Monday, 29 December 2008

Give us today our daily bread

I loooove the smell of freshly baked bread! Home-baked bread disappears faster than one can spell b-r...Continuing all the wonderful times of my baking classes, decided to make a cannelloni (which by the way my help at home has learnt to perrfection!) with garlic and cheese bread was made for dinner.

The yeast is still at home in abundance, so much so that naans (also perfected by my help!) are now becoming part of daily fare!

To add a bit on break-making, important to follow. The process of letting the dough rise is known as proving. During the whole proving of the dough the yeast are multiplying, feeding on the sugar that is present. Carbon dioxide is produced, and this fills up the tiny gas pockets generated during the kneading of the dough

Once the dough has doubled in size it is important to knock the dough, this is similar to kneading. The dough is punched after which it is kneaded gently for a short time. The aim is to remove any air pockets which have might formed in the dough, create an even texture in the bread and redistribute the yeast, allowing fermentation to continue. The dough can then be proved a second time.

Here's the recipe!

Flour - 250 gms
Yeast - 15 gms (1 tbsp - fresh yeast)
Warm milk - 50 ml
Sugar - 10 gms (2 tsp)
Butter - 15 gms
Salt - 5 gms
Water - as required
Cheese - 75 gms (8-0)
Garlic - 10 flakes


  1. Disperse yeast along with sugar in a little warm milk and keep aside for 2-3 mins

  2. Sieve flour into a marble top (preferably) and make a well in the centre

  3. Pour yeast mixture , add water as required to make a soft dough (do not knead)

  4. Mix butter and salt and ix it into the the a smooth dough

  5. Cover the dough with a wet cloth (e.g. muslin) and leave till it rises to almost double in size ('proving')

  6. Take the dough and knead it on the marlble top again - add in chopped garlic and half the cheese

  7. Shape into loaf and place on well greased baking tray and prove again till it doubles in size

  8. Once done brush with egg wash (I use a milk walk which is 50 ml with 1 tsbp of sugar)

  9. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake in oven at 200 degrees celcius

  10. When done sprinkle with melted butter!

The cheese and garlic can be replaced with almost any filling you wish, mushrooms, olives, herbs, paneer etc.

All ready to be served for dinner!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Flat, baked, square or ...

..sliced from a type of dense, rich chocolate cake.Brownies come in a variety of forms. They are either fudgy or cakey, depending on their density, and they may include nuts, frosting, cream cheese, chocolate chips, or other ingredients. A variation that is made with brown sugar and no chocolate is called a blondie.

Thats the Wikipedia definition for a brownie.

Been on a brownie marathon baking marathon today, so much so that I have yet to start my packing, when its 10:41 PM and there's a flight at 8 AM tomorrow to saddi dilli! (Blogging a bit later would be a good idea, right now!)

With X'mas celebrated by the family (in-laws), there's always an exchange of gifts, and you guessed it, this year I intend giving all brownies.

Took the day off today to bake!! Haha!! With ingredients such as nougat & chocolate chips not available at regular stores, a trip to Arife La Moulde (opp. Shoppers stop, Bandra (W)) was mandatory. A visit to such shops is always leaves me confused; I end up buying a lot of junk as well. Like the last time I ended up with coloured decorative sprinkles, and this time it was ginger bread man (& woman) cookie cutters.

Fudgy chocolate chip brownies (makes about 16)


Buttter - 100 gms
Chocolate - 100 gms
Eggs - 3
Castor sugar - 300 gms
Flour - 150 gms
Chocolate chips - 75 gms

- Preheat oven to 180° celcius
- Grease and line a 9” square tin
- Melt butter and chocolate together, personally I prefer using the microwave over the double boiler, but remember turn down the power of the microwave to about 60% if the wattage is over 1000.
- Whisk eggs and castor sugar
- Add chocolate mixture
- Add in flour and chocolate chips
- Pour into tin and bake for 35-40 minutes

Ideally, one is supposed to bake brownies only 90%, eggophobic me refuses to comply with any such instruction (it’s a miracle I manage to bake anything with 3 eggs – but omelets I love!)

Blonde brownies (makes about 32)


Flour – 500 gms
Baking powder – 2 ½ tsp
Butter – 150 gms
Brown sugar – 500 gms
Eggs – 3
Chocolate chips – 125 gms
Walnuts – 200 gms
Nougat chips – 50 gms

- Preheat oven to 180° celcius
- Grease and line a square tin
- Mix the chips and walnuts
- Sift baking powder, flour and add ¾ the above mixture
- Cream butter with brown sugar, add in eggs
- Add in the flour mixture, at this point you might need to mix it all with your hands as it forms a dense dough like texture
- Press into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes

Have a look - I’ve yet to pack the them; well first I start with mine own then pack the brownies!

Merry Xmas!

Monday, 22 December 2008

What next

Lazy, lazy, lazy, SO lazy - here's a gist of all that I've been busy baking and making, posts of which will follow soon..
  • Garlic and cheese bread
  • Baked cheese cake
  • Sticky toffee and date pudding

Here's a lovely pic of Worli (near Haji Ali) from our car, we were headed to Swati in Mahalaxmi for snacks. We were stuck at this exact same spot for about 45 mins!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

The King of Tortes

I've been admiring Passionate about baking's Chocolate walnut torte ever since it was posted in early November. Yummee only!

Finally made it yesterday, the results in my opinion were fairly disastrous. To start with, the walnuts refused to get ground finely. I was worried they'd get oily and bitter (like almonds) if I over did them in the food processor. Next, I had to turn to my husband's expertise (he excels in meringue making and baking in general) for the egg beating - the whites refused to form peaks even after 15 mins. My patience gave way after those 15 mins and I found myself mixing (instead of folding) all the ingredients and baking them.

The end result was quite a surprise, it was definitely not a good looking torte, but very tasty, especially when chilled.


Butter - 2 tbsps, chilled
Walnuts - 1 1/2 cups
Eggs - 4
Granulated sugar - 1/4 cup
Vanilla essence - 1 1/2 tsp
Powdered sugar - 1/4 cup
Dark chocolate - 100 grams, melted and cooled
Instant coffee powder - 3 tsps
Hot water - 2 tbsps


  1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  2. One is supposed to use a spring form pan, I don't own one, so just used a regular 9 inch circular pan lined with butter paper.
  3. Run walnuts in the food processor with 1 tbsp of sugar till ground. Drop in 2 tbsps of chilled butter & pulse till it all comes together (this did not happen :-( when I made it)
  4. Press nuts evenly onto bottom and sides of the pan.
  5. Separate the egg, putting the whites into a large bowl - ensure not a single drop of yellow gets into the white.
  6. Beat the yolks with an electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and and the colour lightens to a lemony yellow
  7. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar & the essence.
  8. Beat in melted chocolate with a spatula.
  9. Dissolve instant coffee powder in hot water, stir into chocolate mixture.
  10. Wash and dry beaters of mixer (very important - I was in too much of a hurry, which might have been the reason for the flat egg whites.
  11. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  12. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, beat until stiff peaks form. (Tip from the husband: sugar helps in the formation of stiff peaks, hence proportion is very important) .
  13. Pour chocolate mixture over the egg whites; gently fold in (I mixed away in agony).
  14. Spread evenly in spring form pan.
    Bake for 20-25 minutes of until set.
  15. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.

To serve, sift powdered sugar over the torte - I made a star shaped pattern on the cake oops torte.

My share of the yummy torte.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Bagel Shop - Part II

I've been itching to make bagels ever since a visit to the Bagel shop. Multiple attempts to make bread with the dry yeast one gets in shops were met with complete failure. Until I attended these baking classes ,where not only did I find lots of confidence, but a whole lot of fresh yeast, to be precise half a kilo! So there's been whole wheat bread, garlic and cheese bread, bread rolls etc. etc. And then I thought, why not bagels!

Anyways, without getting into the intricacies of the ingredients (which I'll probably describe in another blog) the process of making the bagel was a whole lot of fun. Like described earlier, bagels are cooked in boiling water before baking. I read up a whole lot of recipes, taking bits from here and there. Some recipes spoke about using caramelised water for boiling the bagels - I thought it better to cut out the sugar and added a a bit of baking powder instead in attempt to make the bagels fluffy. Some others mentioned proving the dough overnight, which is what I did - it made the bagels chewier.

The end result

Chomp! Chomp! Chomp! The bagels were just yummy.

This what they looked like, fresh from the oven, had one for breakfast.

On a chocolatey note, went for a chocolate making class this weekend!! The class was just lovely, found it hard to believe some of the stuff, just look! We even got our own individual decorative bags, which we filled with the chocolate we made to take back home!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Broken hearted

Pineapple season is supposedly from July to September. In Mumbai however I've seen it available almost through out the year. We've suddenly rediscovered it yumminess and have been buying it almost everyday. I love the way the fruit vendors deftly peel and chop fruit, resulting in packet full of starry discs. Did you know pineapple is a good source of vitamin A and B and fairly rich in vitamin C and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron?

Of late there's been a lot of chocolate baking at home, be it cookies, brownies, cupcakes - ALL chocolate! We love chocolate, but at the same time change was most welcome.

Another of Nigella Lawson's recipes. The only ingredient I omitted was candied cherries. Add if you have access to them, will definitely add colour to the cake.

Pineapple upside down cake

2 tablespoons sugar
6 slices pineapple (fresh or from the can - I used fresh, but ofcourse!)
3 tablespoons pineapple juice (Tropicana)
100g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda bicarbonate
100g soft butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
butter for greasing

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter a tin

2. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar on top of the buttered base, and then arrange the pineapple slices to fill up the base
3. Mix flour, baking powder, soda bicarb, butter, caster sugar and eggs
4. Pour in the 3 tablespoons of pineapple juice to thin it a little
5. Pour this mixture carefully over the pineapple; it will only just cover it, so spread it out gently
6. Bake for 30 minutes, then ease a knife around the edge of the tin, place a plate on top and, with move, turn it upside-down

It turned out just lovely, light and fluffy, super moist, with a subtle flavour of the pineapple, with a juicy slice of pineapple to top it off. It looked so so tempting, a piece was cut off even before I could take a picture, and as I write this blog most of it has been eaten by the husband and just the husband alone!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Fresh bread anyone

Recently visited a bread baking class! 'Proved' to be LOTS of fun, lo and behold this is what we baked!

The works!

Chelsea buns!

Fresh loaf of bread - lovely!
Healthy soup sticks!

Assorted shapes - bread rolls

Too chocolatey chocolate chip cookies

Now HOW is that possible, HOW can there be any such thing as too much chocolate! Nigella Lawson fans will find it hard to comprehend! So here's the modified recipe (with good reason for modification).

Well it was one of Nigella's shows that I got is recipe from. Forcing the husband to watch it, I haughtily proclaimed I had ALL the ingredients for the cookies Nigella has just made, inadvertently throwing myself a challenge which the 'enthusiasticly supporting' (to quote him) husband swiftly extended. That was when I realised, I was short of butter and the chips! Hence all ingredients here represent quantities I had at home. For all those who wish to follow Nigella's footsteps, visit her spanking new website which has recipe.

Total comfort food.

Totally chocolate, chocolate chip cookies
125 gms dark chocolate

105 gms unsalted butter (used regular Amul)
125 gms sugar (75 gms brown sugar/50 gms regular sugar)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cold egg

150 plain flour
30 gms cocoa
1 tsp baking soda

300 gms chocolate chips

- Preheat oven to 170 degrees
- Melt chocolate (I find it easier using the microwave, takes only about 30 sec; my last double boiler episode resulted in a disaster with the chocolate all falling into the water :-(
- Sift flour, cocoa and soda
- Cream butter and sugars, when fluffy add melted chocolate, then vanilla essence, finally the cold egg
- Add sifted ingredients & finally the chips
- Bake for 15 mins

I think they came out just fine, albeit overly chocolatey! The next time, I intend cutting down the amount of chips by a third. There was also an element of disaster this time, I used silicon baking sheets for the first time; luckily baked only 4 cookies, ALL of which burnt! Am sticking to my regular wire rack with foil method henceforth.

Milk (that was all I had at home) and cookies

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Bagels & salads..

The innumerable visits to the reviews on Burrp & the countless attempts at actually locating the place, today (another day in my life) finally resulted in moments of joy.

After reading the review for Gloria Jean, I was most curious to step in. Call it serendipity or just my strong desire to visit the Bagel Shop, I bump into this friend in Bandra (I was on my way to GJ mind you!) who goes “hey lets go to the bagel shop, its AWESOME!”

For the benefit of those who have been attempting to locate this place & haven’t quite managed there are two ways of approaching it. Either take the turn where Basilico, Papa Pancho, Mia Cucina (all those who haven’t – please do go – amazing!) etc. are, then a right, and then a left (the road slopes upwards) and then a left again. If you take the right one reach the Fab India on Pali Hill. The alternate is to take the turn where the Police Commissioner’s office is on Carter Road – drive slowly for two reasons, the pathetic road; two, lest you miss the Bagel Shop! Once there - the place has a lovely Goan feel to it, despite being in a congested by lane of Bandra. But I can’t help say that the overall feel is a bit cramped.

All bakers & bread makers will probably want to shoot me for saying this, but I think a pretty good job has been done at glorifying regular bread in various shapes and sizes, fancy names, but with pretty much the same taste. One such example would be the bagel. However, I did read that a bagel is the only bread that is boiled before being baked resulting in a crisp crust & light spongy interior.

With this review restricted to the vegetarian assortment on the menu, the only comment I can make on the non-veg selection would be - given the way my friend was chomping on the sausage bagel, am pretty sure it was amazing. The bagel by itself was anything but spongy, but crisp it was (& a tad greasy).

I had the herbed cream cheese bagel with sun dried tomatoes. The cream cheese just oozes out of the bagel, spilling it on clothes, floor, table, basically all over. It’s also available without the herb, with herbs it varies from pepper, mixed herbs etc. There was also a garlic bagel & one with oven roasted veggies. In the sweet varieties there’s honey & banana, nutella, jam (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry). There were the more exotic varieties with goat’s cheese, however didn’t think it worth spending something like 200 bucks on a bagel. Had the lemon ginger tea – quite nice. Don’t add sugar.

Overall a 3 star experience – I thought it was a tad expensive. The total bill of Rs. 442 consisted of:
1 Non-veg bagel
1 Herbed cream cheese bagel
2 lemon ginger teas
1 blueberry jam bagel

Also, the way the jam was served separately from the bagel, was something I didn't quite appreciate.

If you thought the bagel meant a quick bite then this is not place to swing by. Take a leisurely 2-3 hours (atleast) and given the service turn around time, this is the minimum amount of time one would spend!

Not so Italian job…

My review if written more than two years ago would have placed it fairly high in a list of must visit Italian eateries in Mumbai – after my visit today, it’s been knocked off that list.

For starters (pun intended) the choice is just okay. The bruschetta has gotten progressively soggier by the day, although I would still like to maintain that it is quite tasty. Lots of extra virgin olive oil though. The dips that accompany the grizzini are very flavorful, worth a try. The soups hardly deserve a mention, and hence I won’t.

There is a fair bit of choice for vegetarians, although it only covers the stereotyped definition of Italian food pizza & pasta. No polenta, linguini, gnocchi etc.

If a place is named such that people can judge the specialty of the place, it should have gone by the name of Pizza Kitchen. Then again, if you are one who likes the Dominos variety of pizza with the thick base, then you should stick to the not so good pasta. Confused eh? I don’t think so; the waiters would beat anyone on that front. Most of them are clueless on what the dishes contain & the others try your patience in their attempts to explain what the dishes are.

The spaghetti aglio olio was far too oily even though the name of the dish translates to spaghetti with oil & garlic. Order any pasta with a tomato based sauce, and they all taste the same except with the variation of the type of pasta used. The pasta alla Siciliana is also just okay.

I’ve always loved their tiramisu, which I will maintain continues to be pretty good, the pretty bad part if is that the quantity has been reduced by half. Boo hoo!

Looking back maybe I’ve given a scathing review, but my opinion I think stems from the fact that this place has gradually deteriorated over the two years I’ve visited them.

Overall, an okay okay experience.

American Express Bakery - Small pleasures

Theobroma, is the only bakery/patisserie I had heard of before moving to Mumbai. My love for it could run into pages, but I’m not going to dwell on that here. My first two wonderful (in retrospect) years in Mumbai were spent in the posh area of Bandra West.

Once walking on Hill Road, which doesn’t posses any posh-ness that one would associate with Bandra, I came across a modest looking place called ‘American Express’ Bakery. At first, was a little wary of entering this place as there is a laundry right door bearing the same name! The bakery is open in the evening and shuts at 8:30. Never been able to figure out if they are open mornings as well.

An ideal place for the health conscious, they have a wide range of breads & biscuits in the whole wheat variety. The USP of this place I would say is some fairly fancy stuff at very affordable rates.

A limited variety of tea-time cakes & pies are available. The Hungarian Coffee Cake is definitely worth savoring; very moist with just the right taste of coffee. The quiches are well-made with a fair choice for non-vegetarians as well (I’m veg. so can’t comment). The wraps are tasty, but usually soggy, hence avoidable.

The basil & sun-dried tomatoes loaf is worth a savor, and makes a good accompaniment with a salad. Or just heat in the oven and have it as is! The garlic bread with a whole wheat base, shaped like a loaf of French bread (du pain) with a lovely soft garlicky centre.

The blueberry cheesecake has a lovely fresh taste to it. Although, I’ve never tried the chocolate based delights, as that’s reserved for Theobroma (darn! I was not to mention the name) they all look delectable.

Owned by Goans, it’s a fun place to visit during Easter, X’Mas etc. Easter eggs, hot cross buns, marzipans, christmas cake, guava jelly, the list is endless.

On being asked why they called themselves Amercian Express, I was told it was because they catered to American ships that visited Bombay, and the service they rendered was speedy or express. The baking is done at Byculla, and the owner proudly added we’re a fine example of communal harmony; we’ve got Hindus, Muslims, Christians working under the same roof since we’ve been in operation (that’s nearly a century) and have had no problem till date. It helps if the owner is around; she's always glad to suggest something new, which once may miss.

Best of the South in Central Mumbai

Café Madras is a tricky destination if you don’t know your way around Kings Circle, Sion. Everytime we end up doing atleast 2 chakkars before we zero in on its location. This time around, I found a landmark – an eatery which has its name on a bright blue neon board with Reliance Communication written on it is where one takes the left.

Waiting before you get a table seems to be an accepted norm here. The young man at the door smiles sweetly & confirms that we should be seated in the next twenty minutes, which you so want to believe. Breakfast is easier to catch I guess, with less of a wait, depending on when you arrive.

Etched on the stone walls at the entrance are the words, Café Madras, open since 1940. Timings: 7am – 2:30 pm, 4pm – 11pm. It also says the establishment is shut on Mondays.

Fifty minutes later, out of which about forty eight were spent with my sister & I staring at the young man, came our table. Thoughts on ambience etc. etc. should all be discarded before you enter.
The staff is extremely friendly, including the gentleman at the door. I liked the fact that they recommend stuff, rather than routinely take one’s order down.

Move over all you Udipi-style restaurants. The food is out of the world, and since I was brought up in Chennai, you can definitely take my word for it. This is probably the only place in Mumbai which serves authentic mulagapodi (commonly referred to as gun powder by most North Indians). We had a Raagi Rava Dosa, which makes it a tad healthier than the regular version made out of maida. The servings are not big, but enough to fill a normal appetite as most of the items are made with ghee.

We skipped desert, but ended the meal with lovely filter coffee, excessively sweet, but heavenly. Aaah!

The bill for four of us was Rs. 255/- and the following was what we had:

· 1 plate upma
· 1 plate rasam vada
· 3 rava dosas (one of them ragi)
· 2 ghee dosas
· 1 ginger lemon cooler & soft drink
· 2 filter coffees.

Only drawbacks:
· You guessed it, the waaaaait…
· The parking, our vehicle was at the other end of the world. If in a group, its best that atleast one gets off to get their name on the list, while the rest look for parking.

Overall the experience, as a true Chennai’ite would say, voray soopera!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


Time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana. In my wisdomless days it took me a while to comprehend, and then…it was all hahahaha!! And now in all my longer funny. (GEE)

(Another of Groucho Marx’s to add to the hahas:
“Q: What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic, and a dyslexic?A: Someone who stays up all night wondering if there is a Dog.”
Hahahaha!! )

Speaking of wisdom, have wisdom teeth graced any of you? Trivia: the absence of wisdom teeth is referred to as hypodontia. Generally they are referred to as wisdom teeth because they appear in one’s mid twenties or so. Now, I was destined to be wise too, but my dentist uncle was most eager to snatch all my wisdom away claiming my teeth were ‘impacted’. At 23, I was sans 2 wisdom teeth. It was not until my late 20s (OMG!) that the tooth fairy decided to bestow upon me some more wisdom. It’s been six months and there are still little bits of wisdom sprouting out in some corner of my poor gum. (WIZ)

Sadly, not so wise were some dumb flies who managed to find their way into my home. To describe my bedroom, two cupboards (with mirrors) face the large sliding windows that adorn the opposite wall. With the windows open, the reflection of the view is obviously what you see in the mirror. Now there were these two flies, somewhat bored with their current surroundings – who decided to explore. (DUMB)

Adventurous maybe, harebrained (or flybrained) they definitely were –repeatedly flying into the reflection, banging into the mirror every 10 seconds, in an attempt to fly out of the room! In the process, one of them eventually killed itself..I wonder why but I laughed out loud, albeit I did feel sorry for the dead fly. Wonder if there is someone huge being out there watching us all tiny creatures as well...

Speaking of great big people, the head of our business the other day was in the mood to distribute gyaan. One to talk and talk and talk, he goes on about how one should see the picture, from 30,000 feet and blah. At the end of the discussion, on coming out of the cabin, a colleague goes “haan haan pehle tees hazaar feet ka view dikhake, phir vahan se ek bada dhakka

Conversations other than those from 30,000 feet in Mumbai over the months of June, July, August and maybe September even usually have one common topic. The rains, or this year the lack of them. In a way it unites all of Mumbaikars, especially after the debacle in 2005.

Year 2008 seems to have reversed the above situation. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) “the six lakes from which Mumbai gets its supply of water could sustain the city’s need for another 100 days at the most”. What alarmed was this statement – “Mumbai uses 3,350 million litres of water daily”
(Source: DNA)

To end this, I read somewhere that Sonu Sood (who? pseud?) requested a rain-sequence in an upcoming film to be shot with mineral water and not the normal water usually used. Why? Because, he found his hair completely ruined when ‘normal’ water is used.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake……

…………………………baker's man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can.
Pat it and roll it and mark it with "B"
And put it in the oven for Baby and me.

Finally bought myself a muffin tray with 250 of those cute paper cups. This is what became of all the batter that went into the tray, nice ne c’est pas?

Its called Devil’s Food Cupcakes. Am not sure of the authenticity of this, but I read some where that until the first half of the 19th century chocolate was not used as an ingredient in cakes!!
(Aren’t I glad was born in 1980)

Now, why is it called devil’s food cake? Perhaps the enormous quantities of cocoa & dark chocolate that go into making it. Also, baking soda used as one of the ingredients is supposed to cause reddening of the cocoa powder when baked (didn’t detect a faintest trace of this though).
Also, contrasts with the Angel cake which is light, white & fluffy – which translates to lots of egg & egg whites (blech).

Anyways, here’s the recipe for those who might want to try it out, makes about 9 cupcakes.


Butter – ½ cup melted
· Cocoa – ¾ cup
· Dark chocolate - 50 gms chopped into bits (about 9-10 tbsp chopped)
· Eggs – 1
· Sugar - 3/4 cup (can use a bit of cinnamon flavored sugar as well)
· Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
· Flour - 3/4 cup
· Baking powder - 3/4 tsp
· Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
· Salt - 1/2 tsp (no need to use if using Amul butter, preferably use the new variety with reduced salt)
· Butter milk - 1/2 cup (mix equal amounts of water & yoghurt)

Mix melted butter with sugar
Add the buttermilk – mix
Whisk in beaten egg with vanilla
Sift cocoa, flour, baking powder and soda
Add one spoon at a time to the liquid mixture
Line muffin tray with paper cups, spoon 1 tbsp of batter, add about 1 tsp of chopped up dark chocolate bits, follow up with another 1 tbsp of batter
Bake at 175 degrees celcius for about 20 mins

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Old is gold

A really really old post, am not going to get into why I didn't post it, so here goes.

Life and its uneventfulness

Its been a while since I visited the world of blogging, infact had to pop into Z’s blog to get the hyperlink to mine. God only knows what prompted me to get a name as complicated as aspoonf.. whatever..

And then came the topic..and nothing in particular came to mind. Now how uneventful could my life me that it was impossible to manage leave alone a couple of paragraphs, but a couple of lines.

Hence I have come to the conclusion that I’ll generally put together this and that, observations, happenings (not necessarily in life)..and for the lack of any other word this and that.

· I finally met a person who shares her birth-date with me. Well she isn’t born in the same year, but isn’t this one of those not so common coincidences. Amongst famous people I know of there are Matthew Perry (more famously known as Chandler Bing of F.R.I.E.N.D.S fame) & Bill Clinton.
· Went to this rather intriguing place called “Blue Frog”. Now now, I know the name may conjure up a thousand images, but the place is worth a visit, even if just once. The only negative is the seating area in the club consists of these “pods” which consist of a sunken seating area. Although the prices are fairly cha-ching-$$, and the menu fairly obscure, it’s the live music from around the world & country (I guess) that makes all the cha-chinging to the last penny/paisa. A month-wise calendar is put up for one’s convenience, check it out on
· Our Co. has started this system of car pooling. I have some rather enthu & polite co-passengers, who are very enthu about getting their car. So net net, I have stopped driving all together. The last time I filled a full tank of petrol was 12th February, and there’s still another quarter tank left to go.
· Chocohotopots – the deadliest of desserts I’ve ever made. All fans of Nigella Lawson would’ve definitely seen this. Mmmmmm..and those who have not & would love to dig into this baked to a crisp on top but sink into a gooey choccolatey calorific beneath, let me know, will share it with you.
· Well, what can I say; life is no longer uneventful after all. Have moved out of Bandra, into Santa Cruz. Its a bigger house and we pay less rent! And it also effectively ends my dormant status as far as the car pool is concerned :-(

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Roof is falling

Imagine your phone rings on a regular weekday, around 6 in the evening. You look at the screen and thanks to something called CLIP (Caller Line Identity Presentation) I knew its my neighbour. Now, I’d called my neighbour, Aunty T earlier in the day to ask her to pass on a message to my help at home, and well assumed this call would be some clarification on our dinner (that was my message).

I put on my most cheerful voice, answer the phone and the conversation goes something like this:

Me: Hi Aunty T (from hereon referred to as AT)
AT: Snehaaaa ( her was quivering..I assumed it was age..she must be atleast 90) … there’s been a huge your house
(Me Thinking: Oh no! Maybe Tripps (my help) had made peeli dal instead of kaali)
Me Speaking now: Yes Aunty, what happened? Has Tripps not turned up? Or is she asking for something..
AT: No Snehaaaa…your roof has collapsed!!

The rest of the conversation is all a haze, mainly because it happened about 1.25 years ago and I have now forgotten.

Going back to the roof. My immediate thoughts were not of horror or dismay or consternation (and just incase you’re wondering, no I did not use the thesaurus). My brain just pictured the damn thing. A gaping hole in our roof (given that we live on the top most floor). Allowing the starts & moonlight (and god knows what else) to flood our living room, where the roof had collapsed.

I zoomed the fastest our car could zoom (the Alto starts trembling once you hit the 60 kmph mark).

Well what troubled me more was that T & I were to leave for Chennai (where my parents live) the next day. Whatta pain! The thought that this trip might get cancelled troubled me all the way to Bandra.

And thanks to Cool & his cooler N76, I am saved the task of describing the condition of the roof & living room.

Our house that evening became a mini tourist attraction in Bandra(W) with more than half the building visiting to see the fiasco. Most of them appeared more shocked than T and me, some egging us on to sue the Society/Land lord etc. etc.

Anyway,..our trip happened, the roof got repaired (thanks to the landlords daughter partly moving to our house in our absence) and finally cracks have started reappearing.

They say "Alls well that ends well" – well, we are waiting & watching.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Flights of Fantasy

For all those from the ICSE Board, no am not referring to the poetry book which formed part of our English curriculum. This is an effort to recap all the bizarre incidents that I can recall at airports/ on aircrafts.

- Your name being called out in an aircraft full of passengers, with the steward announcing – “Will the woman carrying this bottle of alchohol please identify herself”

- The Captain announcing “We are having some problem landing, there is a dog on the runway – our ground staff is working at its level best at chasing it”

- Flight not taking off due to a “tachnical wather problem” (refer earlier blog)

- The seat indicated on my boarding card being allotted to 3 other people. I completed the journey sitting on one of those collapsible seats on which the airhostesses sit. (They have a name, which I am unable to recollect)

- On landing in Heathrow, in the city of my dreams, the first sentence I hear on entering the airport.” In saare gore logo ko danda maar kar line mein khade karvana hai (I apologise for my Hindi here)

An old granny flying for the first time insisted on opening the window saying “khidki kholni hai” (and I am not making this up)

Ok I can't think of anymore, and I guess have overblogged. So adios for now.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

First Impressions

This write-up saw its beginning on a train to Rome..the first time I saw an Italian fight – and by that I don’t mean a single Italian – but an bunch of them fighting – amusing it certainly was. There were the both of us watching them bemusedly!

Italy, France – I’ve always thought of traveling to – somehow never thought it would materalise – even after sitting on the KLM flight – even after landing in Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. The whole experience has such a surreal feel to it. One always visualizes something and now all of it was right in front – some different – some quite the same.

We have decided to take a long yearly holiday (to clarify long is defined as around two weeks). Europe we picked to start with. Too broad, so the search was narrowed down to Italy, France, Holland, Germany & Austria. Too many countries to fit in our ‘long vacation’, so we knock off the last two places and juggled around the first three!

We landed in Amsterdam at around 10 AM on 1 June 2007. The series of events prior to all this were not a very encouraging start to a vacation. Our flight was to take off at 12:50 AM – which meant we’d have to leave home around 9:30 PM. I was home at 8, at 8:30 there was no sign of Tarun. Finally, at 9 he walks in drenched! Guess what ! as fate would have it we were to witness the first monsoon of 2007! Mumbai’s way of bidding adieu – a very messy one at that!

Well with the rains, taxis and autorickshaws alike are choosy about where they’re headed. The International Airport was clearly off limits – except for one lone chappie – God bless him – although he added a disclaimer to the journey – “Meri gaadi mein wiper nahin hai – bahut dheere chalaoonga” Well, did we have a choice?!
Looked like Mumbai’s farewell party was to last the entire journey to the airport.

Wet bags, wet jeans, not the best way to land up at an immigration counter. Anyways we got over the usual formalities etc etc – we’d web checked in therefore swooped to the luggage counter. Point to note here, we are thoroughly pampered lot – all our automated counters are manned!

Anyways at this point the passports & visas came out. Our visa commenced on 1 June 2007 – and here we were standing at the counter at 11 PM on 31 May..immigration here we come was very far away. To say the least, CS Airport has nothing of amusement value, and the little there is, is on part with European rates. I guess they’re doing the least they can to prepare us for the days to come.

We the Cinderellas finally arrived at the immigration counter and crossed over! Yay yay! Our holiday had started! Announcement “ The KLM flight to Amsterdam has been delayed – please remain seated until further notice! What!! All we had to keep ourselves busy were a bunch of lousy duty free shops and a highly overpriced handicrafts shop – which even foreigners were looking at in the most peculiar manner.

Speaking of peculiar, listen to this bit! Our ground steward was a cheerful sardar who insisted on making 2 sentences of conversations with all around. With our turn coming up, we asked him the obvious, about the flight delay. With a fairly dumbfounded blank look he starts with..”Sir, there is a tachnical (to be read technical) problehh…the knitting of eyebrows & the stern expressions he was countered with made him immediately change his statement to “ there is a tachnical wather problem sir – and we are working on rectifying it” !!!!!! Luckily, KLM had thrown open the entire food court, much akin to a food court helping us divert our attention to more important things – free food!

Well apparently, about our flight, it’d been diverted to Ahmedabad as it ran out of fuel - so it spent three hours there refueling, then another 2 hours hovering over amchi Mumbai and then finally landed. Aaaaah..4 AM finally saw the announcement..which I can’t quite remember but it said something about the flight taking off..Finally..

T is very good with the words..hence asked him for his thoughts on our trip to Europe, here goes.

It was like an oasis in the desert ~

It was like an egg before boiling ~
I take your leave here, requesting you to ponder on the second statement..