Ria's Collection: June 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011



Not sure how many of you know about the Minnesotan weather. It's COLD...very very COLD here during winters with the temperature going as low as -40 C. Last winter was my first winter here in the US and from the Day 1 after I moved to Minnesota, whoever knew it was going to be my first winter here said,'It's long', 'It's COLD!', 'Ooooh! You have to experience it!'.

I was prepared for the worst, in my head. Therefore I expected everyday to be worse than the previous day but once it's cold, it's just COLD. It doesn't seem to get any cold-er to me until the wind blows! :-) Jobin made sure we never stayed indoors especially on the weekends, so we used to go sledging and playing in the snow. We always always had a sledge in our car so that if we ever spot a small hill covered with snow, we would stop the car there, pull the sledge out and go sledging! It was fun! I never hated those cold days...all because of him.
Strawberry & Vanilla Bavarian Cream Cake

Last winter, my first winter lasted loooong. We skipped Spring. I was still wearing a sweater till the end of May and a few days in June. Everyday I'd wait for the sun to make an appearance. Finally we hit Summer and the days are still cloudy and rainy. Not sure whether I'll be around here to witness the Minnesota Summer this year since I'll be home sweet home! I'm trying my best to soak up the sun here...to make sure I get my dose of Vitamin D, naturally...from Mr. SUN.

I baked this cake over the weekend. To honour Summer, I used fresh berries. Strawberries, to be precise. You would have guessed that from the title :-) We had some friends over for dinner on Saturday so this cake was baked for them. I love serving cakes,not plain cakes but layered cakes for our guests,for dessert.

He had to come and touch that layer because he loves Bavarian Cream and you can see that in the picture, above! I have used it before in Jobin's Birthday Gateau & Mocha Bavarian Cream Gateau with Joconde Imprime. It's such an awesome filling for cakes and our guests love it as it is very smooth and not too sweet.It sets well and leaves a lasting impression!


For the sponge:
3 eggs
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla

For the Vanilla Bavarian Cream (Use only half the quantity)
22 g Gelatin
150 ml cold water
5 large egg yolks
125 g granulated sugar
500ml warm milk
8 ml Vanilla Extract
500 ml whipping cream

Soaking Syrup 
1 c sugar and 1 c water boiled together for 2 mins or till sugar dissolves.

Strawberries for lining the cake tin

For the Vanilla Sponge:
Pre-heat the oven to 350F/ 180C.Prepare an 8" round cake tin.

Beat together the sugar,vanilla and eggs on high speed for 12 mins. Now, they would have tripled in volume.
Fold in the flour and pour into a prepared tin.
Bake for 30 mins or till done.
Cool in tin for 10 mins, turn it onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Cut into 2, horizontally, when cooled.

For the Bavarian Cream:
Soak the gelatin in water. Leave it aside to bloom.
Beat together the yolks and sugar. Pour in the milk while whisking constantly.
Using a double boiler,on medium, cook the milk-egg mixture till they thicken slightly, 4-5 mins.
Take it off the flame and add the melted gelatin into it and mix well.
Chill in the fridge, stirring every now and then till they thicken up.
Beat the whipping cream to soft peaks and fold into the custard.

On a plate or a cake stand, place one round of the cake and soak it with 1/2 c of Soaking Syrup.
Place a cake ring/Springform tin's ring and tighten it.
Place halved strawberries with their pointed tip facing up and the cut-surface facing the cake ring.
Fill in with Bavarian Cream and place the next round of cake and soak it with 1/2 c Soaking Syrup.
Let it set in the fridge overnight.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve in wedges.

Verdict: LOVED IT, like totally! :-) Jobin insists that I make something with Bavarian Cream everytime, now!

All the pictures are SOOC (Straight-out-of-the-camera)
Happy Monday, peeps! Also, don't forget to register for My Baking Class in Kannur!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


After all the queries and requests from Amma's students and my wonderful readers & friends, especially in Kannur, I am finally giving into it. I will be using some of my precious days in Kannur to impart some simple baking skills for all those who are interested. It will be an informal session where we can chit chat over the silliest of doubts and at the same time learn something new, from each other. I can also tell you about 'sourcing ingredients' in Kerala :-)
I know that not all can afford to have sweets all the time, so I am having a session of savoury baking too!

Come, join me as I would  love to share what I know,with you! Sweet & Savoury baking will be held on different days.

Tentative Date : 1st week of August
Venue:My home!
Time: 10 am  onwards

There will be goodie bags!! :-)

If you like to participate in both, please let me know. Seats (for both) are limited .
For more details & registrations  please e-mail me : airmathew AT gmail DOT com

Here's some more happy news:  I am conducting an Indian Cooking Class at the Kicthen Window in Minneapolis on July 8 from 6pm-9pm. You can find more details here. If you can make it, it would be awesome!

How is your week so far?

Friday, June 17, 2011


Baby Shower Cake

Iam mighty pleased with what I have done with this cake.This cake kept me awake for many nights and finally now that I am done with it, I can sleep in peace. Zzzzzz (not really!).This is for a couple here in Minneapolis and everything was left upto me to decide. All they wanted was a chocolate cake with a chocolate frosting. So after a few days of brainstorming session with Jobin & myself, I was able to decide how I wanted the cake to look like in the end.
So what do you guys think about my cake? I really don't think my heart can bear to see that being cut :-)
And for your kind information, I'm not a Wilton Cake Decoration class product :-)

My blog is loading very slow for the past 2 weeks and that's why you are not able to see the comment section. Can I request you guys to please wait for the blog to load completely so that you can tell me how you like this cake? Pretty please? Thanks so much! I am working on getting it back to normal soon!

A reminder: I am giving away some cookies, so don't forget to claim it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Wholewheat Fruit & Nut Cookies

Hello everyone! Are you thinking whether you read it right? You did! I am planning on some giveaway (s) on my blog. A giveaway of things made/baked/cooked or even bought by me. Every month someday, I will announce what I am planning to giveaway to my readers who have been so supportive & encouraging all throughout . It could be anything.It could be big. It could be small. It will depend on what my Gemini brain feels like in the end but let me assure you, it will be good :-)
Wholewheat Fruit & Nut Cookies

This month,I am going to bake some cookies for you...a dozen of my favourite Wholewheat Fruit & Nut Cookies. I have been thinking about this for months together now. So did Jobin. Finally, today, I am letting you all into it :) So what are you waiting for? You guys definately deserve something for all the drooling that you have done here (that's what I am told!).This month it's open only for US residents.But if you have someone in US who would love to get some cookies in their mail, I can do that! (Thanks Nisha, for that comment!)
For all my wonderful readers in India, your time will come very soon! Real soon :-)

You have plenty of time...all the time you need till the 1st of July to comment. On the 1st of July, I'll pick a winner and the cookies will be baked fresh for you by me :-) I can't wait for that day! There's lots and lots of good stuff in that cookie so go on...make sure you atleast make an attempt to grab your share!

Also, have no worries of me vanishing into thin air (remember my speech?), I'll be around :-)

Monday, June 13, 2011


Homemade Chipotle Salsa

One of the best things I like to dip my chip into is Salsa. I must admit that I never liked it while I was in India but moving to US and trying it here made me a Salsa lover. I usually buy salsa and I have tried various flavours including smoked Chipotle Salsa from Trader Joes. They taste so good that I can just use a big straw and sip it while I watch a movie!

Last month I joined a club, a secret recipe club. Amanda being the wonderful host she is assigned me to another blog where I chose a recipe from without that blogger knowing and blog about it on the reveal date. Confused? Go over to Amanda's blog and read about it there.
Singing with Birds was the blog that was assigned to me.She had so many recipes that I had a hard time choosing what I wanted until I saw her recipe for Salsa. There was no looking back then! So here's the modified recipe with the things I had in my pantry.


3 medium sized tomatoes,roughly chopped
2 green chili, roughly chopped
1/4 red onion,roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sugar
1/2 c packed cilantro
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp ground chipotle
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

Method: Pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor or your blender.Taste and adjust the seasonings.Chill for an hour and serve with tortilla chips.
Chicken 65

The winners for the Cookbook Giveaway are The Picky Eater Ninu. Congratulations! Now send me your postal address :-) Please respond within a day's time, if not, I'll be picking another winner.

There were no right or wrong answers since I didn't know the correct one ! Really, you people are so innovative with your answers! Divya and Pooja, you girls are really funny! Pooja, you took me back to the wedding planning days and it was almost on the similar lines :-)
This is probably one of my shortest posts ever. I have no time today to sit and type even though I'd love to...got lots of cleaning up to do after a fun weekend! We ate so much the last 3 days that I can go into a hibernation for a week ;-) We started the weekend grilling some yummy juicy patties that I made topped with some cheese and sandwiched between buns.Later we had some Juicy Honey Wings...that was just the start ;-) Oh yes, there was Jobin's Tiramisu involved. A new full batch!

Until next time ,

Friday, June 10, 2011


Chocolate Cupcake

Hmmm...what shall I begin this post with? Sometimes I feel I should have blogged anonymously and never let go of my identity here. I'm not a secretive person at all hence you know a lot of stuff about me including my real name and how I look to the colour I like the most and what keeps me up dreaming all night!

Now, the situation is if I want to write my heart out here...I cannot. That's because my entire family including my extended family and their relatives and their neighbours and my neighbours and all their friends and family reads this...reads whatever I write here. When people meet me at parties, they identify me saying 'Hey, you are that Ria of Ria's Collection!'.They discuss with me the things that I have written over this space. It is indeed a proud moment for me and I will never deny that fact! Infact my cousin Tia was telling me that she introduced my blog to her neighbour and whenever her neighbour meets her, she tells Tia that she is addicted to my blog and that she even browses my blog randomly before going to sleep! Now that is something...I mean if my blog is becoming a bed-time story book it does mean something to me. I have some cookbooks piled up on the floor next to my bed and I browse through it before I sleep...just simply flip through, see the photographs and get the idea of how things are done and how people manage to keep their spirits up even when the most beautiful thing turns into a disaster and how many pounds of butter goes into one small piece of cake etc.
Chocolate Cupcake

I consider that to be a book's success. I am not sure how many of you think that way.So I am very happy if my blog is becoming a bed time story book! :) At the same time, everyone knows about what I think, what I do. It's part of being out in the public.I know it but I never knew what I was getting into when I got into this whole thing called blogging! So I don't know if people can tell me, 'You should've known!'.
Chocolate Cupcake

There have been days when I wondered that I should just quit and stop everything. Yes, stop blogging. Stop dreaming about food. Stop thinking about food. Stop taking pictures of what I cook. Stop blogging, completely. If you noticed, I never said, stop cooking . That's not possible because I have to feed the two of us and it's me who has to do that.

Now, after writing all this, I feel I should just delete everything I just wrote but no, I won't do that. That's the problem with me.I don't like to delete and type sentences because it wouldn't be the way it comes from my heart...it would be my brain's work then :) I admire people who think with their brains first simply because I can never do that!
Chocolate Cupcake

Okay,now that's enough of rambling for the day. So by now you all know that I have a sweet little brother and that he scored some awesome marks for his 12th board exams!He joined college today and he is leaving home. I was sad when I spoke to him because all my life when I think of him,I know he is at home...walking the way he walks ...swaying his arms and never smiling (especially when he sees me) even though he has a great smile ;-) Now he won't be at home but away in a hostel. Anyhow, he is joining college and I wanted to bake him his favourite Chocolate Cupcakes that he used to ask me to bake  after I once baked it for him long long ago...almost 14 years ago. I found this recipe on Hindu (newspaper) and didn't know it would be this good. I was just 12 years old then so I cut that part out and stuck it onto Amma's recipe Diary and she still has that copy! When I grew up, I wrote it down in my own Diary . I don't know how he remembers it as he was just a 4 yr old but he used to ask me always 'to make those chocolate cupcakes' which I never did...until 2 days ago. So this is for you Ritchie Kutta, have a fun time in College! Study hard and not hardly ;-)

Makes 24 cupcakes

250 g all purpose flour
350g sugar
375 ml yogurt
75 g cocoa powder
100 g unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Pre heat the oven to 180C/350F. Line 2 regular sized (not mini)cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

In a bowl,beat all the ingredients together on medium-high speed for 2 mins. Pour 1/4 c of the batter into each cupcake liner and bake for 30 mins or till a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Verdict: Delicious soft chocolate cupcakes which are super easy to make and please :-) I don't think there are many recipes which can give you 24 cupcakes with just 100g of butter! Isn't this recipe a winner??
Cupcake Crumbs

He always asks me 'Did you try out anything new?' whenever we speak over the phone and I list out all what I tried and he just asks 'Hmm,Nallatha (did it taste good)?'. I know he misses my experiments at home( inspite all the wonderful goodies Amma makes ) which he used to gobble up once he gets back from school...Amma confirms it :-) So this time when I am home, I am baking this for him :-)
The giveaway is extended till Monday as some of you wrote to me saying there is a problem commenting on my blog. Till then, go through the wonderful stories you all came up with! It's hilarious!

Happy Friday guys!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

THE REAL TIRAMISU...for me from him!

This time, it's me who is doing all the talking about the cake as opposed to last year when he did it all.So it was my birthday yesterday and as usual (the 2nd time) he asked me what I wanted him to bake for my birthday. He gave me about a month's time to decide because I need time to think always( because my mind wanders and I dream too much!). No prices for guessing, I changed my mind the last minute and chose my favourite dessert, Tiramisu. I have made a Tiramisu Cake before, but this time I wanted the real deal...The Real Tiramisu :-)

Whenever we dine out, if there's a Tiramisu on the dessert menu, I always always eat that. We once drove about 6-7 miles just to buy a small piece of Tiramisu just because I felt like eating it...from that particular restaurant!  :-D I'm not sure how many of you have eaten at Bucca Di Beppo, they have one of the best Tiramisu's I've ever eaten so I end up comparing the one I'm eating to the one I ate at Bucaa ...always! :-)
We were away for the weekend and got back home just in time for my birthday. We knew this early (duh!) so Jobin and I made sure all the things we needed for making my Tiramisu were in place before we left home. As soon as we got back, we unpacked our suitcases, opened a bottle of wine and chose a  'Suresh Gopi's' 'edi padam' to play as he took breaks from the Tiramisu-making. Then we spent the rest of the day (oh it's bright outside till almost 9.15 pm) watching the movie and slurping on some homemade Bisi Bele Bath.

That was my birthday gift sent to me by my reader and a good friend Elvina . Those tiny cakes are actually fridge magnets .Don't they look cute?? I really liked it, El. The minute I opened the packet, I was walking towards my fridge to place them on it :-) How on earth did you know that I have a fetish for fridge magnets?
Also, I have Rose (btw, the chocolate buttons you see on top of the Tiramisu was sent to me by Rose, sometime ago) baking a cake to celebrate my birthday (She lives 1000's of miles away from me) and Dhanya cooking up my Chatti Pathiri to give me a surprise on my birthday! Gosh, you guys are just fantabulous!! Another reason for me to love food blogging!!

Recipe source : Recipe behind the Alessi Savoiardi Cookie packet.

For 1 portion Zabaglione
5 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c marsala (you can sub it with rum)

For the cheese layer:
1c whipping cream, chilled
4 tbsp sugar
450g Homemade Mascarpone cheese,at room temp.

2c freshly brewed strong coffee
1/2 c Rum or Marsala
1 tbsp Vanilla
24 nos. Savoiardi Cookies/Lady Fingers or as needed
3 tbsp Cocoa Powder

Extra Cocoa powder & Chocolate Curls for garnishing.
For the Zabaglione: In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks &sugar. Now, you need to set up a double boiler and let the water come to a full boil. Then reduce the flame to a simmer, place the bowl with the egg over it and whisk constantly and pour the marsala/rum into it. Keep whisking it till it forms into soft mounds. It won't take long. Transfer it to another bowl, wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.

For the Cheese layer: Meanwhile, whip the cream with 2 tbsp sugar to soft peaks.Fold in the mascarpone and Zabaglione and mix carefully till well blended.Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a separate bowl, mix coffee,2 tbsp sugar,Marsala & Vanilla.

Arrange one layer of cookies to fit the pan that you are using and pour 1 tbsp of coffee mixture over each cookie so that they are well saturated but not falling apart.Spoon 1/3 rd cheese mixture over cookies and sprinkle with 1tbsp cocoa powder. Repeat two more time ending with cocoa. (We didn't follow this method of layering as I wanted it in a cake form)

Cover and refrigerate overnight so that the flavours mature well plus the cookies gets to soak up all that liquid.

Dust with some more cocoa and decorate with chocolate curls. Serve chilled.

Verdict: I couldn't stop licking the cream as and when he was making it because I just wanted to make sure it's up to the Bucca standards ;-) The next day (on my birthday) which was yesterday (confusing??) as I cut the cake and had a slice, the first thing  I said was,'Oh my goodness, this is so yummy! It tastes just like Bucca's! :-D

It is a very good one and is very very simple to make! Do try it at home. I'm sure you can substitute the  lady's finger with a good pound cake and proceed with the recipe if you live no where close to a supermarket which sells those fingers ;-) After all once they are soaked in the syrup, their texture is similar to a cake!

So make sure you try this for your next party!

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