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Almond cupcakes

Earlier this month, a group of us friends headed to a lake-house in the Poconos.

 

We took food to be grilled, drinks to be shared and a healthy appetite for horror stories. The setting was perfect fodder for our gruesome imaginations so we collectively created a story where we all are murdered by a psycho killer in a lake-house. Such fun!

 

Here’s the lake-house. Perfect setting, right?

 

lake house

 

It wasn’t all scary though. There was bright sunshine and gorgeous sunsets, and food that ranged from grilled chicken to mini eclairs!

 

collage

 

A holiday with a large group of friends is often hard to plan, but it’s almost always worth it!

 

We came back to more crazy fun weekends, one of which included my birthday!

 

Cake

 

With all this celebrating and my sweet tooth on overdrive, I needed to make something sweet that wasn’t altogether terrible for me.

 

I decided on these gluten-free, paleo almond cupcakes and they were perfect!

 

almond cupcake 1

 

I used almond flour for the main cupcake, but to enhance the nutty flavor I also added cashew butter to replace frosting and pecans to decorate! Aren’t they lovely?

 

What I love about them is that they are incredibly moist and just sweet enough, without having an unhealthy amount of oil, sweeteners or eggs!

 

almond cupcake 2

 

They still taste pretty decadent and I wouldn’t have more than one at a time, but they’re the perfect sweet treat if you’re trying to be a bit healthy! Super easy to make too! Give it a go:)

 

Almond Cupcakes

 

Recipe adapted from: Cook Nourish Bliss

 

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Makes: 12

 

Ingredients:

 

600g/3 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

60ml/ 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

120ml/ 1/2 cup honey

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp cashew butter, for the frosting

4 tbsp almond milk, for the frosting

24 pecan halves, to decorate

 

 

almond cupcake 3

 

Method:

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF , and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cups. In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, baking soda and salt together.
  2. In another bowl, whisk the melted coconut oil, honey, eggs and vanilla extract together. Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  3. Scoop into the paper cups and then bang the tin on a hard surface a few times so the batter settles into the cups. Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 20 minutes. Then remove onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Mix the cashew butter with almond milk to thin out and then place one teaspoon of the mixture in the center of each cooled cupcake. Top with two pecan halves and enjoy!

 

Love you guys!❤

 

 

All due respect to Ned Stark (bless his soul), but summer is coming.

 

I love summer for many reasons – not having to wear 5 layers before stepping outside, drinking coconut water instead of plain water all day long, more sun-lit hours, gorgeous flowers everywhere, and the beautiful, colorful produce.

 

Fruits are aplenty and in all shapes, sizes and color – tart, sweet, and juicy, the dessert possibilities are endless.

 

Raspberry Lemon bars 3

 

These raspberry lemon bars are a mouthful of summer. The shortbread base is crumbly and buttery, and the lemon-raspberry topping is fresh, citrusy and sweet all at once.

 

Raspberry Lemon bars 1

 

These are very easy to make, and they look quite spectacular don’t you think?

 

Raspberry lemon bars

 

Recipe from: Lovely Little Kitchen

 

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Serves: 9

 

 

Ingredients:

 

For the shortbread:

12 tbsp/1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

75g/ 1/3 cup caster sugar

170g/ 1 and 1/2 cup flour

For the topping:

3 eggs

225g/ 1 cup caster sugar

3 tbsp flour

1 cup fresh raspberries (crushed)

juice of 2 lemons

icing sugar, for dusting

lemon slices, raspberries, mint leaves or green sprinkles for decorating

 

Raspberry Lemon bars 2

 

 

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF , grease a 9 by 9 inch baking tin, and then line with parchment paper leaving the edges to over-hang. Using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together, then add the flour and knead gently until a smooth dough is formed.
  2. Press into the prepared tin, spreading with your fingers so that the dough is evenly distributed in a uniform layer in the tin. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Using an electric whisk, mix the eggs, sugar and flour together. Add the raspberries and lemon juice and mix again. Pour over the baked shortbread crust and return to the oven for another 20 minutes. Remove and cool.
  4. Dust with icing sugar, and decorate with lemon slices, raspberries and mint leaves or sprinkles if you wish. Cut into 9 squares and serve.

 

Happy summer-ing!

 

This is a picture from the week I first landed in the US, exactly one year ago.

 

First week in NY

 

I was jet-lagged and yet crazy excited to begin my new life in a new country with a new husband (only husband😛 ) and new everything!

 

And here I am one year later.

 

Easter

 

What a whirlwind this year has been. It’s had its ups and downs but I would have never guessed how perfectly things would come together in the end.

 

I won’t lie – it’s been a BIG adjustment. Moving away from everyone I know and love, from friends and family, from a wonderful job, from all things familiar. The furthest I been away from Mom and Dad is a four hour flight. Now that’s 18 hours. That is still the absolute hardest thing to stomach.

 

But this has certainly been a year touched by magic. Setting up a new home, learning what it means to be married (it means sharing bacon and blankets and it can get tough), finding a job I love, travelling to some gorgeous places I’ve never seen before and meeting amazing people.

 

magic

 

This year has taught me that making that big change can be terrifying, but if you take the leap, whatever comes of it, you will be better, stronger and happier at the end of it.

 

There’s magic to be found in the most unlikely places.

 

Like even in this cake! It has some relatively basic pantry ingredients but once you bake it, it magically becomes three delicious layers – light and fluffy top, custard-y center and dense, cake-y base! Whaaaa?!

 

The cake itself isn’t very sweet, and is rather light. It’s not egg-y either! Just make sure you use good quality vanilla extract.

 

Here’s how you pull the rabbit out of the hat:)

 

Magic Vanilla Cake

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Serves: 8-10

 

Magic Cake 1

 

Ingredients:

 

115g/ 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus a little more for greasing

4 eggs, separated

150g/ 1 and 3/4 cup icing sugar

115g/ 1 cup flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

475ml/ 2 cups milk, slightly warm

 

Magic Cake 2

 

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF and grease a 8 by 8 inch baking tin with butter. Using an electric whisk, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then set aside.
  2. In a different bowl, beat the egg yolks and icing sugar until pale and well combined. Add the melted and cooled butter with a tablespoon of water and mix again. Add the flour and combine well.
  3. Add the vanilla and then gradually pour in the milk, whisking all the time. Now gently fold in the reserved egg whites a little at a time. Once everything is well combined, pour into the tin and bake for about 45-50 minutes. The center will be slightly wobbly once done but will harden as it cools once removed from the oven. Serve warm.

 

Happy weekend! Love you’ll!😀

Easy Crème Brulee

Anticipation is delicious. Isn’t it?

 

So very often, I feel like waiting for something wonderful, is better than the wonderful thing itself.

 

vorfreude

 

At this moment, Dennis and I are packing for our first trip back home to India together.

 

Our past few weekends have with filled with manic shopping – picking out the right presents for everyone in our families, right down to the doggys btw!

 

There is such joy in waiting to see everyone, to be able to spend time with family and friends, and just be with the people you love the most in the world.

 

And I know that this time will just fly by. So I’m soaking up the anticipation as best I can and prolonging this happy feeling  :)

 

In preparation of going home and being fed till we burst, we decided to stretch our stomachs with this creamy, velvet-y, silken smooth beauty called Crème Brulee.

 

Creme Brulee 4

 

 

If I see Crème Brulee on a restaurant menu, I always order it. It’s one of my favorite desserts. We’ve never made them at home because of the lack of a blow torch.

 

Creme Brulee 2

 

But we finally got one and now, well, it’s a bit dangerous how easily we can whip one of these decadent yellow bowls of heaven up!

 

They taste like a mix of home, sunshine and happiness.

 

Make a few and treat yourself:)

 

 Easy Crème Brulee

 

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 40 mins, plus cooling and chilling
Serves: 4-6

 

Creme Brulee 1

 

Ingredients:

1 egg

5 egg yolks

100g/ ½ cup caster sugar, plus more for dusting

700ml/3 cups heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp Grand Marnier

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together the egg, egg yolks, and ½ cup of sugar together on a low speed until just combined.
  2. Heat the cream in a saucepan until hot to the touch but not boiling. With the mixer on low speed, gently pour the cream into the egg mixture in small batches. Add the vanilla and Grand Marnier and combine.
  3. Pour into Crème Brulee ramekins (I got about 4 medium, 1 large, and 2 tiny ones) until almost full. Place the ramekins in a baking tray and place in the oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the baking tray so that the water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 40 minutes, then cool and refrigerate.
  4. Before serving, sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of caster sugar over each ramekin and use a blow torch to caramelize the sugar until golden, brown and slightly burnt in parts. Wait for a couple minutes before serving.

 

I even made a baby one!😛

 

Creme Brulee 3

 

 

 

Christmas is a time for family. And this year, for the first time in my life, I’m not spending Christmas with mine.

 

There will no Christmas cake made by Dad, no Christmas wishlists, and no Christmas craziness with my family.

 

It’s always hard being away from family. But it’s almost unbearable at Christmas.

 

As the days build up to my favorite time of year, I’m trying to focus on all my blessings. There are SO many!

 

My first “real” Christmas tree!

 

Christmas tree

 

The cutest Baby Jesus ornament. I say hello to it everyday.

 

Christmas ornament

 

My first Christmas in New York.

 

Rockerfellar tree

 

My new job that promises a full and exciting year ahead, and wonderful colleagues! (SO grateful about this one!)

 

New work place

 

Friends who share, and eat, and laugh together.

 

christmas party

 

The most fun Advent gift exchange, where everyday is a surprise, a laugh and a beautiful memory!

 

Advent gifts

 

And this guy – who reminds me everyday, that this, right here, just us, is also a brand new family❤

 

Dennis and me

 

I miss everyone at home terribly, but there is so much to grateful for, to celebrate and to love.

 

Family

 

I wish I could be with this crazy family right now, and I’m sending them all so much love.

 

And while we’re talking about Christmas, just in case you haven’t baked a Christmas cake yet and need a super quick, no-fuss recipe, I’ve got you covered. No chopping, no soaking fruits for hours – just lots of rum:) (Look below!)

 

Wishing you all a joyful Christmas! Hope you’re spending it with the ones you love the most. It’s the most wonderful time of the year❤

 

A Lazy Girl’s Christmas Cake

 Christmas cake

 

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 2 hours, plus soaking and resting
Serves: 12

 

Ingredients:

2 cups assorted nuts (I used cashews, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)
2 cups assorted raisins
11/2 cup spiced rum
170g/1 and a 1/2 sticks butter, softened, plus more for greasing
200g/1 cup light brown sugar, plus more to dust
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp cinnamon powder
170g/1 and a 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

 

Cake on the cake stand

 

Method:

 

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF and grease a loaf tin with butter. Place the nuts and raisins in a medium bowl. Heat the rum until it gently simmers and pour over the nuts and raisins. Let cool, then cover and leave for 15 minutes. Strain out the nuts and raisins and reserve the liquid.
2. With an electric beater, whip together the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs (one at a time) and beat again. Add the vanilla extract, orange zest and cinnamon powder, mixing again. You should have a smooth batter. Now add the flour and baking powder and beat until it’s all incorporated. Toss in the nuts and raisins and mix by hand until evenly distributed.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, dust with some more sugar, and bake for about 2 hours, or until dark brown on top and cooked through. Remove from the oven, and while still warm, use a spoon to gently pour the reserved liquid all over the cake. Let it sit, allowing it to absorb for 4-6 hours or overnight. Slice gently, and serve.

It’s fall!

 

That beautiful yellow and orange and red and golden time of the year.

 

There are trees like this one to marvel at!

 

Us with a yellow tree

 

And pretty leaves that look like magic.

 

Bright leaves

 

It feels orange everywhere you go, and I love it.

 

Fall leaves with shoes

 

Fall is also the time of pumpkin spice everything. Seriously, read this article to see what I mean.

 

Pumpkin pie though – that’s a classic.

 

Pumpkin pie 1

 

I added pumpkin spice chocolate chips to make it extra pumpkin-y!

 

Pumpkin pie 3

 

Creamy pumpkin filling flavoured with warm spices and baked in a graham crust until golden and slightly wobbly and perfect.

 

Pumpkin pie 4

 

A slice of warm pumpkin pie is probably the food equivalent of fall.

 

So here’s the fastest and easiest way to make some and get that pumpkin-spicy goodness in your mouth😀

 
Pumpkin Pie

 

Recipe adapted from: Libby’s

 

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 65 mins, plus cooling
Serves: 8

 

Ingredients:

 

Pumpkin pie 2

 

1 can/15oz pumpkin puree
170g/3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
1 can/12 fl oz evaporated milk
140g/5oz pumpkin spice chocolate chips
1 9-inch graham pie crust
whipped cream, to serve (optional)

 

Method:

 

1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the pumpkin puree with the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves. Mix well until the sugar melts completely and the spices are incorporated in the puree. Remove from the heat and cool.
2. Crack the eggs into the cooled puree, add the evaporated milk and mix well to combine until you have a smooth filling.
3. Scatter the chocolate chips over the pie crust and then pour in the filling. Bake at 220ºC/425ºF for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 180ºC/350ºF and bake for another 50 minutes. Cool for 2 hours before serving with whipped cream.

 

Pumpkin pie 5

 

Super easy Banana Bread

What’s up guys?

 

It’s been a busy few weeks here – summer is over and fall is upon us!

 

I’m looking forward to the slightly cooler weather, boots, and pumpkin spice everything!

 

We’ve been soaking up the last bit of the summer with friends.

 

Friends 1

 

Some of whom have the cutest babies.

 

Friends 2

 

Oh, also we decorated our living room.

 

Home before and after

 

Not bad, right? We’re doing OK at this “adult” thing?

 

What didn’t look very nice on my kitchen counter was this.

 

Black banana

 

I had also just bought a beautiful new loaf dish so it was a no brainer really, that I was going to make Banana bread!

 

Loaf dish

 

This Banana bread is crazy moist and delicious and it will make your home smell amazing.

 

Banana bread 1

 

I know walnuts are the usual choice of nuts for Banana bread, but try this recipe with pecans, won’t you? They aren’t as bitter, and become sorta chewy and so yummy after baking with the banana-y batter.

 

Pecans

 

I love recipes where you essentially dump all the ingredients into a bowl, mix and bake. This is one of those! I told ya it was super easy!😀

 

Super easy Banana Bread

 

Recipe adapted from: Food.com

 

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 80 mins
Serves: 10

 

Ingredients:

 

4 over-ripe bananas, skins removed
2 eggs
340g/1 and 1/2 cup caster sugar
120ml/half cup vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
60ml/quarter cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
100g/1 cup pecans (roughly chopped)
200g/1 and 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
 

Method:

 

1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF and grease a loaf dish. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the bananas, eggs, sugar, oil, milk, vanilla extract, and pecans.
2. Sift in the flour and baking soda. Mix together until everything is well combined.
3. Pour into the loaf dish and bake for 80 minutes. Remove and allow to cool, before cutting into slices to serve.

 

Banana bread 2

 

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