Chocolate Caramel Crack

I wasn’t going to make this. Nope, not me. You see I usually like my christmas treats to be complicated and require at least an hour of labor. But then I had my second kid and she hit the terrible twos and now …well… now I am a lot more open to trying quicker things. But in all honesty I would not have tried this delicious recipe if it wasn’t for my all-things-food-person Marium. She made it and raved about it and then I had to. Yes folks, after all that resisting, all it took was someone I think is cool to make it and I turn into a big ol’ copycat.

Chocolate Caramel Crack(ers) or Chocolate Toffee Bark

The first time I made it I messed up a little (oops), but by the second I had learnt my lesson. The right sized baking sheet is key, otherwise the whole caramel to cracker ratio is off. The recipe is definitely very very sweet so adding instant coffee to the caramel helped temper that overt sweetness. Also please please stick to semi sweet chocolate or darker, anything sweeter is too much.

You could add anything you want to the top and I toyed with christmas-sprinkes, but then I decided that this delicious delicious beauty didn’t need to get any sweeter and I stuck to toasted flaked almonds as suggested by Deb at Smitten Kitchen.

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Oven Roasted Tandoori Brussel Sprouts

You guys, I think I am doing that aging South Asian woman thing where I desi-fy everything.

(desi-fy= put a desi/south asian spin on)

Tandoori Roasted Brussel Sprouts

The other day I pulled out brussel sprouts to do one of my usual oven favorites. but instead of the parmesan I reached for the tandoori masala powder (premade readily available in many stores) and decided anything is worth trying once. They were awesome. Then I did the only reasonable thing I could under the circumstances; bought more brussel sprouts and made them again. This time I had two additional family members test them to double check. I have never seen brussel sprouts, especially ones cold from their photo-op fly off the plate so fast.

So here it is – an easy to do spicy vegetable side dish that would go well with a simple pilaf, daal chawal (lentils and rice) or even a tandoori turkey if you are so inclined. I swear I have seen ads for those.

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A Delicious Aalu Gosht or Beef and Potato Curry

A simple but delicious version of the Pakistani classic dish Aalu Gosht ka Salan

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I think Aalu Gosht is the quintessential Pakistani dish, the kind that doesn’t find it’s way onto many restaurant menus, but is a staple in every home. Be it with Goat meat or Beef, bone in or boneless, every family has a version and it seems to me that they are all delicious.

My Nanna (maternal grandmother) is the undisputed champion of making aalu gosht. Her salan is light and almost broth like and the flavor is so utterly beautiful that us boneless meat eaters would forgive her those hunks of bones with smallish pieces of meat. I would love to tell you that this is her recipe, but alas it is not. None of her four daughters make this partiaular salan/curry like she does and I can only hope to crack the code one day. For now I offer you an extremely tasty second: my mothers. Or rather, my version of my mothers, the cooking method is my sister in laws.

Aalu Gosht or Beef and Potato Curry

I do apologize for the lacklustre photos, this Pakistani version of meat and potatoes isn’t quite ready for it’s close up, but with the cold months upon us it seemed a little selfish not to share the recipe for one of the most comforting dishes of all time. 

Aalu gosht aficionados will note that I don’t use whole garam masala i.e. cloves, peppers etc. I find that while the whole spices add a depth to the salan that I don’t really miss them when I go without. If you find you miss it then simply add an inch of cinnamon, 2-3 cloves, 4-6 whole black peppers and a 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds in with the meat mixture. For those of you with chilli-phobic kids like my older one this dish is easy to edit. Just put less red chilli powder in the beginning, then pull out some meat and curries before adding in the green chillies at the end.

Aalu Gosht or Beef and Potato Curry

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5-Ingredient Nutella Brownies

Have you ever wished you could just hold a piece of Nutella in your hands and bite it instead of that awkward licking it off a spoon thing? Well, here’s the answer to those prayers and all you need is a bowl, a spoon and five ingredients. Oh and something to bake the brownies in.

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Nutella brownie recipes have been floating around for a while but after a few run ins with recipes that consumed a jar or more of Nutella and had minimal Nutella taste I was very hesitant to try them. One day I succumbed, but not after making some alterations. First of all, I didn’t see the point in additional butter, second of all a little leavening never hurt anything and third of all Nutella is so sweet that some coarse salt is almost a must have. The result is what I had hoped it would be.

The best part? Because they are so gooey they don’t dry out making them a great make ahead dessert for the holiday season!

So without any further ado I present to you these incredibly gooey undeniably Nutella-y brownies.

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Three Things Thursday

birthdays, weddings, and kids – happiness all around.

Hello my friends and welcome back to my corner of the blogosphere! Where have I been you may ask? Well, read on to find out…

Thing One: Happy Colours

For a myriad of reasons we had a joint birthday celebration for our two girls on the labor day weekend. Party planning took a lot of time, but the end result was worth it.  Both the girls had a fantastic time despite it being what seemed like the hottest day of the summer.

Thing Two: This Beauty, That City, So Much Love

My younger sister had once said that happiness is having a large family that loves you very much and lives very far away. This fall my brother got married in Karachi. The wedding brought together the entire Jafri clan, a grand total of 12 people under one roof. Mind you, that’s just my immediate family.

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As you can imagine there was a great deal of love, laughter and food and it all ended with us welcoming the beautiful woman above into our family.

Thing Three: Being Mama

Whenever I go through these periods, times where thinking straight seems impossible I have a renewed respect for those dedicated bloggers who have small children and yet somehow manage to do it all. I shouldn’t really complain though because if there are any two faces that I am okay with taking up all my time then it is these two.

The good news is now I am back and should be back to posting a lot more regularly.

Thanks as always for reading and please do check out the hosts of this round up, the lovely ladies at Pink Chai Living, The Write Balance and Love Laugh Mirch. Click on over to their blogs to see what they have been up to as well as the other participants in this weeks Three Things Thursday.

A White Garlicky Mushroom Pizza w Arugula, Mozzarella and Boursin

Peppery arugula. Melty mozzarella. Meaty garlicky Portobello mushrooms.  Savory creamy Boursin. A Scattering of chilli flakes.

I think I may have made my very favourite white pizza of all time. Now I have a big soft spot for all pizza, but white pizza was a revelation for me.  A pizza without tomato sauce? Now that’s just crazy. Crazy good that is.

A White Garlicky Mushroom Pizza w Arugula, Mozzarella and Boursin

The other day I opened my fridge and was looking around for inspiration when some beautiful portobellos caught my eye and I knew what was coming next. I used half the pizza dough from my favourite dough recipe of all time and went to work. It was fun. It also didn’t hurt that my wonderful niece kneaded the dough for me and my nephew who usually doesn’t like this whole spinach and mushrooms thing really enjoyed it. Family makes things better. True story.

Between you and me I may make it again sometime soon and eat the whole thing – by myself. Shhhh.

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My Mother’s Coconut Barfi & Eid Eats 2015

A delicious traditional coconut fudge that brings back sweet childhood memories with it’s caramelly flavor and subtle coconut chew

Some foods make me think of being a small child, of little hands and not so little hands, sneaking pieces when no one is looking, only half sure that the consequences of this petty theft won’t be so bad.  This barfi is one of them, my mother usually made it on special occasions and colored it so that one layer was pink and the other was green. The coconut she used was sweeter, heftier, and my little self couldn’t get enough of it. Yes, my dental problems started early.

Coconut Barfi

My older daughter has a surprising love for all ‘desi’ desserts. Kheer, kulfi, shahi tukray, gulab jamun – she loves them all. And I love passing down a love for culinary heritage. When I said I would make something for Eid that her Nano (grandmother) made when I was young it made her beautiful little eyes sparkle with excitement. Sometimes I wish I could bottle that stuff up and keep it forever. But to me that is what Eid is about, sheer happiness. While I am far from the land of glittering ‘chaand raats’ (the night before Eid) we are building our own Eid traditions and homemade Pakistani desserts will always be part of them.

My Mother’s Coconut Barfi

This barfi is not the usual white kind; the ingredients combined with the cooking down of the dairy make it taste like a caramelly coconut fudge. I used unsweetened coconut, but my mother put sweetened coconut. Use whatever you prefer, but just remember to stir stir stir otherwise this will burn burn burn!

Another new tradition that I am very excited about is Eid Eats, we had our first annual eid potluck last year and thanks to it I discovered many delicious recipes and some wonderful bloggers who I now think of as friends. This is year two and I am even more excited to see what my fellow hosts – Henna at My Ninja Naan and Asiya at Chocolate & Chillies – and other remarkable food bloggers have to share. Please click on the Eid Eats graphic below to see the full gallery of yumminess and add yours to the mix; remember we would all love to hear from you! Hope this inspires you to have a deliciously happy Eid!

Eid Mubarak to you and your loved ones!!!

Psst for those of you wondering how to join in, hop on over here.

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