Mango season is on and the “King of the Fruits” has been ruling the market. There are piles and piles of mangoes everywhere with each vendor swearing his fruit to be the sweetest of all.  Various Varieties, different flavours are all there each juicy and delicious in its own way. Who does not love a squirt of nectar whooshing out into the mouth as you bite into a ripe mango? I opine that the best way to enjoy the fruit is to eat it the rustic way. Scoop out the stem and bit into it .The juice oozes out. Lick with tongue as it trickles down the fingers. It is fun and the feeling is heavenly.

I have been trying to incorporate mango into cakes since long. And after a lot of heart breaks, one recipe worked fine. Here is my Vegan Mango Pistachio Cake-

Vegan Mango Pistachio Cake | Vegan
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups mango puree
¾ cup powdered sugar (adjust sugar according to sweetness of mango puree)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pistachios sliced
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
A pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Grease and line one 6 ½ inch round cake pan.
Whisk together flour,baking soda and salt. Keep aside.
In a large bowl, mix sugar and mango puree. Add baking powder. Leave the mixture for 3 minutes. It will start bubbling. Add oil and vanilla essence. Mix well.
Add flour mix to wet ingredients in three shifts mixing gently till well incorporated. Do not over mix. Reserve one tablespoon sliced pistachios and fold in the rest. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange remaining pistachios on top. Bake at 190 degrees C for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 180 degrees C and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the rack. Slice next day.

Linking to Vegan Thursdays

The rain did come finally and in torrents. Kids ran out impromptu and so did I after them. I stood at the door like a guard, harried at the thought that they would come in with mud laden shoes, embossing shoe prints all over the floor that I take so much pain in keeping clean and sparkling. I watched them dancing  in the rain, jumping in the puddles, kicking water, shrieking at the gush of water under the drainpipe reveling unfettered and  enjoying wildly in the true sense.
 I felt a mist of water on my face – cool, soothing and so calming. I watched the rain fall on the parapet, small drops rolling down and collecting in the edge to form single large drop that fell at regular intervals forming small depressions on the soft earth and letting out a musical sound as it plunked and finally merged with previous ones down below before the thirsty Earth sucked them all into nothingness.

Good weather invokes good mood. The baker in me wanted to bake something with Cherries that were semi ripe when bought and were ripening fast. I have baked several quick breads and have somewhat understood the proportions of the ingredients. I used desiccated coconut, cherries and came out with my very own recipe –Cherry Coconut bread with whole wheat flour – egg less and butter free. It gives great pleasure to come out with your own recipes and thus become a recipe inventor.

This is how I made Egg less Cherry Coconut Bread -
 Egg less Cherry Coconut Bread (Whole Wheat and Butter free) | Egg less Baking
1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
¾ cup sugar (powdered)
¾ cup thick yogurt
½ cup milk
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh cherries
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Line and grease one 9 inch x 4 ½ inch bread pan with parchment paper.
Whisk together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, desiccated coconut, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Keep aside.
Beat yogurt till smooth. Add powdered sugar and milk. Add oil. Mix well.
Wash and pit the cherries. Cut each cherry into two to four pieces. Cut some cherries into half to arrange on top of the bread.
Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients till well incorporated. Do not over mix. Fold in sliced cherries. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Level with a spoon and arrange halved cherries on top. Bake at 190 degrees C for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C and bake for 50 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the pan after 10 minutes. Cool in the rack. Slice next day.
My notes: I have used whole wheat flour in the recipe. Swap it with all purpose flour if you like a lighter crumb. Increase sugar to 1 cup to get a sweeter loaf. I have used ¾ cup sugar and the loaf came out to be mildly sweet.

Sending to Twelve Loaves. #TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess

  Three of our wood apple (bael) trees are laden with the fruit. Every fruit begins to gain a yellowish tinge as it begins to ripen. The ripe fruits fall and lay hidden in the tall dry grass before they are discovered. The “thump” sound of the sun ripened bael prompts reflex action and we all rush out. While we feign the excitement most of time thereby infusing greater excitement into our kids, who literally run a race, gather the woody fruit, and trudge back, handing them to us like a coveted trophy. Yesterday it was stormy and many “thumps” were heard simultaneously as violent winds tossed and turned the trees.

While collecting the fruits, we noticed a tiny caterpillar feeding voraciously on curry leaves. There was another that had managed to reach a higher stage of development. Latter one resembled bird droppings to get camouflaged and thus escape enemies. How intricate and wonderful is the web of life!

Heat and dryness also mars the appetite. Keeping in mind the picky dinner preference of the family during this weather, I made Focaccia with fresh coriander. 

The flavor was very Indian, very new and very welcome. 

We enjoyed it immensely with mixed vegetable soup.
Whole Wheat Garden Fresh Coriander Focaccia | Vegan Baking
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup + 1tablespoon warm water
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 bunches of fresh coriander chopped finely
1 pinch salt flakes
Dissolve sugar in warm water. Add yeast. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Sift together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt.
From the ¼ cup olive oil, reserve 1 ½ tablespoon for drizzling on the bread. Mix the rest in the flour mix.
Add chopped coriander; reserve 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on the top of the bread. Add warm water and knead for 10 minutes till the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Cover and let it rise for 1 hour or till double in size.
Oil one 9 inch round cake pan. Sprinkle some flour on the counter. Roll the dough into a ball. Flatten it and roll into round bread of slightly less diameter than the cake pan.
Transfer the bread into the pan.
Dimple the dough about a dozen times with the tip of your finger pointing straight down. Leave for 30 minutes.
When the bread has risen well, drizzle the remaining olive oil, sprinkle the remaining coriander and salt on the bread.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 190 degrees C for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is well browned.

Submitted for Yeastspotting

  Our region is reeling under sweltering heat and there seems to be no respite for now. Mornings however are fresh and sometimes surprisingly breezy and pleasant. It is  our daily regimen of spending some time in the kitchen garden to collect menthol and tulsi (basil)for tea and our daughter loves to compete with me as she runs to collect the sun ripened Baels (wood apple) that fall and lay hidden in the dry vegetation that covers the ground. Last week during one such sultry morning, a movement in the baked vegetation caught our attention. It was the Indian Pitta, a lovely migratory bird that had made appearance for the fourth year in a row. “Was it the same bird?”, I wondered as we all admired the myriad hues on its agile body. The bird hopped and hid behind the curry leaf plant merging completely with its foliage. We retraced our steps intending not to disturb her and later managed to click some good pictures of the winged guest.

Yesterday at the behest of my daughter I baked a cake. I used the basic egg less recipe and added 1/3 cup of sliced pistachios. 

The cake was moist and fudgy. 

We had it plain but it would pair well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or cold custard.
This is how I made Dark Chocolate Whole Wheat Egg less Pistachio Cake
Dark Chocolate Whole Wheat Egg less Pistachio Cake | Butter free Cake
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup fresh yogurt
1 cup muscovado sugar (any other sugar will also do. Quantity of sugar can be adjusted accordingly)
1/3 cup sliced pistachios
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup olive oil
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coffee dissolved in 2 teaspoons of hot water
A pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line, grease and dust one 6 ½ inches round cake pan.
Beat yogurt till smooth. Add sugar and leave till sugar dissolves. Add baking powder and baking soda and mix well. The mixture will become bubbly. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Add coffee and oil. Mix well.
Whisk together whole wheat flour, cocoa powder and salt. Sift the flour mix.
Add flour mix to yogurt mix in three round mixing well after each addition. Stir in sliced pistachios. Reserve one tablespoon for sprinkling on top of the cake.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Level with a spoon, sprinkle remaining pistachios evenly on top.
Bake at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 175 degrees and bake for 40 – 45 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges by running a knife along the sides and remove the cake from the pan. Cool in the rack. Slice next day.

It’s a sultry summer afternoon. The lane is almost empty. A watermelon seller dozes off by the piles of watermelon…..some sculpted  open like a flower to reveal the rich juicy pulp inside, assuring the buyer of the sweetness of the fruit. Some rickshaws parked under a huge Peepal tree have their owners sleeping in them with the bodies curled and twisted to fit into the small seat with just the turbaned heads projecting out from one end. It is no business time for them. The burning tar road throws up mirages, distorting the approaching traffic beyond comprehension. A strange figure turns out to a milk man tottering in his bike. With a towel around his head and balancing a multitude of milk cans some full some empty, he is the only person on business in an otherwise lassitude filled afternoon.  The silence is shredded by a bunch of boisterous boys seemingly school going and returning from their coaching classes. The heat fails to trouble them as they laugh and talk in high decibels. They collect around an ice cream cart. The boys huddle around the vendor and crane their neck as he opens the lid of his freezer more to get some reprieve from heat than choosing their flavours.  My tongue clicks and then I arrest my temptation for ice cream. Loads of fat and calories I tell myself.
Back home I decided to make my own ice cream- A vegan ice cream.

Fat in the cream and milk gives ice cream the right creamy texture. Coconut milk is a perfect non diary substitute for cream and milk.  Its flavor is so subtle that the added fruit or flavor easily covers it. Making ice cream without ice cream maker requires freezing and churning two three times so that the ice cream is smooth and creamy without ice crystals. Check out some tips on making ice cream without ice cream maker at and

This is how I made Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream
Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream – Low Fat and  Guilt Free
400 ml Coconut milk (2 packs of 200ml each)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup mineral sugar or any sugar that is available (¾ to 1 cup depending on your taste)
Empty the coconut milk in a thick bottom steel wok. Add sugar. Measure cocoa powder and pass it through a strainer so that there are no lumps. Mix well
Cook the mixture on medium heat. Bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Stir continuously. The mixture will thicken. Leave it to cool.
Empty the cool mixture in a steel bowl. Fill another bowl (bigger than the one with mixture) with ice cubes. Let the mixture bowl sit on it. Once the mixture becomes chilled, cover it with a lid and keep it in the freezer. Check after 2 to 3 hours. It should have set in the sides with the center being soft. Churn it in the blender or with hands using a ladle or a whisk. Pour the mixture back into the bowl. Repeat after 2 to 3 hours.  Let it set finally for 2 to 3 hours or till you serve.
Enjoy healthy, low fat, guilt free, homemade creamy dreamy vegan ice cream.

Linking to Vegan Thursdays

 We woke up to a cloudy sky yesterday. Rumbling clouds and cool breeze was a balm to the heat battered souls. Mild drizzle gave way to torrents and the scent of the wet Earth suffused the air. The rain washed away the layers of dust sitting on leaves and trees looked washed, clean and pure. Kids ran out, danced and played in the rain. Children enjoy every weather and every season. It is we grownups, who bicker and rant in futility. As no condition is ever permanent, soon the Sun regained strength , and shone brightly as ever establishing its superiority over diminutive clouds that showcased their feat, albeit, for a short time.

Same evening I made whole wheat sunflower seed soda bread.

 Easy to whip up and great in taste, it is the fastest bread that can be made without much prior preparation.
Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Soda Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup buttermilk (quantity of buttermilk may vary)
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds plus 2 teaspoon sunflower seeds for sprinkling on bread
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C. Grease a baking tray, dust with flour.
Whisk together flours, salt, baking soda and sunflower seeds in a kneading plate.
Add sugar to buttermilk, stir till sugar dissolves.
Add about ¾ cup    buttermilk to flour and stir until everything is moistened. Keep adding buttermilk and knead till you get soft and slightly sticky dough. Add more buttermilk or flour till the right consistency is obtained.
Transfer the dough to the baking tray. Flatten the dough ball to a circle of about 1 ½ inches thickness. With a sharp knife, make a cross on top of the bread.
Bake the bread for 25 minutes at 220 degrees C. Reduce the heat to 180 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.  Cool in the rack. Slice next day or at least after six hours.

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