Rosewater tart with pistachios and white chocolate


It all starts with a rosewater tart. The guy takes the girl to his favourite bakery that's known for its spectacular rosewater tarts. She tries the tart and of course, falls in love with it, with him and they live happily ever after.

The germ of the idea took root in my head. A rosewater tart with pistachios and white chocolate seemed like something that was doable and if it worked, would be a good celebration recipe for the blog's twelfth birthday!

Lucky me - all ingredients were on hand but not the time. Nor an oven! There was nothing wrong with old faithful but it was time for a change after almost 20 years of service. The new oven came just in time for me to bake my version of a rosewater tart. 

The base of the tart was a sweet pastry with ground pistachios and baked in a perforated tart pan. Even though I had greased it, but not too well in hindsight, the tart stuck to the sides after baking. Well, patience, and a sharp knife pays and I managed to get the shell out without damage. It's another matter that I spent the rest of the afternoon pushing out bits of pistachio from the holes 🙄

The filling is simplicity itself - white chocolate ganache flavoured with rosewater. You could use rose essence in a pinch but I prefer rosewater. (Do go easy on the flavouring as the dried petals you will use later will add to the aroma and flavour.) I had some extra ground pistachios and decided to add it to the ganache for texture. It took on a slightly greenish hue which I thought looked real pretty,  and contrasted beautifully with the red of the preserve. 

A couple of months ago, a good friend from Coonoor gifted me a jar of strawberry preserves that she had made. She had used only half the amount of sugar and for my tart, that was the perfect amount of sweetness since I didn't want a cloyingly sweet one. If you're making this recipe, you could make a strawberry compote and use that. The combination of rosewater and strawberries is a perfect summer dessert.

Rosewater tart with pistachios and white chocolate

Ingredients for the tart base

225 gm flour
Pinch of salt
110 gm cold butter, cut in small pieces
50 gm sugar
30 gm raw pistachios
Yolk of 1 egg, beaten
A little ice water to mix
8" tart pan

Rosewater white chocolate ganache
140 ml fresh cream
350 gm white chocolate, chopped
About 2 - 3 tsps rosewater
30 gm ground pistachios
1/2 cup strawberry preserve or strawberry compote

To decorate
Sliced pistachios
Dried rose petals

Grease the base and sides an 8" tart pan.
(My tart mould measured 9" x 3". I had enough pastry left over to make a smaller 5" tart).

Place the sugar and pistachios into a grinder or food processor, process them together till finely ground.

Sift together the flour and salt. Rub in the butter, add the ground sugar and pistachio. Mix together, add in the beaten yolk and enough ice water to form a dough. ( I use a food processer to combine all the ingredients together.)

Once the dough is formed, roll it out on a lightly floured worktop. (For the rectangular mould, I placed the tray on the pastry and pushed it down to cut out the base). The remaining pastry was cut into broad strips, brushed with water and placed along the sides. Use a sharp knife to cut out all the extra bits of pastry sticking out along the side. Dock the centre with a fork to prevent the pastry from rising.

Chill the pastry for about 20 minutes

Preheat the oven to 175°C and bake blind for about 20 minutes. Once the pastry takes on a warm golden hue, remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Gently remove the pastry from the mould and place on a plate. Keep aside.

Rosewater white chocolate ganache
Warm the cream.
Pour it over the chopped white chocolate.
Leave aside for about 5 minutes and then gently stir them together till the chocolate has melted completely.

Add in the rosewater, taste as you go along to avoid using too much.
Stir in the ground pistachios and mix well.

To assemble
Apply a thin layer of strawberry preserve or compote on the base of the tart shell.
Pour the ganache over this till the very top of the tart.
Chill the tart for an hour or so.
Decorate with sliced pistachios and rose petals.
Chill for another 2 hours before slicing and serving.

Spinach and three cheese muffins


What is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? 

A lot, apparently! 
The ingredients are similar but it's the method of mixing that sets them apart. While muffins can be sweet or savoury, I don't think there are savoury cupcakes, unless someone forgot to add the sugar to the batter!

To go back to the question, cupcakes are light and fluffy mini cakes made by the creaming method. Many of them are frosted to add to the visual appeal and taste. Muffins are classified as quick breads, contain more baking powder and baking soda in the batter which helps them rise. Dry and wet ingredients are measured separately and when combined, the mixing is minimal, often done with just a spatula. The finished batter might even look lumpy.  Overmixed batter will result in dense muffins with tunnels. Savoury muffins do not have any sugar in them.

For the 11th year of Baketales, I decided that a vegetarian recipe would be nice for a change. Those of you who have ordered from me know that I try to avoid baking anything vegetarian. It's a baking block that I have, the equivalent of a mental block. But blocks are meant to be surmounted.

My favourite taste tester was in the midst of Lent when I decided to experiment with no egg muffins. There would be spinach, corn and the non negiotable addition of cheese. Heck! Make it with two kinds of cheese or, while we're at it, even three!

Equal portions ensure even baking

Thus was born this recipe for Spinach and three cheese muffins. Fresh out of the oven, the muffins tasted delicious. Soft, tangy, textured and wholesome. I've seen muffins slathered with butter but these muffins need no such embellishment. 

Perfectly baked muffin

These muffins are perfect for breakfast or teatime, great for packing in lunchboxes or to just to graze on. They store well in the fridge, can be eaten hot, warm or cold and in fact, taste better after a few days when the flavours mellow and meld.

Corn, sundried tomato, spinach, crumbled feta, garlic

There were a couple of additional ingredients too - garlic and sundried tomato. I think they do enhance the overall taste.

Once made, the batter needs to be portioned and popped into a hot oven immediately. Do make sure all the ingredients are on hand before you start.

To prepare the spinach, remove stalks from the leaves and wash well to remove grit.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Prepare a bowl with cold water and ice cubes in it.
When the water boils, add in spinach leaves.
Push the leaves into the water with a pair of tongs for about 30 seconds. Drain the water through a colander and lift out the leaves and plunge them into the cold water bath.
Gather the leaves and squeeze them to remove the water.
Chop the leaves and keep them aside. 

It's a rough & lumpy batter

Spinach and three cheese muffins (makes 12 muffins)

(Dry ingredients)
250 gm plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

(Wet ingredients)
330 ml milk at room temperature 
90 gm melted butter at room temperature 
1/4 cup yoghurt at room temperature 

Other ingredients 
150 gm spinach, blanched and chopped
60 gm corn kernels, steamed
100 gm feta cheese, crumbled 
50 gm grated cheddar cheese
50 gm sundried tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 190°C, line a12-cavity muffin tray with paper liners and keep aside.

Sift all the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.

Make a well in the centre with a spatula and add in the chopped spinach, corn, sundried tomato, garlic, feta and cheddar cheese. Give it all a quick mix.

Pour the milk, butter and and yoghurt into a large cup, mix with a whisk and pour it over the flour mix.

Fold everything together, making sure to mix as little as possible.

Use a scoop to portion the mix equally between the muffin cups to ensure even baking.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the tops and bake for about 25 minutes or till done.
When they are baked, they should be golden. Test with a toothpick to ensure that the batter is cooked through.

Healthy, savoury muffins

So there you have it - 12 golden, all veg, easy to make muffins that I'm sure you will devour in no time.  

Pecanish chocolate chip cookies


Are you a fan of cookies?

I certainly am. Especially those big ones with chocolates chips. Flakes of sea salt on the top would have maximum appeal. Bite into them and the balance of sweet and salt is just delicious Yup, my favourite ones. 

Today, on the 10th year of Baketales,  I went all out and made a batch of them and guess what - I'm going to share the recipe with you. Of course, since it's for a celebration,  I've added in my favourite chocolate chip cookie ingredients - dark chocolate chips (of course), white chocolate chips and pecans. And flakes of seasalt. 

These cookies are pretty simple to make, you can sub the pecans with any other kind of nuts. You can leave out the white chips and add more dark ones. You can divide the dough into 10 and make giant sized cookies, it's a cool recipe that way. But don't skip the part about chilling the dough, that's what makes them thick after baking.

They are chewy, nutty and what I love the most is when you bite into one of those chocolate chips. Because they have melted, it's like a pool of chocolate that suddenly floods your mouth. In fact, if you get to buy chocolate chunks (or even cut a bar of chocolate into chunks), I assure you that the experience will be sublime.

So without further ado, let's dive into the recipe.

Pecanish chocolate chip cookies (makes 15 cookies) 


220 gm flour

1 tsp cornflour 

1/2 tsp baking soda 

1/2 tsp salt 

125 gm butter at room temperature 

1 tsp vanilla extract

120 gm brown sugar

90 gm granulated sugar 


120 gm dark chocolate chips

60 gm white chocolate chips 

100 gm chopped pecans

Flaked sea salt


Sift together the first four ingredients,  keep aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and vanilla extract for about 2 minutes.

Add in both kinds of sugar, beat at high speed for another 2 minutes.

Beat in egg till the dough is creamy.

Add in dry ingredients in 3 batches, also add in the chocolate chips and pecans.

Mix it well with a spatula till there are no streaks of flour.

Transfer to a bowl with an airtight lid and refrigerate for 4 - 24 hours. 

Divide into 15 cookies and place on a parchment-lined baking tray.

Flatten the cookies a little. 

Bake in a preheated 170°C oven for about 10 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven, sprinkle over a few flakes of salt and put back into the oven for another 8 - 10 minutes. 

Remove from the oven, let cool to room temperature.  

To store, pack into an airtight container. Cookies will stay good for 3 - 4 days though they are best on the day they are made.

Thank you dear readers for being a part of my blog. I do hope you will make these cookies and do share your pics with me in the comments section. 


Mediterranean medley at Bayroot


The problem with being tech challenged is that when something stops working, one doesn't know how to proceed. Used to working on the desktop, one fine day the hard drive crashed and with it, my blogging life too. All my photos, files, class notes, everything vanished into thin air. The ignominy was to listen to the husband's and son's "we told you so" (nope, didn't back up any of my files). 

After moping all through the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, I finally decided to befriend my phone. Clumsy fingers ensure that every post gets redone at least 6 times but hey, at least the job gets done. For example, this is the 4th time I'm drafting this one.

Green Meadows Resort is truly a hidden gem. Good mid eastern food is almost impossible to get in Chennai and then Bayroot comes along and proves otherwise. 

Only my second visit there and I'm so taken up with the place, the food and the service. 

This time around, the long, leisurely lunch was in the company of two lovely ladies. The eclectic menu offers not just middle eastern food but also Italian, Japanese, Asian, Thai and Indian - did I miss anything 🤔

Honey chilli lotus root was crunchy (nothing worse than soggy lotus root) and the medley of flavours was delish

Khatafi prawn with walnut paste was impressive. Rice vermicelli was used to wrap the prawns and the end result was all kinds of delectable. Though the prawns were large, they were succulent to the last bite.

Vegetable moussaka, surrounded by a pool of tahini sauce, was simply epic. Lighter than the usual bechamel, this was a brilliant combination that had us scraping our plates clean.

If you like duck, just order the duck confit with creamy polenta and jus. The portion of duck was pretty large but so beautifully done that it practically fell off the bone. The creamy polenta was the perfect accompaniment. 

After a meal like this, dessert was going to be an indulgence so we shared a biscoff cheesecake. Served upside down, the moreish cheesecake came with a scoop of ice cream. Like I said, it was an indulgence. 

Our meal for 3, along with mocktails, worked out to about 1000/ per head. Which is fine, considering the quality of the food and top notch service. 

Bayroot is at Green Meadows Resort 
4, 364 Anna Salai Road, 
Chennai 600041.

Stuffed eggs


During the lockdown last year, we were gifted some duck eggs. While I do like to eat eggs, I'm rather finicky about how I like them cooked - well done to the point of springy. And they shouldn't have that eggy smell. Well, that's just me; for the men in the house, the runnier the better!! Duck eggs have a strong flavour and smell rather fishy so that ruled out the usual egg curry. 

Eons ago, I used to watch my mum make stuffed eggs. I do remember even helping her make them and so, with no recipe in hand but a vague memory of how it was done, I set out to make my version of stuffed eggs. Today, on the 9th birthday of Baketales, I decided to share with you all the recipe and especially because they turned out so good.

The first step is to hard boil the eggs. In case you're wondering how to do that, put the eggs into a large pot with enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil while gently stirring the eggs around. This step is mandatory as it ensures the yolks remain centered. As the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat till the water is barely simmering. You can stop stirring the eggs at this point. Allow the eggs to cook for 10 minutes.  At the end of the cooking time, remove the pot from the heat, drain the water and rinse the eggs a few times in cold water. When they are cool, shell the eggs and slice them lengthwise using a bit of sewing thread. Remove the yolks carefully, keep the whites intact and keep aside.

Chop the onions, green chillies, ginger and garlic finely. 

Heat a little oil in a frying pan, sauté the chopped ingredients and a sprig of curry leaves till golden brown. Grate in the egg yolks, remove from heat and mix well. Add salt to taste. 

When the mix has cooled down, divide into 12 and use it to fill the cavity of each egg white. Beat up the white of 1 egg, coat each filled "egg" and deep fry till just golden. That's it. 

You can make this recipe with chicken eggs too. It tastes just as good.

Stuffed eggs (makes 12)


6 duck (or chicken) eggs, boiled and shelled. Slice them into halves and carefully remove the yolks. 

2 big onions, diced fine

1" piece ginger, diced fine

6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced fine

2 -3 green chillies, chopped fine

1 sprig curry leaves 

2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Salt to taste

A little vinegar 


1 beaten egg white


Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan, sauté diced onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies and curry leaves till just beginning to turn a light brown. 

Remove pan from heat, grate in the yolks. 

Mix it all together with salt to taste, half a teaspoon of vinegar and coriander leaves.

Cool and divide into 12 portions, discard the curry leaves. 

Shape each portion into a round and fill the cavity of the egg white.

Heat oil in a pan, dip each stuffed egg into beaten white of egg and put into the hot oil, stuffed side down.  

When they turn golden, turn them around and repeat. 

Scoop out and remove onto paper towels. 

Serve with a tomato dip and enjoy stuffed eggs as an appetiser.

Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh by Holiday Inn Chennai


I took a trip to Lucknow for an Awadhi meal.

No, no, I didn't sneak past state borders nor did I break the quarantine imposed in Chennai. In fact, I didn't even step out of my house.

Fine, let me rephrase that. What I had was Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh, an Awadh food festival. It came from the kitchens of Holiday Inn Chennai, a labour of love by Chef Asif Iqbal and his team. It's a festival with a difference where the food was delivered fresh to my home.

Chef Asif

Adhering to the hygienic and no contact delivery norms, the food was brought by an associate of the hotel and left outside my front door.

Everything was neatly packed in disposable containers. I opened them to take photographs before transferring the contents into my own platters, in the process, it filled my home with such tantalising aromas.

Murgh tikka Zeenat

Fresh fresh salad

So much care had been taken even in arranging the food in foil containers. Finely sliced onions and peppers, a green chilly and half a lime shared space with super tender murgh tikka Zeenat. The mint chutney was perfect. There was even a green salad, the fresh and vibrant colours of the cucumber and carrot batons, salad leaves and tomato wedges and neatly sliced onions were so inviting.

Nawabi kumbh ki galouti

Nawabi kumbh ki galouti was stand out. The dark kebab practically melted in the mouth, leaving behind its earthy, umami flavour. The saffron bread that encased it was soft and tender, almost like a thinly rolled piece of pastry.

Dal sultani breado; shahi paneer; roomali rotis

Lagan ka murgh

Awadhi cuisine is known for its rich yet subtle flavours. The predominant spices seems to be cardamom and saffron and both were noticeable but added with a delicate hand. Shahi paneer had triangular pieces of paneer in a gravy that was thick yet smooth. Dal Sultani breado, with its mellow flavours, indicated a long and slow cooking process that resulted in lentils that were creamy yet full of texture. Lagan ka murgh, slow cooked chicken in a thick red gravy, was perfect with both nawaratan pulao and soft roomali rotis. While the colour was a tantalising red, the spice level was moderate. Portions are very generous.

Perfect nawaratan pulao garnished with sultanas, caramelised onions & diced apple

Zaffrani phirni

Our dessert was zaffrani phirni. It had the perfect creamy texture and wasn't too sweet either and it was cold. Slivers of almonds and saffron strands added texture and contrast to the smooth rice paste.

Pour yourself a glass of wine, put on some mellifluous Indian classical music and savour the delights of the royal flavours of Awadh in the comfort of your home.

Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh is happening now at Holiday Inn Chennai and the full course set menu is priced at 999/ per head, inclusive of taxes and delivery.

Orders can be placed by calling 044 66046604/ 7550111044 or 7824880968

Broccoli cheddar cheese soup


These days, my most favoured piece of kitchen equipment is the immersion blender. Cooking during a lockdown is indeed challenging for whomever is in charge of the cooking me  so we have soup for dinner most nights because a) it's light and b) I need only warm it just before we sit down for dinner. So yes - I do make it whilst I'm cooking lunch and chill it till dinnertime. Of course, it's not really soup weather these days but who cares when it's a matter of convenience.

It's April and at this time of the year, I'm usually busy rummaging through recipe books to find an apt recipe to celebrate the blog's birthday. Yes, we're 8 years old today.
However, this year, with the lockdown in place, I wanted to make something that was simple and which didn't need too many shmancy ingredients. What would be simpler than a soup?

I usually start by sautéing some onion, making a roux and then throwing in a few veggies along with stock, milk or water. Once the veggies are cooked, the immersion blender does its job and that's it.

So a broccoli and cheddar cheese soup was on my mind for some time and as luck would have it, the day before the lockdown, I got the husband to pick up a broccoli for me. Of course the man finds the biggest one possible and brings it home. Looks like he had broccoli cheddar soup on his mind too so no complaints.

 I followed my usual soup formula using broccoli florets, chopped onions and garlic, a carrot, some chicken stock, a little milk and lots of water. At dinnertime, after the soup  was warmed, some grated cheddar cheese was stirred through. My my...excellent potage! And you don't really need anything to serve it with. It's pretty filling on its own.

Broccoli cheddar cheese soup

1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced (optional)
500 gm cleaned broccoli florets, include the stalk too
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

2 tbsps butter
2 tbsps oil
3 tbsps plain flour (whole wheat is also fine)
1 cup stock - chicken or veg
1 cup milk
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to season
100 gm cheddar cheese, grated

Heat butter and oil in a large pan.
Sauté the diced onions and when light golden, add in the garlic and celery.
Stir in the flour and when it no longer smells raw, pour in the stock, milk and water.
When it starts to boil, add in broccoli florets and carrots.
Turn down the heat and cook it for about 15 -20 minutes with the lid off until the veggies become tender.
Adjust seasoning, add lots of pepper if you like more spice.
Remove the pot from the heat and when it cools a little, put your immersion blender to work and blend the mix. 
It's nice if the soup is not over-processed, a few chunks here and there give it more body.
Warm the soup before serving, stir the cheese through and check seasoning once more.

Don't boil the soup after adding the cheese - it might curdle.
If you like the soup hotter, sauté a couple of green chillies along with the onions.

Stay safe y'all. 

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