Friday, November 20, 2015


This time,like everyother time, I am making only a few sides for Thanksgiving dinner since we always do a potluck. With my current situation at home,I am embracing the make ahead recipes like no other.They are my life saver now. This sauce is a breeze to put together and when you can put into Hefty slider bags,it's going to be safe and sound in the freezer. I got this recipe from Hefty's website and it's a good one!
Jobin's Mummy makes a savoury pickle using fresh cranberries and it's just awesome! That's the only time I've had it spicy. For that matter, I have had cranberries only in the sauce from otherwise. I know it's a very good ingredient to bake with but I still have not explored that side of it. These days after all the sweet stuff that we bake in school, I hardly bake anything sweet anymore at home other than the regular chocolate or marble cake. The other day,I was telling Jobin that I might just give up sugar by the time I am done with school! We bake a LOT on a daily basis and bring them all home!
Like I said earlier, this cranberry sauce is so easy to put together. Just dump all the ingredients into one pot and let the heat do it's work and before you even realize, your sauce would be ready for use! I have my sauce ready in slider bags for the main day and all I have to do is to gently reheat it up!


4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method: Mix all the ingredients together in a pot and bring it to a boil on medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Let it cool to room temperature and freeze them in Hefty slider bags.

When needed, thaw them in the fridge overnight and serve it at room temperature.

For more Thanksgiving ideas visit Hefty's website!

Sunday, November 8, 2015


This pasta dish is a staple in our house. I've always made it with Chorizo because it's one of my favourite things to eat and cook with.When you pair it with a Ragu Pasta sauce,it's even better!I sometimes fry them and serve it alongside rice and it kind of takes the place of Beef Ulathiyathu.If you have never tried it, you should. It's a pork sausage with a lot of spice in it.It's delicious and makes everything that you make with it taste awesome!There are two kinds of Chorizo,fresh & dry. I like to use the fresh ones and you can use it just like how you would use a ground meat.

I rarely buy pasta sauces but when I do, I prefer to buy Ragu. It's such a well balanced sauce and it's not overtly tart. Some bottled sauces are so tart that you really wouldn't know how to fix the dish in the end. I used Ragu's Roasted Garlic Pasta sauce because I do have a weak point for roasted garlic,for that matter everything with garlic in it. I don't mind if the sauce is chunky or smooth. This roasted garlic sauce was made chunky.
Assunta made the voyage from Italy to America with a little something extra up her sleeve,her family's recipe for tomato sauce - a secret and sublime combination of vine-ripened tomatoes,fresh basil,fennel,garlic and ground pepper,meticulously writing down every detail and hiding it for safe passage.She must have known she was onto something when the neighbour's raved about it. Then the neighbour's neighbours. Word spread and when people in Iowa started grabbing it off the shelves,well,the legend was off and running.
It wasn't easy,Assunta grew up in a man's word during America's toughest time -the Great Depression.And in a time when people expected less,she gave them more. When people were forced to put their hoped,dreams and aspirations on the back burner, Assunta placed hers directly on the front burner.Her recipe literally became the recipe for her success...Thus, Ragu pasta sauce was born! Hundred of pasta sauces have graced the shelves over the past 80 years, but only one has become America's number one.

Ragu pasta sauces are made with farm grown ingredients and contains no artificial flavours or high fructose corn syrup.

Serves 4

2 fresh Chorizo links,case removed
1 small box button mushrooms,cleaned and sliced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 box good quality Rotini pasta
1 1/4 cups of Ragu Pasta Sauce ( Chunky Roasted Garlic)
Fresh parsley
Salt & Pepper

In a medium sized pan,on medium high heat, saute the crumbled chorizo till it starts to release it's oil. Add the mushrooms and onions and saute till all the water from mushroom dries up. Add the pasta sauce to it and cook covered,on medium heat for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile,cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box.Do not drain the pasta.
Check the sauce for seasoning and set aside.When the pasta is done,using a slotted spoon,add the hot pasta directly into the sauce and mix well.Check for seasonings.Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot!

If you want to thin out the sauce,you may use the pasta cooking water for the same.
This is a good one, try it someday. I am sure you will like it. If you are planning to use ground meat instead of chorizo,make sure you season them accordingly. Chorizo is very very flavourful!

There is a sweeps contest running on Food(dot)com. The contest is titled Ready. Set. Cook! and it challenges home cooks to create new and unique recipes featuring Ragu sauce plus a set list of other ingredients! Click here for more details!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Who doesn't love a good movie night,snuggling up on the couch and nibbling on some of your favourite snacks? Now that the weather is getting cooler,a cheese board or a cheesy appetizer makes an appearance in our house every now and then. Have any of you watched the new movie Burnt starring Bradley Cooper? I have been seeing the trailers and I think I will enjoy it! I love movies that are made with food as the focus!

When I first opened the box of Castello's creatively crafted Blue Cheese, I was not really sure whether I should make a salad or a tart. I recently had an amazing salad with Blue cheese in it at our friend's house. I wanted to recreate it so instead of reaching for the greens, I reached for the puff pastry that I made a few days ago. Roasting the pears and onions brings out the sweetness making the tart extra special.

I also made a balsamic reduction to drizzle over the top. The balsamic vinegar,when tasted as is can be quite overwhelming. When it's given some TLC and reduced, it lends itself to become a sticky sweet syrup. It gives such a brightness to the tart! You can replace apples for pears if that's the fruit that you like! I thoroughly enjoyed this tart. If you think you are not sure about the balsamic dressing,you can skip it! The Castello Danish Blue Cheese is so good that you wouldn't even miss the dressing!


1 large ripe pear of your choice,sliced thin
1 medium yellow onion,sliced thin
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
Castello Danish Blue Cheese,crumbled
1 egg
Olive oil

Method: Preheat the oven to 400F.
In a large foil lined baking sheet, toss the pear and onion with some olive oil and salt.Roast them for 35 minutes or until the pears are soft and onions have turned a shade of golden.Let it cool completely.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan,reduce the balsamic vinegar for 5-7 minutes on medium high heat. It should reduce down to a thick syrup,approximately 2 tablespoons worth.
Roll out the thawed puff pastry to an 8X8 inch square or slightly smaller than that.Prick all over the space where you would spread the filling with a fork.Spread the cooled filling over it leaving some space around the egdes.Sprinkle the crumbled Castello Blue Cheese over it. Egg wash the exposed edges and bake the tart on a parchment lined baking sheet for 25-30 minutes or until puffed and golden.
Let it cool down a bit, Drizzle the balsamic reduction over it,cut them into pieces and enjoy!

Visit the Castello & Burnt campaign page for delicious inspiration, and to enter the Unlock Your Inner Chef sweepstakes for a chance to win great prizes, including:

-  A private cooking class for two
-  A year’s worth of Castello cheese

You can also enter the Unlock Your Inner Chef Sweepstakes, which is hosted on the Castello USA Facebook page now through November 20 for the same prizes mentioned above.


Saturday, October 31, 2015


Hello everyone! I am still alive and kicking and I have a lot of things to share with you! The most important thing is that my little blog is not so little anymore. It turned 7 years old on October 8th and I even managed to remember it inspite of all the craziness I've got myself into. When I saw the posters in our school about the ACF Hot Foods Team, I really didn't know what it was all about other than that it was a food competition. I am game for any food competitions as long as the judges know what they are doing. I know it's not about winning all the time but if you have to lose just because the judges don't know a thing about what they are judging,it sucks BIG time! Anyway,so when I saw the posters, I wanted to give it a try...obviously!

They had 3 rounds of selection and I passed them all! So, I am officially a part of the ACF Hot Foods Team representing Le Cordon Blue, Minneapolis- St. Paul!! It also means that I need to stay back after school on weekdays to practice for the competition which is sometime in March. It's a 2 day competition and it's INTENSE! You have no idea how excited I am to be a part of this team because it will definately benefit me in many ways,not just having that cool title on my resume but also on my knife skills,timing and discipline in the kitchen. One thing I've realised after joining school is that there are so many little things that you can never learn if you don't get trained professionally. Afterall, I really care about the little things in life...we all do,right?

The next thing is that I am on the President's list for securing a 4.0 GPA for the last quarter in school. We had a celebration where we were given certificates and a small badge which can be pinned onto our uniforms! Then there's this Open Baking Lab that I go to every Wednesday to learn more about baking,ofcourse! All these have been keeping me super busy that I had zero time to come here and tell you all about what we've been doing otherwise in school. We had to come up with our own Original Bread Formula for our practicals and I baked a Chipotle Onion & Walnut Bread which came out really really well ! I am almost done with my Breads & Viennoiserie  class and we will be starting a new term next week.
Okay, about these cookie bars now. We are having a Halloween party in our building for the little ones and I baked these for the party.Ian is dressing up as the Ninja turtle Leonardo. He looks so cute in it! I will try and post a photograph when I get a chance. I found this recipe on Cooks Illustrated.
CHEWY M&M COOKIE BARS Makes 24  bars

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
12 tablespoons unsalted butter,melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups M&M's

Preheat the oven to 325F and line a 9X13 inch baking tin with a parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.

In a bowl,whisk together flour,salt and baking powder.Set aside.
In another bowl,beat the melted butter and sugars for 1 minute. Add the vanilla,the egg and egg yolk and beat till combined,30 seconds or so. Add the flour mixture and gently mix until just combined. Stir in 1 cup of M&M's. It will be a slightly thick and sticky dough. Spread it into the prepared pan and press it out evenly. Sprinkle the remaining M&M's over it and pat it in gently.Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let it cool completely and then cut them into bars. Store it in an airtight container.
This could be one of the few posts where I didn't talk much about the food! Weird,huh?
When Ian came home from his Montessori,he was really excited to see these bars and ate one right away. He really is a cookie monster.By the way, he has totally become an Appa's boy now. He even told me that Appa baked these cookies when I asked him who baked them! That monkey is always with Jobin and it's really nice to see how that bond is building up more and more as the days go by.

If you don't know what to do with all those candies after Halloween trick or treating,just chop and add them into this recipe and create something new! These are some really good fudgy cookie bars,I have a feeling that you will love these!


Monday, September 28, 2015

HOMEMADE MAYONNAISE (in under a minute!)

Homemade Mayonnaise
This method of making a mayonnaise can be like a revelation to the people who have been having a hard time making it at home.It can be tricky if you don't trickle in the oil while whisking the eggs at the same time when you make them the old fashioned way. I don't use a lot of mayo in our meals so I rarely have any on hand when I actually need them. This method is so easy that I just whip up a batch in no time at all! Once you try this method you will be hooked!
Homemade Mayonnaise
All you need for a mayo are pantry staples like eggs,oil,lime juice,some mustard and herbs of your choice,if you wish to add them later. I usually leave mine plain and then dress it up according to what I am making with them. Summer is the season when I use a lot of mayo. Sandwiches,burgers,taco's etc are made repeatedly and the mayo bottle gets over just like that!

I still remember standing next to Valsamma aunty,watching her make mayonnaise at my Uncle's home in Bangalore when I was little. It was like a magic show where she started with something liquid which turned into this thick, luscious,creamy yellow pudding like thing in the end! She used her fingers instead of a whisk to make it.I still remember that slightly cold Bangalore morning just like yesterday! Some memories just don't fade,right?

Homemade Mayonnaise
So the next time you are out of mayonnaise,don't reach out for that jar at the supermarket. Make your own. It's the best! The flavour is so good and you will notice that it's not as acidic as the storebought ones. It is exactly why homemade things are better! There are exceptions for sure but I always prefer homemade to storebought.This recipe is from Finla, a very close food blogger friend whom I've known for the last 7 years!
Homemade Mayonnaise Makes about 1 cup

1 large whole egg
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard (or anykind that you have)
Salt and Pepper

Method: Place all the ingredients into the bowl of your immersion /stick blender and pulse it moving the stick up and down. Your mayonnaise will be ready in less than a minute! Adjust seasonings if needed.

Store it in a clear jar with a lid for a week in the refrigerator.

This is the good stuff and not the bottled ones. Try it on a toast right away and you will see why I am trying to sell you this one!

Monday, September 14, 2015


Ria Mathew at Le Cordon Bleu
The past two weeks have been crazy busy here. So much stuff was happening at school and at home. Today, I am alone at home without Ian. It's Ian's first day away from home at a Montessori. He was so excited to go to school,play and eat snacks! Amma is here with us for a few more days and after that,our home will be very quiet during the day. As of today,all 3 of us are back to school. Jobin's school starts 2 days from now.He will be travelling quite extensively this year. 2015 is very eventful for us. I am so glad that Amma is here with us now. If you scroll down, you will see a few photographs that we took over the weekend for our Onam celebrations.
Onam 2015
At school,we baked tons of Croissants,Puff Pastry treats,Brioche buns etc. The past two weeks were so delicious! Those chocolate eclairs were really to die for. I am still dreaming about them. I really have to start watching what I eat these days since the goodies we are taught at school is not that figure friendly! I also volunteered for Minnesota Cooks at the State Fair and got a chance to rub elbows with a lot of successful Chefs from the Twin Cities.
Ria Mathew at Le Cordon Bleu

What we learnt for the past 2 weeks:
Challah Bread
Challah Bread rolls
Brioche sliders with Remoulade sauce
Cream Swans
Chocolate Eclairs
Paris - Breast
Mushroom & Goat Gourges with Red Bell Pepper Coulis
Puff Pastry
Savoury Galette
Shrimps Newberg
Classic Croissants
Pain au Chocolat
Bear Claw
Different types of Danishes

Thank you all for hanging in there and reading the updates. I promise you,there will be a recipe coming up very soon! Amma has been spoiling us with all the cooking so there's nothing that I can show you of mine. Things will change very soon once Amma leaves ;-)
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