Inheritance - Chicken Dum Biryani

There are many thing that we inherit from our parents and grandparents. Dum biryani is one such...it runs in our family. Starting from my late grandfather who was a pro in making them. Usually at home mutton dum biryani is made. Be it family get together, wedding and or Diwali it has always been biryani, grandpa has led the kitchen during those times. Let me tell you, almost a decade before these biryani were always made in bronze cooking pot on wooden fire. The whole process of making this is no less than a festival at home, with whole big bunch of family around. Usually the briyani is accompanied with chicken masala, raita and double ka meeta (bread halwa) is must! We kids we were aw struck with the whole making process, all mom's in the kitchen taking care of pre-preparation step, men at backyard cutting the woods, setting the fire and getting the heating right.By the time we get to eat biryani is late after noon, we end by eating a sweet pan made by grandma. But elders always looking forward to eat biryani the next day. I have admit, now I realise that biryani taste best after its one day old.....With time cooking of biryani move to gas top, the taste did diminish a bit but the essence still remains....so this Diwali I'm here to give you chicken biryani from our family recipe. Here's wishing you a very happy Diwali, may this Diwali brighten all your lives, do have a safe one ...also try to say NO to crackers!


Quiescent - Baked Pumpkin Soup

Last whole month I was totally on move, up and down between Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Paris. It was exciting and wonderful trips but.....not that I'm going to complain about travelling, I thought I should have schedule at least 3 week breaks between each trip. Well, after the storm, I curled up into my den for couple of weeks recovering (much needed I say!). 

During the days of recovery only thing I was eyeing, on the way to work through fields, was pumpkins. Belgium autumn so far has been bit nice, moist, humid and foggy. Every day the density of fog amazes me, wish there were some lakes here it would have been picturesque.....anyhow last weekend I walked to Saturday market, my most favourite activity during weekend to hunt for some fresh treasure. I did come back with last few honey melon, in season corn, pumpkin, peanut and fresh fresh walnut (This is delicious!) and lots more. Nothing makes my happier when my see my refrigerator filled with happy looking fruits and vegetable saying "eat me". Very obediently pumpkin was transformed in to this delicious pumpkin soup. It did get some good grade from fellow colleagues. I'm totally in love with pumpkin soups, if you have any other version do drop a note would love to try! 

Happy spooky autumn!


Dream - Honey Lavender cupcake with cream cheese frosting

Dream is my favourite word in dictionary. Every planned recipes, considering the fact that my unplanned recipes for blogging purpose are very rare, I dream about the prop, background, colour combinations and many more ways to make it presentable. This lavender cupcake was outcome of my long dreaming days. Wish my understanding of lighting was better few years before these pictures would have turned out more alluring. It was challenge to use flowing white and purple chiffon materials as background, which were hanged from lamp post…totally a fun photo-shoot.   

Similarly I never dreamt about the power of food blogging. The first person with whom I got connected outside work was Finla from Kitchen treasures. Even before my arrival, she checked about my arrival and all the practical help that I would be in need of. After my arrival we met in Brussels with few other food blogger. Sooner I landed at her home along with her wonderful family. Probably I was one of those few lucky people who got all the chance to eat her delicious food, and learn how to make macron from her, she is pro' in making macron. We did some good shopping together for props and kitchen; totally it was wonderful feel at home weekend. Thanks to this world of food blogging that I get to meet most beautiful people in the world, soon we are heading to Paris to meet another food blogger friend Nisha from My Kitchen antics, doesn't food blogging sound all wonderful?


Baby shower - Carrot cake and button cookies

I have been happily busy since end of June with bbq, baby shower, meeting food blogger friends, friends from Finland and Austria....we have been enjoying Belgium summer with great chocolates and beers. I have never been a beer person, but there is something about Belgian beers, its slowly growing on me, especially the fruit and light ones!

Ok folks, until I keep enjoying with my 3rd batch of good friends who will landing this Saturday in Belgium. I will let you stroll thro' the pictures from baby shower party, which I organised (Oh it was fantastic to play with blue and white). I loved playing with fondant again after a big failure from my first trial. I'm quite happy with the results this time, though I still need to work more on the fondants.     Those butterflies were made using the fondant print and I left them to dry between the chopstick to give it a feeling of flying. For some butterflies I used single colour fondant and some I mixed few colours. (Be a baby and play!) The menu for the evening was carrot cake with orange flavoured cream cheese frosting, vanilla cupcake with mascarpone frosting, button cookies, Indian home made biscuits and lemon pineapple punch.  Note, how to turn normal use and throw cups to pretty ones, wrap a fancy tape around the cup and top with some stickers, they were adorable...Also meet my old hobby crochet. 

If you still on the sunny side of the world....happy summer and happy baking! 


Simplicity! Green tea cake/pastries

The  first time I made the green tea cake was with butter cream frosting, though I enjoyed the cake, butter cream frosting was totally out of place, it didn't gel well with the cake (wrt my taste). After that series of time I tried with fresh cream, simpler but a killer combo! Few weeks before while I was in Netherlands along with a friend, we binged on most delicious sushi, chicken wings and finished it off with a scoop of green tea ice and black sesame seed ice. Black sesame seed ice cream was interesting not something I long or look forward to eat again….but green tea ice cream I always long for. Since making ice cream wasn't in agenda, I had to opt for green tea cake. Made them as sheets and layered them as little pastries along with fresh whipped cream. Everyone at the work place enjoyed it Tada!. Though this recipe was not intended for the blog purpose (no fancy pictures), I have to record them here since cake was super light and spongy! Happy baking!


Basics - Sambar Powder and Brinjal, Okra Sambar

I typed, retyped and deleted already 5 times now, will not keep this post waiting for another day...all I have to say is I'm enjoying doing basic recipe's. Fortunately or unfortunately I don't get all required spice powder's here, which has kicked the basic instinct in me to start everything from scratch. Thanks to coffee powder maker, it grounded my sambar powder beautifully. This post is heavly loaded with pictures...I did the shoot on a bright sunny day with good light diffusor (2 white curtains) and also made proper use of camera stand. Took the pictures in raw format and did minimal editing. Totally it was enjoyable recipe to make and to shoot!

Sambar powder recipe is from mom and aunt, it does't taste like commercial or something from restaurants, but i can say it has simple, beautiful and fresh flavour. I'm proud of making sambar powder by myself, considering my limitations of vegetarian cooking ability!  

Though there are so many varieties of sambar and every house has a unique way to prepare it, this is how its made at home. I prefer thicker consistency for rice and more runny for idly and vada.  

Geek note: using camera stand brought great clarity and sharpness to pictures. Will stick to it from now on, can't trust my wobbly hands anymore. Also thumbs up for pictures in raw formant, you can play a lot with it. Happy cooking peeps!


Simple things! - Apple, orange in honey orange juice - Breakfast

Good morning world!! One of my most favourite breakfast is fruits, soaked almonds, milk and yoghurt! This is staple during my week days. On special days, where sanity prevails by not storming through the kitchen, neither alarmed by reminders nor there is confusion of accessories and shoe (morning blues) these fruits gets treated with generous squeeze of tangy orange juice and glossy viscous honey.  

This simple breakfast brightens my day, if it charms you as well, slice apple and orange (add in any fruit you want) squeeze one full orange, add one table spoon of honey and finally sprinkle the nuts and/or few tender leaves of mint. Thats the little heaven in your plate!


Spring time! Aviyal - Mixed Vegetable in Creamy Coconut Sauce

"People are like stained windows, they sparkle and shine when sun is out" - Elisabeth Kubler-Rose

Happy, spirited up are the day when vitamin D is activated. Yes much awaited Sun is finally here in my part of the world. Warmth, colourful blossoms and green "the" colour is just wonderful.  And all of sudden there was big shift, slipping to few 10's of degree, rain and grey sky....I was said welcome to Belgium! But flowers are still smiling, dancing along with rain and green is getting intense!  The weather and nature are like artist and poems quite unpredictable yet beautiful! 

Spring time reminds me about fresh vegetable in India and this recipe is loaded with many vegetables in coconut sauce. This is very popular recipe from south India Kerala - God's own country, which is usually is made with coconut paste, mum makes them with fresh thick coconut milk, more rich and creamy. When mum visited me in Finland in 2011, she smuggled brought all veggies and our home grown coconut and we prepared this recipe, yes two years back...I did tell you my hard drive cries most of the time for some fresh air! 

Till I enjoy the sun, rain and weekend.....you enjoy the aviyal (Mom's version, not an authentic version) and glimpse of spring from my part of my world!! 

                 Airy light papads ...or call it as flying breads

                 My mint plant is growing very happily at home!


Easter holidays! - Pan fried fish fillet

Lots of cooking, photography and shopping was my agenda during easter break. Rarely I'm focused during weekends to completely the agendas, but this holiday was exception. So there was heavy shopping, good amount of photography and mild storm in the kitchen. Pan fried fish fillet with caramelised onions was simple yet flavourful. Great thing is that it hardly takes anytime to cook. Palak dhal with ginger & pepper eggplant fry was for soul. Chicken breast in spicy tomato sauce for a cold evening. Mushroom briyani with greek yogurt enough to miss home. Wanted to end with red wine chocolate cake, not sure what went wrong it had excess moisture, which made the cake very gooey.  Have to retry this cake, because the cake had great taste and flavour of wine was tantalising! 

Wish I could share mushroom briyani recipe as well, i have great recipe from my sister but every time I jazz up the recipe according to my own mood, that I don't end up documenting here. I'm still optimising the basmathi rice I get in Belgium, I don't get aged rice so most of my food is getting mushy! Sigh! Anyhow people here is pan fried fish with caramelised onions! And hope you all had a eventful and colourful easter! 

Oh btw...Do you guys by any chance have any idea to shoo away the winter? Or may should I bribe The Summer by saying "Honey how about Tres Leches cupcake with mascarpone frosting?"....Lets see if this work, if at all weather God/Goddess reads this!!!


Hallo from Belgium! - Nigella's Chocolate Cookies

Hello folks! I'm back to Europe, more precisely in the country of chocolate, waffles, french fries - Belgium as post doctoral researcher, after a wonderful long break in India. Under extreme threats and social pressure I'm doing this blog post (read happiness included). Hopefully soon I will regain my enthusiasm for doing regular post, which I honestly want to. Belgium so far has been good, great chocolates, french fries with mayannoise (as a meal along with meat or veggies? hello excuse me? that's what i felt for the first time), now I'm getting accustomed to it, rather liking it. But still would prefer on the rainy day with salt and pepper to nibble away! Very good dairy products straight from farm, fantastic oranges, I'm totally in love these fresh bright little ones......and I'm yet to explore others. Though I know we get pretty good beer's here.... its never my territory! Aah and thanks to institutes I work, for being situated away from the city it gives me a chance to be in  picturesque cities.  Will promise to post some pictures! 

Anyhow people, this is a very basic post to say we are alive. Made this cookies to give me some energy  during tea time at work, this is third time i'm doing this cookies, totally chocolatey! Go for it, trust me it can be addictive!! To all those people who kept this space alive and running, a huge thanks. I have something very special for all my blog readers from India, so tune in for more in the coming weeks! First food pictures from Belgium, with no proper prop and setting, excuse the harsh lightings and deep shadows. 

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