Double Coconut, Lime & Cardamom Cheesecake

So I ate a lot over the festive Diwali period. The kitchen was practically overflowing with mithai boxes and tubs of chakri, chevdo and gathiya. It was bloody brilliant but I’m glad to be back to my everyday Gujarati daal, bhaat, shaak and rotli (daal, curry, rice and chapattis). I definitely need a bit of normality in my life before Christmas feasting commences.

Double Coconut, Lime & Cardamom Cheesecake

A new dessert I made this year was this coconut, lime and cardamom cheesecake with exotic flavours galore. It’s a bit of a play on the traditional Diwali favourite, Coconut Barfi or Kopra Pak. Coconut is one of my favourite flavours in a dessert and there’s nothing quite like freshly-grated coconut in cakes, cookies and cheesecakes. I’ve used it as a topping and in the biscuit base for a double coconut hit.

This is an eggless baked cheesecake and the filling is made with a combination of ricotta, cream cheese and lime. It’s gloriously decadent with a hint of sharpness to cut through the richness of the coconutty cream. The edges of the cheesecake caramelise beautifully and the centre rises and falls just a little for a melt-in-the-mouth dessert that’s best served cold.

Double Coconut, Lime & Cardamom Cheesecake

Start making this cheesecake at least a day ahead to give it time to cool and set properly. You can make it up to three days in advance and keep refrigerated (the base may lose some crunch though) or make and freeze in an airtight container for up to three months.

Double Coconut, Lime & Cardamom Cheesecake

This is the ultimate dream of an eggless cheesecake for coconut lovers. With fresh lime and cardamom, it ticks all the boxes when it comes to exotic indulgence.

For the base:

  • 200 g coconut biscuits ((I use NICE biscuits))
  • 60 g sweetened desiccated coconut
  • 85 g unsalted butter ((melted))

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 500 g full-fat cream cheese
  • 500 g ricotta
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 80 ml freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp cornflour ((cornstarch))
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 green cardamom pods ((seeds removed and crushed))
  • 150 g fresh toasted coconut, to decorate

For the base:

  1. Combine the crushed biscuits, desiccated coconut and melted butter and firmly pat it into the bottom of a 24cm springform tin. Make sure it’s even and tightly compacted. Cover and refrigerate.

For the cheesecake filling:

  1. In a large bowl, beat together all of the ingredients until it becomes thick like softly-whipped cream. Don’t overmix.

  2. Spoon the mixture on top of the chilled biscuit base. Smooth the top down.

  3. Place this in a preheated oven at 160°C/320°F for 90 minutes, until golden. Don’t open the oven door at any point during cooking. It will drop the oven temperature and the cause the cheesecake to sink or crack. Once the cooking time is up, switch the oven off and leave the oven door closed until it is cold. The cheesecake will still be very wobbly at this stage. Just leave it in the oven.

  4. Once the cheesecake has cooled down completely (8+ hours), top with the fresh coconut and cover with cling film. Next, cover and refrigerate the whole cheesecake for 8-10 hours before cutting and serving.

  • Keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.

 

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Double Coconut, Lime & Cardamom Cheesecake




Birthday Cake Burfi

I’m thrilled to have received so many success stories from you all about the Eggless Birthday Cupcake recipe I posted a few weeks ago. You’ve shared them across Facebook, Instagram and via email and like a proud mum, I fill up with joy every time I see your recipe remakes.

Today is my 30th birthday and I’ve been sharing recipes here for 10 years. Can you believe it?! With each year, I’ve grown as a person, learning more about myself than I ever thought I would through a medium as lighthearted as a recipe blog. Exploring my cultural heritage through food has helped me get to grips with my own personal identity. With this I’ve understood and embraced what “home” really means to me. It’s where my family are; My husband, my son, my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and their children, all sitting around a dinner table eating great food and just being… well, a family.

Many of you know that I was born in Britain, the daughter of immigrants with Indian and East African roots. I was raised as a vegetarian Hindu so the food I ate growing up was a mishmash of spices, starches, vegetables and pulses. Learning to cook from my mum and her haul of Gujarati and Swahili cookbooks was both a pleasure and a privilege. I’m so glad I was able to extract happiness from those things early on because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to share so many of my favourite recipes with you all today.

Birthday Cake Burfi

I feel honoured to be connected with so many fans and readers. Together we are a community of 60,000 people from around the world across social media, each of us passionate about vegetarian Indian and East African food. Whether it’s a comfort classic or a modern take on an old favourite, we all appreciate a plate of food cooked with love. I hope to continue to grow, learn, explore and share recipes with you for years to come.

Being an oversharer, you probably know a tonne about me, but for a bit of fun, here are a few things you may not have known…

  1. I’ve never been to India, yet Indian food is one of my biggest passions in life.
  2. I’m a pyjama-holic. I’d live in loungewear if I could. Don’t let styled food and good photography fool you. Developing recipes and spending a lot of time covered in flour means that fancy clothes are off the cards and comfy joggers and vest tops are the norm. After a hard day’s work I’ll have butter in my hair, icing sugar on my top and and a smile on my face. An Insta-perfect life doesn’t exist and in today’s world of social media overload it’s important we don’t measure ourselves against someone else’s online persona – most of it is make believe anyway!
  3. I’m an avid and life-long wrestling fan. But we’ll leave that story for another day.

Now let’s eat Birthday Cake Burfi and celebrate this old gal’s 30th.

Birthday Cake Burfi

My eggless Birthday Cake Burfi is a fun twist on classic Indian milk fudge. Usually flavoured with ground spices and nuts, this recipe forgoes the traditional and embraces the kid in us all. You’ll first need to make a batch of my Eggless Birthday Cupcakes for the cake layer that’s sandwiched between the burfi layers. Get the recipe in my notes below.

  • 400 g full-fat milk powder
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 2 x 397 g tins sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 unfrosted eggless birthday cupcakes ((see below for recipe link))
  • 150 g white chocolate
  • 2 tbsp sprinkles ((to decorate))
  • 2 tsp oil ((for greasing the tin))
  1. Crumble up the birthday cake cupcakes with clean hands, making sure you have fine crumbs. Don’t use a food processor for this and ensure the cupcakes are have been allowed to cool completely. I like to make the cupcakes the day before so they’re completely cool and ready to crumble.
  2. Grease a 9” x 6” brownie tin with oil.
  3. Combine the milk powder, cream and condensed milk in a pan. Cook on a low heat, stirring all the time until the mixture starts exuding oil and begins to come away from the sides of the pan. If you have a sugar thermometer, the mixture should reach 116°C/240°F (this is known as the soft ball stage). Keep stirring to ensure the mixture doesn’t burn as it can catch quite easily. Don’t worry if you do not have a sugar thermometer. You can check it’s ready by first spreading a little mixture on a cold plate and if you can roll it into a soft ball between your thumb and finger, it’s ready. Time to work quickly!
  4. Remove from the heat and spread half of the mixture inside the greased brownie tin. Even the mixture out with the help of a spatula. Top with the birthday cake crumbs immediately, making the layer as even as possible. Top with the rest of the Burfi mixture and again, use a spatula to even it out. You need to make quick work of this to ensure the Burfi mixture is still hot when you’re spreading it. You don’t want it to start setting or it will be hard to work with.
  5. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Ensure the bowl isn’t touching the water. Pour the chocolate over the Burfi layer and spread it out evenly. Scatter with sprinkles and allow to sit at room temperature until set, about 8 hours or preferably overnight. Slice into squares and serve.

Get the recipe for the Eggless Birthday Cupcakes used in this Birthday Cake Burfi here.

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Birthday Cake Burfi




Indian-Inspired Rocky Road

When special occasions are fast approaching and I’ve run out of time to whip up something sweet, it’s Indian-inspired Rocky Road to the rescue! It’s truffle-like chocolate studded with pistachios, almonds, dried mango, crystallised ginger, Turkish delight, mini marshmallows and spiced shortbread biscuits. Dried rose petals top the Rocky Road off beautifully.

I’ve been known to leave things to the last minute at Diwali time when it’s customary to gift Indian sweets to your nearest and dearest. This recipe is a quick and easy raid-the-cupboard workaround that hits the spot when Pendas, Jalebis, Gulab Jamuns and Burfis are all too time consuming to make. It’s also great for people who aren’t too keen on Indian sweets.

Rocky Raasto (Indian-Inspired Rocky Road)

I’ve added all the things I love to this (namely pistachios, Nankhatai from the wonderful Chins’ Kitchen and Turkish delight) but you can swap any of these for what you like best. Other delicious mix-ins would be candied pineapple, coconut cookies and chopped dates. If you’re after a more authentic Indian sweet taste, add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom or cinnamon. This is your sweet treat to customise.

Freeze the Turkish delight pieces and mini marshmallows for about 2 hours before you start making these. This will help them keep their shape so you’ll get beautiful pink and white- studded pieces when you cut the Rocky Road.

This Indian-inspired Rocky Road looks stunning when boxed up for gifting and even make a great after-dinner treat when you feel like dessert but are short of time. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge and they’ll keep well for up to 10 days, although I doubt they’ll last that long.

After receiving a tonne of requests for Indian sweets through my latest Instagram Q&A session, I have a handful of Indian-style sweet recipes lined up, all in time for Diwali. I hold these Q&As regularly so make sure you’re following my Instagram Stories to tell me what you’d like to see next.

Indian-Inspired Rocky Road

Truffle-like chocolate studded with pistachios, almonds, dried mango, crystallised ginger, Turkish delight, mini marshmallows and spiced shortbread biscuits. Dried rose petals top this Rocky Road off beautifully.

  • 300 g milk chocolate
  • 300 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 140 g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup or agave
  • 100 g Turkish delight ((cut into 2cm pieces))
  • 100 g Nankhatai, broken ((I use orange & ginger from Chins’ Kitchen))
  • 60 g gelatine-free mini marshmallows ((I use Freedom Mallows))
  • 40 g pistachio nibs ((toasted, plus more for sprinkling on top))
  • 20 g flaked almonds ((toasted))
  • 20 g dried mango ((cut into 2cm pieces))
  • 20 g crystallised ginger ((cut into 2cm pieces))
  • 2 tbsp dried rose petals
  1. In a freezer-safe container, freeze the Turkish delight pieces and mini marshmallows. This will help them keep their shape for pretty slices.
  2. Place the chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Give it a gentle stir every 5 minutes until melted and well combined. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Add the broken Nankhatai, Turkish delight, nuts, dried mango, crystallised ginger and mini marshmallows. Combine to coat.
  4. Spread the mixture into a 9” x 6” brownie tin lined with greaseproof paper. Flatten the top and scatter with extra pistachios and dried rose petals.
  5. Cover and allow to set in the fridge for 6-8 hours.
  6. Slice however you like (big, small, bars, squares) and serve with masala coffee.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.

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Indian-Inspired Rocky Road

Truffle-like chocolate studded with pistachios, almonds, dried mango, crystallised ginger, Turkish delight, mini marshmallows and spiced shortbread biscuits. Dried rose petals top the Rocky Road off beautifully.




Sanjana’s Fluffy Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes

“Ping!” My ears pricked up like those of a famished fox on bin day. That was the sound of the oven telling us our quick eggless sponge cake was ready. I was seven years old and obsessed with baking with my mum in the little kitchen above our corner shop. It was our home for the first ten years of my life and the place where I first fell in love with food and the idea of cooking.

Cakes eluded me as I never indulged in them at friends’ birthday parties. Like many Gujarati Hindus, we are a family of lacto-vegetarians so don’t eat eggs. My mum never wanted us to miss out so she would test recipes for the perfect fluffy eggless sponge cakes for us at home. A hundred iterations of cakes made with everything from condensed milk and sour cream, to custard powder and buttermilk. I’d watch intently the whole time, soaking up the baking smells and tips. We baked them in the oven and cooked them in the microwave, in silicone liners and traditional tins. No stone was left unturned in the eggless cake department. Of course, each experiment came with its own set of unique results; Sometimes they were good, sometimes they were a total flop. The fun part was always in the time we spent with one another rather than in getting the recipe totally right. For a kid my age, any cake was good cake. Weighing out the ingredients, mixing the batter and sitting in front of the oven waiting for it to “ping” was just one part of the mother-daughter bonding experience. We’d talk about all things food and she’d tell me about her childhood, learnings and lessons for life. We still do this now, almost 25 years and hundreds of cakes later.

Sanjana’s Fluffy Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes

You’ll be pleased to know that after years of testing and more cake fails than I can count, we did finally nail the perfect eggless vanilla cake recipe. Here it is, in cupcake form, ready to see in my 30th birthday this month. Yep, I’m T-H-I-R-T-Y now. And a mum to the most lovely little boy. How times have changed since starting this blog as a carefree, party-loving twenty year-old student.

My eggless vanilla birthday cupcakes are light, white, fluffy and super moist with lots of vanilla flavour. I’ve baked sprinkles into the sponge because there’s nothing more exciting than funfetti. It just screams, “Happy Birthday!” and I’d have freaked for these cakes when I was a kid. The best thing is that the recipe uses simple, easy-to-obtain ingredients rather than commercial egg-replacers (I have tried every egg replacer under the sun and none of them produce a better cake than this recipe, regardless of how expensive they are). You don’t need a fancy mixer either. Use a bowl, a regular whisk and a spatula for the recipe for the best results.

Sanjana’s Fluffy Eggless Vanilla CupcakesThe frosting is a simple, American-style crusting buttercream which is easy to pipe/spread and sets up beautifully. I kept it a plain ivory colour but you can colour it to your favourite shade if you like. I recommend using gel or paste food colours such as Wilton, Sugarflair or Americolor. These will ensure the frosting doesn’t become too slack which can be a problem with liquid food colours.

Watch the recipe video to see exactly how I make these at home. The recipe has been tried and tested dozens of times and I always get perfect results. You’re going to love them!

I get so many eggless baking questions through the blog and my cake business, Maharani Cakery. Here are some of my best learnings from baking a million eggless cakes over the years for both weddings and just for the family at home. I’ve tried to answer as many as I can here but if you can’t see the answer to a question you have, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

Sanjana’s Fluffy Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes

Q. Is there a single egg replacer that works for all baking recipes?
A. There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer as the techniques and make-up of different bakes all require different approaches and ingredients. E.g. Mashed banana, flax eggs  and applesauce are fine for eggless bakes like banana cake, dense muffins and crumb cake but they don’t work so well in vanilla cakes. The eggless cake would end up tasting of those ingredients rather than having the light, white, fluffy texture we all want in a good vanilla cake. I also tend to stay away from using these in vanilla cake baking because the results can be a bit too unpredictable.

Q. Can I swap the sugar in the recipe for honey/coconut sugar/agave/sweetener? Can I reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe?
A. No. Sugar helps proteins bind and form a good structure in cakes. In the absence of eggs, sugar plays a vital role in binding proteins, forming a good crumb and holding the cake together. Using liquid-based ingredients like honey will change the texture of final cake. Coconut sugar and sweetener have a different make-up to regular sugar too and swapping them in place of sugar will also change the final result of the eggless cake.

Q. My eggless cake is tough. Where did I go wrong?
A. Overworked batter can produce a dense, tough cake. This is the case with all cakes, not just the eggless kind. If you overbeat a cake, the in the flour gluten develops to unwanted levels and this will result in tough, stodgy eggless cakes.

Q. Can I swap the white cake flour for wholemeal flour?
A. Technically yes, you could. Having said this, your eggless cake will be darker in colour and heavier than if you were to use a refined white flour. I’ve found that extra-fine self-raising sponge flour produces the best results by a country mile if you’re looking for a fluffy, white eggless cake.

Sanjana’s Fluffy Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes

Q. Why do you use full-fat milk powder?
A. Sugar bonds with proteins to give the cake batter a strong structure. Milk powder contains protein which will bind with the sugar to give the eggless cake a strong, fine crumb, helping it rise in the oven and most importantly, hold its shape. The cornflour and raising agents also help these along.

Q. Can I veganise your eggless cake recipe?
A. Yes, you can but again, the texture and flavour of the finished cake may vary slightly. Increase the flour by 1 tbsp, switch the milk for unsweetened almond milk (at room temperature), and use 2 tbsp aquafaba (reduced from 4 tbsp and chilled) in place of milk powder. If you’re making this funfetti vanilla cake recipe, please ensure your sprinkles are suitable for vegans. The butter in the frosting can be swapped with your favourite vegan spread (the soft kind in a tub, not a block). Swap the milk in the frosting for unsweetened almond milk at room temperature.

Q. My cakes are dry. Where did I go wrong?
A. They are overbaked. Ensure you’re baking them for the stated time at the correct temperature. Most domestic ovens tend to be a few degrees out but an internal oven thermometer can help ensure your oven is set at the right temperature. If you don’t have an internal oven thermometer you could also increase or reduce the cooking time depending on whether your cakes are overbaking or underbaking.

Q. Can I use condensed milk in place of sugar and milk in this recipe?
A. I wouldn’t. I’ve baked so many cakes with condensed milk before and whilst they smell amazing in the oven, they are caramelising in the oven and produce dark brown crusts and sponges that are pretty unpleasant to eat. They’re often dense and heavy too (fine for some cakes but not if you want fluffy white eggless cakes).

Q. Can I add cocoa powder to make this a chocolate cake?
A. The make-up of eggless vanilla cakes and eggless chocolate cakes are super different and although some ingredients may be the same, the proportions are not. I’d recommend using a chocolate cake recipe, such as this Eggless Malted Chocolate Whipped Ganache Cake if you want to make a chocolate cake. Adding cocoa powder (as it is a dry ingredient) to this recipe will change the texture and you would then have to adjust the liquid ingredients to make up for the increased quantity of dry ingredients.

Q. Why do you add oil instead of butter?
A. In eggless cakes, an oil-based batter will result in a moist, fluffy cake. I’ve found that using butter results in a much firmer cake with a larger crumb.

Q. Why does the milk need to be at room temperature?
A. Room temperature milk will ensure the milk and vinegar mixture curdles quickly and adequately. If you’re short of time, microwave cold milk from the fridge on high power in 15 second intervals for a total of 30 seconds, stirring in between.

Q. Why add the additional baking powder if you’re using self-raising flour?
A. After a lot of testing, I’ve found the extra leavening from the baking powder gives the eggless cakes an extra lift for a super fluffy result.

This recipe makes 12 standard-sized cupcakes or 9 if you’re using muffin cases).

Sanjana's Fluffy Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes

My eggless vanilla birthday cupcakes are light, white, fluffy and super moist with lots of vanilla flavour. I’ve baked sprinkles into the sponge because there’s nothing more exciting than funfetti. 

For the fluffy eggless vanilla cupcakes:

  • 170 g extra-fine self-raising cake flour
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp whole milk powder
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine salt
  • 240 ml whole milk ((room temperature))
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 90 ml sunflower oil ((or any flavourless oil of your choice))
  • 2 1/2 tbsp colourful sprinkles ((not nonpareils – I use Classic Rainbow Crunchy Jimmies by Fancy Sprinkles))

For the vanilla frosting:

  • 150 g unsalted butter ((cubed, room temperature))
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole milk ((room temperature))
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt

For the fluffy eggless vanilla cupcakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/340°F. Line a 12-holds cupcake tin with 12 paper cupcake cases or 9 muffin cases.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, milk powder, cornflour, sugar and salt. 

  3. In a separate jug or glass, mix together the milk, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for 5 minutes, undisturbed. After 5 minutes, give it a brief whisk.

  4. Add the oil and milk mixture to the dry ingredients and gently whisk for 40-60 seconds until smooth. Don’t overbeat the cake batter or you could end up with tough cakes.

  5. At the last minute, fold in the sprinkles with a spatula. Be gentle and swift. Too much mixing will cause the colour from the sprinkles to bleed into the batter. 

  6. Pour the batter into the paper cases, about 3/4 of the way full. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean. They should be springy to the touch and not too brown on top.

  7. Remove from the oven and allow the eggless cupcakes to cool in the tin.

For the vanilla frosting:

  1. To make the frosting, beat butter until pale. Add the icing sugar and beat until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract, salt and milk. Beat for a further 5 minutes until thick, light and creamy.

  2. Frost the cooled cupcakes however you like. I love using the Wilton 1M tip fitted in a piping bag for cute, simple ruffles and rosettes. You could also just spread the frosting on using a spatula if you like. Top with extra sprinkles (as many as you like). Candles are optional, but make any cake infinitely more fun. 

  • If you’re eating the cakes on the same day, know that frosting is the best way to preserve your cakes and keep them from going stale. If you’re keeping them for the another day, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove from the fridge an hour before serving to soften the cakes and frosting.

 

  • Alternatively, you can bake this cake in a greased and lined 6” round tin (3” deep) at 160°C/320°F for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in to the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then flip it out onto a wire rack to cool before decorating.

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Sanjana’s Fluffy Eggless Vanilla Cupcakes




Quick & Fluffy Vitumbua – Tanzanian Coconut Doughnuts (Vegan)

Jambo! Flicking through hard to come by East African cookbooks fills me with that familiar, comforting feeling of when I cosy up with my favourite Indian ones. Exotic spices, simple veggies and coconut milk everything is what makes it feel so fresh, vibrant and soul warming.

Being nourished with a mishmash of Indian, African and British food has all my life, allowed me to connect and experiment with the culinary cultures of all these cuisines. In other words, I’ve been spoilt and have loved every minute of it. Hell, I’ve been rabbiting on about it to you all since I started this blog in 2009 (yeah, it’s been that long!)

Quick & Fluffy Vitumbua - Tanzanian Coconut Doughnuts

For my generation, it feels like the Indian influence on East African cooking is a hush-hush camp, with recipes hidden away inside the spirits of expat grandparents, parents, aunties and uncles. As sad as it may sound, I’m a 29-year old who’s worried that Zanzibar Trail Mix, Malindi Halwa and Ugandan Kasodi will one day be forgotten. We can’t let that happen, guys!

In the name of doing my bit to preserve the East African cuisine so many Asian-East Africans are so proud of, I’d like to introduce you to Vitumbua. These Tanzanian rice flour doughnuts are a favourite of my saintly Bapu, Gunwantrai Modha and I completely understand why. Born in Tanzania, my dad his brothers think of these dishes as fuel food – they’re good for the soul and all that.

Quick & Fluffy Vitumbua - Tanzanian Coconut Doughnuts

Vitumbua should be golden and crunchy on the outside and like a delicate morsel of cardamom-scented cloud on the inside. The batter is made with coconut milk which makes these cakey doughnuts pure white in the middle and melt-in-the-mouth.

The leavening agent in my version is yeast but many recipes also use baking powder. Traditionally, they’re made using rice that’s been soaked overnight but I’ve simplified it slightly by using rice flour which is so readily available in shops these days. Of course, if you can’t find rice flour, go ahead and use soaked raw rice.

My fluffy Vitumbua are perfect with tea in the morning or if you’re a bit more adventurous, with a spicy kidney bean and coconut stew for dinner. Sweet and savoury is so lush!

Quick & Fluffy Vitumbua - Tanzanian Coconut Doughnuts

If you have a Vitumbua or Appam/Paniyaram pan, please use one. If you don’t, you can use a greased cupcake tin. You’ll need to bake them in a 180C oven for 10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through the cooking time.

I’ve dusted my Vitumbua with cardamom sugar which isn’t traditional but it adds a delicious additional cardamom kick on top of what’s already in the batter. I find that finishing a dish with gentle spices is a bold way of bringing another dimension to the table.

Quick & Fluffy Vitumbua – Tanzanian Coconut Doughnuts

These light and fluffy East African coconut and cardamom doughnuts just melt in your mouth. They’re perfect with masala chai and are a popular street food all over Tanzania.

For the vitumbua batter

  • 220 g rice flour
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 400 ml full-fat coconut milk
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 7 g fast-action dried yeast
  • 200 ml warm water ((approx. 32°C))
  • 3 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds (from 5-6 cardamom pods) (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or almond extract ((optional))

For the cardamom icing sugar

  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 whole cardamom pods (seeds remove and finely ground)
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the rice flour, plain flour, sugar, salt, ground cardamom and dried yeast.

  2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and then add the coconut milk, warm water, oil and vanilla/almond extract (if using). Whisk the ingredients well until you have a smooth, lump-free batter. It should be the consistency of dosa or idli batter. Cover with cling film and allow the batter to rest in a warm place for 30-40 minutes.

  3. Grease a 12-hole vitumbua or appam/paniyaram pan with sunflower or vegetable oil. By now, your batter should be bubbly and frothy. Allow the pan to heat up a little and then use a small jug or cup to fill the holes of the pan with the batter, almost right to the top.

  4. Cook on a low heat until the tops of the batter is looks dry to the touch, about 3 minutes. Use a cocktail stick to flip the vitumbua over. They should be golden brown on the bottom. Cook the other side for 3-4 minutes or until golden. Use the cocktail stick to remove them from the pan.

  5. To make the cardamom sugar, combine the icing sugar and ground cardamom. Use a tea strainer or small sieve to dust the sugar over the top. Serve the vitumbua immediately with hot masala chai or strong coffee.

  • This recipe makes 48 small vitumbua, serving about 8 people.
  • I bought my paniyaram pan from an Indian kitchenware store in Leicester, UK. You can also buy these online. Look out for a heavy, non-stick piece of kit rather than steel to make removing the vitumbua easier.
  • Alternatively, you can also use a cupcake tin. Your vitumbua will be larger, disc shaped doughnuts but they’ll still taste great. Ensure the tin is well greased and fill the cupcake holes just halfway before popping into an oven pre-heated at 180°C for 10 minutes. Flip them halfway through baking.
  • Store cooked vitumbua in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

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Quick & Fluffy Vitumbua - Tanzanian Coconut Doughnuts




Eggless Pistachio-Rose Macaroons

Hand me a rose-flavoured dessert over a bouquet of roses any day. I’m a sucker for rose-flavoured everything. It all started back when I was around seven years old when my dad would take our family to our favourite Indian restaurants. Even before looking at the menu I’d know what I wanted to drink – classic Falooda. A sweet rose milkshake with basil seeds, grass jelly and vermicelli noodles. Some may argue that it’s a dessert and not a drink you’d have with a full three-course meal but that never stopped me. My dad would laugh and always made sure I got one, even ensuring it came with cocktail umbrellas for added pizzazz. I still love an ice cold falooda to this day but I can no longer get away with ordering one with my dinner.

Eggless Pistachio-Rose Macaroons

These days I love to add rose to lots of dishes from sweet to savoury, but mostly sweet. I’ve got a tonne of rose recipes on the blog, some of my favourites being Strawberry Cheesecake Falooda, Eggless Rose Custard Creams, Pistachio and Rose Bombay Halwa, Cardamom Wreath with Rose Drizzle and Candied Lemon Peel. A dash of rose water also doesn’t go amiss in biryani, ice cream and of course, cake.

Eggless Pistachio-Rose Macaroons

Here I’ve dunked chewy toasted coconut macaroons in a simple rose icing made with icing sugar and rose syrup – the bright pink kind you find in Indian shops. One of my pregnancy cravings has been rose milk reminiscent of my falooda-crazy days. I add a dash to cold milk and stir for a strawberry pink milkshake that’s so refreshing without the faff of having to make a true falooda.

Eggless Pistachio-Rose Macaroons

The macaroons are eggless, switching in a trusty can of sweetened condensed milk instead of egg whites. The result is a delicious, toasty coconut cookie with a coconut ice-like centre. After they’ve cooled, the bottoms get dunked in the rose icing and chopped toasted pistachios. Pistachio and rose are a flavour combo I’d like to eat every day for the rest of my life – I’m obsessed.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy 6-ingredient cookie that’s both egg and gluten free, this one’s for you.

Dust with icing sugar for a pretty snow-topped peak. So pretty!

Eggless Pistachio-Rose Macaroons

Eggless Pistachio-Rose Macaroons
Makes 25 macaroons

For the macaroons:
1 x 397g tin sweetened condensed milk
300g sweetened desiccated coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the rose icing:
140g icing sugar
4 tbsp rose syrup

Icing sugar to dust, optional

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/320°F. It’s really important you do this. The oven needs to be HOT or the cookies will melt into flat puddles. Grease and line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper and butter.

2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and bicarbonate of soda until you have a thick pliable mixture.

3. Divide the mixture into 25 equal balls and shape each one into a teardrop shape. Arrange on the pre-lined baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden and toasted on the outside. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

4. To make the icing, mix the icing sugar and rose syrup until you have a thick, drippy pink icing. Dip the bottom of the cooled macaroons in the icing and then into the chopped pistachios. Sit them back onto a lined baking tray. Allow to set at room temperature for a few hours.

5. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Eggless Pistachio-Rose Macaroons

The macaroons will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a week. Although I doubt they’ll last that long.




Eggless Malted Chocolate Whipped Ganache Cake

I have a soft spot for a hot drink before bed. Something sweet and milky usually does the trick. It has to be poured into a large mug and I need to be able to see gentle waves of steam dancing off the surface. I’m truly comforted if the steam is robust enough to reach my nostrils quickly, the familiar smell bringing instant comfort. When it’s warm enough to hold, I like to clutch the mug with both hands, tight enough to feel my arms tense up a bit, rather like embracing an old friend.

Malted Chocolate Whipped Ganache Cake

That goes back to the days I’d refuse to go to bed until I’d had a mug of saffron, cardamom and almond milk. Yorkshire diva. It was a treat reserved for special occasions or following on from particularly terrifying nightmares. I’d watch my mum preparing it, her skilled hands flaking each almond, one at a time. She’d then use a brass pestle and mortar to bash a cardamom pod with the satisfying clang, not unlike the sound of a temple bell ringing after arti. The Spanish saffron strands would stain the warm milk a sort of daffodil yellow, making it appear rich and luxurious, like clotted jersey cream. Once simmered together, the kitchen would be filled with the sweetest smell which in itself was soothing enough to send me to the land of nod, even before it reached my lips.

Another hot drink I fell in love with at a young age was that old classic, Milo. I had my first taste aged four in Mombasa, Kenya. All us cousins would have hot Milo made for us at breakfast and before bed and Milo time was my favourite time of the day. Some of us were such fans that the granules were good enough to be munched straight up, by the spoonful.  And when I say some of us, I mean me.

Malted Chocolate Whipped Ganache Cake

That faux choco malt flavour tastes like all the comforts of home. It’s sweet but not overly so and somehow you feel like you’re replenishing your body’s energy stores with it. Just as well too because we used to spend a hell of a lot of time running around the agasi (roof terrace), throwing things down below and shouting for the man from the shop across the road to fetch us the bubblegum that had stickers under the wrapper.

But I had to grow up from being that Milo-drinking, bubblegum-chewing kid from the roof one day. Now I’m preparing to welcome a fresh new little person into the world and quite soon I’ll be the one preparing those warm bedtime beverages.

Malted Chocolate Whipped Ganache Cake

So this post is an ode to the old times of being comforted and feeling loved throughout my entire childhood. I’m ready to pay it forward to someone else now. And what better way to celebrate them than with a cake that has all the flavours of Milo?

Baby K.O. Due April 2018.

Malted Chocolate Whipped Ganache Cake

“Balle Balle” topper for the ultimate celebration cake.

Eggless Malted Chocolate Whipped Ganache Cake
Makes one 3-layer, 10-inch cake

Ingredients:

700g plain flour
510g caster sugar
150g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
180ml buttermilk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
6 tbsp Horlicks (malted bedtime drink) dissolved in 320ml hot water
300ml sunflower oil
1 tsp salt

For the whipped ganache:
450g dark chocolate, chopped
450g double cream
3 tbsp malt extract
Pinch of salt

Dark and white chocolate curls, to decorate

Method:

1. For the chocolate cake, preheat oven to 160C and butter and line three 20cm diameter cake tins with baking paper. Whisk together all the dry ingredients. Combine all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Whisk until smooth. Divide among prepared tins, bake until a skewer inserted comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, loosen around the edges with a knife and turn onto wire racks to cool completely.

2. For the whipped ganache frosting, heat the cream in a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add the malt extract and chopped chocolate. Stir gently until melted and smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate until it has thickened slightly but is still soft. Beat with an electric whisk until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. It will become paler in colour, too. Use immediately.

3. Trim the cakes if the tops have domed a little. Sandwich each layer with the whipped ganache frosting. Spread the frosting on the outside and smooth out. I used a Wilton 1M open star tip for the ruffled swirls on top. Decorate with chocolate curls.

Love Sanjana + bump




Eggless Turmeric Milk Tart

Shove over overpriced Turmeric Latte and Golden Milk. It’s Haldi Doodh and it always has been!

Ever since I heard about the South African Melktert (Milk Tart) I knew I had to try it. It’s creamy, custardy and packed with delicious cinnamon flavours on top of a shortcrust pastry base. What’s not to love?

Much like a British custard tart, the Melktert is made with egg yolks for that famous custard-like wobble. As you know, yolks are not my setting agent of choice – I’m going rogue and using my own blend of cornflour (cornstarch) and wheat flour blended with milk.

I was inspired by Paul Hollywood’s show City Bakes on Food Network, where he makes an Earl Grey Melktert in Cape Town. The show is fantastic and you can watch the episode tonight, 15th May on Food Network. Give it a watch and try out a take on the famous Melktert.

Turmeric Milk Tart

Since it began, I’ve boycotted the rise of the turmeric milk fad that seems to have infiltrated every coffee shop and café in sight. It should be simple, a feel-good tonic to make you feel better after a rough day, not flashy, expensive and inaccessible. After all, the ingredients are basic. Haldi Doodh is a healing tonic Indian mums stir up for children when they’ve got sore throats and coughs. As a natural antiseptic, turmeric (either fresh or dried and ground) was always in the kitchen. As a child I would reluctantly down mugs of hot Haldi Doodh because it didn’t taste like the banana milkshake I’d hoped for it to be. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t Nesquick. As much as I now love haldi doodh and the soothing properties it carries, I don’t believe in paying a shed load for it when I can make it at home.

The beautiful thing is that when fresh turmeric is combined with milk, cardamom and black pepper, you get the most miraculous flavour and aroma of fresh mango. Just a little bit, not too much, blitzed with the milk for a pretty yellow colour. Once cooked, the colours will transform from daffodil to deep amber.

This tart is as sweet and flaky as it is fruity, spicy and ever so slightly bitter. Each element is perfectly balanced, just how I like it.

Turmeric Milk Tart

Eggless Turmeric Milk Tart
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

For the sweet pastry:
240g flour
140g unsalted butter, frozen and grated whilst still frozen (this helps incorporate it faster and keeps everything cold)
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp cold water

For the turmeric milk filling:
415g evaporated milk
395g can condensed milk
50ml whole milk
3cm piece turmeric, peeled (this will stain so wear gloves!)
3 cardamom pods, seeds lightly crushed
6-8 black peppercorns, seeds lightly crushed
1 tsp vanilla extract
40g flour
40g cornflour
50g salted butter
Ground cinnamon to dust

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

2. To make the pastry, place the flour, salt and brown sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the grated butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the cold water and pulse until the mixture just comes together. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Take a 25 x 3.5cm loose bottomed tart in with fluted edges. Roll the pastry out to about 35cm wide, 4mm thick. This will ensure you have enough overhang at the edges. Place the roll dough into the tin and allow it to hang over the sides. Use a spare ball of dough to gently press the dough into the corners and sides to line the tin. Don’t worry if you make a tear, just patch it up.

4. Place a piece of greaseproof paper over the dough and fill with baking beans, rice or any dried lentils you have. Bake for 10 minutes.

5. Carefully remove the baking beans, greaseproof paper and prick the pastry all over with a fork. Turn the oven down to 120°C and bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and dries out completely.

6. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Put the oven back up to 160°C

7. To make the filling, place the flour and cornflour into a large bowl. Add 50ml whole milk and stir to make a thick paste.

8. Place the evaporated milk in a blender (I used a Nutribullet), and add in the fresh turmeric, cardamom, peppercorns, vanilla and condensed milk. Blend until super smooth, about a minute.

9. Slowly whisk the evaporated milk mixture into the flour paste until smooth. Pour the mixture into a pan and cook on a medium-low heat until slightly thickened (think cheese sauce consistency). Add the butter and whisk.

10. Pass the mixture through a sieve and into a jug to remove any lumps.

11. Place the tart shell on a baking tray and place it in the oven. Pull the shelf out and pour the filling into the shell. Push the shelf back in gently and close the oven door. Bake for 30 minutes.

12. Crack the oven door open and allow the tart to cool in the oven.

13. Dust the tart with ground cinnamon and decorate as you wish. Serve warm.

Turmeric Milk Tart

Love Sanjana




Rum-Soaked Kala Jamun (Cardamom and Rum Doughnuts)

I figured that as everyone seems to have totally lost their minds this year, I’d follow suit in my own crazy way. You might have noticed a Facebook and Instagram post I wrote, earlier this month. It was a big deal for me, having dedicated a huge amount of myself to this blog. In case you missed it, it served as a reminder to myself that if we pursue our passions with our whole selves, we must not forget to extract every last bit of love it gives back to us. Anyway, enough of that soppy stuff… it’s rum time!

I have a love/hate relationship with gulab jamun (or gulab jambu as we call them at home). I mean this in the sense that I love to eat them but hate that I can never just have one. 

These sweet, saffron, rose and cardamom-soaked milk doughnuts are one of the most well-known Indian desserts, and the chances are, they’re on your local Indian restaurant’s menu.

Rum-Soaked Kala Jamun (Cardamom and Rum Syrup-Soaked Doughnuts)

Kala jamuns are the lesser-known big sister of gulab jamun. At first, the most obvious difference is in the colour difference between brown gulab jamun and black kala jamun (hence, the name – ‘kala’ meaning black). The texture of kala jamuns is also very different to regular gulab jamuns. They have a chewier exterior, that’s almost squeaky and the inside is a little grainier. You could say they’re the heartier of the two. Another key difference is in the serving style. Gulab jamuns are usually served in their syrup, whereas kala jamun are served without their soaking syrup, often rolled in desiccated coconut. When I was little I’d love coconut coated kala jamun split down the middle and filled with Shrikhand, but that’s another story for another day.

This grown-up version of traditional kala jamun is easy to make, since I use milk powder and just a touch of khoya (also known as mawa) for added texture. Khoya is made by simmering full-fat milk in a pan for several hours, until almost all the water has evaporated, leaving just the milk solids behind. Khoya is widely used in South Asian cuisine, across India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, to name a few places. You can find khoya sold in vacuum-packed blocks in the chiller section of your local South Asian supermarket. Hint: Look near the paneer section, it’s usually there.

Rum-Soaked Kala Jamun (Cardamom and Rum Syrup-Soaked Doughnuts)

I’m a huge fan of anything soaked in rum, so when the opportunity to make kala jamun presented itself, I know that making a spiced rum syrup was the way to go. The combination of dark rum, cardamom, saffron, rosewater and vanilla is my idea of bliss and it works so perfectly in the recipe. It’s sweet and beautifully aromatic with just a hint of bittersweet flavour from the caramelised jamuns.

They’ll make a show stopping alternative Christmas dessert, served in a tower and covered in gold leaf. Sprinkle over some pistachios or toasted coconut if you like.

Rum-Soaked Kala Jamun (Cardamom and Rum Syrup-Soaked Doughnuts)

Rum-Soaked Kala Jamun (Cardamom and Rum Syrup-Soaked Doughnuts)
Makes 24 kala jamuns

For the kala jamun:
600g milk powder
430ml warm milk
50g khoya, grated
3 tbsp icing sugar
150g self-raising flour
2 tsp coarse semolina
½ tsp crushed green cardamom
Pinch of saffron
Pinch of salt
Sunflower oil, for deep frying

For the cardamom and rum syrup:
800g sugar
950ml water
400ml dark rum
1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
Juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp rosewater

Gold leaf, to decorate

Method
1. To make the kala jamun: In a large bowl, mix together the milk powder, self raising flour, khoya, semolina, salt, sugar, saffron and cardamom.

2. Gradually add the milk, stirring gently. The ingredients will come together to form a dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

3. To make the sugar syrup: Place all the ingredients, including the vanilla pod in a pan. Give it a quick stir and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer until it reaches the thread stage on a sugar thermometer (110-115C) and then switch the heat off. It’s important you don’t stir it during the cooking period. If you notice the sugar starting to crystallise around the sides of the pan, run a wet pastry brush around the sides of the pan so that water runs into the crystals and dissolves them.

4. In a large, deep pan (I use a wok), heat enough sunflower oil to deep fry the jamuns. Use a cooking thermometer to bring the oil to 150C.

5. Make small balls with the dough, about 2cm in diameter. This might seem a little small but they will expand in the oil. It’s really important to roll them firmly between your hands to ensure there are no cracks. Do this for all the jamuns – you should have around 24.

6. Deep fry 6-8 jamuns at a time, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Allow the jamuns to cook for 3-4 minutes. They are ready when they turn really dark brown/almost, but not quite black all over. The jamuns will swell slightly in the oil, making them a little larger than the balls you rolled.

7. Drain the jamuns on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Allow to cool and test one to ensure the middle is cooked through. Repeat the frying process for the remaining jamuns.

8. Allow all the jamuns to cool for 20 minutes and then place them in the sugar syrup, making sure they’re fully submerged. Leave covered for 24 hours and serve the following day. Decorate with gold leaf if you’re feeling fancy.

I love to eat my kala jamuns hot with vanilla ice cream.

Note: If you’re serving them hot by reheating them in the microwave, make sure you add the gold leaf after they’ve been warmed.

Storing: Keep the jamuns in their syrup and store in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last two weeks… unless you eat them all before then!

Click the image above to Pin this recipe for later.

Click the image above to Pin this recipe for later.




Alphonso Mango Pavlova Cheesecake (Eggless Recipe)

‘Tis the season to eat mangoes! I had my annual fix of Indian Alphonso mango this weekend and they were flawless, as always.

Alphonso Mango Pavlova Cheesecake (Eggless and No-Bake Recipe)

I was so desperate to get my mitts on them, I immediately went on a mango hunt after leaving work on Friday. Stepping into the Indian shop closest to my London train station, my eyes darted from shelf to shelf. There were rows upon rows of lentils, spices and green vegetables, but alas, there was not a mango in sight. My heart sank.

As I meandered through the tiny, yet unfathomably packed shop, my nostrils filled with the smell of ajwain, dried turmeric, fenugreek… and then finally, the sweetest scent of fresh mango. There they were, a pile of mango boxes lying in wait like treasure in Aladdin’s cave, except better.

I pounced on them faster than Shere Khan on Mowgli, the man child in Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. As usual, the two mango varieties were Alphonso and Kesar. When given the choice, I get Alphonso. They have more fragrance and a super-lush orange colour.

They were only sold in boxes of twelve so I got the whole lot. The only glitch was that I had to carry the entire box back home. The entire train carriage was filled with the heavenly scent of fresh mango – a welcome change from the stench of somebody’s hot Burger King dinner *shudder*. You’re welcome, fellow commuters. You’re welcome.

After eating three of twelve mangoes, I figured I better whip up one of my favourite desserts before they all disappear. This egg-free Alphonso Mango Pavlova Cheesecake is a true showstopper.

It’s a malted milk biscuit base, sweet mango and vanilla mascarpone cheesecake filling topped with eggless pavlova, fresh cream and all your favourite fruit. This pavlova cheesecake is rich, decadent and unashamedly two of the most awesome desserts ever stacked to make one epic masterpiece.

If you’re a lover of Indian Alphonso mango, this is a glorious way of celebrating it.

Here’s how I did it.

Alphonso Mango Pavlova Cheesecake (Eggless and No-Bake Recipe)

Alphonso Mango Pavlova Cheesecake (Eggless Recipe)
Serves 12-14

Ingredients

For the pavlova layer:
1 x 400g tin chickpeas in water (left in the fridge overnight)
280g golden caster sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp arrowroot or cornflour
3 tsp vanilla extract

For the cheesecake base:
260g malted milk biscuits (you could use ginger biscuits or NICE biscuits too)
100g unsalted butter, melted

For the Alphonso mango cheesecake filling:
500g mascarpone cheese
300g full fat cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
200ml double cream + 100ml extra
450g icing sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp vanilla extract
300g Alphonso mango, blended (this was approx. 3 mangos for me)
2 tbsp agar agar powder

For the decoration:
Whipped cream
Mixed fruits of your choice (I used more mango, kiwi, strawberries, grapes, physalis, blackberries and figs)

You will also need a 24cm spring form tin.

Method

1. First, you’ll need to make the pavlova. Preheat the oven to 120C.

2. Take a piece of non-stick baking parchment and draw a circle on it, using the removable base from your cake tin. Flip the paper over and place it on a large baking tray. You now have the perfect outline for your pavlova.

3. Drain the can of chickpeas and reserve the water. Put the chickpeas in a container and use it to make Channa Masala or Hummus later.

4. Pour the chickpea water and vinegar into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment. Make sure your bowl is really clean and grease free. Any oil could cause your meringue to deflate.

5. Whisk on a high speed for 4 minutes. Mix together the sugar and cornflour. Gradually add the sugar mixture a tablespoon at a time and continue to beat until you have stiff glossy peaks. Congratulations, you’ve just made your own vegan marshmallow fluff! But right now, we’re making pavlova.

6. Dollop the meringue mixture onto the piece of baking paper, staying inside the circle you traced. Even it out using the back of a spoon, creating a little crater in the middle for your cream and fruit later. I like to keep it looking craggy and rustic so don’t fuss over it looking too perfect.

7. Place into the middle shelf of the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 100C. Bake for 2 hours 30 minutes. Once this time is up, crack the oven door open a little and leave it to cool completely. You’ll then be able to peel it away from the non-stick paper.

8. Next, make the cheesecake base. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until they resemble the texture of sand. Stir in the melted butter. Press into the base of the tin, making sure it’s even and packed tightly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

9. To make the cheesecake filling, beat together the mascarpone, cream cheese, 200ml double cream, vanilla, icing sugar and lemon juice. Don’t overwork it.

10. Place the agar agar in a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp cold water and stir to dissolve. In a small saucepan, combine the agar agar and 100ml double cream. Heat gently, stirring all the time until the mixture comes to a boil. You will notice it will begin to thicken. Boil for a minute or so and then switch off the heat. Add the mango pulp and stir to combine. This will lower the temperature of the cream mixture.

11. Add the mango mixture to the cream cheese mixture and whip until fully combined. It should thicken very slightly.

12. Pile the cheesecake filling onto the cooled biscuit base and smooth out the top.

13. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

14. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake and remove the sides of the tin. Place onto a cake plate or stand and place the pavlova on top. Fill the crater in the middle with whipped cream and fresh fruit. I recommend more mango, obviously.

Devour immediately.

Note: Wrap your cooled pavlova in foil overnight to ensure it stays crisp for serving the next day.

Alphonso Mango Pavlova Cheesecake (Eggless and No-Bake Recipe)

Love Sanjana




Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments

I’ll never forget my year five primary school teacher. She was the kind of person you should have aspired to be like one day, over and above Ginger Spice who was probably the most popular choice at that age. Along with all the fair qualities and graces you’d expect from somebody who had mastered the art of being patient with a bunch of little cretins, this particular teacher was a master of bribery.

And said bribery always involved sweets.

Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments

Chocolate Limes to be precise. She had a stash of these retro classics stowed away in her top drawer for when you answered a question correctly, or were simply doing something that was out of your comfort zone. Even though it was a single sweet you probably wouldn’t have given a toss about if your nan had offered one up at the weekend, it was the status, power and sense of achievement that came with that limey shell and chocolate middle. It made you feel like you had truly taken a step forward that day.

Don’t even get me started on the time one kid mapped the entire family tree of Henry V111 on the wall and earned himself a tidy SIX Chocolate Limes – one for each deceased wife. The whole class was seething with jealousy.

My point is, it’s always important to reward yourself. Someone I look up to very much once said to me, ‘Don’t be fixated with end goals. Reward your successes every step of the way, recognising the things you’re learning and how they’ll ultimately contribute to a bigger picture. Learn new skills and collect a multitude of new experiences. Consistently accomplish your aspirations, however small.’ This is something I believe can keep us motivated and not overwhelmed by long-term goals.

Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments

If I learnt anything in year five, it was that the chocolate limes reward system was the dog’s bollocks and a legit way to make you feel great about achieving something – when you’re ten. Now we’re all grown up, I felt the need to take standard sweets to the next level.

These Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments are incredibly soft and almost Viennese Whirl-like in texture. A combination of flour, icing sugar, butter and cornflour creates the most wonderful melt-in-the-mouth feel. Inspired by those retro Chocolate Lime sweets, the biscuits are packed with lime zest and extract, while the chocolate buttercream filling gives them the most delicious bitter sweetness. Add a smidge of lime marmalade for added indulgence. I’m a life-long advocate of Rowse Shredded Lime Marmalade.

So tell me, what have you achieved today? Whether you saved a life or simply managed to have a great conversation with someone new, treat yourself to one of these Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments. You deserve it.

Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments

Lime and Dark Chocolate Melting Moments
Makes 18

Ingredients

For the biscuits:
200g plain flour
200g unsalted butter, softened
40g icing sugar
30g cornflour
Zest of 2 limes
Drop of lime extract (optional)
Drop of green food colour (optional)
Pinch of salt

For the chocolate filling:
120g unsalted butter, softened
90g icing sugar
100g dark chocolate, melted
30g cocoa powder

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C. Line two flat baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

2. Place all the ingredients for the biscuits into a food processor fitted with a rotating blade and switch it on to high. Process until you have a smooth dough that leaves the bowl fairly clean.

3. Place the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large, star-tip piping nozzle and pipe an even number of rosettes or swirls onto the sheets. Try to make sure they’re all a similar size to make sandwiching them together easier later on.

4. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool on the sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the filling, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and continue to beat for 10 minute.

6. Pile the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe onto the biscuits before sandwiching with another, or simply spread the buttercream on with a teaspoon.

Love Sanjana

 

 




Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

I’m so obsessed with vegan meringue right now. I never thought that it would be possible to create light, fluffy whipped meringue that becomes so beautiful and melt-in-the-mouth after a couple of very patient hours in the oven.

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

You might have already seen my previous recipe for Vegan Saffron, Strawberry and Lime Meringue Nests which I did a YouTube video for and still, I’m raving about the endless possibilities aqua faba or ‘bean water’ holds for the future of vegan baking. No longer do I waste and drain away the water from cans of chickpeas, butter beans and pinto beans. Rather, I save them and whip them in to the fluffiest meringue peaks you’ve ever seen.

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

Just like egg whites, this bean water is packed with protein and when it’s whipped with sugar, becomes glossier than that expensive French manicure you just got.

It’s this that makes glorious desserts like pavlova, eton mess and meringue cakes possible and it’s this that’s lit me up from inside. I’m so hungry to experiment with magic aqua faba more and I can’t wait to share more of these vegan-friendly creations with you.

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

This recipe is unbelievably basic but the results are slap-you-in-the-face pretty. I promise, everyone will be asking how you did it. I did toy with the idea of using fresh fruit to create the stripes but aqua faba meringue can be quite temperamental. Any trace of grease, oil, excess water or fat will very quickly deflate the mixture and all those beautiful air bubbles will be gone.

Also, I’ve had lots of comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about whether you can taste the chickpeas in the end product. The short answer is no. After adding vanilla, natural fruit extracts and baking for over 2 hours, there’s no trace of chickpea flavour.

If you’re looking to try it with fresh fruit, I’d suggest really blending it to a very smooth puree, boiling with a little sugar and reducing right down so the water content is minimal. Cool it completely before using.

I opted to use natural concentrated mango and raspberry extracts, which you can buy online from Amazon. The flavour they give these otherwise very simple vanilla meringues is so incredibly intense.

Stick with me for more vegan meringue experiments.

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

Ingredients

1 x 400g tin chickpeas in unsalted water, drained and the liquids reserved
140g icing sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped

For the raspberry stripe:
Wilton gel food colouring in rose
2 drops vegan raspberry extract

For the mango stripe:
Wilton gel food colouring in lemon yellow
2 drops vegan mango extract

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 100C. Line three large baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2. Drain the chickpeas and reserve the water. Put the chickpeas in a container and use it to make Channa Masala or Hummus later.

3. Pour the chickpea water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment. Make sure your bowl is really clean and grease free. Any oil will cause your meringue to deflate.

4. Whisk on a high speed for 4 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat. During this time, add the cream of tartar and vanilla.

5. In a small bowl, add a teaspoon of the lemon yellow gel food colouring and two drops of vegan mango extract. Stir to combine. Repeat in a separate bowl for the rose colouring and raspberry extract.

6. Fit a large piping bag with a large round tipped piping nozzle. Use the back of a teaspoon to stripe the two colours lengthways all the way up inside the piping bag but not right to the top – leave at least 2 inches at the top free of any colour. Use two different spoons to keep the colours separate. I did three stripes of each colour.

7. Place the bag inside a large mug and fold down the top slightly. Fill your piping bag with half the meringue mixture and holding the nozzle straight, pipe 1 ½-inch chubby meringues, pulling away quickly when you get to the top to achieve those cute little peaks. Leave a bit of space around each meringue to ensure they don’t touch in the oven. I have a quick video for this on Instagram. I’m @korasoi.

8. Wash out your bag and repeat this process for the remaining meringue mixture.

9. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 2 ½ hours or until the meringues are totally dry to the touch and come away from the baking paper easily. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

10. Serve with your favourite vegan ice cream, on top of cakes, or dip the bottoms in melted vegan chocolate and crushed freeze-dried raspberries or chopped nuts. You can also serve them with fresh raspberries, mango slices and whipped coconut cream, but assemble this right before you want to eat or the meringues are likely to dissolve.

Vegan Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Meringues

Go on, experiment with your favourite flavours and colours. I’d love to see where your imagination takes you.

Love Sanjana