Vegan Mocha Chocolate ‘Cheese’cake

Vegan. Raw. Wholesome decadence.

The place I work for, Freedom Pizza, is a healthy pizza take-out and delivery restaurant in Dubai. The pizza base is multi-grain, which makes it uber healthy. However, one of my favorite things on the menu is the Vegan Dessert. So I made my own – well almost! 🙂

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Valentines day was the perfect time to try this expensive dessert. A has always stayed away from anything that doesn’t have ‘sugar’.  I get to taste a lot of Vegan desserts at work so I simply could not pass up the chance to make it, so my hub could enjoy this healthy dessert as much as I do (and he quite literally went bananas for it!).

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This is by far the easiest dessert I have ever made. It literally just takes 30 minutes to put together. Instead of the graham cracker or cookie base, we have healthy nuts ground to a sticky base. The “cream cheese” layer is replaced with a cashew cream. I added some coffee for flavoring – you can leave it as it is, if you don’t like the taste of coffee. I topped with Dark Chocolate and chocolate chips. I could not find any vegan chocolate on short notice, so I just ones with dairy (that is why I said its ALMOST Vegan).

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Believe me, this Dark Chocolate Mocha ‘Cheese’cake tastes even more amazing than it looks.

Dark Chocolate Mocha 'Cheese'cake

Serves: 10-12 slices

Ingredients: 

For the base – 

  • Dates – 3/4 cups, remove seeds
  • Pecans – 1 cup
  • Hazelnut and Pistachio – 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  • Himalayan Pink Salt – a pinch

For the “Cheese” layer – 

  • Cashew nuts – 2 1/2 cup, soaked in water
  • Maple Syrup – 3/4 cup
  • Vanilla Extract – 2 tsps
  • Coffee extract – 1/2 tbsp coffee dissolved in 1/2 cup of water
  • Almond Milk – 1/2 cup
  • Coconut oil  2 tbsps

Topping – 

  • Grated dark Chocolate – 3/4 cup, melted
  • Chocolate Chips – 1/2 cup

Instructions: 

For the base – blend all ingredients together until you get a sticky mixture.

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Cover the base and sides of a spring foam pan with foil or parchment paper. Spread out and press down the nuts evenly to form a 1/4 inch base. Use the back of a clean cup to press down. Freeze while you make the cream layer.

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Blend all the ingredients for the “cheese” layer to form a smooth creamy mixture. Pour over the nutty base. freeze fo at least 4 to 6 hours.

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Remove the cake neatly using the edge of the foil. Peel of foil layer.

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Topping Suggestion – Pour melted chocolate over the cake. Add a mountain of chocolate chips.

Enjoy. Happy Valentines day everyone! 🙂 

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Homemade Marinara Sauce – quick recipe

My go to recipe for a quick fix Marinara sauce. I like to make my sauce chunky, so I usually coarse grind the tomatoes. You can always grind it to a smooth puree.

Marinara Sauce

Cook time: 10 minutes; Makes: 1/2 cup

Ingredients: 

  • Tomato Puree – 3 tomatoes
  • Garlic cloves – 3, chopped
  • Basil – 2 tbsps
  • Parslep – 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper – to taste

Instructions: 

In a pan, saute garlic Add the tomato puree and dry powders. Cook down on low flame for 6-8 minutes.

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Store in fridge for a day or two and enjoy with your favorite pasta or pizza! 

 Homemade Marinara Sauce

Whole Wheat Penne in Paneer Makhani Sauce

One pot recipes are my favorite – something that I make quite often as is obvious from my blog! 😉 Todays recipe is not just a one pot recipe but it is also a fusion between Western and Indian cooking – Paneer Makhani Penne Pasta.

Paneer Makhani Pasta

I am big fan of Sanjeev Kapoor. His use of exquiste ingredients and unique collection of recipes always appealed to me. The other day I saw this recipe on TV and could not wait to try it out. I added my own touch, of course.

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We had friends over for lunch last weekend and I wanted to try an Indian pasta, instead of the usual Alfredo and red sauce pasta.  The crunchy vegetables mixed in with a makhani gravy is just irresistible and an absolute treat.

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Cook time: 30 minutes; Serves: 3-4; Recipe Source: Sanjeev Kapoor

Ingredients: 

  • Whole Wheat Penne Pasta – 2 cups, uncooked
  • Onion – 2, medium, thinly sliced
  • Tomato puree – 1 1/2 cups
  • Red chilly powder – 2 tsps
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Vegetables of  your choice – 1 cup (I used Carrot and broccoli)
  • Paneer – 1/2 cup
  • Basil and Italian seasoning – 1 tsp, each
  • Cream – 3 tbsps
  • Tomato ketchup – 2 tbps
  • Kasoori methi – 1 tsp, crushed
  • Salt – to taste

Instructions: 

Saute onions in a pan. Once sauteed, add the tomato puree and dry spices. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes.

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Add the vegetables, paneer. Toss together and add ketchup.

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Add the basil and Italian seasoning. Add uncooked pasta. Add water and cook for 20 minutes.

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Cook with a lid, until the vegetables and pasta are cooked. Add cream. Toss again and turn off heat.

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Enjoy! 🙂

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Spicy Schewan Paneer Dosa!

Spicy Schewan Paneer Dosa. A delicious South Indo-Chinese fusion recipe – ideal for those work day weeknights! 🙂

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This is a super simple recipe, which you can put together in minutes. All it takes is a spicy and quick schewan sauce, some veggies and crumbled paneer.

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The trick is to make the dosa like crepes and to make sure that there is a perfect balance between the stuffing and the dosa. Yum!

TIP: You can even cut the crepes in theree and serve it like an appetizer. 

Schewan Paneer Dosa

Cook time: 25 minutes; Serves: 3-4; Source: Mom

Ingredients: 

  • Dosa batter – 2 cups
  • Bell pepper – 1 cup, finely chopped
  • Tomato puree – 1/2 cup
  • Ketchup – 2 tbsps
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Dry Red chilly – 3 to 4 (adjust according to your taste)
  • Garlic – 4 cloves
  • Salt – as per taste

Instructions: 

Make the sczhewan sauce by boiling dry red chilly, garlic for few minutes. Grind together with tomato, salt and sugar.

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Heat a pan, add 1 tsp of oil. Saute the bell peppers.

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Add the ground paste and ketchup. Saute until thick and the raw taste from the tomato disappears. Add crushed paneer. Toss. Turn off heat and keep aside.

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Heat a skillet. Pour 1/2 tsp of oil. Make thin dosas like a crepe. Cook until lightly brown on both sides. Use a spoon to evenly spread the stuffing in the middle. Fold both ends.

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Cut in 3 and enjoy HOT!  

Sczhewan Paneer Dosa

Rajma Masala

No one can resist a delicious buttery Rajma Masala. I am sure there are many ways of cooking this dish, but this is how I prefer to make it.

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I love adding ketchup to dishes which have a tomato based gravy. Ketchup gives the dish an edgy taste and I thoroughly enjoy it.

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Punjabi Rajma Masala is one of those dishes that you don’t mind ordering even in a fancy restaurant because you know it will make you feel comfortable! 🙂

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Cook time: 20 minutes + soak time; Serves: 3-4

Ingredients: 

  • Rajma or Dark Red kidney beans – 2 cups, soaked overnight and pressure cooked for 4 whistles
  • Onion – 2, finely chopped
  • Tomato – 1, finely chopped
  • Tomato ketchup – 3 tbsps
  • Green chilly, Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tsps
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri Red chilly powder – 2 tbsps
  • Coriander and garam masala powder – 1 tbsp, each
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Butter or ghee – 2 tbsps
  • Fresh Coriander leaves – few, chopped

Instructions: 

Pressure cook the rajma. Mash and keep aside.

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Heat a pan, add 2 tbsps of butter. Once it melts, let the cumin seeds splutter. Add finely chopped onions. Saute for a minute. Add ginger garlic and green chilly paste and the sugar.

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Saute onions until they are golden brown.

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Add tomato, salt and all the dry spice powders. Saute until tomato turns mushy.

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Add the mashed rajma and water to cover the rajma. Cook with a lid, on medium heat for 8-10 minutes.

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Turn off heat.

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Serve hot with rotis or kulcha! 🙂 

Rajma Masala

Pasta in Roasted Carrot Cashew Sauce

Starting the new year off with this absolutely fantastic Pasta with a Roasted Carrot Cashew Sauce!

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I love a well done pasta dish. One of my favorite things to do is coming up with different sauces for our pasta, just with ingredients in the pantry. Most of the dishes, after all, are born when there is a need to use just what you have in hand. 😉

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I added a flavorful spin to my dish by adding breadcrumbs and cheese, but this is optional. The rich flavors of roasted cashew, garlic and carrot give this pasta a fragrant lift and makes this a dish I want to make over and over!

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I promise you, this is a pasta recipe that won’t fail to impress your friends and family.

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Cook time: 20-25 minutes; Serves: 2-3; Source: Self

Ingredients:

  • Pasta – 1 1/2 cups, of your choice (I went with
  • Vegetables of your choice – 1/2 cup (I added just broccoli)
  • Carrots – 2, medium – big sized
  • Garlic cloves – 3
  • Cashew nuts – 10
  • Basil – 1 tsp, dried
  • Thyme – 1/2 tsp, dried
  • Parsley – fresh or dry, optional
  • Red Chilly flakes – 1 1/2 tsps
  • Pepper Powder – 1 1/4 tsp
  • Nutmeg powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Bread crumbs – 3 tbsps, optional
  • Low fat Mozzarella Cheese – 3 tbsps, grated, optional

Instructions: 

In a pan, boil water and salt. Add pasta and vegetables. Cook al dente. Drain and keep aside.

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In the meantime, heat a pan. Roast the carrots, garlic cloves and cashew nuts until they turn lightly brown. Cool down.

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Blend to a smooth paste with basil, thyme, nutmeg, pepper powder and salt.

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Heat a pot, add the sauce. Add water. Saute for 2 minutes.

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Add the cooked pasta and vegetables. Toss together.

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Optional – transfer pasta to baking dish. Add grated cheese and breadcrumbs on top. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes or until crumbs are brown. 

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Serve hot with a side of garlic bread or bread sticks! 🙂 

Roasted Carrot Cashew Pasta

Uttar Dakshin Sabzi

I absolutely love creating unique gravies that are a mix of my husbands and my favorite things. This recipe does jus that. It is the perfect blend of flavors from Uttar and Dakshin. 

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I made this quick sabzi when we had friends over for dinner. To give the typical mixed vegetable gravy a unique flavor, I added few South-Indian elements like coconut and sambar powder.

Mili Juli

This one of a kind mixed vegetable sabzi is a must try for anyone who loves a heavy dose of South – Indian every now and then! 🙂

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Cook time: 30 minutes; Serves: 3 – 4

Ingredients: 

  • Mixed vegetables – 1 1/2 cups, boiled
  • Paneer – few cubes, fried until crisp
  • Onion – 1, medium, chopped
  • Tomato Puree – 1 cup
  • Coconut – 1/4 cup, shredded
  • Garam Masala powder – 2 tsps
  • Sambar powder – 2 to 3 tsps
  • Red Chilly powder – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Curry leaves – few
  • Mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds – to temper

Instructions: 

In a pan, heat just a drizzle of oil and saute onions, sugar and coconut until browned.

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Turn off heat and let it cool. Grind to a smooth paste.

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In the same pan, add the ground paste and saute until it loses its moisture.

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Add the tomato puree, salt and dry masala powders. Let the gravy boil and become thick (should take 8-10 minutes).

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Next, add bell peppers if using. Saute for a minute. Add the cooked vegetables and sauteed paneer.

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Add little bit of water. Mix everything well and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat. Temper curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Add on top. 

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Enjoy hot with delicious Aloo parathas!

Uttar Dakshin Sabzi

Eggless Ferrero Rocher Ice Cream Cake

We celebrated our second Wedding Anniversary on December 1st. I am always looking for ways to better myself and go a little bigger than the previous year. What is a day like this without chocolate, right? 😉 Luckily, I was able to catch a break from work and make this AMAZING Ferrero Rocher Ice Cream Cake. And whats better? Its eggless!

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If you love chocolate and nutella, you will love this cake. This cake is made of delicious moist layers of chocolate cake, filled with nutella ice cream, topped with dark chocolate ganache and of course Ferrero Rochers. I swooned a little just typing that out here!

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Making this cake might sound time-consuming, but it’s not that tough. It is literally just putting things together and waiting patiently for it to set (yes, that is the hardest part of baking). 

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These images will tell you that the effort is more than worth every minute spent making this dessert.The smooth and silky nutella ice cream and the crunchy nuts was just to die for. This is definitely a cake that you should add to your must-make list.

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Cook time: 45 minutes +3 hours chilling time: Source: Adilicious; Yields: 8 slices

Ingredients: 

For the Cake: 

  • All purpose flour – 2/3 cups
  • Sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – 2  tbsps
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar – 2 tsps
  • Instant Coffee powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Boiling water – 1/2 cup
  • Vegetable oil – 4 tbsps

For the Nutella Ice Cream:

  • Whipping cream or heavy cream – 1 cup
  • Condensed Milk – 4 tbsps
  • Nutella – 3 tbsps

For the ganache: 

  • Extra Dark chocolate – 1/2 cup (I used 70%) 100 grams ( ½ cup ) Chopped Semi sweet chocolate
  • Heavy Cream – 1/4 cup

For garnishing: 

  • Roasted Hazelnut – 20
  • Ferrero Rocher – 5
  • Cocoa powder – 2 tbsps
  • Chocolate shavings – 1 tbsp

Instructions: 

Preheat the oven to 350F or 160C.

Start by making the cake; in a mixing bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together like flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Add in sugar. Mix evenly.

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In a cup, blend the coffee powder with boiling water. Add to the dry mixture.Mix and add the oil and the vinegar. Whisk together until you get a smooth batter.

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Grease a deep pan and pour the batter. Bake for 15-17 minutes until the cake is completely cooked.

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As the cake is baking, get on to making the ice cream. Whisk the whipping cream on high speed for 4-5 minutes, until stiff peaks are formed. Add the condensed milk.

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Add nutella and whisk together. Store in the fridge until later.

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To assemble the ice cream cake, remove the cake and cool off completely on a cooling rack. Split in two halves.

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Assemble one layer of the cake on a plate. Place a baking circular mold that is wider than the cake on the plate. Fill a piping bag with the nutella ice cream and pipe around the mold and fill the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat process. Allow the cake to set in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours.

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Make the chocolate ganache by melting the dark chocolate with heavy cream in the microwave in 20 second intervals, until you get a smooth creamy sauce.

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Now on to garnishing! Using a knife neatly spread chopped hazelnuts around the cake. Spoon the ganache on top of the cake and spread smoothly. Place as many ferrero rochers as you want and add in some hazelnuts too. Dust cocoa powder and sprinkle with chocolate shavings!

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Keep chilled in until ready to serve. Slice and eat tons of it! 😉

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