Thank you very much. We were hacked but we are up again

Whole Grain Crepes with Mango Jam and Fresh Mangoes


Blogging was something I must have started planning some aeons ago. First up usually was this desire to create a stock of images. And this morning I was browsing through them and I found these. Mango crepes from last year. But I cannot bring myself to remember if I ever started writing about it.

I lost some stuff this winter, some writings and scribblings. Maybe in there. But so what? I could write afresh. And so I remade these crepes just to be sure of the measures and then only ate. No clicking pictures for a change. So the speciality of these crepes is that they are whole grain wheat and buttermilk crepes. And not syrup soaked, like the suzette which remains my favourite. But it is really well balanced, nutty from the almond butter, sweet from the fresh ripe mangoes and the mango jam and creamy from the coconut cream used.

Light on the stomach and yet packed with flavour. Great to make ahead and store. This freezes well too. You know of my current obsession with mangoes. This is just another one of those.
1 cup butter milk
3-4 heaped table spoon whole wheat flour
1 pinch salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3-4 tbsp ghee/ clarified butter
1 mango pealed and sliced
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1 tbsp almond butter per crepe (Liplik almond butter )
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1. Sieve through all the dry ingredients and then use a balloon whisk to blend this into the buttermilk. Whole wheat flour is tricky to handle without a balloon whisk.It tends to get lumpy. If you want to use a food processor, just keep the soda bicarb to be added last. Over beating the soda bicarb will not air the crepes right.
2. Gently heat a non stick pan. Add some ghee and swirl. Alternatively you can spray the ghee or use a brush to coat the non stick. There is a trick to mastering the eggless crepes. The trick is that you should have a flat spoon or ladle and work quickly to spread the batter thinly on the pan. You might not succeed in making very thin ones initially, but if you keep at it its achievable.
3. With patience spoon the crepes and cook gently on each side.
4. Once the crepes are ready, its just a matter of assembly. Place a crepe on the plate, slather it with almond buttered mango jam. Plate some fresh mangoes on top.
5. Gently whip the coconut cream. Spoon some of the coconut cream on the crepes. 6. Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds.
7. Savour or devour
Netflix – El Chapo –
Movie – Their Finest

Listen –
The Last Shadow Puppets – Is This What You Wanted –
Florence + The Machine – You’ve Got the Love –
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Ballad Of The Mighty I –

Siddharth by Hermann Hesse –
The Journal of Andre Gide –

I taste a liquor never brewed (214)
I taste a liquor never brewed – 
From Tankards scooped in Pearl – 
Not all the Frankfort Berries
Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of air – am I – 
And Debauchee of Dew – 
Reeling – thro’ endless summer days – 
From inns of molten Blue – 

When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove’s door – 
When Butterflies – renounce their “drams” – 
I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats – 
And Saints – to windows run – 
To see the little Tippler
Leaning against the – Sun!

Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

Po-ta-to Gratin


When you have a French friend and she says she’d like to come home for dinner, I tell you it’s cause for great anxiety. She says she misses cheese and the only request is some cheese please.  Add to it she is vegetarian these days. Add to this you decide to be a total fool to try a potato gratin. Just imagine the amount of technique that will come to play.

Potato gratin with a very Indian element paneer or Cypriot grilled haloumi. Once all the elements are ready, assembling the gratin is a simple job. Very simple indeed. So the elements I used were: Thin grilled slabs of paneer (cottage cheese) caramelised onions and blanched and grilled slices of potato. Plus a blend of cheese and bread crumbs for the layers and the crust (this was largely because I did not have enough of Parmigiano Reggiano, but in retrospect, it was a delicious deficiency). Next is the béchamel. Sauces form the founding pillars of French cuisine. And probably if you get that right, the rest is an assembling job.

The trick to the right, no fail béchamel is butter, cold milk and a balloon whisk. Butter in abundance ensures the raw flour flavour does not eminate from the sauce and the bayleaf and nutmeg are subtle flavours which will not work with the overpowering flavour of raw flour. Plus the dollop of butter will save the sauce from becoming lumpy as the flour will cook through evenly. Next up the cold milk blended when the butter and flour are both not on the flame with a balloon whisk. Both together and the result is a silky lump free sauce.

So whenever you try one, don’t be rushed, play some John Coltrane, pour yourself a Chiante and meditate through cooking.


Béchamel Sauce
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter
2-3 bay leaves
1 pinch nutmeg
2 cups cold milk
4-5 tbsp butter/ghee
2 large potatoes sliced
300 gms cottage cheese/ Halloumi
2 large onions sliced
1 cup bread crumbs
2 cups grated cheese (Aged English Cheddar, Gruyère, Pecorino)
200 gms cream
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a heavy bottomed pan add the flour and butter. Keep the flame on low heat. Stir and cook till the flour just starts to change colour.
  2. Take the pan off the flame and add the bay leaf, and nutmeg and stir. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly with the ballon whisk.
  3. Put the mixture back on the flame, stirring constantly with a balloon whisk. Once the sauce starts to coat the back of a spoon, take if off the flame and pour into a container and set aside. Immediately cover the bowl/ container with a cling film to avoid the formation of a dry layer on top.
  4. Next, heat a grill pan and brush it with butter/ ghee.
  5. Grill the potato slices on both sides and set aside on a plate. Repeat this activity with haloumi. Add a little more butter/ ghee for the onions and allow them to really cook through to near caramelisation. This adds a lovely sweetness the the gratin. WHile grilling the potato and the onion, be generous with the butter/ ghee, else chances are that both will not grill well and will by dry. Haloumi / cottage cheese has enough fat on its own to grill through.
  6. Now the assembling. Take a 10 inch by 10 inch deep dish. Add a layer of potato, followed by the onion and the haloumi/ cottage cheese. Sprinkle some cheese on top. Sprinkle fresh ground pepper and salt. Cover this with a few spoons of Béchamel Sauce.
  7. Repeat this layering process till the top of the dish. Once the layering is complete, pour the cream on the top, slowly. This will enable the gratin to remain moist when it is put under the grill.
  8. Mix the bread crumbs and the remaining cheese and sprinkle on top as the last layer.
  9. Put this in a pre heated oven, and cook at 180 degree centigrade till the top crust is golden which will take approximately 40 minutes.
  10. Serve with crusty bread and more butter and watch everyone scramble for the crusty edges.




Netflix – Stranger Things –

Movie – Amélie –  –

Listen – to a lot of jazz

John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman – My One and Only Love –

Edith Pilaf – Browning –

Edith Pilaf – La Vie en Rose –

Robreta Flack – Killing me softly –

Nina Simone – Feeling Good –


In keeping with the French theme – Albert Camus – The Stranger –

‘In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.’

  • Return to Tipasa by Albert Camus



It has been rediscovered.What? Eternity.It is the sea fled with the sun.

Sentinel soul,We whisper confessionOf the empty nightAnd the fiery day.

From human prayers,

From common spirits

You free yourself

And thus you fly.

Since from you alone,

Satin embers,

Duty breathes

No one says: at last.

No hope here,

No emergence.

Knowledge with patience,

Torment is certain.

It has been rediscovered.

What? Eternity.

It is the sea fled

with the sun.

– Arthur Rimbaud – L’Eternité

Mango Bircher Muesli

Classic Bircher is made with oats soaked over night in cloudy apple juice. And next day morning these soaked oats are folded in cream and yogurt and grated green apple and some nuts and raisins. Classic. That will be dealt with in some other post.

But for now we twist this. Make it simpler. Sunny. Golden. Oh this sounds like a lame excuse to try and be poetic. But none the less. Just soak the oats in mango pulp and thats it. Choose some more sliced mango to garnish and some other nuts and things you like. Let it chill and enjoy.
2 mangoes pulped
1/2 cup water
1 cup whole oats
1 cup puffed Amarnath
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup chopped mangoes

  1. Pulp mangoes and whiz them till smooth. Add the water to thin the mango pulp.
  2. Fold the oats in the mango pulp and leave it overnight
  3. Add the sliced almonds and puffed Amarnath to the mixture
  4. Spoon the mixture in bowls. Serve garnished with mangoes, Amarnath and sliced almonds.
  5. Enjoy with a cold brew coffee


BBC – Wolf Hall
Movie – War Dogs
Alistair Griffan – Just drive –
Alpine – Hands –
Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark –
Cat Stevens – Father and Son

Blog –
Book – Tinkers by Paul C. Doherty

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Henley

Grapefruit Wonderfizz…


This is the season of colour, spring is knocking on our door and what we have is the festival of colour on our doorstep. And if you are as big a procrastinator as me then this recipe will suit you. I depend on great ingredient quality which then makes simple recipes stand out. In this situation the great ingredient is grapefruit.

So a great fruit is showcased in this beautiful peachy pink cocktail. Its my take on a mimosa where I have used a late harvest Chenin Blanc to sweeten the grapefruit juice and topped with a brut. Simple elegant and easy drinking.


300ml grapefruit juice
100ml late harvest
6slices grapefruit
6sprigs mint
1bottle brut/ prosecco/

  1. Arrange the slices of grapefruit on the flute walls.
  2. Add the grapefruit juice just about half of the flute. Top the grapefruit juice with a splash of Chenin Blanc
  3. Top the flutes with brut. add a sprig of mint on top.
  4. Clink glasses and enjoy.



Julia and Julia – for all food lovers and French food lovers a must watch

Van Morrison – Into the mystic -I wanna rock your gypsy soul / Just like way back in the days of old / Then magnificently we will float / Into the mystic…
The Dears – lights us all a favour, admit thy defeat
The Generationals – When they fight , they fight  –

Blog: Hint of Vanilla. this blog and its pictures generates serious craving.
All the light we cannot see –
The complete poetry – Maya Angelou only for the most wonderful poem on women.

“I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me. “

– Maya Angelou

Happy International Woman’s Day

A mouthful of spaghetti


We try every day to eat clean, limit our carb intake, eat more veg, eat less gluten, eat more raw food and then there are those days when the body craves carbs and carbs will on somedays only take the form of pasta. Spaghetti in particular.

Nothing is more comforting than a mouthful of chewy goodness. As a child and young teenager my favourite spaghetti was the ones with sweet, tangy tomato and with a hint of chilli and fresh torn basil with oodles of parmesan cheese. Goodness served warm on a plate drizzled with olive oil and you can never really go wrong with it.

Another favourite for me is the mushroom spaghetti. A complex set of flavours. Not so much loved by children, but a great dinner or lunch for adults who like flavour full food. Mushrooms, thyme, lemon zest, parsley, parmesan and finished with good truffle oil for some pizzazz.

That is it. But it needs to be made with a little care and caution, to cook the mushrooms right and keep the consistency of the dish so that its not too dry when served.

So pour yourself a glass of Chianti and get going with two pots on the stove and some 15 minutes or so, and viola food is ready.


4 portobello/ porcini mushrooms
750gms white button mushrooms (choose a mix of whatever mushrooms you have)
4portios spaghetti
1bunch parsley
2cloves garlic
1 red chilli sliced
1 lemon zest
1/2cup extra virgin olive oil (the greener the better)
2-4sprigs thyme
2tbsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
75gms grated parmesan
1tbsp freshly ground pepper

1. Prepare the mushrooms. Clean and slice the mushrooms. Add the oil in the pan, add chillies and garlic and wait for the aroma to fill the air. Then add the mushrooms and sauté on low heat. The mushrooms will release a lot of water as they cook. Add the thyme and zest the lemon on the mushrooms.
2. Prepare the spaghetti . Take a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Add the salt and add the spaghetti and cook till al dente
3. Bring it together. the trick is to start off the mushrooms just in time so that the spaghetti is cooked just wen the mushrooms are ready. Add the spaghetti to the mushrooms. Retain some pasta water. Add chopped parsley and parmesan cheese and stir. Add some of the pasta water and allow the pasta to finish cooking with the mushrooms.
4. Plate the pasta. Once the pasta is ready plate the pasta in a deep dish. Spoon over the mushrooms on the tom. Sprinkle some more parmesan, parsley and zest of lemon. top it off with some truffle oil.



Watch: Watch the classics with come comfort food
Friends – That series from anywhere
The Sound of Music – take yourself back to childhood and do not return. Growing up was the worst thing that happened to us. the music score is still a winner.
Pretty Women- Vivian embodies what every girl dreams at some point in time. Richard Gere will still make you weak in the knees
Fight Club – Blows your mind each time. The first rule of fight club.”Ah, flashback humor”

Listen: This one has a common string, great strings!
Mazzy Star – Bells ring (live/ acoustic version). Psychedelic, mysterious with some great play of strings.
Delicate – Damien Rice. This Irish boys’ voice is silk. –
Jack Johnson – Banana Pancakes. Easy listen and easy romantic listen –

Read –
Blog: She started this and it is almost a movement now. I love this site Heidi Swanson. Take a bow.

Sapiens –
The Vegetarian –

That Bottle of Bubbly


It lies there in your fridge, as if it were an asset you were holding a long position on, or waiting in the chiller for that one deal that you will crack, for that day when you will propose to him, tell him that you are all I ever wanted and more. Its waiting for your 35th birthday and that birthday is long gone but that bottle is still there, waiting for its opportune moment; to be popped or sabered. An anniversary of the parents that might become special simply by popping the cork. That bottle of bubbly which represents desire to celebrate and make eternally memorable a day or a moment in our life.

Its the month of February and the multitude of mush tends to get onto the nerves. But ever wondered why did they choose this month, February. Probably because it is the shortest month in the year, it is a reminder of how life is short and fragile, how we have a finite amount of time and probably that is the reason why February is the chosen one, the chosen month for everything remotely celebrated about love.

So why not use this bottle of bubbly; not to make special days count but to make mundane special, for that is true celebration of life, of living and a way to make the shortest month in the year the longest. Raise your glasses to love (requited or not), to the ability to love and to life that throws on us an opportunity to love.

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
To-morrow will be dying.”


I too have had a bottle of bubbly lying with me, but I still did not have the heart to open that specific bottle, but since Roses and Strawberries are both abound, I thought of putting them together for a great cocktail with another bottle of Prosecco; light and bright for an afternoon, and dark and mysterious for an evening. Muddled and sieved pulp of ruby red strawberries, with a splash of rose water lends to this cocktail a hint of The Mediterranean.

Ruby Red Bubbles
250gms strawberries
3tbsp rose water
1bottle bubbly (champagne, prosecco, brut)

      1. Puree the strawberries. Hull and chop the strawberries. Blitz them through a blender. Pass them through a very fine sieve.
      2. Add the rose water. Add rose water to the strawberry puree and stir.
      3. Portion the puree into 6 champagne flutes or saucers
      4. Pour over the bubbly just before serving.
      5. Clink glasses.


P.S. –

Watch: Take a moment to sit through a great movie and sip this cocktail for some me time and me love
500 days of summer – if you want to believe that love is meant to be for everyone
Before sunrise – sweet cakes and milk shakes.
Reader – if you want to see how love can affect and afflict and affect again
Newsroom – I highly recommend this series known for this viral video but also for its heart warming portrayal of passion for a cause and of undying love and I will be binge watching MacKenzie McHale and Will MacAvoy, Sloan Sabbath and Don Keefer and Jim Harper and Maggie Jordan

Listen: I  am currently listening to (on loop)
The Smiths (inspired by 500 days of Summer) Please please please –
La La Land Soundtrack – The theme of this movie is what dreams are made of and my favourite is City of Stars –

Read –
Blog: I am a big fan of this blog
The Rosie Project
Jane Eyre

Food is the first medicine we eat – Yogurt


I have been unwell for these past two weeks, and had no option but to get on a concoction of prescription antibiotics and steroids. And while 2 weeks of the same are done, I have more to go. While symptomatic relief from these pillls happens in some days, I guess we all suffer from queasiness, morbid feeling, absence of stamina, dizziness, change of taste in the mouth, headaches, sluggish constitution and what not. And steroids require that much more nourishment to combat the tremor.

The tremor for me is the worst, so much so that I could not click pictures with a steady hand. But I am better now, thanks to a steady stream of relief and boost coming from the kitchen. So I decided to share with you all that I reached out to; for comfort and panacia from the kitchen.

So here are a series of things which I will update a recipe at a time. Look to these little things, next only after the love and care of the loved ones. Get better and feel better soon.



We do make a mistake of not having enough of this gut friendly food. This should be a part of everyday and help a lot in restoring the health of the gut in times of antibiotic consumption. It helps in decreasing queasiness and aiding digestion.

Probiotic food has become all the rage now, good bacteria is good for the flora and fauna of the gut. We all know that now. But is it so difficult and expensive to procure live culture yogurt.  I don’t think so and most Indians, who have stuck to tradition actually don’t even realise how a simple element is everyday food adds so much good bacteria to the food they eat.

Dahi  or yoghurt to an average Indian is made at home, from a starter from the last batch or if by mistake all of it was consumed fully then from the neighbour, or from the local milk shop. Well what is yoghurt then you will ask?

Milk when left with a suitable catalyst; catalyst being lactic acid bacteria starter and right temperature sours slightly and thickens the milk.  This process takes about 6 to 8 hours.  And so the flavour in the home made yoghurt is better than the store bought tubs. But only slightly thinner.

There is an easy remedy though if you want thick luscious yoghurt.

For better consistency of the final yoghurt, simmer the milk for about 20 minutes, the milk thickness slightly and then sets very wobbly well.

And if you are looking for greek yoghurt consistency , then just hang this yoghurt in a cheese cloth for about an hour. This will drain the excess whey and leave you with creamy greek yoghurt. And if you forget that you had the yoghurt hanging in a cheese cloth for half a day or so, then you will be left with labneh. Simple


1kg            lukewarm milk
1tsp          stale yogurt

1. Add the stale yogurt to a glass bowl. Ensure this bowl is placed in the exact place you want the yogurt to stand. As the lactic bacteria does not like disturbance, it is best to leave the bowl undisturbed
2. Gently pour the lukewarm milk over it. Cover and allow to rest. If its winter time, then wrap an old blanket around this bowl and keep in a warm place for 8 hours.
3. Once set. Allow to rest in the fridge.


Carrot Top-ped, nothing funny about this one


A white rabbit with an orange carrot and we all think of Alice in Wonderland and childhood attempts at finding the rabbit hole.

Come winters and carrots flood the market. All 3 colours, orange, red and black. Sometimes the yellow ones as well. In india one of the most sought after winter desserts is carrot halwa. Carrots slow cooked in milk for upto 3-4 hours and finished off with some dry fruits, ghee and cardamom and a dash of sugar. Most households don’t make it anymore. The corner sweet shop caters to this childhood nostalgia.

Not to forget the love for carrot cake though. Slathered with a generous cream cheese topping and warm cups of tea. I use a small carrot always in my fresh tomato soup, or tomato pasata. It adds some sweetness which masks sour tomatoes if any.

While we all know that carrots are a rich source of beta carotene and vitamin A, carrots can be a boring vegetable, especially if you plan to feed the children or the carnivores who don’t find vegetables interesting at all. I am not a carnivore, neither a child but this vegetable I only enjoy, combined with my orange juice in the morning, carrot cake loaves or sometimes like this Roasted Baby Carrots with Herbed Yogurt Dressing with the flavours of dil all the way


Roasted Baby Carrots with Herbed Yogurt Dressing

1/2kg          baby carrots
4-5             cloves garlic
1bunch      fresh dil (I love dil, especially with roasted potatoes)
2tbsp         olive/ sunflower/sesame oil
2tbsp         lemon juice
1pinch       salt
1cup           greek yoghurt

  1. Wash and clean the carrots. I hate grit in the mouth and therefore I keep the heads with the leaves on only if the baby carrots are from my own vegetable patch, freshly uprooted and cleaned. If brought from the market I remove all the greens. Here too the baby carrots are whole (sans any greens), they have not been beheaded and they have been very thoroughly washed.
  2. Prep the carrots. Spread the carrots on a large tray (line the tray with parchment if not using a non-stick tray). Drizzle oil, lemon juice and mix it all on the tray, ensuring that the carrots are coated with the oil and the lemon juice. Sprinkle a few sprigs of dil and garlic on the tray
  3. Roast the carrots. Put the tray on the top shelf of the oven at 190 degree centigrade and roast for upto 40 minutes. The outer skin on the carrots will shrivel and will make them sweeter.
  4. Prepare the dressing. Mince the roasted garlic from the carrot tray into the yoghurt. Chop finely a handful of dil and add to the yoghurt. Season with a pinch of salt.
  5. Serve. Tumble the roasted carrots on a platter, I used a wooden slab. Pour the dressing on top of the carrots and enjoy.


Puffed Rice and Popcorn Crunch Balls

fullsizeoutput_a68It is that time of the year when you are around friends and family and if you are anywhere not near the beach you might probably be wanting to cozy up with some warm milk and something sweet. Not a gingerbread or a cookie, something crunchy perhaps.

Or you might have children around the house and post their playtime what do you give them. Children, adults and grannies and grand dads are alike in the festive season, looking for a reason for an additional treat.

So this is a really simple thing to make, crunchy, caramel flavoured, a little salty and the hint of cinnamon to make it that much more Christmas-y.

These rice crisp and popcorn crunch balls are quick to make. They involve sugar work so its best to keep children away while preparing.


Puffed Rice and Popcorn Crunch Balls


50gms Popping Corn
50gms Salted Puffed Rice (if you have unsalted ones add a generous pinch of sea salt)
200gms Jaggery
1cup Water
1tsp Cinnamon

  • Pop the popcorn. Take a heavy bottomed pan with a lid. Heat the pan and then when it i s hot add the popping corn. Keep stirring. In a few minutes the popcorn will start to pop. Cover with lid. Once the piping has stopped, remove from the pan. In this way finish popping all the pop corn. You can use the microwavable popcorn as well. But i just wanted to avoid the butter altogether.
  • Boil the jaggery in a pan with 1 cup of water. Once the jaggery starts to boil, start stirring. Boil the jaggery till it reaches hard ball consistency (120 to 130 degree centigrade). Add the cinnamon, rice puffs and pop corn to the mixture.
  • Quickly stir the mixture through and pour over a sheet of parchment paper. Quickly work them into balls, add a little water to your palms if the mixture is too hot.
  • Once these crunch balls are done, store in a jar. They wont last anyway.