Bake soft, moist and dense ‘Carrot Cake’

carrot-cake-3Look how beautiful! Those white clouds on surface are from powdered sugar sprinkle

Following the red/orange trail of carrots, I also made a carrot cake. Carrot cake Universally approved needs no introduction. As an amateur baker I always look for distinguishing properties of any cake, what make a carrot cake the best in lot; soft, moist, dense and natural sweetness of carrots. Let’s bake a easy and filling carrot cake(before winter is gone). This recipe of from Nita Mehta’s book Cakes & Cookies, there are slight variations from the original recipe.

carrot-cake-4Those tiny black things are cinnamon, lack of fine powder(Need a new grinder!!!)

Ingredients

  1. Finely grated carrot – 1 and 1/2 cup
  2. Egg – 2
  3. All purpose flour – 1 cup
  4. Baking powder – 1 tsp
  5. Baking soda – 1 tsp
  6. Powdered sugar – 3/4 cup
  7. Vegetable oil – 1/2 cup
  8. Powdered cinnamon – 1/2 tsp

Method

  1. Preheat oven at 160°C, grease(flour and butter) 9 inch round baking pan
  2. In one bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon powder
  3. In another medium size bowl beat eggs and powdered sugar until pale yellow and frothy
  4. Gradually add oil in egg and sugar mixture, while beating continuously, keep the mixture aside
  5. Add carrot to flour mix from step 1, like coating carrots with flour
  6. Finally add carrot-flour mixture to egg-sugar-oil mixture, mix with wooden spoon or whisk
  7. Pour cake mixture into baking pan and bake for 50-55 minutes in preheated oven. Check by inserting a toothpick in center of cake, if cake is done it should come out clean

carrot-cake-1After toothpick test, right out of oven

Wouldn’t you agree Carrot Cake is best tea-time cake?

Zaina

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Oh and I finished Dexter! Finale season was worst of all, and the last episode was worst episode in the worst season, sigh!

Winter Essentials: Dad’s ‘Gajar ka Halwa’ Recipe

I’m home!

It’s been so long, believe me, I tried to be back soon but something* came up.

Now that I’m here I am going to note down the yummiest sweet one could make with carrots; Gajar Ka Halwa by Dad. Why Dad? Talk about that after recipe…

gajar-ka-halwa-1Gajar ka Halwa in all its glory

Makes enough for 2-3 days for a couple.

Ingredients

  1. Red Carrots – 1 kgs
  2. Milk – 1 liter
  3. Sugar – 250 grams
  4. Cardamom – 2-3 pods (seeds)
  5. Ghee/Butter – 2 tbsp
  6. Assorted Dry fruits – 1/4 cup (raisins, almonds, cashews)

Note: You can change the quantity of this recipe by using the proportion; Quantity of carrot in kilograms equals the quantity of milk in liters, and sugar is usually 1/4 of carrot weight(also depends on how sweet one likes the sweet 😛 )

Method

  1. Grate carrots
  2. In a heavy bottom pan/sauce pan, add milk and grated carrots. Boil carrot and milk together till there is no milk left. Continuously stirring if on high flame or you can leave it on medium flame and stir now and then, just to make sure it doesn’t burn and stick to bottom
  3. After the mixture is thick(when all milk in gone in air) add sugar. Sugar will release water and the mixture will again become thin, which should be cooked until there is no liquid left(stirring is important)
  4. Temper carrot mixture with ghee and cardamom. In a separate small pan, fry cardamom seeds in ghee and pour on carrot mixture
  5. Garnish with sliced/cut assorted dry fruits and indulge!
  6. Can be stored in refrigerator up-to a week

gajar-ka-halwa-0Boiling carrot and milk

gajar-ka-halwa-2A humble look

gajar-ka-halwa-3Are you watching closely?

Winter always called for Gajar Ka Halwa, it is mandatory to make this at least once every winter. Dad always made this for us; one cause he loves cooking(now and then) and two grating carrots is too much of work for Mom. There were days when we woke up in morning and were presented with Gajar Ka Halwa in breakfast, Dad always cooked this in night, like overnight magic.

This is the basic version of recipe, most people like adding Khoa to enhance richness of flavor. If you wish you can add khoa after Halwa is cooked and off flame, but still hot and give it mix, just before garnishing.

Zaina

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That something is Dexter. I watched two seasons before marriage, since that I had time between two jobs(leaving old and joining new) I wanted to make a lot of posts and schedule them for every week, but thanks to starting with Dexter season three I couldn’t stop. And now that I’m on final season (SE08 E09) I’m sad that it is going to end and dreading the finale which has been criticized widely.

The Holy Grail everyday black kajal – Lakmé Eyeconic Kajal

If anyone asks what is the one thing which I have been using for longest time from makeup, you may guess lipstick but sadly no, it is kajal. I’ve been smudging my eyes black long before the flood of kajals from every other brand. The initial one was the total natural charcoal which came in a small round box, and we would apply with match stick (it is funny now), which would definitely smudge a lot, smokey look for free yo. The breakthrough in my kajal routine came with Hashmi kajal, which I found during my first (all by myself, work travel!) to Delhi. I bought two twist up Hashmi Kajal sticks for 25 rs each. It was brilliant, did not smudge and stayed on for good 3-4 hours intact.  Soon the two Hashmi kajal I had got over and I couldn’t find them in Hyderabad anywhere, and no one was there in Delhi to buy and ship to me.

The next better thing I got hold was Streetwear pencil liner, which worked better than box kajal but not as good as Hashmi. I continued using it until the famous Mayeblline Colossal was launched, 2010 I think. It was a breakthrough in Indian makeup market and was immediate hit, and still is, just that I have found something better or best.

lakme-eyconic-kajal-black-white

Later that year Lakmé launched Eyconic range(which had only black kajal and mascara initially), and I tried it with no more expectations than Colossal. Which is when I realized how better it is, and until we try new things we would never know what we are missing 😉

This post is not a comparison post of the many kajal available in India(just one note though Lakme eyeconic is must more intense and applies darker than Mayebelline Colossal ). I’m going to let you all know why eyeconic is my holy grail everyday kajal.

lakme-eyconic-kajal-black-white-0

The first best thing about eyconic is that it does what it claims, no smudge, 10 hours and all that (note that I have dry skin and I apply kajal on lower lash line). I use it everyday in work week, it is smooth, comes in retractable pen form, easy to apply and stays on for 9-5 plus two hours more of traveling to office 😀 It is waterproof, and face-wash proof too, I use olive oil to remove it. My yearly consumption is 4~ eyeconic kajals 😀

lakme-eyconic-kajal-black-white-2

The white variant from same line is not much liked by me, first it has shimmer, tiny glitters which is not what I wanted. Next it is too creamy, if I apply on lash line it interfere with lashes and due to too creamy texture get on lashes, and the color payoff is not as intense as black. Other than that, the staying power of white is pretty amazing.

Here is my look with Lakmé Eyeconic.

lakme-eyconic-kajal-black-white-look

Lakmé Eyeconic Kajal Black is easily available at 200 rs while the color variants including white will cost 250 rs.

Which is your everyday HG kajal?

Zaina

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A red lipgloss for everyone – Essence XXXL Shine Lipgloss in Red Blossom

Hello from comfort of the home! This blog is like home to me, I stay away from it due to various reasons, stay away for long time but I always find a way back. Even when I am away it is constantly in my mind (like the home-sick feeling). And when I try to make my way back, it welcomes me with all the warmth. So here I am, what they say; better late than never. And I have a very good news for Indian ladies; Essence products are now available on amazon India!

essence-XXXL-Shine-lipglossIt’s so difficult to photograph the shiny print, more so when it has worn out a bit 😀

Last year during my trip to Germany I was searching for affordable gifts to bring home, makeup was the easy choice for girl cousins. I passed by essence rack and almost everything was 1.99 Euros, immediately I hauled a dozen XXXL shine lip glosses. The perfect gift for 1.99 Euros, it was a steal! I took two of each color, there were around 4-5 shades available, and three glosses of the red color. Red looked so pretty in tube, I couldn’t stop adding one for myself. Later that night I applied it and fell in love with the color, the red was beautiful on my tanned skin. I whatsapped (is it a word yet? ) a picture to my friend, and she also wanted one for herself. Next weekend I went to Douglas again and bought another two tubes.

essence-XXXL-Shine-021-red-blossomEssence XXXL Shine Lipgloss Red Blossom in crossed leg sitting position

Now for the particularities for Red Blossom is non-sticky, light and moisturising.  It applies semi-sheer, gives a shiny red color with visible (but not too big) gold glitters. This wears for 2~ hours on me and if eating or drinking it will go off quickly. The smell, oh smell! It smells like cough syrup, like glycodin most probably, but I cannot be sure cause I haven’t had cough syrup since many good years.  And how it the applicator, easy to apply and pretty see:

essence-XXXL-Shine-red-lipglossA closer look at the applicator

For the lip swatch – again very difficult to photograph(read I need a new camera!)

essence-XXXL-Shine-021-red-blossom-lip-hand-swatch

And some other colors for you, as bonus 😉

???????????????????????????????From left to right: Big Night Out, Fabulous Fuchsia, Nude Kiss and Red Blossom

Essence XXXL Shine Lipgloss are available at amozon.in at Rs. 229.00

If you find a color for you, these are pretty glosses for budget buys.

Which one you like most apart from Red Blossom?

Zaina Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Aurora red healthy Beetroot Flatbread(paratha)

Hello from a healthy breakfast table on beautiful Saturday!

Well beetroot are too good for heath but they don’t taste that better so what do we do? I would always blend it into a pretty pink smoothie and gulp down quickly. When Dimple from Shivaay Delights initially posted Beetroot paratha’s I thought, oh what a great idea! I totally forgot about it until she reblogged it last week and I set to get my hands red this time without any delays.

beetroot-flatbread-00

For full recipe go here.

I changed two ingredients according to my preference; replaced ground cumin with ajwain and cayenne pepper with fresh green chillies (finely chopped), cause I love green chillies and most of the time end up using them in place of red chili powder and green chillies are healthier too.

Now tell me, how good they look?

beetroot-flatbread-01The color is so like Pantone Aurora red!

Red tips:-

I don’t have a food processor and I kneaded the dough with hand, while doing so it is a good idea to mix chillies in last to avoid hands from burning.

It is a good to let covered dough rest for 10-15 minutes before starting to roll it, the gluten will develop, rolling will be smooth and flat-breads will not crack while rolling.

Prathas’s are best enjoyed with curd or mango pickle.

beetroot-flatbread-02

My flat-breads turned out so delicious, they dint taste like beetroot at all and husband totally loved them. (Thanks to Dimple for such easy healthy idea 🙂 )

Would you try beetroot paratha(flat-bread)? Any other easier ways to use beetroot in cooking? Share your tips and experience.

Happy Weekend!

Zaina
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Street Wear Color Rich Ultra Moist Lipsticks- Berrylicious and Riveting Rouge

Hello from a very festive October, this month is great a lot of holidays and I just had a long vacation at beaches and mountains and it was amazing. *Gasp* this was the longest welcome sentence ever.

Street Wear is one of many brands under Relvon umbrella available in India. Street wear products are relatively very in-expensive as compared to Revlon (budget of budget guys!), their new launch Color Rich Ultra Moist Lipsticks are not just budget friendly they are high on quality too!

StreetWear-Lipstick-01

These sub-brands are not easily available on all Relvon counters and also online. I’ve been wanting to try Color Rich Ultra Moist lipsticks for long time, limited availability on online sites delayed my wish. After a long wait I found the shades I wanted on Jabong, yay! I’ve two beautiful shades; Berrylicious and Riveting Rouge(yes, one shade had to be of red).

StreetWear-Lipstick-03

Riveting rouge is one of the reds which everyone should own. It flatters my tanned skin tone so I think it doesn’t have cool undertone, color sets in semi-matt finish. It stayed on me for good 3 hours in very humid climate (read vacation at beach!), gradually fading and left a beautiful tint. If you ever wanted to try bright colors but are afraid this is the lipstick you should start with, just 180 rupees pop you get quality packed product.

StreetWear-Lipstick-02

Berrylicious is another gorgeous shade, one of a kind. It appears purple in tube but turns pinkish-purple on lips. It has very fine and few glitters, which gives the lipstick pearly finish on lips. I’m not a fan of frosty lipstick and thank god the glitter in Berrylicious is very subtle. The staying power is similar as of Riveting rouge, and a beautiful tint is left by this color as well.

StreetWear-Lipstick-swatches

All that good and just one thing which makes you wonder what Streetwear people were thinking when designing the packaging? No, looks are pretty and no issues there. But, the color bullet doesn’t retrace fully, so when you pop the lipstick open the bullet gets in contact with rim of cap and wastes itself. Now product wastage is not the only issue, after color sets on cap rim and you close the lipstick after use it transfers back to tube, and when you open it again it will smear on your fingers then on your face and all over the place, horror!

In brief, as the name says ultra moist, they live up to the claim, both the lipsticks were moisturizing. Texture is light and doesn’t feel heavy on lips, when applied directly from tube it glides on smoothly. In single swipe lipstick gives medium-opaque coverage, maximum coverage can be achieved in two to three swipes. Color doesn’t set into fine lines, both Berrylicious and Riveting Rouge left pretty tint at the end of day.

Street Wear Color Rich Ultra Moist lipsticks are priced 180 each with wide varity of shade selection, available at Revlon counters and on selected shades can be found on Jabong

Have you tried any of Street Wear lipsticks, which is your favorite shade? It there is shade from the range which is must buy.

Happy Sunday!

Zaina
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Khadi natural: Chocolate soap and Kiwi Soap with Loofah

Hello, let me quickly walk you through the land of natural skin care soaps from Khadi natural.

I bought three soaps from Khadi along with Shampoos from their website. I wanted two but since chocolate soap only comes in pack of two I ended up with three soaps; two chocolate soaps and one kiwi loofah soap. Since two months I’ve been using Khadi natural soaps, first month was chocolate soap and in the next month I started with Kiwi loofah soap.

khadi-herbal-soap

First impressions; flimsy packaging, expensive, weak fragrance. When I opened the package the shikakai shampoo fragrance from was so overpowering, to my disappointment the soaps have very weak fragrance.

khadi-herbal-soap-03

Chocolate soap smells less like chocolate more like coconut, even when the ingredients don’t have any mention of coconut. Fragrance will be gone as soon as one steps out of shower. It foams decently and leaves skin dry.

khadi-herbal-soap-01

The loofah soap will sure catch attentions, it is two-in-one product for innovations sake. It works for quick exfoliation but you can’t use it daily, remember over exfoliation is never good, twice a week is more than enough. Over exfoliation ages your skin so careful how often you exfoliate.

Kiwi soap claims to be SLS and paraben free (God only know what else goes into the soap, as we can see only key ingredients). Fragrance is very light and doesn’t last. You will end up using a lot of soap while exfoliating as loofah will come out of soap only after a few usage. The loofah is natural, I think it is plant dried gourd ?

khadi-herbal-soap-02

 

There are very few things to like about Khadi natural, and more to dislike:

  •  Khadi has natural tag but a lot of chemicals go into their products, not 100% natural
  •  Ingredients list is not complete on any product, only key ingredients are mentioned
  • Very weak and ambiguous fragrance
  • Soaps have to be stored with care, they will become leaky if left in wet place after use
  • Minimum order value is 500 Rs for free shipping from Khadi naturals site. But Khadi products are available on almost all other online shopping sites

Chocolate soap Rs 130 for set of two.
Kiwi loofah soap Rs 115 for single unit.

Have you used Khadi soaps, which natural/herbal soaps do you recommend?

Zaina
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