Thursday, May 21, 2009

One more award before I go

I know, I know....... I said I'm on a break. But just wanted to thank Pooja for giving me this wonderful award . I appreciate it Pooja. It means a lot. The award says chirpy and cheerful blog. Now, it does make me feel happy that my blog passes on cheer to many. Thanks again.

All of you have fun and take care. See you in a month.

Luv 'n' luc'

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Roasted bell pepper soup and something special for the deserving.

Hey guys. Hope all of your are in the pinkest of health and happy about good weather too. I'm doing great. I'm taking a long break from blogging for a month. Quite a lot of travelling, parties and picnics on the way. I'm really excited.

Before I go, I would love to pass on a very special award to some very special food bloggers . This award was given to me by Muneeba. I would love to hand it over to some of my blogger buddies in whose pages I see more of a "raw passion" for food and cooking than mere blog posts. According to me, these few have a big time infatuation with food. Their zeal never fails to impress and I'm always surprised at the time and effort that goes into each post of theirs. Love their recipes too.
So here's to that gusto.
I really meant every word and you are truly deserving.

About today's post. It's roasted bell peppers soup.I know summer is not the time for soups. But summer is the time when you get good bell peppers in the market. So why not make good soup? Here is a wonderful recipe of a wonderful fresh soup.

Bye everyone. See ya after a month. Y'all have fun and so will I:)

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onions, chopped
  • 1 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 bell peppers (red,yellow and orange)
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1 cm. cubes
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine(optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 (3/4-inch thick) baguette slices, cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/8 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. To roast bell pepper, cut each into four pieces and remove the seeds. Toss the peppers in 1 tbspn olive oil and put them onto a tray lined with aluminium foil. ( I place them skin side down)
Roast for 20 mins. When done, put the hot peppers into a plastic box and let them sweat for 5 mins. This makes it easier to remove the skin of the pepper. When the skins are removed, set them aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, and oregano and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add wine and let the alcohol in it evaporate completely( takes about3-4 mins)
  • Add the broth, bell peppers, potato and sugar. Bring to a simmer over high heat.
  • Add salt and pepper. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Partially cover and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.Add milk and cheeses and simmer for another 2 mins.
  • Cool the soup slightly.
  • Puree the soup in a regular blender, taking care while blending warm liquids.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and saute until they are crisp and golden, about 8 minutes.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with croutons.
Luv 'n' luc'

Friday, May 15, 2009

Party time - Pineapple cream cake

ONCE UPON A TIME................I think that's the best way to start today's story because this is a picture of a cake I made 4-5 months ago and the following story too dates back to that time( or should I say that age ;). I pulled this out from my archives.

So, it's once upon a time:)

5 months ago.......................

I looked right. I looked left. Turned right.Turned left. Backed up. Curb parked, parallel parked and finally.......... got my driver's license. By the way, did I mention that it was my second attempt. (And no, I am not proud of that).

My first attempt was a disaster. I shivered with nervousness and everything that could possibly go wrong,went wrong. I switched-on the wiper instead of the beams, I didn't stop at the "stop" signs and I never checked my mirrors because I was petrified of taking my eyes off of the road. I even put the right indicator and turned left :) I was so nervous, but there's atleast one thing I can proudly say -I DID NOT pee in my pants that day : P

I was determined not to let that happen again (talking about the nervousness). So, after a few more weeks of practice, I attempted again with confidence. My second shot at it was far, far better and fruitful. I was so thrilled with my success that I drove my way home with music blasting from my car stereo. You should have been there to see that proud look of triumph on my face when I tucked my license into my purse. ( I looked like I had hit a jackpot)

Atlast, a free bird, not having to depend on my partner everytime I want to visit the mall or a friend.....I decided to rejoice and planned a party for two . The highlight of that day, not my license card, but a fine pineapple cream cake. Tasted scrumptious and it's become a household favorite.
Me excited today :)
I got this award from Lena. Thank you so much Lena. I feel elated.

There are some rules to the award:
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs (Only if you like).
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blog

As usual, now comes the difficult part. Deciding which blogs to pass the award to.
I would like to pass on the award to:


  • Butter( at room temperature) - 2 stick( 225 gms)
  • Sugar - 1-1/2 cup
  • Eggs(large) - 4
  • Pineapple extract - 1 tspn
  • All purpose flour - 2 cup
  • Baking powder - 2 tspns
  • Salt - 1/4 tspn(optional)
  • Butter milk - 3/4 cup

For Frosting:

  • Heavy whipping cream ( chilled) - 1-1/2 cups
  • Powdered sugar - 3/4 cup
  • Corn starch - 1/4 tspn(optional)
  • Pineapple pieces - 1/2 cup
  • Pineapple extract - 1 drop


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F( 177 C)
  • Butter two 8" round cake pan or line it with parchment paper.Set aside.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
    Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
    Add vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Now add the flour mixture and mix Stir in the milk until batter is smooth. (Do not over beat the cake batter as it will result in a hard cake)
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven.
  • Do the toothpick test to see if the cake is done.(See note below)
    If the cake is not done, reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees F(135 C) and bake for 8-10 mins more.Repeat tooth pick test.
  • When the cake is done, let it rest in the cake pan for 10 mins.Then remove the cake from the cake pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
    And tada! You are a great baker.

Directions for frosting:

  • Whip the chilled heavy cream with an electric whipper and as it thickens add the powdered sugar and corn starch.
  • When the cream starts forming stiff peaks, drop spoonfulls on the cake and spread it out neatly.
  • To add additional details on top of the cake, like the curls, you need cake decorating cones and cone-tips.( available is all super markets). Fill a cone with the left over cream and pipe out the design of your choice on the cake and garnish with pineapple pieces.


The tooth pick test :Take a tooth pick or a bamboo skewer or a knife and poke it deep into the cake.If it comes out clean when removed, then the cake is ready.If it comes out with wet cake batter, it needs additional time to bake.

Luv 'n' luc'

Monday, May 11, 2009

A trip to Holland, Michigan and a box of windmill spiced cookies

We drove 7 hours to Michigan. All for the sake of seeing my favorite flower- the tulip.

I was really disappointed that the field had scanty patches of tulips. I hated their fields(As you can see in the first snap)Maybe it's because I've visited Netherlands and seen their vast vast fields of tulips in bloom. I didn't care much for these here.

I thought that our trip would go to the dumps. But, fortunately, for us, the Windmill Island pepped up our day. Windmill Island features a 240 year old working Dutch windmill "De Zwaan" (meaning graceful bird).

It is the only authentic Dutch windmill in the USA. It was brought in parts all the way from Netherlands and rebuilt here.

Next came Neli's Dutch village. A lot of dutch dancing and fun rides. Nothing worth mentioning.

The stunner was Lake Michigan Light house. It's called the "BIG RED" and it's one of the most photographed light houses in Michigan. It looked cute. The best part was sunset. Oh! It was so breath taking and romantic ;)

Finally, about the cookies part. I bought a cute box of some authentic Dutch cookies from the Windmill Island. They were imported cookies which were made in Netherlands. Boy, they were awesome!
They were spiced with ginger and cinnamon and had that wonderful taste of dark brown sugar. They had a very crispy crunch too.
On the whole, it was a pleasant weekend.

Luv 'n' luc'

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I had visited Holland, MI over the weekend. Was really tired after the trip. Got the energy to make a post only today :) Will do a write up about the trip soon with a few snaps too.

Today, I'm posting a nutritious, yet, delicious recipe. Palak Paneer.

I am extremely fond of any form of greens.
My amma( mother) recollects that I was crazy about spinach as a kid too. Itseems, she never had issues feeding me lunch when there was greens on the plate. I was a wierd kid :)

Beets were what I disliked the most at that time. My mother's frequent lines used to be " eat pink beetroot for pink cheeks". I was not keen on pink cheeks. But one fine day she was taken aback and astonished when I asked her why my cheeks did not turn green when I ate spinach. She had no answer for that.

That was my baby talk when I was three or so. Still obssessed with greens, palak makes me feel good.

I'm sending this recipe to the 15 minute cooking event conducted by Mahimaa.

Prep. time 15 mins

Ingredients -(makes 3-4 servings)

  • Paneer- 200 gms cubed(pan seared or deep fried to prevent it from crumbling)
  • Oil- 2 tbspns
  • 1 medium onion and 1 green chilli(pureed together to a fine paste)
  • Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tspn
  • Palak(spinach) - 1 bunch
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tspn
  • Cumin powder - 1 tspn
  • Turmeric powder -1/4 tspn
  • Chilli powder- 1/2 tspn
  • Garam masala - 1/2 tspn
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sour cream- 3 tbspns(substitute with heavy cream)
  • Milk - 1/8 cup

  • Blanch(soak) spinach in boiling water for about 1 min.Remove from water and make a fine puree of it in a blender.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seed and turmeric powder.Then add the onion-chilli paste and saute well for abt 6-7 mins(till the onions no longer smell raw).
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for 4-5 mins.
  • Add spinach puree. Stir well.
  • Add garam masala, chilli powder and salt.Let it cook for about 2-3 mins on low heat.
  • Add 2 tbspns of sour cream and the milk and stir well.Add the paneer cubes
  • Turn off heat and transfer the palak paneer into a serving bowl and
  • Finally, top it with a dollop of sour cream.
  • Serve with puris or chapatis.
Luv 'n' luc'

Friday, May 1, 2009

Droplets from the rainbow.....

Like the rainbow dripped it's colors into these peppers during the spring rains.

This is my entry for Jai and Bee's click event. Topic- Spring/ Autumn
Luv 'n' luc'


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