Tag Archives: soft

A Couple of Cream Cheese Frostings

I use cream cheese in everything I possibly can—salads, bakes, frostings, pie fillings, sides, dips … you name it. I can even eat it plain, right out the tub while watching my everyday episode of Breaking Bad. And so, I’m thrilled to share with you two of my favourite, tried and tested cream cheese frosting recipes to decorate your cakes and cupcakes, and also to simply pig out on 🙂


“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can certainly buy you a cupcake with cream cheese frosting – Me 🙂 
The Fact: Neufchatel cheese, the inspiration for conventional block cream cheese, originated in France in the 1500s. In 1872, William Chester, a New York dairyman, accidentally discovered a cheese making method that produced a creamy mild cheese while trying to duplicate the French Neufchatel recipe. He sold it as ‘cream cheese’ to the Empire Cheese Company, who in turn marketed it under the ‘Philadelphia’ brand.
The Inspiration: Who doesn’t like cream cheese? It’s the perfect in between for those who don’t quite get the cheese frenzy and think cream’s too fatty and tasteless to be loved as much. As for me … I love the soft, almost-smotherable, velvety-smooth texture and the lightly salted flavor of the cheese. But then I also love cream and cheese, independently, just as much.
I use cream cheese in everything I possibly can—salads, bakes, frostings, pie fillings, sides, dips … you name it. I can even eat it plain, right out the tub while watching my everyday episode of Breaking Bad 🙂 The cream cheese in my home goes into cake and cupcake frostings more often than not. And so, I’m thrilled to share with you two of my favourite, tried and tested cream cheese frosting recipes to decorate your cakes and cupcakes, and also to simply pig out on 🙂 

Plain Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting has a more distinctive tang than the Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting recipe I share below, simply because it uses pure cream cheese and whipped cream. It’s wickedly delicious, less sweet and works better with cakes in general, where you want the cake to carry the main flavor and the frosting to complement it; for example, red velvet cake or carrot cake. This frosting is also relatively stable and forms firmer and steadier peaks and swirls than the second frosting recipe on the blog, below. Since this frosting uses whipped cream, it’s less stable outdoors and in the heat for long hours.

Carrot cake with plain cream cheese frosting

The Ingredients

Frosts one 9” cake or approximately 15 cupcakes

  • 227 gms cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 70 – 80 gms icing/confectioners’ sugar (sifted to avoid lumps)
  • 160 ml heavy whipping cream (cold; 32% – 40% butterfat)

The Method

  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until it’s creamy and smooth.
    Cream cheese being beaten
  2. Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and on slow speed, beat in the sugar until it’s smooth and fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula.
    Cream cheese with icing or confectioners' sugar

    Cream cheese with icing or confectioners' sugar

  3. Add the cold whipping cream and whisk on high speed, until the frosting is thick and stiff peaks are formed. It should take no more than a few minutes. If it’s not yet stiff, add more sugar, tablespoon at a time. Remember that the temperature and brand of whipping cream is very important. The cream has to be absolutely cold, preferably being beaten in a chilled bowl. It should also be a brand you’ve tried and tested before. If it’s one that doesn’t form peaks easily, beat it separately and fold it into the cream cheese and sugar mixture.
    Cream cheese frosting


  • It’s the icing sugar and the whipping cream that gives this frosting its stiffness and structure. By adding more or less of the sugar, you can adjust the stiffness of the frosting depending on what you what to do with it. If you want to pipe well-defined roses, swirls, peaks, and other structured decorations, you need a firmer frosting, which means more sugar and stiffer whipped cream. For irregular and not very structured swirls and flecks, a softer frosting with lesser sugar works perfectly.
  • If your cakes/cupcakes are going to be standing outdoors or in the heat for a while, avoid this frosting because it won’t hold too long in heat.
  • Ensure that your cakes/cupcakes are completely cooled before you frost them or once more, the frosting will melt.


Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

Use this frosting when you want the frosting itself to be your highlight—sweet, yummy and addictive, like in most cupcakes. This one has a wicked taste and texture. It also pipes softer peaks and swirls and is easier to handle compared to the frosting above, simply because of its higher butter content, because of which it won’t last too long in the heat; however it can stand for hours at room temperature or in a relatively cool place because the frosting tends to crust lightly when exposed to air.

Cupcake with cream cheese buttercream frosting

The Ingredients

Frosts one 9” cake or approximately 15 – 20 cupcakes

  • 113 gms butter (softened at room temperature)
  • 113 gms cream cheese (softened at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 240 – 270 gms icing/confectioners’ sugar (sifted to avoid lumps)
  • Optional: 1 – 2 tbsp whipping cream (cold; 32% – 40% butterfat)

The Method

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until it’s creamy and smooth.
    Whisking the butter until soft
  2. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and continue to beat until the entire mixture is smooth and you can no longer differentiate between the butter and the cream cheese.
    Cream cheese being beaten
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually increase the speed to high. Beat on high for a little less than a minute. Then, on low speed (stir speed), beat in the confectioners’ sugar until well combined.Cream cheese with icing or confectioners' sugar

    Butter, cream cheese and confectioners' sugar scraped down

  4. Once you’re sure of the sweetness and stiffness, beat the frosting on high speed for about 2 minutes. At this point, the frosting should no longer feel grainy. It should be fully incorporated. If you need the frosting to be stiffer than what it is, add more icing sugar by the tablespoon. Alternatively, you can also add 1 – 2 tablespoons of whipping cream.
    Cream cheese buttercream frosting


  • It’s the icing sugar that gives the frosting its stiffness and structure. By adding more or less of it, you can adjust the stiffness of the frosting depending on what you want to do with it. If you want to pipe well-defined roses, swirls, peaks, and other structured decorations, you need a firmer frosting, which means more sugar. For irregular and not very structured swirls and flecks, a softer frosting with lesser sugar works perfectly.
  • If your cakes/cupcakes are going to be standing in the heat for a while, avoid frosting altogether because it won’t hold too long. However, if your cakes/cupcakes will be standing in a relatively cool place, they will last for hours because this frosting tends to crust lightly when exposed to air.
  • Ensure that your cakes/cupcakes are completely cooled before you frost them or once more, the frosting will melt.


Classic French Toast

Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that are the hardest to do! Think about it—whipping up an egg until the peaks are stiff, making an omelette and flipping it perfectly, kneading the dough… And so, it occurred to me to dedicate some articles to the ‘simple’ things … things easy enough for the untrained husband or kids to do.


“I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time’. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance. – Steven Wright
The Fact: Contrary to popular belief, French toast was not invented in France. Earliest references date back to the 4th century, Rome, way before France even existed as a country.
The Inspiration: “Who doesn’t know how to make French toast?” was the response from my husband, on being asked to take over breakfast, one morning; the outcome, unfortunately, began with “Okay! What do I need?” :)Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that are the hardest to do! Think about it—whipping up an egg until the peaks are stiff, making an omelette and flipping it perfectly, kneading the dough… And so, it occurred to me to dedicate some articles to the ‘simple’ things … things easy enough for the untrained husband or your kids to do. Here’s the first of those dedications on how to make the much-famed French toast.

The Ingredients

Makes 6 – 8 slices
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1.5 – 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • Stale bread or relatively dry bread (or bread dried out in the microwave—that’s how I do it)
  • Optional: Caster sugar
  • Optional: Cinnamon powder (take a few sticks of cinnamon and dry roast it on a pan or in the microwave; grind it to a fine powder)

The Method

  • Lightly whisk the egg. You don’t need stiff peaks or anything fancy, so don’t try really hard. Season it with a pinch of salt.

Whisked egg

  • Add in the sugar and continue to whisk it until the sugar melts. Notice that the colour of the mix changes to a pale yellow.

Egg and sugar mix

Egg and sugar whisked together

  • At this point, add the vanilla and continue to whisk.

Egg, sugar and vanilla whisked together

  • Pour in the milk and stir.
  • Dip the dried bread slice in the egg mixture, for about 5 – 7 seconds on each side.

Toasted sliced bread

Egg dipped in French toast batter

Egg dipped in French toast batter

  • Heat your pan to medium heat. Pop in a quarter tsp of butter in the pan.

Buttering the pan


  • Carefully place the soaked bread slice into the pan. Remember to take the bowl holding the egg mix and the bread slice as close to the stove as possible; if not, you’re going to have a lot of the eggy mixture on your counter/stove. Attention: Cleaning. Wastage. 🙂

French toast in progress

  • Here’s what I do with my optional ingredients. While the slice is sitting in the pan, I sprinkle a very small amount of caster sugar and cinnamon powder on the top-facing side of the slice. Remember to do this before you’ve flipped the slice. Caster sugar works to get you the beautiful brown and the slight crust or crispiness; while cinnamon powder is simply for the taste.

French toast sprinkled with cinnamon powder and caster sugar, in progress

  • Each bread slice takes about a minute or two to develop the perfect golden brown. If you’re not sure, lift the corner of the slice to check the colour. Then, flip only when you’re sure of it.

French toast in progress

Serve hot and eat away! A serving of beautifully roasted/fried bacon on the side or over the bread is a sinful, but delicious addition 🙂 Bet you can’t stop at one…

French Toast

French Toast

Patoyos, Patoleos or Patoddios

Yummy rice pancakes steamed with a coconut and jaggery filling… perfect for just about any time of any day, but specially eaten on the 15th August—the feast of the Assumption, which coincides with India’s Independence Day!


“Happy Independence Day! Happy Feast Day!”
The Fact: Patoyos or patoleos are prepared and eaten along the western coast of India. Different cultures prepare this dish for different reasons—the Konkan Marathas and Brahmins prepare patolyos on the second Sunday of Shravan or on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi. Patolyos are offered to Goddess Parvati, who, the legends say, had a strong craving for these sweets during pregnancy. The Roman Catholics too celebrate the feast of The Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven on the 15th of August, which coincidently happens to be India’s Independence Day. Patoleos are the star dish prepared in almost every Catholic household, on this day.
The Inspiration: I didn’t really care whether my mum prepared patoyos for Independence Day or for the feast of the Assumption. It was a thrill preparing these little rice pancakes with mum and then eating them right through the day with hot tea :). The tradition continues in my house too

The Ingredients

Makes about 10 – 15 patoyos
  • 3 – 5 turmeric leaves
  • 500 grams rice flour OR 2 cups boiled rice soaked overnight and then ground to a paste
  • 1 – 1½ coconut, grated fine
  • Golden brown (cane) or black (palm) jaggery, grated fine
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Steamer or a make-shift steamer made from a pot of boiling water with a colander placed inside it, above the water level, and covered
Turmeric Leaves


The Method

The Prep

  1. Wash the turmeric leaves and pat them dry with a paper towel. Be gentle with the leaves. They tear and bruise easily. Try drying the leaves along the length of the veins, instead of across the leaf’s veins.
  2. If the leaves are small—about the size of your palm—leave them as they are; if not, cut them up into two or three pieces, perpendicular to the central fold of the leaf. The size could be that of your palm or smaller. You can even try a combination of different sizes. Keep aside. Don’t allow them to dry out and harden.
  3. Sprinkle salt over the rice flour. Mix.
  4. Knead the rice flour into a soft and pliable, yet firm dough. Take care to not to add too much water or you’ll end up with a runny mess instead of a dough that you can mold.
  5. Get your steamer ready.
  6. Mix the grated jaggery with the grated coconut and keep aside. Don’t do this step in advance because the jaggery will melt and the mixture will become runny.

Your three main elements should be ready by now—the leaves, the dough, and the coconut and jaggery mixture

The Making

  1. Take one leaf bit, open it up and flatten it on your counter, with the inner portion facing upwards. Take a small lump of the dough and place it at any end of the leaf. Now work your pointer and middle fingers into the dough, gradually spreading the dough across the entire upward facing surface of the leaf. Work along the length of the veins to make your job easier. If the dough is not enough, take a second lump.
  2. Do not to leave any spot uncovered and do not apply a very thin layer. The steam will burn right through the leaf.
  3. Place about 1.5 – 2 teaspoons of the coconut and jaggery filling in the center and spread it out over the dough in the leaf. Take care to avoid the edges or the mixture will run out. The quantity will depend on the taste you prefer. Some people prefer the steamed dough flavour with a hint of the filling, while others like it sweet. You will master this through trial and error.
  4. Fold the leaf in half, along its natural fold. Lightly press along the edges, so that the dough on opposite surfaces roughly stick to each other. Keep aside. Prepare more such patoyos and keep aside.

The Steaming

  1. Once you have finished making enough patoyos to go into the steamer in one batch, stop and transfer the patoyos into the steamer. Place each patoyo separately. Don’t stack them over each other or they won’t cook evenly.
  2. Steam for about 5 – 7 minutes or until the patoyos are firm to touch and the leaf peels off easily. If the center is still soft, return to the steamer and steam until done.

That’s it! Enjoy steamy patoyos with a hot cuppa tea 🙂 Take care not to burn your mouth with steam that is trapped in the patoyo.

Here are a couple of patoyos – one with black jaggery and the other with golden brown…

Patoyos, patoleos or patoddios - one with black jaggery and the other with golden brown

And here’s a beautifully captured picture of a couple of patoyos with black jaggery…

Patayos with black Jaggery

Spaghetti tossed with Spinach, Mushrooms & Minced Beef

Trust me. This dish smells delicious, looks even better, and tastes like something I’d want to be served in Heaven! I almost felt like a professional chef making this one.


“No man is lonely eating spaghetti; well… it requires that much attention.”—Christopher Morley
The Fact: 212,595 miles of 16-ounce packages of spaghetti, stacked end-to-end, is enough to circle the earth’s equator nearly nine times.
The Inspiration: My sister, Janice, literally.  So while I poked fun at her for growing her own spinach in a little pot in her terrace garden, she went and created this amazing dish with it. She made the vegetarian version of this dish with spinach and mushrooms, and posted pictures on her Facebook page. Of course, it took only one look at the pictures to decide what to make for dinner. I could literally taste the dish—the spaghetti, the spinach, the mushrooms and the meat. And I absolutely loved it. It was quick, ridiculously simple, and just delicious! Thank you, JanaRose 🙂
For those of you who wanted something quick and easy and yet, sophisticated, this is it.

The Ingredients

Ingredients for Spaghetti tossed in spinach, mushroom and minced beef

Makes 6 servings
  • 250 g spaghetti
  • 200 – 250 g or 8 cups lightly-packed spinach leaves; washed, drained, and roughly chopped into large bits (not finely chopped)
  • 200 – 250 g mushrooms; chopped into large bits
  • Optional: 250 g minced beef
  • Optional: 4 slices of salami or ham; roughly cut up into 1-inch bits
  • A palmful of garlic cloves, skinned and pounded using a mortar and pestle (chopping it takes forever and the grinder makes it too pasty and fine)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 50 g butter or 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Optional: 3 tablespoons Oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp dried or finely chopped basil
  • 1 soup cube
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Rock salt
For a vegetarian/vegan dish, simply drop the minced beef and salami/ham bits.

The Method

  1. Place a large pot of water on the stove and season it with some rock salt for the spaghetti. The easiest way to remember the right water to salt ratio is through the ratio formula 1:10:100, which is, 1 litre water to 10 g salt to 100 g spaghetti.
  2. Add a tablespoon of oil to the water to prevent the spaghetti from sticking (I honestly don’t know if this really works, but I’ve been doing it since I learnt to cook pasta and the pasta’s turned out fine). While the water comes to a boil, make the sauce (it’s not really a sauce, but then, what do I call it? 🙂 )
  3. Take another skillet or pan and place it on the fire, on medium heat.
  4. Add the butter or the olive oil. When the oil is warm enough, toss in the pounded garlic and sauté.Minced garlic in olive oil
  5. Sprinkle the dried/finely chopped basil over it and stir. For the vegetarian version, jump to Step 7.
  6. When the garlic begins to turn golden brown, add the minced beef in the centre of the pan and fry well for about 10 minutes. Frying the minced beef in the centre of the pan, which is the hottest part of the pan, gets rid of the meaty smell.Burning off the meat smell
  7. In between stirring the beef, make sure that you wash and cut up the spinach and leave it to drain in a sieve.Spinach
  8. Season the minced beef with about half a teaspoon of salt, the soup cube, the oyster sauce (which is optional), a generous addition of freshly ground pepper and a sprinkling of sugar. Mix well with the garlic, stir from time to time and cook for about 15-20 minutes.For the vegetarian version, in this step, simply add the seasoning and move on to cooking the spaghetti in the next step. Minced beef with all the spices and sauces
  9. While the beef cooks, check on the water for the spaghetti. If the water has begun to boil, take the spaghetti and without breaking it, place it in the water, at an angle. It’s alright if only half of the spaghetti is in the water. Spaghetti in waterAs the spaghetti softens, you can gradually push the remaining half into the water. Spaghetti should cook in boiling water for about 20 minutes, after which, you should drain it using a sieve. The spaghetti should be ‘al dente’ or at just the right softness at which you can bite into it, not any softest or it’ll get mashy. Once the spaghetti is cooked, keep it aside. If the water hasn’t yet boiled, wait a little longer and then perform this step.
  10. Now, back to the errr…sauce. Toss the chopped mushrooms into the skillet containing the minced beef and garlic. Mushrooms release a lot of water. Sauté until the water dries up.
  11. Optional: Add the chopped bits of salami/ham and stir. Garlic, minced beef, mushrooms and salami
  12. Next, add the milk and allow the mixture to thicken a little. If you’re health conscious and find this becoming too rich for you, skip the milk altogether.Garlic, minced beef, mushrooms and salami with milk
  13. Add another generous dash of freshly ground pepper. Stir well.
  14. Your spaghetti should have cooked by now and should be sitting in a sieve to drain.
  15. Only if your spaghetti has drained well, add the spinach to the mixture. If you add the spinach too early and it cooks for too long, it’ll become soggy and that’s something you certainly don’t want. This dish is wonderful when the spinach is still a lovely, vibrant green and is still chewable.Spinach, meat and the mushrooms in a garlic base
  16. After about a minute, add the spaghetti.Spaghetti over the spinach, mushroom and minced beef base
  17.  Toss it up well, allow it to cook for about 3-5 minutes and serve piping hot.Spaghetti mixed with spinach, mushroom and minced beef base

Avoid storing this meal in the refrigerator because the spinach gets soggy and does not make a very pretty plate later. Eat it all up, while it’s still hot. It’s really not that difficult. Bon appétit! 🙂

A serving of spaghetti tossed with spinach, mushroom and minced beef


Baked Fish in Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

Happy Easter and welcome back! So, this Easter, while I decided to send all my readers on that delicious roast chicken chase, I decided to go fish. And what a lovely dish it turned out to be!


“A fishnet is made up of a lot more holes than strings, but you can’t therefore argue that the net doesn’t exist. Just ask the fish.” – Jeffrey Kluger
The Fact: Most fish can see in color and use colors to camouflage themselves or defend themselves. Most fish also have the best eyesight for their habitat and can see you peering at them in a fish tank. Some fish can even see polarized and ultraviolet light.
The Inspiration: Since Christmas was all about chicken, this Easter, I decided to restore the balance and go fish.
My Easter meal wasn’t extended to the entire family; it was restricted to Ally and me, and so a single Black Pomfret worked perfectly. Sunday started off with a quick trip to the fish market, a quick stop at the vegetable market, a lovely lunch with mum and dad, and finally, destination “Home” to cook the lovely fish. 
It was one of the simplest and quickest meals. And so, for those of you who hate the long kitchen hours and are looking for something fancy yet quick, you’ve found just the thing. I certainly enjoyed the lazy cooking style, the lovely flavours, and the fishy mélange of a formal meal and silly company (Ally and me, of course; I’d have it no other way 🙂 )
Happy Easter, everyone! And don’t forget to ‘Go Fish’.

The Ingredients

This meal serves 2–3 people.
  • One Black Pomfret (locally known as halwa) weighing approximately 600 gms (Adjust weight to feed more/fewer people)

You can use any other fish, such as the Red Snapper, White Pomfret, Basa, the John Dory and so on. I love the taste of this particular local favourite; blame it on the relatively high oil content if you please, but in case you’re concerned, note that 2- 3 portions of oily fish a week is recommended to help maintain heart health.

Fresh black pomfret

  • 2 big lemons
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • Quarter cup orange juice (optional)
  • A palmful of peeled garlic cloves (approx 25 – 30 cloves) Note: I love garlic and usually use a lot of it.
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh or dried parsley (I couldn’t find any fresh parsley, so used the dried version)
  • Kosher or rock salt to taste
  • Any veggies of your choice (I used mushrooms, red and yellow peppers and carrots)

Baked lemon garlic fish ingredients

The Method

The Preparation and the Marinade

  • Preheat the oven to 190C or 374F.
  • Make sure that your fish is scaled, cleaned thoroughly, and the innards removed. I usually get the fish cleaned at the fish market itself. It’s an easier and quicker solution.
  • Wash the fish well and pat it dry with a kitchen towel. Season it with half a fistful of rock salt, freshly ground pepper (as much as you like) and some parsley. Remember to rub the seasoning into the fish, on the outside and lightly on the inside by making a fine slit at the bottom, on both sides.
  • Leave the fish to rest in a baking dish as you prepare your lemon garlic sauce.

Making the Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

  • Pound the garlic cloves using the mortar and pestle; I don’t really think that the finely ground garlic paste works, but if you like the taste of whole cloves, go ahead and use them whole.
  • Slice the onion.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice from one and a half lemons; the remaining can be used for decoration.
  • Add the butter, the freshly squeezed lemon juice and the orange juice to a saucepan on medium heat and allow it to simmer.
  • Add a pinch of salt, a little bit of ground pepper and a sprinkling of sugar to the sauce. The sugar and the orange juice balance out the sourness of the lemon juice that can sometimes become a little overpowering. Taste and adjust the flavour as per your liking. Allow the sauce to simmer for a minute.

Lemon butter sauce

  • Simultaneously, place a frying pan on medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons of the sauce to the frying pan. (Hope you’ve turned off the sauce by now. The sauce should smoothly coat the back of a tablespoon; it shouldn’t be thicker or thinner than that.) Once the sauce in the frying pan simmers, toss in the pound garlic. Some chefs prefer adding the garlic directly in to bake, but I found the outcome a little too raw for my liking.
  • After sautéing the garlic for a few seconds, add the onions.

Onions and garlic mixture

  • Sauté the mixture until it is slightly brown. Don’t burn it.

Cooking the fish

  • Allow the mixture to cool for a bit and then rub it over and into the fish.

Marinated fish

  • Chop your veggies anyway you like them and place them around the fish.
  • Pour the sauce over the fish and the veggies.

Ready to bake fish

  • Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes. Use a small knife or fork and check to see if you can easily separate the fish flakes. If yes, your fish is done. The fish meat should be opaque white and not transparent.
  • If you want a browner top, use the grill or the overhead flame in your oven for about 2 – 3 minutes; not more.
  • Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Ready to bake fish

You can serve the fish with plain or garlic toasted bread. Don’t complicate the meal any further. Cut as you like. Note that if you use fillets instead, they should cook in about 15 – 20 minutes, are easier to serve and simpler/neater to eat if you’ve got company.

In case of any leftovers, refrigerate, but not for more than a day or two. Tuck in. Bon appétit!

Baked fish in lemon garlic butter sauce

Better Buttermilk

I swear by butter and cream and milk too; buttermilk was new and certainly was a welcome change!


“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.” – Woody Allen
The Fact: To get the amount of calcium in an 8-ounce glass of milk, you’d have to eat one-fourth cup of broccoli, seven oranges or six slices of wheat bread.
The Inspiration:So my research began when I visited about seven dairies and four supermarkets in search of buttermilk, and still didn’t get any. They blamed it on the winter—“Nobody drinks buttermilk in winter, ma’am—and the lack of demand in the winter. And so I gave up. I decided I’m going to make some and I’m going to make it better. And I did.Buttermilk sits right in the middle of milk and cream; it’s slightly thicker than milk and not quite as thick as cream. It’s also more acidic than milk, has a lovely flavor, and is a super alternative for lactose intolerant people because much of the lactose has been broken down to lactic acid. Buttermilk has quite a few benefits—it’s low in fat and calories (lower than that in milk—a cup of buttermilk contains 2.2g of fat and 99 calories while a cup of whole milk contains 8.9g of fat and 157 calories), is cooling for the body (which is why it’s perfect for summers), aids digestion, makes the yummiest, lightest, and softest pancakes and cakes, and lasts much longer in the refrigerator because of its acidity, which inhibits growth of pathogenic bacteria.Since most store-bought buttermilk is quite fake and not quite the real thing, here are some easy ways in which you can make your very own homemade buttermilk.

#1 Super easy, all of 10 minutes, but rather watery kinda buttermilk

Watery buttermlk

This buttermilk is very easy to make at home and takes a maximum of 10 minutes. And although you can use this buttermilk in your baking recipes to make cakes, biscuits and pancakes, I found this version to be very light, watery and rather tasteless. But if you need a substitute, it works.

The Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 1 cup of milk (minus 1 tablespoon)
The Method
  • Pour the lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring cup.
  • Add enough milk to bring the mixture up to the one-cup line.
  • Stir once and let the mixture stand for 5 – 10 minutes. You’ll notice tiny curdled bits in you measuring cup. If you do, you have your buttermilk. If you don’t, add a further half tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice and try again.
  • Refrigerate.

#2 Easy, perfect and yummy, but takes 1 – 2 days to make kinda buttermilk

A glass of buttermilk

This buttermilk is easy to make, requires cultured buttermilk (thick, real, buttermilk preferably from a health store or an organic store) and takes a day or two to make. This buttermilk is perfect to drink and use as a substitute in your baking recipes.

The Ingredients
  • 1 cup of cultured buttermilk
  • 3 cups of milk
  • A glass jar with a lid (screwed-on or clipped)
If you want smaller quantities, you can do so by reducing the quantities of the ingredients but maintaining the proportion, which is a 1:3 ratio.
The Method
  • Pour the buttermilk into the glass jar.
  • Next, add the milk, screw the lid on and shake the jar.
  • Leave the jar to rest in a relatively warm place for about 24 hours. You can check whether your buttermilk is ready by tilting the jar slightly. While milk does not coat the glass, buttermilk will (as you can see in the image right at the top of this post).
  • Now pop it into the refrigerator and it will stay for a few weeks.

#3 Not-so-easy, the best, but takes about 5 days to make kinda buttermilk

A glass of perfect buttermilk

This buttermilk is still easy to make, however, it involves you making your own buttermilk culture from raw milk and then takes a day or two to make. This buttermilk is the best buttermilk you could ever have, is perfect to drink, use in your baking recipes, and will make you a buttermilk addict (yes, that’s possible :)).

The Ingredients
  • 1 cup of raw milk
  • 1 cup of regular milk
  • A glass jar with a lid (screwed-on or clipped)
The Method
  • Let a cup of raw milk sit covered, at room temperature, until it has clabbered or thickened. This usually takes about 2 – 3 days.
  • Take a quarter or one-fourth of the clabbered milk in a glass jar and add a cup of regular milk to it.
  • Screw the lid on and shake the jar. Now, allow the jar to sit at room temperature until clabbered.
  • Repeat this sub-culturing process several times until the milk clabbers within 24 hours. To know that you’ve got the right buttermilk, taste it. It should be tart (not bitter), thick, and should not have a bad or off taste. If it’s perfect, you’ve got your buttermilk culture.
  • Now use the buttermilk culture with milk in the 1:3 ratio that was used in the Method #2 above, mix and allow to stand for 24 hours.
  • Refrigerate and use.

#4 Easy, quick, not the best, but makes butter and buttermilk

A bowl of homemade butter

This method is lovely because it gives you lovely homemade butter and buttermilk. The method is simple, quick and gives you buttermilk that’s nice to drink. I haven’t yet used this buttermilk to bake, so you could be my judge??

The Ingredients
  • Heavy cream (as much as you want)
The Method
  • Pour the heavy cream into a blender and blend the cream (with the lid on)
  • When you notice the yellow butter starting to separate from the now formed buttermilk, stop the blender and let the cream sit for a minute or two to allow the butter globules to rise to the top.
  • Pour out the buttermilk. Use a spoon to squeeze out as much buttermilk as possible. You have your buttermilk.

Now for the butter. Your homemade butter is already ready, but if you want it to last longer, wash it with ice-cold water by pouring ice cold water into the blender and blending it for a minute. Pour/squeeze out ALL the water, add a little coarse salt (for salted butter) and mix. Voila! You have your yummy homemade butter ready for use.

#5 Insanely easy, super quick, only for drinking kinda buttermilk

This method is everything I’ve called it. All you have to do is use store-bought curd, add some water to it to lighten the consistency as much as you want. Stir or blend. You have your buttermilk. Once again, I haven’t used this buttermilk to bake, so let me know if you do.

So that’s it from me. I know it’s easy to simply go out and buy fake buttermilk, but you really should give these simple methods a try. I’d love to hear from you on these 🙂

Banana Pound Cake

Not everybody loves bananas the way I do. I eat them plain, slice them for crepe filling, mash them in pancakes, whisk them in milkshakes, fry them as fritters, and as the title says, bake them in heavenly, moist, pound cakes!


“Life is full of banana skins. You slip, you carry on.” – Daphne Guinness
The Fact: The scientific name for banana is musa sapientum, which means ‘fruit of the wise men’.
The Inspiration: Christmas came and went, but left me with this need to abstain from cakes, desserts, and pretty much everything sweet. But as all good things come to an end, so did this phase of abstinence.
As I made the climb back on to the ‘food’ wagon, I decided to start small with a few desserts and some hearty servings of fruit—watermelons, apples, oranges, pears, grapes, mangoes (yes, I’m blessed with the perfect tropical climate for these fruits) and bananas! But not everybody loves bananas the way I do. I eat them plain, slice them for crepe filling, mash them in pancakes, whisk them in milkshakes, fry them as fritters, and as the title says, bake them in heavenly pound cakes.
So here’s my attempt at combining fruit and cake in a rather popular way… banana cake! I write this entry as the warm cake aroma continues to waft through my kitchen...

The Ingredients

This cake serves approx. 15–20 people.

Dry ingredients

  • 1½ cups sifted flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (use 1 cup if you prefer sweeter cakes)
  • 1½ tsp freshly ground cinnamon powder
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 heaped tbsp chocolate shavings or chocolate chips

Wet ingredients

  • 2 large or 3 small eggs
  • I cup softened butter
  • I cup milk or sour cream or buttermilk
  • 2 large or 3 small ripe bananas mashed to a pulp

Ingredients for the banana cake

The Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.
  • Prepare your cake tin (standard 9 x 2 inch) by spraying it with grease or lightly greasing it with butter.
  • Whisk together all the dry ingredients except the chocolate shavings.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the butter for about 1 minute with a hand-held or electric beater.
  • Gradually, whisk in the eggs.
  • When the consistency is smooth, add the milk or cream and the banana pulp and whisk for about 1 minute.
  • If you’re someone who’s bothered by the smell of eggs, add a teaspoon of vanilla essence/extract. If not, you’re fine.
  • Now, gently whisk in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated. This should take you less than a minute because the consistency of the batter is thinner that most cake batters. Do not beat this batter for more than 90 seconds; if you do, gluten will begin to form and make your cake denser and not as moist.
  • Gently fold in the chocolate shavings or chocolate chips.
  • Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin and put it into the oven.

Banana cake batter

  • Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack

Banana pound cake

You should know by the aroma in your kitchen that you’re done 🙂 . This cake has a lovely, strong banana flavour. If there’s someone at home who dislikes bananas, the aroma is sure to drive them out of the house. Trust me; I speak from experience.

This cake is best served warm. Cut a slice to look at your beautiful, cinnamon-and-chocolate-speckled cake!

A slice of banana cake

This cake can be kept without refrigeration for a few days. In warmer climates, refrigerate within 2 days. Bon appétit!

Red Velvet Cake

Some find a little bit of heaven in their red velvet cake; others think it’s overrated. My thoughts—I love red. I love cake. So, why not?


“You’re only human. You live once and life is wonderful, so eat the damn red velvet cupcake!” – Emma Stone
The Fact: The Red Velvet Cake was invented during the Great Depression when food was a rare commodity, let alone cake and food colouring agents. To up their sales, the food colouring company Adams Extract lured customers by creating the Adams Red Velvet Cake recipe. They also gave away free Red Velvet Cake recipes at grocery stores to sells the red extract. The ploy worked. The cake became an overnight hit.
The Inspiration: With Valentine’s Day just round the corner and every website and restaurant featuring their oh-so-glorious red velvet cake, I just had to give this advertised cake a try… especially since I’ve never made the cake before. So, irrespective of the grief I got from some of my friends about conforming to tradition and expectations and all the clichés surrounding this day, attempt it I did. The outcome, though not the ideal ‘red’, was a pleasant surprise and a lovely dessert for just about any day of the year.

The Ingredients

Serves approximately 12 to 15 people
  • 2 ½ cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)
  • ½  cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large or 3 small eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, you can make some in a few minutes; read here)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons liquid red food colour
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Red Velvet Cake Ingredients

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 2 cups cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  1 cup confectioners’, icing or caster sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ cups chilled heavy whipping cream (or any cream that forms stiff peaks when whipped)

The Method

Making the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) with a rack in centre. Ready your baking pans (either one or two 9 inch pans) by spraying them with grease or lining them with butter. Preferably, also line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.

Flour, cocoa powder, and salt whisked together

  • In a separate bowl, using a hand or electric mixer, beat the butter for about 2 minutes or until soft.


  • Add the sugar and beat for about 2–3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Blending together the butter and granulated sugar

  • Then, add the eggs, one by one. Beat well after each. Finally, add the vanilla extract and beat just until combined.
  • In a measuring cup, preferably a glass or stainless steel one, whisk the buttermilk with the red food colour. The red colour stains easily. Try to use glass or stainless steel equipment as far as possible to prevent staining.
  • Alternate the flour mixture, the buttermilk and the butter mixture and combine by whisking on low speed (to prevent you and your kitchen from bring splattered with the mixture). It’s a good idea to begin and end with the flour.

The batter coming together  The batter! 

  • In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. The combination will fizz; before the effervescence dies down, quickly fold it into the cake batter.
  • No work quickly. Pour the batter into your pan (divide your batter evenly if using 2 pans). Smoothen out the top with a spatula and pop the pan(s) into the oven.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 30–40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cake(s) on a wire rack.
  • After the cake has cooled sufficiently, use a blunt knife and pry the cake away from the cake tin. If you’re not a fan of the frosting, you can eat it right away.

Red velvet cake without the frosting

  • If you’re going to frost it, refrigerate the cake after wrapping it in plastic or shrink wrap for at least an hour, if not overnight. A chilled cake is much easier to frost because it doesn’t crumble as easily.

Making the frosting

In the bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined. Gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is rich and thick. If you don’t have heavy cream and it doesn’t form stiff peaks easily, beat the cream separately and then add it to the cream cheese. Taste the frosting and add sugar or cream as per your liking.

Assembling the cake

If you’ve baked two separate cakes, you can assemble them straight away, and build a two-layered cake, with one layer of frosting in between. Alternately, using a serrated knife, you can cut your cake into four layers, horizontally. You can also use twine, wrapped around the cake, and pulled together to cut the cake evenly across.

Place the top of the cake onto your serving plate (since this is the least even layer of all). Spread a layer of frosting over it. Place another cake layer over the frosted layer and add a layer of frosting to the second cake layer. In the same way, frost the remaining layers. You can serve the cake as is if you want the lovely red layer to stay on top, or then, you can go ahead and frost the outside and top of the entire cake stack. I don’t like too much frosting or decoration. I love the plain ‘ol cake, or then, with one layer of frosting. You can do it as you like it.

A slice of red velvet cake

Top the cake with anything you like. Some of my options are cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, red velvet cake crumbs (the easiest to do), strawberries, and so on.

I would eat this cake any random evening, but make sure you have someone to show it off to. The hard work’s got to be worth it! 🙂 Bon appétit!

A slice of red velvet cake

Chocolate & Sautéed Banana Crepes

Speaking of comfort foods, who’d have thought that decadent chocolate and a fruit wrapped inside a soft crêpe would be my new favourite dessert… breakfast item… comfort food…?


“In a big family the first child is kind of like the first crêpe. If it’s not perfect, that’s okay, there are a lot more coming along.” – Antonin Scalia
The Fact: Crêpes originated in Brittany, France and are considered as the country’s national dish. Crêpes can be compared to the African injera, the tortilla, the Indian dosa and the Mexican sope. 
The Inspiration: So, let’s be honest. I’d like to believe that I’m a serious health-conscious freak, but I’m really not. I have my days. It was one of these days that led a few friends and me to this quaint little patisserie, “Le Plaisir”, which had opened up close to our work place, one August afternoon. Since I wasn’t in the mood for a serious, heavy dessert, I thought about trying out their crêpes. Apart from the regular crêpes (considered as the French-styled pancakes) with whipped cream or maple syrup, I spotted a Nutella and Banana Crêpe. While the Nutella satisfied the dessert craving, the fruit led me to believe it was healthy, which it wasn’t of course! And so I ate… And fell in love… And the banana-chocolate combination became my new favorite duo… So much so that I recreated the dish, rather perfectly, I dare say, the very next day.So unoriginal… right? But like they say… “Love is blind” 🙂

The Ingredients

Makes 10 – 12 crêpes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk (for slightly healthier crêpes, use 3/4th cup milk with ½ cup water or buttermilk)
  • 2 large or 3 small eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large bananas
  • Nutella or readymade chocolate sauce or a few bits of semisweet chocolate melted

Crepes ingredients

The Method

Making the crêpes

Whisk all the dry ingredients—the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder—in a bowl. Remember to add the baking powder only if you’re making the crêpes immediately. If not, add just before use.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and then, add the milk to it. Use room temperature milk—not too hot or too cold. At this point, you could also add a quarter teaspoon of vanilla essence if you don’t like the egg smell.

Using your spatula, create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture into it. Gently whisk the dry and wet ingredients together until the mixture appears smooth and without lumps. Add 2 tablespoons melted butter and whisk gently. Remember not to over-whisk the mixture or you’ll lose all the air from it, making your crêpes slightly tougher than the soft, fluffy ones.

crepe batter

It’s a good idea to check for lumps using the back of a spoon, before you proceed.

checking for lumps in the crepe batter

Allow the batter to sit for about 30 – 60 minutes, covered properly (make airtight), in the refrigerator. Note that if you’re making the batter in advance, you can store the batter in an airtight container for up to 1 day. But, when you do so, remember to add the baking powder about 5 minutes before you actually make the crêpes; not earlier.

After refrigeration, whisk the batter to get a smooth, slightly more fluid consistency.

crepe batter

Heat a non-stick pan over a medium flame and add a drizzle of the butter. Don’t let your pan smoke.

Now, add about 1/3 cup batter and swirl it around to completely cover the bottom of the pan or until it reaches the desired size. Cook for about 2 – 3 minutes, until the crêpe looks slightly transparent or until the underside of crêpe is golden brown. Then, using a spatula, loosen the edges slightly and flip the crêpe once, using your fingers.

just flipped crepe

Let the crêpe cook for another minute, then slide it into a plate. Remember, the key is to flip it only once and not more. Give it a try and you can’t go too wrong (and even if you do, you can still eat it).

Repeat the procedure until the batter lasts.

Making the topping/stuffing

With the pan still on the stove, quickly slice the bananas. Add the remaining spoon of sugar to the pan and just when it begins to melt/caramelise (don’t go too far or you’ll be left with hard caramel), toss in the bananas until they are lightly coated and golden brown. Take them off the pan.

Note: You can avoid this step altogether and use plain sliced bananas (without the caramel coating). That’s what I did since the caramel makes the dessert too sweet for my taste.

Serving the crêpes

You have various options here…

  1. Lightly brush the smooth side of the crêpe with some melted chocolate/Nutella/chocolate sauce. Line up some of the banana slices in the centre. Roll up the crêpe and serve.
  2. Lightly brush the smooth side of the crêpe with some melted chocolate/Nutella/chocolate sauce. Line up some of the banana slices in one quarter of the crêpe. Fold the crêpe into that quarter and serve.
  3. Fold a plain crêpe into a quarter and place it on a plate. Toss a few banana slices onto the crêpe. Drizzle some melted chocolate/Nutella/chocolate sauce over it and serve.

crepes and chocolate shavings

Bon appétit! I hope this comfort food gives you all the comfort, joy and heavenly bliss it gave me!

Roast Chicken

There’s nothing better than a piping hot, straight from the oven, moist, tender, gloriously golden-brown, aroma-filled roast chicken on a bed of roasted veggies!


“A hen is only an egg’s way of making another egg.” – Samuel Butler
The Fact: Gainesville, Georgia, in the United States, is the “Chicken Capital of the World”. There, eating the meat with a fork is considered illegal.
The Inspiration: I love chicken! My entire family will vouch for it. To me, chicken is an indulgence; an experience all by itself. I can eat it in any form and any combination, although, on some days, nothing can ever beat the straight from the oven, piping hot, moist, tender, gloriously golden-brown, aroma-filled, roast chicken served on a bed of roasted veggies.
I’ve been making and eating, actually, eating (thanks to my mum and mother in law) and making chicken all my life. But in my household, somehow, a majority of the time, we ended up combining chicken with some gravy and eating it with our staple, rice. I’m not complaining, like I said, I love the bird. But ever since I got married, experimentation has gotten so exciting, with my favorite guinea pig, Ally (my husband) and me for samplers. So trial and error is my thing now, and that’s exactly how I stumbled on to this glorious recipe. It’s something I created in my kitchen on Easter Sunday with whatever I could find in my kitchen. I do hope you enjoy this recipe!

The Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2 kg chicken (whole; with skin) Switch the chicken with turkey for a beautiful Thanksgiving meal.
  • 2 medium-sized onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 5 – 6 baby potatoes
  • 150 gms mushrooms
  • 1 big apple
  • 1 orange
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • Olive oil or melted butter (use olive oil for a healthier meal)
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme, rosemary, bay or sage, or a mixture
  • Kosher or coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 feet of twine

The Method

Buying your chicken

Since chicken is an easy-to-find ingredient in my locality, I simply run down to the local chicken shop or the supermarket and pick up any whole chicken, with the skin intact and the insides cleaned. I also look for a chicken with thighs that have that perfect swell to them. This usually means a higher fat content, which also means a juicier and a more moist chicken. The breasts are too lean for my taste; however, this is something that’s up to you—based on your liking and your health.

When it comes to picking the right size, simply weigh your chicken. I prefer a 1.5 – 2kg chicken, which suffices for about 4 – 6 people, and also leaves a little for when you get home late with a growling stomach.

Preparing your chicken

  • Before you begin, wash your chicken thoroughly—inside and out, and also under the skin. Then, drain the chicken.
  • Ensure that your chicken is kept at room temperature—either fresh or refrigerated, but kept out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This is important to prevent your chicken from cooking unevenly or drying out. If you cook cold chicken, the heat dries out the meat on the outside before the inside is done. Room temperature meat cooks more evenly and fewer juices leak out or evaporate during cooking.
  • Preheat your oven to 240°C/475°F.
  • Take a tray or baking dish that has enough space to hold your chicken along with all the vegetables. Also ensure that your tray is hollow enough to hold all the juices that ooze out while your chicken and veggies are cooking. If not, all the juices will spill over and you’ll have quite a task after your chicken’s done.
  • Break the garlic bulb into cloves. Peel about 10 – 12 cloves and leave the remaining cloves unpeeled. Roughly smash the peeled cloves. I used a mortar and pestle; you can smash it any way you like. Add the juice of 1 lemon and about 2 tbsp of melted butter to the mashed garlic. Season this concoction with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Dry your chicken with a kitchen towel. Don’t ignore this step. Then, using a fork or a skewer, prick the bird all over. This will help any marinade or seasoning to easily seep into the meat rather than stay on the surface. Place your chicken in the baking tray or dish.
  • Pour 3/4th of the garlic concoction all over the chicken and using your fingers, rub the marinade in; don’t forget to go under the skin and into the chicken cavity as well. The more the seasoning seeps in, the tastier your chicken will turn out. Leave your chicken to marinate for about 20 minutes.
  • Take all your veggies (along with the apple; not the orange), but don’t peel them (except the onions of course); I know I didn’t. Wash your veggies thoroughly under running water, along with a soft brush if required, and then, roughly chop them. Note that you can throw in any additional veggies you like or can skip the ones you don’t quite fancy.
  • Take the tray in which the chicken is resting, lift the chicken and pile in all the veggies (under the chicken), along with some of the unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle the remaining garlic concoction and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or melted butter) over the veggies. Then, place the chicken over the pile of veggies.
  • Prick the remaining lemon all over, using the tip of a sharp knife or pop it into the microwave for about 30 seconds. (This will bring out the lemony flavour). Place the lemon inside the chicken’s cavity, with the bunch of herbs.

Trussing your chicken

Trussing or tying up your chicken snugly is an important part of roasting chicken. While a lot of chefs prefer to leave this out completely, which is also alright, I prefer to truss the chicken for several reasons—it makes for better presentation and prettier photos, it makes the chicken more compact and helps it cook evenly (by retaining heat and moisture), and it also prevents the tips of the wings and legs from burning.

Place your bird with the breast upwards. Place the twine horizontally under the tail bone or the end of the cavity. Then, hold the legs together, cross both ends of the twine across the chicken and pull the twine tightly. Now, taking the twine ends upwards, towards the neck of the bird and away from you, cross the twine around the wings and completely across the neck as well, tie the twine beneath the neck. Honestly, you can truss the chicken in any way you prefer, as long as the wings and legs are held close to the body of the chicken.

Cooking your chicken

With the trussed chicken placed (breast upwards) on top of the vegetables in the roasting tray, cut your orange in half and squeeze some fresh orange juice over the chicken and the veggies. Pop the tray into the preheated oven. Turn the heat down immediately to 200°C/400°F and cook the chicken for 1.20 hours, which is the ideal time to cook chicken. A lot of chefs prefer to add the potatoes a little later, but on trying their method, I found my potatoes slightly undercooked. So I suggest tossing them in right away.

After about 35 – 45 minutes, check on your chicken. You will notice a lot of juices collected in the tray. Open your oven door and scoop up the juice, only to pour it right back over the chicken and the veggies. Keep doing this until the chick looks nice and moist. Don’t let too much of the heat escape while doing this, so hurry. If you notice that the veggies look dry, add a splash of water to the tray to prevent them from burning.

After 1.20 hours, remove your tray from the oven. Alternately, using a meat thermometer, check if the temperature of the inside of the bird has reached about 70°C/160°F. Remember that your chicken will continue to cook even after you remove it from the oven. Its temperature will gradually increase to 74°C/165°F, after which, it will start to cool. At this point, transfer the chicken to a board to rest for 15 – 20 minutes. Resting the bird allows the juices that were released to be absorbed back into the meat, which is the lovely flavor that you do not want to forego. To retain the heat, cover the bird with some tinfoil.

Making the gravy

Although I love serving the roast chicken just like this, as you can see in the picture, you could also keep the chicken aside and use the veggies to make a lovely gravy.

For the gravy, sauté all the veggies in some butter, along with about 1 tablespoon of flour. Preserve some of the veggies and mash the remaining, finally, passing the mash through a sieve. Bring this liquid to a boil while seasoning it with salt and pepper.

Carving your chicken

  • Remove any twine from the chicken. Using a carving knife, cut down between the leg and the breast of the chicken. Then, cut through the hip joint and bend the leg backwards until the hip joint pops out. Repeat on the other side.
  • Next, cut off the wings from both sides.
  • Next, cut through the drumstick-thigh joint on both pieces. You should end up with four portions. Now, angle the knife along the breastbone and carve one side off, then the other.
  • Place the carved portions on a serving platter. Pour some of the homemade gravy over the carved portions and serve hot.

To see how this is done, check out this link: http://www.wikihow.com/Carve-a-Chicken, or look it up on YouTube.

Note: Throwing the remaining carcass away is a sin. Using your fingers, pull all the meat off. Don’t forget to turn the carcass over and get all the juicy bits from underneath.

And while the fight for the ‘prized’ chicken leg continues at my Easter dinner, please tuck in. Bon appétit!