I have been cooking since so many years now but my white sauce(bechamel sauce) was always lumpy.

Today is the day I finally made an awesome lump free white sauce. Surprisingly there is nothing to it. Okay okay that sounds smug but I will explain the trick.

  • Remember the rough measurements of ingredients. Keep them measured and handy. Mise en place dearies.
  • Start with the Roux(butter and flour). Once you are sure it is cooked, trickle in the milk. TRICKLE. Keep stirring. One hand trickles and the other stirs..Don’t stop to investigate the lumps etc keep stirring and trickling.
  • With your experienced eyes you will realize that you don’t have to worry now, the sauce has survived..then you can dump the rest of milk at once.

That’s it. Faith and stirring are the secrets.

Till the next post…

C’est votre coquette!!

Experiments with bread and pastry making

Hello everyone,

After so many years I am posting here. It is not that I have stopped cooking/baking but it is difficult to log in and make notes for all the recipes I try. But still I would like to give it a go again.

Earlier when I started this blog I was learning to cook so I would scour through food blogs, take prints of recipes and cook precisely sticking to the recipe. Now I do the same but I also use Pinterest, my cookbooks and miss-mash of everything I read online but I do not stick to the recipe to the T. With great(!) cooking experience(10 years) comes a concept of recipes. You get the rough gist, you know how it might turn out, you know what to watch out for and you know how to rectify it…if it goes wrong.

I have been on a baking/cooking spree lately. I made 3 breads and croissants(By Toutatis! By Belenos!) in the last one week. Also I have started on a sourdough starter but it is not yet completely active.

Salvaging a croissant dough

1) Refrigerator is your best friend. If butter starts to leak when you roll. Just chuck it in the fridge for 1 hour till it is solid and work again. When in doubt..(dough is tearing, sticking, leaking etc etc…) just put it in fridge.(Don’t forget to cover it)

2) You can go beyond 6 folds I think. I did more because my first few folds were very bad and the butter was just leaking(good lumps of it!) everywhere. I started putting it in fridge for one hour and did proper folds after that. Sure enough it was easy to work with later.

3) After cutting the pastry, shape it immediately. Do not put it in the fridge. I tried to shape it later after chilling the dough, the dough started to tear and it is a bit hard to shape too.

4) Proof the croissants on the counter for a good hour or more till the dough looks spongy. Do not rush them into the oven. I rushed my first batch and I got the tiniest ones. They tasted great but there was no volume. After all the work…you need to see the layers right!

5) Preheat your oven for a long time. Maybe 20 minutes. A good hot oven gives a nice colour to the croissants. Egg wash helps too but I used Milk wash. I might try basting with butter next time.

6) Also work in parts..Use half of the pastry first (to cut and shape). Put the rest in fridge. Once you are done with the first half, work on the second half. Slightly warm dough is very delicate to cut and shape. Fridge makes it solid and hard so that you can roll it easily.

Phew!! I hope these tips helps someone in the future…I couldn’t find many tips online when I was doing it.

This post really helped me with my croissants. Check it out.

Tips on Sourdough starter

I know I don’t have one yet to give advice but speaking from an earlier failure.

  • Be patient. It takes a lot of time.
  • A clear glass jar helps. Really. First time I did it in a metal bowl and I couldn’t judge the yeast activity at all. My bread was a brick. A clear jar helps.
  • Also use a marker. When you mix it just mark the level. That way you will know whether it is rising or falling etc. You think you will remember the levels but it helps to have a clearer picture. I even mark the time and date so that I know the number of hours it takes to rise fully.
  • If the starter is moldy anywhere then take a spoon or two of it into a fresh clean jar and chuck the rest. Feed the starter in the fresh jar.
  • Do not assume. Since I live in India, I thought it is too hot for yeast and it will work fast etc but no..My current starter is in the fifth day and it still hasn’t doubled yet. It is very slow. My kitchen might be cool..I think.
  • Go by the smell. Since my 4th day it started smelling fruity and nice. It didn’t double but I think this is the nice yeast coming up. The first three days it was awful.


My family loved the croissants and chocolate croissants. I also made a cinnamon sugar straw and cinnamon sugar rolls with the same dough. They tasted amazing(well with the amount of butter!! it had to!!).

My Inferences:

Next time when I make them I want to use unsalted butter. With Amul butter they tasted like khari biscuits rather than like true croissants.

Well…the breads deserve another post.

Till the next post…

C’est votre coquette!!

Eggless Date cake by Shilpa

Happy holidays! As such in India, Christmas is not that festive as it is elsewhere but we are catching up. For the first time we celebrated Christmas at home. As in we had a party at home. There was Santa at office. I was very happy to shake hands with him and take chocolates from him. I was glad to watch the movie “Miracle on 34th street”. So ho-ho! christmas is here!

Coming back to the post of the day… I had read this recipe since long but was not much interested in baking a cake without eggs. Dates? I was not sure!

Suddenly our friends said we are coming. I had all the ingredients for this one and thought maybe I can give it a shot. Also.. It is shilpa and I had that confidence in her! Her carrot cake was still fresh in my mind.

 I have followed her recipe to the T but just added more sugar as my husband has a very BIG sweet tooth. It came out almost like her second photograph shown here. Except that my cake had a light brown crust and very dark brown inside. The cake tasted like a chocolate cake even without a drop of chocolate. It was not like a date cake at all…

I had 8 guests so I had to double the quantity for every ingredient. It came out fabulous. I am confident in my cake baking skills now. I can recognize the batter consistency for a cake correctly. I have a long way to go though. Now bread baking is my next goal. I have got 2 books and also shilpa’s recipes. So hopefully I should be baking a bread next year.

My inferences:

  • The cake was very soft… maybe because of the milk in it.
  • This time it was not oily like the carrot cake. Again I guess because of the milk.  


Awesome! Very Nice! Very Tasty! “Please give me the recipe”. These were the few comments from my guests. I am sure I have forgotten a few compliments but Shilpa, all the credit goes to you.

Till the next post…

C’est votre coquette!!

Water Melon Drink Agua Fresca by Sailu

Hello readers! It’s been long time. Instead of excuses I guess we’ll straight away get down to business. It’s not that I didn’t try any recipes from blogosphere. It’s not that I didn’t have time to post. It just didn’t happen.

 Of all the recipes that I’ve tried since the time, this is the only one which I have always wanted to talk about. This was a hit! I got so many compliments for this one that this has remained etched in my mind.

 It was summer offcourse! Hot noon and I had a very big watermelon sitting in my fridge. We were to leave the city the next day for a week and we didn’t want to take a chance. Had to finish it. We were expecting guests so I thought this might be my chance to impress them.

 The recipe by Sailu can be found here.

Hardest part:

De-seeding the watermelon. I guess you can try the seeded watermelon and follow with straining in the end. Not sure about the result though! You might have seed particles.


“It was very nice” by my husband.

“Badhiya!!! What is this!!! (On the lines of this is wonderful)” by  our respected mamaji. Couldn’t ask for more😉.  He helped himself for one more glass.

I would definitely recommend this for you. If it’s summer at your end then go ahead and grab that watermelon. I strictly followed the recipe. Including the 10 sec swirl in the blender. Didn’t want to take a chance!

 Hope you like it when you try it.

Till the next post…

C’est votre coquete!!

Simple chocolate cake by Mrs Varma

So today “Plain Chocolate cake” steals the show. This recipe is from Mrs Varma. She was my teacher for Microwave cooking. Those classes came free with my Microwave.

Her measurement is 1 mug throughout. 1 mug = 1 small glass nearly. It was a cup which you normally get free along with Nescafe or products like that.

1 mug maida or all-purpose-flour
1 tea spoon cooking soda*
1/2 mug sugar**
1/2 mug thick dahi***
1 egg
1/2 mug oil or butter****
3 table spoons cocoa powder*****
1/2 mug lukewarm water******
*Also called as mitha soda. It is normally put in idli batter and while boiling palak (so that it stays green)

**This can actually vary. When I made it for the first time then I put 1/2 mug. My mother said that it’s not that sweet so I put 3/4th mug the next time. She again said it’s not that sweet so I guess I should use 1 mug next time. Another idea is to use your cake recipe(The one which you’ve made loads of times and like a lot). Use the same Flour:Sugar ratio. Say the recipe asks 1:1 then go for the same.

***1 mug dahi for eggless cake. I used Nestle Dahi both the times. If your dahi is not thick then reduce the amount of water that you are going to put.

****Any oil that’s NOT smelly…like mustard oil.

*****I used Cadbury’s cocoa powder.

******Water addition is just to make it to pouring consistency.

Important Note:

For a cake prepared in convection oven, the batter should be of ribbon consistency(Thick. When the beater or spoon is held high…batter will fall in shape of ribbon) and for the microwave oven it should be of pouring consistency. It’ll flow freely when the beater/spoon is held high.


This will not take more than 3 minutes.

Beat the egg in a bowl. Add dahi, sugar and oil. Beat until it forms a nice mixture.

Sift maida+soda. Add maida+soda to the egg mixture. Then add cocoa powder. Beat well. The batter will come together nicely due to oil.

This mixture is ready for a normal convection oven but this one will not work for a microwave oven. We’ve to add water to make it to pouring consistency.

So…Add water and mix well.

Put it in microwave oven on full power for 5 mins. That’s it. My oven’s power is 900W so it takes 5 mins. Adjust your time accordingly. Don’t make it go more than 8 mins. Cake might turn into a stone due to dehydration. Be careful and please check after every 3 minutes by putting a knife inside. It should come out clean that means the cake is done.

Mrs Varma says you can add nuts, fruits in the recipe. You can add them to the batter or spread them on the bowl and pour the batter on top so you’ll get a nice upside-down cake. (I think this is the term to use)


The cake came out soft both the times. In my mum’s words it was like a flower(The idea is to convey that it was very soft and delicate). My husband didn’t like it much as it was not sweet at all according to him. I liked it though as it was perfect for me and my sis-in-law.

Till the next post…
C’est votre coquette!!

Microwave cooking instructions by Mrs Varma

Our teacher/chef a lovely lady called Mrs Varma cooked…

Cake in 5mins (Amazingly soft and fluffy chocolate cake )
Rice Pulao in 12 mins
Aloo cabbage curry in 8 mins
chicken curry in 8 mins

I was so awed and spell bound that I was dancing the whole evening. I was just dying to cook in Microwave oven.

It was easier, faster and cleaner to cook in it.

My oven’s power is 900watts so adjust the timing in your oven accordingly. Else check in batches of 2-3 mins and stir the ingredients well (you’ve to stir else hot spots will set in..few portions will cook well and few will remain raw).

Gyan by Mrs Varma:

  • Never cook for more than 4 mins at once in a microwave oven.
  • Check after every 4 mins. Mix the ingredients and microwave again. This way you’ll know what’s happening.
  • Once the dehydration sets in the food. you can’t help it.
  • You’ve to keep checking till you get to know your machine well. Once you get used to it you can cook things at once for 10 mins(for rice etc).
  • Using tomato puree is better than tomatoes itself. I forgot the reason why!. She also mentioned that Stuffed tomatoes shouldn’t be made in Microwave. They don’t taste good.
  • Baking soda/Mitha Soda should be used while baking cakes in Microwave oven. Baking powder should be used while baking cakes in Convection oven (or) microwave oven in convection mode.
  • Mustard seeds don’t splutter in the tadka in Microwave oven as heat comes from all the sides and not just from the bottom(in case of pan/kadai).
  • If you think the curry, rice or anything is not yet cooked completely(just before perfection) then leave it aside for sometime as the food gets cooked in the standing time also.
  • Microwaves penetrate only for 2 inches so it is better to use flat dishes to cook more.

I remember only this much. I’ll keep updating this as and when I remember more…

Please feel free to metion your observations also. I will be glad to add them.

Till the next post…

C’est votre coquette!!

Methi Matar Malai by Indira

Here comes the lady who has made me go crazy about food blogs, cooking and food as such!! I’ve been reading her blog since last 1 and half year.

I’ve prepared many things from her blog. Like Spaghetti in peanut sauce(which I tried as soon as I bought my mixer. It was great!!! ), oatmeal upma, bringal ginger curry, brinjal jaggery chutney(which was a hit at my in-laws place recently), Methi chutney, radish curry and many more…

Today..I’m going to blog about Methi Matar Malai which she has posted recently. I had all the ingredients in my refrigerator. I had taken the pain to segregate methi leaves in the morning and I was all set in the evening to cook it.

I took all the masala paste ingredients in the blender and I put it in oil to cook. In 2mins… My gas was finished. The cylinder…I shook it but still there was no gas left in it…What to do???

The same day in the evening I had attended a cooking class about how to cook food in Microwave oven.

Here I had the chance..The same night I cooked this dish by Indira in micrwave oven.

1) Indira said to add the masala paste in oil and cook till it turns red. The paste was green with peas and green chillies(It didn’t turn red…in my case). I put the paste in oil and microwaved it for 3 mins. The mixture left oil which means it has been cooked. You can rarely see the phenomenon on gas(I never managed to cook things until they leave oil…either they end up being charred or I feel I’ve cooked enough.)

This is the only step worth mentioning which will help you in cooking the gravy.

I’ve followed Indira’s recipe for the rest of the subji. I’ve made it in batches of 3 to 4 mins. I added 1/4 cup grated paneer (in the end) as methi was a bit bitter. I had to overshadow the bitterness. I also skipped adding potatoes as I thought it’s already fattening with so much malai so had to skip the carbs.

We had them with grilled Kulchas(raw being readily available).

I’ll be posting microwave recipes soon. It’ll take 2 days atleast for the gas to arrive so till then we’ll be having microwave versions of subjis and dals. I’ll post them as my friend Vamsi metioned that many people will need them due to easy cooking.


The subji was very tasty and my husband had 2 cups which I should say is an achievement in itself. He never eats more than 1 cup unless it’s very tasty…

Till the next post…
C’est votre coquette!!