Orange and blueberry layer cake made for my grandfather’s 90th birthday!

Orange and Blueberry Cake

Yesterday was my grandfather’s 90th birthday. Although his birthday was yesterday, we had a big celebration where we invited friends and relatives on Sunday. Unfortunately, since I was busy with client work and a surprise video for him, I couldn’t make the cake for his 90th birthday celebration, but I did make this orange and blueberry cake for his actual birthday on the 6th.

There’s a lot to say about my grandfather, but one thing that always impresses me, besides his memory of past events, is his meticulous documentation.We wanted to surprise my grandfather with a short video showing glimpses of his life in pictures. Thanks to my grandfather’s perfect documentation skills, my mom and I were able to easily place his life history in pictures. It was fun going through his pictures, and in the process getting to know more about his life.

I thought I will share the video here on the blog, if any of you like going through old pictures. The pictures date back till 1930s (my grandfather was born in 1927) and document his life through the years.

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Video recipe showcasing 4 basic penne pasta recipes- an easy and quick tomato basil penne pasta, penne in white sauce with olives, cilantro pesto pasta salad and a chicken pasta bake. 

Del Monte Penne Pastabilities from Shumaila Chauhan on Vimeo.

Disclaimer: While I was paid by Del Monte to make the video, this post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own and I do love and use their pastas even when I am not shooting for them.

My last post was a month back! So what’s been up with me in the last month?

Well, mostly client work. Edits. Deadlines. Diwali. Weddings. An aging grandfather 🙁 . And a serious addiction to scary story contest section (more about that below).

One of the things that kept me busy last month was this video I made for Del Monte- penne pasta 4 ways, highlighting the “pastabilities” with a single shape of pasta. The video showcases 4 different basic pasta recipes which everyone should know and have in their repertoire- an easy and quick tomato basil penne pasta, penne in white sauce with olives, cilantro pesto pasta salad and a chicken pasta bake.

Tomato and basil pasta


The first recipe in the video is a basic tomato and basil pasta. The recipe I used is a variation of this recipe I have posted earlier. It is an even quicker version of the recipe.

The second is penne in white sauce. White sauce is basically a sauce made from butter, flour and milk. The simplest way to make it is to remember the flour and butter are added in equal ratio and for each tablespoon of flour/butter added you add 1/2 cup milk to make the sauce. I generally use 3 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp flour and 1 1/2 cups milk. The key to make a nice creamy sauce is to make sure you add your milk gradually, whisking it as you added so that no lumps are formed. You can add more milk to get the desired consistency if required. To add more flavor you can also add a pinch of nutmeg, chili flakes, herbs.

Cilantro Pesto pasta Salad

The third is a cilantro pesto salad. Pesto is traditionally made with basil but since in India, it is not always easily available, this one is a cilantro pesto salad. And also since pine nuts are super expensive in India, made the pesto with walnuts instead. The recipe is similar to my basil and almond pesto and you just need to substitute the basil with the cilantro and the almonds with the walnuts.

The fourth is my chicken pasta bake recipe. I love this pasta recipe and it is great for make ahead dinners. You can find the recipe here.

Easy Chicken and Mushroom pasta Bake

Coming back to and their scary story contest. Do you love scary stories? The true kinds? Well, then I would suggest get on the site. People have shared their true (or at least what they believe is true) experiences. Some of the stories are paranormal, some involve actual human beings. I think the ones with actual people are more frightening, since there is no doubt that they happened.

I have been on the site almost every free time I have. At night I stay up late to read, then in the morning I narrate the best ones to my parents. If you know me, you know I love scary stuff. I get s**t scared too, but it never stops me from reading or seeing scary movies. I am sharing a few of my favorites from the site below. I haven’t yet gone through all the threads, so if you find a particularly frightening story, please share the link.

  1. The one about Alice and Jim
  2. Look at me
  3. The one with the girl in Cincinnati 

Also, if you try any of these recipes please do tag me on instagram, Facebook, twitter or leave a comment here.

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A super rich and moist almond flavored cake. This almond cake is perfect with a dusting of powdered sugar and slivered almonds to serve to your guests or have as a tea time treat.

A moist and delicious almond cakeA moist and delicious almond flavored cake

Last month was super busy, and even though I did complain about it when things were crazy busy and I had no time to myself, I am trying my best not to complain too much lest I jinx it. As a freelancer, you never want to complain about busy schedules. Since you work on project to project basis, you never know when your next project will be. So if I am busy, it’s good.

Only bad part is that this space gets neglected. As much as I would have liked to fit blogging in, when I was not busy shooting, I was busy editing, and there is only so much screen time I can take. As a result, blogging was put on hold. But I am here today to share the recipe for this almond cake.

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