Monthly Mingle RoundUp Part #1

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A month earlier, I announced Monthly Mingle for Winter Fruits and Vegetables. I’m kicked with the response – 34 entries from 32 bloggers of 13 countries. Read on for a sumptuous winter treat.

A note of thanks

Since I started food blogging back in April 2008, Meeta had been an inspiration with her posts and photographs quality. So, when she agreed to let me to host her already famous monthly blog event – Monthly Mingle, I got excited. Meeta even designed the logo for the current event. Meeta, can’t thank you enough.

Event Theme

Choosing the event theme wasn’t easy. I being the 23rd blogger to host this event, you can pretty much assume that almost all types of food and accompaniments have been covered earlier. This being Winter, so thought of a very simple theme – Winter Fruits and Vegetables.

The Round up

I’ve tried to group the entries into 5 categories – Soups, Bakes, Fruits, Sides and Others. Due to post length, I’ve split the round up into two posts. Part 1 will talk about Soups and Bakes.

Which one did you like?


A potato and carrot soup from Divya of Dil Se, just perfect for the chilly winter evenings.

Tigerfish of Teczape- An Escape of Food had something else in mind. She thought of a good heart-healthy seasonal soup for winter. Best way to use the seasonal produces in her Kale Winter Vegetable Soup with Salmon and Tofu.

Aoife of The Daily Spud found a little hope to cope with the ice cold winters of Ireland with this wonderful Ukranian soup called Borscht, which she learned from a cookery lesson in Moscow school cafeteria.

PJ of Ginger & Garlic has a thick and spicy soup to share with us, the name Parsnip soup with kale and roasted garlic says it all.

Sarah of Maison Cupcake, UK has a healthy and ‘immediate’ soup to cater in this winter, the Immediate Butternut Squash and Chestnut Soup is good deal to pamper your taste buds.

Though that’s not what we mean when we say ‘soup’, but the Mango Cauliflower Rasam from Ruchika of Ruchika Cooks is a must have for all of us who would like to drink healthy this winter.


With winter, comes Christmas bells and with comes the delicious Christmas cakes. Happy Cook of My Kitchen Treasure has something special to share, it’s a Cranberry upside down cake.

Joanne of Eats Well With Others took a new year resolution of not bringing back breads to home, the only breads allowed inside her kitchen are the ones prepared solely by her. Here’s her first step. She sends an amazing Fried Eggs on Toast with Cheddar and Avocado.

This French lady, Gaelle of WhatAreYouFeedingYourKidsTheseDays is happy to serve her family with a simple yet delicious dish, the Gratin of Baked Winter Vegetables. It’s an adapted version of a very traditional French dish that was perfect for the freezing temperatures of Philadelphia: a Gratin Dauphinois (baked potatoes).

Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey? sent a lovely looking Kohlrabi Turnip Gratin, never thought turnip would look so tempting.

Saveur from The Taste Space has a wholesome dessert to serve – Apple Cranberry Oat Crumble.

Nandini of Usha Nandini’s Recipes dared to add some oranges to her biscuits, and look what she has got – flower shaped Orange Biscuits (note the beautiful orange tinge).

Further Reading: Think Spice -Think Turmeric, Eggs, Festival of Rice Part 1, Part 2, Sweet Tooth, Non Veggie

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Christmas Cake in Pressure Cooker

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Christmas is that time of the year when you make merry and go out shopping and traveling with friends and family. The chill and the dryness in the air make the whole environment to go around more to keep warm. My Christmas day this year, o I should be saying last year was a good now. The celebration started from Christmas Eve, just after I came out of my office.

Christmas Cake at Bangalore

Christmas Cake at Bangalore

I went to the St. Mary’s Basilica, the oldest Church in Bangalore. The Church was decked up with white flowers all around the alter. I presumed it was to show respect to all those who lost their lives in different terror attacks all over India in 2008. That night we had good dinner at one of the well known restaurants in Bangalore and then off to St. Patrick’s Church for the grand celebration. What I have never done before, this time I was there inside the Church and sang along with many others the Christmas carols. It reminded me of those days in school. I still do remember the songs well.

Christmas day without some different things from the kitchen makes it very dull. So, after the day long hovering about from one Church to the other, I thought of baking a cake to mark this grand occasion.

The problem with baking a cake at my home is I don’t have a convection microwave oven, for that matter not a simple oven. So my only resort was my faithful pressure cooker. This was the first time I baked a cake in the pressure cooker and was quite apprehensive about the outcome till I had a bite. The cake was absolutely soft and everyone really liked it.

For one pound cake


Cake flour or Wheat Flour (Maida): 1 ¼ cup

Baking powder: 1 teaspoon

Castor sugar (Guro Chini): ¾ cup

Unsalted Butter (Sada Makhon): 50gms

Eggs (Dim): 3

Clarified Butter (Ghee): 1 tablespoon

Vanilla Essence: 1 teaspoon

Dry fruits like raisins and cashew nuts, etc

Cadbury Gems for frosting

Sand for heating in pressure cooker


  • Add half cup of sugar to the eggs with the vanilla essence and beat well with a blender until the eggs make small peaks the blender is lifted
  • In a large bowl put in the flour, baking powder and sift thrice
  • Drop in the butter to the sifted flour and mix well with a blender
  • As the mixture gets fluffy and soft pour in the egg and castor sugar mixture and blend
  • Take a steel bowl (of the shape you want your cake to be like ) and coat it with the clarified butter well
  • Pour in the cake mixture into the steel bowl
  • Cover the base of the pressure cooker with half inch of sand, sand helps in passing the heating evenly
  • Place the steel bowl with the cake mixture in the pressure cooker, and add some dry fruits to it
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker without the whistle
Baking in Progress - inside the pressure cooker

Baking in Progress - inside the pressure cooker

  • Let it be there on medium flame for at least 12 minutes
  • The smell of baked cake will come when it is properly baked
  • Insert a knife through the cake, it the knife comes out clean , the cake is properly baked then

Baked properly - time for frosting

Baked properly - time for frosting

  • With a knife scrap the sides of the steel bowl and invert it over a plate
  • Frost it in whatever way you like; I frosted it with castor sugar and gems.


Baking a cake without an oven was really a good experiment, and loved it more when the outcome was sweet and good looking. Check for more updates on this page till then Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging.

Events Participated

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Christmas is that time of  the year when everything around feels so good. In my office almost half the population has gone out for vacation. This time, though I couldnt go home for Christmas, but eys I enjoyed the night and the whole day. Bangalore gets decked up in this winter season with glitters, streamers and rows of lights on the roads.

I prepared a cake at home. I’ll post the recipe soon.

Till then Happy Cooking and Happy Eating

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