Dark Chocolate and Oats Muffins

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Any celebration is almost incomplete without chocolate. And this freshly baked Dark Chocolate and Oats Muffin is a celebration of my 5th wedding anniversary today. I can;t believe time has flown by so quickly and looking back each day in this journey has been extremely gratifying. Its been a roller coaster ride – plenty of excitement, lots of anxiousness, lots of laughter and so much fun. We’ve grown to become a better us each day and I couldn’t ask for anything more. This Dark Chocolate Muffin is indeed a epitome of a bittersweet journey we’ve completed – moments of happiness and moments of tears, we’ve held each other and embarked on a new day everyday!

Coming back to this muffin, the dark chocolate chunks lends a beautiful bitter touch to the muffin. The toasted oats flour adds the nutty flavor to it. Super simple to make, healthy and absolutely decadent. Put on your Chef hat, wear your baking apron and its time to get started with his indulgent muffin.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 6 regular muffins)

  • 120 grams oats flour (lightly dry toast the oats on stove and grind it to a powder)
  • 60 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s cocoa powder)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 120 ml buttermilk
  • 130 grams jaggery powder or brown sugar
  • 2 – 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 100 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped ( I used 70% dark chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup mixed seeds and nuts (I used almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried berries, melon seeds)

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METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes. Put the muffin liners on the muffin tray and keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix oats flour, cocoa powder, jaggery powder, baking powder and baking soda and keep aside.
  • In another bowl, add the lightly beaten egg, melted butter, butter milk and vanilla extract and whisk it until just incorporated.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold in gently.
  • Add 2 – 3 tbsp of milk along with dark chocolate chunks and fold in until the mixture is just incorporated.
  • Evenly divide the batter in the muffin liners arranged in the muffin tray.
  • Garnish it with the mixed nuts and seeds and put it to bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean
  • Once done allow it to cool for 10 – 15 minutes and then dive in!

 

 

Passion Fruit Frozen Yogurt

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An ice cream a day keeps the doctor away – I guess this phrase is quite true at my home. Ice cream is the answer to every dessert craving. So I decided to try my hands in making something similar to ice cream – my family’s new favorite dessert Passion Fruit Frozen Yogurt! This homemade frozen yogurt is an explosion of flavor in every bite – tangy, sweet, creamy and delicious. I have been constantly trying to reduce sugar in take and yet not compromise on the small pleasures of life. I don’t believe in quitting anything completely but yes I believe that cheat days are important, actually very very important.

I don’t like eating passion fruit as is, but when its in a dessert, I am mesmerized by the depth of flavor it lends to the entire dish. When I received a big batch of passion fruit, I instantly knew that its time to try my long time to do recipe of a frozen yogurt. Never did I know making ice creams at home would be so easy, hassle free and so pure. Whether you are lazy or no, this yogurt ice cream is a must must try and you’ll fall in love with it.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 – 4 people)

  • 3 tbsp Passion Fruit pulp
  • 2 cups Greek Yogurt ( I used Epigamia Yogurt)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp Nolen Gur (You can  use Jaggery Powder or any other sweetner)
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest (optional)
  • 4 store bought waffle cones
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped almonds, toasted and chopped
  • few mint leaves, to garnish
  • 1 tbsp passion fruit seeds, to garnish

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl mix passion fruit pulp, greek yogurt, vanilla extract, nolen gur and orange zest. Whisk it until it is well incorporated.
  • Put it in the freezer for 1 hour.
  • Using an electric beater, beat this mixture on medium-high speed in every 2 hours for 1 minute or so.
  • Continue this for atleast 3 -4 times. Allow the mixture to freeze for sometime.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, put a scoop in the waffle cone, garnish with chopped almonds, passion fruit seeds and mint leaves and serve immediately.

 

Orange and Banana Smoothie

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Winter is almost fading away and its getting bright and sunny here in Bangalore. And its time to bring back the juicers and blenders into the kitchen again. I have had a wonderful winter this year. Family visiting us, lots of Indian winter food cooking in the kitchen, overload of ghee and pure indulgence. And suddenly now I feel there is a spate of drought in my kitchen and my house. Its a signal saying that its time to go back to old ways, old ways of cooking (less ghee) and old ways of eating (eating healthy). And here comes my favorite smoothie to my respite. This Orange and Banana Smoothie is all about freshness and yumness.

While the freshly squeezed orange juice adds the much need zing to the smoothie, the mini bananas adds the natural sweetness to this charming beauty. The flax seeds provides the nutrients and the pure vanilla extract the amazing flavour to this smoothie. Gets ready in no time and full of goodness that you ought to fall in love with it.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)

  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 medium bananas, frozen for 10 minutes
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp rolled oats, lightly toasted and cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp maple syrup/ agave
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest, to garnish
  • few mint leaves, to garnish
  • 4 – 5 ice cubes, optional

METHOD:

  • In a blender put orange juice, roughly chopped frozen bananas, flax seeds, yogurt, oats, vanilla extract, maple syrup and ice cubes and blend it until no lumps are there.
  • Transfer this to a glass, garnish with some orange zest and mint leaves are serve.

Enjoy!

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!

 

Dark Chocolate Granola

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Chocolate for breakfast – doesn’t that sound interesting enough! This delicious granola is every chocolate lovers dream come true. Make this scrumptious chocolate granola with just 11 basic ingredients and yes you’ll fall in love with it. Healthy, tasty, easy and all the good things you can think of. I am a complete coffee addict, period! I need my steaming cup of coffee to kick start my day. However this Dark Chocolate Granola is the only thing that can replace my coffee. It is super addictive and my new friend on the breakfast table. The secret to this granola is using the most premium chocolate available

The hide and seek of the chunks of dark chocolate in the chocolate-y granola is phenomenal. The nuttiness from the almonds and the tangy-ness from the berries all lends in beautifully to create a healthy breakfast and on the go snack. Try it and you’ll get addicted for sure!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 4 cups)

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup mixed nuts, roughly chopped (I used 3/4 cup almonds and 1/4 cup walnuts)
  • 2 tbsp mixed seeds (I used pumpkin and melon seeds)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried mixed berries
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (I used 72% dark chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 170 C for atleast 15 minutes. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients – oats, nuts, mixed seeds, chia seeds, dried berries, brown sugar and cocoa powder and keep aside. Make sure to mix it well so that the cocoa powder covers the entire mixture.
  • In another bowl whisk together butter, vanilla extract and honey until incorporated.
  • Now add the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix it well until the dry ingredients are coated enough.
  • Now spread out the mixture on the baking sheet and put it to bake for 20 – 22 minutes
  • Around 10 minutes into baking, use a fork to just toss the granola mix so that it bakes evenly without burning and put it back into baking for 10 -12 minutes more.
  • Take it out from the oven and allow it to cool completely. Store it in an airtight container and you can use it for 7 – 10 days.

Enjoy!

 

 

Gharwali Khichdi

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Basic homestyle khichdi is my synonym for comfort food. There is nothing better that can remind you of clean and sumptuous home food than this Khichdi. A bowl of piping hot Mixed Dal Khichdi, a generous dollop of ghee and a fragrant tadka – a complete one pot meal and definitely your answer to a lazy day food.

 

Growing up in a Marwari family, khichdi was a pretty regular affair in the kitchen with so many different variations. Not only was it served with homemade ghee but also with kadhi, pickle, papad, fried munchies and curd. A simple dish was ornated and with that extra touch of love (read Ghee!) from grandmom made it even more delicious. Light on the tummy, nutritious and yummy, this lentil and rice concoction has been one of my all time favorite Indian meal. You definitely can’t go wrong with this one!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 – 3 people)

  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 1/4 cup uncooked lentils, soaked in water for 30 minutes (I took half moong dal and half Toor dal)
  • 1 green chili, split lengthwise
  • 2 – 3 dried red chilli
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cardamom pod, seeds removed
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ghee + extra for garnishing
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • hing, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • chopped cilantro leaves, for garnsihing
  • fried onion, for garnsihing

METHOD:

  • Take a saucepan and put it on medium heat. Meanwhile wash the lentils under water a couple of times.
  • Once the saucepan is heated, put ghee. Now add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, hing, green chili, red chilli, grated ginger, bay leaf, cloves and cardamom pod and saute for 10 seconds.
  • Now add the washed lentils and stir for 40 – 50 seconds.
  • Add some salt and turmeric powder and mix it well. Add 1 cup of water and mix it. Cover the saucepan and let the lentil for 10 minutes or so.
  • Once half done, add the washed rice into the saucepan and give it a good stir. Add more salt and around 2 1/2 cups of water and stir. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the mix cook for 20 minutes or until the rice and lentil is perfectly cooked.
  • Once done, transfer it to a bowl, garnish with coriander leaves, fried onions and a generous dollop of ghee and dig in!

 

Baby Spinach, Apple and Nuts Salad

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The season of festivity is over and its time to get back to the grind – eating clean, eating fresh and enjoying the best winter produce in your town. And thats why I say The New Year Salad Magic is here! I remember a few years back I always made resolutions of quitting sugar, eating healthy, eating more salads with the start of the new year. Obviously these resolutions worked for a few weeks and then I went back to the old way of living – cheating, cheating and more cheating! However having made no resolutions of quitting anything in the recent times, I feel I have started eating healthier and tastier food. This Baby Spinach, Apple and Nuts Salad is just a testimony to that.

Lush green and absolutely delicious, this salad makes you fall in love with it. The beautiful blend of flavors – earthy, fresh, nutty, zingy and sweet is what makes this salad complete. The lovely earthy essence of the baby spinach leaves, the tart granny smith apples, the spiced nuts and seeds, the sweet cranberries and the creamy goats cheese, all blend in wonderfully to boast of this cozy and comforting salad. Whisk together a basic homemade dressing and you are done.

So get back to the kitchen, toss up some deliciousness for your family because this salad definitely screams winter yumness to me!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (for 2 – 3 people)

  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 1/2 medium sized granny smith apple, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • 12 – 15 walnuts, broken into 2 pieces each
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2  tbsp melon seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (you can use 1/2 tbsp lemon juice if you like less tangy)
  • 5 – 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • pinch of dried garlic powder (you can used 1 – 2 cloves of crushed garlic)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

  • In a bowl whisk 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and lemon until well incorporated. Add chopped basil leaves, garlic powder, salt and black pepper and whisk it and keep aside (preferably in the fridge until ready to use).
  • Put a saucepan on low – medium heat. Add 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Add paprika and saute for 5 – 6 seconds. Add walnuts and melon seeds and saute for 30 – 40 seconds until the nuts and seeds is coated with paprika.
  • Once done remove it from the heat and keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix baby spinach, apple slices, onion slices, paprika coated nuts and seeds, dried cranberries and the salad dressing kept it in the fridge.
  • Toss it gently together using a salad spoon. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with crumbled goats cheese and serve immediately!

Voila!

Fresh Sorghum/ Jowar Hummus

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Happy 2018 folks! A new year, new aspirations, new vigor and new learnings. The year gone by was a great year with continuous learning and unlearning. And as we have ushered into the new year, I want to make this year more memorable, more fun filled and more enlightening be it learning how to become a better person, a better cook and a better human. This is not a resolution for 2018, but a small effort to embark on a journey of perfection and happiness.

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When it comes to food, I want to explore different cuisines, understand the food culture, eat clean and enjoy. What better way to start learning and cooking with local Indian produce. Winters in Indian brings a plethora of fresh produce – lush green spinach, fresh turmeric, fresh garlic and fresh grains. Loaded with so much goodness, these fresh produce is a constant reminder how beautiful India is. And what happens when you take local produce and turn it into something as simple and lovely like a Hummus. This Homemade Fresh Jowar/ Sorghum Hummus lends an exotic flavor to the usual Hummus. Easy to make with some basic ingredients and a healthy snacking option. Get your creative juices flowing because you can do just so much more than the recipe shared below. Add your favorite herbs or slather it on your toast with some veggies, this recipe will surely win your hearts this winters!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Make 1.5 cups)

  • 1 1/2 cup fresh Jowar/ Sorghum
  • 2 1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 – 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt, to taste

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METHOD:

  • Put a saucepan on medium-low heat and dry roast the white sesame seeds until fragrant. Once done, remove it from the heat and let it cool down.
  • In a food processor, add the toasted sesame seeds and 1 tbsp olive oil and grind it to a smooth paste. Once done keep it aside
  • Now take the fresh jowar, parsley leaves, garlic cloves, the toasted sesame paste and extra virgin olive oil in a food processor and grind the mixture into smooth paste.
  • Scrape down the sides, add lemon juice and splash of water (if needed) and blitz it to form an almost smooth paste. (it is okay if you feel the chewy texture of the jowar in the paste)
  • Transfer it to a serving bowl, drizzle some olive oil and dried mint leaves and serve with toast, crackers or crudites.

Enjoy!

Chocolate and Almond Biscottis

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What is holidays and merry making without any chocolate? A quintessential ingredient while baking because chocolate makes things taste darn delicious. One of my all time favorite holiday pairing is Chocolate and Almonds and when you get both these in a biscotti, its pure bliss. The magic of chocolate and almond is such that it entices you with every bite. The crunchy toasted almonds and the chunks of dark chocolate is a perfect treat for this holiday winter!

This year has been phenomenal for me. Everyday was a new day with lots of learn and relearn. Professionally and personally I have grown and become more confident. Yes, every path has its own hurdles, I learnt how to embrace it, work on it and come out of it sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully. And every lesson learnt called for a celebration and these biscottis is a reminder to the awesome year that almost flew past my eyes. A great treat to munch during the day before your ring in the new year. Crunchy, chocolaty and something which shouldn’t be missed this year!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 15 – 16 biscottis)

  • 120 grams blanched almonds
  • 110 grams all purpose flour
  • 110 grams whole wheat flour + extra for dusting
  • 135 grams granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120 grams dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp orange zest (optional)
  • pinch of salt

METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 C and line a baking try with parchment paper and keep aside. Spread the blanched almonds on the sheet and bake it for 10 – 12 minutes  until just fragnant.
  • One done remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Chop it roughly and keep aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and keep aside.
  • Now in a bowl add the eggs and granulated white sugar and beat until thick and pale. This would take about 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla extract and beat it for 30 – 40 seconds. To this add all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, orange zest and salt and beat it until just combined.
  • Now add roughly chopped chocolate chunks and almonds and fold in the mixture gently.
  • Transfer this dough to a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out in the shape of a log around 12 – 13 inches long and 4 – 4.5 inches wide. Bake this for 22 – 25 minutes.
  • Once done remove it from the oven and let it cool for 5 – 7 minutes. Take a sharp knife and cut the log into pieces which is 3/4 inch – 1 inch thick.
  • Preheat your oven to 170C for atleast 10 minutes. Keep each piece of half baked biscotti side by side on the baking tray and put it to bake on one side for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Flip the biscottis on the other side and allow it to bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Once done remove it from the oven and allow it cool completely. Once cooled bite into this magical biscottis.
  • You can store it in an airtight container for 10 – 12 days.

 

 

Boozy Christmas Bundt Cake

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A Christmas tree is dressed up beautifully and my house is looking festive. Those lil shining stars hanging from the tree, those bright red socks hanging all over the house and bright lights all around the tree – what a pretty sight! While my house is ornated beautifully, my food table looks prettier. Latest on my holiday table is this Boozy Christmas Bundt Cake. It has all the Christmas feel that you are looking for.

Christmas week often reignites childhood memories. School closed down for the festve season, some chilling out scenes with friends, lots of bakery hopping to grab the newest dessert in town and then praying to Santa to give the best gift possible. Ah! I miss those days. While official holiday is slightly difficult now, the rest still holds true. Those delicious Christmas puddings and Bundt cakes were always a hit in my family. This recipe is inspired from my childhood memories and I have added a slight Boozy twist to it. Loaded with the goodness of rum soaked dry fruits and the warmth from the spices is surely going to make this cake a hit in the Christmas get together this year. Try it and you won’t be disappointed.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 1 bundt cake)

  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried apricot, finely choppes
  • 1/4 cup raisins, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dates, finely choopes
  • 1 cup rum (or brandy)
  • 2 cup all purpose flour (you can also use whole wheat flour)
  • 3/4 cup granulated brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ts baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp walnut, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp candied orange peels, finely chopped (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

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METHOD:

  • Soak cranberries, cherries, apricots, raisins and dates in rum in a glass jar for 2 days to 15 days.
  • Now preheat your oven to 180 C for atleast 15 minutes. Butter your bundt pan with butter properly and keep aside.
  • Now in a bowl mix together oil, water and brown sugar until incorporated well. Now add vanilla extract and whisk it well.
  • In another bowl sieve flour, orange zest, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, dry ginger powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda and keep aside.
  • Now add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold in gently making sure no lumps are formed.
  • Now add walnuts ad candied peels to the mixture and fold the batter gently.
  • Transfer it to the prepared bundt tin and put it to bake at 165C for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Enjoy!