Secretly Vegan Carrot and Plum Cake- Eggless and Dairy free

plumcake vegan 
christmas ornament

All is quiet, the little one is fast asleep, snug between his two cousins, and dreaming of Santa. I am writing this post quickly just to share with you a quick and super easy recipe for a plum cake that happens to be vegan. But you really shouldn't label it a vegan cake and it's not really a traditional Christmas cake. It's just a really good moist cake that happens to be vegan- mahed bananas replace the eggs and most of the fat, with grated carrots and enough chopped dried plums to make it Christmassy

plumcake vegan 3

After complaining about my dislike for fruitcake in my guest post for Shulie, you must be wondering why I am here with a fruit cake recipe right? Well I do want to give fruit cake one more try, and also wanted my little one to get a taste of some Christmas-time traditions that his mom grew up with! Since he is allergice to dairy and eggs, I just adapted his favourite banana cake into something more Christmassy and quite healthy yet delicious too!
You can soak the fruits in brandy or rum and spices as in traditional fruitcake if you like, but as I have mentioned (repeatedly here ), I am not a fan, so I just soaked the plums in warm water to soften it and it really did the trick, making them plump and moist.

Merry Christmas!

plumcakevegan 4

plumcake slice

Carrot Banana Plum Cake

Ingredients ( The order in which these ingredients are added is important):
  • 4 medium very ripe bananas peeled and mashed well till no lumps remain ( the riper the bananas the stronger the banana flavour.) 
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar ( I have  halved this amount too and it works- just made the cake a little drier)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 TBSP water, 3 TBSP oil, 2 tsp baking powder (all mixed together in that order and kept aside for about 5 minutes prior, not much more ahead else it may lose some of the fizz require to make the cake rise)
  • 1/4 tsp, baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence ( optional) 
  • 1 cup chopped dried plums or prunes ( soak the fruits in warm water or just put them in a bowl of water and heat in the microwave for 15 secons to make them moist) 
  • 1 cup grated carrots 

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees or 325 F if using a glass pyrex dish 

Grease and flour a 9X5 inch loaf pan, or a pyrex bowl as I used in the photos above, to give it a traditional Christmas pudding look ( I used vegetable oil to grease the pan and didn't flour it, but lined the bottom with parchment paper, cutting the paper where it bent and creased and overlapping it to make it as smooth as possible to fit the curved shape of the bowl)
In large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients in order given ( if you don't follow the order, things may not work so its VERY IMPORTANT!). Pour into pan and bake 40 to 50 minutes. 
Let it cool in the pan for about 10-15 mins. Then run a knife around the sides of the pan.
Invert it onto a plate or cooling rack and let cool completely
You can also bake this in muffin or cup cake tins and it would be perfect for breakfast

Am sending this cake over to Simone of Junglefrog Cooking who is hosting the Monthly Mingle as well as a sparkling photo challenge

Nankhatais Indian Cardamom and Whole Wheat Cookies -Guest Post for Food Wanderings

Nankhatais- Indian Wholewheat cardamom cookies

Nankhatais- Indian Wholewheat cardamom cookies

I love Shulie's blog Food Wanderings ( such an apt blog name right?) and enjoy discovering many new things to try from her Jewish heritage. Several times I have been happily surprised to learn about Jewish dishes that may have influenced those that I grew up eating all the way in Kerala in the south of India, among my Syrian Christian community there. I am very excited that I am getting to do a guest post for her inspirational blog as part of her Indian Food Series, which has featured some of my most favorite Indian food bloggers. 

Nankhatais- Indian Wholewheat cardamom cookies

When we were brainstorming about what the post should be about, I mentioned Nankhatais since I had just taken a batch along with some macarons to a cookie swap and I was so happy to learn that Shulie loved them and that her mom used to make them for her too, after taking grains to a store in their community where it was ground for her.

 I am glad these cookies brought back childhood memories for Shulie and hope you all enjoy them too! 

Do go over to Shulie's blog, fall in love with her writing and breath taking photographs if you haven't already and also read my post on these buttery, cardamom infused snappy cookies from India (which are also a snap to make), and read about one particular Christmas time tradition in Kerala I am more than happy to escape! 

Nankhatais- Indian Wholewheat cardamom cookies

Nankhatais- Indian Wholewheat cardamom cookies

I hope these cookies held their own among the other deliciousness like Chocolate drizzle caramel bars from Patty, these Salted caramel and coconut thumbprints that just have no mercy from Lisa, Chocolate Caramel Filled Cherry Thumbprints from the Cookie Queen herself :) -the lovely Gina, melt in the mouth Mexican wedding cookies from Jean and tender Coconutty cookies (with cute cookie swap printables) from Liren and pretty, swirly Cinnamon bun biscotti from Azmina

Nankhatais- Indian Wholewheat cardamom cookies

Nankhatais- Indian Wholewheat cardamom cookies

They really go well with tea or coffee and would even be great nibbles to serve alongside some red wine. Make them, gift them, but most importantly enjoy them, and have a wonderful holiday, and a very Blessed, Merry Christmas! 
Love, Joy, Peace

Recipe is over at Shulies blog Food Wanderings here

Garam Masala Pulled Pork with Polenta and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

pressure cooker pot roast

As I mentioned in my last post, I came to the US, just four Decembers ago. I immediately fell in love with the breathtaking beauty that surrounds us here in California,the warm, welcoming people and in these short years that I have been here, I have felt at home.

The Golden Gate Bridge

Today, I too mourn with the rest of the country for the many young lives lost to senseless violence. This festive season, we are all robbed of good cheer, replaced by feelings of sadness, anger and fear. Happy carols sometimes grate on my nerves, and I feel a pang of guilt when I decorate the house or bake cookies while so many other mothers are mourning. But I am trying to focus on keeping this season of Christmas special and magical for my little monkey, as it should be. I join thousands of others in signing petitions to prohibit assault weapons.  Whenever the uneasiness wraps itself around me, I whisper a prayer for the grieving families and for the protection of my own.
That's all I know to do, and to bake cookies and cook a warm and comforting meal for my loved ones, and that is what I am going to stick to doing.

Eppa Sangria Cranberry Preserve with Easy Yogurt Pannacotta

cranberry sangria preserve with yogurt pannacotta

cranberry sangria preserve

There is a tangible sense of excitement and expectation in December. I always feel like something amazing is going to happen, a feeling echoed perhaps from thousands of years ago at that very first Christmas... December has since always been a month of hope, and is definitely the happiest month of the year. In my life December has always been the month of new beginnings-T and I were married in December four fleeting years ago, we came to this country on the last day of the month to bein our new life together here, and it is also the month that I began another beautiful new journey as a mom to my little monkey. I am always excited to see what December brings! 


One of the things I enjoy the most about this time of the year is getting together with friends and family. Everyone takes the time out and makes the extra effort to get together, sit at one table, share stories, laughter and create memories. Food is festive, rich and plentiful and wine always seems to flow more freely.
Living close to Napa Valley I always like discovering new wines to try and I was only happy to accept when the people of Eppa Sangria asked me if I would like to review their wine.

On a whim I also used it to make a cranberry preserve or dessert topping for a creamy panna cotta that I made lighter replacing half greek yogurt in place of cream. I think I came up with the perfect Christmas time dessert- it is a light refreshing end to a heavy meal, is super easy and takes only a few minutes, a saucepan and a spoon to put together, you can make it ahead to set and chill in your fridge and it doesn't take up oven space. With a seasonally apt red cranberry topping infused with spices and wine how much more perfect can it get?

Eppa Sangria

I made the dessert for some friends who came home for dinner and I also served them the wine which I was not so surprised to note was preferred more by us women because of its sweet taste and fruitiness. I think Sangria just looks so pretty too, with the bobbing bits of fruit that infuse the wine with their bright fresh flavors.

Eppa Sangria is a combination of Cabernet and Syrah from beautiful Mendocino County, blended with fruit juces from antioxidant-rich fruits, including pomegranate, blueberry, Mediterranean blood orange and acai. I was pleased to learn that this makes it nearly twice as antioxidant rich as a glass of red wine and it is also certified organic- something that is not very easy to find. You can buy it in Whole Foods or other stores mentioned on their website and you can also have it shipped to most states. It came to me well packed in thermocole bottle savers and could be a good gift idea to send friends and family who don't live close by.

Eppa Sangria

I made the cranberry preserve by simmering the red berries until they burst with spices and citrus zest and it is even more delicious than it looks, especially when paired with the refreshingly light and so easy to make pannacotta. I'm sure it would taste great with crackers or cookies, plain yogurt, or even with cheese. I would probably spoon it over ice cream especially this one.

cranberries simmering with spices in wine Cranberry Preserve