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Hey everybody 🙂 I’m back with the second part of my food post “A Peek at My Food Creations” 🙂

If the first part delighted you, this continuing part is going to bowl you over 😉

In case, you’re my first-time reader, you might want to go through the first part before continuing with this, so here’s the link: A Peek at My Food Creations – Part I

As I had mentioned before in the first part, my dalliance with baked goodies, which had ended almost 25 years ago, returned in 2020 with the start of Covid-19 pandemic and the imposition of lockdown. So, here are my food creations from 2020 onwards, starting with baked goodies 🙂 Enjoy!

My beautiful home-baked bread…

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I had always wanted to make bread at home, but wasn’t sure if it would come out like the market ones. But I tried anyway. And it was so very yummy, being fresh and warm 🙂 Somehow I never got to making another one after that.

And now, Cakes 🙂

In 2020-21, I experimented and came up with different types of cakes. I made eggless ones using bananas or curd or buttermilk or even apple sauce which I prepared at home. Most of the time, instead of refined flour, I used semolina and…. even barnyard millet! 🙂

This is the very first cake that I baked after a very, very long time. It was for Earth Day 2020…

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A few days later, I baked this amazing-looking chocolate birthday cake with pistachios, using semolina instead of refined flour…

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Months later, another semolina-based chocolate birthday cake with almonds…

A rich pistachio creation 🙂

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In February 2021, I experimented and made a delicious cake with semolina-barnyard millet mix instead of just refined flour or semolina 🙂 It was a successful experiment with enough batter for two birthday cakes! So I made one with chocolate icing…

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I developed a habit of checking out French desserts on Instagram 🙂 Everyday 🙂 One day Instagram introduced me to Russian and Ukrainian desserts and I got hooked because they use different ingredients like rice flour, cottage cheese, kefir, etc, Written in Russian / Ukrainian language, the recipes aren’t easy to understand because the Instagram translation isn’t all that accurate.

Basking in new-found creativity, I decided to try something different. Taking inspiration from the French “Mille-Feuille” and Russian “Napoleon Cake”, I made my own version of layered cake…

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All that it needs are thin crispies and chocolate icing 🙂 I made same-size thin biscuits at home using barnyard millet instead of flour. Each biscuit is layered with chocolate icing and carefully assembled atop the other. The top layer and the sides are evenly plastered with icing, the cake is placed in the refrigerator for the icing to set 🙂 It was simply divine 🙂

Next, I made this innovative and absolutely delicious triple-layered blackberry-orange-banana birthday cake with cream cheese icing. It has blackberry and orange jelly fillings within blackberry and orange cream cheese icing 🙂

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And a week later, this beautiful, triple-layered almond-walnut-apricot birthday cake  decorated with crushed pistachios and chocolate cherries 🙂

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Two months later, I made my first Ice Cream Cake 🙂

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I made the vanilla ice cream as well 🙂

It was my first attempt, so it was pretty simple-looking. Being a hot summers’ day, I had to rush it into the freezer after every coat of chocolate icing 🙂

Lemon Tea Cake…

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Banana Tea Cake…

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My innovative banana cake decorated with crushed almonds and pistachios, served with custard sauce…

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Months later, I made this mouth-watering Bounty birthday cake with a coconut filling just like the Bounty chocolate bar 🙂

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It was absolutely yummmyyy 🙂

With the removal of lockdown and return to normalcy, my birthday cake-making phase came to an end.

Well, that’s what I thought! Ten days ago, I made this delicious Lemon Pound Cake 🙂

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It was the birthday of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, one of my favourite childhood heroes 🙂 I made it at the hilltop farmhouse, where I was staying, in the Konkan (in southern coastal Maharashtra). And I also distributed it to the 12-15 farm workers before they left for their home. It was absolutely delicious! The farm fresh lemons had an excellent flavor. I had already added lemon zest and juice in the cake batter, but after baking I coated it with lemon syrup. And then a nice thin glaze (of lemon juice, icing sugar and milk) on the top 🙂

And just a few hours ago, I baked this healthy, no-butter Banana Cake with barnyard millet flour, gram flour, milk, cacao powder, honey, jaggery, dry fruits and of course, bananas 🙂

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So my cake-making phase is not over 🙂 By the way, making a beautiful and delightful Paris-Brest is one of the things on my bucket list 🙂

Moving on to sweet goodies other than cakes, here are some of my international desserts:

My first international dessert…my delicious German dessert, Dampfnudeln served with plum sauce and vanilla sauce 🙂

These are sweet steamed buns, popular in the Bavarian region of southern Germany.

This truly was a super delicious dessert with finger-licking sauces 🙂

Next is my awesome French dessert, Crêpes Suzette 🙂

It’s a classic French crêpe with beurre Suzette, a sauce of caramelized sugar and butter, orange juice, zest and Grand Marnier, triple sec or orange Curaçao liqueur on top. I didn’t use alcohol.

I made these crêpes with flour (which is how they are made), hence super soft…

And then, I made these with barnyard millet, and they came out super thin and crispy at the ends 🙂

Frankly speaking, my Crêpes Suzette were absolutely beautiful and super delicious 🙂

Now, this simple but beautiful mango dessert is an original of mine… cupcake topped with cream and mango 🙂

French Financiers, a classic French almond tea cake 🙂

Vatrushky are cottage cheese tarts from Ukraine with berry filling. These are popular in Russia too and can be sweet or savoury. Here’s my sweet Vatrushka with plum filling 🙂

Varenyky is the national dish of Ukraine, and is also popular in Russia and other parts of East Europe. It can be sweet or savoury.

This is my version of sweet Varenyky, dumplings served with melted butter and topped with pomegranate seeds 🙂

Innovating on the churro, I made this churro basket with a lemon curd filling. It was absolutely yummy 🙂

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My Lemon Cupcake…

Champurrado, a warm and thick chocolate-based Mexican drink…

It’s very easy to make. In place of Mexican corn dough, I used barnyard millet with cacao powder, jaggery and cinnamon powder.

And now, moving on to my international savouries:

This original vegetarian pizza of mine was the tastiest vegetable pizza that I have ever had, even better than those of Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Smoking Joe’s or any other pizzeria 🙂 My family just loved it and had the same opinion 🙂

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Another of my originals is this yummy Egg and Cheese Pizza with Chapatti as base 🙂

My absolutely yummy Hash Browns with eggs and cheese 🙂

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Crispy McDonald’s-like French Fries 🙂

Delicious French Onion-Tomato Soup…

Vegetarian Pad Thai, a stir-fried rice noodle dish with vegetables and herbs…

Of course, it wasn’t as authentic as the one I had tasted at the Wat Thai temple cafetaria in Bodh Gaya but it was scrumptious 🙂

Quinoa with spicy vegetables…

Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican breakfast dish made up of fried tortilla chips tossed with red (salsa roja) or green (salsa verde) sauce, sprinkled with cheese and topped with fried eggs. Here’s mine 🙂

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Zuchini Muffin and Pancake 🙂

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I have prepared delicious Indo-Chinese dishes too, which are very popular in India 😉 Vegetable Spring Rolls and Vegetable Manchurian with Fried Rice 🙂 Well, it was actually more of a team work with my mother and two sisters, Shilpa and Swapna doing the vegetable chopping work 🙂  Shilpa did the frying work too 🙂

Vegetable Spring Rolls 🙂

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Vegetable Manchurian (fried vegetable balls in a spicy, sweet and tangy sauce) served with fried rice 🙂

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From international to national, here are my Indian dishes:

Starting with one of my favourites, Thupka 🙂

Thukpa means “noodles” in Tibetan language, so any Tibetan noodle soup is referred as Thukpa. There are many varieties of Thukpa in Tibetan cuisine. Happily, I had tried a few of them at Hotel Tibet in Sikkim, some years ago 🙂

I make my Thupka a bit spicy and with loads of fresh veggies…

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Flat Thupka noodles from Ladakh…

Although Thupka has its origins in the Amdo region of eastern Tibet, it’s also popular in India, and forms a part of the cuisine of some states with Tibetan influence like Ladakh, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh (Dharamshala/ McLeodganj), Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal (Darjeeling), Nagaland and Assam.

Vegetable noodles…

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Bhendi Masala, spicy, magnesium-rich ladyfinger dish…

My homemade Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) 🙂

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Spicy Paneer Masala…

I just love lobsters 🙂 My taste for lobsters developed in my childhood days. I faintly remember having Lobster Thermidor at Mumbai’s fancy restaurants 🙂 But my unforgettable lobster binge was at a restaurant in the Taj Malabar Resort & Spa in Kochi (Cochin), way back in December 2006 🙂 I had been travelling solo through Tamil Nadu and Kerala on a month long trip covering most of the beautiful old temples of the two states. I went to the luxury hotel on Willingdon Island just to have a lobster meal. And that day, they had only small ones except for a large-size bluish lobster, which was a prized catch:) When it was brought before me, I thought it was too big for just myself. The chef suggested that I go for two preparations with the lobster, one continental and other spicy 🙂 See, it was too big! Well, my delightful lunch got over after two hours 🙂

Later in March 2008, while at Cancun, the beautiful beach destination of Mexico, I remember having a delicious Lobster Thermidor along with red wine at the famous lobster restauarant Lorenzillo’s 🙂 It was a beautiful late evening and I had a sea-side table at the charming place 🙂  Sigh. Such lovely memories 🙂

So now you know how much I love lobsters 🙂 Here’s my absolutely delicious spicy Lobster Curry…

Fish Curry…

Chilli Chicken, Chettinad Chicken Curry…

Spicy Chicken Curry and Chicken Ghee Roast…

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My nutritious Paya (Goat Trotters) Soup 🙂

And now, my Indian snacks:

Here’s my crunchy Murukku, a deep-fried crisp snack made with rice flour and gram flour…

Ambe Dal, made up of green mangoes and Split Bengal Gram (Chana Dal) is a traditional preparation from Maharashtra, specially made during the hot summer months, when green mangoes are abundant. It is served with a cool Kairiche Panhe, a refreshing raw mango drink, with or without ice.

Here’s my Ambe Dal with Kairiche Panhe 🙂

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Thalipeeth, a spiced flat bread made from multigrain flour. The flour for thalipeeth, called bhajanee, is prepared from roasted grains, legumes and spices. A traditional preparation from Maharashtra, it makes for a healthy and nutritious breakfast or snack. It’s served with coconut-green chilli chutney…

Poha, a delicious and healthy breakfast dish, popular in Maharashtra. It’s made with flattened rice, onions, potatoes, etc. and flavored with spices and herbs…

Methi Thepla, made with fresh fenugreek (methi) leaves and whole grain flours and spices and served with Lahsun (Dry Coconut-Garlic) chutney…

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Medu Vada, one of my favourites 🙂 These are crispy, fried doughnut-shaped fritters made with black gram (urad dal), herbs and spices…

Kothimbir Vadi is a popular snack of Maharashtra, made up of iron-rich fresh coriander leaves, besan (gram flour), green chillies and spices. The steamed cake is tempered with spices…

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Dahi Vada, deep-fried fritters made up of black gram (urad dal), dunked in yogurt with a sprinkling of spices and herbs…

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Chicken patties…

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Assorted lentil and fenugreek leaves fritters (bhajiya)…

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In 2020, I discovered that Vari (Barnyard Millet) which is mostly savoured as rice or khichdi on Hindu fasting days can also be used to make a variety of dishes. As I mentioned earlier, I have made birthday cakes with it 🙂 Here are the savouries that I made with Vari:

Vari Khichdi (rice with veggies and spices)…

Vari Vada (crispy, fried doughnut-shaped fritters) …

Vari Dosa (crispy crepe dish with spices and herbs)…

And I even made sweet jalebis out of Vari 🙂 By the way, you won’t find this Vari Jalebi recipe anywhere. Because it’s my original 🙂 I’m sharing it with you all here 🙂 You have to grind half cup of water-rinsed Vari along with half cup of curd, heat pan and add the mix along with 3/4 cup of water and turmeric and cook, stirring all the time till it becomes thick. Then cool it, knead with oil, put in piping bag and make spirals to fry. Dunk the fried spirals in saffron-sugar syrup with cardamom and lemon juice added, remove them and sprinkle crushed pistachios. Simple and absolutely yummy 🙂 You’re welcome 😉

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Using the flavourful sugar syrup that was left, I made these yummy Motichoor Laddoo (of gram flour) 🙂

My most delicious saffron-almond-pistachio icecream made with organic raw sugar which is unrefined and healthier than white sugar 🙂

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Banana Poori…

Khoya, also called as Mawa, which is evaporated milk solids obtained after slowly simmering milk. It is consumed as it is or used in making a wide variety of sweets. I made mine with organic raw sugar 🙂

My delicious Rasmalai, a popular Bengali sweet of Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) balls or Rasgulla dunked in Rabri (sweetened and thickened milk) that has been scented with cardamom and saffron. Instead of white sugar, I used organic raw sugar in the pistachio-topped Rasgulla as well as Rabri. Hence the different tinge 🙂

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Chhena Poda, a cheese dessert from the state of Odisha in Eastern India. It’s a baked dessert made of well-kneaded homemade fresh cottage cheese (chhena), sugar, etc. I used jaggery instead of sugar…

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Dharwad Peda with organic raw sugar…

So this is all that I have till date 🙂 There will be more for later as I enjoy creating new recipes and making food experiments 🙂

By the way, it will be unfair not to give credit to my “sous-chef” my eldest sister, Shilpa, who excels at making popular Indian fast food and specialties. Whenever she’s around, I assign her the work of chopping vegetables or frying or some of the preparation work. She’s very good at it so cooking time is saved and my work becomes lighter 🙂 Well, even experts need a helping hand in the kitchen, don’t they? 😉

Okay, so this has been a longish post and I’m sure you all have enjoyed it as much as I have, sharing it with you all 🙂

Stay tuned for my next post, which is going to be a very interesting one, especially if you’re a space enthusiast 😉

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