Today, my blog turns two years old! For me, that’s quite an achievement seeing as that I am really bad at maintaining it! I love writing and cooking for it, but unless I devote a considerable time to it, it’s hard work to maintain and generate the traffic you want. I am thankful though, to everyone who has and continues to visit and read my ramblings and try my concoctions. I want to thank, my blogger friends who tirelessly read my stories and memories, and support me unconditionally. They leave wonderful comments and feedback and I appreciate each and everyone of them.
Two and a half years ago, I toyed with the idea of starting a blog but kept talking myself out of it. I knew it needed a serious commitment that I knew I couldn’t keep. However, days of cooking and cleaning and being a wife and mommy were just making me numb. I longed for intellectual conversation, something to tickle my numbed and sleepy nerves; a spark to jolt me into being me the old me. Here are a few random facts that make me, me:
I am a Sci Fi/Mystery nerd: Star Wars, Star Trek, all superhero movies, Sherlock, Inspector Lewis..
I am a science geek: audio/video, tech etc
I am a hopeless romantic but happen to be married to the least romantic person ever.
I love to read but hardly get the chance because half way through the first page, I am asleep.
My favourite are the British classics, mysteries and yes, I did read Fifty Shades of Grey.
I love all kind of music from Led Zeppelin, The Who and AC/DC to One Direction and Eminem ( however, I do draw the line at Justin Bieber)
I love to talk; about everything and anything.
I love to travel and absorb cultures and wish I was fluent in every language.
I am a fidgety restless person whose mind is constantly churning; I always need to do something or learn something new
I was born in Saudi Arabia, I grew up in England (London will always be my home) and my family is from India and I live in America married to an American, when people ask me where I am from, there’s usually a big pause. I still haven’t perfected that answer.
So, I went from being this person who wanted to do everything to a stay at home mom. It was hard for me and so I started playing around with arts and crafts, did a bit of sewing, experimented with cooking and baking. As much as I loved doing stuff, I felt like my mind still wasn’t being exercised. Hence, the blog. I wanted to write, and use big words, and make grown up sentences rather than the simple, explanatory ones I used with my children day in and day out. Of course, two years ago I did have teenagers, but when have you known a teenager to 1. Converse with their parent 2. Converse in proper English? So, commitment or not, I started my blog for myself mainly. It didn’t matter to me back then if anybody read it; I was writing for myself.
Two years later, I have readers and slowly but surely, it’s getting noticed. So, thank you all for reading and supporting me! I still maintain this for myself, but making new friends from all over the world has been my new motivation to keep updating the site on a regular basis.
As a thank you to my regular readers, family and friends, I am giving away a thank you gift. Unfortunately, since I am bank rolling this giveaway, I have to limit it to US postal addresses. I have picked Gordon Ramsay’s Sunday Lunch cook book to giveaway. I think Chef Ramsay is awesome and his recipes are easy to follow and recreate. I hope the lucky winner will think so too.
To enter the drawing, you have to just go crazy with me socially! The more love you give, the more chances you have. You have till February 28 to get crazy. I will announce the winner first week of March.
Here’s what to do:
Leave me a comment or two, telling me an interesting tidbit about you.
Like my page on Facebook and say “hi”
I know I have regular readers who don’t comment, so it would be nice to meet y’all!
Now, onto my anniversary dessert. I wanted to celebrate my two years with one of my favourite pastries, the éclair. These are slightly more jazzy and festive for the occasion and the inspiration came from the BBC Good Food magazine (they did some pastel eclairs in their January issue).
I have sort of combined my anniversary and Valentine’s Day dessert into one. These are great for any occasion and making them colourful allows you to tailor them to your specific event. I chose these colours because they are anniversary festive and very Valentine’s Day festive too. I thought this would be a nice kick off to some Valentines Days goodies coming up this week.
Serves: 18 eclairs
- 20z/56g butter, in pieces
- ⅔ cup/150mL water
- ½ cup/75g flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup/236mL heavy cream
- 4oz good quality white chocolate, I used Ghirardelli
- 4 oz melted white chocolate, divided and coloured
- assorted candies, sweets and sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 400℉/200℃
- Mix the flour and salt together.
- Have a piping bag with a medium size plain nozzle ready to be filled.
- Have a baking sheet lined with parchment paper ready.
- Place water and butter in a medium pan and bring up to boil gently.
- Once butter is melted and mixture is beginning to boil, pull of the heat.
- Dump in the flour and salt and beat vigourously to combine.
- Don't over beat otherwise the fat will seep out.
- Let cool for 2 minutes.
- Once the mixture is in ball, using a hand mixer, start to mix the pastry ball.
- Add the eggs in a stream and continue to beat.
- Beat on high to trap as much air as possible into the pastry, 5 minutes.
- Once the eggs have been added and the pastry beaten, it is ready to be piped.
- Fill the piping bag with the pastry and pipe out long tubes of about 3"(8cm)
- Use a wet knife to cut of the ends from the piping bag.
- Pipe out 18 eclairs onto the parchment paper, leaving 2"(5cm) between each one.
- Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.
- As soon as they are out of the oven, remove from the baking sheet and poke two or three holes
- at the ends to release air.
- Or you can also slit the sides if you prefer.
- Place on a wire rack and cool before filling.
- Place the white chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and heat at 30 second intervals till melted.
- It will only take about a minute to melt and the residual heat from the bowl will continue to melt the chocolate all the way. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, whip the chilled cream to stiff peaks.
- Slowly add half of the cooled, melted chocolate and continue to whip gently for a minute.
- Then fold in the rest of the chocolate, till combined all the way.
- Fill a piping bag with a small nozzle with the cream.
- Put aside until ready to fill the éclair shells.
- Melt some more chocolate and divide into bowls and colour with desired colours.
- Have candy and sweets ready to sprinkle.
- Once the shells have cooled, using the piping bag filled with cream, squeeze cream into the ends of the shells using the holes you poked earlier.
- If you slit the sides, just pipe cream into the shell.
- Dip the éclair into your choice of coloured chocolate cream and sprinkle with candy.
- Put aside as you complete the rest.
- If you are not serving them right away, chill in the fridge.
- Éclairs are best eaten on the day they are made but I can eat them the next day too!
Once again, thank you for all your support the last two years. I hope you will celebrate with me and enjoy some éclairs. These are amazing; creamy and indulgent with just the right amount of sweetness. Make them for any special occasion. I look forward to reading your juicy tidbits and picking a winner!