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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Life can be stressful.


That’s why God gave us cake.


Like this one.


Chocolate rum cake 1


He also gave us goofy friends who say silly things and make us laugh even when everything is miserable. And then all you want to do is feed them cake :)


Like this one.


Manasvi


Sometimes things in our lives are spiralling out of control.
Or things are not going the way you want them to.
Or hey, you’re unhappy about something and it’s all you can think about.
Been there, done that.


But you know what’s a billion times better than dwelling on those sad thoughts?


Doing something for you. Just for you.


A little pick-me-up or a stress-buster, and having some fun while you’re at it.


Here’s 10 things to do for yourself to feel better right this minute.


1. Cuddle with a puppy. Stick your face in the soft furriness and cover his face with smoochies. How about this one?


Simba


2. Call an old friend. Talk about monkeys, fitness, philosophy or food. Whatever you fancy- those are just a few things I talk to my oldest friend about.


best friends


3. Stand in front of the mirror. Let your hair down. And dance to this song. (I just did. And I can’t stop.)



4. Grab a cup of tea, get under the covers and drown yourself in a good book. I recommend this or this.


5. Go get some sunshine and breeze. Everywhere has someplace quiet and beautiful, but if you’re in Singapore like me, nothing beats the Botanical Gardens and this stunning trail.


6. If you have a funny dad like mine, (most people do right?) send him a message and then grab your stomach laughing for the next 5 minutes. Real examples below:


Funny Dad texts 1


Funny Dad texts 2


7. Go be a badass at the gym. Nothing feels like a problem when you’re snatching a heavy bar over your head. Like seriously. If you’re in Singapore come hangout with these super fun people at CrossFit Firecity.


crossfit


8. Write. About anything. Let that pen hit paper and you’ll see things tumbling out making you feel better. Not convinced? Read this.


9. Sleep it out. Sleep makes everything calmer and clearer. Stay in bed all day. It’s okay to be lazy sometimes. Really, it is.


sleep


10. Bake this cake. Boom. Life is better.


Chocolate rum cake 2


Flour-less Chocolate and Rum Cake


Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Serves: 8-10


Ingredients:


180 g dark chocolate (the best you can find)
120 g butter (salted), plus a little extra for greasing
120 g caster sugar
4 eggs
11/2 tsp vanilla extract
60 g cocoa, sifted
100 ml dark rum
cherries to garnish (optional)


For the glaze


100 g dark chocolate
50 g butter
60 ml dark rum


Ingredients


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 190º C. Melt the chocolate and butter together over a low flame, stirring until both melt. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add the sugar and stir in well.
2. Crack the eggs in one at a time, making sure to mix well and fully incorporating each before adding the next.
3. Add the vanilla, cocoa and rum and stir well until everything comes together in a loose batter. Pour into a greased 9-inch round tin and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
4. For the glaze, melt the chocolate and butter together, and remove from the flame to cool. Stir in the rum.
5. This is a soft cake so make sure it is completely cool before you turn it out onto a plate or it may break. Placing it in the fridge for a few minutes before turning out usually helps. Once transferred onto a plate, pour the glaze over and top with cherries if you like.


Chocolate rum cake 3


This cake reminds you to be nice to yourself. Be kind. Things can get hard sometimes, but more often than not, they get better.


Spoil yourself a little. Because you’re amazing. And never for a minute think you’re alone.


In the end you’ll see, we’re all sitting across each other at a giant table, eating cake and laughing together :)


Chocolate rum cake 4


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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 :)


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A quaint little cafe has come to town.


le bistro du parc


It’s very French, complete with chalkboard menus, divine desserts, and a very charming half French-half Punjabi restauranter called Naina.


menu


Four of us from the CAL Blogger’s Table, stopped by for dinner one drizzly Saturday night. I wasn’t feeling well, but Sid convinced me to go anyway and I’m glad I did.


We started with a Midinette salad – tender pieces of grilled chicken, topped with julienne of green apple and celery, studded with bright pomegranate seeds, and tossed in a very light parsley mayonnaise.


Midinette salad


Pan fried calamaris came next – a warm dish of delicious squid rings with garlic, baby potatoes, cherry tomatoes, black olives, and a red chilly coulis.


Pan fried calamaris


If you like liver, definitely try the Chicken liver parfait served with crispy pieces of baguette, a balsamic reduction, and confit onions. The pate is very delicate, and the sticky balsamic sauce is quite lovely with it.


Chicken liver parfait


The main courses are probably Le Bistro du Parc’s weakest link.


There was the average Grilled lamb with vegetables. It came with a mint-mango chutney and potatoes, but none of the flavours were memorable.


Grilled lamb, veggies


We also tried the Chicken and zucchini with olive tapenade – the tapenade was rich and slightly tart, but the zucchini was overcooked and mushy. Plus there was a little too much green on my plate :(


Marinated chicken, roasted zucchini, olive tapenade


The Pan-fried red snapper with ratatouille vegetables and in a bed of lemon foam was probably the most frou-frou dish on the menu. The vegetables were slightly sweet which I loved, and the fish had a gorgeous crispy skin, but the fish itself was a little under seasoned.


Pan fried red snapper, ratatouille vegetables, lemon foam


The big gun on the menu was the Rib of beef for two. After being asked how you would like your meat (we said medium-rare) it’s brought to the table like this.


Rib of beef 1


Then it’s taken back to the kitchen, cut into pieces, and brought back like this.


Rib of beef 2


The meat itself was too rare for our liking (we were told that “French” medium-rare was our “rare”) but it was taken back and cooked a while longer so it didn’t feel like we were cavemen gnawing at raw meat.


The hand-cut fries that came with it were excellent, as was the divine morel sauce, with little pieces of the mushroom floating in the golden sauce like succulent black jewels.


And now for the main event – the desserts.


Between the four of us, we choose 5 desserts to share.


all desserts


The Lemon tart with meringue, Raspberry Charlotte, and Plum and almond tart were excellent. Each one made with care, pronounced, unapologetic flavours, and excellent presentation.


But let me tell you about the two desserts that will most certainly make me return to Le Bistro du Parc.


This most beautiful chocolate mousse – made with Valrhona dark chocolate, and served with pomegranate seeds and a strawberry coulis. When you put that first decadent spoonful in your mouth, you understand why people often liken chocolate to sex.


chocolate mousse, strawberry coulis and pomegranate


The other stunning dessert I can’t stop thinking about was the Pistachio Paris Brest – a choux pastry bun filled with a luscious lime-green pistachio cream. The dessert gets its name from Paris–Brest–Paris – a 1200km bicycle race from Paris to Brest and back to Paris and is therefore shaped to match the circular circuit.


pistachio Paris Brest


Even Nachiketa, our reigning dessert queen was suitably impressed.


nachiketa


Le Bistro du Parc is a lovely place to perhaps go on your first date. It’s relaxed, the food is reasonably good, and the desserts will most certainly make that magical first kiss happen.


Here’s what the others there had to say:


Sid from Chef at Large
Nachiketa from Crazy over Desserts
Sushmita from My Unfinished Life


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I’ve made a certain discovery recently.


People. Are. Lazy.


And many of those people are my friends.


One is too lazy to boil eggs. Another is too lazy to turn on a gas stove. A third has pretend palpitations if a recipe has more than 3 steps.


Incidentally all these people love cake. Cake monsters each and every one of them.


So this recipe is for you lazy ones.


Almost zero effort = Melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake.


Chocolate cake piece 1


You don’t need a fancy whisk. You don’t need to wash up multiple pots and pans. Heck you don’t even need to crack an egg.


Look, you can even entertain yourself with this scary cake face. It looks like it wants to eat something.
If you find this funny, we can be friends. Like totally.


Chocolate cake scary face


All you need is an arm. And the will to mix a few easy ingredients together. And of course, the desire for some sweet, sweet chocolate cake that’ll make you smile for a week.


Lazy person's chocolate cake


So move your lazy behinds. And make this cake.


One bite and you will send me many kisses. I know it.


The lazy person’s chocolate cake (One bowl, no eggs, no butter, no milk, no whisk)
Adapted from: Sweet Little Bluebird


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Serves: 10


Ingredients:


170 g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
225 g caster sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 tbsp vegetable oil, plus a little more for greasing
240ml water
100 g dark chocolate chips (optional)


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking dish with some oil. Add the first 5 ingredients and mix to combine.
2. Make three depressions in the dry ingredients – 2 small and 1 big. Add the vinegar and vanilla to the smaller depressions and the oil to the large one. Pour the water over and mix everything well until you have a smooth batter.
3. Stir in the chocolate chips to evenly distribute them. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, remove, cool, and eat!


This cake is delicious as is, but if you want to really take it to next level, make this super easy, yet utterly divine ganache frosting.


Look at its glistening, gorgeous yumminess.


Baileys ganache


Baileys dark-chocolate soft ganache


Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5-7 mins


Ingredients:


100 g good-quality dark chocolate
100 ml cream
2 tbsp Baileys (optional)
sprinkles (optional)


1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
2. Heat in the cream in a pan, stirring constantly until small bubbles start to appear at the edges of the pan. Add the Baileys, stir well, and pour over the chocolate.
3. Mix well until the chocolate melts and you have a glossy ganache. Smother over the cake and top with sprinkles if you wish.


Chocolate cake piece 2



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Are you a cookie monster?


cookie monster


I bet you are.


What’s not to like, right?


Especially if there’s a surprise lurking inside the decadent chocolate exterior?


Like these double chocolate chunks with a super rich and super wonderful dulce de leche centre.


Cookies 3


I used some really adorable half and half chocolate chips. They’re half white and half dark chocolate.


Aren’t they pwetty?


Chocolate chips


Also, I used a lovely purple silicone mat my aunt gave me. I loved how easy it was to use!


Cookies 1


These cookie chunks aren’t delicate. They’re chunky. They’re hunky. They’re a little bit like Moto Moto. ( Go listen to his song :P)


I like ‘em big. I like ‘em chunky. I like ‘em big. I like ‘em plumpy.
I like ‘em round. With something something.


Still talking about the cookies here darlings! ;)


And the dulce de leche inside is the best caramel ever. It’s golden and thick and sweet, and stays gooey inside the cookie, until you take a bite and it melts in mouth, coating your tongue with its awesomeness.


Dulche de leche


Here’s the recipe. Go make your inner cookie monster proud! :)


Double chocolate cookie chunks with gooey caramel centres


Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Makes: 12
Recipe adapted from: Hip Foodie Mom


Ingredients:


115 g butter (salted is fine)
300 g caster sugar
60 g cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
220 g flour
100 g chocolate chips (dark, white, milk, or mixed)
80ml or 1/3 tin Dulce de leche (recipe here)


Cookies 2


Method:


1. Melt the butter in a large pan and then stir in the sugar and cocoa. When slightly cool, mix in the eggs and vanilla extract.
2. In another bowl, mix the baking soda and flour together. Add this dry mixture to the cocoa mixture a little at a time until completely incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Place the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Line a baking tray with parchment or use a silicone mat.
4. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Take about a heaped tablespoon worth of dough in your hand and shape it into a rough ball. Make an well in the centre and fill it with a teaspoon of dulce de leche. Cover the well with a flattened piece of dough to seal. Place these on the tray/mat and bake for 20 minutes or until the edges of the cookie are beginning to dry slightly but the centre is still soft. Remove and cool before serving.



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At precisely 2pm every afternoon, post my lunch, I’m hit with an unavoidable sugar craving.


Usually there is a way to fix it – I take a quick walk with a friend and pick up a small pudding cup.
Or I remember there’s chocolate in my bag. Or maybe some blessed soul has brought mithai to office.


But on the days when there is nothing sweet around, I’m a little like this:


Grumpy cat


So I’ve always been on the lookout for something healthy + sweet that I can keep by my desk for those pesky sugar cravings.


And you’ll be please to know – I have found it, my sweet peas.


And here they are.


Mini chocolate discs 1


Made with just dark chocolate and an assortment of dried fruit and nuts, they’re the perfect healthy sweet fix.


Mini chocolate discs 2


You can experiment with what you want to put on the discs – I did coconut, almonds, cashews, prunes and raisins.


Mini chocolate discs 3


Once you have the ingredients, all you have to do is happily plonk the dry fruit and nuts over the chocolate. Or you could arrange them with precision and artistry. Just have fun with it!


Mini chocolate discs 4


Mix and match to make each one look different.


Mini chocolate discs 5


They’re the perfect size when you want a hit of sweetness.


Make some now! :)


Mini chocolate discs 6


2-ingredient mini dark chocolate discs
Adapted from: Undressed Skeleton


Prep time: 5 mins, plus setting
Makes: 12


Ingredients:


125 g dark chocolate
a handful of your favourite dried fruits and nuts


Method:


1. Melt the chocolate in a microwave or in a double boiler. Line a tray with some grease-proof paper.
2. Using a tablespoon, scoop out melted chocolate and create small circles on the paper, flattening gently as you go. Add a mix of dried fruits and nuts over the circles and leave to set in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Remove gently from the paper and eat, or store in a sealed container in the fridge.


*GIVEAWAY ALERT*


Have you guys heard of Food Panda? A website that allows you to order food online, these guys have scouted your city and put together the menus of hundreds of restaurants in your area. It’s super easy to use, really fast and they’ve even listed places with discounts and special vouchers together for your convenience. Pretty cool, right?


Food Panda wants to offer 6 lucky readers a 150/- INR voucher to use the next time you’re hungry! All you have to do visit Food Panda, and tell me which restaurant you’d love to order from. Yup, that simple.


I’ll pick 6 winners by a random draw and announce them in my next post :)


Have a fun week ahead, lovelies!


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You guys know HOW much I love eggs. I first revealed my undying love for them in this post on Creamy baked eggs.


I love their versatility – how you can bake, fry, boil, steam, and poach them. I love how they add their wonderful creaminess to everything you drop them in. They make soups yummier, pies glossier, sandwiches dreamier, and no self-respecting dessert is ever egg-less.


Or so I thought.


I’m the first person to stick up my nose at “egg-less” cakes. I view them with great suspicion, kinda how I view math.


Math problems


But a couple of days ago, I had to bake an egg-less cake. It was for my cousin’s birthday and some of her friends don’t eat eggs. (I need to meet them and set them straight.)


I wanted this cake to be gooey and moist. And that’s quite the opposite of what egg-less desserts usually are.


Then I chanced upon this blog. One look at the picture and I knew I had to try it.


The batter was the first sign this was going to be good.


Egg-less cake batter


The cake came out crazy moist and utterly chocolately. I could not believe that it had no eggs. How was this possible?


Egg-less cake 1


I think the magic ingredients are the yogurt and the coffee mix. Whatever it is, this has become my favourite chocolate cake and you’ve got to try it.


Egg-less cake 2


Sorry, eggs. I still love you. I promise.


Egg-less chocolate cake
Largely adapted from: Maria’s menu


Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35-40 mins
Serves: 10


Inside the cake


Ingredients:


For the cake


220 g plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
6 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
165 g sugar
110 ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
1 tbsp strong coffee powder dissolved in 50 ml boiling water
50 ml milk
50 g yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract


For the frosting


60 g butter, at room temperature
2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
150 g icing sugar, plus more if needed
2 tbsp hot milk, plus more if needed
1 tsp vanilla extract
sprinkles, optional


Egg-less cake 3


Method:


For the cake


1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. I used a foil tray to bake this cake since I had to transport it, but you can also you a regular 8-inch round cake tin. Grease and line with parchment.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients. Make a gap in the centre and add the wet ingredients. Whisk everything thoroughly until well combined. You should have a smooth batter with no lumps.
3. Pour into the greased tray/tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.


For the frosting and assembling


1. Mix all the frosting ingredients (minus the sprinkles) and whisk together thoroughly till you have a smooth frosting. You can add more icing sugar to make it stiffer, or loosen it with more milk if you like.
2. Once the cake has cooled, transfer it to a serving plate (if you baked in a tin) and cover the top with frosting. Scatter over sprinkles if you wish. This cake is gooey, and doesn’t slice very neatly, but that’s a small price to pay for the yumminess :) If you prefer neat slices, chill for about an hour before slicing.


Look at this happy face. This is why I bake :)


Happy face!



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