Happy New Year - Chocolate Kiwi - Mousse Cake

Another year is coming to an end, and it has a been a glorious end, with me designated as Dr.Ananda Rajashekar. I'm yet to come back from state of elation. It was a beautiful experience, hard to describe in few words with a nervous start in the morning, then gradually getting engrossed in conveying my 6 yrs of research followed by hours of thoughtful discussion.... The day ended with great party with most dear people, cherished speech, gifts and their love.....A day I enjoyed the most and a day I would remember for life! Will write more in detail with pictures soon! 


D-Day coming up!!

The date I will be defending my thesis is on Dec 16th. Join me and send me all your wishes. You all have been a part of my PhD journey. Without all your good wishes the day wouldn't be complete. Thesis is ready, this is the copy of pre-print version (today i'm correcting printing errors). Presentation is ready, wardrobe is ready, venue, menu all set and organised. I'm excited equally nervous.... Sigh!!....all I  dream of is  my opponent whipping and baking me as a cake!

Here goes my invitation and copy of my thesis to you all  :) will get back pretty soon! 


A guest post by Devaki Das from Weave Thousand Flavors - Cantina Carnitas, Soft Tacos and Pico De Gallo.

Oh I miss being here, its been a month i logged in to see what is happening so many new comments and appreciation, sorry lovely people, last four week has been hysterical. I hardly slept but  now i'm bit on the relaxed side. Yesterday I submitted my articles and thesis for pre-examination. Officially my dissertation date is also marked, its 16th of Dec, my opponent is from IBM, USA:  I'm pretty excited, getting ready for open war haha...have less than a month to get prepared, fingers crossed, will put my best foot forward to work harder....shall soon post in my invitation for dissertation and party ...get prepared  to join me :)


A guest post by Anamika Arun from Taste Junction - Aloo Paneer Kofta in Makhni Gravy

My fingers are still dancing on key boards non stop! I never thought that writing thesis would need creativity, it not only needs some but a LOT taking away all the oxygen and blood from brain. There is no realization of what day it is or if at all it is morning or night. Though I knew this how it will be, living thro' it is very challenging. Am waiting for my mom to arrive to give me a hug and a bowl of warm food...sometime to get to kitchen for a simple dinner is like moving a mountain!


A guest post by Kankana Saxena from Sunshine & Smile - Cream Puffs filled with Strawberry and Mascarpone

I'm trying my best to keep up with race of time, it is ridiculously running fast, possibly there is no way I could make it go bit slow.....sigh! Anyways I have started writing my thesis and the D day is not so far...shall keep you all posted as soon as it gets official, there is endless list of things to complete, send me good wishes folks, to reach the red line!

This week guest post is from Kankana of Sunshine & Smile chirpy young lady, exactly as her blog name says, very positive and encouraging! She never fails to impress me with every single post she makes. She is one among my friends with whom I very quickly gelled with, at-least from few emails I felt she is like my childhood friend, she being so organised tolerated my absent-mindedness. Thank you Kankana for coming over and making such a gorgeous dessert. Let me say it was a surprise dessert for me, thought I knew its gonna be a dessert I hardly knew wat it was....and these little darlings made my morning a day before. They took me to the days in Rome where I indulged in Sicilian dessert, as soon my defense is over I'm sure to bake them. So people jump over to Sunshine & Smile not only for her wonderful and indulging recipes but her beautiful pictures....you are sure to get hooked ...few fav of mine are  ohh mushrooms,  Rosemary in cookies  and Baigan bharta pizza

Thanks a lot Ananda for inviting me over to your gorgeous space. It's truly an honor! 

I visited Ananda's blog few months back and fell in love with it immediately, the layout, the photography and her baking skill, she is one talented girl. We became friends very quickly and with her busy schedule, we hardly get time to chat much but we stay connected. And when she said ’my heart always beats for sweets, anytime of the day', I wanted to make something sweet for her.

I am not much of a sweet tooth person, but there are few sweet treats to which I will never say 'No' and one of those is Cream Puffs. After some serious thought and hours of internet browsing, I decided to take an attempt and bake it at home.
And thank god I did ... cause they were delicious.

I was surprised and smiling from cheek to cheek as I saw those cream puffs rising tall in the oven. Kept my fingers crossed and hoped that it doesn't fall flat after a while. It didn't and they were still standing firm when I took these out of the oven. I kept staring impatiently for these to cool down and after a while, I held one in my hand.. they were perfect (at least in my world)!

I jumped like a crazy girl, told the whole world about it and did my happy dance for a very long long time :)
I am not much of a baker and that explains why I don't have any piping bag, without which it's tough to give the puffs a neat shape. Therefore, I improvised and used a zip-lock bag as my piping bag and as you can see, the shape weren't that bad either.
After the puffs came out the way I wanted, I had to look for some filling to use and what's better than mascarpone with strawberries, right?

It took me hardly any time to whip up the filling. The best way to enjoy these puffs is to slit these in half, spread your choice of cream filling and let these chill in the refrigerator for a while.
It was all worth the wait!

Every bite was delicious.. buttery.. creamy.. and the berries made it sweet and juicy. A perfect treat with pure indulgence!


A guest post by Tanvi Srivastava from Sinfully Spicy - Tomato-Mustard Shrimp Curry

Haallo lovely people, I'm delighted to introduce to you another post from guest post series. This month treat is from Tanvi of  Sinfully Spicy. She is the sweetest girl I have know form blogging world and the one on earth who gave me an award for cooking, may be will be the only one, can't forget for years to come. If you enjoy the the act of love and tad bit of emotions to go with ur food Sinfully Spicy is one place. One thing I have always enjoyed in Tanvi's blog is the way she beautifully pens stories related to the food she makes. Many time it reflects her mom kitchen or her family cooking together which is most case at my home too, so you know why I land in there! Not only you will find delectable spicy food in her blog which she definitely is famous for but bunch of decadent desserts with gorgeous pictures. My fav has always been her popular thumb print cookies.

When my most favorite food is cooked just for me, you will find with me dancing all the way he he ha. Thanks a bunch Tanvi for coming over especially with my favorite prawns :D I'm sure to glare at ur picture till I get them cooked. Girls and boys here is Tanvi of Sinfully Spicy

Hello to all the readers of Ananda's Blog. I have known Ananda & her blog since my initial days of blogging. Her blog is as beautiful & inspiring as its name.Thanks for having me over dear girl, I m honored. When she asked me about a guest post, she did not give me any preference. She said, anything I like. How sweet is that? Having known the wonderful baker & dessert maker Ananda herself is, I did not really want to do anything sweet, which left me with perfect room to stick to my love for savory indian dishes :) I remembered from few initial interactions with her that she loves seafood. This shrimp recipe is one, which I have been wanting to share whole of this summer on blog, but somehow every time I made it, I missed on taking pictures. This guest post presented me with the best opportunity to cater to Ananda's seafood love and share the recipe before summer bids us goodbye.

Unlike most of my recipes which root back to my mom's kitchen, this recipe is what I picked up from one of our neighbors back in Delhi, the indian state I hail from. The recipe has an east indian influence though I wont call it a pure bengali dish. It is perfect for those days when you are looking for curry comfort in the true sense. When I say that, I mean slurping a soupy & spicy broth full of flavors...sans the thick, nutty, creamy textures. The ingredients are few and this is not your normal onion- tomato base for the curry that generally defines indian cuisine. This might not be the prettiest curry around but is different, light, healthy, heart warming & satisfying. It makes appearance on our summer dinner tables at least once a week. Try it before summer goes away!

The freshly ground yellow mustard seeds are the star here. The mild yet pungent & rustic taste from them pairs up well with the sweet & acidic taste of ripe tomatoes. Garlic & fresh green chilies give the paste the required kick and aroma. A dash of nigella seeds (kalonji) enhances the pungent flavor if you manage to lay your hands on them, however they can be dropped if not available. Another thing, which I really want to highlight, is that if you have mustard oil at home; try to use it while making this curry- it makes a ton of difference as far as traditional taste goes but again if you can't get it, its okay. Virgin mustard oil, which is widely used in north & east indian cooking, is easily available in indian stores and on Amazon too, in case you are interested. Lets jump to the recipe now.


A guest post by Nisha Thomas from Look who is cooking too - Grilled chicken wings in a chilli garlic sauce

Since you already know the story of me running like a headless chicken, cooking only once or twice a week, spending time with my handsome 1.7 MV pelletron at work for 16-18 hrs and stay like a dead log next day, leaves me unable to generate anything decent to present here. On other hand leaving this virtual place unattended thro which, I got connected virtually with beautiful people around the world, left me pondering. There is no life when I live my days without human connections.

So what’s next? Why not start a guest post series (this was the surprise btw) and ask a helping hand from those beautiful people? Nisha Thomas of Look who is cooking too was first on the list. She kindly agreed. Her space is filled with delectable recipes and witty, transparent, lucid writings promising to leave with a smile and doping an urge to come back for any reason oh not forgetting her gorgeous picture! Honestly I keep Nisha's blog post to read in the mornings, you know start the day with a light heart. I eye all her chicken/non-veg recipes and I adore these two; especially her mom's chicken recipe ohhh LOVED it. 

Ladies and gentlemen here is Nisha Thomas, tune in to her blog for more. And bundle of thanks to you Nisha for coming over with my fav chicken! 

I stumbled upon Ananda's blog 'A pinch of Love' quite by chance and if im not mistaken she had just started her food blog. The pictures made me go back again and again and soon we were exchanging comments on each others' blogs. Then I guess it was the power of Facebook that eventually brought her into my friends circle and there was no looking back. I love the way she pens down her thoughts on her blog and the pics are to die for. If I let you in on a little secret- I sometimes head to her blog and take a peek at the gorgeous salmon soup pics taken in the beautiful snowy setting. There is something about that picture that screams out warmth and cosiness. I am so happy that Ananda asked me to do a guest post on her blog and I hope I have done justice to it with these spicy chicken wings in a chilli garlic sauce.

The recipe was the aftermath of a chicken wing obsession which I have been  am still going through. Once I discovered skinless and cleaned chicken wings, there was no looking back. I love how easy it is to cook with them- marinate, grill and if I feel like it, make a sauce and serve. Since the supermarket stocks only a couple of these at a time, when I find them, I go ballistic and stock atleast 2 packs in my freezer, scared they would suddenly stop stocking them or something. Yeah totally weird behaviour if you ask me. I have become a lunatic when it comes to storing some stuff like this (I'll leave the story of the frozen Swedish meatballs for a later time). Sadly my freezer has not much space (which Ro thinks is good, because one day he opened the middle rack to find about 10 to 15 packets of frozen chapatis and freaked out). I mean who does things like that? Well me for sure because, believe it or not, I dont know how to make chapathis. So in fear of them stopping the manufacture of these chapatis, whenever i find them i stock them to hearts content.

Anyways, we are not here to talk about my pitfalls are we?. I'm sure you'd like to know more, but let me not steal the limelight from the chicken wings. So these are so damn easy to make and taste amazing with some chilled beer or cider. The best part- you dont need to have a BBQ grill or any such fancy schmancy appliance. Just your oven grill would do. The marinade is a mixture of all sorts of sauces (from various countries that too) and like Ro says, is slightly confused as to which ethnicity it belongs to. But who cares when it tastes so darn yummilicious? So without further ado, here is the recipe for some finger licking food.


Irregularities - Strawberry bavarian mousse/mirror cake

Final experiment running, data to be analysed, research articles to be massaged and finally a thesis should be generated. You heard me right? yes all these final stuffs has been keeping me occupied (no complaints, I'm happy with this phase) and also in such a state of mind that I kept adding sugar instead of salt to curry and was thinking huh this summer tomatoes are too sweet, hello excuse me in which world? Before I could realise the curry was almost a dessert! Wish to note down all these kinds of incidents, which makes me go fierce at that moment but it, would be a comic book for me in the future alas it will be a endless comic book! 

So lovely people kindly bear with me, you will see the regular irregularities of my presence in APL on the brighter side you are soon going to have some surprises stay tuned! 

This recipe is from my Japanese friend, Reiko, she made it as layer cake (green tea cake+ agar agar+ strawberry mousse) it was fantastic. I replicated only mousse part with thin eggless chocolate cake and strawberry jelly/mirror on top! The mousse is very special, not too sweet with tad bit of sourness, smooth and rich. If you all are wondering what is that leaf? I have no idea except for the fact it's edible. The name was written in Finnish which obviously I forgot to note it down! Basically used them to bring some contrast. Enjoy the cake till the blogger part in me wakes up again :) 


Bliss! - Uurainen Summer Cottage

Have you observed little puppies getting up after sleep? bit of stretching, yawning, then getting back to sleep. It's pretty much the same here wrt to blog. After crisp holiday I was so energetic that work is like a pleasure, days of blue moon. Here are the pic's from summer cottage, didn't cook anything apart from Nigella's cookies and pancakes so don't have food pic, only nature for you to enjoy! Soon the story and pic from Bergen will follow! Missed all ur food pic's guys, on my way ta da!!
More pic's here

A house, away from hustle and bustle.
Tearing routinism, entering placid state.
Lake, still water, soothing wavering thoughts.
Blossomed white lilies, spreading fragrant of joy.

A baby with infectious smile, raw innocence.
Her twinkling eyes, a new hope for tomorrow.
Her chirpy babbling, rattling sounds of positivity.
Bestowing sunshine....lil Ms Sunshine!

Handful acquainted human connections,
Few words spoken, deep silence shared.
Home chef, served Thai food to satisfy souls.
Nothing in common, apart from care for each other.

Green the color, thunderous dark clouds.
Sky and earth dancing for the tunes of rain.
Dive in the lake, after earthen sauna.
Rejuvenating self, a must trip to remember for ever!


Holiday's on card - Coffee orange cake

My holidays are starting tomorrow one week in summer cottage then I'm flying to Norway Bergen for next couple of days, so folks will be off for next two weeks :D Nothing much to say other than "I'm super excited". Packed, work, silly people, physics, research tightly and threw it in lake, time to relax and have fun....yay yay! Will come back with pic to share till then enjoy ur summer days all you lovely people!!

Made this cake for my friend's birthday followed this recipe, substituted orange oil with orange extract though the author asked not to do so, that was one reason why my topping (streusel) sank down but still they were good, loved the orange flavours. Sorry guys couldn't get to many of ur blogs shall get back soon after my holidays! 

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