A week ago, I had a lovely opportunity to dine and dream with 8 pretty gals over Sangria and Tapas at Tramontana Brindisa, a restaurant set up in Shoreditch serving speciality dishes from Spanish Mediterranenan.I had been swooning at the ambience in the restaurant for a while, until I started on Sangria.Such a casual & friendly atmosphere with the decor being simple and inviting. It was indeed an experience with all the dramatic dishes that graced the table and not to forget the red and the white sangria. A must taste for people who have not had it before.. I loved the red!!! White was good too.  Now definitely need to think which was better than the best.


To click the pictures on that wintery drizzly evening, I was sublet an Iphone 6 to do it. Three Mobile had invited me to a foodie event to celebrate their Feel at Home Tariff with a difference.  I was told to just walk in and enjoy the evening , with no gadgets to mark the evening. For the very first time, I was in a restaurant with some amazing food and inspiring people and there was no SLR tagged with me. I was quite skeptical too, if I can do pictures and will it live upto the mark . Having used  older versions of Iphone over a few years, I knew they do a great job in day light.. Being an evening with warm lights turned on , wasnt that sure . But the Phone did live upto its mark.The reason we had been asked to leave our cameras behind was because the new iPhone 6 comes with an 8MP iSight camera with Focus Pixels (the 6 plus also has optical image stabilisation), and is perfect for carrying with you on the go. One doesnt really need a p&s if you carry an Iphone 5 and onwards!

A fancy phone over a fancy dinner was a theme to encourage come dine with Three.Three mobile is supporting its customers to feel at home , yet travel to Spain and 16 other destinations . They are allowing their customers to use their allowance to call and text UK and use your data without paying a penny more. What more can you ask for? Arent you feeling at home, away from home !!! To know more , read here.
I am soo much tempted to migrate from my existing provider to Three .


Over Three , most of them were dining over a set menu provided. Being a vegetarian by choice, the restaurant was courteous in bringing me a completely tailored vegetarian menu. There were soo many things I was served with all the complicated names, all that I could remember was they were yummy and quite delectable. On requesting my fellow dinner, Letizia  who speaks Spanish, she kindly mailed me all the detailed names. Here it is , in her very own words !!!Thank you Letizia .
  • Ensalada con tomate y queso (Green salad with tomato and cheese)
  • Bomba (Mash potato, vegetables and Mahon Cheese croquet with tomato sauce)
  • Pimientos de piquillo rellenos (Piquillo peppers stuffed with mix vegetables)
  • Canalons Casolans (Flat pasta filled with spinach, goat curd, pine nuts and raisins)
  • Crema Catalana
  • Arroz con leche (Spanish rise pudding) 
Spanish Rice Pudding was alright . They taste very similar to our traditional rice pudding but flavoured with Cinamon and slightly watery. The highlight over the dessert was the Crema Catalana. We re-lived our years as kids over the dessert. Giulia and self couldnt resist tapping the crispy crystal layer with the back of the spoon and then dig in the creamy dessert. "Mummy needs to behave in a restaurant now " thats exactly how V would have commented if he had accompanied me. An evening, so memorable over Three, over an Iphone 6, over Sangria & Tapas and over all the trasportation to Italy, Spain and India just on a table.

 Disclaimer: All the opinion expressed here are of my own and are under no influence.

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Baking | Chocolate Chip cookies


Its Bake - athon !! For some reason, I need to have a baked cookie, cake or a brownie lingering around in my kitchen. Once the Peanut butter cookies got over at home, I needed something else.. Yes Its a confession here !


Just like V - my boy , his mama also needs something delicious and a treat.These cookies are a result of this craving ;) I admit. Milk and some cookies ! Gobble Gobble.. One for every day. One or may be two after school everday. A quicky search on the internet, led me to this no fail cookie recipe. Find the link here.



While I  was making the dough for this cookies, I had baked the my instant fairy cupcakes for Tea and Brownies for the week!! Isnt it a Bake -a-thon home , now! The recipe for my own invented Brownie recipe is to follow in the coming posts.When this post gets live in my blog, I will be holidaying in India with friends and families. Having no intention to keep my dear readers, friends and family to think I have vanished again , this post will cover for all my absence.


This recipe also had a few substitutions to suit the available ingredients. I have replaced the muscovoda sugar with another portion of granulated sugar.Also just used about 100 g of Chocolate chips, when the recipe called for 200g. Also the cookie dough requires no chilling, as per the original recipe.



CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time : 1 hour+
Baking Time : 9 minutes each batch
Yields: 35-38 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

225g Plain Flour
160g Granulated Sugar
150g Unsalted Butter
2 Large Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Essence
½  tsp Bicarbonate Soda
100g Chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:
  •   Whisk the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy using a handheld electric mixer. Add the egg, beating it well, scrapping the sides until it’s all clean.  Reduce the speed to low and beat in vanilla extract, until well incorporated.
  •  Stir in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and mix until smooth dough is formed. Mix the chocolate into the dough until evenly mixed. Roll the dough into a log, wrap it in a cling film and chill it for an hour+ until firm.
  •  Preheat the oven to 190C/ fan assisted oven to 170 F, gas mark 3. Line 2 baking trays with a greaseproof sheets
  • Get the dough log from the fridge and cut them into equal pieces. Arrange 6 equal amount of the cookie dough on the prepared baking tray. Make sure to space the cookies apart , allowing the cookies to spread whilst baking. Bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown. Leave the cookies to cool in the tray for another 10 minutes, before turning them out on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • The cookies turned out to be soft and chewy!
NOTES:

The recipe did not call for chilling the dough. Since I have had disasters with the dough going really flat and not getting the desired result, I have chilled the dough.

You could cut the cookie dough log into equal sizes and place them as it is, or roll them in the middle of your palm and place them on the prepared tray.



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The guest post session in my blog comes ad hoc but of the writers, chief thinkers and executers whose blog I love to read / admire, virtually drool and more. Today's post is a special post from yet another long time virtual blog buddy Lubna from Yummy Food. Hop over to her space and drool over the wonderful dishes and treats, specially the microwave treats that Lubna makes in a jiffy. Her blog run's a Ramadan Special Fast to Feasting event every year, introducing new guest writers with their yummily delightful treat. 
I have been wanting to introduce Lubna to my writers for a very long time, but time and occasion didnt fit right.Days passed and months and we are in winter now! Lubna came up with her a totally innovative Microwave Muffins and the wait was totally worth it!!!This post was intended for November.Having said that since I am still holidaying until mid January,we decided to bring the delicious treat to cover my absence.
 There is hardly any microwave recipe in this blog and thats what makes this post special. The guest posts brings some spice and flavour in their own speciality and thats exactly what Lubna has brought for us. Why not treat your family and friends this christmas with some Microwave Muffins..
Thank you Lubna for taking time and writing such a delectable treat post !




Nearly a month back I think…I bought blueberry jam from a local bakery shop. Once I tried the jam sandwiching between the whole wheat bread slices….but neither Lil’M nor her ‘papa’ liked it....and gradually the jam bottle vanished from dining table and reached kitchen cabinet…over the period of time…the bottle took backseat in the cabinet too…
Last evening when Lil’M was having in-house doll party with her friends and requested me to make something for her friends…I thought of making muffins instantly as making muffins in microwave is something I love the most…While gathering the ingredients to make muffins…I saw the blueberry jam bottle peeking behind the flour jar. Quickly picked it up and started working on making the muffins…..



First I thought to mix up the jam in the flour and then I thought of adding jam to whipping cream and top it on the muffins….but finally I decided to go by making jam centred muffins. Though the jam was not exactly in the centre of the muffins…as they are made in microwave….the blueberry jam has given a wonderful taste to the muffins and the kiddo loved the taste of blueberry jam in muffins and gulped them in no time…..



Long back I have been asked by Sandhya to do a guest post on her blog Sandhya’s Kitchen….Busy or call it laziness….or say adjusting to new things….or blame on poor internet connection which keeps me away from virtual world most of the time….the post got postponed….but Sandhya let me tell you…I never forgot about the post….When I sent her a message regarding these muffins….she happily agreed to have them at her blog. So here is the recipe for delicious, soft and yum Blueberry Muffins which are made in microwave. Thank you Sandhya for having me over here….Hope you all love trying out these delectable muffins for your loved ones….



INGREDENTS:

1½ cups + 1 tbsp. All Purpose Flour
1½ cups Icing sugar
½ tbsp. Baking powder
¼ tbsp. Baking soda
pinch of Salt
1 Egg
½ cup Butter, room temperature
¼ cup Milk, room temperature
1 tbsp. Vanilla essence
3-4 tbsp. Blueberry Jam
1 tbsp. Almond flakes, roasted

PREPARATION:


  • Line silicone muffin mould with paper cases and set aside. If not using paper cases then gently brush butter inside the muffin mould and dust with flour.
  • Sift flour, icing sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt all together for 2-3 times. This process is just to incorporate everything together.
  • Beat egg, butter, milk with vanilla extract together. Now slowly fold in the sifted flour. Fold in gently.
  • Pour the batter into greased and dusted silicone mould or paper cases up to ¼ th capacity of the mould and spoon ¼ tbsp. of blueberry jam on it and then again pour in a layer of batter. Tap around to make sure the batter is scattered evenly.
  • Sprinkle roasted almond flakes on top and microwave on high for 1 or 1½ minutes or until the toothpick/skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave the muffins in the microwave for another 1 minute before taking out.  Leave it to cool for 2-3 minutes and remove from silicone mould and place on cake wire stand to cool completely.
  • Last but not least add your 'love' to make the dish 'YUMMY'.




NOTE:
Microwave time will vary depending on the microwave model.
Start checking from 30 seconds, if you are making muffins.
Microwave cakes do not carry shelf life. They had to be consumed with in a day.

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Christmas Trifle



Ho Ho !! Jingles all the way .We are totally in sprirts of Christmas and festivity in air. Tinsels, baubles, tree top decorations, ribbons, lights, trinklets and we are all geared to enjoy the festivity.
The lights have been twinkling in our local village markets and high streets. The high streets were jam packed with people of all ages shopping as a family for the presents.Something we look forward to every year.


With the season of fun and holidays kicking in , a friend of ours brought us some spices ginger cake and German Stollen.Yet another chance for jubilation. Chritmas is an adopted and much sort after festival here at home, after Diwali . My  6  years old son begun his coundown as soon as December kicked in. He has embraced the festival and looks forward to the customary rituals we have been following for the last few years. We have been surprising kids with a new pair of pyjamas/ onsies that they could wear on the eve of Christmas and go to bed. The littlest one - our 2 years old and the elder one - partners in crime looks forward to unwrapping the presents and secret santa's letter kept under the Christmas tree . Thats Christmas for them :) But this year , our celebration is going to be in India with family , extended family and friends. All the presents for the little ones are getting wrapped up and will be carefully transported in our suitcases. Vedant has made up his list of things to do and has his present unwrapping scheduled for 25th. Cute and Cheeky too , Isnt it???



Couple of days back , I received a parcel by courier and it had a range of goodies, trifle cups ( yes! you read it right, the cups in the picture) from Hartleys,challenging me to come up with the Christmas trifle. What better stint can it be than the spell of merriment in this joyful month. Is there any reason to rethink when this fun confrontation was posed? Off course not at all. I readily agreed , though there has been short of time as our much awaited holiday was near. On this note , I take this opportunity in wishing my readers, friends and family merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



Someone , once told me , A Sunday trifle is a melody of everything that is left over from desserts from Saturday's party. Jelley's, Cake, Cream, Custard and fruits !! Until I put them all together , I wasnt sure about it and believe me He was right ! Either you can make everything from scratch or buy readymade cake,custard and then bring them all in a delightful cup.
As I mentioned before, I have been running short of time , I decided to use some store bought ready custard and the Waitrose triffle sponge was already sent to me .
VERDICT: Absolutely delicious and droolworthy and we totally loved it. The combination is fabulous , infact much better in taste than it looks!! H has already placed a request for mini trifles for our next party at home. I am definitely going to put in in my Menu.




CHRISTMAS TRIFLE



INGREDIENTS:

Trifle Sponge from Waitrose
Custard
Double Cream
Strawberry Jam
100g Fresh Strawberries
Hartley’s Black Cherry Jelly
1 pint of Water ( hot + cold separately) for making the Jelly
Lemon wedge , sugar

DIRECTIONS:

For the desired look you will need 2 glass cups. Wipe a wedge of lemon around the edge of each cup . Dip the cups in a bowl of sugar, moving it round clockwise until the rim is covered in sugar.  Set aside until they are ready to be filled

For making the trifle,

  • I have set a small portion of jelly in my trifle cups.
  • Over that I have placed the trifle sponge. Prepare the trifle sponge by slicing them into 3 -4 pieces, pushing down to make sure it covers the jelly. Next pour the raspberry syrup generously over the sponge.
  • Take the chilled jelly from the fridge and spoon into the cup on top of the sponge.
    Spoon in some custard on top of your jelly layer.  Next whip cream and apply over the fresh custard.
  • Finally place a couple of fresh strawberries on top and pop in the fridge to chill for two hours before enjoying with family and friends.

To make the jelly
 Make the jelly according to the packet instructions.

To make the syrup
 Add ¼ pot of Hartley’s strawberry jam to a sauce pan with your fresh strawberries. Cook on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes before removing from the heat and leaving to cool

For making whipped cream
All that you need is a bowl, double cream/whipping cream and a paddle attachment mixer. Keep the mixer on from low to medium speed until desired peak is achieved.

NOTES:
I have used store bought trifle sponge. You could use some left over madeira cake instead. 
You could also make your own custard at home.



With many thanks to Havasww and Hartley's for sending across a lovely set of Christmas Goodies .All the views expressed here are my own and under no influence.

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