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Cranberry Pistachio Orange Biscotti

Today's I'm sharing a crunchy and delicious biscotti recipe studded with sweet cranberries and salty pistachios with a slight hint of orange flavor. This is a very easy recipe from Donna Hay, which you can make during the holiday season and perfect as Christmas gift for your friends and family.

I think the recipe yielded about 40 or 50 biscotti but I lost count as we started munching on these delicious biscotti's while slicing them up and few more soon after the final bake! Trust me, these biscottis are very addictive and you will keep eating one after the other. A simple recipe with a very ingredients and quite healthy too.


3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
¾ cup caster sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup salted pistachios


1. Preheat oven to 160°C.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat them lightly. Add the orange zest, vanilla extract, sugar and combine well.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder. Add to the egg mixture along with cranberry and pistachio. Mix until it forms a dough.

4. Place the dough on a floured surface. The dough will be slightly sticky. Sprinkle little flour and knead the dough until smooth.

5. Divide the dough into two and form logs. Place the logs in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Slightly flatten the logs. 

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until firm. Allow to cool completely. Once cool, cut into thin slices using a serrated knife. 

7. Place the slices on the baking tray. Place in the oven and bake at 180°C for 8-10 minutes or until crisp.


Cheesy Pesto Pull Apart Bread #BreadBakers

For this month's bread bakers challenge, Kelly Lawson from Passion Kneaded suggested baking a sweet or savory pull apart bread, monkey bread or bubble bread as the theme. If you love baking bread and want to join this wonderful bread baking group, scroll to the end of the post for further details.

I choose the dough recipe from the King Arthur Flour website and for the filling I added basil pesto and a mix of Parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella cheese. This bread recipe is a keeper. It was soft and very tasty bread. You can adapt this bread recipe and use any filling of your choice. Let's see how make his cheesy pesto pull apart bread.


For the dough:
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tsp instant yeast or active dry yeast
2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1/3 cup pesto
1 1/2 cup grated cheese


1. Combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan. Heat and stir until the butter melts. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm.

2. Transfer the milk mixture to a large mixing bowl and add egg, yeast, flour and mix to form a shaggy dough. Knead the dough until it's smooth. 

3. Place the dough in a greased container and cover. Let it rise for about 90 minutes, until it's puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk.

4. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Spread the pesto and sprinkle the cheese. Cut into  long strips and stack the strips.

5. Cut the strip into 5 and stack in a greased loaf pan. Allow to rise for another 90 minutes or till the dough starts filling the pan. 

6. Bake at 190 C | 350 F for 25-30 minutes until top is golden.

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to


Banoffee Pie

Banoffee pie is an easy British dessert made with digestive biscuits, dulce de leche, bananas and whipping cream. It can be made in a pie tin, but I made them by layering in glass cups for easy serving and portion control. This no bake pie can be made ahead and apt for potlucks and parties.


Serves 4


 6 digestive biscuits
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup dulce de leche
2 banana, sliced
1 cup whipped cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar


1. Crush the biscuits to a fine powder and add the butter. Mix well. Spoon the biscuit crumb equally into the 4 cups. Chill for 10 minutes.

2. Top with 2 tbsp dulce de leche and layer with bananas. Keep refrigerated.

3. Whisk the whipping cream with sugar until stiff peak forms.

4. Spoon the whipped cream equally into the 4 cups. Sprinkle grated chocolate on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Tropical Mango Pineapple Smoothie

It's been a while since I posted a smoothie recipe here on the blog. The weather hasn't been that great to enjoy a glass of smoothie. The past winter in Melbourne has been super cold, windy and raining most of the days. But it's officially spring now and slowly the weather has started to warm up a bit. Spring is one of my favorite seasons and it's also the season of my favorite fruit - mango! I can't think of anyone who doesn't love a juicy ripe mango.

Kensington Pride, Calypso, R2E2 and Honey Gold are some of the mango varieties in Australia, with Kensington Pride being one of the most popular one. Mangoes are quite expensive too - after all it's the king of all fruits!!! On most Saturdays, we go to our local market to stock up the vegetables and fruits for the week. I got a box of mangoes which was heaps cheaper. I'm hoping to post some mango recipes unless we end up snacking all the mangoes!

Last Sunday the weather was beautiful. I made this tropical smoothie with mango, pineapple, Greek yogurt, orange juice and coconut water. It was so delicious and refreshing. Kids will definitely enjoy this healthy s smoothie. I don't follow any particular recipe for smoothie. Just throw the ingredients into the blender, adjust and taste as you go. Usually I add banana to smoothies to make it thick and creamy. This time I added mango and passion fruit flavored Greek yogurt; you can use plain yogurt. To thin out the smoothie I added coconut water and some orange juice. The sweetness in the fruit was enough for us. If you feel you need more sweetness, add some raw honey or other natural sweeteners. Try this smoothie when mango and pineapple are in season for your family.

Serves 3


1 1/2 cup mango chunks
1 cup pineapple chunks
150 ml thick yogurt
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp raw honey or as required


1. Add the mango, pineapple, yogurt, honey into a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Add the coconut water, orange juice and blend until combined. Pour into glass and serve immediately.

Notes and Tips

You can use frozen mango and pineapple if fresh fruit is not available.
If you are planning to make this smoothie for breakfast, you can add 3 tablespoon of oats.

Chow Chow Poriyal | Chayote Coconut Stir Fry

Chayote is a low calorie vegetable which is a good source of folate, vitamin C and dietary fibre. It's not so popular when compared to other squash/gourd varieties. Though we use chayote squash as a vegetable, it's actually a fruit. It is often referred to as vegetable pear because of it's shape and pale green colour. In South India it is known by various names like chow chow or Bangalore kathrikka (in Tamil),  sheema kathrikka (in Malayalam), seema vankaya or Bengaluru vankaaya (in Telugu) and Seeme badanekayi (in Kannada). Chayote is mostly used in curries and stir fry's in South Indian cuisine.

Last week I had some guests for lunch and I had bought some chayote's (chow chow) for making kootu. I didn't end up making the kootu so was planing to make chow chow kootu for lunch this weekend. During a casual call with mom, she suggested to make chow chow poriyal (stir fry with coconut). Normally poriyal is made with mixing the steamed vegetable with coconut and tempered with mustard seeds, urad dal (split and dehusked black gram), asafoetida, green chillies and curry leaves. Since chayote has a very mild flavour, I thought poriyal would be boring and bland. But mom said this recipe is quite different from the normal poriyal recipes as we are going to roast and grind fresh spices to give more flavour to this stir fry.  Sounded different, so I thought to give a go. Mom's recipes never go wrong!

The freshly roasted spice blend of coriander seeds, roasted gram (pottukadalai) and dried red chillies paired well with the subtle sweetness of chow chow, lifting the flavours of this humble poriyal. This spice blend can also be added to other vegetable poriyals to add a different taste. My grandma makes this spice blend with urad dal (split black gram) instead of roasted gram. As chayote has a slight sweet flavour, I used 4 dried red chillies to have that extra kick of spice. So adjust the amount of red chillies depending on the spice level you can take in. The chow chow has to be cooked just enough so that retains the shape but is still soft. Since chow chow or chayote does not take much time to cook, I prefer to cook in a pan with a lid with very little water. You can also steam it or pressure cook for 1 whistle.

I loved eating this stir fry just like that because it is so delicious!!! We had the chow chow poriyal with drumstick (murungaikkai) sambar, appalam, fried bittergourd (pavakkai) chips and yogurt. Yum! This poriyal does not take much time to prep and cook, so makes a healthy and quick side dish for sambar / kuzhambu (curries). This is a no-onion no-garlic recipe, ideal to make on festival or vrat (fasting) days. Also check out my chow chow kadalai paruppu kootu recipe.



2 medium-size chayote / chow chow
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

For the spice blend:
4 dried red chillies
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp roasted gram / pottukadalai

To temper:
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies
1 tsp split white urad dal
1/4 tsp asafoetida / hing / perungayam
Few curry leaves

3 tbsp grated coconut
Salt to taste


1. Peel the skin of chow chow and cut into half. Remove the seed and chop into small cubes.

2. In a pan add the chow chow, turmeric powder, salt and 1/4 cup water. Cover with a lid and cook in low heat until the vegetable is soft.

3. In a small pan, fry the dried red chillies, coriander seeds and roasted gram for about 2 minutes. Cool and grind to a coarse powder.

4. Heat a pan with coconut oil and add the mustard seeds. When it pops add the dried red chillies urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves and fry till dal turns golden.

5. Add the chow chow, coconut, ground spice powder, salt if required and mix well to combine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Notes and Tips:

Adjust the amount of dry red chillies according to your spice preference.
Make sure the chow chow is not over cooked, otherwise it will turn into a mush.
The spices should be roasted just enough to warm them and you start getting the nice aroma.
If you want to add garlic, add 2 minced garlic after the tempering.
You can add 1 tsp urad dal instead of roasted gram.


Corn Flour Halwa | Bombay Karachi Halwa

Happy Diwali to all of you. May the divine light of Diwali spread into your life, peace, prosperity, happiness and good health.

Corn flour halwa also known as Bombay Karachi halwa is an easy last minute sweet you can prepare for Diwali. It's very easy to make this halwa compared to barfi as we do not have to look for any sugar syrup consistency. Try this easy halwa for this Diwali. Adapted from here.


1/2 cup corn flour
1 1/2 cup + 3/4 cup water
1/4 cup cashews, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup sugar
Few drops color
3 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp cardamom powder


1. In a bowl add corn flour and 1 1/2 cup water and mix using whisk,. There should be no lumps.

2. In a pan, add sugar and 3/4 cup water. Allow to boil till sugar dissolves and becomes slightly thick and sticky.

3. Turn the heat to low and whisk the corn flour mixture again and add to sugar syrup. Add the food color.

4. Keep stirring and add 1/2 tbsp ghee in beween. When it starts to thicken, add cardamom, cashews and remaining ghee.

5. When it starts to leave sides and becomes ghee, pour into a greased tray. Allow to set for 1 hour before cutting into pieces.


I fried the cashews in 1/2 tsp ghee first. This is optional.

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