Aubergine Lasagna

The cottage cheese layer is a perfect topping for the health conscious...one can use cheese too...
The cottage cheese layer is a perfect topping for the health conscious…you could use mozzarella for that stringy top too!

This dish has been one of the hottest selling entrees in both my restaurants. The name has appeal, the simplistic recipe allows you to enjoy the vegetables, it’s healthy so works with the crazy gym-addicts, and me, and it’s a looker!

Aubergine or brinjal is technically a fruit…and you can’t keep me away from fruits for too long. Full of vital vitamins, minerals, fibre and with the ability to lower cholesterol and help manage weight, brinjals have always been a hot favourite in my kitchen. And what’s even more interesting is the ease with which it can be used in any cuisine. Like, tonight, I’m trying a Sweet-Sour-Spicy Aubergine with Sichuan chilli, if I get my hands on it, and am going to serve it with brown rice noodles and a quick 5 veggie stir fry. But coming back to the brinjal, you’ve got to cook it right to prevent it from becoming a soggy mess.

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Flourless Chocolate Pudding served with Mangoes and Soya-Cream Cheese Icing

Delicious, light and sugar-free! Indulgence at its best
Delicious, light and sugar-free! Indulgence at its best

There are few things in life that can be deterred to a later date. Baking is one of them. Just last night I watched two sisters, create an amazing flourless sugarless warm chocolate pudding with figs…yeah, it was a gooey mess, and i mean that in a very, very good way. The recipe by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley on Hemsley & Hemsley had to be replicated in my own style.

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The Modern Gujiya: Dry Fruits and Khoya Pastry

The flaky pastry crumbles under the pressure of the knife and when you bite into it, it's an explosion of textures and flavours! : The modern gujiya
The flaky pastry crumbles under the pressure of the knife and when you bite into it, it’s an explosion of textures and flavours!: The modern gujiya

Holi does call for delicacies and desserts! Given my penchant for no-sugar added cooking and doing something out of the box, I gave the traditional gujiya a twist! Gujiyas are nothing but sweet dumplings made of maida and filled with a delightful khoya and dry fruits mixture that are popularly made in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh during the festive season. Sadly, they are deep-fried in ghee and dipped in a sugary syrup! Not something I would cook in my kitchen and yet one has to keep up with tradition! I trapped my dry fruits mix in phyllo pastry and baked it! The sweetness came from the dry fruits and the crispy crackle of the pastry, just added to the delight!

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Multi-Grain Seeded Crackers

Multigrain multi-seeded gluten-free crackers
Multi-grain multi-seeded gluten-free crackers

Crackers are fairly simple to make and it’s rather surprising that I don’t make them as often as I should. On our trips to Europe we often stock up on these knäckebröd and bring enough home to last a few months. It’s when they run out that the quest for ready-made Indian varieties start and sadly I haven’t come across a single good gluten-free sugar-free variant as yet.

The wonderful thing about these crackers is that you can flavour it as you choose. Even the basic recipe is delicious, but when your kitchen is a store house of flavours from across the world, why would you let your imagination dry up? What I also enjoy about making these crackers is that its relatively stress free. Most Indian women are used to kneading dough, you just do it instinctively, yes I had to remind myself to measure the quantity of water I used when I developed this recipe. And the crackers get done in a flat 45 minutes, you need no yeast, no waiting for the dough to rise, no getting the temperature right..nothing. It’s as simple as knead, roll, cut and bake. And the end product is only 20 minutes away.

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No Bake Oreo Mashmallow Pie

img_20170103_184409_144This recipe has been inspired by Ridhi, a colleague, who brought to work a no-bake Oreo Cheesecake. It was so simple to make that we decided to adapt the recipe for a cooking column I do for RobinAge, a weekly children’s newspaper. After all which kid doesn’t like Oreo or chocolate?

But me, being me, I decided to add a twist to it! Another colleague Melissa had brought along a bag of marshmallows! (It helps to work with an almost all-woman team, who love food) The pink and orange marshmallows found their way into this 10-minute gooey chocolatey dessert! Enjoy!

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Hot Artichoke and Spinach Cheesy Dip

A cheesy fragrant dip that pairs beautifully with crackers
A cheesy fragrant dip that pairs beautifully with crackers

I’ve decided in the year 2017 my blog is going to see at least one post every week and a lot of them are going to be vegetarian. The one complaint I often hear is the lack of vegetarian recipes, so that’s going to change. And yes it is going to be healthy, though this one sits on the edge. As always this recipe too is super easy and perfect for the wintery evenings, where you crave for something warm with your cup of tea. I made this hot creamy dip twice in a row–my X’mas Dinner night and for my New Year party! It’s festive in a way! With all its amazingly cheesy and fragrant aromas. What’s more it can be dressed with a lot more aplomb if you wish.

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Roasted Almond Chocolate Cake

A super soft, heavenly chocolate cake with just the right amount of crunch!
A super soft, heavenly chocolate cake with just the right amount of crunch!

Last Saturday saw me pulling out food for 30 people, over two different meals! One was a birthday dinner for a friend’s 45 birthday, that’s where this cake was baked, and the other was just a meal for friends. And believe you me this 1 and a half kg cake wasn’t enough to feed 15 not-so-hungry mouths!

It was a dear friend’s 45 birthday and somehow i always end up baking the cake and bringing along at least 3-4 main course dishes and an equal number of starters :) This time was no different, not that I am complaining…I think cooking for people you care about only shows your love for them!

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Steamed Lentil and Sprouts Cake

The sprouts bump up the protein content of this dish, making it perfect for dinner too!
The sprouts bump up the protein content of this dish, making it perfect for dinner too!

I’ve decided to add a travel section to my blog! I’ve realised If I didn’t need to worry about paying bills, I would be the hippie I was born to be :) A healthy hippie, that serves healthy low cal food in a bed and breakfast that’s tucked somewhere deep in the forests where the aromas of pine sap run through the air! You get the picture, right ;)?

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Barley Flour Walnut Brownie

Chunky and healthy barley flour chocolate walnut brownie
Chunky and healthy barley flour chocolate walnut brownie

Just the word brownie, somehow has the knack of turning a horrible, horrible day into one that you can sail through. even if it involves, measuring, baking and just basking in the aromas that lilt through the kitchen. This Thursday was no different. Home alone, i was bored out of my wits, gym routine done, cooking done, grocery shopping done, I had more than half the day on my hand, completely free! The oven yet again became my best go-to-friend! :) Doesn’t it always…

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Grapefruit Salad with Chinese Beans, Cherry Tomato and Granny’s Apple

A fresh and light salad, perfect for a light lunch or as a side with a steak
A fresh and light salad, perfect for a light lunch or as a side with a steak

The monsoon has already started receding, and has left behind this crazy unbearably hot days! The soups will soon be forgotten and in its place a huge bowl of salad will make dinner light, bright and healthy. Last week whilst driving across our end of town, I came across these delicious grapefruits at the local market, thankfully not as expensive as some food baskets sell it at. The salad was planned right there.

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