The diversity of India is such that a festival that has its state residents in a frenzy may leave others indifferent. But Holi falling in spring is one festival that spells revelry, food and music across the myriad of states. A crescent moon shaped pastry called ‘Gujiya’ screams “It’s Holi”.  In Uttarakhand this sweet is given an exalted position. How good it is  determines  your gastronomical standing amidst your Kumaoni clan.  I remember my mother tediously preparing the filling while we sisters were assigned a step each – making the dough, rolling it out into circles, putting the filling, closing it and then pinching in the edges to make a fluted hand pie. The now ubiquitous mold to make these was scorned at, as any Kumaoni woman worth her’ bhangey ka salt’ was to make these fluted edges using her index finger and thumb!

In a health conscious world there are baked versions ( I too tried them). But nothing can come close to the original fried, high calorie stuffing ones. After making “the originals ” I decided to use my cannoli tubes to make a sweet that forgives people with no twiddling thumbs and also adds creaminess to the filling .


For the pastry cover-

Flour- 1 cup

Butter- 4Tbsp

Powdered sugar- 2Tbsp

Oil for frying

For the filling-

Khoya- 200gm ( slightly roasted)

Condensed milk- 5 Tbsp

Cream Cheese- 5 Tbsp

Saffron- few strands

Cardamom  powdered- 1/2 tsp

Chopped almonds or pistachios- 5 Tbsp ( to decorate)


  • Knead the dough stiff and let it rest for half an hour.
  • Put all ingredients for the filling in the mixie and churn them into a smooth thick paste.Pour into an icing bag and put aside.
  • Roll out the dough thin and cut out circles.
  • Wrap the circle over the cannoli tube, sealing it well using a wet finger.
  • Heat the oil and fry the tubes till golden.
  • Drain them on paper towels and gently remove the pastry shells. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container till use.
  • Pipe the filling into these shells. Sprinkle chopped almonds on both the ends.
  • Serve immediately.



Original hand fluted  mava Gujiya


Gujiya disguised as a Cannoli



 I was overwhelmed when James and Ashima  entrusted me with their wedding cake on 18th February. They wanted a red velvet cake with minimal icing. I decided to use cornelli lace pattern with fondant roses. I was thrilled with my maiden venture at making roses!






Last September we celebrated our 21 years of marriage with a quick assessment of how two individuals who seemed so incompatible have lasted so long ( and in good health). My taciturn husband who doesn’t believe in sugary words puts it down to his own resilience. I being the true Arien, strongly believe my qualities of both head and heart are the main reason behind our magical marriage. But is it just about both of us?   I realised that in full honesty I should credit the much maligned mother in law for the role she has played in keeping my life together. A true blood Jatni she welcomed the headstrong Paharan in her life even if I kept stepping on her toes!  Our passion for Food and crafts brought us closer and her capacity for unconditional love made me explore and experiment.

Why I can’t thank her enough today is because she just made baking hassle free for me. She gifted me a KitchenAid 6.9 Professsional Bowl lift stand mixer!  The flip side is that my arms are going to get podgy with no more whipping and kneading to do!

Here is a recipe of the first cake my ma in law baked to welcome me as a bride. Its a lemon orange cake;  I made our anniversary cake using it.


Flour -1 cup

Sugar -1 cup heaped

Refined Oil- 1/2 cup

Eggs- 3

Baking powder – 1  teaspoon

Lemon Juice- 1 Tbsp

Orange Juice- 2 Tbsp

grated rind of half a lemon and a quarter of an orange


  • Pre heat the oven to 180* and sieve the flour and baking powder.
  • Beat sugar and oil till it turns creamy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time; beating well after every addition.
  • Add the lemon and orange rind and juice.
  • Fold in the flour and mix making the  figure eight.
  • Pour in a 6 inch tin and bake for 35 minutes.
  • Cool completely before slicing.


There have been so many occasions to raise a toast with a  lovingly whipped cake…my daughter turning 16,  my mother’s 80th birthday and a “out to convey a message cake”. Maybe its the very presence of cream, chocolate and sugar that ties a ribbbon around an ordinary day to make it a gift called Life!


Mummy’s 80th with Strawberry & Cream three tiered cake

My Sweet Sixteen doll


A message in the cake!

Banoffee Pie

Basket of Roses


Like all Army families posted in Delhi we too shifted house the third time a month back. Imagine our joy when we found two big Lemon trees laden with promising green balls  in the little  backyard! While my husband was imagining endless Tequila shots, I was filled with the possibilities of miraculous weight loss and easy riddance of this rotund body . Don’t those skinny models from Pinterest swear by lemon juice and honey first thing in the morning!  Well the enthusiasm has petered out as there isn’t less of me to be seen, in spite of a trial of a few days. So like a true blue foodie I decide to only focus on the umpteen options lemons offer;  lemon madeleine, lemon mousse, lemon bars and lemon tarts to name a few.

Here I am sharing a very simple recipe for a lemon curd filled tart. that’s been given a different fragrance by infusing it with fresh rosemary ( Thanks to my sibling growing it in Uttarakhand).


For the Lemon curd:

Lemon Juice- 1/2 cup


Sugar (granulated)-3/4 cup

Butter- 4 Tbsp

Fresh Rosemary- 2 sprigs coarsely pounded

For the tart shell:

Flour- 1 cup

Butter- 1/2 cup

Castor sugar- 1 Tbsp

Chilled water- 2 Tbsp

For the meringue:

Egg whites- 02

Castor sugar- 1/2 cup

Pinch of cream of Tartar


Melt the butter and let the rosemary sprigs sit in it for ten minutes.Add the lemon juice and bring to a boil. Let it cool.Whisk the sugar and eggs together.Gradually beat the egg mixture into the butter and lemon.Return the pan to the heat and cook till thick, stirring continuously.Sieve it and discard the rosemary.Cool in the refrigerator.

For the Tart shell:

Rub the butter into the dry ingredients.Add the chilled water till pastry holds together.Make a ball and chill before rolling it out and easing it into the tart tin.Prick it with a fork and bake at 180*C for 20 minutes. Cool.

For the meringue:

Beat the whites stiff with the cream of tartar and gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time.


Fill the tart shell with the lemoncurd filling.Spoon the meringue over the curd.Use a blow torch to toast the meringue. If you don’t have one, just grill it in the oven for a minute.Decorate with rosemary sprigs.

Remember Lemons in this tart do nothing for your weight!





The feeling of vacantness in my life after every season of Masterchef Australia winds up is enormous. How these three guys leave me enchanted with their sheer love for food! Gary, Matt and George would probably never know how their chant of “fresh produce” left such a strong impression on me. Last week my sister in Uttarakhand sent me fresh chives and a green pumpkin from her garden. One look at that rotund vegetable and I knew I could not chop this beauty. So I decided to cook it whole. But then I had to make it have mass appeal too (read make the kids have it). So I decide to bake macaroni in it and top it off with cheese.

Preparation :  Cut off a lid from the pumpkin and discard the seeds and soft pith. Wash and wipe it completely. Mix the following to make a rub :                                                                     Garlic powder- 2Tbsp, Onion powder-1 Tbsp, Chilly powder- 2tbsp, Salt- 2Tbsp, Vinegar-1tsp,Grated Cheddar cheese- 3Tbsp, Olive Oil-3 Tbsp

Rub the above mixture inside the cavity and the lid. You can gently prick the cavity with a fruit fork to make it permeate the pumpkin. Let it stand for two hours. Then put the whole thing, lid included, in the microwave and cook for 8 minutes on full power. Let it cool.


Macaroni- 250gms

Chopped Chives- 5 Tbsp

Instant Chicken soup packet-1

Chilly flakes- 1Tbsp

Grated cheddar cheese- 5Tbsp


  • Put a generous coat of butter on the outside of the pumpkin.
  • Boil the macaroni till half cooked. Drain.
  • Make the soup using half the quantity of water than instructed.
  • Mix together the macaroni,chives, chilly flakes and cheese.
  • Spoon the macaroni into the pumpkin and evenly pour the soup over it.
  • Microwave it for 6-7 minutes.
  • Let it stand for 5 minutes, then serve.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would like to mention that I did not bake it on Convection as I wanted the pumpkin to retain its vibrant green colour. Also I used Chives as the herb( and not  Sage) as in Uttarakhand the herb “Jamboo” used for seasoning vegetables is akin to chives.

When you eat the macaroni out of the pumpkin shell, do scoop out and eat the tender pulp of the pumpkin.






Its been above three months since I posted anything on my blog. Summers translate into travelling and school holidays and I cannot complain as I enjoyed every moment of it. Family time  is food time so there was loads of cooking and baking. Food definitely taste better when you eat it with your family and friends!   The onset of monsoons in India gives all food lovers the perfect excuse to indulge in snacking, preferably fried stuff.  Here I am sharing the recipe that heroes pumpkin in savoury;    though the sweet version – Baked pumpkin doughnuts were polished off faster 🙂

Pumpkin and Sage Savory Muffins

I took Chinmayie’s recipe from and tweaked it to give a new twist to the flavour. First step is to get the pumpkin puree ready as canned one is not easily available in India.Take a kilogram of yellow skinned pumpkin, cut into long thick slices and bake it in the oven at 180*C for 30 minutes or till it turns soft. Cool, scrape off the pulp and puree it. Take 1/4 cup of Hudson Canola oil and drop three star anise into it,  now microwave it for a minute. Let it cool down.


Pumpkin puree- 2 cups

Canola oil infused with star anise- 1/4 cup

Raw green mango pulp- 2 tablespoon

Powdered oats- 1/2 cup

Wholewheat flour- 1 cup

Baking powder – 1 teaspoon

Baking soda- 1 teaspoon

Dried sage- 1 Tablespoon

White sesame- 6 teaspoon

Hummus(store bought or homemade) – 1 cup


  • Preheat the oven to 170*C.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together.
  • Blend the oil, puree and mango pulp together. Add to the dry ingredients, stir till just combined.
  • Drop spoonfuls into a 12 muffin tray ,sprinkle some sesame and  bake for 30 minutes. Then grill for a minute to get a brown crust. Remove and let it cool completely.
  • Cut the tops off and spread a tablespoon of hummus and replace the top.
  • Guilt free eating – enjoy!

For Pumpkin doughnuts baked not fried, I followed kingarthurflour recipe.




Other bakes in the past months….

Pumpkin baked doughnuts


.                                                              Oats and Seeds Granola Bars

Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate truffle and Vanilla Cake

Kiwi Cheesecake     and     Blueberry and Cream Cake



When my son sitting in Pune pointed out to my rotund look in photographs I knew he was right to an extend. For  Goddess Gastronomy worshipping pagans like me the pooch makes an appearance at frequent intervals! So the weekly resolution  (easier to keep than annual ones) was to stay off refined flour and white sugar.  To balance the tea time sweet  gingerbread using molasses  I made anytime savory -tacos with maize flour and wholewheat flour.Sharing the recipes for these.



Wholewheat flour(Atta) – 02 cups

Canola Oil- 1/2 cup

Brown sugar-1/2 cup

Molasses- 01 cup

Eggs- 02

Grated fresh ginger- 02 tsp

Dry ginger powder- 02 Tbsp

Cinnamon powder- 1/2 tsp

Clove powder- 1/4 tsp

Baking soda- 3/4 tsp

Boiling water- 1 cup

Salt- large pinch


  • Melt the molasses( grated gur)by pouring hot water over it.Add the oil and grated ginger.Stir well. Cool.
  • Whisk all the dry ingredients in a bowl , that is WWF, brown sugar , soda, salt and spices.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time to the molasses liquid.
  • Add the dry ingredients ; mix till combined. Pour into a rectangular greased tin.
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 180*C for 40 minutes. Cool  and cut into squares.DSC_0005DSC_0001




Wholewheat flour- 01 cup

Maize flour ( Makki ka atta)- 01 cup

Salt- 1/4 tsp

Olive oil- 02 Tbsp

Garlic powder- 01 tsp

Onion powder- 01 tsp

Water to knead- 3/4 cup – 1 cup


  • Mix all the ingredients and knead well to make a smooth dough. Wrap it and let it rest for half an hour.
  • Divide into four portions and roll each ball very thin. Rolling between two sheets of  butter paper makes it easier.
  • Use a foot ruler and cut into strips using a pizza cutter. Further cut the strips into triangles.
  • Scatter these triangles over a large baking tray .
  • Bake for 15 minutes in a oven preheated to 160*C.
  • Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
  • Serve with fresh and finely chopped vegetables. Salsa sauce, mustard sauce and pickled Jalapenos( I do mine at home) add sharp distinctive flavour.

Guiltless eating!






There are some desserts that are so time consuming that you should put them aside for potlucks. But then since you are concentrating on just one dish you can go in for a more complex but truly rewarding dessert. This dessert is easy on the eye and the different elements make it a gourmet’s delight. If you wish to omit out some elements it will still taste superb- just increase the quantity of the element you wish to highlight.




Butter- 100g

Icing sugar- 60g

Flour- 175g

Cornflour- 20g

Egg- 01


Britannia cream cheese- 200g

Thick cream-150ml

Castor sugar-50g

Vanilla extract- 1tsp

Gelatine- 1Tblspn


Mango pulp – 250g

Castor sugar -75g

Whipped cream -125g

Gelatine – 1 Tblspn

Water – 3 Tblspn


Strawberries – 250g chopped

Castor sugar -125g

Whipped cream -125g

Gelatine – 1 Tblspn

Water – 3 Tblsp


Flour – 175g

Cocoa powder- 25g

Castor sugar- 90g

Unsalted butter- 100gm

Egg yolk- 01


Kiwi crush- 250 ml

Granulated sugar- 50g

Gelatine- 2 tsp warmed with 6tsp of water


Black grapes- 250g

Whipping cream- 200ml

Sugar- 50g

Gelatine- 02 Tblspn



  • Beat the butter and sugar till fluffy.
  • Add the egg and mix.
  • Sieve the dry ingredients and add to the butter-sugar mixture.
  • Stir till the batter forms a ball. You can do this by hand.
  • Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.
  • Roll out the biscuit pastry between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/2 “thickness.
  • Cut out rounds using a floured cutter. Prick all over with a toothpick.
  • .Chill for an hour.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 200*C for 8 minutes till golden.
  • Cool and crush up the biscuits to make a coarse crumb.


  • Beat cream cheese and sugar until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  • Add the cream and vanilla extract and beat till light and fluffy.
  • Add the gelatin to the mixture and beat till airy. Chill.


  • Sprinkle gelatin over water to soften it.
  • Put the mango pulp to boil with the sugar. Once it starts to simmer add the softened gelatine , stirring till it gets dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
  • Whip cream stiff and fold it into the mango puree.


  • Sprinkle gelatin over water to soften it.
  • Puree the strawberries in the processor and put it to boil with the sugar. Once it starts to simmer add the softened gelatine , stirring till it gets dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
  • Whip cream stiff and fold it into the strawberry puree.



  • Beat the butter and sugar till fluffy.
  • Add the egg and mix.
  • Sieve the flour and cocoa and add to the butter-sugar mixture.
  • Stir till the batter forms a ball. You can do this by hand.
  • Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.
  • Roll out the biscuit pastry between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/2 “thickness.
  • Cut out rounds using a floured cutter. Prick all over with a toothpick.
  • .Chill for an hour.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 200*C for 8 minutes till golden.
  • Cool and crush up the biscuits to make a coarse crumb.


  • Cook the kiwi crush in the microwave for half a minute.
  • Microwave the softened gelatin till it is smooth.
  • Add to the crush and cool.


  • Sprinkle gelatin over water to soften it.
  • Put the chopped grapes to boil with the sugar. Once they start to simmer add the softened gelatine , stirring till it gets dissolved.
  • Puree the grapes after they cool.
  • Whip cream stiff and fold it into the pureed grapes and mix thoroughly.


  • Wipe six glasses dry.
  • Take a clear glass and put a thin layer of biscuit crumb.
  • Spoon vanilla cheese cake filling over the crumb layer.
  • Spoon mango mousse over the cheesecake filling.
  • Spread the chocolate biscuit crumb over the third layer.
  • Spoon the strawberry mousse over it.
  • Spread the kiwi jelly garnishing the sides with kiwi wedges if you wish to.
  • Spoon the grape mousse as the seventh layer and garnish with chopped fruit and some crumb.