Cooking Food General

How to make Indian Style Cold Coffee (with a sugar- free and vegan version too!)

I know this is an unseasonable post, but it just so happens that I have been craving cold coffee recently. I think it’s because we went to a dosa place for lunch the other day, and I ordered a delicious Indian style cold coffee, post lunch. Ever since then, it’s been on my mind. So, as much as it seems like a more appropriate drink for the summer, I’ve been whipping up cold coffees for myself these days.

It also reminds me of my best friend from high school, who used to be obsessed (and I am not exaggerating, she didn’t use to be able to get through a day without at least a glass of the stuff) with cold coffee. I miss her and I am nostalgic for the good times we shared together. Oh, to be young again 😉

Sometimes nostalgia makes foods and drinks that much more enjoyable! So if you’ve been missing cold coffees too, read on and make yourself some! And if you’ve never had some before, try it out, as trying new and strange concoctions can be as joyful an experience as reliving past good times 😊




An espresso maker (optional)


2 handfuls of ice (you can add more or less according to your preference)

Coffee (either a shot of espresso, or 1-2 tsp of instant coffee)

1 cup of milk (dairy, almond, coconut, or any kind really)

Sugar or stevia or monkfruit extract to taste


1. Pour a glass of milk into the blender.

2. Add the other ingredients in.

3. Blend until incorporated and foamy.

4. Drink away!

Chocolate General

The Perfect Pick-Me-Upper on a Cold, Wet, Awful Fall Evening

I am not much of a coffee drinker. I barely ever drink coffee actually, although I do like a tisane or a flavoured green tea every once in a while. However, because I find myself having to spend long hours at my desk in front of this computer, painstakingly writing, footnoting and editing my thesis, over the past week, I’ve resorted to coffee. The problem though, is that it tastes awful. Coffee smells absolutely heavenly, which is why I use it in baking (my espresso buttercream icing is a case in point) and chocolate-making, I even just sniff coffee-bean jars sometimes, but I am not a fan of its taste. I know, I know, all you coffee lovers out there might object on the ground that I might not be buying the right beans, or grinding them fresh etc., But, dear readers, I’ve never, absolutely never, liked the taste of coffee. No matter how it was made and no matter what beans were used, the taste of coffee never appealed to me.

Therefore, today, I decided to try complimenting my cup of coffee with flavours that I do like. I brewed myself a cup (I used a milk frother and steamed milk by the how, so my coffee would turn out more foamy) and then added 3 dollops of my velvety hot chocolate fudge (go here for the recipe) and one and half teaspoons of Frangelico liqueur.

I have to say, it turned out pretty darned good, for a homemade cup of coffee made by a complete amateur! It was a perfect hazelnutty, chocolatey accompaniment to copyright law on this cold, wet, depressing evening.

Chocolatey hazelnut coffee on a grey day.

I did of course top the coffee off with a generous helping of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cocoa powder.

 Hazelnut and chocolate coffee whipped cream and a sprinkling of cocoa powder.

Now I am all perked up and energetic. Also, I feel strangely warm and fuzzy, it must be the booze 😛

Baking Chocolate Food General Recipes

In Praise of Spontaneity and Vanilla and Espresso Buttercream Frosting

One of the things that often irks me about living in North America is how much people seem to plan and organize their social lives. Speaking broadly of course, based on anecdotal evidence from my life, I find that people in India are far more spontaneous. I think there is something nice about being able to phone a friend and make an impromptu plan for the same day once in a while. But, here, more often than not, people plan dinner parties and drinks weeks in advance.

Unfortunately, having to pencil appointments with my friends into my calendar really doesn’t work for my personality. I often find myself feeling tired, or un-social, and want nothing more than to sit on the couch with a book, but end up having to go out because I accepted an invitation weeks ago. People may have gone to considerable trouble to cook for me, or a the very least they’ve set aside time to see me, so I feel compelled to go. At other times, I have a spontaneous urge to go out and see people, but end up staying in, because I haven’t made any plans with anyone.

I realize that part of life is having to do things one doesn’t feel like doing, but when it comes to how we interact with one another, I don’t think it has to be this way, and it isn’t this way in India. Of course, the ‘impromptu system’ I am advocating has its own drawbacks. In spite of its flaws however, I prefer this system to what I see as an overly organized North American model.

Luckily, that’s all it is, a model; which means not everyone follows it and I’ve managed to find a few people here who like spontaneity once in a while too 🙂 All of this has meant that last evening, I was able to indulge in one of the small, simple joys of life, namely throwing an impromptu soiree. The plan was made frantically, over multiple text messages, sometime last afternoon. After which, I could be seen running about trying to throw some snacks together. Since spontaneity was the theme, I even decided to bake a cake! It turned out pretty well, but what I really liked about it was the icing, so I thought I would share the recipe here with you 🙂


1 Chocolate Cake

4 Eggs

1 Cup Sugar

2 Pinches of Salt

3 Sticks of Butter

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

1 tbsp Instant Espresso


Place the sugar, salt and eggs in a double boiler (just place them in a heat proof bowl and then place the bowl over another bowl of simmer water, make sure not to let the bottom of the first bowl touch the water). Gently and continuously, whisk the mixture while it heats up. Using a thermometer check the temperature of the mixture periodically. When the temperature reaches 160 F, take the mixture of the heat. Now beat the mixture at high-speed until it becomes fluffy and airy and reaches room temperature. Then add the butter in, half a stick at a time, beating continuously at medium speed. Once the butter is whipped in, separate the mixture into two equal parts in two bowls.

In the first bowl beat in the espresso at high-speed until you have a really light fluffy frosting.

Next, cut the cake in half. (Ideally, when you bake the cake, bake it in two separate bowls so that you have two layers without having to slice the cake in half later). Using a spatula spread a thick layer of espresso frosting over the top of the bottom layer. You don’t have to worry about doing this neatly. Make sure to leave aside about 3-4 tablespoons of frosting to decorate the top of the cake with. Then place the top layer of the cake on top of the frosting.

In the second bowl, beat in the vanilla essence, until you have a smooth, fluffy texture.

Using a separate spatula, spread this over the top and sides of the cake. Once you have a somewhat smooth (it does not have to be flawless) surface, use a basting brush to draw fine decorative lines along the sides and top of the cake. Finally, fill some of the left over frosting into a frosting bag and squeeze little bits of it on the top the cake in whatever pattern you like.

And there you have it, a white vanilla butter-cream frosted cake with a creamy espresso layer in the middle. Mmmm.

Mine turned out a little lopsided 😦 clearly I have to work some more on my decorative skills. However, it tasted pretty darned good and got rave reviews at my party 🙂