Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Black and White Wednesday # 112 - The Gallery

Welcome to another wonderful gallery of Black and White Wednesday - A Culinary Photography Event. This week it is hosted by yours truly and I thank you for your time, effort and contributions. 

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Also, much thanks to Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook who started the event and to Cinzia of Cindystar for wonderful administration.

Without further adou, here we go. The photos are in order as they hit my inbox.

"My Favorite Fashion Kitchen Gloves" from Cinzia of Cindystar.


"Turn Left" from Simona of  Briciole..

 Another one from Simona.

"Dulce-de-leche Coffee" from Lynne of Cafe Lynnylu.

"Yummy Granola" from yours truly,  Pocketfull Of Spices.


113 week of Black and White Wednesday will be hosted by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook. You can send your entries at thewellseasonedcook AT yahoo DOT com till Tuesday, January 21.

See you there next week. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

No Bake Granola Bar

Well, I always thought that store bought granola bars are super healthy and used to have it almost every afternoon during my coffee time. Till I became a little more learned about real food and started reading labels. Realizing how much junk were present in them, I did quit. Of course, I knew I can make them at home but never thought them to be this easy. So I kept missing my granola bars unless my colleague and friend share her super easy no bake granola bar recipe. Thanks dear C for the recipe. I tweaked a bit here and there to serve my taste. Its delicious and an obvious keeper.


Oats - 2 and 1/2 cup
Flax seeds - 1/4 cup
Dry fruits - 1/2 cup
Nuts - 1/2 cup ( I used cashews and almonds)
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup (You can use table sugar also)
Butter - 2 tablespoon
Honey - 1/3 cup
Nutella - 2 tablespoon (Optional)
Vanilla - 1/2 teaspoon

Dry roast oats and flax seeds in a pan for 2-3 minutes. If you wish you can dry roast the nuts too.

In a pan, melt sugar, honey, butter and nuttella. Add the vanilla to it.

Add all the dry fruits and nuts to the roasted oats and flax seeds mix.

Add the butter mix to the dry mix and mix it well. Place an aluminium foil on the baking tray and grease it well. 

Add the mixture to it and press it real tight. (I used my hand, a bit gross I know, you can use a rubber spatula). But press it for 2 minutes atleast. Yes, I used a timer, it does makes a difference.

Freeze it for 2-3 hours. Take it out, and cut it according to your choice.

I cut it up in different sizes for my different hunger pangs.

It is not as hard as the store bought ones, a little fragile but absolutely holds in shape. Trick is the pressing part.

And the best thing is that I know what I am eating!


This last image is converted in black and white and is my contribution for this week's Black and White Wednesday. BWW is an amazing culinary event of black and white photographs started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and now managed by Cinzia of Cindystar blog. This week it is hosted by Pocketfull Of Spices, yeah, that's me. For participation details, see here.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Announcing Black and White Wednesday # 112

Once again I am honored to host Black and White Wednesday-A Culinary Photography Event. I love this event so much that whenever I miss a week I really feel sad. You get to see such wonderful gallery every week by so talented people, its amazing. This wonderful event was started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, and now organized by Cinzia of Cindystar.

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For the newbies, here are the rules:
  • Your clicks have to be  anything of a culinary nature or show anything related to food
  • You can shoot either in b/w mode or in color, then process in b/w. You can use any effect you like but keeping the image in a monochrome/grayscale, with Sepia and Cyanotype tones allowed. No color details allowed.
  • Approximate sizes of your pictures shoud be portrait/500 wide & 700 long - landscape/700 wide & 500 long - or 600 square.
  • No need of a recipe, nor a story nor a location (but they are welcome if you like), simply a title for the picture is required.

Please send me your photographs at pocketfullofspices AT gmail DOT com with following details: 

  • Subject: BWW #112
  • Your Name that you want to be published in round up
  • Your Blog's Name
  • Title of Your Pic
  • URL of your post
  • The image(s), max 500 px wide
You have until Tuesday, January 14, to send me your contributions. Even if you do not have any blog, you can send me your photos for the roundup.

So, take out your cameras and happy clicking my friends!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Brownies with Cream Cheese

Okay, let me say it upfront. This recipe is a little on the heavier side in terms of calories. In my perpetual battle to loose weight, I usually try to cook healthy as much possible, and with lil A in the picture, I want to feed her the healthy homemade stuff. This homemade brownies are delicious but has 1 whole stick of butter (original recipe called for 2, I somehow could not manage to add that much). But it turned out delicious, super soft brownies I ever made. So, don't care too much for the  butter.

Again, this is almost super easy recipe for brownie. I did mix and match two and three recipes I saw in web,. It does not require chocolate chips, seriously, only cocoa powder is good enough.


For Brownies

All purpose flour - 3/4 cup
Butter - 1 stick (unsalted)
Cocoa powder - 3 tablespoon
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Eggs - 2
Vanilla - 1/2 teaspoon
Chopped Cashews - Fistfull

For cream cheese

Cream cheese - 6 tablespoon
Butter - 1/2 stick (unsalted)
Sugar - 1/3 cup
Egg - 1
Milk - 2 tablespoon
Vanilla - 1/2 teaspoon

Melt the butter in microwave, say 2 minutes. Microwave for extra 45 seconds till it bubbles.

Add cocoa powder to it and mix it well. Add sugar and keep on mixing.

Add the eggs to it. Gently mix it till it mixes well. It becomes sort of shiny in nature. Yeah, needs a lot of mixing, exercising your hands right here! You can use hand mixer (mine currently in a not working state) or stand mixer (do not have one).

Add the nuts to it and mix. Too much of mixing! Add flour to it, fold it well. Add the vanilla.

Pour it in a baking tray. I have a glass one and use it for most of the baking stuffs.

Yeah, looks messy! But tastes good, thats important.

Now, cream cheese. Do not melt butter. For this use soft, room temperature butter, but no melting. Beat it up with cream cheese till fluffy.

Add sugar to it, mix well. Add the egg and beat up more. It will now be a little runny. Spread it over the brownie mix.

Preheat oven at 170C/320F. Bake for 15-20 minutes or till fork comes out clean in middle. Mine took 17 minutes to be precise. Take it out when it is still on moist side. Let it cool completely. Cut it into squares or any shape you like.

It turned out to be very soft, moist and super yummy. Guess who grabbed two pieces same size as her palm instantly. It was still warm, but she did not care.

I made two batches, so had to pack some for friends (totally unwillingly, but you need a partner in crime, right?).

I am going to make them again this weekend. They were that good. I am now super happy at coffee time to nibble on these.

Grab one and enjoy!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Homemade Fruit Cake

I am pathetically late but anyways, you all love me and I hope you will forgive me! Happy New Year my friends. May this year bring you good health, peace and happiness.

What a year 2013 has been. There were several milestones reached by us as a family this year. Most impact full was the decision of homecoming. After spending more than six years across the Atlantic, we decided to move back closer home.

Our little girl turned two. When did that happen? Now a constant chatter box she always keeps melting my heart.

My lil munchkin

The year started with packing our stuff for the move, we have to leave behind so many things we loved and cherished that it makes me sad even now. But I also realized that we used to possess way many stuffs than we needed. So, this year we really made an effort to avoid mindless shopping, be it pantry items to accessories, toys, from anything and everything.

Another biggie of the year, I started this space, my blog, cannot believe its almost one year old. In my own little way I really enjoy this space and my heartfelt thanks to people who read it.

Overall, it was a good year. I tried my hand in baking and surprisingly I liked it. In no way I am a good baker, I keep doing mistakes, but I love the fact that these days my family usually have breads and cakes made by me. 

Okay, now to the fruit cake. This was the "fruit cake" my Maa used to make when growing up. She is in no way a baker but this was a yearly treat she made. But when I asked her the recipe she said, "don't remember, have not made it in ages'.
Me: Why did not you write it down?
Maa: Never thought of writing a blog!
Me: Yeah, thank you!

But she did say that she got it from my baker Aunt P and said she might help. Thanks Aunt P for the recipe, you made my day.


All purpose flour - 1& 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup (You can add more if you like)
Eggs - 3, medium
White oil - 1/2 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup (room temperature)
Baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Vanilla - 1/2 teaspoon
Raisins- Fistfull
Dried fruits and nuts - Fistful
Salt - To taste

Sift the flour, add sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix well.

To the same bowl add eggs, whisk it well. I used my hand mixer, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, oil and vanilla and give it a good mix.

Add half of the raisins and fruit/nuts to the mix and mix it gently. Add 1 tablespoon of flour to the remaining fruits/nuts and coat well.

Butter the cake pan well and pour the mixture to it. Dust off the excess flour from the fruits/nuts coated with flour and spread on the top.

Bake it at 180C for 25-30 minutes or till fork comes out clear in the middle (I baked for 25 minutes).

This is a nice simple everyday cake that can be eaten with tea/coffee or as evening snack. It is nothing fancy yet the taste lingers in your mouth and makes you feel good.

It turned out so good and we liked it so much, that it was gone by half a day, and withing 3 days I baked one more.

Cheers to 2014.