Author Archives: anoccasionaltart

Passionfruit cake with passionfruit sauce


Ever since I ate my first passionfruit I was in love with it. There is nothing as sweet (in my mind) as a ripe passionfruit. You may have to go through a couple before you hit the one with the perfect sweetness, but, oh the joy. Granted I can still eat the tart ones and totally enjoy them as well while making the most squeamish faces ever!

Passion fruit does have seeds and they look lovely. Unfortunately here in Atlanta we do not get fresh passion fruits all year round. I generally make do with the frozen passion fruit pulp that I get from the farmers markets. It is much more tart and its minus the seeds. The seeds do look lovely when you use them.

I also decided to make a simple glaze for the topping to make up for the lack of seeds. It did go quite nicely.


For the cake

  • 4 eggs separated
  • 330g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 300g all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 250 ml passion fruit pulp

For the syrup

  • 60 ml passion fruit pulp
  • 100g castor sugar
  • 125 ml water


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a Bundt ring cake pan. It is really important to brush all the nooks well with butter. I use a pastry brush to do this. Lightly flour and tap our the excess flour.

Use the an electric wire whisk to beat the egg yolks, sugar and butter for 6 minutes or until mixture is pale and fluffy.

Sift flour and baking powder together. Fold in a third of the flour into the egg mixture making sure it is all incorporated, followed by half of the passion fruit pulp. Again making sure it is all incorporated. Repeat ending with the flour.

Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold in a quarter of the beaten whites into the mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining beaten whites.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 45-55  minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan.

For the syrup

Put the passion fruit pulp, sugar and water into a small saucepan. Heat on low stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Let it cool completely before drizzling over cake. Use the leftover syrup to pour on slices as you cut them.


Roasted butternut squash, brown butter sage and garlic sauce


I got a Kitchen aid Spiralizer and was pretty excited about it. I have made spiralized zucchini noodles with my oxo kitchen tool and it was pretty good. I so enjoyed them that I got the upgrade. So today I came home all set to make spiralized noodles but ended up just making julienne slices of the butternut squash. I must say my cutting skills came into pretty good use as I made a quick job of slicing the squash into strips. It just goes to show that while they did not look like noodles you can get short spaghetti like strips.

This is a really good and healthy dish to put together and as long as you are quick at cutting it comes together in a cinch.

The easiest way to peel the butternut squash is to cut at bulb off from the straight part. Then use a potato peeler to peel the skin. Slice the stalk into two half’s. Slice each half into strips. Make julienne slices of the strips. For the bulb portion, cut it into half’s use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then slice in the same way.


Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 15 minutes, Serves 2-3 people

  • 1 medium butternut squash (peeled, cored and sliced into julienne strips)
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 18 sage leaves (washed and dried)
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • shaved parmesan


Preheat your oven to 350F. Toss the julienned slices of butternut squash in olive oil on a roasting tray. Roast the slices in the oven for 15 minutes.

Put the butter into a  deep pot on medium heat. Once the butter melts keep a watch on it. You will get a lot of froth. Keep it on the heat until you get brown flecks in the butter. Lower the to medium-low and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage, the butter will froth up. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the sage starts to get a little crispy.

Take the butternut squash out of the oven. Divide it between your plates. Top with a little of the sauce, then the parmesan cheese and sprinkle with salt.

Let me know how you enjoy it.

Coffee Meringue, Red wine mousse, White chocolate drizzle


Following on the heels of my last meringue that was such a hit. I decided to do a different take on them for another friends birthday. Since he likes red wine, I thought I would do a take on that and hoped that the coffee meringues would pair well with the red wine mousse. The combination did turn out very well and they were the talk of the party. They were gone in a jiffy!. Thankfully I did save one for the birthday boy. I will say these are very adult ones even though they have very little red wine. You can make a different mousse, chocolate or coffee or just use sweetened whipped cream and top with your favorite fruits!


Makes 30
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes

For the meringue

For the white chocolate drizzle

  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

For the red wine mousse

  • 300 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine


Preheat the oven to 350F. Using a ramekin or any other method of your choice draw round circles on parchment paper and place it on a cookie sheet.

Using the meringue recipe, make the meringue batter. Once your batter is ready put it into a piping bag with a 1 cm nozzle, if you have one. If you do not have nozzles put it in your piping bag or a Ziploc bag and just snip the end off  to a about 1 cm.

Start by piping discs and then build up the sides of the nest. Turn down the oven to 230F. Using oven mitts put the baking sheets in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes and then swap the bottom and top trays and bake for another 35 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the meringues stay in for another 1/2 hour and then remove them.

For the Red Wine Mousse

Pour the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment whisk the cream starting on slow and slowly increasing the speed to medium high. Once the cream has started to thicken about 3 minutes start to add the sugar in a steady stream. Once you have added all the sugar whip until you get to the soft peak stage (when you lift the beaters the cream lifts to a peak and but does not hold the peak. Add the red wine and gently fold until its all incorporated. At this point you can add more if you like – just do not add too much as you want your cream to hold shape.

For the White chocolate drizzle

Heat the heavy cream in the microwave for a minute in a heat proof container. Add the chocolate and let it sit for about 3-5 minutes and then start to stir and keep stirring until its all melted.


When you are ready to serve, spoon the mousse into each meringue. Drizzle the white chocolate on top and serve.


Olive Oil cake, Lemon glaze


I am always looking for new recipes and ideas. I found this from one of my magazines on my travels. I decided to try it. It was simply delicious and can be adapted to a number of different  flavors.

This cake is popular in many parts of  southern Europe. The stronger the virgin olive oil you use the more pronounced the flavor. Its really easy to add a citrus (orange, lemon) flavor and use the zest in the batter to enhance it, and then drench it in syrup to go over the top. Drench it in syrup instead of the glaze. If you use pure olive oil you can even drench it in a rum syrup – for a very adult version.

For a very different take you could use a little ground up fresh rosemary and then serve the cake with sweetened whipped cream. Its all up to your imagination and your palette.


For the cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs (room temp)
  • 1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup whole milk yoghurt

For the glaze

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk yoghurt


For the cake

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour your Bundt (I used a heritage Bundt) pan. I use the Pam butter and flour spray and then use a pastry brush to make sure that I have all the edges and crevasses well greased.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Using a stand mixer whisk the eggs and sugar until light and frothy mixture is play and frothy. Whisk in the oil and yoghurt until well blended. Fold in the flour mixture until combined.

Pour the batter into the pan. Tap the pan gently on the table to settle the batter. Pull the batter gently up the sides of the pan. This will prevent a big rise in the center of the cake.

Bake the cake for 40 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest on a wire rack for about 10-12 minutes. Then gently tap it out of the mold. Let it cool completely before glazing. If you are going to use rum you would brush it on right after you tap the cake out.

For the glaze

Whisk the lemon juice and sugar together until smooth. Add the yoghurt and whisk till blended. Add more lemon juice if you need the glaze to be a little more pourable or you need a more lemony flavor

Pour the glaze over the cake before you are ready to serve.


Coffee Meringue, Hazelnut Mousse, Whipped Cream, Candied Hazelnuts

Coffee Meringue

That’s a mouthful right yeah and it was an amazing mouthful. There was a little crunch and a whole lot of yummmm. I cannot even begin to tell you how scrumptious this was. It all started out with everyone just trying a small piece and before you know it they all came back for more and it was gone barring a small piece which was kept for someone.

The thought for this came around as I wanted to make a cake for a friends birthday. I wanted to make something that had hazelnut and Nutella was an option. I had made a Nutella cake a little while back and did not want to repeat that – and I had egg whites sitting around (imagine that :-)). So I though ooh a Meringue would be nice and it could incorporate hazelnuts. I get my hazelnuts (called filberts) at Whole foods. I only buy what I need since I generally do not eat them unless they are mixed with chocolate. Its really easy to toast them and skin them and then use them.

Just making a meringue was not going to be enough, I had to incorporate Nutella into it. That is how the Nutella mousse got in there. I also wanted to lighten it up and so came the whipped cream in all its silky sweet glory. Now I did not just want to make a plain meringue and thought a coffee would go quite nicely with it and it shows off the color really well. When I normally make a meringue ‘cake’ I put it together just a little before I serve it. However, I was taking this to a friends so I made it well in advance, the interesting part is that is softened completely so you did not get the crunch of the meringue, but the flavors meshed together so well and as I said before it was gone in a minute.


Servers 10-12
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 1/2 hours

Prepare the hazelnuts

  • 150 gms raw filberts (Hazelnuts), roasted in a 350F oven for about 5-7 minutes. Take them out of the oven, put them into a clean kitchen town and let them cool for about 2 minutes and then rub them to get the skins off. Set aside.

For the meringue

  • 100 gms Hazelnuts (from above), coarsely chopped
  • 225 gms granulated sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee (Nescafé) dissolved in 1 tsp boiling water
  • 25 gms light brown sugar

For the Nutella mousse

  • 300 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons Nutella

For the Whipped cream

  • 300 ml heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the candied hazelnuts

  • 50 gms Hazelnuts (from above)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Cocoa powder (optional)


For the meringue

Preheat the oven to 375F. Draw 3 – 9 (23cm) inch circles on 3 parchment papers. Place them on your baking trays and set aside.

Microwave the granulated sugar for 3-5 minutes in the microwave – stirring so it is warm to the touch. Set it aside.

Using a stand mixer whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt, starting off on a slower speed and gradually increasing the speed to high. Whisk until the egg whites reach nearly stiff peaks. Add the hot sugar all in one go and continue whisking for about a minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the coffee and continue to whisk for another 3 minutes on high, until the meringue is glossy.

With the mixer on high, add the light brown sugar a spoon at a time, whisking until the sugar is incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Turn the oven down to 230F. Divide the meringue between the three circles, spread out to the edges of the circle. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts equally over each  meringue. Put the trays into the oven. I had one on the middle shelf and two on the lower shelf. Set your timer for 45 minutes. At 45 minutes, swap the lower and upper trays and bake for another 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the meringues stay in the oven until the oven is cool.

For the Nutella Mousse

Whisk the heavy cream in a clean bowl until it has started to thicken, add the sugar a spoonful at a time and continue to beat until you reach the soft peak stage. Put the Nutella into a large bowl. Take a heaping spoonful of the whipped cream and add it to the Nutella and stir to lighten the Nutella. Repeat this procedure twice so the Nutella is now light and fluffy and can be added to the rest of the whipped cream. Fold gently until it is all incorporated.

For the whipped cream

Whisk the heavy cream in a clean bowl until it has started to thicken, add the sugar a spoonful at a time and continue to beat until the soft peak state.

For the candied hazelnuts

Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. The sugar will dissolve and start to caramelize. This takes a little time so just be patient. Once the sugar starts turning a medium amber add the salt and then the hazelnuts. Stir to coat and then place them on a silicone mat (or parchment paper). You want them to be in clusters of no more than 3 or they can be individual.


Have your cake plate ready. Put a little of the whipped cream onto the plate. Place the first meringue on the plate. Spread a third of the Nutella on the meringue, then a third of the whipped cream. Top with the next meringue and repeat with Nutella and whipped cream. Repeat with the last meringue. Just before you are ready to serve top with the candied hazelnuts. Use a strainer and sprinkle with cocoa powder. Do not assemble too much in advance as you want the crispiness of the meringue to come through.

I do hope you enjoy this and would love to hear from you if you did make it.


Appam; South Indian Rice Pancake


Have you ever had an Appam? They are absolutely delicious when had with Indian curries. I tried my first one at a restaurant here run by Chef Asha Gomez. She had it paired with a pork dish that is common in both Kerala as well as Goa. The puffy center and lace crispy edges is absolutely amazing. I was hooked.

It would be a little while before I tried to make them myself. I did try them by searching for recipes on the web but the problem was that I did not have an ‘Appam Chatty’ or Appam pan. Here are a variety of pans to make single Appam’s or the mini ones. I also got a ready made Appam powder. Which I figured out later was just rice powder.

Then I was the proud recipient of Asha Gomez cookbook ‘My Two Souths’. I tried her recipe for Appams and they came out really well. She uses semolina and that gives the Appams a lovely flavor.

The recipe here is just a simple one with only rice flour so if you are gluten intolerant you can certainly have this.


  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (just warm to the touch not hot) + 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Rice batter: 1/4 cup rice flour + 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (canned thick milk)
  • 1/3 cup fresh/frozen (defrosted) grated coconut


Preparing the batter

Combine warm water + sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the yeast stir and let it sit for about 5-8 minutes till it foams.

Prepare the rice batter by combining the 1/4 cup of rice flour, 1/2 cup of water in a pot. Place the pot on medium heat and stir until the batter is thickened and becomes a thick paste.

Combine the remaining ingredients, rice flour, sugar, salt, ‘rice batter’, yeast solution, grated coconut, coconut milk. Stir well to combine. Add about 1/4-1/2 cup of water to get the consistency to a thick pancake batter.

Leave the batter to rise for 8 hours or overnight. Make sure the bowl that you have it in is large as your batter will rise. Its best to put the bowl into another larger container so if your batter spills it will not make a mess.

Preparing the Appam

Add enough of water to thin out the batter so it now becomes a thin pancake batter. Stir the batter well.

Heat your Appam Chatti or Kadai. Pour about 3/4 cup of batter into the heated pan. Swivel the pan so the batter coats the sides of the pan. Swirl in one direction. Cover the pan, lower the heat and cook for about 2-3 minutes. The edges of the appam will leave the sides of the pan and the center will be puffy.

Slide the Appam off the pan and let it cool off. Start on the next one. Once the Appam is cool you can start stacking them.

Egg Hopper

To make an egg hopper. Once you have swirled the appam batter in the pan. Crack an egg in the center and close and cook. When the egg edges are done. Slide the appam off the pan, add salt and pepper and serve.

You can store the rest of the Appam batter in the refrigerator and use as needed. It should keep for up to 4 days without getting sour.




Roasted Purple Potatoes


Here is one more that graced the table at thanksgiving, again in my mind a healthier option and a colorful one to match. Going with my theme of spicing it up I added purple potatoes to the mix. If you do not get purple potatoes, sweet potatoes are always an option. I cut these into circles but you can even make these as chips or wedges.


  • 5 potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into circles
  • 1 tablespoon jerk paste (Walkerswood Jamaican jerk paste)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 400F.

Mix the jerk paste, brown sugar, olive oil together. Toss the potatoes in the mixture and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. Put the sheet in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring the potatoes once in between. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool a bit before serving.