Tart cherry, butterscotch and dark chocolate chip cookies.

Seas salt caramel, tart cherry and dark chocolate chip cookies

“Be brave.
You are never going to see the whole picture. You won’t always know how the pieces will fall together or break apart. Life doesn’t work like that. You take chances. You try your best. You follow your heart and your instincts. You give yourself a chance. You risk. You win sometimes and you lose sometimes – but either way you live. You learn. You grow. Be brave. Love, I pray that you will be brave. Bravely try. Bravely believe. Bravely fall and bravely rise again and again and again. You have to choose to believe that there is nothing and no one that can destroy you. You have to choose to believe there is no failure you cannot recover from. You have to choose confidence over cowardice. Choose faith over fear. Choose to try rather than stand still. Choose your story. Choose your dream. Choose your life. Be brave…”-   @soulbraille.


My mom used to make nestle tollhouse’s chocolate chip cookies for us as kids. That was the only chocolate chip cookie I ever ate as a child. Growing up chocolate chip cookies weren’t a thing in India. You didn’t get chocolate chips in India. A friend of my dad’s in the US would send us a packet of Nestle’s chocolate chips and my mom would use the recipe on the back of the packet to bake cookies for us. My brother and I loved them. The chips would be rationed carefully so these cookies were not made that often and were always a special treat when made.

Those were the good ‘ol days.

Phone wasn’t a thing, no social media to see what other people are up to and secretly envying their “perfect” lifestyle. Internet hadn’t arrived- at least not in our parts of the world. TV was limited to a single channel, satellite TV came a little later, but that too had only a handful of shows. We went outside to play. We spoke to people to make connections. We appreciated in person when we liked something instead of hitting a like button on a photo. We cared more about ourselves and not what other people were up to. We had time to make real and not virtual relationships and work towards growing them. While I love that technology has brought us all closer, it has some how also managed to keep us apart. It’s a different world we live in than the one I grew up in. There are times I want to disconnect from it all. But somehow my job requires me to remain connected. Or so I tell myself.

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Madeleines are a classic french butter cake/cookie. This recipe yields light and wonderful madeleines that have a hint of orange blossom in them. Super easy to whip up and a reliable crowd-pleaser!

Orange Blossom Madeleine

I have always wanted to make madeleines but since I did not have a madeleine pan I never attempted them. I have posted my mom’s english madeleine recipe on the blog, and while I love that recipe, english madeleines differ from their french counterpart. Both absolutely delicious but in different respects.

I finally invested in a madeleine pan and had been waiting to try a recipe for these. I knew as my first try I wanted to make the classic version, and keep the more complicated and fancier sounding madeleines for later. I had recently bought orange blossom water from amazon for another recipe, and never got around to making the recipe I bought the water for. From reviews of the madeleine recipes I had read online, I knew I had found the perfect way to use the orange blossom water lying in my cupboard.

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Sweet Tahini buns or halva buns are a Turkish bread made from tahini, brown sugar and pastry dough.

Sweet Tahini Buns

If you know me I am a cookbook hoarder. And whenever I get a new cookbook I love going through it, oggling at the pictures, making mental notes of what I want to make from them and getting inspired. I have a fairly good collection of cookbooks and put a lot of thought before picking a cookbook out. Recently I got to a review copy for Food with Friends by Leela Cyd. I love cookbooks with beautiful pictures (well, you do eat with your eyes first, don’t you) and this one doesn’t disappoint at all. Each recipe is accompanied with perfectly styled photographs, tempting me to bookmark each and every recipe.

“Leela Cyd is from Santa Barbara, California. She is a lifestyle and food photographer, shooting for editorial clients such as Sweet Paul magazine, Kinfolk and Conde Nast Traveler. Food with Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings focuses on accessible, quick and joyful food to share.”

At a very young Leela traveled  with her photographer dad as an assistant visiting countries like Spain, Morocco, Laos, Myanmar and South India, and you can find a lot of influence from her travels in the recipes that she shares in her cookbook, which is what I love about this cookbook.

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