Chocolate Swirl Babka Muffin Buns # Baking Partner's Challenge

Babka, as most of you know, is a traditional Easter coffee bread from Europe. Apparently, babka is also the word for grandmother in Polish...  which is why a traditional babka bread was usually baked in a fluted round mold with a center tube and was said to resemble a women's full skirt from centuries past. The babkas as we know them today are elaborately flavored and heavily downsized... They are strueseled, swirled in chocolate and cinnamon and baked in ordinary loaf pans.. This version, nevertheless delicious, is believed to have descended from the Eastern European Jewish tradition.


Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snaps and Garlic en Papillote #French Fridays with Dorie

Cooking something 'en papillote' means wrapping the food in a pouch and baking it in the oven.. That has been my husbands favorite method of cooking for sometime. Ask him to cook dinner and thats what you see him do next. Of course neither of us knew that he was cooking 'en papillote.' It was a method that he had tried on impulse and it seemed to work pretty well...

This week the Doristas were assigned to do just that. Wrap quartered baby bok choy, paper thin slices of garlic, halved baby white onions and sugar snaps along with orange zest, mint, salt, pepper and olive oil in a aluminium foil and bake them in the oven at 400°F for 15 minutes and serve immediately..


Toddler friendly Tuna Cakes

Bringing your child up in a country where you have not grown up yourself can sometimes be confusing. Specially when planning their meals. Had I been raising my son in Kolkata, West Bengal, I would probably not twice about which fish to buy and feed my toddler... Catfish it would be for most of his meals.. and sometimes Rohu perhaps. They would always be fresh, bought from the local fishmongers selling their early morning catch...

I am pretty sure, families who have been living here for a while and are keen on fresh catches and farm fresh products know which sources to tap and make an effort to tap  them for their everyday needs .. But not us... not yet. We are still finding our way into the system... so largely depend on canned products and frozen food  for all our fish. And all of all the preparations I have tried with canned Tuna, these Tuna cakes happen to be our favorite. Both toddler and I love them... 

The other day the toddler even thanked me for making them :))..

He can sometimes be surprisingly sweet !

He also thought these Easter Eggs were pretty...

and wanted to eat all three...  :)))

Happy Easter everybody !
~ the Khandais


Barley Risotto with Mushrooms & Spinach

Growing up I always identified barley with sickness. You have barley soup when you are sick, that is the way I have always known the grain until Dorie introduced me to her Vegetable Barley Soup with taste of  Little India. It was a revelation. Who knew root vegetables, garam masala and barley could team up so well to create such a hearty bowl of soup !  So I realized that barley could be interesting... even tasty provided the recipe is good.. But barley risotto ??? That seemed like a completely different story. I wasn't too sure how it would be until I sampled some on Sunday. And frankly speaking was taken by surprise at how good it turned out ! 

Okay. Barley is one of the healthiest grains in the world... but that is not why I thought of cooking it risotto-style. It was the photograph of  Toasted Barley Risotto with Spinach and Herb puree in the April Issue of  Bon Appetit that attarcted me... and the fact that "Barley Risotto" sounded weird and healthful at the same time... I spotted the recipe while flipping through the latest magazines and soon enough was on my feet cooking my version of barley risotto with mushrooms and spinach....


Passover Brownies

Come April and my search for chocolate-y recipes begin.  When two family birthdays are aligned a week apart, this tends to happen. No ?  My mother and my husband.... both big time foodies.. in particular chocolate lovers, celebrate their birthdays in April... so come April my search for everything chocolate-y peaks  and sometimes leads me to boxes of chocolates and sometimes to cookbooks full of chocolate-y treats.... like The Ultimate Brownie Book ..

I got the brownie book from library the other day and the Passover Brownies were the first ones that I tried from it. The recipe is flourless  and delivered the intense chocolate-y treat that it promised.. But I must warn you right away that these brownies are not fugdy. They are somewhat gooey... and if that is not your thing... then these might disappoint you a bit. At least my husband did not seem euphoric about them.. even though he found them difficult to resist...



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