Doodle for your dad !!

Yes, a father’s day post !! I usually encourage people not to get stressed about the mother’s day, father’s day etc etc. These days are simply too much too handle. Especially in my house where no one is emotionally driven to buy gifts for one another for a particular day. It could be lack of planning or we are completely impromptu. I mean I can randomly go and buy something for my mum, but if you ask me to plan a gift days ahead of mother’s day – I suck . So, over the years we have given up on ourselves and just do it only when we happen to remember the occasion. We miss a few and we celebrate a few.We have no family traditions set in stone  – which is sort of a tradition now :)

So couple of years ago, I was in the mood and started researching cakes for dads. And I stumbled over this amazing doodle cake idea and it was too pretty to pass it off. It was personal, looked gorgeous, handmade and involves kids. What more does a dad want? I made a chocolate cake, well it’s really my son’s favourite flavour but this was when he was just 4, so thats fine. This year he has kindly agreed to help me make a lemon drizzle which is dad’s favorite:) . Your kids will love making this for the pappa and will also be able to express their feelings better in the pictures. Just get some edible pens from any craft shop or ebay, cover dad’s favourite cake with fondant and get doodling!! It’s  as simple as that. If you are not making the cake then I am sure you can easily find plain fondant cakes in any supermarket and you can personalise it with the pens.

Doodle cake

Doodle cake

Chocolate Cake :

I used a simple chocolate sponge recipe. It is a usual tried and tested sort of recipe which everyone seem to like. It’s got a chocolate frosting which is again, everyone’s favourite. Cover it with fondant and doodle away with edble pens which you can easy source from any craft shop like amazon ! !


Father's day cake !

Father’s day cake !


Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns..Hot cross buns , one a penny two a penny hot cross buns !! We all grew up with this nursery rhyme. Although, we at home never baked them and hardly had them in India, the great British legacy left the idea of fancy hot cross buns in our heads for years. It’s weird how only a nursery rhyme makes you nostalgic of food which you never had when you are actually reciting it to every visitor your dad had, at every family gathering and of course in the school. I think that comes naturally to parents to showcase their child’s ‘talents’. Every time I do it now, I don’t even realise that half way through pestering the poor kid to sing and dance and then I feel stupid about it, and immediately retract to try to change the subject:)

Any way back to baking business, this is the first bake in my new kitchen and newish oven and so I am very pleased with the results. Especially when the bake looks like what it is intended to be and the family approves it, there’s nothing like it. I managed to make my batch of hot cross buns just in time. Easter Sunday breakfast feels complete with a heap of gorgeous buns, generous helping of butter and a tall mug of Black coffee – shouldn’t that be a definition of holidays?? I have researched on so many recipes for hot cross buns. You see with  some bakes , I don’t mind experimenting with flavours but I also don’t want to take it too far that it looses its respect as a traditional bake. You want to keep the speciality/traditional status of the bake in tact and that is a very hard balance to maintain. I hope you do give it a try, and like it .

HOt cross Buns

HOt cross Buns

Source : This recipe is a mix of Paul Hollywood, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson :)

Ingredients :

Strong White Bread flour – 500 grams Plus extra for dusting(I used waitrose organic )
Sugar – 50 grams
Salt – 1 Tsp
Easy bake Yeast – 7 grams
Milk 250-300 ml
Egg – 1
Glacier Cherries – 40 grams
crystallised Ginger – 20 grams
Dried raisins – 30 grams
Powdered Cloves – 1 1/4 Tsp
Nutmeg powder – 1 1/4 Tsp
Sunflower Oil – 3 TbSP

For the cross:

White Flour 4 TBSP
Orange Zest 1 Tsp
Sugar 1/2 Tsp
Butter 1 Tsp

For the Glaze :

Golden Syrup 2 TbSp
Orange 2 Tsp

Hot Cross Buns REady for the Oven

Method :

Warm the milk and keep aside .

Mix Flour, salt, sugar and yeast and make a well in the middle. Add the milk and egg. Mix well .
Bring the dough on to a floury surface and knead the dough really well. Initially the dough will be very sticky but as you work it through it should become more and more easy to handle. Use both hands all your strength and make a good smooth bouncy dough. Leave it to prove for an hour.

Once the dough has raised and doubled up in size, add the dried fruits, spices clove and nutmeg powder and mix well until all the fruit and spices are evenly distributed.
Leave this dough to prove again for an hour or till it is risen double its size.

In an hour, take the dough out , without knocking too much air, make small balls maybe size of a squash ball (sorry for the randomness of bringing up squash, but what I want to say here is the ball needs to bigger than a ping pong ball and smaller than a tennis ball and I actually looked it up to see which ball is in the between and it was squash ball :) ) Lay the balls on prepared baking trays.

In a small bowl, add 4 TBSP of flour, little sugar, orange zest, about 1 tsp Butter and make a dough with water. Roll the dough flat, and using a knife cut long strips.Take the buns out from proving and indent cross on the buns using a knife. Place the stripes you made out the dough on the buns making the cross.

Pre heat the oven to 120 degrees and place the buns in the oven for 15 – 20 mins. Remove and serve with some butter!!

Hot Cross Buns

Glazing the buns :

Make the glaze ready for the buns. Take a small sauce pan , add 3 TBSP golden syrup, Some Orange Zest and heat it until it is all melted. Using a brush. glaze the buns generously and have them with your favourite cuppa!!

Hot cross buns
Variations & Tips:

  • Traditionally Hot cross buns have nutmeg and cinnamon. But I chose cloves as the main spice since I like the sharpness in it. I loved it with cloves and honestly I feel cloves are so underrated.
  • I got a new microwave which has a dough proofing option. I proved the dough in the microwave for the first time rather reluctantly but I am very pleased with the results. It does take an hours time but I guess we can be sure it will rise in that time unlike the natural proving which depend on the temperature. If you want to really save the time, prove the dough overnight and skip the second prove. Should work just fine. I skipped second proof so many times in bakes.
  • Oil your bowl and the cling film when you prove the dough to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl.
  • I don’t like my buns overloaded with fruit so I used them cautiously, but if you like them go for it and add a few more of those dried fruits.
  • I chose , glacier cherries , crystallised Ginger and Raisins. These can be substituted with any dried fruits you like. A few of them you might like are mixed peel, cranberries, dried cherries, Apricots
  • To keep the fruit in your bun plump and juicy , soak them in water or any juice for couple of hours.
  • I did use egg wash half way through the bake for more defined colour. So after 10-12 minutes, quickly apply the egg wash on your buns and return to bake for the next 5 minutes. Applying egg wash at the beginning browns the buns quickly and makes it hard to judge if the bake is done.
  • For the cross, you can also make a more runny mixture, and pipe the cross on the buns instead of rolling the dough and laying out the crosses on the buns.
  • Again, experiment with glaze. Jam glaze is another option to make those buns sticky and give them a shiny look. if you do not have Jam or golden syrup, Just make the glaze with sugar and water. Works just fine.

Enjoy your cuppa with Hot Cross Buns


DIY Easter Bunny Crayons


Easter it is !! Easter brings a lot of things along with it. One of those is School holidays, well we can debate all day whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. If you are dreading the crowded shopping malls, over-crowded theme parks then it’s a scary thought. Think about the fact that there are also deserted roads with absolutely no traffic on your way to work in the morning. That is bliss! If you have kids and working , then there are all the baby sitting issues that creep up on you making you choke on any work the boss is discussing with you, even if its 4 months down the line. While I genuinely fear of getting stamped under 1000’s of kids if I set out on a holiday, I take this time to relax and unwind. But this easter, for us, brought not just holidays, it brought us a new home which we just moved into. I am hoping I will be instrumental in un packing and setting up the house. At least I would like to think so! But we are as we are and I won’t call us un organised but let’s just say we deal with things as they unfold and Face the challenges on a one to one basis:)

Now, kids are highly energetic and they need activities to keep them busy. Mine will be sent to tennis camps which he enjoys and a couple of sleepovers have been planned. But for the days I am home, my son demands my attention. He loves getting involved in crafts, baking and thankfully these are suitable hobbies for the weather we have right now. We always try and make something for easter for his friends at school and even though I browsed for hours, the one one I picked was one of the first ideas that I liked on pinterest. Bunny shaped Colourful crayons. Very pretty, easy and affordable gifts. Especially if you are making it for whole class like us. The fact that they can be made in advance, unlike any edible gift, is so relieving.

bunny 3

Things you would need to make Bunny Crayons:

Colourful crayons
A bunny mould

Peel all the paper wrapped around the crayons
break them up and arrange them in the mould
Place then in the oven for 5 mins or until the crayons are melted
Cool them and carefully remove them from the mould and voila !! you have a beautifully shaped crayon in a colour of your choice.

Bunny Family

Bunny Family


  • I had a mould with just 6 small bunny moulds, so I had to make 7 batches which took me a week. I phased it out so it was easy to manage.
  • Get the kids involved in peeling the crayons, breaking them up, sorting the colours etc
  • Be extremely careful when handling hot wax and let the crayon completely cool before removing it from the mould
  • My mould wasn’t that deep, I found my first batch was very thin and fragile bunnies. I started topping up the mould with more crayons half way through melting the wax so I can get a thick and proper crayon which can actually be used for colouring.
  • If you decide to double up the crayons half way like me, then make sure you have the coloured crayon ready because this stage needs to be done pretty quickly before the wax melts.
  • Use more than one color to give it that wow factor, or make a full set of crayons with single colours.

bunny 2

Possibilities are endless in terms of what mould you can use. Just think of a theme, acquire a mould and get started.

I hope you have enjoyed this post of mine. Try making them with your kids and share your pictures.




Mulling Syrup Receipe – An easy edible gift for Christmas

It’s the time of the year again where it’s all festive. People are getting all excited about almost everything. Our team in the office has planned like ten Christmas lunches. Organizing secret Santa, Christmas lunches, decorating the desks, shopping for Christmas jumpers is what comprises of the December calendar. We never celebrated Christmas in the true sense till we moved to UK. In India, as one can expect it used to be more traditional back in the day. While it did involve some decorations and good food, it was more about going to the mass, visiting family and friends. It makes sense considering the Christian population in India is just above 2%. But, I do enjoy the festive season and me being me I want to do it all and be  part of everything, so we have a tree, visit markets , exchange gifts and of course eat to our hearts content on the day – – ok well during the month J . We will be in India this year and I am hoping the globalisation has done good in terms of getting people out a bit more to celebrate Christmas irrespective of their faith.

For me, personally, it’s still a bit low profile at the moment because of the extremely challenging deadlines and work load. I am not even excited about gifts ‘yet’. My son gave me his letter to Santa where he requested toys for his cousin’s as well …how sweet no? When I appreciated him for that, he liked the idea and wants to update his letter and wants to add a whole lot of things to the list for his loved ones. I am like ….yeah…You get them those things not just ask Father Christmas  :) . Buying gifts is getting more and more difficult and challenging starting from gauging the person’s likes and dislikes, cost, shopping around for gifts. I personally love the idea of handmade gifts. Especially, if they are edible gifts then all the gifts are sorted in one go and you will definitely have happy receivers because who doesn’t like a bit of a Christmas treat? I have attempted edible gifts before and made chilli chocolate brownies along with few other things, which was very successful with the colleagues, friends and family. This year the whole thing became even more exciting because a bunch of  my lovely girl friends decided we would exchange handmade gifts over a brunch as a christmas tradition.I have taken a ginormous task of making a hamper of edible goodies for friends. I was up against the time but managed to pull it off in the end. It looked something like this.

Christmas Hamper



My friends on the other hand were so organised and all of their gifts were filled with good wishes and love. Receiving gifts is one thing but knowing that the person has put in so much hard work for you, just to bring a smile on your face, that’s really something to be thankful about. Also everyone has been so kind and posted how they made their DIY gifts in their blogs. Do visit their blogs and take a look at how they went about making their friends happy.


From Top clock wise : Nisha, Vinee,Me, Suchi

So on this occasion S presented us with these super cute, personalised jar of body scrub and a lip balm

Suchi's Bath Scrub specially made for me

Suchi’s Bath Scrub specially made for me :)

V made these gorgeous rocky road and oh boy! were they delicious. the family completely enjoyed chomping on them.

Rocky road

N made candles in a lovely vintage tea cup candles and fizzy bath bombs. Don’t they look just pretty?

Nisha's  Rose scented Candles and Fizzy bath bombs !! (Nisha's picture)

Nisha’s Rose scented Candles and Fizzy bath bombs !! (Nisha’s picture)

I have started with these lovely bottles of Mulling syrup. I was so impressed with the idea, but was debating the recipe for some time. When I finally made up my mind, I decided I would go about it just as I would do with my regular mulled wine which is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe and I am quite happy with the results.

So, the idea is to give someone a no-nonsense mulled wine. An easy way to whip up a glass of warm wine for themselves or those unexpected guests. Usually, mulled wine does involve little amounts of a lot of ingredients, which can be tedious to shop around for. And shopping for the spices is a separate story, especially if someone who is not into cooking will not have all the spices and you don’t want your loved ones to have a store-bought, ready-made mulled wine do you? That is where this fabulous idea of mulling syrup comes and once you have bottled it, all they have to do is warm up some nice fruity red wine and mix the syrup which is infused of all the necessary action. Isn’t that even a handy thing to keep at home to welcome you on those chilly nights after work? So, to get started with making this infused concentrated potion.

This recipe will make four ml bottles of Mulling syrup.

You will need : 4 Bottles sterilised (Wash them in hot water or a dish washer and dry them completely)

Mulled wine in preparation

Mulled wine in preparation

Ingredients : 

15 Cloves

6-8 Bay Leaves

4 Tsp Nutmeg powder

3 Clementines

2 lemons

1 Lime

5 Cinnamon sticks

2 Vanilla pods

6 Star Anise

1 Kg sugar

Mulled Wine

Method : 

Halve the clementines, lemons and lime. Mix all the ingredients in a deep pan and add 3 liters of water. Boil the mixture for about an hour . Keep the lid on for the first 20 minutes so the aroma, and flavours are infused to some extent and then for the rest of the duration you can keep the lid off. This only makes the process quicker and within an hour you should have concentrated, sweet and infused syrup.

Let the syrup cool. Once cooled, filter the syrup and fill the bottles.

To make Mulled wine from this syrup :

Add 500 ml syrup in one ltr of a good fruity red wine and bring it to boil. Serve warm mulled wine and enjoy the instant warmth that it provides.

Have a merry Christmas and a Happy New year!!

Beetroot Gnocchi & Castello white with truffle cheese

So when I trailed my way along with some girlfriends Suchi from Kitchen Karma, Nisha from Kitchenantics and Sandya Hariharan from Sandya’s Kitchen to the Castello Cheese pop up store event, little did I know that I will be so overwhelmed with all the cheese that is on show. The aim of the pop store is to introduce their amazing collection of cheeses from rest of the world to the deprived cheese lovers in UK :) . Honestly, why are these cheeses not in UK? Anyway I hope the lovely people who visited the pop up store in Shoreditch have voted for some good cheese so that they can bring it here for us to devour. The event itself was so much fun and we were personally excited about the spread of different wine and cheese pairings along with other condiments. And to top it up, the pairings were all presented and explained by Matt Day who was very keen in sharing his ideas and giving us tips on how to choose our drinks. We were also handed out a chart which illustrates all the featured pairing which is quiet handy for people who do not take notes at events like this and only focus on eating :) …yes, I have my priorities and I tend to stick to them most of the time :). Talking about priorities, we were also served delicious canapés while the one and only Sapient Gastranout, Stephen gate is showering us with all the information regarding the event and the concept store.


Canapé's and the Spread at the event

Canapé’s and the Spread at the event

That night, we returned home satisfied with our cheese and wine intake, lots of inspiration to use the variety of cheese in our culinary experiments, tons of enthusiasm to immediately host a cheese & wine party at home and a gorgeous goody bag filled with a complete set of cheese pairings. While I and my son gobbled almost all of the pineapple halo cheese as a midnight snack, I saved some white truffle cheese for something special which I am so pleased to share it with you today.

Real cheese lovers always argue that cheese has to be enjoyed as it is and usually do not support cooking it. But I am sure I can nudge them to agree with me that cheese sauces play a very significant role for most pastas. Especially, when I tasted the white truffle soft cheese, it was invariably piquant and I instantly decided that I could set it up with some sweet and mild gnocchi and the marriage will have lasting results J and so the story of Beetroot gnocchi and Castello white with Truffle cheese sauce has come into being and my dear lovely readers …… was a success.



The beetroot Gnocchi recipe was basically worked out looking at various methods out there, but if you want a reference and see what happens in between Indian Simmer has a nice video. Cheese sauce recipe is however, a standard recipe but I deliberately kept it very simple and did not want to twiddle with the flavour of the cheese itself.


Let’s get cooking:


Serves 4 portions

For Gnocchi

5 large boiled potatoes – Use good floury kind like Maris piper or King Edward

2 beetroots

1 Cup Plain Flour

1 Egg

For Cheese Sauce:

150 grams Castello White truffle soft Cheese

½ Cup Milk

2 Tbsp Plain Flour



For the Gnocchi Let me warn you, it seems tricky and is a very messy job. But home-made gnocchi is always so much better than dried store-bought. The texture is entirely different.

Chop the beet into quarters, place them a sauce pan, cover the lid and let them dry roast on low flame. The moisture in the vegetable should be good enough to facilitate the cooking and should not stick to the pan.

Alternatively, place them on the baking tray and roast them in the oven at about 150 degrees. We need at least some of the juices of the beetroot to be retained. Puree the beetroots without any extra water and keep aside.

Mash the potatoes and run them through the ricer to make a smooth mash. Add the egg, beetroot puree and quarter of the flour.

Knead the dough and keep adding more flour as you knead. Use the rest of the flour only if you need. The dough will not be hard but you should be able to work with it with lots of flour on you worktop.

Divide the dough into 3 large balls. Roll it into a thick sausage shape and cut the dough further to form the final gnocchi.

Beetroot Gnocchi

Beetroot Gnocchi


Now, you can use a fork and run the gnocchi over it to form a shape or roll them into small balls or just leave them as it is like I have. Gives a nice rustic, homemade feel to it isn’t?

At this stage you can either refrigerate the gnocchi or freeze them untill you decide to use them.

Hand made - Beetroot Gnocchi

Beetroot Gnocchi


When you are ready to prepare the gnocchi, fill a deep sauce pan with water, bring it to boil and add the gnocchi . Your gnocchi is ready, as soon as they float to the top. Remove them from heat, drain the water , run them through some cold water and keep aside untill you make your sauce.

For the sauce, in a saucepan, add some unsalted butter. As it melts, add 2 tbsp. of plain flour and stir it for a minute or so, add the milk and keep stirring until there are no lumps. Now for the fun part, turn the heat to low and add the Castello  white with truffle cheese and stir until it forms a lovely silky sauce. Serve immediately, over the beetroot gnocchi and top it with some fresh ground pepper.


Beetroot Gnocchi - Served Cheese Sauce with truffle

Beetroot Gnocchi – Served Cheese Sauce with truffle


Hyderabadi Dum Biriyani and a tribute to my Grandpa

If you set the scene back to 90’s and walk into our house in Hyderabad you will find a bunch of kids and adults at the dinning table getting ready to eat. Observe closely and you will see everyone on the table including the adults, are nervous as if they were in a very serious game show. The last person to join the table is an elderly man in his white Kurta pyjama, with a television remote in his hand and a bottle of buttermilk. As he settles at the table, he maintains his stern look but does not make eye contact with anyone. The food is served and everyone is trying hard to focus on their meal, eat quickly and escape whatever is going to happen soon. But, you cannot avoid the inevitable and a deep voice cuts the silence. ‘Who is the current irrigation minister?’ is the first question put to the kids and the vein of questions follow during the course of the meal. The adults are expected to answer, when the kids fail to give the correct answer. That person who terrified us with his voice, looks and questions is my most beloved grandpa.


A retired air force personnel, grandpa is a hero for us in the family. He enjoyed narrating stories and jokes from his service days. Although most of the times he used to burst into laughter  even before he finished the joke and we used to stand there waiting for the joke to be finished . Meanwhile, my grandmother used to get so annoyed waiting that she used to sulk and walk away. Sometimes, he used to take control of TV for hours which again annoyed my grandma. But there are times he showed how  protective and caring he could be of her that really wowed many of us. He is, just in that matter a typical indian husband who does not express his love for his wife but definitely show it when the time comes. He was very fascinated by the world affairs. He followed the news and read so much about the west that he spoke about the brands and the local brands, habits and people as if he lived there. Tinned sardines and tuna from london were his favourite.

One of the positive side effects of old age is, people get more relaxed and open up as the years pass by. Exactly, the same thing happened with my Grandpa. I was so shocked, when my son, who my grandpa calls ‘Napoleon’ said ‘ I am not afraid of Grandpa the great’ ….I was like what do you mean you are NOT afraid, everyone is scared of Grandpa :) ..But then I realised the bond they had was completely different. Grandpa’s face used to lit up when he saw his great grand son. He starting showing the numerous stamps and coins he collected all his life, which he never let anyone see them, let alone touch them. Napoleaon also admired ‘Grandpa The Great’ (that’s what he calls my Grandpa) and was amaze by the fact that he was in air force. The duo even had a flying lesson via skype.


I am dreading this years visit to India where I will not get to see grandpa anymore. The last 45 days have been very difficult for me since he passed away. I thought living far away from them and not being a part of the rituals and ceremony’s would be good in a way because I can keep myself busy in my daily routine and forget about everything.But I was wrong, being far away, you don’t get the closure you need, the wound never heals.Making plans to go to India has never been so painful.

Coming back to Grandpa and the things he loved, he had admirable passion towards food. He used to declare his desire to eat a specific dish from a specific place and sometimes at specific time. He loved his food. Fish and chicken especially were his favourites and one of them have to be cooked on sunday. He always made sure coconut rice and potato kurma was prepared on a certain day. He declared himself  Mulslim only to celebrate Ed and eat biriyani. We kid is actually  believed him to some extent. He tried all the biriyani places in Hyderabad and secunderabad. He could even tell from where the biriyani came.

On his 90th birthday today, I am sharing his favourite Hyderabadi chicken Dum Biriyani recipe. Hyderabadi biriyani is the most popular Biriyani’s ever. People from all over the world visit Hyderabad to try the Biriyani. They say it is a blend of flavours from Moughul and telugu kitchen which was invented by the Nizams. The recipe itself  is usually kept very much under covers by most chefs. So, I never got the recipe from the person whose Biriyani I liked. But I offered/pretended to help my friend’s mum in her kitchen 😝 And picked up up some tricks. Later , using the basics , I just tried and tested so may recipes untill I hit the nail (I think I did) last month. This a Kacchi Biriyani where the meat is marinated at least for 5 hours and layered raw with rice which is cooked on ‘Dum’ ie., steam.


This recipe makes enough biriyani for 10 people.


For the marinade: 

1.5 kilos Chicken

5 Tbsp Yogurt

3 Tbsp Chilly powder

4 Tsp Cumin powder

4 Tsp Coriander powder

2 Tsp salt

4 Tsp Garam Masala powder

3 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste

For The Rice  : 

750 Grams Rice

12 Cloves

12 Cardamom

3 Tsp B lack Cumin

6 Bay Leaves

6 Cinnamon sticks

5 Star Anise

5 Mace

For the rest of the method : 

3 Onions

Orange Food Color

Juice of 1 lemon

Few strands of Saffron soaked in 2 Tsps of milk

8 Green Chillies

5 Cloves

5 Cardamon

5 Cinnamon

3 Mace

3 Star Anise

4 Bay Leaves

1 Tsp  Black Cumin

5 TBsp Oil

Oil for frying Onions


Method : 

Slice the Onions and deep fry them in oil till they turn light brown in color. Keep them aside.

Boil 1Ltr water with all the spices from the ingredients listed  for the rice. Let the spices boil in the water with the lid closed for at least 10-15 minutes. The idea is to extract all the flavours into the water.

Once the water is ready, add another 500 ml of water and the rice.

Add salt and 1 TBsp oil or purified butter.  Let the Rice cook for about 8 minutes or until the rice is half-cooked.

Drain the rice and cool it instantly by running cold water to stop it from any more cooking. keep the rice aside.

In a huge vessel , heat 5 Tbsp oil, add  half of the fried onions, green chillies, spices and saute them for 2 minutes

Add the marinated chicken and saute it again for not more than 2 minutes.

For the next few steps, keep the flame really low.

Remove all the chicken from heat except some to form the first layer.

Place the rice as the second layer, garnish the layer with 1 tsp of lemon juice, few fried onions.

Repeat layering chicken and rice alternatively while garnishing the fried onions and lemon juice.

On the top layer, sprinkle the saffron along with the milk . The color will be absorbed by the food vertically giving it a nice multi coloured rice.

Do the same with the orange food color. Sprinkle it on the top layer.

Now the tricky Bit – DUM

Dum is essentially cooking on trapped pressure or steam. In out kitchens we can use various tools to achieve this.

Keep the flame medium. Place a huge pancake pan and then place the vessel you are the biriyani in. This is moderate the heat and avoid the bottom getting burnt since it’s not direct heat.

Cover the lid and secure it with kitchen foil so the steam does not escape.Place a heavy utensil or a brink on the lid to make sure the steam does not escape.

Let the biriyani cook on dum for 45 mins. Check if the rice and meat has cooked. Pop everything back on if it isn’t and give it another 10 minutes. Serve the biriyani hot with raita. And when you serve make sure you  do not mix the layers . The proper way to serve Biriyani is in its layers.

Enjoy  making this mouth-watering ish from Hyderabad and do share your biriyani pictures. I would love to see how your Biriyani turned out an if you have any other tips to share.


Plum Jam


Hey hey my lovely readers. I hope you all had a great summer. Mine has been amazing because I took a break from work, from blogging, from even house keeping :) to spend the summer holidays with my son. I have had so many instances l couldn’t be around for him. Although, my gorgeous little boy (ok lets call him GLB) never complained, it does hurt when you have to miss a christmas production at school, or a concert because of work. So, to compensate all that, this summer was filled with multiple visits to various museums, lots of tennis, park visits, visits to ice cream parlours and numerous sleepovers with his cousins and friends. Ofcourse, I kept out of sleepover’s …err most of the time :). This super indulgence has gone so far, that now my GLB suggested that I should go back to work and also thought it would be good if the work hours are longer so he can spend some time with his friends. Oh well, kids are kids, they don’t understand the sacrifice we parents make. Staying at home and trying to be with them 24 hrs is not easy Hehe :P …(actually it is fun !!) . Ok so one of our summer outing was pick your farm. Now, kids love picking fruit an veg. Even the one, they don’t enjoy eating. It is a fun excercise for them and then the real test is when we are back home, you have plan all your meals for the next 20 days around the fruit and veg you brought home. Something like that happened to us. We picked huge quantities of plums. 3 Kilos to be precise. Now for first 1 kilo, I have managed to stuff it up my husband in the form of fruit and smoothies. He is our food disposal system most of the time. The rest of the plums, are going too ripe, so I had decided to go Jamming …which of course was a lot of Jam but everyone loved it.






Now for the part of making the jam. I have used the most easy method I know. My mum’s mantra for Jam is equal amounts of sugar and fruit. But, if she was making this Jam she would have pealed the plums, but I didn’t bother. They were too many of them. But trust me, it is just fine…if you don’t have the time or patience, just leave the skin on.

And for the sugar, normal sugar is ok to use but it is easy to find Sugar with pectin in the super markets these days. It speeds up the process and thickens the Jam quickly. Pectin is a jelling agent that is found is citrus fruits. So, if you can’t find sugar with pectin, just add a little extra lemon juice to compensate. Now for the procedure :



Ingredients : 

1 kg Plums (Yield will be  close to 1.5 kG)

1 Kg Sugar with pectin  (if you don’t have pectin – then add about 1 TBsp. lemon juice)

25 grams unsalted butter






Halve  the plums and remove the seed. Put them in a deep pan on medium heat to cook slowly. Once they release all the liquids in them and start to cook completely, add the sugar and lemon juice. Let the mixture cook again on medium heat untill all the sugar is dissolved.

Keep stirring occasionally making sure the jam at the bottom is not getting burnt. After about 10 minutes, reduce the heat to low and leave it to cook again for 10 min. The jam should start to thicken at this point. Leave it to cool and repeat the process two more times of bringing the jam to boil on medium heat and cooling it down.

I do not use the thermometer to check the setting point etc. I don’t have the tools and everyone has their own preferences when it comes to how think or runny Jam should be. I check the consistency of the jam when it gets to room temperature. It should be obviously start to look like …’Jam’, and when you run your finger through it should form a definite line. If you are in a hurry to do this test, then just pop a spoon of the mixture in a bowl, put it in the freezer for a min and check the consistency. If you are not happy with the consistency, just place the Jam back on heat and bring to boil again untill you get the desired thickness.

I hope you like my a little tedious but easy peesy summer fruit Jam recipe and I really would like if you try it and share your thoughts on this post.