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Cereal Milk

I first heard of Momofuku not in the context of their legendary ramen or fried chicken but because I was intrigued by cereal milk. One of the outposts of the group is Milk Bar where, with Christina Tosi at helm, they dish out desserts that are straight out of a kindergartener's dream. There are many, many good things about Milk Bar but none as good or as intriguing as cereal milk. Think of that little bit of milk that's left at the end of your breakfast, infused with the flavour of cornflakes and sugar that you just ate. That's what cereal milk is, and at Milk Bar they sell whole cartons of it.

Having never had the real thing, I got hold of the Milk Bar cookbook instead and set about making, first, the cereal milk and then a cereal milk panacotta. But because I never do things by halves, I then also made a dark, dark caramel to go with it and some candied sesame seeds I've been thinking about even since I first saw them on food52.

You can make all components a day or …
Recent posts

Crackerty Crackers

There are many things I don't buy; cakes are softer and cookies more buttery when you bake them yourself. But I had a fear - possibly because of a failed batch years ago - that homemade crackers won't be as crisp and as nice as store bought ones. Fear no more. These rye crackers beat anything I have ever eaten or bought. Plus there is the added advantage of eating them warm, right out of the oven.

I only made these because snack shops are closed and I had run out of things to dip in my hummus but these are good enough to make every time you have a hankering for something crisp. Super easy too! Here's the recipe.

Ingredients
1/4 cup rye flour
1/3 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cold water
sesame and poppy seeds for topping

Mix together the two flours and the salt in a bowl. Make a well in centre and add olive oil and water. Bring everything together and knead into a soft dough - it should be moist but not sticky, add more water if you need to.

Line a ba…

Cooking in the Time of Coronavirus

In the last month, the world seems to have gone crazy around us. Not only has coronavirus created an unprecedented health emergency, it is causing us to relook at our lifestyle and life choices like never before. Most people I know are working from home and because I live in Mumbai and work out of a startup hub, I am getting increasingly aware of another kind of panic gripping my friends and colleagues.

If you think that eating out puts you at risk and you have never cooked before, chances are you are scratching your head on what to eat for dinner. I know of some fine folks stocking up on copious amounts of gin and 50 packets of maggi right now. But in case you are looking for a bit more variety and nutrition, here are some ideas for things you can cook even if you are an absolute novice cook. Also, read to the end for a nifty list on what to shop for when you have a pantry devoid of any supplies. It's a short list and I'm going to show you how to cook a whole week of meals w…

The Bread Whisperer

What do an electrical engineer, a monk and an IT trainer have in common? These are all the things Abhilash was before he turned his attention to bread baking. Not the one to pick an easy path, Abhilash started with the most temperamental of breads - the sourdough - as his baking adventure. At first, he was baking these loaves for himself. Accolades from friends and family quickly followed and much to the delight of this writer, he turned his passion into a full time career six months back.

For the uninitiated, a sourdough bread is made by fermenting the dough with naturally occurring yeast, making it harder to perfect than the bread made with commercial yeast. The bread's signature tang and the open crumb, with lots of holes, is only made better with a high hydration dough that is super tricky to master. While extremely popular around the world, good sourdough is an elusive commodity in Mumbai and there are only a handful of bakers I would trust when I am looking for bread.

Thoro…

The Perfect Polenta

This polenta is like a hug in a bowl. Coarse cornmeal cooked until creamy and then topped with cheese, honey and mint, this dish is as perfect for breakfast as it is for a lunch or a lazy dinner. What I like best though is that the porridge present a perfectly blank canvas for other flavours. On other days, I've topped polenta with a creamy mushroom sauce. Once, I felt fancy and set the polenta in a tray and cut it into dainty squares that were topped with whipped feta and caramelised onions.



What's most important though is that base. Polenta can very easily go wrong so here's my tips for that perfectly cooked, creamy flavour:
1. Use a lot of liquid. This recipe used 6 times the volume to cook polenta in. And while there's nothing wrong with using plain water, mixing in something richer (milk in this case) gives you better results.
2. You want to add polenta slowly, almost like it's a rain shower, and you want to keep whisking it while you are adding the grains so…

Ruby Brownies

Have you heard of ruby chocolate? Up until 2017, chocolate used to be brown, dark brown or white. Then Callebaut came up with another colour: ruby chocolate is naturally pink. I first tasted Ruby last year at London's Fortnum and Mason and was instantly taken in by the unique flavour. It's sweet like white chocolate but there is a lingering sourness, a light tang that sets it apart.

Ruby chocolate has become easier to get hold of in Mumbai now so after I had my fill of the chocolate in its natural form for a few months, I turned to what else I could do with it. The first recipe to cross my mind was naturally brownies. This fudgy concoction is set to showcase the chocolate and for my first attempt, I used my trusted recipe from Dorie Greenspan.

Some adjustments had to be made though. Ruby chocolate is sweeter than the dark variant I normally use in this recipe so I reduced the sugar content. And I noticed the pink gets pale, almost brownish, in the batter so I added a little b…

Banana Cake. Peanut Streusel.

I love baking Plain Jane cakes. The ones you can whip up quickly in a bowl and the ones where you do not need to fuss about frostings and such. I specially like the kinds you can bake on a weekend and leave in the fridge to snack on during the week.

The brown butter banana cake from food52 checks all the boxes. As an added bonus, there is no need to even bring out a whip; you only need a blender or a food processor. The original recipe is for a loaf cake but I adapted mine to fit a 6 inch springform pan. If you are comparing recipes, you will notice that my cake recipe is halved but I kept the full recipe for peanut streusel. That's because the peanuts and oats add a real crunch and more is really a lot better in this case.

Here's the easy breezy way to get your cake fix.

Ingredients
For Streusel
40 grams butter (I use salted Amul butter)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oats
2/3 cup salted, roasted peanuts

For cake
50 grams butter (I use salted Amul butter)
1 cup minus 2 tbsp plain …