Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Top 10 Flavors for the Year 2011

It's amazing how time flies, it was this week last year when I decided to finally start blogging seriously, we moved our subjects from under the light bulbs into sunlight, I started taking photography & writing seriously. And almost a year down the line & so many posts, this part of me is one of the best things in my life. Quoting G.B.Shaw "There's no sincerer love, than the love of food", my explanation would include - Creating+Photographing+Feeding :) the Food. It's this love of food & the love I get back from you all that keeps me going. With My.Creative.Flavors I have tried new cuisines, made new friends & learned a whole lot from new friends. I hope this journey continues in 2012 as we make new Friendships & cook-up some new Flavors on

I didn't want to follow the cliche' and bake myself a My.Creative.Flavors 1st B'day cake, but I'm gonna look back and pick my favorite posts from 2011 & remember the good times. Food & Photography experts have their opinions, I personally feel that if you have a vision for your own recipe and it has to show through your recipe+ingredients+styling+photography. What I learned was that various subjects like dim lights or lengthy shadows & some may like bright exposure, perhaps even a cross+process. My interpretation of my food has been driven a lot by the moods my recipes evoke. It is important the your photography reflects your vision and not get constrained by "The Picture Perfect Shot". Most of the times incidental ideas make the best recipes, incidental props make the best pictures & inadvertent angles make the best shots. Enough talk, back to our agenda.
So here are my Fvt creations in no particular order...

Unbelievable, how 1 year can change the way you think about food. It's safe to say as a Food Blogger all you do is dream about food. Hope you like this quick recap and yes ...

"Have great 2012, May you and your family have a best of everything & all your wishes come true".

Hugs, Sonia

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Vegetable Pakoras, Sweet Peppers & Fritters: Guest Post for Rasa Malysia

This time of the year is all about fun - fall - family and festivities. In these chilling winters, I just  want to curl up in a cozy blanket and watch my all time favorite movies and enjoy my hot cuppah chai with mixed vegetable pakoras. U bet its a great feeling - difficult to beat. What better than do what you like to do & get a chance to do a feature on Bee's fabulous site "Rasa Malaysia"I have always been very found of her easy to make and authentic recipes and look forward to her collection for all special occasions. I am really happy to do this feature & hope I will do justice to the high standards Bee sets for Rasa Malaysia.

So today we are going to do some Mixed Vegetable Pakoras - one of the most popular Indian snacks. Pakoras always make a special place on the table as appetizers  loved by family and in formal buffets too, across the globe. It's an interesting way to add some spice and zing to the veggies once in a while and the hot combo is simply irresistible.

Have you ever tried Stuffed peppers with spiced potato stuffing and coat in chickpea flour batter and fried as pakoras. Must do !!!

Enjoy it piping hot from the pan to the platter with sweet tomato, coriander and tamarind chutney and of course hot cup Five spice chai or Belgian Hot Chocolate.

So lets head to Rasa Malaysia to see the recipe,
Hope you will enjoy this experience...

Love all, Sonia !

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mexican Hot Chocolate

As promised I'm back with a  recipe from my Foodbuzz 24X24 post & today we'll be making some Mexicano style Hot Chocolate. If I remember correctly, I saw Ina Garten make this version on TV & like every other recipe she makes, I fell in love with this one too. It is easy, delicate, sophisticated & hot flavors have gotten me addicted. As you'd see the recipe is simple but the way flavors blend & bring out the bite that this beverage has to offer - It will never cease to amaze you. So lets go ahead & give it a shot...

Ingredients: -
4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli chocolate chopped)
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
apinch of ground cinnamon
cayenne pepper, a small pinch - My fvt addition :)
Long cinnamon sticks for stirrers

Directions: -
In a pot add milk and brown sugar , place on simmer.
Reduce the heat & stir in the chopped bitter sweet chocolate, vanilla, ground cinnamon.
Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes as chocolate dissolves.
Add a pinch of cayenne pepper, stir again & allow to steep for 2-3 minutes. 
Now reheat the hot chocolate mix over low heat until it simmers again.
:) and yes we're almost done !!!
A good practice is to strain the hot chocolate before you pour into mugs. 

For Stirrers use long cinnamon sticks (and lick some chocolate out of these :P occasionally )

Perfect for a Nippy December afternoon !!!

You would love the flavors & love the bite of this beverage.
This is one hot & refreshing cuppa'...

So go ahead & make your own cup, & let me know if you like it !!!

Hugs, Sonia

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Foodbuzz 24x24 : The Great Hot Chocolate Party

Time flies fast's almost December and we are sharing our Thanksgiving Hot Chocolate party we had with our family friends as a part of Foodbuzz 24X24. This post is inspired by the hottest festive ingredient - 'CHOCOLATE'. And what better time to saveur "Hot Chocolate" than the advent of Winters.

A bit of History - Hot chocolate  or hot cocoa/ cocoa/ chocolate milk/ cafe au Chocolat in French) is a heated beverage typically consisting of shaved chocolate, melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk/water, and sugarDrinking chocolate is made from melted chocolate shavings or paste, not as sweet and is a powdered mix that's soluble in water. The first chocolate beverage is believed to have been created by the Mayas around 2,000 years ago. The beverage became popular in Europe after being introduced from Mexico in the New World, and has undergone multiple changes since then (source : Wikipedia)

The special aroma of cocoa can lift your spirits and add gloss to any party. Todays menu for the party is full of great hot chocolate drinks. This Party was organized at our home in New Jersey & we created a Hot-Choco-Bar in our dinning area. No better way to name this party than what my son suggested "The Great Hot Chocolate Party"

For this Party we invited our Family friends who had kids of same age group as ours. All the Hot Chocolate recipes were served fresh from Hot Pot and with various Do-it-Yourself options available at a D-I-Y Hot Chocolate Bar.

Menu for the Party - Our menu included 7 great Hot Chocolate recipes from around the world.....!
  1. Mexican Hot Chocolate
  2. Peppermint Hot Chocolate
  3. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
  4. Belgian Hot Chocolate
  5. Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa
  6. Chai-Infused Hot Cocoa
  7. Hot Chocolate on a Stick  

First thing to come of the Bar was Ina Garten inspired Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe, this was an instant hit & quickly disappeared of the shelves. Best thing I personally love about this concoction is addition of cayenne pepper. Its Hot Hot & Yum Yumm.... :)  Mexican hot chocolate was served with a cinnamon stick as a stirrer, so happy every one loved it. 

Time for a Kids only section - a Peanut Butter inspired Hot Chocolate with a DIY Ice Cream infusion activity. It is safe to say this was the most enjoyble part of the evening & I could see most Adults in the room finding hard to resist jumping in to join three happy kids :P

Kids Delight - Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate with Resse's Ice Cream

This was my Husband's Idea & the session at the bar was led by him, we used Hershey's Hot cocoa along with Salted Caramel Soiree, the bug Coffee mug was topped with some whipped cream, Caramel & a pinch of sea salt
Here's the recipe (inspired by Savoury Sweet Life)

3 tablespoons Caramel syrup, heated to luke warm (else use dulche-de-leche)
Hot Chocolate (4 tablespoons of 
ganache plus 6 oz. of milk, heated)
Canned Whipped Cream
Pinch of Medium Coarse Sea Salt
Method: -
Pour 2 Tablespoons of caramel syrup into a mug so the inside of the mug is coated well.  
Add hot chocolate and stir everything.  
Top off with with cream, drizzle with remaining caramel, and sprinkle with sea salt.

Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa, big & sinful !!!

Wittamer inspired, Belgian Hot Chocolate 

Ingredients: -
4 Cups whole milk
4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Method: -
Warm about one-third of the half-and-half or milk, with the chopped chocolates and salt, stirring until the chocolate is melted.
Whisk in the remaining half-and-half or milk, heating until the mixture is warmed through. 
Add the cinnamon.
Use a hand-held blender, or a whisk, and mix the hot chocolate until it’s completely smooth. 
Served very warm with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Light, creamy & Majestic - Belgian Hot Chocolate !

The most Innovative creative of the day was Chai infused Hot Chocolate served in Indian style earthen teapots.

Chai Infused Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Hot Chocolate was another Kids favorite and a big hit with everybody, the use of candy canes as stirrers was loved by all

Pepper Mint Hot Chocolate

And Finally - Hot Chocolate on Stick ! We had made these a day ahead as recipe calls for chocolate to cool down over night before cutting into square chunks served on tooth picks.
As one of the guests at the party commented, "A Fitting Dessert @ a Chocolate party".

All my guests went home happy & it was a very satisfying experience for us.
I will be sharing most of the recipes pretty soon in my following posts. 
Hope of you all had wonderful Thanksgiving parties at home with near and dear ones (followed by Friday shopping spree....)

Enjoy the festive Season and Stay Warm... !!!!!!

Hugs, Sonia

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Healthy yet Sinful - Oatmeal Cookies with Hershey's Kisses!

Hershey's Kisses, you love them or you hate them - I bet you cant resist'em. We were in Hershey's Chocolate World in Pennsylvania a few weeks back & my son brought back bags full of chocolate. We packed Kisses on the packaging line, made our own Hershey's Chocolate bars in the factory & loved the every bit of Hershey's story. Ever since I've been thinking of doing some thing creative with my Hershey's Kisses. So here it is - Healthy Oatmeal Cookies which is the our recipe today, inspired by Martha Stewart & tweaked to the palette of my boys who love anything with Hershey's Kisses.

                                     Featured on Foddbuzz Top 9 On 26th November 2011

This recipe is healthy with the goodness of oats, raisins, currants & eggs.

And we top these soft mushy cookies with our favorite Kisses to add the wow factor

1 Kiss, 2 kisses, 3 kisses & this keeps getting kissier as we keep adding Kisses to these healthy Oatmeal Cookies.

Soft & Sinful - You'd love'em !!!

Healthy, Sinful, Yummy....these cookies have all the attributes of a great Comfort food that both Kids and Adults will adore. Hope you'll try these a try & share with me how you did !!!

I'm happy to feature this post on Kankana's blog - Sunshine and Smile. She is a dear friend, a photographer  with a great sense of humor and great culinary skills. I'm sure you would fall in love with her space the way I did when I visited it for the first time.
So lets head over to Sunshine & Smile to read the recipe details.

Cheers,  Sonia

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fun with Beet Kanji - A great way to treat your beets !

Fall is a visual treat & I love the natural strokes of lovely colors on the trees right now. It's has been raining red, orange, yellow, purple and green leaves all over. Last weekend we went for a short trip to DC and the  Potomac river with its banks full of Fall foliage splendor, looked gorgeous. We picked leaves and pines to make our potpourri at home later that evening. It was both sunny and nippy, making it the best time to enjoy the natural sightseeing and do some shopping for the holiday season ahead. On returning back home, I was craving to have some healthy and flavorful drink in the colors of the fall to quench my thirst. I thought of making some fresh beetroot based drink, traditionally known as 'Kanji' . Beets, carrots and ginger are really good for health and glowing skin, especially in the winters. The colors are so great , its easy to mistake it as a great glass of Red Wine & the flavors are amazing - little tangy & a bit biting. So here the recipe of refreshing and completely rejuvenating drink- Kanji.

Featured on FoodBuzz Top9 on 11/15/2011
Beet Kaanji is the best way I love to have beets, you hv best of both worlds here !

Beetroot : 1 (Thinly sliced)
Carrots: 1/4 cup (Thinly sliced)
Ginger: 1/2 tsp, grated
Mustard Powder: 2 tsp (Available at grocery store, else use mortar to make fresh from mustard seeds)
Salt: 1 tsp or to taste
Pepper: a dash
Water: 7-8 cups

The kanji is best made and stored in a glass jug or earthen pitcher.
Thoroughly wash, peel and thinly slice or julienne both the beets, ginger and carrots.
Toss it with salt, mustard powder and a dash of pepper.
Add plenty of water, ~7-8 glasses and cover the pitcher with a muslin cloth.
Keep covered for 3-4 days at room temperature.
If possible, let the jar get some some direct exposure to sunshine, this will enhance the colors & flavors.
Make sure you stir the mix in the jar once in a day.
Slowly but surely, the mustard powder starts turning our mix into a sour & tangy drink.
Kanji should be ready in three days when beets leave their lovely shade and flavor to the water.

Top Shop - Color is lovely & flavors are amazing ...

Love the color... it's easy to mistake it for Red Wine !!!

Feel like fishing my beets out, Lovely & Submerged !

Its very important that the jar is not over exposed (beyond 3-4 days) to ambient conditions, and as soon as the it is ready we need to chill it to make sure we dont get any form of uncontrolled fermentation.
To store Kanji keep it chilled in the refrigerator and enjoy it with your afternoon meals or anytime.
I like to leave the beets/carrots within the juice and eat it later.
If you dont like'em then sieve'em out before serving.
It's a truly rejuvenating thirst quencher.... !!!!

These pickled beets are amazing ... go digg'em out !!!

I love to fish out & eat these crunchy pickled beets as an appetizer.
There are crunchy, juicy & little sour - great great combination of all things I desire in a appetizer.

Beauty in Red,  do you disagree ???

OK this might sound silly, I wasn't prepared for this but still I attempted a pour shot from a distance.

... an Amateurish attempt at pour shot :)

We loved our Kanji drink & have been enjoying the same for past few days.
Hope you like the presentation & will share with me your feedback

Thanks for all the love... Hugs, Sonia

Similar Posts: -
Refreshing Pomegranate Ice Tea
Spicy Lemonade with Mint
Five Spice Chai
Thick & Crunchy Peppermint mocha shake

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Festival of Lights, Birthday Celebrations & A Winner !!!!

Yesterday it snowed in Jersey in the month of October (supposedly after 54 yrs). It's always exciting to get some early snow showers and the city turning !!!!!! 

I love this season of the year - full of festivals and lights. It's the best time of the year as festive spirit is in the air and we celebrate with loads and loads of home made food and sweets. This year after a really long time we had a good quality family time for Diwali Pooja ( plus my birthday ). Made a pineapple and saffron cake and we enjoyed a hearty feast at home of my fave Chana-Poori-Halwa, indeed an awesome combo !!!!!!

I wish all of you a happy and delightful festive season and wish that your home and spirits may always be enlightened with light of eternal peace.......Amen !!!!!!!!!!!!

May your life be full of lights & celebrations...

Loved these little pearl lights & got a Bokeh free :)

A bit of Art, Rangoli with lentils...

A Family Diwali Pooja at Home with Gods ...

My best Birthday gift - A Cake Decorated for me by my 5 yr old.

& this lovely B'day card by Family made my day !!

Finally its time for the results of the GiveAway & yesss... we have a winner, decided by
And the winner is ......... Jessica Maher from "Kitchen Belleicious" !!!!!!!

Yayyy .... Hope you enjoy baking with these Mini bundt cups.
Please share with me any pics when you do some baking with these in upcoming festive season.

As the new post brews quietly, I'll be back with it soon ...

Cheers to you all and Happy Halloween !!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Big Green Chillis Stuffed & Pickled - Indian Style

Wow - Stuffed Green Chilli Pickle....... !!!!!!, I'm craving for more and more of it right now. Its an amazing concoction of spices and perhaps an old method being carried forward by all generations from ages. India is famous for its varied spices& now it feels great to see Indian spices rocking in the kitchens across the world. 

This is festive season back home in India and this year my mom-in-law is visiting us from India  for festivals. As moms are synonymous with loads of fun and food, we are surely getting our due of her delicacies from couple of weeks (really used to miss this over here in the US). Today I'm gonna share this recipe of green chilli pickle, made in typical indian style by her.

Featured at Foodbuzz Top 9 on 10/29/2011
Wanna Play with Fire ???

Ingredients: -

Big Green chillies & Jalepeno's – 10 to 12 ( For the stuffing:
Mustard powder - 5 tsp
Jeera/Cumin powder - 2 tsp
Methi/fenugreek powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 3 tsp
Amchoor/Dry mango powder -1 tsp
Salt - 5 Tsp (adjust the salt to taste)

Mustard Oil - 1 Cup
Red chilli pepper - 1-2 Tsp

Asafoetida/Hing - 1/2 Tsp
Black Onion seeds/Kalaunji - 1/2 Tsp
Saunf/Fennel seeds - 2 Tsp lightly crushed

Method: -
Wash and wipe the chillies of any extra moisture. 
Lay the chillis on paper tower for 2-3 hrs to dry naturally.
Combine all the above spices & gently crush in mortar/pastel, one by one.
In a karahi/wok pan heat mustard oil.
Add onion seeds to oil till they splatter.
Let the oil cool.
Now gradually add (3-4 spoons) of cooled oil to spice mix. 
Mix the spices & oil well. (it should form a pasty wet stuffing which we will fill into chillis).
At this stage I suggest that you use gloves to make sure your hands don't have a burning sensation after the stuffing process.
Now start stuffing chillis with the spice paste, generously filling each piece.
Once done slowly transfer each stuffed chilli into a dry glass jar. (make sure you wipe off all moisture & air dry).
Now top up your chillis in the glass jar with remaining oil.
You might feel that the oil is excess, it is required to ensure that the pickle doesn't attract mold.
Tightly close the lid & preferably keep exposed to sunlight for 2-3 weeks.
Make sure you shake the Jar daily.
The pickle would be ready in 2-3 weeks, this is evident when chillis are softened & the juices in the bottle have blended well.

This Pickle is a great accompaniment for any kind of food - specially Paranthas, Chapati, Nan & Rice !!!!

The flavor is great & compliments all kind of curries really well.

Believe me, this is for the brave (if you want to reduce the kick, make sure you de-seed the chillis before stuffing them)

My all time favorite & you'd love it.

Thanks mom, this recipe was rocking just like You.... !
We are enjoying it with almost everything we eat and are making another lot pretty soon.
Hope you guys give it a shot & like it too.

Happy Halloween All, Enjoy and have loads of fun ..................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Related Posts: -

Monday, October 17, 2011

Celebrating Fall with a Chocolate Peared Cake & a give-away !!!

What comes to mind when you think of a Perfect Chocolate Cake ???. I'm sure no one can raise hands & say it doesn't evoke sweet memories. To me it starts a divine craving & I had been craving for some chocolate in my baking for a while now. I did stumble upon this experimental recipe that worked. A perfect chocolate cake inspired by Hersheys & some Pears !!!

Fall bring colors to the nature and supermarkets. I love the gorgeous shades and shapes of pumpkins and squashes, plus the fruits of the festive season. Wow, there is so much to explore, learn and try in the kitchen...! Last week on my visit to grocery store, I spotted three different varieties of pears  and picked a piece of each. I had been craving a chocolate cake for a while & this is where the idea of mixing these two took shape.

(look at these Red Bartlets ... amazing aren't they ???)

Just couldn't stop clicking, although the light was fading ...

Ingredients: -
1/2 cup All-purpose flour
1/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup boiling water
3 Pears - skinned & Halved (look for smaller sizes)
Some Confectioners sugar to top it all at the end....

Method : -
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F
Thoroughly grease 4-5 ramekins with oil..
Fill cups 1/2 full with batter. (if the size of pears is large-ish, consider filling 1/3 else it with overflow massively)
Slowly lower a pealed half pear into each ramekins.
Bake 22 to 25 minutes.
Insert a toothpick to check if it has baked fully (it is ready if the toothpick comes out clean)
Let it cool completely.
Sprinkle with some confectioners sugar
And we are ready to go.

Serve the way you like.
I would eat in ramekins, quick & dirty !
Or you can slice the cake in half and place it in a plate by topping with some caramel sauce.

The taste of this fusion is absolutely divine..... which ever way you like to eat it.
And it doesn't look bad either.
So give it a shot, I'm sure you would like it !!!

Now about a small Give-away I'm doing with this post, when I made some mini bundt cakes sometime back, many of you asked from where did I get these silicone moulds.

I havent seen these in most stores, but fortunately a small shop in my town had these in stock last week & picked up a pack for this giveaway. (Can be sent to US citizens only). All you have to do to get these cuties is: -
- Leave us a comment & Follow My.Creative.Flavors here.
- Like us on My.Creative.Flavors facebook Page by Clicking Here
- Follow us on Twitter by Clicking Here
- & Tweet "@mycreativeflvrs is giving away this cute little bundt cake cups, visit -"

Com'on guys now show us the Love ........!!!!!!
I will select a randon winner and announce on 30th October'2011

PS : I have not been asked by kitchen aid or any other merchant to advertise or give away this product. It is something I have used in the past & liked, hence sharing with my readers.

Related Posts:
- Mini Bundt Cakes for little guests
- Divine Chiffon Custard Cakes
- Whole wheat Banana Bread
- Banofee with candied hazelnuts

Date & Walnut Birthday Cake!!!

Parenting is indeed a learning journey! Each day is a new day, learning and exploring the wonders of our little bundle of joy! This anecdote...