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Archive for March, 2013

Happy Easter everyone!


This year I’m not at home with my family, and so I’m a little sad.


If I was home I’d be in Church with everyone. There would be a happy family lunch, and I’d most definitely get an Easter egg! (Mom called and told me mine has been bought and I’ll get it the next time I meet them :))


So I needed some joy. Some colour. Some happy way to celebrate Easter.


This is what happened.


coloured eggs 1


Aren’t they the cutest darn things you’ve seen?


All you have to do is soak hard-boiled egg-white halves in any food colour you want.


coloured eggs 2


I did four colours.


coloured eggs 3


The yolks are mixed with yogurt and mustard. I decided to lay off mayonnaise just to be healthier. It tastes wonderfully creamy and the minced garlic gives it even more flavour.


coloured eggs 4


I think I didn’t make quite enough. These things are so cute and so delicious, you can very easily eat a ton of them without realizing it. They’d make such adorable appetizers for a party too!


coloured eggs 5


I had so much fun making these.


coloured eggs 6


The next time you need a pick-me-up, a pop of colour, or just have an egg craving, make these. You’ll love them πŸ™‚


Coloured devilled eggs


Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 12-15 mins
Makes: 8 pieces


Ingredients:


4 eggs
red, purple, yellow, and green food colour
3-4 tbsp thick yogurt
1 tsp mustard paste
1/2 tsp minced garlic flakes
salt and pepper to taste
sliced black olives, optional


Method:


1. Boil the eggs for 12-15 minutes. You need them to be hard-boiled. Once cool, peel off the shells and slice the eggs in half. Remove the yolks and place in a bowl. Carefully rinse the whites, and place them on tissue to dry.
2. Mix 1 teaspoon of each food colour with about 50ml water in 4 separate bowls. Add 2 egg-white halves into each bowl, and leave for 10 minutes. Try to use small bowls so the eggs are completely submerged for an even colour.
3. Add the yogurt, mustard, garlic, and salt and pepper to the egg yolks and mix to a smooth paste. Place this mixture in a zip lock bag, pushing it to one corner. Tie it up tightly with a rubber band.
4. Remove the egg-white halves from the colour and dry on tissue. Once dry, snip the corner of the zip lock bag, and pipe the mixture into each egg-white half in a swirl. Top with a piece of black olive if you like, and serve.


coloured eggs 7


Happy Easter! Have a wonderful day and stay blessed πŸ™‚


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It’s beginning to get hot in Delhi. We’re creeping towards shorts and flip-flop weather. The sunglasses are out and sunscreen is being slathered on. And iced tea is desirable again.


My most favourite summer ingredient has to be yogurt. You can eat it in/with anything and be refreshed by its wonderful cool freshness.


Curd rice. Yum.
Lassi. Oh yes.
Raita. So good.
Frosting. Wait whaaaa?


Cupcakes 1


You heard right, baby. Yogurt frosting. That’s where it’s at.


Here’s what happened. I had to make cupcakes for my gym friends. I knew super-rich wouldn’t cut it. It had to be healthy.


So I pulled out some thick yogurt and played around with it.


Yogurt frosting


The result? A beautiful, light, airy, not-too-sweet, healthy frosting, that went perfectly with my mini chocolate cupcakes!


The best part? It was done in 30 seconds. No joke.


Now you can lick the frosting bowl clean guilt-free πŸ™‚


Cupcakes 2


30-second healthy yogurt frosting


Prep time: 30 secs
Makes: enough to frost 40 mini or 20 regular cupcakes


Ingredients:


200 g thick yogurt
50 g icing sugar, sifted, plus more if needed
1 tsp vanilla powder or vanilla extract
a few drops of food colour, optional


Method:


1. Mix the yogurt and icing sugar together until there are no lumps. Add the vanilla and stir again. You can add any food colour of your choice and mix till you have an even colour.
2. If you like your frosting quite stiff, mix in a little more sugar and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up. If you like it looser, slather onto cupcakes immediately and enjoy!


If you’re in India, and love frozen yogurt, you’d be interested to know that Chef at Large, one of the best online food networks (my favourite one anyway!) just announced the results of the 2013 Indian Frozen Yogurt Market survey. Some really interesting results came up, including the fact that most consumers feel taste is more important than health, and Cocoberry is the most preferred yogurt brand in India (it is kinda awesome- I love it too!). For more details on the survey, check out: http://chefatlarge.in/surveys/yogurt


Here’s a look at the cupcake box I packed. The purple ones are regular buttercream (for those who aren’t health freaks) and the pretty pink ones are yogurt πŸ™‚


Cupcake box 2


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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 180ΒΊ 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 πŸ™‚ If you prefer neat slices, chill for about an hour before slicing.


Look at this happy face. This is why I bake πŸ™‚


Happy face!



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I had heard about the wonderful extravaganza that is the Kingdom of Dreams.


I’d seen a few pictures and read some articles, but nothing in the world could prepare me for the experience I had.


Let me take you on a journey.


The entrance itself was glittering and golden.


Entrance


There were huge elephant sculptures, men in colourful clothes, and festive music.


Music men


For the adventure junkies, there is a reverse bungee jump you can try. I was feeling like a chicken that day, so I decided to just enter the main building instead.


Reverse bungee jump


The Kingdom of dreams is a celebration of all things larger than life.


Everywhere you lay your eyes, there is something impossibly beautiful looking back at you.


Like this serene Sleeping Buddha, that reminded me so much of the one in Thailand.


Sleeping Buddha


Or this wall of reflecting mirrors that catch the light in the most delicate, dreamy way.


Wall of mirrors


Take a look at this bejeweled entrance.


Bejeweled entrance


You can see the thought in every little detail.


Details


The Culture Gully was my favourite section. It is, very simply, where the food is at.


You’ll find a restaurant representing almost every state in India, and it’s impossible to not find something you’ll love to eat here.


Decorated to showcase the culture of the region, each restaurant also has a shop where you can buy trinkets and curios that you’d traditionally find in those places.


Here’s Bengal. It made me homesick.


West bengal


Here’s the stunning Chennai. (This also made me homesick. I’m all mixed up okay, so it’s possible.)


Chennai


Bombay had a local train motif going, which I loved.


Mumbai local


The interiors were even more stunning.


This was inside the Kerala restaurant. Aren’t the colours magnificent? (Homesick yet again. Sigh)


Kerala


A wall of cups and saucers in the Assam section. Perfection!


Assam


There are also some fun activities to indulge in like face reading, palm reading, and foot massages!


We checked out this very cool Bollywood Lounge bar with huge movie posters, and lots of red carpet to walk around on.


Film lounge


The whole Culture Gully area is covered with a false sky – so any time of the day or night, it’s always a cheerful blue at Kingdom of Dreams.


False sky


Here’s a look from above.


View from above


Once we had looked around, we went to the beautiful Rajasthan restaurant.


Rajasthan


This very charming Maharaj ji regaled us with his stories, and made us feel as though we were eating in a family home.


Maharaj ji


The food, although vegetarian, was outstanding.


This Raj Kachori was the best I’ve ever had. It was stuffed till it burst, and had a delicious sweetness from pomegranate seeds, crunch from the bhujia, and a silken creaminess from the yogurt.


Raj kachori


We also tasted the thali which was a mix of some traditional and some unsual Rajasthani offerings. We were given advice on how best to enjoy every dish, what to mix it with, and which items to eat first.


Thali


We were fed with not just the food, but with unbelievable amounts of care. That is what made it so very memorable.


Stuffed till we could eat no more, we headed off to Nautanki Mahal, a venue for Bollywood style musicals and theatre. It was here that we watched Zangoora- The Gypsy prince – the most amazing Bollywood show ever. It had FANTASTIC dancing, beautiful costumes, and amazing sets. There were acrobats and hanging gliders and other magical stunts. The music was only popular Bollywood numbers and we couldn’t stop ourselves from singing along. Sushmita and I even got a chance to dance with some of the performers at the end of the show.


Unfortunately photography was prohibited during the show. Otherwise I’d have got at least one picture of the very talented Hussain who plays the main lead. (Ladies – he took his shirt off. And his abs are a sight to behold. Just another reason to go watch the show :P)


Kingdom of Dreams is a celebration of all things Indian. It is magical, colourful, musical, bright, delicious, and very, very happy making.


We had an unbelievably fun day! Here’s a picture of some of us still grinning after the show.


Sangeeta, Sushmita, and me


I went home feeling like child – with my hope in all things good, restored.


Doesn’t this lion make you believe in magic?


Lion


Head over to Kingdom of Dreams as soon as you can. I promise you’ll have the most memorable time.


Here’s what the other bloggers had to say:
Sangeeta from Banaras ka Khana
Himanshu from The White Ramekins
Parul from The Shirazine
Sushmita from My Unfinished Life


*Giveaway winner alert*: By a random draw, the winner of my 100th post giveaway is Priyanka Banerjee! Congratulations sweetie! Email me at charis1984@gmail.com with your address please πŸ™‚


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