Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Magic Vanilla Cake

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!😀

Read Full Post »

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

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Food cravings are like wizards.

 

They appear out of nowhere (POOF!) and swirl a wand about (WHOOSH!) and say to you – You need a gooey, dark chocolate cake in your life.

 

It looks like this, the wizard says. Exactly like this.

 
Chocolate lava cake 3
 

You have to make one this very minute, the wizard says. No, I don’t care that it’s 11 pm and you’re in your pyjamas. You want this NOW.

 

All that’s left to do is give into the wizard’s command. He looks like Gandalf okay? Can you say no that face?

 
Gandalf
 

So I put together this gooey, delicious dark chocolate batter and pop it in the oven.

 
Chocolate lava cake 1
 

Look how you can tell the centre is still soft underneath once its ready? 😍

 
Chocolate lava cake 2
 

This lava cake has to be eaten the second it comes out of the oven. When you cut into it and see the warm and intensely chocolate-ty centre ooze out, you will know everything is right with the world.

 
Chocolate lava cake 5
 

The wizard knows my soul.

 

Chocolate Lava Cake for two

 

Recipe adapted from: Buzzfeed’s Christine Byrne

 

Prep time: 12 mins
Cook time: 11 mins, plus cooling
Serves: 2

 

Ingredients:

 

2 tbsp butter (unsalted and at room temperature), plus a bit more to grease the ramekins
2 tbsp caster sugar, plus a bit more for the ramekins
115 g dark chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 tbsp flour, sifted
pinch of salt
a couple drops of vanilla extract
icing sugar to dust (optional)

 

Method:

 

1. Preheat the oven to 200º C. Grease two small ramekins with butter and then scatter some caster sugar into each bowl, turning the ramekin around as you do, so that the base and sides are well covered. Tip the ramekin over once done, and throw away any sugar that falls out.
2. Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave in 2-3 bursts of 30 seconds each, stirring well between each burst, until completely melted.
3. Cut the butter into small pieces and place in a mixing bowl with the sugar. Cream into a paste using an electric mixer and then add the eggs. Whisk for a minute until everything combines, then add the flour, salt, and vanilla extract and whisk again until well combined.
4. Using a spatula, fold about a third of the melted chocolate into the batter. Slowly add the rest of the chocolate and keep folding until you have a uniform and smooth batter. Pour into the prepared ramekins and place on a baking tray. Bake for about 11 minutes, or until the edges of the cake begin to come away from the ramekins. Leave to rest on the counter for about 5 minutes and then flip onto serving plates. Dust with icing sugar to decorate if you wish, and serve immediately.

 
Chocolate lava cake 4
 

Read Full Post »

I’ve moved continents!

 

I never thought I’d do it – move so far from family and friends and everyone I know and love. But sometimes you gotta take the plunge, right? (Tell me I’m right.)

 

It’s a big, big change – incredibly fun and incredibly difficult at the same time.

 

When I got to New Jersey early last month, it was cold. I mean seriously cold.

 

I didn’t want to step out of the house because my eyes would water and I was scared it would turn into icicles and I’d have shards of ice in my eyes and I’d be blind forever. (I’m not over-dramatic AT ALL. Can you tell?)

 

I missed the sun and my family and everything warm and familiar so much it hurt my insides.

 

But then after a few weeks of staying in, I decided that I’ve had enough. I needed some light and air and people.

 

So grudgingly I put on several layers, took off all expectation and set out on a walk.

 

Then I saw this – and it was love at first sight.

 

Skyline

 

 

And slowly, just like that, the cold wasn’t so cold anymore. I could feel the warmth on my shoulders and a gentle light in my eyes.

 

I explored beautiful parks filled with gorgeous dogs.

 

Dog Park

 

Ate cupcakes I’ve only read about for the longest time.

 

Magnolia

 

Even made some of my own at home:)

 

Homemade cupcakes

 

Shopped for all kinds of furniture and slowly watched our house transform into a warm and welcoming home.

 

Furniture shopping

 

Baked my first cake here! (Have you noticed how birthday cake smiles are the best kind of smiles?)

 

Birthday cake

 

Had the most fun it is humanly possible to have in a museum.

 

Museum

 

Indulged in long, lazy brunches with many drinks, and even more laughter.

 

Brunch

 

Gazed at the most beautiful tulips and wondered how they could possibly be real.

 

Tulips

 

Ate ice-cream from an ice-cream truck and felt like a child again.

 

Icecream

 

Stared wide-eyed at sights I’ve seen a million times in the movies.

 

NY

 

Chanced upon things from home that made me fuzzy inside.

 

Gulab jamun

 

Walked around in the sunlight with the handsomest man in town.

 

Sunnies

 

And then there was this.

 

Steak 12

 

The best steak I’ve ever eaten and cooked.

 

Something has to be said about the meat, particularly beef, that’s available here. If you buy the right stuff, you will be able to taste the quality.

 

The recipe came from a friend who actually tutored me through the process while I cooked it. It was the very talented, rather funny and mighty cute Madhu Menon.

 

It all began with some very, very good meat.

 

Steak 2

 

Just look at the marbling on that.

 

Steak 3

 

A good steak doesn’t need much, but it definitely needs aromatics and fat. Here are the aromatics.

 

Steak 4

 

And here’s the fat!

 

Steak 5

 

Also needed – a heavy cast-iron skillet that works your biceps each time you pick it up.

 

Steak 6

 

Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to give this beauty a good massage.

 

Steak 7

 

Drop it in the smokin’ hot pan.

 

Steak 8

 

Then some quick searing on both sides.

 

Steak 9

 

Throw in the aromatics and keep flipping.

 

Steak 10

 

Rest it a while – poor thing’s been flipping in a hot pan for ya!

 

Steak 11

 

And just look – a perfect medium-rare.

 

Steak 1

 

Serve with a fresh arugula salad. Yum!

 

Steak 13

 

Here’s the more detailed recipe:

 

Dry-aged Ribeye and Arugula salad

 

Recipe from: Madhu Menon

 

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins, plus resting time
Serves: 2

 

Ingredients:

 

approx. 1 lb dry-aged boneless rib-eye steak
salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to season
1 tbsp tallow or butter
2 tbsp unsalted butter
5-6 cloves of garlic, sliced
fresh rosemary, bruised

 

For the Arugula salad

 

1 packet fresh baby arugula leaves
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

 

Method:

 

1. Take the steak out of the freezer and place in the fridge 45 minutes before you want to start cooking. Once you’re ready to cook, take the steak out of the fridge. Put the cast-iron skillet on a high heat and get it smoking. Season your steak with salt and pepper generously and massage it into the meat on both sides.
2. Add the tallow to the hot skillet and then place the steak in the pan – you should hear a good loud sizzle. After about a minute and a half, lift one corner to see if it’s brown. If yes, then flip over and do the same on the the other side for another minute and half. You should have a brown crust.
3. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for about 6 minutes on each side, flipping every 2 minutes (6 flips in all!). After the first 3 flips, add the butter, garlic, and rosemary. As the aromatic butter melts, use a spoon to scoop it up and pour it back on the steak, basting both sides of the steak.
4. I like my steak medium-rare, so this is when I took it off the heat. Keep it on for a couple more minutes if you like yours more done. Rest the steak on a plate for about 5 minutes.
5. For the salad, mix the lemon juice, honey, and oil and season. Pour over the arugula and toss. Cut the steak and serve with the juices from the pan and the salad.

 

This dish is proof that the best food comes from good quality ingredients and non-fussy cooking.

 

Also, it shows me that good food will always be a comfort in times of unfamiliarity and sadness. It will be your ray of warmth in the cold.

 

I’ve always said food is magical. I know this is true – because it always makes things better:)

 

Change is always hard but it’s impossible to have new adventures without them. I hope you will join me in this new journey – it promises to be mighty fun:)

 

Read Full Post »

Hello! No, I’m not dead. I haven’t been abducted. Aliens haven’t beamed me back to my home planet. Yet.


Something did happen to me though, that will adequately explain my long absence.


Something rather exciting.


It involved beautiful red and white flowers.


Red and white flowers


A Cathedral in all its finery.


Cathedral in its finery


Friends from near and far.


Friends from near and far


All looking utterly fabulous.


Friends from near and far 2


A night of crazy dancing.


Night of crazy dancing


A puppy that didn’t let me go.


Puppy


My best girls all dressed up and gorgeous.


My best girls


A brother who killed the dance floor.


Brother


A mother who held on tight when I needed her the most.


Mother


A father who lit up the room with his smile.


Father


Some babies who looked cute enough to eat.


Babies 1


Like seriously, look at this one!


Baby 2


A magical, magical mini cupcake tower.


Cupcake tower


An adorable vintage car.


Vintage car


A sermon no one will easily forget.


Sermon


A choir that moved us to tears.


Choir


Old friends.


Old friends


And new.


New friends


A walk to remember.


Walk


And this wonderful man.


Man


Have you guessed yet?


I got married!😀


Got married 1


Got married 2


It’s been such an incredible experience, such an amazing time and everyone involved just made it the most memorable event ever for us.


10450312_10155128247780576_5129311685681884098_o


Does that adequately explain my absence?


Okay okay congratulations and all that, but where are the cupcakes we came here for, I hear you ask.


Here they are!


DSC01406


I made these sinful, boozy Amarula cupcakes with adorable sugar moustaches adorning them:)


DSC01403


Why moustaches?


Because they’re dedicated to my husband who is rockin’ a pretty marvellous beard right now:)


Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 9.14.37 pm


The cakes aren’t too sweet, but have a hint of the creamy Amarula, while the buttercream frosting is loaded with the stuff so you can really taste the delicious South African liqueur.


DSC01418


For those who aren’t familiar, Amarula is cream liqueur made from the fruit of the African Marula tree, which incidentally elephants love to eat (how cute!) and it’s similar in taste and texture to the more well-known Baileys Irish Cream.


Here’s how to make them:)


Amarula cupcakes


Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Makes: 6


Ingredients:


60 g flour, sifted
60 g ground sugar, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
60 g butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp warm milk
4-5 tbsp Amarula cream
sugar decorations (optional)


For the Amarula frosting


60 g butter, softened
100 g icing sugar, sifted (plus more if needed)
5-6 tbsp Amarula cream (depending on consistency desired)


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 180º C and line a 6-hole cupcake tray with paper liners. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together. Add the butter, vanilla extract, egg, milk and mix well until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the Amarula cream and mix throughly. Spoon into the cupcake liners.
2. Bake for 10-12 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.
3. For the frosting, mix the ingredients together, adding the Amarula a little at a time until you have a fluffy frosting. Add more icing sugar to thicken if needed.
4. Pipe or cover the cooled cupcakes with frosting and top with a sugar decoration if you like.


DSC01407


Thank you dear readers, for staying. I am back now. And I’m not leaving.


Yours,
Mrs Culinarystorm


PS- All the professional wedding pictures were taken by Kuntal and Nat. Check them out – they’re pretty awesome:)

Read Full Post »

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


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 134 other followers