Ria's Collection: 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017


Dark Chocolate & Beet Cake
Tea party is something that Ian & I are very interested in. A well laid out table with pretty crockery and finger food is my fancy description of a tea party. Ian just wants a teapot filled with hot water, a cup and saucer and some 'Elly's' cookies. He loves watching a cartoon called ' Pocoyo' on YouTube and 'Elly' is an Elephant who is Pocoyo's friend. She bakes cookies and hosts tea party but refuses to share the cookies she bakes with anyone else. So one day, Ian asked me if I could help him make some 'Elly's cookies', which I did and you can make it too! It's just the Thumbrint Cookies that I've shared with you all here, one million years ago. Well,maybe not one million but during my initial days of food blogging which feels like a million years ago to me!
Dark Chocolate & Beetroot Cake
Dark Chocolate & Beet Cake
While I was taking pictures of this decadent cake,a cake that I've been eyeing for months together, Ian sat right next to me and Zara in her walker, eyeing all that I was doing and trying to host a tea party in between with all the crockery that I had pulled out. That was Ian. In the meantime, Zara wanted to somehow get her tiny chubby fingers on that chocolate cake!

Dark Chocolate & Beet Cake
To be honest, this is the fussiest cake I've ever baked my entire life! Fussy in the sense, the way it's directions were. Nigel is amazing but the directions kind of made me want to skip baking the cake altogether.I am not a person to follow fussy recipes usually but if the end result was anything like what it turned out to be, I really don't mind being fussy! Jokes apart, this cake turned out to be really moist and fluffy.
Dark Chocolate & Beet Cake
If you are really reading this post to know if this cake tastes anything like beetroot, yes it does. It kind of smells like it and tastes 10% like a beetroot somewhere,especially in the first bite. After that, you would be surprised to know that it only tastes of chocolate! I am not a beetroot lover. I like them in my Beetroot Pachadi, Beetroot & Dates pickle, Beet & Ginger Lemonade so far and now this wonderful,moist cake.
Dark Chocolate & Beet Cake Makes one 8 inch round cake

8 oz beetroot
7 oz dark chocolate, chopped small
1/4 cup hot espresso
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoon butter, cut up very small
5 eggs, separated
1 cup + 2 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoon cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup superfine sugar

Method: Preheat the oven to 350 F and line an 8 inch springform tin.
Chop the beets, steam and puree them to a coarse paste using a mixie. In a large bowl, over a pan of simmering water,melt the chopped chocolate just until it begins to melt. Then add in the hot espresso and give it just one mix. Add the butter and push it down so that it goes underneath the chocolate. Let it melt a little bit and turn off the heat and mix to incorporate the butter with the chocolate. Let it cool just a little bit and then mix in the beaten egg yolks. Fold in the beet puree after that.Sift flour,cocoa powder and baking powder together into a small bowl. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and then fold in the superfine sugar *.

Fold in the egg whites into the chocolate mixture using a metal spoon in a large figure eight motion. Do not over mix. Then gently fold in the flour mixture. Tip the batter into the tin, reduce the oven temperature to 325F and bake the cake until moist crumbs cling to the cake tester. Let it cool in the tin and remove from the tin once cooled completely. You can top it with a ganache or just plain melted chocolate like I did.

*I just measured out 1 cup sugar and ground it using a mixie until it was superfine,not completely powdered.
Dark Chocolate & Beet Cake
I really wanted to share a cake recipe here for the longest time because it's one of my favourite things to make and write about. It's one of your favourite things to make from my blog too,so I just went ahead,baked and took pictures of it juggling two kids in a row but the net connection...it just didn't work in my favour. Anyway. Here's the recipe and I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we did. Try it even if you are not a beetroot lover,just to know how you can incorporate such a vegetable into your diet in a tasty way!

Friday, March 17, 2017


This recipe comes from the cookbook Malabar Muslim Cookery that Appa gave Amma way back in 1995. That's the very first time I heard about Mrs. Ummi Abdulla. I also very quickly learnt that she is our family friend's mother! I met her for the first time sometime in the late 90's and I remember how exciting it was because I finally got to see that person who wrote one of Amma's favourite cookbooks for real! Little things, right? But those little things make up my life for the most part.
Amma has been making this recipe for the longest time. She first served it with a 'Kadachakka Bajji' / Breadfruit Bajji and it was so so good! Even though I've made many other North Indian versions of this sauce, I think I still have a soft spot for this Malabari condiment. There's something about the tangy,sweet, spicy kick that the sauce gives you. It pairs very well with Chaats,Dahi Vada & it's extra tasty even just to lick it straight out of that shot glass. I did just that after I was done photographing them. It was just so good!
Those glasses I've used in the photographs were the ones I used in 2011,when I won the title of Vanitha Pachakarani. I used them for making my dessert in the final round. When I am home, I find these little little things that reminds me of so many good things. It's like I am reliving my past. Hmm. I am not complaining one bit!
We hosted a YWCA meeting at our home the other day and we served Crackers with Green Onion Topping as the appetizer and  an Orange & Watermelon soda as the welcome drink. The mains were Paneer Mousakka, Dahi Vada (on which we lavishly drizzled this wonderful Chakkarapuli), Vegetable Biriyani & a Cucumber-Mint Bread Salad. The desserts were Tiramisu (with homemade Mascarpone), Triple Chocolate Walnut Pie & Petite Boston Cream Doughnuts. By the way,have I told you guys already that I am on Instagram and I pretty much live there? Follow me on Instagram if you haven't already!

Chakkarapuli Makes about 1 cup

100 grams tamarind
150 grams jaggery,grated
10 dry red chilies
6 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon oil

Method: Soak the tamarind in about a cup of water for 1 hour. Break it down with your fingers,knead and squish to take out the pulp. Strain it into another bowl. Grind together the red chilies, garlic and salt using about 1/4 cup of water.
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and crackle the mustard seeds. When it begins to pop, add the tamarind pulp, jaggery and the ground paste. Bring it to a boil* and take it off the heat. Let it cool completely and use as needed. Leftovers can be refrigerated and should be consumed within 2 weeks.

*If you had to use more water to extract the tamarind pulp or to grind the paste, that's OK. You will have to boil the mixture just a little bit more to get it to a thick sauce like consistency.

So exactly a month ago, we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary in Bangalore. So I didn't make a cake for us this year. Aaaaannd last year,for our 6th, we were in two different countries,so I didn't make a cake for us. So two years back to back with zero cakes! Too much,right? :-) We are still in Kannur and we are planning to head back after Easter. So maybe this year for our birthdays, we might go all out with cakes! :-) Aaaaand Zara turned 6 months old yesterday! She even uttered a first word about 5 days ago and that first word was....guess what? Cheta!! Ian was SO over the moon then! She is one fast learner, can hold and stand up for like 5 minutes and blabbers non stop already. Ian & Zara are going to be quite a talkative pair for sure! I wonder where they got that trait from? ;-)

To get updates like these along with food pictures, follow me on Instagram!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Iam having the time of my life here in Kannur. I don't even remember the last time I planned a menu. Amma does all the cooking and I get to eat all the deliciousness made with love! Ian on the other hand is enjoying a lot more than me. He has some kind of a fascination towards lighthouses and since we have one very very close to our home, Appa takes him there everyday. You should really see that glow on his face when he comes back home after that!
Zara kutty is 5 months old now and she is growing up very fast! She can crawl all over the place,in a caterpillar like fashion and can sit up too! She has been introduced to her first solid food and totally loves it! She even cries when I take the bowl away. I hope she grows up to be a foodie like Ian,then things will be awesome in that department.
So yesterday when Amma made these totally scrumptious Orotti for breakfast, I immediately told her I need to tell you all about it. I am sure some of you must have eaten this at some point in your life. We make this 'palaharam' either for breakfast or for tea time and it's always cherished. The aroma while making Orotti's are simply awesome! So the Orotti's you've been seeing here were made by Amma. I just took some photographs of it. ;-)
Orotti Recipe source: Amma

2 cups fine roasted rice flour (Appam/Idiyappam podi)
1 cup water
Salt to taste
1 cup grated coconut
Coconut oil

Method: In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the roasted rice flour all at once and mix well.Take off the heat, add the coconut,cover the pan and let it sit till it's warm to the touch. Pinch off tennis ball sized dough balls and flatten it in your palms.
Heat some coconut oil in a flat bottomed pan, a tablespoon or two and put the flattened disc of dough over it. Pat it out a little bit more to make that dough disc to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Cook till the bottom side is golden. Before flipping it over, smear some coconut oil over the second side. Cook till the second side is golden. Take off the heat and transfer it to a hotbox till needed. Serve it with some honey/paani or some spicy curry.
All those who make it at home, do you call them the same? Do you make it the same way ? There are so many ways to make one dish, right? I am intrigued to know if it's the same with Orotti. Anyway, give this a try sometime and let me know what you think! I need to be honest, it feels good to come back here to share a recipe with you all! Thanks for sticking by! I haven't forgotten about sharing Zara's baptism photos, will do so very soon!

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Ian & Zara
It's been extremely busy at our end for the past 2 months. Being in Kannur always keeps me busy. The last week of November and first three weeks of December saw me baking day and night to fulfill our Christmas orders. We baked,packed and couriered so many goodies across India. Then came Zara Kutty's baptism. Jobin and myself did the stage decor this time and I did her dress & accessories. I will share the photographs once we receive it. In between all of this, Zara's First Christmas came and went by so fast! I know it's late but still, I thought of sharing a photograph with you all. There's hardly anything that I haven't shared with you guys for the past 8 years! I hope you all had a great start to 2017! We were travelling for NY's and we are leaving for Thiruvanathapuram tomorrow. I really hope to come back with a recipe soon since Appan and Amma have been asking me to keep this blog of mine alive! :-)
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