Strawberry and Cream Cake

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Strawberry and Cream – does that ring a bell? I remember those winter days in Kolkata when I ate a huge bowl full of fresh strawberry and cream and I fell in love even more everyday. It almost became a part of my meal each day such that I ended up eating less of my staples because I needed to eat my bowl of happiness. This cake is a dedicated for my love towards Strawberry and Cream! I am enamored by the ruby red strawberries and can’t contain my excitement when I get hold of the freshest batch at the grocery store. Its like giving a kids his favorite candy, pure joy! I love it, I am obsessed by it and then fall in love with it even more.

This cake is no brainer, no ornated cake. Simple, basic pantry staples to bake a moist and vanilla rich cake. And then let your imagination flow. I have done a basic whipped cream decoration with lots of strawberry chunks and fresh blueberries to adorn my lil cake. Grab your box of strawberries because you can’t go wrong with it ever!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes a 6 inch round cake)

  • 260 grams whole wheat flour (you can also use all purpose flour/ maida)
  • 113 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 160 grams white granulated sugar
  • 120 ml whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking powder, slightly heaped
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced
  • 8 – 10 fresh blueberries, to garnish

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METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C. Butter/ oil your cake tin and lightly flour it and keep aside.
  • In a bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This takes about 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add vanilla extract and whisk it until just incorporated. Now add one egg at a time and beat it until just incorporated.
  • Add whole wheat flour, baking soda and baking powder to this egg mixture and fold it. Add milk and fold the mixture until well incorporated.
  • Transfer the cake batter to the mould and put it to bake for 35 – 38 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Once done allow it to cool and then de-mould it. Allow the cake to completely cool down. This may take several hours.
  • Once its closer to cooling down, place a bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Take the bowl and pour in the whipping cream and icing sugar and whip until stiff peaks are formed.
  • You can add some chopped strawberries to it. Cover the cake with the cream. You can divide the cake horizontally and then apply whipped cream between the 2 halves of the cake along with the top and sides.
  • Garnish with remaining strawberries and blueberries and enjoy!

 

Berry Banana Smoothie

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The pretty pink color greeting you a beautiful morning – is there anything more you can ask for? Yes that’s my new found friend – Berry Banana Smoothie.

I love the whole new concept of Breakfast on the Go. It’s exciting how simple things come together to make something delicious and healthy. And not to forget mornings are calmer and peaceful since these dishes are quite simple to make. Among the myriad of options that you can make, breakfast smoothie is my all time favorite. Throw in some basic pantry staples in the blender and let it to the rest. Try it once and you’ll be hooked forever.

Smoothies is like a meal in the glass. Quite filling and makes you feel rejuvenated. Creamy, nutritious and everything yummy you can ask for each morning!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 1 – 2 people)

  • 1 big banana, kept in the freezer for 30 minutes
  • 1 cup of mixed berries (I used strawberries and blackberries)
  • 4 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 120 ml chilled unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tsp agave nectar (optional)
  • pinch of cinnamon powder
  • pinch of nutmeg powder
  • 2 tsp chia seeds (optional)
  • few mint leaves, to garnish (optional)

METHOD:

  • Roughly chop the bananas and keep aside.
  • Put the chopped bananas, mixed berries, yogurt, agave nectar, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and coconut milk in the blender and blend until its smooth and lump free
  • Add the chia seeds and give it a quick stir. Transfer it to the serving glass/jar.
  • Garnish it with mint leaves and serve chill!

Enjoy!

 

 

Triple Layer Chia Pudding

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Chocolate, Berries and Superfood – mornings just got better and brighter. All of these packed in a jar and I am in seventh heaven. This trip layer breakfast pudding is a reminiscence of my childhood. Of course I didn’t eat chia seeds or even oast as a child, but all the flavours are inspired by when I enjoyed as a child. Mornings has gotten better with this pudding since I can kickstart my day on a healthy note. And definitely brighter since breakfast has become a no-brainer! Concoctions and combinations of whatever is available in the kitchen and you have something absolutely gorgeous to start your day with .

The flavours are inspired by the different milkshakes mum used to make for me and my cousins. I thoroughly enjoyed milkshakes. Thick shakes, loaded with goodness from ice creams – oh so yum! My favourite was mum’s berry shake (which I can assure is the best berry shake in the world) and my brothers loved decadent chocolate shake. Every shake mum served was loaded with drama – some were a treasure trove of all the good things while others had fresh fruits and nuts in it. Life was simple and full of awesomeness.

And now is the time when such fancy things adorn my pantry. Keeping abreast with new food trends and fancy thingsavailable in the supermarket , I try to incorporate some of the good things into my diet. Something which is easy, nutritious and tasty. I enjoy some and I outrightly reject a few after a few attempts. Chia seed puddings are my favourite. This triple layer pudding has a surprise in every bite. The berry layer adds a freshness to the dish, the vanilla-oats layer provides a good break before we dig further into the creamy chocolaty layer full of chia seeds.

Its time to eat right and eat tasty!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)

  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 5  tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 – 2.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp  pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • 2 – 3tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 tbsp agave nectar (you can substitute it with honey)
  • 2 tbsp kiwi, chopped
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate arils

METHOD:

  • In a bowl take half of the coconut milk, cacao powder, 1 tbsp agave nectar, chia seeds and whisk until it is lump free and it is evenly mixed. Once done keep aside in the fridge for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • In another bowl, take the reamining coconut milk, vanilla extract, rolled oats and 1/2 tbsp agave nectar and whisk it well and keep aside.
  • Meanwhile take a saucepan on medium heat and put the berries along with remaining agave nectar and water and cook it until it becomes mushy. This takes around 8 – 10 minutes.
  • Allow it to cool to room temparature and mix in the lemon zest and keep aside.
  • In a jar first put the chocolate – chia layer. Then top it with vanilla-oats layer. Finally put a generous layer of berry compote.
  • Cover the lid of the jar and allow it to set in the refriegrator overnight.
  • Take it out of the fridge around 5 – 10 minutes before consuming it. Garnish it with fresh fruits of your choice and enjoy!

 

Strawberry Shortcakes

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Strawberries in desserts – ultimate food coma! There is always a soft sweet spot in my heart for strawberries. Almost the perfect time to make these and celebrate the month of love with your loved ones. I am completely smitten by the fragrance of the fresh strawberries. They are so fleeting in my house that I have to gather some will power not to gorge on them also hide from others so that I can end up making some desserts out of it. Among all the comforting desserts you can think of strawberry shortcake wins the laurel, hands down.

The buttery base with the tartness and sweetness from the macerated strawberries and the creaminess from whipped cream, all comes together to make a perfect dessert. It is definitely a crowd-pleaser. The syrup of the macerated strawberries is so enticing to your taste buds, that you can end up having those solely. Hence is always better to make a larger portion size.

So now when you are thinking of calling friends and family for get together, make this decadent dessert in no time and enjoy the season of these red ruby pearls!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 10 shortcakes)

For the cream scones:

  • 270 grams all purpose flour
  • 55 grams castor sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 120 ml whole milk
  • 80 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 grams baking powder
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 750 grams fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
  • 120 grams castor sugar
  • 250 grams heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest

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METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Firstly  take half of the fresh strawberries and roughly chop them. Using a masher just mash them  gently so that the juices start coming out a little. Now add the remaining roughly chopped strawberries along with 60 grams of castor sugar in a bowl and keep it aside for 35 – 40 minutes until its well macerated.
  • Once macerated, add the lemon zest.
  • Meanwhile, to make the scones, in a bowl add all purpose flour, baking powder, castor sugar  and pinch of salt and whisk it using a wire whisk.
  • Add the cold cut butter cubes and blend in the flour mixture using a pastry blender or your finger tips.
  • Once the mixture looks like coarse crumbs, keep it aside.
  • In another bowl, mix milk, vanilla extract and  1 egg and lightly beat it.
  • Now add the milk-egg mixture to the flour-butter mixture along and fold it gently with a spatula until just combined. Do not over mix it.
  • Slightly flour the surface and knead the dough a little and pat it to form a 7 – 8 inch disc shape. Using a round cookie cutter, cut the dough and place each scone dough into the baking sheet.
  • Now take a pastry brush and brush the top of the scones with the  remaining lightly beaten egg to get a good color.
  • Bake the scones for 15- 17 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Allow it to cool on the wire rack for a while once its completed baking.
  • Meanwhile, chill a bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes. Take the whipping cream and remaining sugar and whip it until stiff peaks form.
  • To assemble cut the scones horizontally. Put some whipped cream on the lower half. Top it with a generous amount of macerated strawberries. You could also first put the strawberries and the place the whipped cream. Put the remaining half of the scone.
  • Drizzle some juices obtained from macerated strawberries on the scone and now serve!

 

 

 

Strawberry Avocado Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

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STRAWBERRIES – yes I am completely smitten by this gorgeous fruit. When the stores are full of  fresh and juicy strawberries, you can’t stop thinking of the multitude of recipes that you can end up making. From desserts to smoothies, jams to salads, strawberries is the star of the dish where ever you add them. So don’t be surprised if my recent posts have lots and I really mean lots of strawberries in it.

Strawberry Avocado Salad is a classic salad which is highly nutritious and yummy. This is a must try recipe when the fruit is in its best form. While the avocados add the creamy texture to the salad, the strawberries shine brightly adding the tanginess and sweetness to the salad. And by now you might have figured out how I love balsamic in my dishes so here we have honey balsamic vinaigrette to get the salad all together.

So when strawberry is in season and you are trying to eat right, eat healthy – this salad is not to be missed. Yes, healthy can be definitely delicious!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

For the salad:

  • 15 strawberries, cut lengthwise
  • 1 avocado, diced into cubes
  • 10 almonds, cut into slices
  • 6 big spinach leaves, washed and pat dried
  • 1/4 cup dill leaves, for garnishing

For the dressing:

  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinger
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
  • freshly crushed black pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 150 C for atleast 10 minutes. Meanwhile line a baking sheet with parchment paper and toast the almond slices for 8 minutes or until light golden.
  • Once toasted keep it aside for final assembly.
  • Meanwhile take balsamic vinegar, honey, dijon mustard and olive oil in a bowl and using he wire whisk, keep whisking until well incorporated.
  • Now add the  crushed garlic clove, red chili flakes, salt and pepper and whisk it again and transfer it to a container.Place the lid and keep it in the refrigerator until you will serve the salad.
  • Now to assemble the salad, place the spinach leaves on the bottom of the serving plate. You can choose to chop the leaves lengthwise for ease of eating also.
  • Now randomly place the strawberries and avocado cubes on top of the spinach leaves.
  • Now garnish with the toasted almonds and dill leaves.
  • Right before serving drizzle a generous amount of the vinaigrette, toss the salad ingredients and enjoy!

Eat Your Smoothie

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When mornings start with something so delicious, so picturesque, you don’t mind hitting the reset button for a healthy life! Smoothie bowls have started to adorn my breakfast table every morning. Smoothie bowls is the new trend everywhere and I have joined in too since its seriously yum and a true celebration of the fresh produce.

These bowls provide a perfect start to my day, makes me feel fresh, and full of energy. The panorama of colors, the freshness of the winter fruits and the creaminess of the smoothie makes you want to go for a second helping again and again. While the yoghurt and fruits provide the creaminess to the meal, the nuts provide the necessary nutrition and crunch to the dish . The superfood – chia seeds (which has been my absolute favorite for quite sometime now) adds enormous health benefits too.

So now that you have made some resolutions to keep healthy, eat healthy, lets make this smoothie bowl which is as beautiful to your palate as to your eyes. Quick to make, creamy and cold, fresh and seriously tasty. For once reward yourself with something nice because you deserve every bit of it!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)

  • 10 fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
  • 2 large bananas, frozen for atleast 15 minutes and chopped
  • 3/4 cup greek yoghurt (you can use plain yoghurt too)
  • 8 tbsp almond/coconut milk
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 tsp black chia seeds
  • 2 fresh figs, cut lengthwise for garnish
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate
  • 1 kiwi, scooped into balls, for garnish
  • 2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped for garnish (you can also use toasted almonds)

METHOD:

  • Whisk the greek yoghurt using a wire whisk until its smooth.
  • In a blender, blend strawberries, almond milk, yoghurt, frozen and chopped bananas, vanilla extract and maple syrup until its smooth and lump free.
  • Now stir in chia seeds until evenly incorporated.
  • Take a glass/bowl and place quarter of the pomegranate seeds at the bottom and then pour in the smoothie mixture.
  • Garnish with kiwi balls, fresh figs, pistachios, remaining pomegranate and dive in!

Share your favorite smoothie bowl flavors with us on Facebook or Instagram (#plateandpalate)

Keep healthy, eat healthy!

 

Summer Berries in Jelly

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Even when the sun is glaring and the mercury is rising, desserts are something that everyone seems to enjoy. And what better way to enjoy than the refreshing and juicy berries in this summer. Berries in Jelly is a fancy looking dessert which is sure to win hearts. Its light and perfect after meal indulgence.

Being an ardent fan of Masterchef, I got the inspiration for this dessert from one of the episodes from the latest season of Masterchef Australia. With fresh berries readily available in the stores in San Francisco, I had to try my hands in it. Be generous in adding the berries in the dessert. If fresh berries are not available, you can use the frozen ones too. The berries bursting in your mouth is quite invigorating. The colors of the dessert is inviting and the flavor is fantastic. Set it in individual moulds, wine glasses, little tea cups or in a terrine, this dessert is a super easy and a definite stunner.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4  people)

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup strawberries, halved
  • 1/3 cup blackberries
  • 1/3 cup raspberries
  • 4 gelatin leaves
  • 3 tbsp castor sugar
  • 450 ml Prosecco
  • Few mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
  • Chantilly cream, for garnish (optional)

For non-alcoholic version you can also use the Strawberry jelly packets available in the stores and make it as per the directions given on it. Avoid using the gelatin, castor sugar and Prosecco mentioned in the recipe above.

METHOD:

  • Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water until its soft.
  • Meanwhile mix the berries in a bowl and set aside. Place the berries in the mould in which you will set the jelly, filling it about 3/4th its capacity. Keep it in the fridge to chill.
  • Once the gelatin leaves are soft, shake off the excess water and place it in a bowl with hot water and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Make sure that the water is not boiling.
  • Once the above gelatin mixture is cooled to room temperature, add Prosecco to it. Pour this mixture into the moulds with the fruits.
  • Allow it to set for 6 – 8 hours or until finely set.
  • Before serving, place the moulds in a container with hot water so that the contents unmould easily.
  • Serve it with chantilly cream and topped with few mint leaves.

If you are using the Strawberry Jelly packets then make the jelly mixture as per the instructions given in the packet. While doing so keep the berries in the fridge to chill in the mould you are going to set the jelly in.Once your mixture is ready pour it in the mould with the berries in it and allow it to set until firm. Unmould it and serve with chantilly cream and mint leaves.

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Enjoy!