Apple Cinnamon Preserve

Anjali Venugopal May 12, 2020 NO COMMENTS

This is an old fashioned apple preserve which works well on toast or pancakes or in pies.

Things you will need:

(yields 500 grams worth)

  • Apples- 3 large (peeled, core removed and cut into small pieces)
  • Cinnamon- 2 inch stick powdered or 1.5 teaspoon
  • Sugar- 1.5 cups
  • Juice of 1 lime

How to go about it:

  1. In a dry, large, deep and heavy bottomed pot, place the cut apples and add the sugar. Mix well. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Place the pot on a medium heat and keep stirring while you wait for the sugar to melt.
  3. Once the sugar begins to melt, add the cinnamon and lime juice and keep mixing it all well. The apples will now begin to release water.
  4. Keep stirring the contents for another 25-30 minutes or until the apple pieces soften up. Break down the larger pieces with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Aim to get the preserve to a nice jam like consistency with little chunks of well cooked apples here and there. Don’t allow it to get completely smooth.
  6. Cool down completely before storing away in dry, glass jars. Keeps well for 3 weeks in the fridge.

The Best Crème Caramel Ever!

Anjali Venugopal May 7, 2020 6 COMMENTS

I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth but this crème caramel is my Achilles’ heel. Having said that, I dislike most crème caramels of the world almost as much as I love this recipe. The reason being, I have a problem with puddings that are not firm. I need my pudding well cooked and firm without the overt smell of eggs. So, if you’re like me, this recipe is for you!

Things you will need:

  • Sugar- 6 heaped tablespoons
  • Eggs- 5
  • Condensed milk (sweetened)- 400 gm or approx 1.5 cups (the regular tin of Milkmaid we get in India works. If you’re using the Nestle tubes, I used two of them. 170 gm each)
  • Water- Equal quantity as the condensed milk (If you’re using the tin of condensed milk, fill the same tin up with water. If you have tubes of condensed milk like I did, I emptied it into a bowl and then used the same measurement of water.)
  • Vanilla extract- 1.5 tsp

How to go about it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
  2. Keep the pan (which can be used in an oven) in which you will be preparing the crème caramel ready. Next, you need to caramelize the sugar. Place a clean and dry frying pan on the stove (on medium heat) and add the 6 spoons of sugar. Wait for it to melt. Try and resist the urge to keep moving the sugar around too much with the spatula. Gets it all lumpy. Once it starts melting, lightly stir it and allow it to caramelize completely without any lumps. The caramel must be a nice, rust colour. IMMEDIATELY, pour the caramel into the prepared pan next to you and swirl it around to allow the caramel to coat the base of the pan completely. Caramel hardens in no time! If this is your first tryst with caramel, you will see. Haha.
  3. Next, take a large mixing bowl and add the 5 eggs. Beat the eggs (with a hand mixer or a whisk) very well until its a pale yellow. Takes only 2-3 minutes with the mixer.
  4. Add the condensed milk, mix well. Next, add the water and the vanilla extract. Mix well for another minute.
  5. By now, the caramel will have hardened. Pour the beaten mixture on top of the caramel. Place this pan in a larger oven friendly pan just about half filled with water. You don’t need to fill it up too much. Once immersed, the water needs to come up to just about 1/3 of the smaller pan.
  6. Carefully place it in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. Check once in 45 minutes. (Some ovens, especially if older, may have a temperature variation, and if you feel the pudding is still very wobbly and undercooked after the time is up, bake for some more time. Until a toothpick comes out clean.)
  7. Once done, take it out carefully, allow it to cool down before popping it into the fridge. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving. You can run a thin knife along the edge of the pan before upturning the crème caramel onto a plate. Serve cold.

(This recipe can also be prepared in the steamer. For that, you don’t need a water bath. But cover the pan with aluminium foil and place it directly in the steamer and steam for 40-45 minutes. The rest of the steps remain the same.)

Panna Cotta with Mixed Berry Compote a.k.a Simple Simon

Anjali Venugopal June 13, 2016 NO COMMENTS


The boy and I have always been the biggest fans of all things milk. The gallons of milk and yoghurt I have quaffed in the 26 years of my existence is no joke. Mommy dearest still maintains that all that lactose and calcium are the primary reasons for my stature and that genes had little to do with it.

So here you go. Six simple ingredients will now drive you to the easiest dessert I have conjured so far. The consistency is apparently not too easy to nail and I will now give myself a pat on the back for nailing it on my first attempt. 😀 This is quite an opportunity to make yourself look like an Italian dessert chef extraordinaire but trust me, even a paralyzed turtle can pull this off. Hmm turtle, may be not.. but you know what I mean.

Things you will need: 

  1. Heavy cream (I used Amul. I do not have a cow in the backyard. If you do, please feel free to ask her.)- 1 litre
  2. Sugar- ¾ cup
  3. Gelatin- 4 ½ teaspoons
  4. Water- ¼ cup
  5. Vanilla extract- 1 teaspoon
  6. Mixed berries- 1 cup

How to go about it:

Step 1: The first step towards a fancy dessert is to transfer the cream to a saucepan along with the sugar and Vanilla extract. (“Cream and Sugar Mixture”)

Step 2: Bring the cream and sugar mixture to a boil while stirring continuously to ensure that the sugar is fully dissolved. Rather important to ensure that the sugar doesn’t caramelize. Keep the Cream and Sugar Mixture aside to cool.

Step 3: The next step would be to dissolve the gelatin in water. Mix the gelatin in the water in a small vessel. For that, boil some water in a saucepan. While the water is simmering, place the smaller vessel into the saucepan. This is to ensure that the gelatin is not directly heated. (I am told that mixing gelatin in boiling water is good enough, but I have always been a religious follower of indirectly heating gelatin for no real reason. :-/ If you do give the other method a shot, please do let me know.) Keep at the stirring to ensure the gelatin and water form a thin solution with the lumpiness kept at bay. (“Gelatin Solution”)

Step 4: Add the Gelatin Solution to the Cream and Sugar Mixture. Mix thoroughly. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature. DO NOT let it sit there and set. (“Panna Cotta Mixture”)

Step 5: Transfer the Panna Cotta Mixture to pretty little bowls and shove them into the freezer. You may want to grease them bowls with a butter cube. (I was such in a hurry to put my face in the Panna Cotta that I omitted this step. This will help the panna cotta ease out of the mould and look nice and pretty on fancy plate.) In the freezer, the Panna Cotta will set in approximately 40 minutes. As soon as it sets, transfer it to the lower part of your refrigerator. Leaving it in the freezer for longer than it takes to set is not advisable for obvious reasons.

Step 6: Mix Berry Compote: Okay, this just sounds uber fancy. This is achieved by boiling the berries in three to four tablespoons of water with a teaspoon of sugar and maybe half a lemon’s juice. You have the option of adding a tiny piece of ginger and/or a quarter teaspoon of finely ground cinnamon. On boiling, the berries will be mashed and this my friend, is the Mixed Berry Compote.

Step 7: Once the Panna Cotta is eased out of the mould on to a pretty plate, spread the Compote and dig in.

I am positive that not one of you expected Panna Cotta to be this easy. Next time, I’m gonna improvise on this recipe and maybe make it fancier and yummier with a few new hacks that just popped up in my head, but for which you’ll have to be patient. Try this simple Simon out and thank me later. 😀

My easy-peasy pancakes

Anjali Venugopal May 4, 2016 2 COMMENTS


It is almost like the sun is trying to prove a point outside, which makes it next to impossible to even try and venture out. So here I am huddled up indoors jotting down the recipé for my pancakes as promised. Trust me, this unassuming pal is supremely easy going and quite a rockstar when it comes to your tastebuds.

Things you will need: 

  1. All purpose flour/ Maida- 1 ½ cups
  2. Sugar- ¾ cups (use the same cup as above. The sugar can be powdered or not. I leave that to you.)
  3. Eggs- 2
  4. Baking powder (Not soda. Those two are two very different things. Moving forward on the assumption that you are not here for a Chemistry lesson)- 2 teaspoons
  5. Salted butter- 50 grams (melted)
  6. Milk- 1 cup (the same cup. Duh!)
  7. Salt- 1 teaspoon
  8. Vanilla- ½ teaspoon
  9. Honey
  10. An electric beater if you have one. Otherwise a mixing spoon with your arm should be good enough.

How to go about it:

  1. Blend the flour and the baking powder using a sieve. This is to ensure the baking powder is spread out evenly. (“Dry Mixture”)
  2. Next, in a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar, melted butter and vanilla. (“Wet Mixture”). You don’t need to beat it too much. Beating the mixture till it achieves an even consistency and till it reaches a light yellow colour should be good.
  3. Now add the Dry Mixture to the Wet Mixture and and blend it well using the milk. Keep blending till you are sure that there are no lumps.
  4. Place a non-stick pan on your stove. Make sure you don’t over heat the pan. Medium heat is ideal.
  5. Grease the pan with a butter cube.
  6. Scoop up some of our batter (approximately ¼ cup for each pancake) and pour it on to the pan. You do not need to spread it because the idea is not to make a dosa.
  7. Once you start seeing bubbles on the top of the pancake and the edges reach a golden brown colour, flip it over with a spatula.
  8. As both the sides turn evenly golden brown, transfer it to a serving plate. Serve with a generous helping of honey and a dollop of salted butter on top.
  9. Dig in! 🙂

PS: Pardon the legal drafting tendencies that may have crept in (in re the definitions :P).