Posts Tagged ‘Comfort Food’

Pasta with Honey Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Breadcrumbs


Well hello September. Whilst you haven’t brought with you any lull in heat or humidity (yet), I’m excited for cooler climes to come. Schools will commence soon, baking will take precendence, open windows will be embraced. The air will become crisp, apples and cinnamon will take over kitchen counters. Yes, I’m hopeful.

But before we bid a final adieu to summer, here is a recipe that uses the best of summer’s produce. It can even be bottled up for enjoyment throughout the rest of the year.

Although we tend to get most produce all year round, there has been so much tomato goodness floating around the web and I was most intrigued by this recipe from Saveur. I have always added a touch of sugar to my tomato sauce to cut the acidity but have never experimented with maple syrup.

I have a experimented with both maple syrup and honey. Both transform the cherry tomatoes into little nuggets of richness. The caramelised juices at the bottom of my baking tray made the most wonderful salad dressing. I blended the roasted tomatoes and spread it on a crunchy baguette topped with thin parmesan slices and a generous shower of herbs. One recipe and so many uses.

And then there was this pasta for dinner. I quickly roasted some breadcrumbs tossed with some garlic, thyme and parsley. Stirred this golden goodness with spaghetti and some of the leftover sauce. Finally, I crowned it with the roasted tomatoes. A beautiful mess of a meal.

And then there was a tiny bowl left for breakfast the next morning. Cold of course. Tell me I’m not the only one to eat cold pasta for breakfast?

Pasta with Honey Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Breadcrumbs

16 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves peeled garlic
2 tbs honey/ maple syrup
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tbs red chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste.
400 gms spaghetti (or four servings)
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbs parsley
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 clove garlic
grated parmesan to serve

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Centigrade. Line a tray with baking sheet and place tomatoes cut side up and garlic. Mix together honey, olive oil, thyme, chili, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the tomatoes and bake for 3-4 hours until tomatoes are half dried. Baste once in a while during this time. Blend half the tomatoes and any leftover juices on baking tray.

In the mean time, prepare pasta according to manufacturer’s directions and set aside. In a frying pan, heat olive oil. Add to it breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme and garlic. Keep stirring till golden.

Toss the cooked pasta with the blended roasted tomatoes and herbed bread crumbs. Serve with the remaining whole roasted tomatoes and grated parmesan.

Serves 4.

Honey roasted tomato recipe adapted from Saveur.


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Creamy Pea and Mint Spaghetti

I’ve been meaning to tell you about this creamy pea, mint and cilantro spaghetti with chili for a while now. Over a month to be exact.  But I was so excited about my holiday and then these juicy grilled chops that I completely forgot. So let’s rewind a month or so.

It all began with a slight cough one morning, an extra yawn on the drive to school. I didn’t think much of it. It was the last day of the week and we were all tired.

But then I got that dreaded phone call from the nursery. My heart always skips a beat when I get a call from there. I just knew something was wrong. ‘Maryam has a fever of 38.5, can we give her Calpol?’ asked her nursery nurse. On my way to pick her up, I thought back to the morning and that tired faraway look in her eyes.

Things went from bad to worse as her fever peaked to nearly 41. Akber took her to emergency at 4 am. It was a rough night. We all lay in on Friday including Hassan. He probably knew I just didn’t have the energy after being awake round the clock the night before.

For once though, I woke before Maryam did. Usually, she tip toes into my room and wakes me up with the biggest smile but the fever had hit her hard. As she rested, I took the opportunity to make one of her favorite meals. Isn’t that what Moms do when their loved ones are ill?

Pasta has always been a household favorite of everyone’s including her. We have a myriad different ways we eat them as I’ve mentioned before. I decided to add a few other ingredients she loves such as peas and parmesan cheese. I knew it would be polished off in no time. Bar the mint that is, which she detests. Or ‘seaweed’ as she calls it. However, I did add that and chopped red chili for extra flavor on our plates.

It was quite a sight to see the ‘process’ of her dissecting this meal. She first searched for the hidden shelled peas in the spaghetti and cream maze. Pop into her mouth, one by one. Then came the snap peas followed by its sturdier cousin, the sugar snap variety. Like a game. Meals are always more fun that way right.

Creamy Pea and Mint Spaghetti

Ingredients:500 gms spaghetti (or enough for four servings)
1 cup shelled peas
1/4 cup sugar snap peas
1/4 cup snow peas
3 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups single cream
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan plus extra to serve
2 tbs cilantro, chopped
2 tbs mint, chopped
1 red chili, chopped

Boil spaghetti according to instructions till al dente and drain. In salted boiling water, blanch the peas for 2 minutes. Drain and wash with cold waater to stop the cooking process. In a pan, heat olive oil and add the onion and garlic and saute till onions are translucent. Add the cream, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and add the parmesan. Stir in the cooked spaghetti, blanched peas and chopped herbs. If the sauce appears thick, you can thin it down with water. Garnish with extra parmesan and chopped chili.

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Beet and Potato Chips with Thyme Rock Salt

‘What inspires you to cook?’

That must be the most frequently asked question I have come across since I began blogging. For me, it really depends on a number of factors. I find inspiration everywhere, in everything.

My first foray into cooking started in my teens. I think it was a chocolate cake I made. Inspiration for that was ease. Easy to make, easy to clean up, easy to eat. When responsibility set in and I was living on my own and fending for myself, it was familiarity. Comfort. Meals that we ate regularly, nothing fancy. Recipes that weren’t written down but came from the heart. recipes that didn’t have any accurate measurements but were ball parked. Recipes that sometimes didn’t even have names, only descriptions and memories.

Then I moved to Dubai. I wanted a change in direction and pace in my life, take things slower. As I decided to not work for sometime, I unleashed my creativity in the kitchen. Inspiration then came from boredom. Having too much time on my hands, I scoured the internet, numerous food blogs. I tore recipes out of newspapers and magazines were covered with post it notes. It was the years of discovering new recipes as well as my love of being in the kitchen.

Motherhood came next and that was life changing. Inspiration came from wanting to provide the best for my child, my family. Healthy, from scratch, wholesome, homemade. Those words are where I drew my inspiration from.

Once I started this food blog, inspiration really flowed. From all directions, everywhere. Recipes developed as I read other food blogs, as I discovered and photographed unusual ingredients, tried out new dishes on a restaurant menu.

Currently, one of my main sources of inspiration comes from shopping trips- be it the Farmer’s market or plain grocery shopping. I’m always on the lookout for anything that looks unusual, exciting. Something colorful, eye catching.

And recently, it is these beets that have had me enthralled. They may seem common to you but I only discovered beets recently. Correction- I only began to LIKE beets recently. Before this, I had only eaten them raw in a salad. That earthy taste did not leave much of an impression.

But when I saw these beautiful baby beets at the market. I knew they would photograph wonderfully. There was my inspiration lying on the table at the farmer’s market. Phenomenal shades of red and purple hidden from the world beneath a rustic and raw earthy skin.

Since I’m not a connoiseur when it comes to cooking with beets, I decided simplicity was the key. Beet chips sounded like a good idea and since I had made potato chips in the past, I applied the same method. I knew Maryam would love this little beauties- my most important source of inspiration. Don’t we all aspire to please our families.

And she did. She couldn’t believe that the chips were homemade. Sprinkled with thyme and rock salt, they are the perfect mid afternoon snack. Or anytime snack really. All that was missing was a crackly plastic bag to eat them out of. 

So tell me, what is your source of inspiration?

Beet and Potato Chips with Thyme Rock Salt

Himalayan sea salt
Fresh thyme leaves
Oil for deep frying (canola or sunflower oil)

Wash and dry the beets and potatoes. Finely slice with a mandolin. Make sure the slices are dry. Heat oil in a frying pan on high heat. When the oil is hot, add the beet and potato slices one at a time so they don’t stick to one another. Don’t overcrowd the oil. Fry, stirring every so often until they are crispy. Drain on a paper towel and immediately sprinkle with thyme salt. Serve when it cools down.
To make thyme salt, grind Himalayan sea salt with thyme leaves in a pestle and mortar.
Notes: Beets will shrink when fried so you are better off using larger beets. I left the skin on beets and potatoes but that is personal preference.

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Sesame Egg Noodles with Stir Fried Vegetables

As I brought up Blogger on my screen to write this post, my mind went blank for a few seconds. I forgot what I was to write about. What dish had I photographed? What images had I edited? What exactly did we have for dinner the other night?

You see, I have been having many sleepless nights. I’m certainly not used to it. Maryam started sleeping through the night when she was a mere two months. I never knew what it was like to be up every few hours to nurse, change diapers, burp, rinse and repeat.

Hassan is different though. He certainly wakes more often and it’s already taking its toll on me. I just haven’t had the time to test recipes as I did previously and baking has taken a back seat. Nor for long though as I have had interesting flavour combinations I’ve been brainstorming in those late night feeding sessions. Pistachio and chocolate doughnuts, date and nut tea cakes, baklava ice cream sandwich anyone?

For now though, I hope I can entice you with our everyday meals. Like this quick stir fry. Organic egg noodles tossed in sesame oil and whatever vegetables you have on the side. Ready in less than ten minutes and eaten even faster. The perfect meal to prepare when time and energy isn’t on your side.

As I quickly whipped this meal in the kitchen, Maryam made her own version of ‘loodles’ with playdough. We then stole a few quiet moments to have this simple lunch together. It was good- with plenty of crunch left in the vegetables. We sucked up the ‘loodles’ like vacuums.

I’m hoping to find some time this week to bring some of those baking ideas I’ve been dreaming about to reality this week. Soon I hope.

Sesame Egg Noodles with Stir Fried Vegetables

200 grams organic egg noodles (or 3 servings)
1 tbs sunflower oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbs tomato ketchup
1 tbs sweet soya sauce
1/4 cup soya sauce
1 tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
Vegetables of choice slit into thin strips – I used half a carrot, half a green pepper and two spring onions (the bulb as well as the greens)
1 tbs sesame oil
Sesame seeds to garnish

Cook noodles according to manufacturer’s description. Drain and keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok and add crushed garlic. After 30 seconds or so, add all the ingredients except the vegetables and sesame oil. Let the sauce come to a boil and turn the heat off. Add the cooked noodles, sesame oil and vegetables and cover the wok for at least 10 minutes (the steam from within will soften the vegetables but still leave them with enough crunch). Toss and serve hot sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Serves 3. 

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Chocolate Nutella and Hazel Nut Brownie Cake

We haven’t spent much time together. You see, I’ve been busy and she is confused. Before, my world revolved around her. She would be the first thing I set my eyes on when I woke. Or rather, when she woke me up. And the last thing I checked on before I went to bed. Just to make sure she was still tucked under her blanket.

But recently her world has been turned topsy turvy, she is in a midst of a hurricane. She doesn’t quite understand why. Why I’m always in a hurry? Why we don’t go to the park EVERY day? Why I don’t feed her EVERY meal time? Why I don’t drop her to nursery anymore?

Why do we never mange to finish the story at bed time? Why don’t we have play dates anymore? Why don’t we spend hours playing in the bath nowadays? Why do I have to share my toys? ‘Why’ has been a prominent question in our home lately. Sometimes I have an answer, a lot of the times, I evade the question.

Whilst Maryam is loving being the big sister and having a young brother to cuddle, play with and experiment on (!), she hasn’t been liking the fact that I cannot spend all my time with her. There just aren’t that many hours in the day anymore. But I had a plan. A surprise to make it all better again, to make ir right, to make her happy. Like old times.

The first thing she asked when I had gotten back from hospital was, ‘Mummy, can we make ‘loodles’ and carrot cupcakes?’ So I knew baking had to be involved. I told her the night before that we would make a brownie cake for Valentine’s. And a card for Papa. She was excited with a twinkle in her eye. ‘I’ll chop the nuts. And mix.’

And that’s exactly what we did for Valentine’s. I measured. She chopped, whisked and mixed. And tasted of course. That is always part of the plan.  Together, we baked and for a little while, there was a pause in the WHY. That is how we spent our Valentine’s. Simple. But with a decadent treat. A chocolate brownie cake with hazel nuts and Nutella. It was gooey, fudgy and the perfect end to our dinner.

Chocolate Nutella and Hazel Nut Brownie Cake

Brownie Cake
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup + 2 tbs dark chocolate, roughly chopped
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup hazel nut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa

Nutella Layer
1/2 cup Nutella spread
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped hazel nuts

Ganache Layer
1 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup milk chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbs cream
1/8 cup butter, room temperature

Chopped hazel nuts to garnish

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade and line a rectangular pan with baking paper. In a bowl set over a a pot of boiling water, melt the butter and chcolate until smooth (can use a microwave). In whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Add dry ingredients into the liquid mixture until just incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs. Refrigerate brownie cake after it has cooled.

In the mean time, mix all the ingredients of the Nutella layer. Spread over cooled brownie cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so or until it has set.

In the mean time, prepeare the ganache by melting all the ingredients in a bowl set over boiling water. Pour ganache over the set Nutella layer and immediately garnish with chopped hazel nuts. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or so to set the ganache layer.

Serve cold. Makes 18 pieces depending on pan size. Leave to cool out of the fridge for 5 minutes before slicing

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Roasted Tomato and Garlic Crouton Spaghetti

It has been nearly three weeks now since Hassan graced our lives and changed our family dynamics forever. We have been busy getting to know one another and I haven’t spent as much time in the kitchen as I would have liked to. Instead, I have been busy eating whoesome meals prepared by my Mom and Mother in law.

Yesterday was the first time I prepared a three course meal to celebrate shaving his hair. It is customary to shave the birth hair on the seventh day of a baby’s life but since he was still in hospital recovering from jaundice, we decided to do so yesterday. I was quite sad to see his beautiful locks disappear and Maryam was quite alarmed to see his ‘curlies chopped off.’

To celebrate the occassion, we ate together with close family and shared a simple meal. My Mom prepared a fragrant cumin scented pilaf with a spiced version of this mung soup. And for dessert- we had a cardamom infused carrot pudding. Lots of butter, lots of pistachios and lots of love. A complete meal with loved ones.

It felt good to be back in the kitchen and even better to be sharing it with my Mom. The best part was getting back to photographing. Doing what I love and enjoy the most- creating and eating good food and photographing it.

Today though, I want to share with you a simple pasta dish I created a few weeks ago for the third issue of House of Fifty. I’ve been making this version of spaghetti for about two years now, since Maryam started eating pasta actually.

It has evolved as Maryam’s palate has become more sophisticated. What started off as mere spaghetti tossed in olive oil has now seen the addition herbs, roasted tomatoes and garlic croutons. When Maryam is going through her picky phases, this is one meal I know she’ll relish. Who knows what it will transform into as she gets older.

Head over to House of Fifty for more images as well as a recipe for focaccia. Also, I would like to thank all of you for the lovely comments and messages you left on my last post. Me and Akber really enjoyed reading through each and every single one of them. Thank you!

Click above for printable recipe card

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Crouton Spaghetti

2 bunches tomatoes on the vine (approx. 15)
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp pepper
few sprigs thyme
salt to taste

5 slices French baguette
3 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tbs parsley, finely chopped
salt to taste

2 cups cooked spaghetti
4 tbs olive oil
1 tsp chili flakes
salt to taste
chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade. Place tomatoes in a baking tray. In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, chili flakes, pepper, thyme and salt. Drizzle over tomatoes and bake for 15 minutes.

To make the croutons, mix together olive oil, pressed garlic, parsley and salt. Spread this paste over each slice of the baguette. Bake the baguettes in the oven until crispy. Let it cool slightly before chopping into 1cm croutons.

Toss the cooked spaghetti in olive oil, chili flakes and season with salt. Sprinkle with croutons and extra parsley. Serve with roasted tomatoes.

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Cinnamon Infused Clementine Custard

When I was pregnant with Maryam, I had many cravings. But healthy ones. Cravings for foods that would nourish my body and that of my growing baby. I went through phases where I would eat boxes and boxes of strawberries. Then came watermelons- I couldn’t get enough. I preferred eating them as is but would relish them in salads, smoothies as well as granitas.

This time has been different though. The cravings have been rather unhealthy. Every night after dinner, I seem to gravitate towards dessert. Anything will do really- a cheesecake, coffee ice cream, brownies. Sometimes when there is no sweet treat in sight, even a few small squares of dark chocolate will suffice.

As the arrival of baby number two looms close, I thought I’d treat myself to one more dessert, one more indulgence, one more craving before I start to eat healthy again. And this clementine custard certainly hit the spot. A pinch cinnamon for warmth, citrus for some freshness and zing.

I have been eating these beautiful French clementines for a couple of months now. Perfectly formed, sweet but not overly so and the most scintillating orange red hue you will ever see. They usually don’t last long in our house. Either Maryam will eat them as is or I will have juicy slicy with some vanilla infused yoghurt for breakfast.

But I saved a few aside for these clementine custards. The fragrance of clementine and cinnamon simmering in a pot made the whole house warm. A small dose of sunshine in our day for what has been a chilly start to the year in Dubai. There was also a citrus tabbouleh we had which I look forward to sharing with you soon. Perhaps after baby comes along?

Click above for printable recipe

Cinnamon Infused Clementine Custards

3 cups milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
5 tsp cornstarch
5 tsp water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sieved clementine juice
1 tbs clementine zest
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
clementine wedges to garnish

In a bowl, mix together 2 cups milk, sugar, clemntine juice, zest and egg yolks. In a separate bowl, dissolve cornstarch in water until there are no lumps. Add this to the milk mixture.

In a saucepan over medium heat, boil 1 cup milk with cinnamon. Remove from the heat and whilst constantly whisking, add your cold milk mixture to the saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture coats the back of the spoon (can take up to 10 mins).

Pour custard into individual ramekins and refrigerate until set for at least a couple of hours. Serve cold with clementine slices.

Makes 4- 6 ramekins depending on size. Please note the texture will not set as a mousse but will be like a creme anglaise.

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Arabic Shawarma

As the cool winters begin to show their true colors, I crave food that is wholesome, fillng and…..just plain comfortable. The kind that you can eat sprawled on your sofa, your feet covered with a warm fuzzy blanket. Food that nourishes you physically and mentally, food that nourishes memories, nourishes the soul.

Comfort food makes me feel relaxed and happy. It’s food that jogs memories, fond memories. Food that gives me a feeling of warmth and satisfaction. And that is exactly what a Shawarma does for me. Shawarma is an Arabic pita wrap overflowing with shaved chicken or lamb. A crunchy tabooleh or fattoush salad accompanied by either tahini or hummus complete this Middle Eastern street food.

Here in Dubai, it is a common sight at every souk corner to see layers of meat and fat slowly being cooked on a spit. A juicy tomato and onion sit like a crown on top of the spit, lending its own special flavors. The meat usually cooks for a whole day before a chef expertly runs a sharp knife in a rhythmic fashion, up and down the spit, shaving thin slices of meat.

This is quickly collected into a hot pita bread and tossed around with various crunchy vegetables. French fries or pickled gherkins can also make an appearance in a shawarma. Lastly, a generous serving of garlic dip and Tabasco sauce finish of this popular street food.

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated Dubai’s National Day. Forty days of festivities included a  delightful invite to Arwa’s home for a demonstartion on authentic Emirati cuision which I can’t wait to tell you more about including some very special recipes and ingredients. Maryam also had a fun cultural day at school where she went dressed as a Tanzanian ‘dada.’

She had such a great time that every morning since, for a few days at least, she thought there would party! We ate food from around the world, sang songs in many languages and even had a fashion show. Mine and Maryam’s favorite snack of the day was Muhalla- a sweet crepe made of dates and cardamom. I look forward to sharing the recipe with you soon.

Today though, I’m going to share my version of shawarma with you. It is a special recipe purely because it comes from a special culture, one that I have embraced as mine. It may not have originated in Dubai but is still very Middle Eastern. I hope the warmth and comfort of Dubai’s street food and culture will emanate from this recipe, from my country to yours, from my home to your kitchen.

This recipe was also contributed to Foodiecrush Magazine’s first issue. It features many of my favorite bloggers. You must take a look.

Click on recipe card to print
Arabic Shawarma

500 gms boneless chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbs canola oil
½ cup yoghurt
1 egg, beaten lightly
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
Salt to taste
½ tsp red chilli flakes
½ tsp garam masala
2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
For the salad:
1 cup finely sliced lettuce
1 cucumber chopped
1 tomato chopped
3 tbs chopped coriander
3 tbs pomegranates
For the dressing:
½ cup yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbs chopped coriander
2 tbs chopped mint
Salt to taste
To serve:
6 Arabic pita breads
Tabasco sauce
Baking paper

Marinate the chicken in all the ingredients and set aside for an hour or so. Heat a non stick pan on medium to high heat and add the marinated chicken. Stir fry the chicken until it has cooked through and is dry- less than 10 minutes. Make sure you break up the chicken with a wooden spoon and keep stirring as it cooks.
Assemble the salad by mixing all the ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together all the dressing ingredients.
To assemble the shawarma, heat the pita bread on a skillet to warm it. Divide the salad amongst the six pita breads. Top the salad with the chicken. Drizzle the yoghurt dip over the chicken and add a dash of Tabasco sauce. Roll the pita bread tightly and wrap in baking paper. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 large shawarmas.

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Apple Cardamom Cake

Something has been on my mind for a few weeks now. I’ve been pondering over it for some time. Should I, should I not? Will I succeed? What will Akber and Maryam think? Are they going to be open minded and accepting? Or will they scoff at me and turn up their noses? 

You see, the reason I’ve been so hesitant is because I’ve been thinking of breaking a marriage, a union, a relationship. A longstanding one that has stood the test of time. A marriage with no fights and arguments. A marriage that is an example, one that everyone looks up to. One that is ideal and perfect but also boring and ordinary.

But the urge was too great and so I did it. It felt good…. I was relieved and at the same time apprehensive but when I got the nod of approval from Maryam and Akber, I knew I had done the right thing. Just in case you’re wondering, I’m talking about the harmonious alliance that once existed between apples and cinnamon.

The two have always gone hand in hand. But I have found a better partner for the apple. A match that may be unconventional but still comfortable- apples and cardamom. They form a happy family in this cake that I adapted from this Pear and Almond Cake I have made numerous times. Out with the old and in with the new and everyone who ate a slice agreed. Apples and cardamom are very content with one another, they compliment each other. 


Click recipe card to print.

What more could you want from a relationship? Roasted almonds and custard played happy friends with this delicate cake. Try this new combination and you won’t be disappointed.

Have you broken a longstanding (food) relationship? Were you happy with the results?

Apple Cardamom Cake:
2 Fuji apples
3 tbs butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 cup roasted almond flakes plus extra for serving
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade. Grease and flour an 8 inch pan. Core apples and cut thin slices. Place apple slices in water and squeeze half a lemon into the bowl to avoid discoloration.
Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer and at medium speed, beat the sugar and butter until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the bowl when needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the rest of the ingredients except roasted almonds. Gently stir in the roasted almonds and pour batter into cake pan. Arrange sliced apples in a circular fashion and press gently into the batter. bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out nearly clean.
Let the cake stand for 5- 10 minutes on a rack before turning it out. Serve with a drizzle of custard and sprinkle roasted almonds on top. This recipe will serve 12 people.

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Mung Bean Soup

As I sit here typing this post, the clouds outside are swelling up again. Whether they will rumble and pour rain is a different matter. Even though I mentioned in my last post that I probably wouldn’t be seein stormy skies for a while again, it surprised me with another unexpected visit.

I do enjoy the cooler weather- it gives me a small time frame within which me and Maryam can do our outdoor activities. But with this change in weather also comes the abundance of bugs, viruses, nasty colds and poor health. Maryam came down with a fever which then passed on to the rest of the family like falling dominoes. There was no stopping it. What started off as mild quickly escalated into one of the highest temperatures she has ever had. That was followed by a runny nose and sore throat.

And of course I was next in line. I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy but I find it much harder to recover from any minor coughs or colds at the moment. Being pregnant and sick with a toddler who is also ill is never fun and during times like these, I love a hearty soup that will mend everything.

I have mentioned plenty of times that soup doesn’t grace our tables often enough but slowly and surely, I am trying to change that trend. I learnt this particluar soup my my mom BUT my love of mung beans started at my mother in laws house.

She always says ‘mug ne pug che’ which is a Gujarati saying that literally translates into ‘mung beans have legs.’ What it means is that mung beans have the necessary nutrients to give you strength, health and vitality. Put you back on your feet, nurse you to health.

And so we’ve been making this often. Actually, beans are Maryam’s favorite meal, always have been. Especially now that she’s going through a vegetarian phase. I’m not sure how long it will last, the vegetarian phase as well as the sore throat! I’m hoping both vanish as abruptly as they put in an appearance.

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