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Do you love children?


I do.


I remember a time when I didn’t, though – I found them snotty, and whiny, and tiny, and annoying. This was probably when I was a snotty, whiny, tiny being myself.


Having now matured into a (slightly) less whiny adult, I find myself rather happy in the company of children.


They’re quite wonderful, these tiny people. They say the funniest things, look at every single thing in wonder, and teach us to really live when we forget.


Also they’re so darned cute. And I happen to know and love some particularly adorable ones. I mean just look at these faces.


Sometimes they wear yellow glasses and eat cake. That makes me happy.


Niks


Other times they take a break from pillow fighting and smile for the camera. You can’t help but smile too.


Rishi chikki


When you’re stressed, they tumble over boxes and chatter with you non-stop until you forget your worries. You realise you want to tumble over boxes too. (It looks like so much fun, right?)


Ally


And then, once in while, they dress up and look so adorable, it melts your heart. You realise they’re growing up too fast.


Raya rahil


Children are quite wonderful. But when you throw cooking into the mix, they’re unstoppable.


They love getting their hands dirty, they aren’t afraid to experiment, and they will try anything once. Tell me that’s not the very definition of a fantastic cook.


Ally 1


Which brings me to an exciting announcement :)


There’s a fabulous new treat for all the young chefs out there.


Dorling Kindersley India and Vikas Khanna have created a one-of-a-kind cookbook for children that’s being released on 14th November, 2013.


The book is a fantastic mix of modern recipes, step-by-step images, and easy-to-follow instructions. It’s a wonderful book for any child who is interested in cooking – both for those who are already cooking and want to expand their skills, as well as those who’ve just taken a peep into the kitchen and like what they see :) This book will give them just the encouragement they need.


Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 1.50.56 PM


I’m giving away a copy of this book to one of you fabulous people. It’ll be signed by Vikas Khanna too! :) All you need to do is drop me a comment below telling me who your favourite little person is and why you love them. Entries will be accepted till 30th November, after which I’ll pick one winner by a random draw.


If you can’t wait to buy Young Chefs, go to Penguin India and get it now!


Thank god for children. For the silliness and the laughter and the fun.
There’s so much to learn from them :)


One bittersweet evening a few weeks ago, this lovely lady told us she was leaving Delhi and moving to Islamabad.


Ruchira


Ruchira is not only one of the most charming, intelligent, and helpful women I know, but she’s also a certified happy maker.


She’s constantly encouraging, always smiling, and persistently honest.


In other words, she’s all heart.


Before she left Delhi, she gave all of us on the CAL Blogger’s Table some very thoughtful gifts. This is what I got.


Spooky treats


I know it’s not Halloween yet, but I couldn’t wait any longer to use these cuties. So I did.


Paleo cupcakes 5


These Paleo chocolate cupcakes are rich. Like really rich. Try not to eat more than one a day. I’m warning you, you will be tempted!


They’re full of almond meal and cocoa and coconut oil, so they’re silky in mouth but with the occasional nutty bite from the almond meal.


Paleo cupcakes 2


You need to be a coconut fan to truly appreciate this cupcake, because the frosting is made from luscious coconut cream. I could eat the frosting straight from the bowl. Who am I kidding? I already did :)


Coconut cream


If you’re a Paleo lover, or are keen to try the 30 Day Paleo challenge but you’re scared of how you’ll fare without sweets, this is THE dessert for you.


You will love these dense, dark, creamy beauties. And if you have wonderful friends who give you adorable spooky cupcake gear, you will love them even more.


Paleo cupcakes 4


Thank you so much, darling Ruchira. We miss you so much. Come a-visiting soon :*


Paleo chocolate cupcakes with coconut cream frosting
Adapted from: Jenny Mac’s Lipsmack


Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Makes: 12


Ingredients:


100 g almond meal
120 g dark cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of sea salt
120 ml coconut oil, melted
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
150 g wild organic honey


For the frosting


120 g coconut cream
2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
85 g wild organic honey
1 tsp vanilla extract


Method:


For the cupcakes


1. Preheat the oven to 180ยบ C. Line a 12-hole cupcake tray with liners.
2. In a large bowl mix the almond meal, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together. In another bowl whisk together the coconut oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and honey. Pour this liquid into the dry ingredients and mix very well until well combined.
3. Use a ladle to transfer the batter into the cupcake liners – the batter is quite runny. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
4. Remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack.


For the frosting


1. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients for the frosting together. Cover and leave in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours to thicken before using to frost the cooled cupcakes.


Note: Due to the coconut cream in the frosting, it doesn’t do very well at high temperatures – it will start to melt. So only take out the frosted cupcakes from the refrigerator just before serving. If you don’t mind the frosting a little melty, then room temp is great :)


Paleo cupcakes 3


These days it seems like everyone’s talking about health food – or wait, it may be just me :P


So when I heard about Bueno, in the DLF Cyber City food court, I was keen to try it.


Bueno is a tiny counter in a food court, offering up healthy “fast” food. Everything is prepared in-house from scratch, with zero preservatives, and nothing is processed. They replace mayo with hung curd for creaminess, use only whole wheat for their breads, and cook only in olive oil. The food comes to you in disposables made from recycled sugarcane!


Intrigued yet? I’ll bet you are.


Here’s what we sampled.


We started with some lovely plump Steamed wheat dimsums (chicken) – they were generously filled and came with a spicy sauce. I found them slightly greasy, but I’m glad it was all olive oil!


Wheat dimsum


The Smoked chicken garden fresh salad was quite good – it was a large potion of lettuce, smoked chicken bits, onion slivers, and cucumber half-moons doused in a lemon vinaigrette. The dish also came with some crisp garlic-loaded toast – yum!


Smoken chicken salad


We tried the Paprika grilled mushroom sandwich which was stuffed full of a spicy mushroom and tomato mixture, with lettuce and onions. The multigrain bread was fresh and very soft.


Mushroom sandwich


The drinks were ordinary but refreshing. The Pineapple juice had a hint of mint and great fibre, while the Watermelon one was laced with ginger.


Fresh juices


My favourite thing was the gorgeous Tomato and Basil thin-crust stone oven pizza. Packed full of tomatoes and melting cheese, and studded with bits of basil, this one was a delight. The crust was thin and crisp, and the grainy mustard that came with it was excellent – so much better than the gloopy yellow stuff from a bottle. I do wish there was more basil on the pizza though.


Tomato basil pizza


For a sweet finish, it was Chocolate surprise – 3 chocolate-ty chunks rolled with cornflakes, crisps, nuts, and raisins. No complaints.


Chocolate surprise


Despite its humble location and small menu, Bueno serves mid-day meals to 175 underprivileged children at Diksha, a non-profit school in Gurgaon – isn’t that heart warming?


If you’re ever in the area and are looking for a quick snack in between a meeting or shopping, Bueno is a good choice.


I’m into my final week of the 30 Days of Paleo challenge!


It’s going well, and I think I’ve lost some weight because my friends just attacked me and forcefully took a picture of my bum to prove how loose my pants have become. Yes, I have super friends :P


The thing is I’ve been eating A LOT. I’m not depriving myself at all.


The strangest thing is that I don’t even have those annoying sugar cravings I was feeling earlier on in the month.


But that’s probably because I’ve had these wonderful desserts for company.


Silken, snow-white coconut mousse. Cold and smooth.


coconut mousse 1


Don’t you just want to marry these adorable little cups btw? :)


Crisp, golden, sweet bananas. Warm and caramelized.


fried bananas 2


These two desserts were meant to be together – kinda like Hugh Jackman and me.


They’re fantastic by themselves, but together they could rule the world.


If you have only 5 minutes and are craving something sweet, make the Sweet fried bananas. They will make you happy :)


Coconut mousse
Adapted from: Almond corner


Prep time: 5 mins, plus chilling
Cook time: 10 mins
Serves: 3


coconut mousse 3


Ingredients:


2 egg yolks
25 ml honey
125 ml coconut milk
1 tsp gelatine
100 ml coconut cream


Method:


1. Lightly beat the egg yolks with the honey and set aside. Heat the coconut milk in pan over a gentle flame, and once it starts to bubble on the sides, pour into the beaten egg-honey mixture. Mix well and then pour into the pan and heat again over a gentle heat.
2. Keep stirring until it thickens and then add the gelatin and mix well. Take it off the flame and allow to cool at room temperature.
3. Once cool, stir in the cream and pour into individual serving cups or bowls. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.


Sweet fried bananas


Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Serves: 2
Eat this with: Coconut mousse


fried bananas 1


Ingredients:


3-4 semi ripe bananas
1-2 tsp coconut oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon


Method:


1. Slice the bananas into 1/4 inch circles. Heat the oil in a large oil stick pan over a gentle heat.
2. Slide the bananas into the pan, making sure they are all on their flat side (you might have to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan) and fry over a low flame. Turn over after 3-4 minutes to fry the other side as well.
3. Dissolve the honey with 2 tablespoons of water and pour over the bananas. Toss gently and allow the bananas to be coated in the sticky mixture. Take off the flame and place in a shallow plate. Sprinkle over the cinnamon and serve.


Happy weekend lovelies! Stay bright :)


coconut mousse 2



My love for all things North Eastern isn’t new.


I spent a couple of my impressionable baby years in Shillong and since then I’ve been in love.


My family took a holiday there recently, and we just couldn’t get enough of the food.


So clearly, when I heard there was a new restaurant in Hauz Khas dishing up North Eastern cuisine, I couldn’t wait to go.


And I went. Thrice in one month. That’s how much I love it.


The menu at Rosang showcases a mix from all the North Eastern states.
There is lots to choose from, but here are my personal favourites.


Bawngsa Kan (Mizoram): A dish of fried beef, bright orange pieces of bamboo shoot, slivered onions, and North Eastern herbs. Served with a chilli salt. A spicy dish, there is no better way to start your meal here.


Bawngsa Kan


Pork spare ribs: Crisp and fatty – go for this one if you’re a seasoned fat fan only. Crispy, hot, melting, just one piece of this and you’ll have to loosen your pants.


Traditional rice beverage: Bubbly, creamy-white, and the perfect accompaniment to the meal. I could knock back 3 or 4 of these happily – easy!


Traditional Rice Drink


Jadoh (Meghalaya): This is my absolute fav thing on the menu. Wild red rice cooked with black sesame and pork, if you order just one thing at Rosang, this MUST be it. Jadoh has great crunch from the sesame seeds, and the rice is interspersed with small bits of pork that melts with every bite. The chunky pork on top has an equal fat to meat ratio, and is cooked in traditional spices.


Jadoh


Dohneii Hong (Meghalaya): More pork with black sesame – but definitely go for this one if you’re a pork lover like me. Try it with plain steamed rice to really savour the flavours.


Dohneii Hong


Ngatok (Arunachal Pradesh): A delicate, light fish stew made with herbs and lemongrass. It’s also super healthy because it has zero oil! This one also goes best with plain white rice, although I mixed some with my Jadoh and loved it :)


Ngatok


Kelsa (Manipur): A spicy goat dish cooked with a slightly sour berry that looked a lot like a blackberry. The meat was tender and falling off the bone – perfect.


Kelsa


Wild red rice dessert: A creamy rice, coconut, and honey dessert. It’s studded with raisins and has a very underplayed sweetness about it.


Wild rice dessert


Wild red rice tea: A dull maroon hot drink, this is exactly what you need after you’ve gorged on all the delicious food at Rosang. Mildly sour, the tea has digestive and soothing properties.


Wild rice tea


Rosang Cafe is a small place with a big heart. And the big heart behind Rosang Cafe belongs to this gorgeous lady – Mary Lalboi.


Mary


She has a warmth that will make you feel like you’ve known her forever, and her personal attention to every guest makes you feel like you’re not eating in a restaurant, but in her home.


The food is fantastic, but does take a little time to arrive as it’s all prepared only after the order is taken. Drink the rice beverage while you wait, have a chat with the wonderful people around, and build up an appetite.


Our Meal


Please, please visit the wonderful Rosang Cafe. I recommend it with all of my pork-lovin’ heart.


The CAL Blogger’s Table also visited Rosang Cafe. Here’s what everyone else had to say:


Sid from Chef at Large
Parul from The Shirazine
Aishwarya from Aishwarya Eats
Nachiketa from Crazy over Desserts


*All photographs by the most fabulous Sid Khullar*

For many lucky girls around the world, their Dad is their hero.


Dads teach us how to ride bikes and laugh from our stomachs.


They take us on adventures we can’t ever forget.


They protect us like a literal human shield, from all life’s bad things.


My Dad is that Dad.


Papa and me 1


And here are 10 things he’s taught me about life.


1. You can never be too early to catch a train or a flight. (2-3 hours before is mandatory, but anything above 3 hours, and you’re gold.)


2. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to a birthday party, but always make sure you attend a funeral.


3. Mixing a single malt with Coca Cola is a sissy thing to do. Drink it on the rocks. Like a boss.


4. Always do more than what is expected of you. Much, much more. And do not expect anything in return.


5. It is not nice to stand too close to boys in photographs.


6. If you have to read aloud at an event, the only thing to remember is to read slowly.


7. Try all the crazy things you want to. Just try them at home.


8. When you’re sad, watch The Tom and Jerry Show and you’ll feel better instantly.


9. If you really love something, chase it with everything you have. You will reach it.


10. Family always comes first.


There are so many more, but these are the ones I try to live by.
The ones that are now a part of me.
The ones I might pass on a daughter some day.


Mom says I am very much like my Dad. And nothing makes me prouder.


So this one is for you, Papa.


Papa and me 2


The first man I ever loved.
Baker of the softest cakes.
Granter of my every wish.
Protector from every pain.
Filler of my fridge.
Teacher of tough lessons.
Encourager of my every dream.
My biggest supporter.
My first hero.
My shoulder, my safe haven, my strength.


For everything you’ve taught me by example, and for everything you are, I love you more and more each day.
Thank you for being my rock.


I wish I could send you some of this wonderful Paleo chocolate, but it’d melt.


Paleo chocolate 5


This Paleo chocolate is THE only Paleo hack you need.


Just a few simple ingredients and some stirring will result in the most dark, bitter, smooth, silken chocolate ever.


Melted paleo chocolate


I feel like chocolate was the one thing I was really missing on my Paleo challenge and now I can eat it while being 100% Paleo!


This stuff is crazy rich though, so don’t eat a whole lot at once like I did. You’ll get a tummy ache :P


Since coconut oil is the base, you will be able to taste it a little, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you can’t stand the smell/taste of coconut.


You can make them in mini cupcake cases, and top them with nuts.


Paleo chocolate 1


Or cut up in haphazard shapes :)


Paleo chocolate 6


A little goes a long way – the piece will melt gently between your fingers as you nibble on it, so you can lick your fingers after as well :)


Paleo chocolate 3


Paleo Chocolate


Prep time: 5 mins
Makes: 20-30 pieces


Ingredients:


120 ml coconut oil, melted
100 g cocoa powder
2 tbsp wild organic honey (or maple syrup), plus more to taste if you want
pinch of sea salt
assorted nuts (optional)


Method:


Paleo chocolate 4


1. Pour the coconut oil into a medium mixing bowl. Add the cocoa powder a little at a time, stirring to mix well.
2. Add the honey and salt and stir everything togther until well mixed. Taste and add a little more honey if it is too bitter for you.
3. Pour into mini cupcake cases and top with nuts if you like, or pour over a parchment-covered tray and spread out to an even layer. Freeze for 2-3 hours. Roughly chop up the chocolate on the tray and store in a box in the fridge. The chocolate minis should also be stored in the fridge.


I’m telling you – Paleo never tasted this good!


Have a fantastic day my darlins :)


You guys know I’m in the middle of my 30 days of Paleo challenge.


So far, it’s been a mixed bag – with some days of feeling great and energetic, and others where I want to roll up in a ball and never wake up.


It’ll get better I think – but you can read my day-by-day report on my progress and pains here.


What I love most about Paleo so far, is that it encourages me to cook healthy food. I’ve discovered some rather delicious, very healthy, and smack-on Paleo recipes – the kind that would make a cavemen weep with joy.


This one is the first of them.


Say hello to the Green Monster.


Green Monster 2


Don’t you just adore the colour? Doesn’t it make you feel better/fresher/fitter just by looking at it? :)


Green monsters are really easy to make.


Follow this equation to come up with your own: Green leaf + fruit/veggie + dairy.


Green monster ingredients


I used rocket, but you could try spinach, lettuce, or kale.


Rocket


I used an apple, but you could do bananas, pears, or mangoes.


Apple


I used coconut milk, but you could use soy, almond, or regular milk.


Cucumber


These monsters are very filling. You will think it’s just a drink and also plan dinner, but then you’ll drink it, and be like ummm – why you make me feel so full green monster? And then you’ll fall asleep feeling like a boss.


Green monsters are great for when you need your daily dose of fruits/greens but don’t have the time to cook. They’re insanely good for you too – make one and tell me how awesome you feel!


Green monster 1


4 ingredient Paleo Green Monster


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Serves: 2


Ingredients:
1 large apple, chopped
1 large cucumber, chopped
large handful of rocket leaves
200ml coconut milk, chilled


Method:


1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend till you have a smooth liquid. Throw in as many ice-cubes as you’d like (to make it thinner or thicker) and blend again. Drink up!


Green Monster 2


Let’s drink to our health :)


What’s the healthiest thing you’ve ever eaten (or drunk)?


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