raw ginger strawberry smoothie

raw ginger strawberry smoothie

Moving is clearly insane, the last time I did a huge move was almost eight years ago and it was just me. This time round, it's the two of us and the dog and I can't just toss things out (I'm a big fan of decluttering, I get anxious otherwise) I need to think about everyone involved, what they love and what they don't. But now all of that is done with and I am focussed on our week cross country ride which is going to be the trip of a lifetime! There's new states to visit, places to see, foods to try out, and I'm a little excited that Snoopy gets to share in this big road trip adventure. I know, I sound crazy but I guess it's what dog (pet) parents get excited about.

strawberries

My kitchen is packed and gone but before it left, I made this delicious berry flavored coconut milk smoothie that packs the sweetness of ripe chubby strawberries and the goodness of raw ginger. There's also a reason behind this drink, I started to feel a raw uneasiness in my throat as the temperatures kept fluctuating in the weather and with the impending move and all other crazy things going on right now, I couldn't afford to be sick. Raw ginger is used as a common ailment in Indian herbal medicine so I figured why not use it to create a spring-themed immune boosting drink. There's fresh coconut milk (I used the So Delicious brand because I personally like the flavor a lot but fresh coconut milk would work well here too) and the strawberries, I used were a bit sweet so I ended up not using any sweeteners (I've listed a suggested amount but feel free to add as much or as little as you like). This smoothie turned out to be great for my throat but it's tasty enough to be served as a drink, especially as the heat waves begin to kick in.

floating strawberries on coconut milk

I did this fun interview with the very sweet Amina of The Paper Plates Blog, check it out if you have a moment to spare. I talk about a lot of things beyond food and maybe, my obsession with the Game of Thrones books. 

Also,  here are some of my favorites links that I'm drooling over;
  • Linda of Call Me Cupcake made a sour cream rhubarb cupcakes (there's a ginger cream frosting that has poached rhubarb on it!!!!).
  • Climbing Grier's Mountain's Lauren, made this hummus shrimp loaded naan pizza that is simply amazing!
  • Lindsey of Dolly and Oatmeal made this gorgeous sauté that's sits on a bed of chickpea and chive mash. This is one, to see and believe, eat!
  • This pickled chard by Love and Lemons is what's spring should be about.

strawberry coconut milk smoothie with raw ginger

raw ginger strawberry smoothie

yields: 2 generous servings

ingredients

1 1/2 cups coconut milk, chilled, unsweetened, low-fat (I used the So Delicious brand)
1/2 cup strawberries, fresh, diced in half
1/2 teaspoon ginger root, peeled and freshly minced (minced as tiny as possible)
2-3 teaspoons palm sugar (optional; I didn't use add any)

1. Add all the ingredients to a blender (you can also use an immersion blender) and mix until all the ingredients are completely combined. The sugar is optional, I didn't add any as the strawberries were very sweet to begin with). 
2. Pour in chilled drinking glasses over ice cubes or crushed ice, serve immediately. (This best drunk fresh as soon as it is prepared).

Disclaimer: I didn't receive any financial compensation or products from So Delicious and all opinions stated are solely mine. 

berry, lime and cardamom spring cake

berry lime cardamom cake

There are things that I have learned that I do as a blogger that normal people don't. For example, baking yourself a cake and then trying to figure out if it's more birthday, spring or Easter appropriate for the blog. You see April is my birthday month (though my birthday falls at the very end of the month) and this year it falls on one of the solar eclipses (perhaps it might mean something), Easter too tends to bounce around the calendar every year, so I fell into the blogging dilemma of when to make the cake and when to share it on the blog. The only thing I was surely certain of, was making it! Last year I made myself chocolate butter cookies but this year I wanted a big fat cake full of berries, I should rephrase that, I mean't to say LOADED with berries! 

a dozen eggs

I love angel food cakes because they are so airy and light yet so soft and spongy. I zested a couple of green limes into the batter and tossed in some ground green cardamom. Instead of a frosting, I slapped the cake layers with an extra generous amount of lightly sweetened Greek yogurt and stuffed the cake with fresh strawberries and blueberries.

cornflour

This is not a very sweet cake but when you taste the yogurt and the cake together, the yogurt brings out the sweetness of the cake and the fresh flavors of the lime, cardamom and berries. I'm very happy with this cake, it's a little less guilt-free and makes deliciously light dessert. Needless to say, to balance things out, I cut myself a huge fat chunk and ate  devoured it! So here's to happy spring, birthdays, Easter and celebrations of all sorts and for that matter any reason.

lime zest and meringue 

I adapted the angel food cake recipe from Great Cakes by Carole Walter.

Note: When sifting flour, I recommend taking out a leveled cup of the flour, then sifting it and remeasuring the sifted flour. You can store the extra bit that's left behind. Also, with the strawberries and blueberries, you can use less and I indeed did have fruit left behind after I put the cake together. Feel free to play around with the amounts of the berries. You might notice, that I've used cornstarch/cornflour here to make my own cake flour and yes, this kitchen hack indeed does work!

berry lime cardamom spring cake

These are some of the delicious and beautiful spring recipes and blogs that I'm definitely gearing up to try out from my fellow bloggers;
  • Sini of My Blue and White Kitchen made her version of Finnish Raspberry Meade that looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous.  I might need a few pitchers, just saying!
  • I came across a new blog called Kiss My Spatula and I've fallen in love with the rich and colorful photography. 
  • The talented duo, Alex and Sonja at A Couple Cooks made these Ricotta Scrambled Egg and Asparagus Tacos that looks perfect for a spring brunch.
  • One of my favorite inspirational bloggers, Linda of The Tart Tart made some amazing Black Sesame Macarons that I really, really want to taste!
  • Imen has a Rhubarb and Rosemary Syllabub with Poitin up on the Farmette. It's no secret that I love farms and I'm adore the photographs she shares of her family farm on Instagram because it reminds me of M's parents' farm in Virginia. 
lime berry cardamom cake

berry, lime and cardamom spring cake 

yields: 6-8 servings / one 10 inch diameter angel food cake

ingredients 

32 ounces plain non-fat/ low-fat greek yogurt
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) sifted flour 
2 tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch
1 1/2 cups fine sugar
1 1/2 cups (15 3/4 ounces) 12 egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
3 limes
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom, freshly ground
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) confectioners sugar
32 ounces strawberries, rinsed, drained, hulled and sliced in half 
6 ounces blueberries, rinsed and drained

1. Place the greek yogurt in a colander or sieve pre lined with a piece of clean cheese cloth or a kitchen towel over a large bowl. Allow the yogurt to drain in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 hours and discard any whey the collects in the bowl. Reserve the yogurt until ready to use.
2. Place a wire rack in the lower-third of the oven and preheat to 375F.  Take a 10 inch diameter angel food pan, trace and cut out a circle of parchment paper to line the base of the pan. There is no need to grease the pan. Keep the prepared pan aside until ready.
3. Sift the pre-sifted flour, cornflour and 1/2 cup of the sugar three times on to a sheet of parchment paper and keep aside.
4. Place the egg whites and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the whisk attachment beat on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes or until the eggs get frothy. Stop the mixer and add the cream of tartar, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract. Whisk until the mixture begins to form soft peaks (ripples should form in the foam at this stage). At this stage, add the freshly grated zest of two limes and the ground cardamom and whisk for another minute .  Add 1 cup of the sugar, two tablespoons at a time from the side of the bowl and continue to whisk for about 2 minutes in total time. Remove the bowl from the mixer and transfer any of the white meringue mixture and lime zest bits that might have collected onto the whisk, back into the bowl. 
5. Sift 1/3 of the sifted dry ingredients from step 2 onto the egg whites and using a large wire whisk and carefully fold the dry ingredients into the meringue. Do not overmix or stir the batter as it will deflate. 
6. Using a rubber spatula, carefully transfer and push the batter into the prepared cake pan. Gently press the cake batter with a clean tablespoon and flatten the top surface. Finally, run a knife along the edges of the pan in a circle to remove any trapped air bubbles and once again smoothen the surface with the tablespoon. 
7. Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the center of the cake is soft and springy to touch and becomes golden brown. Avoid over baking the cake or it will deflate. Spray a wire rack with a little non stick spray and then once the cake is done, immediately invert the cake onto the wire rack. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Once the cake has cooled, run a sharp knife along the edges of the pan and around the inner tube to loosen it. Transfer the cake on to a cake rack and remove the pan. Peel and discard the parchment paper from the top of the cake and discard. 
8. To prepare the yogurt "frosting", place the drained yogurt in a large mixing bowl, add the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the confectioners sugar. Whisk the yogurt until the sugar is completely blended. 
9. To assemble the cake: Slice the cake in half using a sharp serrated bread knife. Remove the upper layer and keep aside. Spread a generous 1/2 cup of the yogurt on the lower half and place the sliced strawberries with the bottom surface onto the yogurt. Scatter some of the blueberries in the space between the yogurt. Layer the berries with another generous 1/2 cup of the yogurt and place and align the upper half of the angel cake on top. Layer the top of the cake with a generous amount 1/2 cup of the yogurt and fill the hollow center of the cake with the rest of the yogurt. Layer the top of the cake with some of the strawberries and blueberries and fill the hollow center with the rest of the fruit as desired. Just before serving the cake zest the last lime over the cake. Store the cake in the refrigerator. This cake is best eaten the day it is prepared but you can make the angel cake a day in advance and assemble the cake the following day.

fennel and roasted strawberries frozen yogurt

fennel roasted strawberries frozen yogurt

I made strawberry frozen yogurt last weekend and then it snowed on Sunday. Ha, to think I was going to be all fancy and bring spring in with some sweet pink frozen yogurt spiked with the licorice flavored spike of fennel! The weather clearly didn't work out my way but I'm thrilled the yogurt did. 

strawberries

Fennel and cardamom are probably some of the most popular spices that you come across in Indian desserts. Consequently, I eat a lot of both and I should definitely, at some point, consider buying stock in a farm or plantation that grows them. Roasted strawberries and fennel seeds are a fantastic pairing that should be done more often. I got inspired by a fennel seed spiced ice cream by Princess Tofu that really rocked my world and she even made her own candied fennel! Though I adapted the frozen yogurt recipe from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Strawberries have a high water content so I roasted them a little in the oven to pull out the liquid. I recommend eating it the day it is made, it can get a little hard when frozen too long (I find that allowing it to stay out at room temperature for about 20 minutes to soften before serving helps with scooping). I mixed half of the fresh strawberry puree into the yogurt and the rest I reserved and mixed with a little lime juice to brighten the flavor. So when you bite into a swirled scoop, you get two different levels of strawberry flavor that makes this amazing, so good, that I think it needs a repeat soon. 

fennel seeds

Here are some of my favorite reads for this week,
  • Sarah of The Vanilla Bean Blog made a delicious whole-wheat pasta with balsamic basil spinach dressing and some grape tomatoes. 
  • I discovered Valentina of Hortus Natural Cooking who cooked up a delicious Italian braised crumbed artichoke dish that I'm absolutely in love with.
  • Valerie of Une Gamine Dans la Cuisine  baked and frosted a tasty Pineapple carrot cake with a honey-cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream frosting.
fennel strawberries frozen yogurt

fennel and roasted strawberries frozen yogurt

yields: 1 generous quart

ingredients

2 pints (4 cups) strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup sugar + 2/3 cup
1 quart plain low-fat (2%) greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups whole milk + 2 tablespoons 
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, freshly ground
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix the strawberries with the 1/3 cup of sugar in a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes in the middle rack. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Puree the mixture in a food processor. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until chilled or the temperature of the puree reads 40F. 
2. Drain the yogurt in a clean cheesecloth or muslin lined sieve for about 2 hours in the refrigerator. Discard the liquid whey and keep the yogurt aside until ready to use.
3. In a large thick bottomed saucepan, whisk the milk, honey, half and half, fennel and the sugar. Heat the mixture on medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook for 4 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons of milk and the cornstarch to form a slurry. Using a whisk, quickly mix the slurry into the boiling milk. Cook for another 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spatula. Remove the saucepan from the stove. 
4. Stir and mix half of the strawberry puree from step 1 and the drained yogurt from step 2, into the mixture in the saucepan until completely mixed. Add the lemon juice to the remaining strawberry puree, reserve and keep chilled for the final step when layering the frozen yogurt.
5. Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Pour a little of the yogurt mixture from the saucepan and whisk until the cream cheese becomes a smooth paste. Whisk in the rest of the yogurt mixture until completely blended. Transfer the entire liquid into a gallon zip lock bag and seal airtight. Place the ziplock bag in an ice water bath for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the yogurt mixture is 40F. Transfer the chilled yogurt into the pre-frozen canister of your ice cream maker. Churn for 30 minutes until the yogurt begins to come off from the sides of the canister or alternatively  following the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the half of the frozen yogurt into an airtight freezer safe container.  Drizzle and pour the rest of the strawberry puree over the frozen yogurt and then layer with the rest of the frozen yogurt. Cover the surface with parchment paper and seal airtight. Freeze for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs before serving. This frozen yogurt is best served the day it is made. If it becomes too hard, I recommend leaving it out for about 20-30 minutes to soften a little before scooping.