Friday, November 29, 2013

A long Hiatus and then a Red Velvet Cake

“You're only human. You live once and life is wonderful so eat the damn red velvet cupcake!”

― Emma Stone

This is my first post since June. My longest hiatus ever on this blog.
I will not elaborate on the reasons why- But the fact is I am back on this blog- not sure for how long, or how consistent I will be, but I am definitely going to try.
Amongst the various other things that have happened, a lot of baking and cooking surely did. This post is special- especially after the hiatus, but then it was celebratory and also made me push my boundaries a bit.
The red velvet cake was done as a part of the celebratory cakes; this time for the mother-in-law. A lot of red, a hint of gold, this one was quite appropriate.

The recipe was adapted from the 2 baking goddesses.
For the cake, Nigella's recipe here

And for the cream cheese frosting, Martha Stewart's recipe here.
For all those who shy away from this very popular, seemingly complicated cake, It is one of the simplest ever, leading to astounding results. Do try. After all, we are only human and cake is just one of those things worth living for.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Baked Potato- Guest Post by NB

This post is one of my favourite dishes- and by one of my favourite persons.
An art in itself, its perfect for a night in- some comfort food, and a movie night in. A combined effort by SB, and the little RB and NB, I have been lucky enough to have this meal with them. A fond memory :) And I am glad they have shared this with me. Personally, I love this as it is with some bacon on top.

Hi, I am NB. I am 10 years old and this is my first post. Something I can eat any time of the year and day is the delicious baked potato topped with cheese, green onions, bacon bits and sour cream. This dish is even better when you eat it with delicious spicy wings. 

To get started use a good starchy potato like Idaho or Russet. White or Gold potatoes come close to the real thing but aren’t my first choice. Wash the spuds thoroughly to remove any dirt. Wipe dry with a cloth. 

Pierce the potatoes with a fork. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and salt.
Bake directly on the rack at 350 Deg F for about an hour. Some recipes call for wrapping the potato in aluminum foil. I believe putting the potato directly on the rack produces the perfect combination of crispy skin and fluffy center. Adjust the cooking time to the size of the potato. 

Now is the fun part, when we get to top the potato. Split the potato down the middle lengthwise. You can pretty much put what you like. I have used shredded cheese, green onions, sour cream and Bacon bits on my potato. 
I love this dish and this is one of my personal favorites. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Traditional Custard- Guest Post by Shikha Bajaj

Most often, it is the good old dish, that brings a smile to my face.
Having not been so regular with posting, my SIL has come to my rescue again, with a post that is definitely one of my favourites. Like she says, the traditional custard, conjures childhood memories for me too. In fact, Most often it was one of my most favourite desserts as a kid. Even later, in my years in London, for a short time when I was staying in a student hostel while looking for a house, I would come back to the hostel cafetaria only to eat the best custard ever. For all those who love custard, and don't want the artificial flavouring that comes out of a box- this is The Recipe to try.

Growing up in India, I always thought Custard was one of those things that happened when you mixed milk with that powder that came in a box. At best, you ate it with seasonal and dry fruits. Honestly it was one of those desserts that I could not be forced to partake if my life depended on it.

My husband on the other hand loved it. He loved it as a child, and loves it now. For him, it was a dessert that brought back childhood memories. It has taken me close to fifteen years of being married to finally appreciate this dessert.

I have found a recipe that is simple but gives truly delectable results. I hope you like it too.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Spinach and Babycorn Bake

This recipe has been lying in my folder for months.
And with all the celebratory posts taking up all of May- I have finally found time to post this one up.
In the last few weeks, I have been surrounded by ironically, many conversations of food habits. Through my growing up years, in our household, we were not allowed to ‘not Like’ any vegetables. You just had to eat what was made. What a brilliant idea- any parent would wonder. I guess my parents did too. So, till date, both me and brother are happy eating baingan ka bharta, lauki, karela, and these have become dishes, we both miss now that we are away from home. In fact, when we do go back for meals- These are things that we ask our mom for. Lucky her- I am sure her joys hold no bound, when her son asks for baingan ka bharta on his first day back home.
As an adult in my 30’s I couldn’t agree less.  But what it has done is that this has spoilt me a little. I now think that since all my childhood, I have been a good kid, eating everything possible, today,  I have the liberty to use my tastes and likings to not have things that I don’t like, or at least when made a certain way. One such dish is Beans aloo (Traditional Indian Beans and Potatoes). I love beans, but when they are nice and crisp, grilled or otherwise, as an accompaniment to a flavoured grilled chicken or even in garlicky pasta. Over the years, Beans aloo is one dish I just do not enjoy. It’s also funny, how both ak and his mom love it and hence it will always be a part of my culinary life. Ironically, I have become a bit of a fussy eater, only with age. Guess that’s what age does and I only hope it doesn’t get worse.
This post is not about Beans- it is actually about spinach. What beans is to me, is what spinach is to many others I know- especially a lot of kids. Another one of those vegetables that many people don’t like or begin to not like with age. I however, love this baked dish with spinach and corn or mushrooms, and the combination of crunchy corn with soggy, garlicky spinach is perfect. The reason I am posting a bake, is because in the current heat of Delhi, when one wants to spend little time in the kitchen, this dish can be prepared well in advance when entertaining or even for a simple dinner, served with bread and a salad. Its nutritious benefits- I guess I don’t even need to talk about. Do try- The flavours are immense.
p.s. an alternate version with Broccoli can be found here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bloggers Table @ IICA, New Delhi

Food is what brings people together. A fact that we all are aware of, but often forget. A lot of us even take food for granted, eat only to stay alive etc. Although I find it hard to believe, because food is a very important part of my life, and always has been, for a lot of people, they just eat for the sake of eating and some don’t even enjoy their food. Maybe it is to do with my very Punjabi roots where every meal was crucial, and till date a lot of thought and effort goes into menus and food preparation. My Dad, loves to go spend his early part of Sunday, thinking of an exotic breakfast, even if it means picking up the famous puri-channa from one part of Delhi, and then picking up meat and fruit in the second half for the week. I guess, I may not have traits of a food connoisseur, but I definitely inherit the appreciation for good quality produce and food at large.  My brother is no less- he shares his food experiences miles away, with us through our i-devices. Thanks to the time difference, I see it first thing in the morning on my phone and most often, all I can say is Yum.
                Anyhow, food amongst other things is what has connected me and old school friend again, and we have been catching up. She is on her way to a wonderful new adventure which is sort of food related, and it was coincidental that I happened to meet her the day I got invited for a Blogger’s Table event, hosted by the International Institute ofCulinary Arts (IICA), New Delhi. She agreed to be my plus one, for this very interesting vent. One doesn’t get to savour a lot of French cuisine in Delhi often, and I was looking forward to it. IICA is associated with the Indian Culinary Forum and offers various programs and hobby courses for those interested in French cooking and patisserie. Founded by Chef VS Datta, the institute is a family-run business, offering multiple programs, suited to all audiences.
               The hosts were gracious, and took us all (Me, Sid, Charis, Mukta, Aishwarya and Himanshu) for a tour of the campus and a sneak- peek into the kitchen where the chefs were busy dressing up the meal that lay ahead.
Along with a Salade Nicoise, we were served an assortment for freshly baked bread. This was followed by the Classic French Onion Soup (Soupe a l' Oignon) and Pan-seared sole fish with sautéed spinach. The soup was nice- lighter than what I have had on many occasions in France- but I assume anything heavier would not work for the 45 degrees C in Delhi.  We were informed that this was also because the original beef broth was replaced by chicken broth. Oh, what a pity!
The Poulet Saute Chasseur (Hunter style chicken) was the dish that worked for everyone on the table, and for me, more than the chicken; the bundled vegetables were a great idea. This was followed by a Mango and cream based dessert- Mangue Romanoff that we had seen being dressed up earlier with the caramel sticks; the dessert floored everyone and everyone licked their glasses clean.  I am a bit spoilt when it comes to cream, and anything slightly liquidy or frothy just doesn’t work. But the flavours and the blend were just right I guess.
More than the food, I think the IICA is a great place for those who need an avenue to discover food as a passion. They have a lot of offerings and are happy to customize, for everyone. As far the Bloggers Table is concerned, everyone of course, had a lot of fun. 
Here is what the others have to say:
Mukta Varma @ Bake-a-mania

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lemon Tarts- The classic from Raymond Blanc

The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit.
Thomas Malory
The Regular readers of this blog would be wondering at the frequency of the posts this month. March onwards; I have a lot of birthdays and anniversaries. April- May really are hectic months for birthdays- There are days, when I know of 3 people at least, who share their birthdays on the same day. This has been enough cause for me to get my baking act together. It also gives me a chance to challenge myself with my baking. This birthday dessert was decided a long time back, when I discovered that my sister-in-law finds lemon tarts irresistible- and I had decided then itself, that for her birthday, I am going to try these. I started the research for the right recipe almost a week back- As simple as they may seem, I figured that this was going to be a lengthy process and one that would need precision. Luckily, it was a Saturday- and with no prior commitments until 4 pm- I decided to embark on the Classic French Tart journey.
It was one of discovery, learning, and of course some disappointments on the way. I am moderately happy with the results and I know that the next time around when I bake these again- I have to achieve perfection.  The error was in the baking time- I left them in the oven for almost 5 extra minutes- and by the time they cooled, they developed slight cracks. While baking I remembered a friend M discussing with me the other day- that it was easy to adapt a recipe- but it is quite challenging to follow it to the T and achieve desired results. I guess that is true for most baking. Even though my Sister-in-Law is far away, we honoured the traditional cutting ceremony- through the world of modern technology. The audience was happy with results- I believe I got the flavours right. By the time the birthday girl is here next- I hope to have perfected these. For those who love classic tarts, do try this one from the renowned Raymond Blanc recipe here.  A great summery birthday treat.

p.s. Since it was a trial, I only made half the quantity.

For the recipe, Visit the website here.
Tips: Do follow the techniques to the T. Take out the tarts from the oven, before they are done.
I did not use a blender at all- I think that really works.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tiramisu Cake

In the last few months, I have learnt to appreciate everything in my life a lot more. It's not that I didn't earlier; it is just that I am more aware of it, and also recognize the little bits more often.
                       From life, health, friends to family, work and even the basics around me, I am glad to have each of these in my life- in all forms. Most often, we never appreciate the things around us- and so I thought of baking something special for each of the immediate family members, to express my gratitude to them and thank them for being there, always. I got the idea a bit late in March with my brother’s birthday (find the cake here) , and I ended up missing 2 very important birthdays earlier this year in January and February of 2 of the best kids that I have known. To compensate, I will be baking some of their favourites when I see them later this year.
                 Coming back to the present, after the teeny disaster of my mom’s birthday cheesecake (more information here), I decided to play it extra safe, and invest some more effort later in the same week for my parents’ anniversary cake.  Although my brother rightly pointed out our feelings of gratitude towards them- something to the effect of how we have always got things served in a silver platter, and we can only begin with a stainless steel one, for me, I don’t think I will able to put it down in any number of words. Apart from the many things that I’m glad for, I think the one thing that I appreciate each day, and more as I grow older, is the flexibility and the freedom that our parents encouraged us with to go out there, discover who we are and expose ourselves to the Big, bad world. So what if we made/make the mistakes, they were always there to support us. If it wasn't for their undoubted faith in me, I wouldn't have had the experiences that I did, and I don’t think I would be the person I am. Even when we have lacked the confidence, our parents have shown more than a 100% confidence in the both of us. And this is true till date. So, thank you. This one is especially for you.
                 Back to the anniversary, Since both of them love the little alcohol in their desserts and chocolates, I decided to bake a tiramisu flavoured cake for them. I baked the cakes using my 2 new layered cake pans the night before (yes, I am showing off- I can’t believe my baking collection is building up so fast), and decided to do the frosting the next day morning. The cake has a hint of the tiramisu flavour- for kids; one can skip the coffee and the liqueur. For adults, who appreciate the alcohol a bit more, double the quantity of the liqueur. A simple frosting cake- perfect for occasions. Do try.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eggless Mango Oreo Cheesecake (or Strawberry)

Do you believe in Signs?
I do. I try not to – but somehow always end up reading moments, songs, and people, as signs of something related to me or my life. I try really hard- but inevitably, something will make me feel that this is that power up there’s way of showing me something- as if someone is trying to tell me something and I must not be naïve, and just get it!

So today morning, when I checked my mail, 3 of the many food bloggers who I follow regularly, had posted about imperfections.

How ironic! This was a sign for me. And this sign comes in the morning after a big disaster in my own kitchen- I dropped a cake dish with a set biscuit base for the cheesecake that I was making for my mom’s birthday yesterday. I was halfway through taking photographs, it was the perfect dish (which I absolutely love), and just the right size- and guess what? While taking it out of the freezer, the usually not so clumsy, ol’ me dropped it. It was truly heart-breaking, just about 4 hours before we had to leave. The filling was about to set, and so, I instantly dropped the idea of making the cake, and called up Ak to buy one instead. Birthdays are just not complete without cakes. And this happened just after I had decided, that I will bake a cake for every single member in our family, no matter what part of the world they are in. (the first in the series is here). There goes my plan.

Anyhow, so while Ak was given the task of getting an eggless cake to compensate for my strawberry cheesecake, I embarked upon the task of rescue. The filling was due to set anytime soon- so I had no time to set another biscuit base. Ak, in his effort to cheer me up decided that he wanted some mini cheesecake shots with an oreo base. That was simple. I made a couple with a digestive biscuit base for my dad, and finally used up the rest as a mousse’ish filling set in ramekins. Turns out, it wasn’t so bad after all, as we all got manageable breakfast dessert.

Of course, imperfections and disasters happen all the time in our kitchen- and they definitely happen a lot in mine. Most often, the rescue task is not even accounted for- but on these moments, I often read it as a bad sign, finding it hard to see the positive. It is only later in the evening, when the mothers proclaimed that breaking a dish on a birthday is supposedly a good sign, and then the posts today morning made me realise something I had been failing to acknowledge- As much as I believe that I give up on failure, Picking up pieces and crafting the best out of what is left is not so much a turmoil after all, leaving me often with a pleasant consequence. I just need to remember that more often.

I had recently made a mango cheesecake for a dinner at home, which was lying in my drafts ready to be posted. I had been caught up with work and had been unable to post it. With the mango cheesecake, I used oreo cookies to heighten the contrast. Both the mango cheesecake and this ‘to be strawberry cheesecake’ were to be separate posts- but in this utter mess of cheesecakes, I am posting them together. For everyone reading this, do try the cheesecake for an egg-less celebration or a light, fruity summer dessert. And for those, out there like me, in case you end up with a broken cheesecake crust, do compensate for the imperfections in your life, with these mini strawberry cheesecake shots.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kaanji- Guest Post by Shikha Bajaj

So, I have yet another guest post by my gracious SIL who has managed to document a recipe very close to my heart. Traditionally, most Indian people know of kanji as a winter drink. The very mention of the word conjures fond memories of my maternal grandmother, who was the only person I ever knew who would make yummy kanji. Winter vacations, were always associated with yummy gaajar achaar and kanji. She passed away a long time back, the tradition moved on to my mother and when I got married, I found kanji again being made, every winter by my mother-in-law. For the sake of posterity and to honour and continue the tradition, I’m glad that my SIl decide to document this one and that we will have the benefit to carry this custom forward. The best part is: the recipe was tested far away in the US, and the photographs were taken here; a complete cooperative effort.

Kanji is truly a family recipe. One of my earliest and fondest childhood memories is that of my great grandmother and her huge ceramic martabaans (jugs) of kanji.
In the winter afternoons, we would all settle down on the verandah of the ancestral home in Amritsar looking forward to an afternoon of the winter sun. These lazy afternoons were always accompanied by cool glasses of this mildly sour beverage, a bit of gossip and a lot of fun.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Speedy Shrimp - Guest Post by Shikha Bajaj

The blog has been silent for a while. No matter what I try, I am finding it hard to document all the cooking that has been happening. A great Mutton dish, the perfect greek salad recipe, a new way to eat healthy vegetable lasagna and many more recipes, are lying all in the various tummies and in my head. Mystically, To break the silence, and get the action rolling on the blog, my wonderful SIL, decided to send me this shrimp recipe with butter and lime, all the way across the seven seas. And what a wonderful way to start the day with this in your inbox :). Ironically, I never liked shrimp, until I had it on my visit to her place last year. I am a convert for sure, and after testing this recipe- I am sure you will be one too.
p.s Thanks for sharing this Didi. and a special thanks to the Sous Chef- I could see the little hands working hard! 

Nobody doesn't like shrimp.

This recipe to cook Shrimp (with butter and lime) is one of the quickest dishes one can make. It quite literally takes 15 minutes from start to finish.
Prepare your serving dish first. I like to use a bed of mixed greens. I happened to have some Radicchio, Frisee, Chard and Arugula (also known as rocket) mix in the fridge, so that is what I used. I am trying to eat better and recently went overboard in the produce section at whole foods.

Although the shrimp is the star of this show, my personal favorite part is at the end when I get to polish off the salad mixed in with the flavoured sauce.

Thanks Tanya for letting me do a guest post. I love your blog.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Perfect Chocolate Cake

My search for the perfect dense chocolate cake that can be used for layers has been on forever.
Ive spent the last year or so, attempting many a cakes, from various books and blogs and websites..but have not managed to find that perfect, quick and simple recipe that can be used for a simple cake, which could be dressed up in layers for a fancy occasion cake. Most often, the cake does not rise enough- and no, I don’t have 2 identical pans yet to bake them separately. I follow the traditional technique of slicing up the cake. After this recipe though, I will definitely buy 2 identical pans; the cake was so soft and moist and most importantly- well-risen, that I have decided to have some fun with layered cakes for all occasions this year. People around me should be glad- they may be treated to cakes, maybe often enough.
Anyhow, coming back to this cake, It was my little brother’s birthday –the other Ak in my life (well- not so little actually), who is far away, across the seas, studying hard to become one of the fancy management men, who will hopefully teach me a thing or two about managing a business.  At the moment, it is the husband Ak, who’s constantly teaching me more than just two things. Since the brother and me have been in different cities for the last many birthdays and I have been wanting to bake a cake for my dad for a while as well, I decided to bake a special chocolate cake- celebrating the chocolate lover’s birthday. Often, when I cook, I think of the brother and how much he would have enjoyed it, and then message him a picture. This time, though, I decided to find the perfect recipe, just for him. We all got together, celebrated with nice Punjabi dinner outside, and then came back home- to facetime the cake-cutting ceremony in two different time zones.  

I found the recipe on the Hershey’s website- It’s just BRILLIANT.
For most beginners at baking, I would recommend this website- I don’t think that I have tried anything here that has failed. The recipe was quick, since I didn't have much time before we left for dinner. I dressed up the cake (in the centre and on top) using the traditional frosting that I use- recipe can be found here, and then just garnished with roasted almonds and sprinkles.

The cake took an hour from start to finish- including baking time. Who said baking special birthday cakes was a challenge? Everyone thought the cake was quite pretty- and I already know I am baking it again this week. 
For the recipe, visit the Hersheys Website. (No- they  didn't sponsor this post! I do hope I get a lifetime's supply of cooking chocolate though)
p.s. In the rush, I used 3 eggs instead of 2- Although I am sure, that using 2 would be just fine. Unfortunately, due to the rush, there are no photographs of the process as well. The cake is so simple though- noone would need step-by step photographs.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bloggers Table: Cypus Food festival, Eros Hotel (Hilton), New Delhi

Middle-Eastern food always fascinates me. In fact as I write this post, I have just finished cooking a Lebanese spread for some friends. So when The Blogger’s Table was invited to the Cypriot festival at Eros Hotel managed by Hilton, Nehru Place, New Delhi, I was pretty excited. This was more so because I had missed the Table’s events in the last few months- and I was looking forward to meeting everyone.
It was a perfect winter evening, not too cold; just right to be outside in the garden. The Spread was extensive, with a very elaborate menu. Unlike Traditional Indian hosting style, the focus was not on the appetizers but instead on the Main Course spread, which comprised of a wide range of salads, and anti-pastis. After a brief introduction on the festival itself and the chefs, Cocktails were served with a variety of marinated olives, crackers and a creamy yogurt dip. Other appetizers were pickled calamari, filled chicken breast roulade with poppy seed bread and tomato/feta mousse on multigrain bread. The flavors were nice, but the bread tasted like it had been laid out for hours.
Coming back to the Main course, Personally, for me, this was the best part of the evening. The salads were unique, only made with ingredients that we all use often. I loved haloumi cheese salad, even the one with white beans, the rocket and tomato salad- how simply they had removed the mozzarella, and added sesame seeds instead. 
The grills attracted a lot of attention too- people were almost queuing up. My experience was mixed- the meats could have been cooked a bit more, but maybe that’s just because there were so many people. Other traditional dishes that were a part of the menu Pork Afelia (Pork braised in red wine with crushed coriander seeds), Beef and Tavvas (Oven cooked beef and potato with cumin, onion, and tomatoes). The Keftedes (meat balls of Lamb and Chicken) were really, really good- only that they were deep fried! Freshly made, I could have gone back for a second helping of these. I did pass the pickled octopus though.
I didn’t try much of the desserts, but the ones made out of phyllo were nice. The festival offers a great variety of food, for those interested in a lavish spread. If you are a foodie and someone interested in a wider experience of Turkish food, the festival offers a great variety.

Others at the Table were :

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chocolate and Strawberry Cake

Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt and dance like no one is watching.
- Randall G Leighton

No- this blog has not died yet. At least, not as of now. And Yes, I Know it’s been a while since I posted.
A lot happened since the last cake that I baked, and it’s almost after a month and a half that I baked something today. And while going through the camera, I found this. I realized that I must post this wonderful cake that I had baked early on for a New Year celebration, simply because it looks so pretty.  Also, it being Valentine’s, which I’m not really much of a believer in- This cake is perfect for those who would want to indulge in the reds and strawberries and the chocolate.  I adapted the Sponge Recipe from Passionate AboutBaking- one of my favourite blogs, and did the icing myself from a unique trial and test that I have done over the years. A must try, very simple to bake, this cake disappears sooner than one would imagine- the cousins for whom it was made, finished it within 24 hours. Serve it with some whipped cream or a scoop of Vanilla or simply have a slice by itself.
Most often, despite the troubles, it is only the simple things that add joy to our life.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spanish Tapas - Guest Post by The other Ak

Today was cook 'n' play day. I finally bought a squash racquet and after playing for an hour, came back home to make this spanish tapas and keema and chicken. Since, i haz already perfected the latter 2 dishes (refer previous mails),this mail is only about the tapas. Here is the latest khana from my khazana i.e. the latest entry in my cooking journal which I call the "Ajay Jadeja Chronicles" coz i refer to it jab mujhe "bhookie" lagti hai.

Smoked salmon (50-70g per person)
2-3 slices of Bread
2 Eggs

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Grilled Sole Fish with vegetables

I am not a Fish person.
Yes, I know it is extremely healthy, rich in many nutrients, and is a leading fad in health cooking- But no, I don’t like fish, its taste, its smell and everything that goes with it. And the irony in my life is – That Ak loves fish. And I know that health wise; I need the fish in my system. Hence, last year, I Had decided to add fish to our intake of food, at least through the winter. I really like an oriental steamed fish recipe, learnt at a Thai cooking class that I used very often, but decided to innovate with the fish this year, in the hope that I will find one that I really love. Also, once I continued to cook with fish over a period of time- I discovered that Sole is a wonderful fish for the not so fishy- people.
Sole Fish, I had discovered last year- is good to cover up for Vitamin D Deficiency. Hence, we had a lot of Steamed Sole last year. I had begun to like the taste, and this year, was looking for some grilled sole recipes. The Italian Cooking Encyclopaedia is really a book I recommend; mostly all recipes tested and adapted from it have ensued wonderful results. Sole is a flat fish, and getting the perfect grilled lemon sole is really an art in fish-cooking. The recipe that I am sharing here is certainly one to try and play around with. It is one that is adapted from a grilled recipe from the book mentioned - but with added flavours and accompaniments that make it a perfect meal, even for those not so fond of fish. Welcome to the world of fish!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pecan and Ricotta Cake

Today, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.
Hannah Bowns
Tis the New year. 2013.
And I will begin with the cliché’ of not knowing how quickly this year flew by. And I will begin with Gratitude for everything- the good and the bad and of course the lessons learnt.
So much Happened, on the work front- I can’t believe, that I am an entrepreneur. I have finally decided to move forward with Epistle- the last year was spent trying, testing, learning, and unlearning; and all of it was done in a shy, obscure manner. One of the challenges for the New Year will be to step out of the concealed world, out into the real one. Another will be to grow, to do more and to innovate. The onus is of course on me, and only me. Although I am not one to procrastinate, I sometimes fear the rut of daily life overtaking the desire to do more.
It’s terrific to hear encouraging words from people around me, both personally and professionally. I am at least convinced at the end of a year, that this was the right thing to do, and not a mistake. I really do have hope for Epistle. I must attribute a lot to Ak of course, and everyone else around me. Sometimes, I guess it is worth not playing it safe after all.
                     Communicooking too had its share of ups and downs- me being in an on and off relationship with it. However, I have almost been consistent. A lot of cooking was done- and some great recipes were discovered. The Blogger’s Table was a good kick- in the right direction. Making me do more, strive for more. To more cooking in 2013.
Also, something a friend shared for New Year- Great thought to begin with.

I decided to bring in the New Year by caking not one, but 2 new cakes. And Yes, I Challenged myself by not opting for what I already knew, and by going in for the unknown. The results were good and bad. I have discovered that cakes don’t always need to rise; and some authentic recipes just mildy rise. The recipe that I will share is adapted one from my current favourite-The Italian Encyclopedia- A Walnut and Ricotta cake which I adapted to be a Pecan and Ricotta Cake. The flavours are complicated and progressive; on begins to like it more, as the piece in the mouth melts. The cake is just perfect for a cold wintery afternoon tea. Best served warm, and fresh. Perfect start to New Beginnings.

p.s. Thanks to Ak for the photography capture through the day. Don’t miss the Pink Highlights.

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