Making a comeback to blogging with the most popular recipe ever! Everyone wants to try it and a few have mastered it, yes…. the perfect chocolate chip cookie, crispy on the outside soft and chewy in the inside; the one that melts like butter when you take your first bite, shows you a taste of heaven.
Served in morning its breakfast, served with milk its dessert. Who can possibly resist the bittersweet indulgence!
Of course this is adapted from various recipes and it worked out well for me. With the right sugar, always the brown baking sugar for the gooey bite and measured amount of chocolate chip to keep you wanting more. And just like that I coined my very own version of chocolaty goodness that I hope to pass on to my future family.
Psst… I hear it’s the fav kinda cookie that even the cookie monster craves.
Crispy on the outside chewy in the inside Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Often missed the gigantic convention oven that is a common place in most apartments in US but a Samsung microwave/grill/convection oven in India worked just perfectly. My cousin and I had fun baking this recipe together while in India in a microwave oven using the convection oven setting.
There’s a saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” must be true, so I thought to myself that good cheese in cozy ambiance should set the right mood for a romantic dinner. My husband loves cheese and he hoped to find a good restaurant that served a well-assembled cheese board. A homemade cheese platter was long overdue and this was my first time buying cheese for party platter.
After some research on Google God, I learnt the 5 essentials of a cheese platter:
Something smooth – Goat cheese or brie cheese
Something bitter – Blue cheese or pesto gouda
Something sharp – Double Gloucester spring onion or aged cheddar
Something crunchy – Provolone or parmesan
Make use of all farm animals, cheese make of cow, goat or sheep milk. Select cheese from a variety of family, texture and age.
Cracker – Go for neutral cracker, salted cracker, I added some sesame sprinkled cracker
Bread – French bread or sourdough are great choices, keep it plain and simple here
Olives – Green and black olive soaked in extra virgin olive oil and red paprika
Fruits and juice – easy choice, OJ! Orange juice adding some tangy
Mixed nuts – Add some crunch, pistachios, roasted almond even cashew will do
Hummus dip – plain or flavored hummus; blends well with cracker and olives
Honey or fruit preserve – adding sweetness in palette
Yes Plating that’s the fifth essential! You may have the best ingredient in hand but an utterly wrong presentation will be an epic fail when it comes to cheese platter. Get creative, slice it dice it, leave a block cheese and serve it in room temperature. Place a few knives extra for your guests.
What more would you need? Well, lots of food love, finesse and don’t forget to dress up your dinner table a little
…and that’s my celebratory post, my 67th blog post on the third anniversary of my blogging experience.
Tip: Bangalore foodies can visit the cheese and produce section of Nature’s Basket or Gourmet Westside for most these ingredients. Have fun!
What’s that smell? Mmmmmm, it’s soooo good… draws you to grab a bite of that creamy oven-fresh Cinnamon roll, while you walk past the store at a mall…..
Molten hot chocolate sauce flowing out while you cut a piece of lava cake…. That mouth watering juicy bite of softy chewy rasagulla you can’t resist…..
Sweet Tooth? Don’t be surprised! We are wired to perceive sweetness as happiness and blissful contentment.
It’s a true yardstick of all pleasures!
Also, a thing to share on all those happy occasion. Thankfully, I’m a part of the most sugar-loving unhealthiest culture on earth that fills every month of a given year with reason to make sweets. Keeping up the culture, I share something sweet, to mark a milestone of happiness.
That’s my cake bouquet celebrating the 2nd Bloggersary with a Muggie swirl and a cuppie side kick. *Ting*
If you have been a foodie scouting for easy-peasy recipes online, I’m pretty sure you stumbled upon the most dangerous cake in a mug recipe. Quite a few versions online, this merry post full of ‘do-not-proceed’ request caught my attention.
Like a little child who is asked to hold back the gift box until birthday morning, we, as grown up, always have an urge to grab the forbidden. Oh Nutella, that’s enough to get me going…. How could I resist? Despite all the warning, I went ahead with reading it…. Thanks to my curiosity!
So gleeful and filled with color, check out the adapted recipe by Novice Housewife. She’s super cool, I can’t beat that! 🙂
For Swirl cake – Make a plain cake batter, divide into half, add coffee/sugar and chocolate/nutella separately and layer the batter. It’s almost a quarter pound cake in the cafe au lait mug with a little bit of milk, coffee and a lot of chocolate.
Café latté – Nutella Chocolate cake
4 tbsp flour
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp espresso coffee
1 tsp instant coffee
3 tbsp cocoa
3 tbsp nutella
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp butter unsalted
Dab of salt
Scrumptious swirl cake with a crusty dome top and soft chewing insides made it a great side for evening coffee. It’s a bit of cultural thing at Lucid memoirs to share a cake recipe every anniversary. Hellopalz Blogiversary cupcake, the first year.
Alright, you go try it out now or just grab a spoon and dig in virtually!
“Eat Your Veggies!”
But, why?? Stubborn, Adamant…or may be just Lazy.
We know that its crucial to maintain a balanced diet for a healthy living, but we just don’t follow….
Well, to begin with, it takes a lot of preparation time before it ends up on your dinner plate. All the deseeding, peeling, dicing, slicing, blanching, sautéing, seasoning…. takes forever! I admit it, I’m not strong-willed, mostly after a long day’s work.
Center of Disease Control suggests such easy ways to intake the recommended serving but I like it to be faster and easier. So here’s my life-hack….
Frozen stir fry veggies
Looks vibrant, isn’t it? and tastes even better when seasoned with the right spices. I would resort to a pack of frozen Stir-fry veggies from Costco, back in California, but I miss the luxury of fast cooking here in India. Stocked up milk for the week, frozen coconut, uncooked whole-wheat roti/tortillas, falafel and burger patties definitely made cooking easier.
While missing these silly comforts, I stumbled upon this super useful post on DIY: Stir-fry Vegetable Freezer Packages on Simple Bites, just in time before my new job began. On this weekday afternoon, I began the veggie routine, peeling, dicing, slicing, chopping and all set!
Ready to speed blanch in salt water, I adapted the recipe and blanching time mentioned on Simple bites as follows:
Bell peppers – 1 minute
Zucchini – 1 minute
Broccoli, cauliflower- 2 minutes
Carrots – 2 minutes
Baby corn and beans :: 90 seconds
It’s also a good idea to keep the veggies separated per your taste preference. Bell pepper/Capsicum goes in one while carrot, beans and corn packed in another. I drained the water, let them dry out and nicely packed airtight in freezer ziploc covers.
Apart from stir fry, these frozen veggies came in handy while making Thai curry, noodles, Indian veg korma, Chinese fried rice and also for Biriyani. It lasted for about 3 weeks, consumed faster than we expected.
Now I don’t miss Costco so much and feel happier that my family can maintain a healthy diet on busy weekdays…
Gotcha! Now that I have your valuable attention, let me impart my blogging knowledge to you. Its fairly simple, when I can do it so can you!
Time for some Gyaan with giggles…. (Gyaan is advice in hindi)
Inspiration is a key to creativity yet we debate about it being a clever theft. They say… as long as you credit your sources, it should be fine. Internet, as you know it, has tonnes of recipes and their variation. In a way, each blog post is just a repeat, if you don’t put your heart to it.
So, Tell me something… What makes your blog post different from the rest?
Is it the best kept secret of your family, your Grandma’s recipe?
That juicy story of how you got baked with your friend while the cake was in oven?
May be, its the drool-worthy food photography that makes your reader have a sweet tooth!
Experts believe that it is a right mix of all the above. Do you agree?
Food blogging is a broad topic and there are multiple ways to be successful. Sunshine and smile, by Kankana has been my inspiration for food photography. Her captivating posts like this one -> Breakfast in Bed brings your nostalgic memories afresh. Although, I’ve been cooking for over a decade now but when it comes to blogging I prefer writing about all the baked goods, trying out new sweet treats and spicy savories.
Lets get practical! Who has to time to be a jack of all trades, anyways. I think that photography is an integral part of food blogging because it captures your audience to begin with. The content/ recipe plays a major role with SEO, blog traffic and to create a long-standing fan following.
Talking about photography, I’m no expert but I like to shoot before, while and after.
The Curtain raiser – Ingredients
Clean the shutter, sparkle the sensor and keep your camera ready, right from the start. Sometimes ingredients are so gorgeous that it takes the center stage. If your recipe calls for one a juicy fruit like orange, lemon or this sugar sweet plum the you are in for a treat.
Wait…Dont eat the fruit, I mean… treat for eyes. Try shooting a slice of orange with natural light source at the back and you will know it.
Light source and its placement is crucial for good macro photography. In first image of this post, I’m shooting while my camera faces the window. Notice how the shadow of the plum fall at the bottom front of the fruit.
Of course, to keep the background clutter free, I’ve used a pale fabric forming a relevant color palette.
The Drama – Making of sugar sweet plum-cake
Its gripping! If you are a pro, go for motion shots. Capture the pouring egg yolk, or splash of syrup or while you sprinkle the freshly ground cinnamon powder over the batter.
Focus, focus, focus! It is not said enough how important this can be. Focus defines the photograph and says it all. If you are a beginner, let your lens focus automatically while you choose the manual settings to adjust the light and exposure. I still do this, I’m no expert and Im afraid to risk it.
In the photo above, I wanted to capture the texture of the cinnamon sprinkle and the one below shows the view of cake right before it hit the oven. When using fabric for your photo-shoot, let it be messy. The ruffles and folds are playful and creates depth to your shot but also keep in mind that fabric wrinkles are just unpleasant.
The Show stopper – Its time to relish!
By now, your home has a sweet smell of baked cinnamon plum cake. All you want to do is “grab a spoon” and go at it but hold on….
At this point, if my husband is home, he usually becomes cranky and blame how nice our pre-blogging life was. This is just like how Indian moms made you wait for your turn to get your hands on the yummy Indian festival sweets until the evening because its made as an offering to Gods.
Spend some time arranging the background and prop up the foreground. While choosing add-ons, stay within the same color palette so its pleasing to the eye.
Interesting cutlery, silver ware…Oh! White plates of various shapes is a must have! I’m still working on this one.
Lighting and camera- This whole set up is placed on a white scarf with a lot of diffused sunlight. The camera is positioned in a way where I don’t cast shadow on the element photographed. This works well for most product photo shoot and again the best time to shoot is between mid day to late afternoon.
P.S – No flash photography in this zone – Food, usually cakes hate flash. You will scare away all the yumminess!
Play around with your shots, adjust lighting and focus. Try to capture the shadow of the glass. Go macro and shoot the cake crumbs or water droplet on the fruit. Its your blog after all… do what make you happy! 🙂
There…. that’s my 5 cents on photography and blogging and if you are here for the recipe, lemme clear things out!
Not my grandma’s secret recipe…. (Well my grandma just made ladoos and murukkus)
Didn’t make out on the kitchen table nor got stoned in the process…
It’s probably about photography and the plum-cake recipe is here….
Oh ya! You are adopted adapted from Martha Stewart’s Open Face Plum Cake. Sorry, this came out rude! I still love you cake!
50 posts, 6 topics, 4 cities, 3 blogger awards, 1 wonderful year!
Candle is lit, cupcake is ready and a reason to celebrate? Not just one…Its my first Blogiversary falling on this special day.
People often ask, why this name for my blog. Months ago I answered it on my ‘about’ page and today’s kinda like an affirmation.
I say…What better way to invite everyone to my place online. This name has been my fav since the internet age and a need for a “unique” usernames.
Happy friendship day!
Cant believe a year has passed since I hit publish on my first post reluctantly. Its been one hell of a journey! So much has changed, so much to learn…Started out as an art/jewelry blog, now I can’t get enough with categories.
It’s such a surprise and a great pleasure to receive them. Isn’t it? Three of them in the last few months! Why wouldn’t I be happy?!
Glad my readers thought that I/hellopalz was worth it. If you are a blogger you would know. And for the rest, let me make it clear, this ain’t a big deal. Blogger awards are more like chain letters. When you receive it, you nominate 10 others along with a brief on yourself. It’s really a tool to increase traffic, visibility and appreciate one another.
I would like to change things a bit…. Lets first meet the people who have nominated my blog.
Rosie Scribblah – I’m awed by this talented artist who sketches figure drawing and everyday scene on daily basis for this inspiring blog. Thanks for seeing the versatility in me. I’m more of a “Jack of all….” kinda person.
Catbirdinoman – Identifies herself as a Nomad or a wanderer. She is an English teacher who travels the world and shares her beautiful journey with the rest of us through this blog. Thanks, for you recognize my work here is genuine. 🙂
mynycphotography – Meet Jem, moved by the beauty the city has to offer, he hosts this blog full of stills. Thankful to my short stay and this blog acquaintance who nominated hellopalz as one lovely blog.
Exceptional talents, awe-inspiring people tie in with each other for one common interest. Love for art of various forms. Grateful to all my family, friends and followers who have shown their love and support to keep this blog alive.
As a token of thanks, I humbly request all my reader to visit these interesting blogs.