Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Gilded Chocolate and Caramel Maltesers Ombre Cake ! #chocolate #21stBirthday #Milestone #Sinful #Daughter

Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It's all about the memories.Buddy Valastro

Your kids birthday coming up and all that you can think is how to make it memorable for them as it is their most special days of the year ! Putting focus on presents, parties, family and friends gathering and much more for kids to look forward to and to fantasize about, however same time
we always point out to them that birthdays are not only lavish celebrations with gifts and parties but it's a great day to talk about the positive steps they are making and applying in their progress, what their strengths are and how proud we parents are of them. 

Birthdays are a must for celebration in our family, we don't let these marvellous milestones pass by without having fun, either we choose to have party or quiet celebration. Recently our daughter had her birthday, she has reached a milestone and clocks up 21 years, it was a huge responsibility on me to organize everything, from buying gifts to baking a cake for the birthday girl, who now falls in the adult category.  I thought that I was being swept up in whirlwind as I naturally was concerned about her liking and disliking about gifts and food, since I love shopping and cooking, I cannot complain ! She had quite a few surprise parties from friends and family and every moment she spent with everyone, she loved it. 

Cakes are the centerpiece of any birthday celebrations in our life that we treasure, and we had perfect occasion which was demanding a cake with a wow factor !  I started to search for special cake recipe with a wow factor, at the same time the question I asked myself is that can I bring that wow factor  as I am a novice baker, but family sees and appreciate my efforts, so then the efforts been worthwhile.

After searching almost every possible baking site for months, I settled for Chocolate and Caramel ombre cake from here and thought about frosting and decorating the cake, as I wanted something special  that she would have loved, with a topping that would just take her breath away, and these were non other than Maltesers, her favourite!

So I had chocolate and caramel ombre cake on my mind, obviously eggless and that's always a challenge for me, I finished baking, decorated with chocolate fondant stars and fondant faux maltesers cake topper, which was a tough challenge, in a one day and hid it before she reached at home over the weekend for celebrations. Also I thought why not add a little bit of glitz and glamour to the cake and used an edible gold spray and I gave the cake a bit of ombre look from outside too, as the theme of this celebration was gold glitz and glamour...

I kept checking on the cake and kept my fingers crossed and kept husband on standby if something goes wrong with the cake he has to run and fetch a cake for me. Thankfully the cake turned out fine, frosting set perfectly and held almost 500gms maltesers tightly, of course my beautiful cake topper was in a place where it should be which was highlight of the cake. There was a plenty of ooh's and aah's when finally cake came out on a table. 

We all did postpone our January healthy eating plans and had a dose of decadent , rich and moreish cake and plenty of sinful delicacies over the weekend. Cake went pretty quick after the birthday girl did the honour there was only one slice left and few crumbs, not whining that I couldn't take shots of the cake slice but actually overwhelmed that cake vanished so fast and everyone enjoyed every bite of it.

A gilded Chocolate and Caramel Maltesers ombre cake was a ultimate indulgence and one of the highlights of our celebration, a taste not to forget in a hurry and it was perfect match for our theme and occasion as a golden era has begun in daughters life from now on !

 You will need :- For Vanilla and Chocolate sponge cake

  • 225 g very soft butter + 1 tbsp for greasing
  • 225 golden caster sugar
  • 175 g self raising flour
  • 85 g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tbsp. ground flax seeds soaked in 3 tbsp. water ( 15 minutes )
  • 150ml plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp. cocoa powder
You will need :- For Caramel and Caramel Chocolate sponge cake
  • 225 g very soft butter + 1 tbsp for greasing
  • 175 g light muscovado sugar
  • 50 g dark muscovado sugar
  • 85 g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tbsp. ground flax seeds soaked in 3 tbsp. water  ( 15 minutes )
  • 150ml plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder

You will need :- To assemble and frosting

  • 1 can of caramel
  • 140 g dark chocolate
  • 140 g milk chocolate
  • 300 ml double cream
You will need to decorate cake make cake topper
  • 4 packets of maltesers around 480 gms. ( more if you're fan of maltesers )
  • 1 can of gold edible spray
  • 250 g chocolate fondant ? Gum Paste
  • 1 packet of gold  wires 22 gauge about 6" long.
  • Star shape cutter
  • Rolling pin
  • Few bubble tea straws
  • Edible glue or sugar glue
  • Small paint brush
  • little cornstarch for dusting

Method :-

  1. Pre heat oven to gas mark 4.
  2. Grease and line bases of the two 20cm cake tins with baking paper.
  3. For the vanilla and chocolate sponge combine all the ingredients except the cocoa and mix or blend to give a smooth texture.
  4. Divide half of the mixture in another bowl and whizz in the 5 tbsp. cocoa.
  5. Pour in the lined cake tin and bake for 30-32 minutes or until skewer inserted in comes out clean.
  6. For the caramel and caramel chocolate sponge follow the same procedure above. ( step 1 to 5 )
  7. While four of the sponges are cooling, make frosting.
  8. Melt the both chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.
  9. Turn of the heat and remove the bowl and pour double cream over the melted chocolate and stir and let it cool till spreadable. ( it will take about two to three hours )
  10. When the sponges are cool, place vanilla sponge on a serving plate or cake stand ( it's a good idea to put a dollop of frosting underneath the sponge so that the cake doesn't move around. 

  11. Spread a third of caramel over the vanilla sponge.
  12. Now top with the caramel sponge and again spread a third of caramel over the caramel sponge.
  13. Now top with the caramel chocolate sponge, spread remaining caramel and top with the chocolate sponge.
  14. Now spread the chocolate frosting over the whole cake.
  15. Once cake is covered with the chocolate frosting, take the maltesers and stick them all over the cake. Try and stick them in a nice line without any gaps..but if not who cares !!
  16. Allow the maltesers to stick properly.
  17. Now spray the gold spray and let it set for a while.
  18. Start rolling out a fondant pretty thin, if fondant sticks to the surface use corn starch.
  19. Cut out star shape ( if you need 5 cut out 10 )
  20. Then paint or apply very little glue on the one side of the stars.
  21. Then lay a wire in the centre of the star.
  22. Stick another star on top of it. ( like a sandwich )
  23. Let it dry overnight and when ready put several wires together and slide them into straw.
  24. Then bend them to spread out.
  25. Insert the straw into the cake.
  26. I made few fondant balls and sprayed them with the gold spray to make gold maltesers. 

Thank you for stopping by :)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Traditional Gujarati Gor Churma Ladwa - Ladva / Gud Churma Ladoo ~ Jaggery Whole Wheat Balls

Nostalgia is a powerful feeling; it can drown out anything.

Churma na ladwa, Gujarati daal, Gujarati Bateta Jamanvar nu Saak ( sweet and sour potato curry ) and Masala Fulwadi, ( spicy fried noodles ) a perfect combination of Gujarati delicacies in a thali ( plate ).  Have any of you ever had a taste? It's a traditional way to serve food and is extremely popular in any Gujju household.

Churma Ladwa make me nostalgic, taking me straight back to my childhood days. It's an indescribable feelings right now, how our house or neighbourhood would smell whenever my mum or someone used to make Churma Ladoo. If there is any Gujarati Mithai (sweets) which I choose over any other Indian Mithai it has to be this/ And yes, I just said that.

Around few decades ago, if there is any celebrations that would have happened in any Gujju family, Churma ladwa would be on their menu, if I am invited to that function there was no bound of joy and happiness for me. In those days, most of the functions and celebrations were used to be held in your homes, and almost whole neighbourhood is invited. Obviously, food is prepared by the ladies of the family and if there are many people invited then caterers would come to your home and cook everything from the scratch in your back garden. I've tried not to miss those opportunities to peep while they making those delicious delicacies, the whole process of making churma ladwa by those people, you just want to sit there and keep taking extra sniff to take it all in, embracing it all in your senses. Everything was so sweet and mesmerising, especially for me !

Mum used to prepare them twice a year,  on Ganesh Chaturthi and Vasant Panchmi. She would prepare Rajasthani style Churma Ladoo Ganesh Chaturthi and Gujarati Churma Ladoo on Vasnat panchmi.  We siblings were always more than happy to helping her in making them, I was so delighted when Mum gave me a responsibility to prepare Churma Ladoo from scratch, only when I was just 17.

As much as I love to relish Churma Ladwa, I try not to prepare them frequently myself as adulthood does not allow me, but if I seriously get cravings for them I make M/W method Churma Ladwa. which contains very less ghee and process is short. Churma Ladwa are loaded with Ghee and Jaggery, however in compare to cakes and coffee they are nutritious as Churma Ladwa are made with Whole Wheat flour which contains fiber and Jaggery provides countless benefits. So every 2-3years, I do prepare traditional ladwa, just to go back in my time to engage in those memories of my childhood and obviously keep traditional and authentic flavours in this modern era.

Churma ladoo, is prepared in India by every community by using similar ingredients and methods. However in Gujarati recipe, Khoya or mawa is not used, instead melted ghee and few mishri ( khadi sakar - small sugar candy ) being added. Churma Ladwa requires few ingredients, whole wheat flour dumplings fried till golden brown and starts emanating it's sweet aroma. Fried dumplings turn into coarse flour Jaggery, nuts, melted ghee and aromatic spices are added and mixture rolled into moreish ladwa. It's always a sheer pleasure for me to devour these scrumptious ladwa !

Indian sweets, Mithai, Gujarati Mithai, Churma ladoo, Churma na ladwa , traditional sweets , Gujarati churma ladoo
Indian sweets. Traditional mithai, Desserts, Prasad
Gujarati, Indian
Yield: 10-12 ladooPin it

Gor Churma Ladoo

prep time: 10 minscook time: 50 minstotal time: 60 mins
Gor Churma Ladoo is a traditional Gujarati sweet made with basic ingredients such as wheat flour, ghee and jaggery.


  • 500 g coarse whole wheat flour ( see notes) 
  • 50 g chickpea flour
  • 350 g grated jaggery
  • 25 g mishri pieces
  • 1 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg powder
  • 2-3 tbsp. khus khus ( white poppy seeds )
  • 350-400 Homemade Ghee


Place both flours in a big bowl or plate and add about 50-60 g ghee.
Combine everything, and knead a stiff dough using lukewarm water.
Divide dough into small balls and make a shape of fist cake ( muthiya )
Heat 200 g ghee and fry muthiya on a very low heat till light golden brown.
Remove and let it cool, transfer them in a food processor and grind till you get the coarse powder.
Add grated jaggery, cardamom and nutmeg powder and remained ghee.
Mix and rub the mixture properly with your hands, now add mishri or sakar.
Take small amount of cooked ladwa mixture and make a ball.
Roll ladwa in khus khus and drop that ladwa in a plate, so the base of that ladoo becomes flat but the upper part still stays round.
Enjoy !


If you can not find coarse whole wheat flour, take 400 g regular chappati flour and 100 g semolina.
If you want to use sugar, use caster sugar instead of Jaggery.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Monday, 19 January 2015

Homemade Almond, Cashew and Hazelnut Butter !

The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking : Love for those you are cooking for ~ Sophia Loren  
I've noticed that since last decade there is a sparked boom in " cooking from scratch " . Numbers are increasing in grinding their own masalas or paste, baking bread and making their own chocolates. I don't know the particular reason, it could be economic crisis, growing health concerns or just we want to challenge ourselves and in general we are rediscovering the joy of cooking. In these modern times many cosmopolitans takes a lot of interest in home cooking and are enjoying the art of cooking, not just a family man or woman. Cooking from scratch has become more of a hobby at the same time a necessity to assure yourself by using your own ingredients.

These days the media plays a big role to encourage the need for home cooked food, through this medium, countless recipes are available on food channels, also so many cook books are there so no need to despair. Topic of food has reached it's height in current times, I've seen plenty of movies and serials where whole movies are based on Food ,Hollywood and Bollywood movies like Julie & Julia, The hundred - foot journey, Cheeni Kum, Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana and many more.

Seems lately one recipe is in trend, Homemade nut butter. Almost every food blogger wants to try their hands on preparing a nut butter, reasons must be we seem to enjoy new and interesting projects and challenges to feed our minds,also our families and our blogs. Making any kind of nut butter at home gives you real  pleasure. It is absolutely easiest  recipe to make as long as you have a lots of patience and trust in your food processor.

Lately I've joined in the trend and started making plenty of nut butter in my kitchen. We immensely enjoy it. I add different  butter in my everyday smoothie, nut butter makes my smoothie very creamy without any nasty fat, I spread nut butter on healthy crackers and enjoy as a snack and recently i use as an alternative to butter in my baking  to bring nutty flavours and to avoid hell of a saturated fat, sometimes I add them in my curries to thicken the gravy too. I am fond of these nut butter, actually last Christmas I prepared it and filled small presentable jars and gift it to friends as an edible gift with various kind of nuts in a hamper basket.

Nut Butter can be prepared with any kind of nuts, mixed or on it's own, also if you prefer roasted nut butter simply roast them on 350F for 10-12 minutes. I prefer mine raw, except hazelnuts and I prefer nut butter with just one type nuts.

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You will need :- 

  • 250-300 g almonds or cashews or hazelnuts.
  • Good food processor
  • Patience :)
  • Cute jar to store 

Method :- Almond and Cashew butter

Place nuts in a food processor and , turn on the processor.
You will see nothing but nut dust, keep scrapping.
You might need to give a few seconds break to cool down.
Keep the processor running, after few minutes you'll see nut butter begin to clump.
Be patient and keep running your processor and after 8-10 minutes you'll see butter is getting creamier.
Let the processor do it's job for another 3-4 minutes, you might need little almond, sesame or walnut oil to run processor smoothly.
Let it cool for few minutes.
Transfer the nut butter into jar.
Enjoy !

Method :- Hazelnut Butter
Roast hazelnuts, remove it's peppery skin and follow the above method.

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Friday, 16 January 2015

Vegan Sweet Potato and Tofu Kofta Curry !

Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, Be fearless & above all have fun.. Julia Child
Malai Kofta, these two drool worthy words were music to my ears when I heard first time, when I was 18-19 through a family friend. She said they had it in one of the Punjabi restaurant, which I never heard of. I got little excited but when I looked at mum's face and I just buried all my thoughts and hopes. Around that time these type of restaurants were newly opened in Gujarat, where Punjabi and Moghlai dishes served, they weren't popular among Gujju community. But today times have changed and the Punjabi and Moghlai restaurants have taken on big time !

While growing up in India, every day it was simple home cooked meal, always cooked from scratch for us. Dining out or I should say snacking out, was only on blue moon occasions and that too few snacks like dosa or pav bhaji. Dining out was kind of luxury in those days, but it is all so common now days. Punjabi or Moghlai cuisine we never heard of. But times have changed, world has become globalized , people have become more adventurous and aware about other culture and cuisine and wants to experience in expending their flavours pallets and minds.

I've adventured in Punjabi and Moghlai cuisines only when I got married to a British cultured boy, while he was enjoying India, various dishes and certainly my company ! I went against family tradition and literally we ate out during most of his stay in India. We ate from roadside joints to five star restaurants and gorged on simple Palak paneer to rich and calorie laden Navratna Korma, Tandoori Rotis to Peshwari Naan, Simple jeera rice to aromatic veg Biryanis, and certainly Malai Kofta was on the order every single time. We immensely enjoyed everything we ate, as for me it was freedom to eat out and husband was used to only British taste, so for him it was totally a new exotic journey.

I always wanted to prepare Malai Kofta at home, never got a chance to make in India for my parents and siblings. As soon as I landed in U.K, I started preparing many new dishes with so much enthusiasm. Fragrant, sweet and nutty Malai Koftas became  a regular, but the day my daughter said she can't handle very rich and heavy curries, I rarely make traditional Malai Kofta !

Since then I am always on the look out for healthier option for Malai Kofta.In the past I have prepared healthier version of  Malai Kofta by steaming up the koftas and totally avoided cream,  instead used skimmed milk and came up with Palak and Paneer kofta curry. This time I've experimented by using tofu, sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds replacing full fat paneer, potatoes, cream and butter, by an obvious choice prepared koftas using minimum fat in panniyaram pan.  Instead of deep fried and calorie loaded koftas, lighter and tasty kofta went into creamy, nutty and fragrant gravy.

Until I revealed to family about this version of Malai Kofta that it is absolutely on a healthier side, they couldn't believe it. We all settled for to keep this in our menu. Redolent and finger licking curry we thoroughly enjoyed on my birthday. Daughter took it to  university to enjoy the next day. I was relieved every one was fine after having it, as it was light yet so tasty !

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You will need :- Kofta

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 packet of tofu almost 400 g
  • 2 - 3 tbsp corn flour or plain flour
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp chopped cashew nuts
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp. ginger  green chilli paste
  • 1tbsp.finely chopped coriander 
  • Pinch of garam masala
  • Pinch of cardamom powder
You will need :- Creamy Gravy
  • 1 cup tomato puree ( 2/3 tomato + 1/3 water )
  • 2 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. grated ginger
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil
  • Pinch of cardamom powder
  • Pinch of mace powder ( Javentri ) optional
  • 4 - 5 tbsp. light coconut milk ( optional )
  • 1/2 tsp. kasoori methi
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup plain cashew nuts + 2 tbsp. poppy seeds + 1tbsp. + 2 tbsp.raisins +1tbsp melon seeds soaked in a warm water
  • 1 tbsp. Kashmir chilli powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander and cumin
  • Handful of chopped coriander 
Method :- kofta

Squeeze the water out of the tofu, make sure no moisture is left. ( I wrap in the kitchen tissue paper and leave it for 2-3 hours )
Wash sweet potato thoroughly and pierce with fork or sharp knife.
Place them on a M/W proof plate and cook 12-15 minutes or until the flesh is thoroughly cooked and tender.
Let it cool little and remove skin, mash them with a potato masher or by hand.
Sweet potato mash should be without any lumps.

Mash tofu and combine with mashed sweet potatoes.
Add corn flour, ginger  green chilli paste, finely chopped coriander, garam masala and cardamom powder.
Once again mix all the ingredients well and make equal sized balls, press slightly place cashew and raisins and seal the ball properly. Repeat with remaining balls and filling.
Heat paniyaram pan,add few drops of oil and place stuffed koftas to cook.
Cook the koftas till light golden brown on a low heat.
Remove them and leave it aside for later use.

Method :- Creamy Curry

Grind soaked cashew and seeds in a grinder to a puree.
Heat oil in a heavy based kadai or pan.
Add onion, garlic and ginger and saute till light pink.
Switch off the heat.
Transfer sauteed onion. garlic and ginger in a processor and process till you get fine puree. ( Maybe you'll need little water )
Turn on the heat, add pureed onion mixture in to same kadai and start cooking on a high heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add tomato puree and continuously cook the mixture.
Add chilli powder, turmeric, ground coriander and cumin powder and salt.
After 2-3 minutes add cashew paste and keep cooking the mixture.
Turn the heat down and cook slowly till you see oil separating on side of the pan.
Add little water if gravy is too thick.
Add kasoori methi, cardamom and mace powder.
Let the gravy cook for 8-10 minutes.
Add coconut milk, garam masala and switch off the heat.
When ready to serve, heat the gravy once again add koftas, garnish with coriander and serve straight away.
Enjoy with roti, naan or plain paratha.

Thank you for stopping by :)