Sunday, September 11, 2011

butterfly pea….

Clitoria ternatea 1

The butterfly pea is a common wildflower seen all over the country. The flowers of this vine have the shape of human female pudenda, hence the Latin name of the genus "Clitoria", from "clitoris". This plant is scientifically called Clitoria ternatea. The flowers have a vivid vivid cobalt blue colour with a white throat  and are locally used in Asian cuisine as a food colouring.

The roots of the butterfly pea are used for curing whooping cough in children. The blue flowers are used as a food dye. The extract from plant is known to have anti oxidant properties.

The flowers are used in Ayurveda to enhance memory and sharpen intelligence.

The flower is also called Shankha Pushpa in Sanskrit and is the favourite flower of Ganesha, the elephant headed God.



Wednesday, September 07, 2011

chocolate frosted chocolate cake…..

This recipe is taken from the very popular baking site - Joy of Baking ….

For a double dose of chocolate, there is nothing better than a chocolate frosted chocolate cake. This single layer cake has a moist and tender crumb with a rich and creamy frosting made with just chocolate and cream (Ganache).

What makes this chocolate cake unique is that it is a "mix-in-the-pan" type of cake. That means all the dry and wet ingredients are mixed together right in the pan it is to be baked in. This recipe does not contain eggs. We also add a little lemon juice (or vinegar) to the batter, which causes a reaction between the cocoa powder and the lemon juice giving the baked cake a red tinge (reminiscent of a Red Velvet Cake).

Once the cake has baked and cooled, it is frosted with a Ganache frosting which is simply a mixture of heavy cream and semi sweet chocolate. Normally, to make a Ganache, you pour boiling cream over chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Then, once the Ganache has cooled to room temperature, you simply pour it over the cake. Now, while this makes a lovely frosting, what you can also do is to let the Ganache cool until slightly firm, and then beat it until it becomes light and creamy. Same great taste but it has a slightly different texture which I find is perfect on this cake.

This cake recipe is adapted from Canadian Jane Rodmell's excellent cookbook Best Summer Weekends Cookbook. This is a cookbook that I turned to often, both for savoury and sweet recipes. Her recipes are easy to put together and have excellent flavour.

Chocolate Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in centre of oven.

In an ungreased 8 inch (20 cm) square cake pan, stir together the flour, sugar, sifted cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the melted butter, water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. With a fork, mix all the ingredients together until well blended. Bake in preheated oven for about 35 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.


Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let the ganache sit at room temperature until slightly firm (about one hour) and then beat the ganache until creamy smooth and light. With an offset spatula or knife spread the ganache over the cooled cake.

Serves 8 - 10 people.


Rodmell, Jane. Best Summer Weekends Cookbook. Cottage Life Books. Toronto: 2004.


Chocolate Cake:

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed), sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup (240 ml) warm water

1 tablespoon lemon juice (or vinegar)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy cream (35% butterfat)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

ji huzoor .....

In this age of pseudo democracy, practices of sycophancy spread even to birds.....

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

‘Grave’ injustice…..


ashes to ashes,

dust to dust,

earth to earth….. 

while one hears these lines in a lot of movies, especially in scenes involving a burial, it was interesting to see a perverse example of the same at Lodhi Garden. This tree was growing out of a forgotten tomb in the park. Gives a whole new meaning to the term “pushing up daisies”.

Why are humans fascinated with death? After clicking these photographs this morning, I did a short internet study on the subject …… and found this link of 10 bizarre death rituals….. 

_MG_7366 Why have we invented rituals to deal with this inevitable fact of life. As someone said in an sms, Life is a terminal illness….

One of the ways humans deal with death is by burying the dead, be it in simple earthen graves, or something as elaborate as the ‘Taj Mahal’ although, as someone aptly said…. tombs are for the living, the dead do not care about them…… or as a fellow photographer, blogger and friend Pratibha says “do we really need stone markers anyways, when we leave so many memories behind…..”

Friday, September 02, 2011

shivoham, shivoham…..



manobuddhyahaṃkāra cittāni nāhaṃ
na ca śrotrajihve na ca ghrāṇanetre
na ca vioma bhūmir na tejo na vāyuḥ
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'ham śivo'ham

I am not the mind, intellect, thought, ego, or some form of the supreme being;

I neither have ears, nor tongue and I neither have nose, nor eyes;

I am not the sky, earth, light or the wind;

I am consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva, I am Shiva.


Given below is a beautiful rendition of the same shloka.