Ria's Collection: July 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013


Ian's Birthday Cake

This post has taken me the longest to write.I really don't know where to start or what to say.I want everything to be perfect when it comes to our Ian Vaava.I see myself stretching my limits to the maximum (I always thought I knew where that maximum limit of mine was,oh well!) when it comes to doing things for our baby.I am sure it's the same with almost all parents.

Ian's Birthday Cake

Can you believe that he's been with us for more than a year now? I still very clearly remember telling you about his arrival last July. I still remember the way he looked at me when I first laid my eyes on him.His eyes were wide open and he was looking straight into mine,lying down on my chest ...all bundled up.Our bundle of joy!He was and still is, the most wonderful smelling thakkudu kuttappan!

Ian's Birthday Cake

That little darling of ours just turned the BIG ONE last Monday,22 July.The party was not until Saturday,the 27th when all our close friends came together for a Picnik Birthday Party on an Island by the Mississippi. It was good fun. Ian had a lovely evening with his friends.I don't have any photographs from the party,our photographer will send them to us,shortly. Once we recieve it, I'll share some with you all!

Ian's Birthday Cake

I baked 2 cakes for him.The Mr.Bear cake inspired from Bakeaboo was for the big bash and the other one was for his little party at home.I wanted that cake to reflect what he is. So I jotted down all his current favourite words on top of the cake, so that,we will always remember what he liked and blabbered at that age.I wanted it to look as homemade as possible, so the decor was bare minimum. The dots you see around the edges of the cake was piped when he was on my hips, so the line has gone haywire! :-)

Menu for the First Birthday Party

Carrot - Lemon Cooler

Sesame Crusted Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches
Chinese Spring Rolls
Curried Crepes with Curried Veggie Filling
Petite Caramelised Mushroom & Onion Tarts
Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
Veggie Sloppy Joes
Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread
Birthday Cake

Wednesday, July 17, 2013



Let me tell you something other than food first. Ian Vaava took his first few unassisted steps and walked towards me last week! Ever since, he's been trying to reach his attention grabbing places on his own. Sometimes,I catch him running along the couch just barely touching it with his tiny fingers! I don't think he knows what he is doing but I am super duper excited! So is Jobin.

Now the cake. This is one of the prettiest,unadorned cakes that I've baked. I mean, just look at it. Look how marvelously speckled it is. Black dots against the lemony yellow! I found it so hard not to stare at my fat slice before eating it.

It is so beautiful,slice after slice.

This cake is super easy to make. Mainly because it's a one-bowl recipe and it does not need an electric mixer. All it needs is a wooden spoon/whisk to whip up this wonderful speckled lemony cake batter. The recipe is super simple to fix and it hardly takes any time.Then there's a twist to Melissa's recipe. It doesn't call for butter,instead, extra virgin olive oil. I was excited to try this recipe,mostly because of the olive oil part.

I wanted to know if the taste of olive oil would be strong,so I tasted some of the batter just to have an idea. It was very faint,I mean if someone else made the cake batter and asked me to taste it, I would have never guessed there was olive oil in it. On that note, let me tell you, I am an olive oil lover. I love dipping my bread into it. If you think you are not going to like it's taste, you can substitute it with another oil, like vegetable or canola. But, I really think you will like this cake as is. Try it, you will like it for sure!
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
Zest of 2 lemons
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoon lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

Method: Preheat the oven to 350 F /180C. Grease and flour an 8- inch loaf tin.
In a medium bowl, rub together sugar and lemon zest until they resemble wet sand. Whisk in the buttermilk, 3 tablespoon lemon juice and the eggs. Whisk the dry ingredients into the batter followed by the poppy seeds and olive oil .Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until done.
As soon as the cake is warm to touch, invert it onto a cooling rack. Turn cake right side up.
Whisk together 4 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and brush it over the top and sides of the cake. Let it cool completely before slicing.
This cake, truly is wonderful. If you cannot find poppy seeds,omit them and bake. I can assure you the taste would remain the same. We adored this speckled cake,so did our friends whom we shared it with. Ian Vaava was waiting for me to finish photographing the cake so that he could dig into it. I am so happy that he enjoys whatever we give him!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Indian Egg Curry

Some of you may have noticed that I call eggs 'Motta' instead of 'Mutta' in my mother tongue,Malayalam. We always called 'Motta' a 'Motta' at home. Initially, I was unaware of it until my school friends made fun of me whenever I said so. Anyway, I still continue calling it the same. It really doesn't matter as long whatever you make out of it turns out good!

Indian Egg Curry

I love pairing a motta curry with Chapathi. I can eat many many chapathi's in such instances. I am a Chapathi lover, if you didn't know that already. I can eat it 3 times a day. I also absolutely love making Chapathis at home, especially the kneading part. I equally love the portioning of the dough, rolling it out , smearing some oil, folding the dough, rolling it out into squares/ triangles/ circles depending on my mood and fancy and finally cooking it and seeing it puff up on my precious round cast iron skillet. See, I even enjoy typing out the whole Chapathi making process. I simply love it! Oh, and if you want to see that precious round cast iron skillet of mine, you can, in my 5 Minute 2 Ingredient Pizza photographs!

Indian Egg Curry

Now, getting on to the Motta part of the curry. This is made with hard boiled eggs. I feel the need to stress of the word 'hard' boiled eggs. It doesn't mean, the eggs are boiled until the yolks end up being rubbery, hard & chewy. I hate such eggs and always makes me want to throw up. There's a way you can make perfect hard boiled eggs.It's super simple. If you follow the steps correctly, you will always have the perfectly cooked eggs.

Indian Egg Curry

This curry of mine,is way too different from what Amma makes.I always fail at replicating her's here, in my kitchen. So I have to be satisfied with this version of mine, which is really good, in it's own way. One thing I hate about Motta curries when I eat out is that most people slice their onions lengthwise and don't saute it long enough that they maintain their shape and don't melt into the sauce. I like the onions and tomatoes to be diced so that they can blend into the sauce but still maintain a crunch of it's own. Yes, I'm a bit weird! Also, if you want a South Indian touch to this curry, you can garnish it with curry leaves. Or else, garnish it with cilantro!

Indian Egg Curry
My own recipe

4 hard boiled eggs (recipe at the end)
1/3 cup oil
2 large onions, diced
2 medium tomatoes,diced
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 cup water
1 cup thick coconut milk OR heavy cream OR whole milk
Salt to taste
1 sprig curry leaves  OR a handful chopped cilantro
Method: Heat oil in a large pan,with sides.Once the oil is hot, add the diced onions along with a pinch of salt and saute until they turn soft. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking,mushing it up occasioanlly until all the water from tomatoes have evaporated. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes,stirring.Add water and cook until it reduces a bit.Add coconut milk/heavy cream/whole milk and let it heat through completely. Adjust seasoning.Add the boiled & sliced eggs into it. Garnish with curry leaves/cilantro and serve hot!
How to boil eggs perfectly, everytime: Take a saucepan with tall sides and fill three quarters of it with room temperature water/ tap water. Drop in the eggs carefully.Keep the saucepan on the stove and turn on the heat. Bring it to a rolling boil and turn down the heat to medium.Set the timer for 12 minutes. Turn off the stove and take the saucepan off it. Pour out the hot water and refill the saucepan with cold tap water and let the eggs sit in it for 5 mins. Peel the eggs and use as desired.
If you don't pour out the hot water immediately after the eggs are boiled and let it sit in there for a long time, the yolks will turn greenish-gray.

Jobin wanted me to make the egg curry in a different way but when I set out to make this, I warned him that I might deviate from that route and go the way it forms in my head.And that's exactly what happened. The curry was finger licking good.It had the richness of the coconut milk, mostly because I use the tinned coconut milk.If you like your curry to be on the thin side, add more liquid as you please. I mean, any curry recipe should act as a base for you and you can always modify it to your liking! I didn't share this with Ian Vaava as I didn't want to set his mouth on fire :-) He is too tiny to handle this amount of heat!

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Things are all good here. How about you,all? We are very busy planning our Someone Little's Big Day,which is this month.The menu is fixed and now we have to get other things done. As the days are approaching  our Baby's Big Day,I am kind of feeling sad thinking he is no more a tiny fellow! He will be a year old ! How fast the time flies, right?


I baked this cake well over 2 months ago and the photographs were still in my camera until last week. It's not that I don't get the time to write here, it's just that I chose to spend more time with Ian Vaava. He needs me much more than my blog baby!
Oh well! I changed something on the blog today. Did you see it yet? No? It's something on the right hand side bar. Okay, now that you just saw it, let me tell you... Jobin did it :-)


This cake is quite good for the fact that it doesn't use butter,milk or eggs! It's not that we prefer eggless bakes, its just that I like to try different recipes to compare with the ones I've made in the past. When I saw Hetal & Anuja bake this up, I made a note in my mind to try it out because it looked very simple and delicious!

The texture and taste for this cake is spot on. It is intensely chocolate-y and at the same time vanilla-y! The batter for both the flavours are almost the same. Look at the recipe closely and you will see what I am talking about. So it's just the mixing part that's left! I prefered making a bundt cake and topped it with some Chocolate Ganache. You can frost it or eat it plain. It is delectable, either way!

Chocolate cake batter
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon coffee granules
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoon oil

Vanilla cake batter
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoon oil

Method: Preheat the oven to 350/180C. Prepare a 10-12 cup capacity bundt tin.
For both the batters, the method remains the same. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.Now, combine the wet and dry together until you get a smooth batter. Once both the chocolate and vanilla batter is made,pour them alternately into the pan and swirl the cake batter with a butter knife gently, for the marbled effect. Bake for 35-40 mins or until done. Cool completely.Frost as desired.

I made this for a friend of ours when they came home for dinner,on a Friday night. They loved the cake and she asked me if it's okay if she could take some home with her! I was more than pleased to do so. Ian Vaava as always, enjoyed each crumb of this cake. I baked the same cake, again in a weeks time for Jobin's  niece's First Holy Communion. Everyone seemed to have liked it! :-)

I am hoping to be in full swing action,on the blog, very soon!
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