Vegan Pavlova with Praline Cream from New Zealand

Because my sweet tooth knows no bounds, because sugar in all its versatile glory never fails to lure me, because I’m forever on a quest to bake the day away, sometime last year, I indulged in a little project….. The One Sweet World Project. The desire was to usher sweetness that suffuses every corner of this beautiful world. The goal was to learn, immerse and finally, devour. Owing to distractions(delicious ones, I’ll admit), the plan endured a halt. However, perhaps 2018 will see the light of day.

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A slip of sunshine: Blood Orange Galette

“Dear Mother Nature,
I’m entirely seduced by this shimmering blanket swathing the earth. Barren trees revealing gnarled branches, tangled and peppered with snow, they soar unbounded into grey clouds. Frozen icicles precariously cemented to ledges make for enough drama on mundane days and snow dusted church rooftops make for visions that for years, I’ve only vicariously lived through books. Playful mists of breath, tiny impressions of pigeon feet on unblemished snow, ripples of water vanishing into rock …..may the enthusiasm never temper, may the joy never recede,may the beauty never fade.
However, there are times when I find myself pining for a slip of sunshine, just a sliver. Wishful thinking, I know. Fortunately, that coerces me to navigate into other avenues. Therefore, at the moment, I will resort to the warm rhapsody of the blood orange. Blood Oranges are peeled are laid on a a sourdough galette base, slathered with blood orange marmalade,  baked warm and devoured fresh. This is our slip of sweet sunshine this cold, winter morning. Our golden gild.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding from the United Kingdom

My affiliation to desserts hardly comes as a surprise. Early on, it may have to do with possessing a sweet tooth or perhaps being amid sugar devotees. However, with my culinary learnings, I’ve learnt also, that the desire to bake or create desserts bears no relation with my love for consuming sugar. Meaning, even on days when I’m sugar-starving(by choice), I find myself hankering for the rumbling sound of my stand mixer as it punches and mangles a robust babka dough, the perfume emanating from a slit vanilla bean pod and the disarrayed crackle top of an 8×8″ brownie. After a 10 day vacation traipsing around Croatia this summer, our home bound flight back seemed devoid of melancholy only because my restless mind conspired to bake a crostata with figs and sweet port-simmered onions. Although, I did christen it with a quirkier name, “It’s been 10 days since I’ve baked. I miss the oven” crostata. Jet lag was forced to take a back seat.

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A Letter to the Elusive Vegan French Macaron

An Overworked Kitchen
Toronto, Canada
February 13th, 2017

Dear Vegan Macaron,
Bonjour!
You have seemingly become one of the most profound culinary discoveries this decade, much to the delight of enthusiastic vegans & vegetarians such as myself. A riveting creation with bloggers and foodies responding maniacally(again,such as me). Stalwarts in veganism have challenged & battled the ‘Egg’ to recreate the delicacy that bears little forgiveness to it’s maker. You surprisingly imitate not just the supremely elegant,tantalizing looks of your non- vegan friend but thoroughly infatuate the taste buds too. The chewy goodness and melt in the mouth factor have indubitably been captivated. You are no fake my dear, rather, an identical twin…
Allow me to abate the flattery so I can come to the point. It is of my opinion that no baker is satiated well enough until he/she masters or at the least, attempts the task of conjuring the glorious French Macaron. With this, I  begin this intense, heartfelt and veritable account of my journey with you. Please allow me to bare my heart and I pray you take no offence. I have no intention of appearing impertinent or petulant. I’m just a mad, incorrigible baker that has discovered an authentic, calming remedy for insomnia,  a learner that is on a tranquil quest to decipher the cryptic myths & mysteries of baking, and, at the bottom of it all, I’m just a soul that loves insanely, to eat, experience & live….

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Matcha Raspberry Pancakes – Eggfree

Ever since the time my grandma visited the States & learnt the art of making pancakes, they have been adored and coveted for at home. Although stores in Bangalore didn’t carry Maple Syrup at the time, she cleverly substituted it with a warm homemade sugar syrup and slowly but surely we discovered the indulgences of a sweet breakfast. Few things rival sweet wafts of simmering sugar & sizzling skillets and they’re just the remedy to ward off sleep on lazy weekend mornings.

IMG_2180They make their presence fairly often at home too and the only change I indulge in is I substituting whole wheat flour with all purpose flour owing to it’s high fibre content.
The pancakes that I’m sharing with you today, are enriched by the addition of Matcha/green tea powder. Apart from imparting an earthy flavour, they rank high on the health-foods list since they’re known to be packed with antioxidants.Tons of tart raspberries go into these pancakes as well and if I’m being honest, a pancake without berries ( in any form) is somewhat bizarre to me. To score some extra health points, I even topped them up with some overnight soaked chia seeds. They’re soft, moist, warm & addictive to say the least.
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The recipe I’ve shared makes two pancakes but just double/triple the measurements to make more.
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It would be wrong to post a pancake recipe without a mention of good ol’ IHOP. When the husband & me were in the US, midnight hunger pangs were always satiated by the delicious pancakes at IHOP. With a myriad of flavours like blueberry, chocolate, white chocolate-raspberry & strawberry banana, all stacked to perfection & dripping with  golden sticky syrup, any day is Sunday! This is where my love for pancakes grew so intense, I had to put a stop on it what with all the calorie gain and everything.
( P S. Imagine my surprise when I realised they have franchises here in Canada too)

I do hope you like & try these delicious pancakes and make your Sundays a little more magical!
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RECIPE FOR EGGLESS MATCHA RASPBERRY PANCAKES (Makes 2 pancakes)
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tbsp water
1 tbsp melted butter
100 gms fresh raspberries
1 tsp Matcha powder
METHOD

1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: Whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder and Matcha powder.
2. Add in the wet ingredients: Oil, vanilla essence, milk, water and mix very gently. If some lumps are there don’t worry about it but make sure to not overmix.
3. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes. Then add the melted butter.
4. Meanwhile, heat a non stick tava/skillet over the stove in medium heat. Spread some melted butter on top and spoon a big ladleful of batter on the tava. Top with lots of raspberries.
5. After 2-3 minutes, flip the pancake (ensuring it has achieved a nice golden brown) and cook again for a few minutes.
6. Top with more raspberries & powdered sugar.

#TIRAMISU

“…food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection.”
– E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
“Change is inevitable”, they say. Well, I’ve never been the type who fancies coffee. I’ve always been more of a “tea girl” and I still am. Naturally, I wasn’t the least bit motivated to indulge in a dessert that owes part of it’s magic to coffee. Nevertheless, a couple of months back, at an authentic Italian restaurant, as I debated with myself whether to opt for a gelato with biscotti or a tiramisu, something came over me and prompted me to finally take the plunge and give this age ol’ dessert a chance. I haven’t looked back since. My palate ostensibly decided to go on an adventure and Tiramisu for some reason decided to placate itself into a personal favorite. As you will see me describing further below, what caught my attention in particular was the perfect balance of the sweet & the bitter. Continue reading “#TIRAMISU”

CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE – Eggfree

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”
-Mae West

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“Some days are meant to be counted, some days are meant to be weighed.”
-Elizabeth Gilbert
Admittedly, my affair with the cheesecake has been rocky. The explanation is simple- Back when we were in NYC, I devoured slice after slice every so often that slowly I couldn’t help but drift away. Let me clarify, that didn’t stop me from baking them in my kitchen….the husband, the brothers & the students were duly pampered and rightfully indulged. It’s been a while now and after a prolonged break, I’m more than ready to begin my journey for the second time, with this decadent Chocolate Cheesecake. Continue reading “CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE – Eggfree”