Archive for January, 2013

How hot do you like your food?

Are you a baby or a brave-heart when it comes to munching on munchies that make your eyes water, your stomach burn, and throat scorch?

What kind of chillies are we talking, you say?

Well, let’s see.

Serrano, Chipotle, Habanero, Ancho.

And if you’re in the big leauges – The Ghost Chilli (Bhoot jholokia)

Frightened yet?

Two nights ago Ruchira, Sid, and I, sampled dishes from the upcoming chilli food festival at DoubleTree by Hilton in Mayur Vihar.

I have a scale for how hot each dish was.

Chilli scale

If you don’t get the LOTR reference, 1 is mild and 10 is crazy hot, with everything else in between.

(Also, read The Lord of the Rings. Please.)

We started big. These Voodoo chilli chicken fingers.

Voodoo chilli chicken fingers

Laced with Ghost chilli, they were an 8 on my scale.

The Tex Mex buffalo wings with Serrano chilli salsa was a 4.

Tex Mex buffalo wings

The Roasted fiery pork ribs rubbed with Chipotle chilli was delicious. Tender ribs, with a slightly sour, spicy, Vindaloo-ish feel, these babies were a 4.

Roasted fiery pork ribs

Devilled lamb meat patties came next. Braised in a Habanero sauce, they were pretty hot, rather soft, and quickly devoured. I gave this one a 5.

Devilled lamb meat patties

I must mention that the following were our weapons in our brave battle against the chillies of the world.

Cold Milk.

Just milk

And a Chocolate milkshake 🙂

Chocolate milkshake

Next we tried Firecrackers – vegetable and Habanero chilli rolls. Chilli meter reading was 6, but this was the only dish none of us finished. It didn’t have any discernible flavour or character.


Baked baby eggplant was my most favourite dish of the evening. These cuties were topped with a Chipotle chilli ragout and baked until they imparted a sweet, caramelized flavour. 4 on the scale.

Baked baby eggplants

The Onion and green chilli fritters were like Onion bhajis, but were dusted with Ancho chilli. Rather greasy, these ones scored a 5.

Onion and green chilli fritters

And finally, we got the Ghost chilli fritters. These were fried green chillies filled with Cheddar and Ghost chillies. One bite, and I was done. This one was a 9.

Ghost chilli fritters

Look, here’s Sid before the Ghost chilli fritter.

Sid - before

And here he is after his first (and final) bite.

Sid - after

If you’re a chilli lover, there’s lots to be happy about. And even if you’re a bit of a chicken, there are some yummy things to try on this menu that won’t blow smoke out of your ears.

The Chilli Festival starts on 1st February, 2013 at The Roadhouse Bar and Grill, in DoubleTree by Hilton, Mayur Vihar. Head over there for your dose of HOT!


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Peach Frangipane Tart

I don’t think I can ever be with a man who doesn’t love to cook.

If you’re a man who thinks he’s too good for the kitchen, chances are I won’t like you.

Also, if you are that man – What in the world is wrong with you?

Oh and if you’re one of those people who think it’s uber cool to say you can’t boil an egg, or make a cup of tea without burning down the kitchen, please stop.

Cooking is fun. Baking is cool. For grown-ups and children. For men and women. For lovers and fighters. For everyone.

Men who leave all the cooking to your wives: Move your ass. Make her something. Here, start with these Creamy baked eggs.
You can thank me later.

Girls who have those weirdly long and perfectly manicured fingernails and claim never to have stepped in a kitchen: Get over it. Cut those nails. Or at least wear gloves. And make these super cute mini cupcakes.

See, if you are a man who’s comfortable in the kitchen, you can make your daughter a Peach frangipane tart when she’s feeling down.

Isn’t that something you want to be able to do someday, boys?

Watch my Dad and learn 🙂

Butter and flour maketh a good pastry.

Butter + flour

Some kneading to bring everything together.

Kneading pastry dough

Whisk up some eggs and sugar.


Open a tin of sweetened peaches.

Juicy peaches

Roll out your pastry and bake the tart.

Rolling pastry

Top with a yummy frangipane filling.

Frangipane filling

Dot with peach halves and watch as they sink in.

Before it goes in the oven

And look! It’s a beautiful tart!

Tart 2

When you cut someone a slice, you are giving them love.

Slice of tart

So get comfortable in the kitchen, boys and girls! It’s an important skill to have. Also, it’s a wonderful thing to do 🙂

Peach Frangipane Tart

Largely adapted from: Step by step Baking

Prep time: 30 mins (plus chilling)
Cook time: 55 mins
Serves: 8


For the tart case

150 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100 g unsalted butter, diced and kept cold, plus extra for greasing
50 g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
½ tsp vanilla essence

For the filling

100 g unsalted butter
100 g caster sugar
2 eggs
25 g flour, sifted
100 g ground almonds
1 tin of peach halves, strained (we don’t need the sugar syrup)


For the tart case

1. Mix the flour, butter, and sugar together in a bowl. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla essence and mix again to form a dough. Wrap in cling film and keep in the fridge for about an hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 9-inch tart tin with butter and then press the pastry into it (or you could roll it out and layer the tin), using your hands to get it all around the base and sides in as even a layer as possible. Use a fork to prick the pastry all over. Line the pastry with baking parchment and cover with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven, discard the parchment and remove the beans. Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the frangipane filling

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk, and then beat in the eggs. Add the flour and ground almonds as well, mixing well until everything is combined.
2. Place the cooled tart case (in the tin) on a baking sheet, and pour the filling into the tart case. Gently press the peach halves (cut-side down) into the filling.
3. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin, before removing, and serving in slices.

Tart 1

*GIVEAWAY WINNER ALERT* The Flipkart voucher giveaway winner is: Papple (@caramelwings)!
Congratulations darling! Mail me at charis1984@gmail.com for your voucher code ASAP 🙂

Now I’m 2 posts away from my 100th post. I cannot believe it. But I’d love your ideas on what you’d like that very, very special post to be about. Vote below! 🙂

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Hello lovely people!

How’s the new year treating you’ll?

Have you made the resolutions you aren’t going to keep? 🙂

Isn’t it funny (and wonderful) how we make them every year anyway?

Here are mine:

*Get fitter (this includes regular exercise and attempting to eat healthier)
*Give my blog more love
*Spend more time with the people who are important to me
*Start playing the guitar again (this will be done with my very cool guitarist friend Aditi’s help)
*Learn to take better photographs
*Keep believing that the best is yet to come

I think the last one is the hardest. It’s difficult to believe that good things will come when you’ve had a spate of bad things. It’s hard to have faith in people, believing that there’s good inside them, even when they’ve let you down. It’s even harder believing that God has plans for you – the best plans.

But this year, I’m staying positive, and happy, and bright. Because good things will come. I know it. I just need to remember it 🙂
Will you remind me if I forget?

Here’s a look at some good things that happened over December when I was home. Each one is a blessing.

Dinner with my oldest friends in one of our favourite restaurants.

Old friends and dinner

This gorgeous flower that bloomed on our balcony.

Red flower

A funky new-age Christmas tree my brother put together.

new age Christmas tree

The freshest, greenest, tastiest lettuce ever – from my aunt’s garden.


A massive projector set up by my Dad and brother in our living room, so we could watch movies huddling together under blankets while sipping hot tea.


And this puppy soaking up the sun, who brings us all such joy.

Puppy in the sun

In the midst of some terribly sad things that happened, us cousins got together and decided we needed to make something sweet.

The result was this stunning Strawberry Pavlova.

Pavlova 1

Everyone helped.

Here’s my brother whisking the egg whites.

Whisking away

Baby cousin washed the strawberries.

Cleaning strawberries

Another added sugar and smiles.

Sugar and smiles

And this pretty one cut up the strawberries.

Cutting strawberries

Even the littlest one contributed. He kept the puppy busy 🙂

Puppy and baby

This dessert is show-stopper. Expect everyone to drop their plates and stare at it in all its wonder.

Just look at it.

Pavlova 2

And it’s the easiest thing to make. Have a go!

Strawberry pavlova

Largely adapted from: Step by step Baking

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 80 mins
Serves: 8


6 egg whites
pinch of salt
350 g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp lemon juice
300ml heavy cream
200 g strawberries


1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Line a baking tray with parchment. Draw a 20cm circle on the parchment and turn it over, so the pencil mark is facing downwards.
2. Put the egg whites and salt in a large, clean bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until you have stiff peaks. Whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Mix in the cornflour and lemon juice as well.
3. Spoon the mixture onto the parchment, making sure you stay within the drawn-out circle. Flatten the centre slightly and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 160º C and bake for 75 minutes. Leave it to cool completely in the oven.
4. In the meantime, whip the cream until it thickens. Wash and clean the strawberries, then roughly chop them into halves.
5. Remove the cooled pavlova from the oven and take off the parchment. Place on a serving plate and crack the top slightly with a spoon. Spread the cream over and top with the strawberries. Serve in rough wedges.

Pavlova 3

Sorry I can’t offer you some pavlova, but here’s something fun!


CupoNation India, a website offering discount coupons for a number of leading online retailers in India like flipkart, snapdeal, homeshop18 and many more, wants to give one of you lucky readers a Flipkart voucher worth 500 INR. All you have to do is leave me a comment below telling me which offer you love the most on CupoNation India

I’ll choose one winner through a random draw and announce it in my next post. Comment away!

And have a wonderful, wonderful year ahead! Lots of love!

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