Venezuelan Spiced Hot chocolate

BM# 102 : Week 2, Day 3
Theme : Recipes from South America

With some showers here, the weather is on the pleasant and cooler side now. So for the third day, I didn’t hesitate to make hot chocolate. Surprisingly my husband loved this more than my son, both of which is due to the presence of ginger in the drink. I loved the ginger in there too.

There is no unique recipe for hot chocolate or this version of spiced hot chocolate. There are so many different recipes to be found in the internet. Many have orange zest in it and no ginger, but after trying it with ginger, I have become a fan of the flavor. The recipe here is from the book Gran Cocina Latina which I have borrowed from the library.

The book mentioned truffles from a shop for hot chocolate, so I think this recipe can be adapted to make chocolate truffles as well to make instant hot chocolate. The cream for ganache can be seeped with the spice mix and later filtered and added to chocolate to form truffles. The truffle balls can then be added to hot milk to make hot chocolate. A good quality chocolate is needed to make this, I used chocolate chips since that’s what I had in my hand.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: The book Gran Cocina Latina

Serves: 4


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon peeled and chopped ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or one vanilla bean
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 100 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped


  1. Grind the sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cloves,ginger and vanilla beans into a fine powder using a blender/food processor.
  2. Combine the powdered spices with milk and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat, let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring In between. Take off heat and let it sit covered for ten minutes for the flavors to seep.
  3. Strain the milk into a large saucepan, place over medium heat. Add the chocolate and beat with a whisk vigorously until you have a good froth. Serve immediately.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the recipe from other Blogging Marathoners.


Lemon Pound Cake

1lemon pound cake

This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

Pound cake is a classic American cake. But that’s  not my choice for the alphabet ‘P’. Lemon also features big in America. Come summer and the web gets bombarded with so many versions of lemonade. I have read in many comics about kids selling it to make some extra money. I haven’t seen it in person yet, but this is only my second summer here.

So since pound cake is not coming up for this culinary journey, I opted for a compromise.Lemon pound cake : a classic cake in a popular flavor! That is a winner for sure and the best compromise I have made :-)!

Its a pretty straight forward recipe. Read on.

2lemon pound cake

Recipe adapted slightly from:  Once upon a chef


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup butter (~225 gms/2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (4 tablespoons)
  • zest from 2 lemons

*Substitute with milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease and line two loaf pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Set aside.
  4. In a big bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until soft and fluffy, scrapping the bowl in between to incorporate all the sugar into the mix. Beat the eggs in, one at a time till it’s all incorporated well.
  5. Add 1/3rd flour, fold it in carefully. Follow this by ½ of buttermilk mixture and gently mix it in. Repeat once again (1/3rd flour & fold; ½ buttermilk & fold) and finally add the remaining 1/3rd flour. Fold it in until no streaks of flour remains. We are adding the flour in 3 batches and buttermilk in two batches. The last batch has to be the flour mix.
  6. Divide the batter into the loaf pans and bake for about 50-60 minutes. Check whether its done by poking with a wooden skewer before taking the pans out of the oven. If the skewer comes out free of crumbs, the cake is cooked. Let the cake rest in the pan for at least 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Let it cool completely.
  7. For a more intense lemon flavor, you can drizzle with a lemon glaze. You can prepare this by mixing 1/3rd cup lemon juice (about 6 tablespoons) with 1/4th cup powdered sugar. Sourness of the lemon varies widely, so adjust the lemon and sugar quantity based on your preference. Use a fork or a toothpick to make holes all over the top of the cake. Drizzle the lemon glaze and serve.

3lemon pound cake

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63


Chilli Gobi


The tea time snacks I have been bringing to the blogging table started off with a healthy cucumber sandwich. Next was a shallow fried potato and broccoli patties and now I am here with the big bad deep fried chili gobi.. And yes, it was a success because I managed to make it without any incidents. No burns, no spills, no howls from the kitchen, so that’s a definite success for me!

Coming to the chili gobi here, there is it’s almost the same as gobi Manchurian. This is a little bit more on the spicier side and is not usually served as a gravy – but other than that I don’t see any difference between the two.

Winter has set its foot here in US and now clicking pictures needs a bit more of planning than before. I never thought I would see a day where I would check the weather before cooking for the blog!! These were taken at 5 PM and it was already getting dark. It made me realize that I need to plan better from now on wards.

Winter is here and lets all warm up to that…with some chilli gobi, to begin with :-)!


Recipe source: Yummy Tummy

Blogging Marathon theme: Tea time snacks


For the cauliflower part:

  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
  • pinch turmeric powder
  • salt
  • water
  • oil to fry

For the batter to dip:

  • 1/2 cup maida/ all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • water to make the batter

For the sauce:

  • 1 medium onion or 4 spring onions
  • 1 small green capsicum, diced
  • 2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2-3 green chillies, sliced into half (optional 0r adjust per taste)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • salt
  • oil


  1.  Prepare the cauliflower : Bring a pot of water to boil. Add salt as needed and a pinch of cauliflower. Add the cauliflower florets and let it boil for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and drain the water off.
  2. In a wide bowl, add 1/2 cup maida, 1/2 cup corn flour, 1 teaspoon chili powder, salt as needed. Add enough water to form a batter of cake batter or dosa batter consistency. When we dip the cauliflower in the batter, it should coat it and not drain off completely.
  3. Heat oil for deep frying. Dip the cauliflower in the prepared batter and deep fry. Once all the florets are fried, set it aside.
  4. Remove all but one tablespoon of oil from the pan. We are going to prepare the sauce for the florets.
  5. Add one medium chopped onion and 2 sliced green chilies and let it cook. Add 2 teaspoons of ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell goes off. Add one tablespoon of soya sauce and one tablespoon of tomato ketchup.
  6. Tip in one finely diced capsicum. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon (or per taste) chili powder and required amount of salt.
  7. Let everything cook together for 3-4 minutes. Taste test and adjust seasonings.
  8. Add the fried cauliflower florets and mix gently without breaking it. Take off the heat.
  9. Garnish with spring onions and serve as an appetizer of a tea time snack.


Cucumber sandwiches

cucumber sandwich.jpg

When we were kids, the concept of tea time was heavy tiffin like ada dosa, idli or upma. Because that’s the time you come back from school and you will be hungry enough to eat horse even! But as we grew up, the weekend tea time grew into a more elegant, enjoyable and lighter treat time. It was initially just biscuits and then slowly graduated to hot vadas, pakodas and stuff. Well, the treat lasted as long as some one else was in charge of the kitchen. My definition of tea time specials are ready-made snacks :D.

Anyway, I am trying to get back in shape blogging wise – so I thought its a good idea for me to start blogging 3 times a week. And the choice of theme for the second week is tea time snacks.

Most of the snacks that pair well with a cup of tea are deep-fried. I bear enough burn marks in my hands to be banned near hot oil. If I am really being honest, I may be a little apprehensive about it, but mostly I am too lazy to deep fry.But the story to the public (OK, just to my man) is that I am scared of oil and I stick to it ;-).

An easy tea time snack is a simple sandwich.  You would be surprised to know that these humble cucumber sandwiches are a popular tea time favorite! Read on for the ..erm…recipe (well, if you can call it that!)

cucumber sandwich1

Makes 4 sandwiches


  • 8 bread slices, crusts removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream cheese per sandwich (or more per taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mayo per sandwich (or more per taste)
  • 4 thinly sliced cucumber pieces per sandwich
  • salt and pepper

*Instead of cream cheese and mayo, you can use butter


  1. Cut off the crusts of the bread. Slice cucumber into very thin slices.
  2. Spread cream cheese on one slice and mayonnaise on  another.
  3. Layer 4 cucumber slices on one slice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover with the other slice of bread. Cut it into half and serve with tea.
  5. Make more sandwiches with the rest of the bread.

cucumber sandwich3

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 58