Heavenly Godiva Chocolate Cupcakes – 4th Year Blog Anniversary

 

godiva-chocolate-cupcake

Eggless Godiva Chocolate Cupcake

 

Hello there!

I checked my blog after a long time today and was greeted with this cheery notification.

4 fabulous years of sharing recipes!

blog-anniversary

TasteCharades turns 4!

Here’s to another year of not so perfect posting regime, making plans, forgetting to schedule, feeling guilty. There have been more days (than I anticipated) this year where I have procrastinated posting drafts on the blog over curling up on the couch with hot chocolate in hand and flipping cookbooks, thrown more dinner parties, cooked new cuisines and worked with new ingredients. The best was I got to travel a lot more than I have since 2013. It made a good change of pace in schedule.

Visiting new places brought me new ingredients, new insights and allowed me to sample new food and explore new cultures. Will share more of my travel diaries in the weeks to come.

To celebrate my blog’s 4th anniversary, I am posting my dear friend Syesha’s divine chocolate cupcake recipe. Her constant encouragement makes her my biggest cheerleader and her warm camaraderie keeps me sane.

I asked her to guest blog this recipe the day she posted this delicious looking cupcake on Instagram. She sweetly sent me the recipe and pictures the very same day despite her busy schedule. She is a great restaurateur and a hospitality consultant to reckon with in Mumbai.

So all these weeks later, it seems like a perfect day to celebrate my blog anniversary with her amazing recipe. An ode of our friendship!

Read on and bake this delectable treat for your loved ones over the weekend.

Recipe and picture credits@SyeshaK (Lots of love)

 

Prep Time: 15 mins

Baking Time: 18 mins
Makes 8 cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour or almond flour or oat flour
3 tablespoon plain yogurt in half a cup of water/ Plain Buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
30 gm Godiva chocolate (85% cocoa)
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
A pinch of salt

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius for 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, add butter and sugar. You can use brown sugar or sugar-free instead, however, measurements will change in that case.

If using brown sugar, you will need 3/4th cup and if you using sugar-free, it will be 1/3 cup.

Cream the sugar and the butter and slowly add the buttermilk. Beat the mixture until well combined.

In a separate bowl, sieve the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder together. Keep aside.

Melt Godiva chocolate using a double boiler.

Combine the flour mixture to the wet mixture,  add in the vanilla essence and melted Godiva chocolate.

Lightly grease the cupcake moulds with butter and add the batter.

Bake for 18 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius.

Allow cupcakes to cool for 15 mins and remove them carefully from bake ware.

Unmould and serve warm with a steaming up of coffee!

godiva-chocolate-cupcake-1

Until next time happy baking!

Dates & Oats Energy Bites

No Bake Date and Oats Energy Bites

Energy Bites

My best friend sent me a picture of my co-workers getting into a habit of eating healthy breakfast at work a few days back. The picture had them bringing breakfast jars to work.

It all started with me sharing my overnight oats jar, with a dear colleague one morning. It got us talking about how easy it is to put together this breakfast option. Like I say healthy need not be boring!

Overnight Oats2

Overnight Oats 

This is for you Sho and MJ, thanks for waking me up from my blog-slumber and reminding me why I love sharing recipes in the first place. Also Palla, without your persistent nudge I would have not written a word this weekend.

So no promises of being regular out here posting recipes. However I would do my best juggling a hectic full time job and a new gym subscription.

Well, the past few months have been quite exciting. I have tried making many lifestyle changes, few have take shape and few are work in progress. More on that soon!

I have not bought white sugar in the last 4 months, given up white rice, tried some exotic ingredients (mac powder, cacao nibs, chia seeds, wheat germ, matcha powder and so on)

Along with thus I have hopped on the bandwagon and made these date-oat energy bites, best decision ever!

It’s got simple ingredients which come together quickly to get this moorish bite. I made mine with Medjool dates, oats, dried coconut flakes and walnuts, great source of dietary fibre and protein.

I chose Medjool dates on purpose, they are a good source of fibre and essential minerals. I also like their caramel like taste.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients
1 cup pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 tsp cinnamon or more
Himalayan pink salt to taste
Little water to help blend everything together

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor for 3-4 minutes. You should have a fine paste.

Remove the mixture in a plate. Grease your palms lightly with any neutral oil or simply dip them in cold water. This would prevent the mixture from not sticking to your hands.

Now take a tablespoon of the date mixture and roll it.

Once you shape it like a small ball, roll only the one side in unsweetened coconut flakes.

Energy Bites

Voila! You got yourself some pretty looking pre or post workout snack to munch on. This recipe should make about 12 bite sized portions.

Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for a week. Pack these in your lunch box, here’s the His&Her edition of lunch boxes in our household. Sahil was very happy to carry these to work!

Lunch Box

What are you usual pre or post workout snacks ? Do let me know!

Dal Fry

Masoor Dal

Missing home and want to comfort your soul ?
Got 20 minutes to put together a meal ?
Feel like eating something light yet nourishing ?

If your answer was yes, make this simple home style dal.

The silky smooth dal is a perfect accompaniment to some jeera rice. Serve with a side of cucumber raita, papad and pickle to make it a complete meal.

Cooking Time : 20 minutes

Ingredients
1/2 cup masoor cup
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp rice bran oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 onion finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp coriander finely chopped for garnish
2 dried red chillies broken
1 tsp butter (optional)
Salt to taste

Wash the dal with several changes of water.

Pressure cook the dal with water and some salt. It should get done in 3 whistles.

Uncover the lid and whisk the dal until smooth. Add a dollop of butter and whisk the dal lightly, this gives the dal a buttery sheen.

In a pan, heat some oil. Once hot, add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and red chillies.

Allow it to sizzle for a while and then add the onions, cook until translucent.

Add tomatoes and all spices, cook for a few minutes and add the dal to the mixture.

Add little water if the consistency is not as you prefer. Allow it to simmer for another minute or so.

You can add kasuri methi to the dal to make it fragrant.

This time around I added chopped coriander instead of kasuri methi. Take it off heat and serve with fluffy basmati rice or rotis.

Until next time, happy cooking!

Brown Rice Salad

Brown Rice Salad 1

I am always on the look out to use up leftovers, they serve as healthy office lunches options for the next day.

I am trying to slowly move away from the lure of white rice and incorporate more of brown rice and other grains. The new year saw me stocking up on pearl barley, buck wheat, farro and chia seeds. These happen to be ingredients I have always had at eateries, they have not been a part of my pantry.

So here’s to being hopeful that I use them up this year. Sharing the recipe for a simple salad made with leftover brown rice.

Takes 5 minutes to assemble

Ingredients
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 tomatoes thinly sliced
1 cucumber thinly sliced in halfs
1/4 cup kalamata olives coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes coarsely chopped
1 tsp sumac powder
1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp finely chopped mint leaves (optional)
4 sundried tomatoes coarsely chopped (optional)
6 pre-soaked almonds coarsely chopped
Salt to taste

In a mixing bowl, add all the vegetables and rice. Toss them together.

Juice 2 lemons, add sumac powder, dried herbs, salt, olive oil and whisk it together.

Pour this vinaigrette over the rice mixture and toss it well. Garnish the almonds and mint over the salad.

Refrigerate for half an hour or more and relish the salad.

Brown Rice Salad

Until next time, keep it healthy and happy cooking!

Savoury Veggie Oats Upma

I wake up most days thinking what to have for breakfast. It constitutes the most important meal for me personally.

Given that I have a massive sweet tooth, it is tough to stay away from peanut butter jam sandwiches, honey cereal or granola with berry yoghurt and fruits or simple blue berry muffins. However you regret these choices by lunch time since it makes me guilty reaching out for sweet treat after lunch.

I love a hearty breakfast, it just prepares you for the day ahead. Also the first thing I like doing once at work is to pour myself a nice cup of home made masala chai and let out my breakfast box. Ask my work mates and they would vouch for my masala chai getting the most amount of attention even on busy days. It’s cute to have them ask me to share some with them sometimes.

Off late I have been piling on the kilos and am trying to reduce my sugar intake early in the mornings. This led me to look out for savoury options for breakfast, I started with making Indian breakfast essentials Thalipeeth, Poha, Daliya, Besan Chilla and Upma but soon got bored.

Since I had already experimented with oats while making Idlis, I thought giving the humble Upma a uplift with this fab ingredient. And what do I say I am addicted to this recipe!

Oats Upma

It’s easy to prep and make on busy work mornings. I usually don’t go by adding all vegetables as listed below but make use of whatever is in the fridge. Feel free to add or remove the vegetables listed and go by the ones which is easily available for you.

Cooking Time : 15 minutes
Ingredients

2 tsp canola oil
1 tsp cumin
1 green chilly finely chopped
1 white onion finely chopped
1 red bell pepper finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper finely chopped
2 carrots julienned
1 cup spinach chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas thawed and washed
1 tomato finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp super seed powder
1 cup organic rolled oats
1 1/2 cup water
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
Salt to taste

In a wok heat some oil, add cumin seeds and green chilly.

Oats Upma3

Once it sizzles, add onion and cook them until they are translucent.

Oats Upma4

Add peppers, carrots to the mix and cook them for a few minutes.

Oats Upma6

Add spinach, tomatoes and peas to the mix and sauté them lightly. Add salt, super seed mixture and spices.

The super seed mixture I use has a mix of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, wheat germ and some dried goji berries. This is rich in omega 3s, folic acid, fibre and other essential nutrients. I do not like having them on it’s own so disguise their presence. Adding the super seed mix in the upma gives it a good nutty texture.

Oats Upma7

Add rolled oats and mix them well in the mixture. You can roast the oats before adding them.

Once it is blended well with the vegetable mixture, add water and mix well.

Oats Upma8

Cook until all water has absorbed and the oats get a creamy consistency.

Oats Upma1

Serve hot and you are ready to tackle the day ahead. This stays good for 3 days if kept refrigerated in an airtight container.

Oats Upma2 Until next time, happy cooking!

Zucchini Bake

Hello lovely people!

Long time no see, I hope everyone is gearing up for the cooler months. I envision myself planning tea parties, making homemade soups, sipping on hot chocolate, stocking up on slow cooker, bakes and casserole recipes.

One such Zucchini bake recipe which was an instant hit at a recent potluck at a colleague’s place is what I would like to share with you all.

Zucchini Bake

Zucchini is relatively low in calories making it an ideal item to include when you are watching the scale. It is also high in folate, potassium and Vitamin A.

My earliest memories of eating zucchini are at a Mumbai eatery where I ordered Pasta Arrabiata with mixed vegetables. It had broccoli and some carrots along with some pretty unusual looking green strips. I enquired with the server about what were these green strips which made the overall dish rather pretty and delicious.

And that’s how I was introduced to this beautiful vegetable. I love eating zucchini stir fried with other vegetables on most occasions. However in stir fries I feel like the wonderful flavor of this veggie does not shine through.

Hence I decided to bake this on it’s own with the only exception being some cherry tomatoes and a couple of shallots.

Serves : 4

Ingredients
2 zucchini thinly cut in rounds
12 cherry tomatoes halved
3 cloves of garlic minced
a handful of shallots
Fresh thyme sprigs
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
3 tsp olive oil
Sea salt to taste
White pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Line a flat baking sheet with foil and grease it well.

In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients except cheese and coat them well with oil and seasoning.

Zucchini Bake 1

Layer the zucchini neatly on the baking tray and sprinkle parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius. I did not want to over do the cheese and baked it for a short duration so that the flavours of were given it’s due credit.

Serve with any pasta dish or good to be eaten on it’s own.

Until next time, happy cooking!

Pesto Spinach Pasta

We are a family of pasta-fanatics! I have my pantry full of different shapes and types of pasta. I would really love to make fresh pasta for my meals soon. I attended a fun pasta making class at Galeries Lafayette two years back, more on this here. Need to put the knowledge to some use!

This makes an interesting lunch option on weekends. The pasta comes together in literally a couple of minutes. This is a go-to recipe even on week nights when after work, all I want is an indulgent bowl of warm pasta and griddled bread.

I usually do my groceries from the Fruit & Vegetable market on Saturday afternoons. So making a fresh batch of pesto early on to use the fresh basil seems a good idea. I readily use up the pesto within the first half of the week for this recipe.

The pasta sauce is fragrant and oozes with flavours of basil, garlic, olive oil, sea salt, a handful of parmesan and pine nuts. I am not sharing the pesto recipe since I do not follow any standard measurements when making one.

This is my husband’s favourite recipe as well. Some days I just toss the pasta in the sauce and top to with kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes and then there are times when I add some spinach to the mix.

Pesto Spinach Pasta

Here’s the recipe with spinach:

Cooking Time : 15 minutes
Serves : 3

1 cup pesto
3 tsp roasted pine nuts
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic mayo (Add more if you’re feeling naughty!)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 red onion thinly sliced
250 grams of Tagliatelle pasta
250 grams baby spinach
Flaky sea salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

In a pan, heat some olive oil and add sliced onions. Cook with minced garlic until it is lightly browned.

Add pesto and make a sauce with little water in which the pasta is getting cooked. Season as required, add garlic mayo to provide some more creaminess to the sauce. Go easy on the salt since the pesto already has salt from the parmesan cheese added to it. Add some spinach at this point and just sauté it gently.

Pesto Sauce

Cook the pasta, drain and add it to the sauce. Coat well and serve with a side of toasted baguette.

Until next time, happy cooking! 🙂