerate the assembled cake for 5-6 hours before serving.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Roasted Asparagus

Serves: 2


Fresh Asparagus - 20
Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
Lemon Juice - 2 teaspoons
Garlic, minced - 1 clove
Peppercorns, freshly ground - 1 teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Red Chilli Flakes - 1 teaspoon (optional)
Mozzarella Cheese, shredded - 3 tablespoons


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F (~205C).
  2. Line a large rectangular baking tray with an aluminium foil or use a baking tray directly.
  3. Cut about 2" of the hard end of asparagus and wash them thoroughly. If the end is still hard and thick, peel it lightly at that end.
  4. Place the asparagus on the baking tray in a single layer with overlapping on another.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, freshly ground peppercorns and salt. Drizzle this on laid asparagus. Toss the asparagus or roll them such that the olive oil mixture coats them completely.
  6. Sprinkle red chilli flakes (if using) and mozzarella cheese shreds.
  7. Place then tray in the oven, roast the asparagus for about 15 minutes or until they are soft enough to insert a skewer but still firm and crisp.
  8. Serve.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Cauliflower Crust Pizza (No Flour, No Egg, No Yeast)

Serves: 2

For Crust:

Cauliflower - 1 large (about 800-900gms without the leaves and stem)
Flaxmeal - 2 tablespoon
Lukewarm Water - 6 tablespoon
Cream Cheese - 4 tablespoon
Dried Herbs - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Garlic, minced - 1 clove
Peppercorn, freshly ground - 1/2 teaspoon

For Topping:

Mozzarella Cheese, shredded- 2 cups
Pizza Sauce or Marinara - 1/2 cup
Red Bell Pepper - 1/2
Green Bell Pepper - 1/2
Pitted Olives, sliced - 1/2 cup
Jalapeno - 1
Tomato - 1
Onion - 1
Thyme - 2 to 3 stalks  or use Oregano
Salt - to taste

For Aid:

Parchment Paper
Baking tray / Pizza Pan
Thin Cotton Cloth
Medium sized bowl
Fine mesh strainer


Preparing Cauliflower Crust:

  1. Cut cauliflower into bite sized florets and wash them thoroughly. Drain out all the water.
  2. Take small quantity of cauliflower florets and shred them into coarse, rice-like size.
  3. Bring about 7-8 cups of water to a rolling boil in a large pot.
  4. Add shredded cauliflower and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Transfer cooked cauliflower into the strainer. Drain out all the water. The cauliflower rice is now ready.
  6. Cover a medium sized bowl with a cotton cloth. Transfer the cauliflower rice to the cloth.
    Bring all the ends of the cloth together and squeeze cauliflower to remove all water content. Lot of water comes out on squeezing. Keep it aside for 5 minutes and squeeze again to remove more water.The cauliflower is now slightly mashed.
  7. Mix flaxmeal with 6 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Keep it aside for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 450F (~230C).
  9. Line the baking tray/pizza pan with the parchment paper.
  10. In a mixing bowl, take mashed cauliflower, cream cheese, flaxmeal mixture, dried herbs, salt, minced garlic and freshly ground peppercorns. Mix well until well combined.
  11. Spread the mixture on the lined parchment paper into a 1cm thick base of desired shape.
  12. Bake for nearly 20 minutes until the crust browns slightly and becomes firm. Do not turn off the oven.
  13. Remove from the oven, let it stand on a wire rack for 10mins.
  14. Carefully detach the crust from the parchment paper. Be very careful not to break the crust. This crust is not as stiff and firm as the regular flour crust. I transferred the crust on a flat surface, with the crust at the bottom and parchment paper on top. Carefully, pressing the parchment paper against the crust, I slowly pulled away the parchment paper from the crust. You could probably try the non-stick baking tin instead, I have not yet tried this.
  15. Transfer the crust back to the baking tray lined with parchment paper. The pizza crust is now ready.
  1. Spread the pizza sauce all over the crust.
  2. Spread a generous layer of mozzarella cheese shreds.
  3. Place bell peppers, olives, tomatoes, jalapeno, tomato slices, onion or any other vegetables or fruits of your choice. 
  4. Sprinkle some more mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle thyme or oregano and some salt.
  5. Place the pizza back in the oven and bake for about 7-8 minutes until the cheese melts and starts bubbling with small brown patches on the corners.
  6. Remove from oven, cut and serve hot.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Eggless Orange Cupcake

Yields: 24 cupcakes


All Purpose Flour (Maida) - 3 cups
Baking Powder - 1 tablespoon
Baking Soda - 3/4 teaspoon
Allspice Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Vegetable Oil - 1 cup
Sugar (small granules) - 1 1/4 cups
Ener G (egg replacer) - 6 teaspoons
Lukewarm Water - 3/4 cup
Orange Juice - 1 cup
Orange Zest - 2 teaspoons

Frosting of your choice (optional, I used Blue Raspberry flavor by Pillsbury, or prepare yourself)
Cake Sprinkles of your choice (opional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Line the muffin tins with paper liners.
  3. Sieve together all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, allspice powder and salt thrice.
  4. In a bowl, mix Ener-G and lukewarm water thoroughly so that there is no lump.
  5. Take oil and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk thoroughly.
  6. Add Ener-G mixture, mix well.
  7. Now add orange zest and orange juice. Mix until well combined.
  8. Pour the batter into each paper liner in the tin until 3/4rth filled.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the skewer inserted in the centre of the cupcakes comes our clean.
  10. Place the cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes.
  11. Serve. If you want to frost them, wait for the cupcakes to cool down to temperature and then frost them, top with cake sprinkles and serve.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

Serves: 4


Dried Black Beans - 1 cup (or about 2 cups of canned black beans)
Quinoa - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Red Onion - 1
Cherry Tomato - 12
Jalapeno - 1 (optional)
Yellow Bell Pepper - 1
Raw Mango, chopped into small cubes - 1/3 cup
Cilantro/Coriander Leaves, chopped - 1 cup

For Dressing:

Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
Soy Sauce - 1 tablespoon
Lemon Juice - 1 1/2 tablespoons
Garlic Cloves - 2, minced
Hot Chili Sauce - 1 tablespoon
Salt (adjust according to taste)

For Topping:

Cottage Cheese - 1/2 cup (optional)


  1. Wash black beans and soak in enough water overnight or for 7-8 hours.
  2. Discard the soaked water.
  3. Pressure cook the beans, adding enough water and a little salt, until the beans are soft but still hold firm and hold shape, al dente. Drain out all the water and allow the beans to cool down completely.
  4. Meanwhile, rinse quinoa under running water using a strainer.
  5. Bring 2 cups of water to rolling boil.Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and quinoa to boiling water. Set the flame to low, cook covered for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Gently fluff it up using a fork. Set aside to cool down.
  6. Chop onion, jalapeno (if using) and yellow bell pepper.
  7. Halve cherry tomatoes vertically.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for dressing. Do not forget that you have added some salt while cooking beans and quinoa.
  9. Take chopped onion, jalapeno, yellow bell pepper, cherry tomato halves, chopped mango and cilantro in a large mixing bowl.
  10. Add cooked quinoa and beans.
  11. Pour the prepared dressing, mix well.
  12. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours and serve topped with cottage cheese.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie

Serves: 2


Strawberries, hulled – 6
Banana – 1
Sweetened Vanilla Soy Milk/ Almond Milk – 1 cup
Maple Syrup / Honey – 1 tablespoon (adjust according to taste)
Ice Cubes – 2 to 3

  1. With 1/2 cup of preferred milk, blend all the remaining ingredients.
  2. Now add remaining milk and blend for for 2-3 seconds.
  3. Serve immediately.