Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Devnaa's Guest Blog!

With Diwali fast approaching Devnaa have been invited to guest blog on website www.gnaana.com. Founded by Aruna K Hathi, Gnaana is a fantastic website inspired by the idea of teaching young children about their culture. Being Indian and having grown up in London I can personally vouch for how hard it was for me to stay informed about my culture and roots, to this day I wish I had taken more time to learn how to read, write and even fluently speak more South Asian languages other than the limited bits of Gujrati I know!

Luckily I grew up amongst a largely extended family and was therefore surrounded by lots of heritage and culture enabling me to stay reasonably well educated about my roots and giving me the inspiration to always want to learn and experience more.

Today it is not as easy for children to stay in tune with their backgrounds and harder for parents to spark the interest. With families scattered across the globe and parents working harder than ever how can children easily be taught about South Asian traditions, culture and spirituality?

Gnaana.com has come up with amazing solutions to incorporate parts of South Asian culture into everyday life for children. From building blocks and puzzles to beautiful keepsake story books and recipe cards there are lots of fantastic educational tools which can easily be incorporated into a busy lifestyle to help your children learn about their roots. What's best is that they provide an experience which adults can enjoy together with their children enabling the likes of me to learn lots more too! Even though I'm not a parent yet I'm thinking of getting a few bits and pieces for my own benefit!!!!

The Gnaana blog is fantastic too in that it provides great support material for their products. Updated at least a few times a week there is always something new to see and learn - this month alone subjects have already ranged from Gandhi Jayanti to the how to do Garba providing not only ideas on things to teach your children but also a few reminders and some knowledge for you!

To check out our first entry (of three) go to http://www.gnaana.com/blog/ and whilst you're there be sure to check out the rest of this amazing website!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Happy Chocolate Week!!!!!

Yep, its our favourite week of the year and to celebrate the Devnaa team are in a giving mood! Not only will Devnaa Dailies be continuing on Twitter (where every day a lucky follower will win one of our chocolate bars!) but we'll also be gifting a chocolate bar and a sample of our delicious new drinking chocolate with every order placed this week! Hooray for chocolate!!!!!!!! =D

Friday, 1 October 2010

Devnaa Dailies - Win Free Chocolate!!! :)

What with the festive season coming up fast and our (very exciting!) best packaging award nomination, all of us here at Devnaa are beginning to feel a little bit jovial.... And to celebrate our good mood we're running a daily competition via our Twitter page on www.twitter.com/devnaa

Every day from today (October 1st 2010) up until the end of the year we will be selecting a lucky Twitter follower to win one of our delicious chocolate bars. All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is follow us on Twitter - So get following!!!! Wishing you all the best of luck, sincerely, the Devnaa Team!!!! :)




Our selection of chocolate bars - one up for grabs every day with Devnaa Dailies!!! :)

Monday, 27 September 2010

Memories and Legacies...

It's been a while since our last blog, partly because we've been busy working away on new products and recipes and partly because mine and Jay's Grandmother, Baa, had been very unwell and we sadly lost her just over 2 weeks ago.

For us Baa is the real founder of Devnaa - not only are we inspired by how she was famously renowned throughout her village in Kenya for her delicious cooking she brought her skills with her to England and continued to feed lots of family and friends for years after they moved here. She passed her traditional recipes and methods on to my Mum who combined these with what she had learned from her own Mother (our Nan) and then all of this was passed down to me.

One of Baa's most famous culinary tales tells of how she taught herself to cook by watching everything around her. Having moved to Kenya, East Africa when she was very young she was surrounded by people from various backgrounds. Different cultures and backgrounds from India all gathered and mixed together, there were traditional African dishes being made by the people of Kenya, as well as new spices and vegetable that hadn't been available in India at that time. She watched and learned and then would experiment, making lots of dishes, old and new, and then she would test them out on her Dad, our Great Grandfather, until he signed them off with his seal of approval.

Back in those days there wasn't much of anything to go around so the women from the village would gather together to share their specialist utensils when it came to making fancy traditional Indian foods at festival times. Each woman would have brought just a few of the special kitchen tools required with them from India so they would help each other and do a lot of their cooking together which created a great sense of community and spirit. Through all of this, as Baa grew older she became the 'head chef' of the group - especially when it came to making sweets! By teaching herself and making the most of all the knowledge around her she had created and honed new methods and recipes which created the yummiest sweets and snacks in town!

Festival times, especially Diwali, were the times when this 'community cooking' would really come together and and create the most amazing celebrations with the most astounding feasts! When Baa had married my Grandad (Bapujii) they lived in an area the ended in a large cul de sac. At Diwali all the women would get together and cook up their own specialties, each taking charge of their favourite dish - one would be kneading pastry dough, the other rolling it out, another making the filling, sweet or savoury, whilst yet another would sit and stuff and wrap them all together. Daughters would be in charge of frying on camping stoves or baking in home made coal ovens. Dads would be sitting aside talking and laughing and the Sons would be running around playing games and lighting fireworks for everyone to enjoy. When the food was all ready (the preparation would have gone on for days), they would all come together to set up tables at the end of the cul de sac and feast on all the fresh hot treats!

Jay and I were way far off in the future but it is stories like these that have inspired us to create Devnaa, taking flavours from all the different aspects of our backgrounds and putting them together to produce the confectionery for people to share and enjoy and evoke sweet memories of family and friends and good times together.

Baa may no longer be with us physically but her legacy lives on through us and hopefully we can help to inspire others just as she inspired us.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Eid Gifts 2010

Hello all! Just a very quick note to let you know the Devnaa Eid Gift Collection 2010 is now available online. For those of you who have been fasting for the last month - well done!!!! Not long to go now!

Eid marks the end of a religious month in the Islamic calendar - Ramadan. During Ramadan Muslims fast from sunrise up until sunset allowing them to focus on their spirituality. It is also seen as a period of thanks and humility.

Fasting begins on the first day of the month of Ramadan and Eid marks the first day of the following month. On this day Muslims give food to charity, pray, visit friends and family and celebrate. For more information visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan

Best of luck to all those continuing to fast for the next few days and Happy Eid for the end of the week!



Devnaa Small Eid Gift Box 2010

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Happy Raksha Bandhan!!!!

Well, today's the day and I'd like to start by wishing all of you who are celebrating a very Happy Raksha Bandhan!! Our Special gift set with Rakhee included was so popular that we sold out just as the delivery deadline hit!!! Apologies to anybody who missed out - make sure to place your orders slightly earlier next time and we'll make sure to have plenty more rakhees ready to go!

As most of you already know, Devnaa was founded by my brother Jay and I and has developed into a family business so Raksha Bandhan is a very important festival for us. I'm going to keep today's entry sweet and simple by wishing Jay and the entire Devnaa family all my best wishes for this special celebration, looking forward to the family dinner later and eating all the yummy sweets we've made!!! Lots of love, luck, laughter and everything that goes with it - Roopa =) xxx

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Bars are Back!!!!

2 new and 2 improved - the Devnaa chocolate bars are back on the website and available to order in three different selections - the Yatra (journey) selection consists of our new White chocolate bar infused with cardamom and saffron and a generous pinch of ground pistachio nuts alongside our milk chocolate bar infused with chai masala and an extra hit of ginger. The Uttam (excellent) selection combines our second milk chocolate bar, infused with orange oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and the crunch of puffed rice with our new dark chocolate bar flavoured with honey and roasted nibbed almonds. The Rajah (king) selection is a complete set of all four bars - fit for a king! We've also introduced a free delivery option to make those purchases even sweeter!!!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Devnaa Raksha Bandhan 2010 Gift Box is Here!!!

It's arrived! And with just 1 week to go before the festival on August 24th it is just in time for all you sisters to check out and count which of your brothers are special enough to receive it! This year we thought we'd keep it sweet and simple (pun totally intended!) with one of our Signature Small Mixed Tiffin Boxes packaged together with a Luxury Rakhee and of course, you can add a gift card at check out with a personalised message especially for your brother.

We have also now introduced Large tiffin boxes in our chocolate and mixed selections that are the perfect size for a family celebration.

Raksha Bandhan means 'bond of protection' and is celebrated by Sikhs and Hindus. Traditionally sisters tie a decorative thread around the wrists of their brothers, this thread is similar to a protection charm - blessed by the love the sister has for the brother. The brother in turn vows to protect his sister thus creating a bond which is sealed by the two feeding each other sweets. For more information on the festival see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raksha_Bandhan

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

I'm Back!!!!!!!

Wow... It's been an incredibly busy Summer here at Devnaa and whilst we've been fulfilling orders for lots of yummy desserts, barfi and chocolates we've also been adding to the Devnaa collection and making a few changes to make your Devnaa shopping experiences even tastier!!!!

Over the next few days you will see our brand new chocolate bars added to the website as well as a few new box options and updates to our wedding page. The pricing structure has changed slightly enabling us to provide you with a FREE DELIVERY service and reduced price recorded and special delivery options. Last but not least you will also see our special box promotion for the upcoming festival of Raksha Bandhan and shortly after that, our Diwali 2010 collection will be launched!! Exciting times!!!

We hope you enjoy our new products as much as we've enjoyed creating them for you, please bear with us over the next day or so while we update the website and if you have any questions don't hesitate to call us on 0800 612 20 40/020 8427 7110 or drop us an email via the enquiry form on the website.

Lots of sweet thoughts,

Roopa, Jay & the Devnaa Team :)

P.S. Don't forget you can also keep up to date with what we've been doing and receive lots of great offers by following us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/devnaa) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/indiansweets)!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

We've Won A Gold Award!!!!

As a member of The Guild of Fine Food (a UK trade association for quality food and drink), for the last 2 years Devnaa has taken part in their coveted Great Taste Awards competition.

Food and Drink Producers from across the country enter their products to be judged by industry experts and food critics in the hope of being given a Great Taste accolade. With over 350 judges blind tasting over 6000 products entered into over 250 categories competition is tough and the Devnaa team is extremely happy to announce the acquisition of their 2nd Gold Award!!!


Awarded to our Chai Masala Truffle this is the second single gold star we've won (last year we were awarded one for our chai masala ice cream) and we are absolutely delighted!!! Its amazing to be given such credit from experts such as chefs, buyers, retailers and critics and also to be given an award when being compared with so many other brilliant chocolate brands. Thank you to the Guild and all of the Judges!! Fingers crossed that next year we'll get a double or maybe even a triple gold star!!!!!
To celebrate our award we've launched a limited edition chai and coconut truffles chocolate box, check it out!!! :)

Monday, 5 July 2010

Go DJ!!!

The last few weeks here at Devnaa have been manic!! With so many weddings, parties and events to cater for I haven't been able to keep up with my blogging every day so firstly - apologies for my absences!!! Amongst a week full of hundreds of pieces of personalised barfi, wedding cupcakes and a few bespoke cakes for summer events the Devnaa team also celebrated a special birthday right here in our very own kitchen! Our younger cousin Krishan who is a DJ when he's not helping us out by taste testing recipes turned 23 last Thursday and here's the cake we made to celebrate...



Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Saffron

The hot and hazy heat of this Indian summer has the Devnaa team thinking about lighter, fresher summer desserts infused with the flavours of India. One of my favourite spices is Saffron and today I came across a wonderful article about this mysterious ingredient, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I just did!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/jun/29/saffron

Monday, 28 June 2010

Hot Chocolate!!!!!!!

Its been an extra hot week here in London and the Devnaa team are feeling the heat!!! We've been working extra hard on new recipes and lots of cakes and desserts for all your summer barbeques and parties... Here's a few tips on how to make sure your chocolate treats hold up in the summer sun -

  • Although we don't normally keep chocolates in the fridge, in this heat we advise that as soon as you receive them - place your chocolates in a sealable plastic bag and pop them straight in the fridge - the bag will stop any moisture affecting your chocolates and if you take them out of the fridge 10 -15 minutes before eating them they'll taste just fine :)
  • Sometimes the heat can cause greyish patches to form on the surface of chocolates - this just means that the heat has caused the cocoa butter in the chocolate to separate and reset and although it doesn't look great, the chocolates will taste perfectly normal and it's nothing to worry about - this problem is far more common in darker chocolates as they contain more cocoa butter.
  • Keep chocolate cake in an air tight container in the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before serving - the air tight container will help prevent the sponge from drying out and the moisture in the fridge from affecting the cake.
  • Fresh cream is a favourite at this time of year but remember to only ever take it out of the fridge at the very last minute! The heat will cause it to spoil really quickly so keep it cool at all times before eating it.

We hope this information helps you enjoy your summer desserts more - if you have any questions please don't hesitate to drop us an email or phone call :) xx

Friday, 18 June 2010

Rose & Vanilla Rasmalai & Mango Fool...

As well as busily working away on Father's Day sweets the Devnaa team have also found a little extra time this week to come up with new recipes for our surprise projects later in the year - we created a delicious mango fool - a whipped cream, yogurt and mango dessert perfect for summer, and a rose and vanilla rasmalai with strawberry compote, perfectly chilled for the warm evenings we've been having. Take a look -

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Father's Day

This Sunday (20th June) is father's day in the UK and as the perfect gift Devnaa have put together a special edition Father's Day gift box. Our great Chai Masala and Coconut Cardamom Truffles with Milk Chocolate Marvel Barfi spelling out the word 'Dad'. Available in a 9 piece or 18 piece set this really is the perfect gift this Father's Day - and he can share it with the family too!! :)



Wednesday, 16 June 2010

England VS USA World Cupcakes

Last Saturday England played they're first game of this year's world cup tournament and it was against the USA. To help along the celebrations in the Devnaa kitchen we made some very English 'strawberries and cream' cupcakes and some very American 'rocky road' cupcakes...

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Recipe of the Week - Malva Pudding inspired Cupcakes

As we didn't post a recipe last Friday, here's an early one this week - these are the Malva pudding inspired cupcakes we made here in the Devnaa kitchen last week to kick off the world cup :)

Ingredients
1 Egg
1 cup of Caster Sugar
1 cup of Plain Flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 cup of Milk
4 tsp Melted Butter
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
4 tblsp Apricot Jam
300 ml Whipping Cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
80g Icing Sugar


Method
  • Pre heat your oven to gas mark 6 and grease the cavities of a 12 hole muffin tray
  • Cream the egg and caster sugar together for at least 8 minutes until thick, pale and fluffy
  • Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl
  • Mix half of the milk into the egg mixture followed by half of the flour and then the remaining milk followed by the remaining flour
  • Mix in the butter, vinegar and 2 tblsp of the apricot jam
  • Divide the batter evenly between each of the muffin holes (each one should be between two thirds to three quarters full)
  • Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the puddings comes out clean
  • Place the muffin tray on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes
  • Run a palette knife around the edge of each pudding, turn out onto the wire rack and allow to cool completely
  • Whip the cream until you reach soft peak consistency
  • Fold in the vanilla extract and sifted icing sugar (add a little apricot colour if desired)
  • Use your finger to poke a small hole into the top of each pudding and fill it with the remaining apricot jam
  • Swirl the whipped cream on top.

Monday, 14 June 2010

And they're off!

The Devnaa Team got so caught up in World Cup Fever last week that we didn't get time to post a blog on Friday!!! Not to worry though - we've got pictures and recipes to share from the world cup kick off, Devnaa style!

The first official match was host country South Africa vs Mexico and in tribute we made Malva pudding inspired cupcakes alongside spiced chocolate. Malva Pudding is a common South African dessert - a moist sponge pudding flavoured with apricot jam and traditionally soaked with a hot cream and sugar syrup and served with whipped cream, we made miniature versions of the sponge pudding and topped them with a little more apricot jam and a whirl of vanilla whipped cream. The spiced chocolate cupcakes payed homage to the motherland of chocolate itself - Mexico! Intensely chocolatey cupcakes with a hint of orange and chilli and a kick of cinnamon.... Mmmmm...!!!!

Stay tuned tomorrow for our Malva Pudding Cupcake recipe and later in the week find out what we made for England's first match which was against the USA! :)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Ready for the World Cup - Cakes!

Having conducted a little research, the Devnaa team is good to go for the world cup - 1st match is the host nation South Africa VS Mexico, so in cupcake terms a rich chocolate cup cake spiced with cinnamon, chilli and orange VS a 'malva pudding' inspired cupcake with apricot and vanilla flavours... So, while everybody else is off watching the match on Friday, I think I'll stay behind and referee the cupcakes! Mmmmmmm...... De-licious!!! :)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Holy Crepes!!!!!!

OK, apologies for the cheesey title but these delicious crepes really were something to shout about! Another successfully tried and tested recipe, created by us to be shared with you guys later in the year these paper thin crepes filled with caramelised banana slices infused with saffron and served with fresh cardamom ice cream and drizzled with honey were completely devoured by the Devnaa team in seconds! We can't wait to share this recipe with you alongside lots of others with the announcement of a special project we've been working on - thankfully we won't have to wait much longer at all - if all goes to plan, all will be revealed this Autumn! =)



Monday, 7 June 2010

Summertime..... And the weather is Cheesecakey!!!!!

The gorgeous weather this weekend had the Devnaa kitchen in a buzz with lots of gorgeous summery desserts being made! Mini cheesecakes and desserts containing the likes of limes, strawberries, raspberries, coconut, saffron, cardamom, vanilla, whipped cream... So many delicious summer flavours, this has got to be our favourite time of year!! It feels so good to know that clients all over London were celebrating the weather and ending their barbeques, parties, weddings, birthdays etc with a special little Devnaa dessert created just for them. Our signature Strawberry Saffron cheesecake - a light cheesecake flavoured with saffron, cardamom, almonds and pistachios to taste like the classic Indian dessert 'Shrikhand' and topped with whipped cream and strawberry - was as popular as ever... =)



Friday, 4 June 2010

Recipe of the Week - Coconut Limeade

Here's a twist on a classic! Deliciously refreshing and a great alternative to lemonade on hot, hazy, barbecuing weekends like these! The Devnaa family are going to love this!

Ingredients
2 Limes, chopped into eighths
4 tblsp Caster Sugar
500 ml Sparkling Water, chilled
250 ml Coconut Water, chilled
Lots of Ice

Method
  • Place the chopped limes and sugar in a blender and blitz until pureed
  • Pour in half of the sparkling water to loosen the lime mixture and blitz for a few more seconds
  • Sieve the lime mixture into a large mixing bowl and pour in the rest of the sparkling water and the coconut water
  • Whisk together, add a little more sugar if required and pour into glasses filled with ice
  • Enjoy!!! :)

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Double Chocolate Kheer

Ok, even if we say so ourselves we really out did ourselves in the Devnaa kitchen yesterday - the Double Chocolate Kheer was amazing!!! An Indian style rice pudding infused with white chocolate and covered in milk chocolate shavings - delicious!! :)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

And the 'beat' goes on.....!!

Right, now that the madness from bank holiday weekend has finally settled the Devnaa team are back on the ball! This week we're going to continue to create new recipes to feature in our videos and share with you later in the year so if there's anything in particular you'd like to see - let us know!! Our younger cousins just got back from a high flying dj-ing trip to LA last night so what better way to welcome them back than with a big bowl of kheer - Devnaa style with a little chocolate mixed in!! Pictures tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Purple and Silver Mini Cake Tower

Its been a few days since we last updated our Devnaa blog but we were so busy over the bank holiday weekend we just didn't get a second away from the kitchen! From strawberry cheesecake to cookies and cream cake and black forest numeral cakes and lots of our signature cakes and cupcakes it was one crazy weekend - seemed like everyone was out enjoying the weather and having a party with the perfect Devnaa dessert to help along their festivities :)

Our favourite cake from the weekend was most definitely a purple and silver mini cake tower created for a wedding reception, it was just sooo pretty!!!!


Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Serious Seera!!

Yesterday in the Devnaa kitchen we were trialing a recipe for Seera. Seera is a semolina pudding often served at temples to the patrons after they they have prayed. It can be served hot or cold, most people have a particular preference - in our house we always had it hot with lots of raisins which my sister hated so I'd get to eat all of hers!! Whether hot or cold Seera is one of those comfort foods which takes you right back to your childhood and will always bring a smile to your face :)

As it is such a traditional dessert we at Devnaa thought we'd try to update it a little but without changing it too much and whilst we are still playing with the recipe, here's something we made yesterday - Seera, but prettier!!!! :)

Monday, 24 May 2010

Congratulations Chandni & Rakesh!!!

My favourite Devnaa project from last week was the cake created for my best friend's wedding engagement. Green and gold to match her saree, egg free and different flavours in each tier!



I hope she and her fiance enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed creating it! Congratulations Chandni & Rakesh!!!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Recipe of the Week - Quick Chocolate Honeycomb Ice cream

As the beautiful weather continues here in London the Devnaa team is making the most of it by creating lots of quick and easy summer desserts... Here's on of my personal favourites - chocolate honeycomb ice cream.

Ingredients
600ml Double Cream
200g Icing Sugar
50g Milk Chocolate
2 Crunchie Bars
1 tblsp Orange Blossom Water

Method
  • Very gently melt the milk chocolate in the microwave
  • Crush up the Crunchie bars
  • Whip the cream until it reaches o soft peak consistency
  • Sift the icing sugar over the cream and add the milk chocolate, crushed Crunchie and orange blossom water
  • Fold all of the ingredients together
  • Transfer to a freezer container and leave for a few hours or overnight - if you leave it overnight take it out of the freezer about 20 minutes before serving so that it can soften a little
  • Serve with extra Crunchie on top and enjoy :)

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Indian/Western Recipes

Ok, this week as we continue to experiment with a new dark chocolate recipe we are still always trying to come up with new 'fusion' recipes to add to our collection and share with you. About a week ago we made the fruit tartlets with Indian style creme patissiere and this week we're thinking of Danish pastry with some kind of Indian spiciness added to them.... What we'd like to know is if you have any funky fusion combos you'd like us to try? Experimenting with new recipes is our favourite thing to do in the Devnaa kitchen so if there's anything you'd like to see us try - let us know! We'll be more than happy to give it a try and hopefully we'll be up to the challenge! :) x

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Dark Chocolate With....???

This week the search is on in the Devnaa kitchen to create a deliciously different dark chocolate bar to add to our collection.... How to keep it 'Indiany' whilst not using a flavour combo we've used before and making it taste so good that everybody wants a piece is proving to be quite a challenge!

Almonds are looking to be a favourite but what to use with them? I like rose, Jay likes mint, Mum and Dad like honey... This is going to take a lot of fine tuning to please everybody!! Let us know your ideas!

Right... Back to the kitchen with me... I have a lot of dark chocolate to eat - I mean make!!! =)

Monday, 17 May 2010

A Vending Machine Which Dispenses Gold!?!?!???

Everyone loves a trusty vending machine - they might not be filled with the gourmet delights you'd choose to treat yourself to when given the option but in times of desperate need, when all other food outlets are closed or far off in the distance you can always rely on there being a vending machine just around the corner - ready and willing to provide you with a good old bar of chocolate, bag of crisps or can of fizzy drink at double the price of what you would normally pay!

In the same way, everybody loves those little chocolate gold coins we used to get as children. Fabulous stocking fillers no Christmas went by without one or two of those being tossed our way in the Devnaa family home and we used to get such pleasure out of the thought that we were holding real gold coins and even more from the fact that we could unwrap them and eat them!!

The latest in vending machine technology takes both of these things and puts them together to create what is possibly one of the most unnecessary inventions I have ever come across!!! A vending machine which dispenses gold bars and coins as opposed to chocolate ones!!! Recently installed in the Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi this machine allows people to walk in and purchase bars and coins of gold which weigh up to 10g each! A high tech computer system provides real time updates on the price of gold so that it matches that of the international markets and soon enough if you happen to be staying at the Emirates Palace you will be able to purchase a personalised coin as a souvenir of your visit! Random, yet strangely fantastic and an insane way of bringing the good old chocolate vending machine into the future!!!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Recipe of the Week - Iced Masala Chai

It's a hot sunshiney day in London town today and so I'm going to surprise the Devnaa team with a jug of refreshing iced tea - Devnaa style of course! Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
7 Tea Bags
1.5 tblsp Chai Masala
1.5L Water
3 tblsp Caster Sugar

Method:
  • Place all of the ingredients into a pan over a high heat and allow to come to the boil
  • Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 6 minutes
  • Turn off the heat and strain the tea into a serving jug
  • Allow to cool slightly and then refrigerate to chill
  • Serve thoroughly chilled in iced glasses alongside a box of yummy chocolates! :)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

World Cup - Cakes: Part 2

Ok so the World Cup is growing ever closer and it has now been brought to my attention that the first match, to be played on June 11th is going to be South Africa VS Mexico. This brings me back to a suggestion we had from one of our Facebook fans a little while ago that Devnaa should create a cupcake to represent the flag of each team... And then me deciding to make life difficult and take things that step further by creating cupcake flavours for each team too... Well... South Africa and Mexico!!??? I don't know where to start!!! The flags are straight forward enough but I think its about time i started a little investigation into South African and Mexican desserts as right now all I can think of is 'Churos'!! The little doughnuts you get in Mexican restaurants!

Actually, no! What am I saying?? Mexico is where chocolate comes from!!! Ok... So how about an intensely dark chocolate spiced cupcake to represent them? That just leaves South Africa for now... I should really have a better idea seeing as my parents grew up in East Africa! My Dad once told me a story about how he and his brother trekked all the way from Uganda, right down the East coast of Africa through countries like Zambia and Mozambique all the way down to South Africa. That must have been almost 50 years ago now! Can you imagine - 2 Asian boys (they would have been about 17 at the time) hitch hiking, camping and trekking through Africa in the early 60's, right in the middle of apartheid, without a penny to their names! Dad still says it was one of the best experiences he's ever had though - that you didn't need anything, everyone was so friendly and happy to help - it must have been amazing!!! Right, time for me to go and quiz him on South African cuisine!!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Finally!! The perfect Gulab Jamun Recipe!!!

Exciting news!!! After many trials and lots of errors resulting in gulab jamuns that just weren't soft enough, or too dry or they would fall flat... etc etc the Devnaa kitchen has finally come up with what is possibly the perfect recipe for gulab jamuns! Perfectly round, they puffed up beautifully, had a soft and spongy texture and just soaked in the right amount of syrup to be sweet and flavourful without giving us toothache!!!

You'll have to wait until later in the year for us to publish the recipe but rest assured - it is most definitely on the way!!! We can't wait for you to try and it and tell us what you think! :)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

A new take on ice cream cakes!

News just in... This summer, well loved cake brand Mr Kipling is giving us something new to try with a range of cakes based on traditional ice cream flavours! With treats such as tutti fruitti slices, neapolitan bakewells and raspberry ripple slices to look forward to the Devnaa team can't wait for these to get onto the shelves of our local supermarket!

Possibly not the most exclusive or 'gourmet' cakes on offer so many of us have grown up on this household brand and their cakes are still just as good as they've ever been! It will be great to see and taste the new line of products! That said my favourite always has been and always will be their yummy Angel Slices!!!! So heavenly!!!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Pistachio Rose Cupcakes

Last week ended on a good note as we created another yummy recipe which we all agreed will be great to share with all of you when we get around to putting up our video tutorials - pistachio rose cupcakes :)
Rose is not a traditional Indian flavour but it filtered in to the Northern parts of India with the Mughals who brought it with them from the Middle East. Known for its cooling properties, rose water is especially common in places like Morocco where iced rose water is drunk as a revitalising tonic in the blazing heat. In India it is more often combined with milk to create delicious 'lassis' and desserts fragrant with the essence of rose - perfect refreshment during the hot Indian summers!

You'll have to wait a little while for the recipe, but here's a glimpse of the first trial of the Devnaa Pistachio Rose Cupcakes... :)


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Lemon Chai???

Over the last few days we've been busy experimenting away in the Devnaa kitchen - improving, trialing and best of all creating lots of new recipes to feature in our video tutorials and share with all of you. Most of the time we all agree but yesterday we came up with a recipe that had us all torn - chai cupcakes with lemon butter icing. The concept - lemon tea - definitely works. The cupcakes with the chai masala blend definitely work, the lemon icing works... But put it all together and we're just not sure! Some of us like it, the others aren't so sure... What do you think - lemon masala chai anyone?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Cake Pops!

For a little while now I've been hearing about cake balls - cake crumbled up, mixed with a little icing, rolled into balls and then dipped in more icing - you can't go wrong! However now more and more I'm hearing about these perfectly decorated little spheres being made into lollipops!

Fun, easy to make and eat these are the perfect treats for a children's party - you can even make up different coloured icing and get them to decorate their own! For ideas, inspiration and to maybe even try a few check out www.popbakery.co.uk - a fantastic creation by a talented baker/decorator, Clare O'Connell has created a whole world of beautifully iced cake pops that almost look too good to eat!!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Devnaa Family Reunion!!!

Phew! What a weekend!! For the first time in around 35 years mine and Jay's Dad was reunited with all four of his brothers and three sisters, all in the same country, under the same roof, at the same time!!! That's some family affair! Although they've all seen each other now and again they haven't all been together like that in so long it was only right we threw them a little reunion - and of course it wouldn't be a family reunion without plenty of food and in our family - desserts!!!

From traditional desserts like Ormoo - a rich, creamy dessert made with sweetened roasted Bulgar wheat and milk; Shrikhand - somewhere between a thick set set yoghurt and a loose cheesecake mix flavoured with nuts, saffron and cardamom; to more modern, western desserts like cranberry, almond and white chocolate rice crispy cakes and the infamous chocolate orange cheesecake back by popular demand from last week! The show stopper however was something that sort of fell together almost by accident - Raspberry, coconut and white chocolate mousse...

I had meant to make a white chocolate and raspberry mousse cake but becoming pressed for time I had to think of a quicker alternative I could make with the ingredients I had to hand. The raspberry jam which had been meant for the cake was combined with some Vege-gel to make a quick raspberry jelly which alongside some of the fresh raspberries I had bought for the cake was filled into the bottom of little canape glasses. Topped with a quick and easy white chocolate and coconut mousse and more fresh raspberries, these little desserts were made so fast that I didn't even get a chance to try any before serving them but just my luck - they disappeared even more quickly than it took me to make them - with some cheeky relatives having at least 2 or 3 each!


Friday, 30 April 2010

Recipe of the Week - Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

If yesterday's blog left you wanting more then try out this recipe for a quick and easy chocolate orange cheesecake :)

Ingredients:
8 Chocolate Biscuits
1tblsp Orange Marmalade
50g Butter
100g Cream Cheese
150g Icing Sugar
450ml Whipping Cream
1 Chocolate Orange
1/2 packet Orange Jelly
Extra whipped cream to decorate

Method:
  • Finely crush the biscuits so that no large lumps remain
  • Melt the butter and stir in the marmalade
  • Mix butter, marmalade and biscuit crumbs together until well combined and then press into the bottom of an 8" loose bottomed cake pan
  • Refrigerate while you prepare the filling
  • Sift the icing sugar into the cream cheese to form a smooth paste
  • Gently melt half of the chocolate orange
  • Whip the cream to soft peak stage and gently fold in the cream cheese mixture and melted chocolate orange
  • Pour filling on top of the biscuit base and smooth out the surface
  • Make the jelly according to the manufacturers instructions and allow to cool slightly before pouring on top of the cheesecake filling
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before removing from the pan
  • Decorate with a little extra whipped cream and the remaining pieces of chocolate orange
  • Serve cold

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Jay's Chocolate Orange Birthday!

Last Thursday was Jay's birthday and so the Devnaa kitchen was a buzz of exciting experimentation (like we need an excuse!). Having created a rich chocolate orange cake for an event the week before and then the coconut and lime cheesecakes in the early part of last week we decided to go down the chocolate orange cheesecake route and even I have to say it was probably one of the best ideas we have ever had!!!



A chocolate biscuit base spread with orange marmalade, topped with a zesty chocolate orange cheesecake, a layer of chocolate orange jelly, orange jelly and then chocolate whipped cream and slices of chocolate orange!!! Truly a taste sensation!! Stay tuned for the recipe tomorrow :)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Food with an 'Indian Accent'

Its great to see how other people use their different cultural influences to 'accent' their lifestyles - here at Devnaa we integrate our Indian heritage with our English upbringing to create sweets and desserts inspired by both of these cultures and its so interesting to us how food and drink from across the world is adapting and changing as people and dishes and ingredients travel from one side of the world to the other and then of course, come back around again.

I have just come across a restaurant located in South Delhi by the name of Indian Accent - a brilliant name for a brilliant concept! Combining traditional Indian dishes with ingredients and flavours from around the world and in the same way, dishes from around the world with Indian ingredients and flavours this restaurant highlights the cosmopolitan, fusion flavours that are slowly beginning to emerge across the globe. Dishes like Tandoori Foie Gras and Summer Vegetable Salad with Tadka Dressing show how as people have travelled and learnt about different cuisines they have been able to come back and combine these flavours and ideas with what they already knew in order to create tantalising and different new cuisines.

I haven't eaten at Indian Accent (yet!) but if you are in South Delhi check it out and let us know what you think! The website is www.themanordelhi.com or to read the review in the India Times follow http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life/food/food-reviews/With-a-desi-twist/articleshow/5840048.cms

Monday, 26 April 2010

World Cup - Cakes!!!!

Today's blog has to start with a great big 'thank you!' to all the Devnaa fans on the Facebook page for the great response you gave to our St George's Day cupcakes - you guys truly inspire us to do more and better! One comment in particular has given us the inspiration to create a series of World Cup cupcakes decorated with the flags of all the different participating countries - great idea! We're even going to try and take it a step further so that the cupcake for each country not only represents their flag but also their flavour! How about an Italian Tiramisu cupcake for example? That was off the top of my head but rest assured we'll be working on ideas and you'll be seeing them soon enough!

Whilst we're on the subject I'd like to quickly mention the limited edition world cup Mars bars that are on sale - the wrappers have been changed to represent the English flag and three lions emblem to back the team and show support for the tournament which starts on June 11th.



Friday, 23 April 2010

Happy St George's Day!!!!

The patron saint of England is Saint George and he is celebrated each year on April 23rd. Famous from the legend of Saint George and the dragon in reality he was actually a Christian soldier, born to a noble family in Palestine. Being such a good soldier it did not take George long to rise through the ranks of the military and become an Imperial Guard, well known and respected amongst his peers. The Emperor of Palestine at that time however believed in Pagan Gods and although he had been close friends with George's family and of course George, in AD302 he was influenced by his advisers to rid the army of all Christian soldiers unless they agreed to convert by offering sacrifices to the Pagan Gods. George refused to convert and tried to compromise with the Emperor but the Emperor's mind was set - he offered George bribes of land and wealth to convert but George continued to support his Christian faith - and that too loudly in front of his fellow soldiers! Eventually the Emperor realised that although he did not want to, if he was going to enforce his ban of Christian soldiers he would have to make an example of George. This led to George being tortured and later beheaded, martyring himself for his faith.

The veneration of George spread east and west in the fourth century through the Roman Empire and in 494 he was given his sainthood by Pope Gelasius I after which Saint George became a well known and inspiring mark of faith, leading to his name being used as a battle cry and his symbol - the red cross being used on the English flag.

Today we celebrate Saint George's day in England by waving the national flag and wearing red roses in our lapels - it is known as a feast day so tradition is to gather, feast and rejoice! Traditional roasts are the main meal followed by trifle and the season's first strawberries in fresh cream... Yummy!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Lime & Coconut Cheesecakes

Just as a quick follow up from Tuesday's blog here are the Lime & Coconut (Yes, Coconut!!! I managed to convince them once they'd tried it!!!) Cheesecakes - Yummy coconut cheesecake with a little lime juice and zest topped with a lime jelly and sprinkled with edible glitter - Deeeeelicious!!!! =)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Cakes In Space!!!

To be completely honest I'm not at all clued up about space food - up until now I thought astronauts survived on a diet of freeze dried compounds they had to consume through some kind of tube or... I don't know - nourishment milk shakes or something so when I just stumbled across news of a Japanese confectionery company sending out cakes to astronauts I felt that I had to share it today on my blog!

It really is incredible - here at Devnaa we've been trying to figure out a way to be able to courier our cakes safely across the country and these guys are sending theirs into space!

Japanese confectionery company Imuraya has delivered three types of specially adapted cakes to a Japanese astronaut who has been working on a space station since December. They were hand delivered by a fellow Japanese astronaut who travelled up on space shuttle Discovery. It gives a whole new perspective to mail order! With space travel becoming more and more accessible who knows - it might not be long before you're enjoying your favorite Devnaa confection at a picnic on the moon!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

You Put the Lime in the Coconut & Mix it All Up!!!!

This week at Devnaa we've been asked to create a lime inspired dessert for a client and our aim is to come up with something which looks amazing, doesn't contain eggs and will have broad appeal across a wide age group, oh and not forgetting the slightly Indian twist! I'm so excited to get into the kitchen and get started! The difficult thing is really going to be creating a flavour that everybody here in our office likes - my first reaction was to go along the lime and coconut route but I'm having a hard time persuading the others it will work! Immediate next thought would be lime and chilli but I don't think that's going to have that general mass appeal... Lets just say it's going to be a fun day at Devnaa today while we experiment and do lots of taste testing!!! Any volunteers??? =) xx

Monday, 19 April 2010

Here Come the Macarons

Having written about the Whoopie Pie trying to steal away limelight from the Cupcake last week it has now been brought to my attention the the Macaron has now also joined the race. The French version of the more widely known Macaroon, Macarons have up until now remained so elite that they are still little known to the general public although the version as it is now has been around since the 1830's.

Composed of two little light and airy meringue and almond powder discs sandwiched together with a ganache filling. They come in a variety of colours and flavours and were created by the French patisserie Laduree who continue to be renowned for their Macarons although there is an argument that those by French master chef Pierre Herme are better!

I would assume that the elite and fairly rare quality of Macarons comes from the fact that they are notoriously difficult to make correctly - the consistency of the meringue has to be perfect and a matter of a few seconds here or there could lead to disaster when baking as the shells of the Macaron must be perfectly airy and light to avoid a stodgy or dry mess. That said with the title race for the ultimate sweet treat still running strong the Macaron seems to be becoming a contender.

Macarons are known for being hand made delicacies but mass manufactured are now coming to light with Parisian branches of McDonald's cafes offering 'McArons', American Starbucks' also have them on offer as do Whole Foods. However, the French master minds behind the original Macarons are holding their ground - trying their best to protect the Macaron's elite reputation by making their own artisan wares more widely available - Herme's are now in Selfridge's and are about to open a boutique in Knightsbridge and Laduree is available in Harrods and for those who prefer a more convenient treat Raymond Blanc has launched a range at Waitrose - far from the best but you could do a lot worse!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Recipe of The Week - Carrot Cupcakes

Still reeling from the yummy Gajar Ka Halwa on Vaisakhi yet craving cupcakes after my last blog, today's recipe is for carrot cupcakes! Need I say more...?

Ingredients
225g Butter
225g Light Brown Caster Sugar
225g Self Raising Flour (use wholemeal if you prefer)
4 Eggs
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
100g Chopped Walnuts
150g Grated Carrot
2 tblsp Sultanas (optional)
200g Cream Cheese
200g Icing Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Method
  • Pre heat the oven to gas mark 4 and line 18 muffin cases
  • Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating in well
  • Fold in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts, carrots and sultanas
  • Spoon the cake batter into the muffin cases so that each one is 3/4 full and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean
  • Allow to cool in the trays for 5 minutes and then remove to cool completely on a wire rack
  • For the icing beat the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth and creamy
  • When the cupcakes are cool generously spread the icing on top and garnish with more chopped walnuts or some grated carrot.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Whoopie for Pies!!!!

Since the rise of cupcakes a few years ago there have been many miniature baked goods brought into the limelight which have tried to steal away some of the attention from cupcakes but not quite managed it. The latest entry into the competition is the 'Whoopie Pie' which undoubtedly seems to be doing quite well but whether it's staying power will match that of the cupcake has yet to be seen. I for one am not convinced!

Said to have been created by Amish farmer's wives in the 1920's the Whoopie Pie consists of a generous amount of vanilla buttercream sandwiched between 2 firm and rather dry domes of cake. Apparently the farmer's wives would make these from left over cake batter and when the farmers came home from a hard day on the fields they would shout 'whoopie!' at the sight of their yummy treats.

Yes, Whoopie Pies do taste yummy - I'm not denying that, but they are given the term pie because of the dry, almost biscuit like (similar to a dense pie crust) 'sponge' used to sandwich the filling and when put up against a moistly delicious, light, soft cupcake... Well, I know what I'd pick every time! That said, the generous amount of filling does balance the dryness a little bit and I can understand why some people may prefer the sturdier, almost 'no frills' way of the Whoopie Pie but I think for the most part they may just be a fad and once most people have had a try they'll faithfully return to the good old cupcake!

Who knows, maybe we'll give Whoopie Pies a try in the Devnaa kitchen in the next few weeks and see what we can do with them! =)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Vaisakhi Celebrations at Devnaa

Phew... After all that hard work helping everybody else celebrate Vaisakhi it was only right we kept a little sweet something for ourselves!!! Presenting our Signature Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Pudding) sandwiched between 2 fresh Jalebi, served hot and topped with fresh Vanilla Ice Cream - mm mmm mmmmm!!!!!!



Gajar Ka Halwa is an extremely popular dessert in India, especially the northern parts as the cooler climates help cultivate the growth of deliciously sweet, intensely orange carrots. Bright orange Jalebi are also popular Punjabi sweets, I'm not sure but I think this has more to do with the colour than anything else as Orange is one of the main colours associated with Sikhism.

Traditionally both of these sweet dishes are served hot, fresh from the pan and devoured immediately and although Jalebi are normally served alone, Gajar Ka Halwa and Vanilla Ice Cream served together has become a popular dish served all over the world. Although the ice cream is really just there to balance the heat of the halwa and add creaminess to the sticky texture it also ties into tradition as northern Indians are also very much known for their love of milk based sweet dishes.

When the Devnaa team were asked to create a special Vaisakhi dessert we were half tempted to go with Seera - a semolina based sponge pudding served in Sikh temples (Gurdwaras) and offered to all patrons throughout the year but we couldn't resist the festive cheer of the colourful halwa and jalebis!! That said, watch out for a Seera recipe soon! =)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Happy Vaisakhi!!!!

Every year on April 13th/14th Northern India celebrates the Spring harvest festival of Vaisakhi. Not only does this date mark the beginning of a new solar year, it is mainly celebrated by Sikhs as the anniversary of the founding of the Khalsa by the 10th Guru - Guru Gobind Singh. Khalsa is the term used to refer to all baptised Sikhs who follow the Khalsa Code of Conduct. Vaisakhi is recognised as the day that Sikhs were given a formal identity by the Guru.

Celebrations include prayers, offerings and visits to the Sikh temple - the Gurdwara to give thanks and worship, often followed by melas - fun fairs, fireworks, singing and dancing accompanied of course by lots of food!

Popular sweet dishes on the day include Jalebi (yeahy!), Seera (a semolina based spongy dessert), Coconut Ladoos and Gajrella (Gajar Ka Halwa - a sweet pudding made from carrots).

Today in the Devnaa kitchen we'll be whipping up a feast of theses delectable dishes to celebrate this special occasion - Happy Vaisakhi everybody!!! =)

Monday, 12 April 2010

What would you like to see???

Ok, as I mentioned in one of my blog entries a little while ago, Devnaa is going to be starting a series of online video tutorials demonstrating lots of sweet recipes for fellow foodies to follow! As we are hoping to film the first one and have it uploaded in the next week or 2 we would like your suggestions on what you would like to see us make. From traditional Indian sweets like penda or jalebi to more western desserts like apple pie or cinnamon danish with an Indian twist.. The choice is yours - the most popular recipe across our Facebook, Twitter and Blog responses will go first and following on from that we should be able to cover most other requests too - so let us know what you'd like to see and we'll get onto preparing our first video tutorial! So excited!!! =)

Friday, 9 April 2010

Cadbury's Chocolate Cafes!!!!!

Yes, you read correctly! Chocolate brand Cadbury's is going to be launching high street chocolate cafes - with the first one coming maybe even before the end of the year!

The 'Cadbury's Chocolate Houses' are going to be serving afternoon tea and have in house chocolatiers whipping up some classic favourites like Twirls and Curly Wurlys in extra big sizes which can be gift wrapped and will undoubtedly make the recipient's day!!!

Apparently, plans have been in discussion for a few years and with the ball now finally being set in motion I'm sure we can expect these chocolate cafes be filled with chocolatey goodness!! I think it's time to plan another Devnaa field trip!

Read more at: www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/kraft-backs-cadbury-high-street-cafes-plan-1940149.html

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Devnaa Spiced Chocolate Bars

Our Indian inspired spiced chocolate bars are finally here!!!! Over the past few months we've been busily working away in the Devnaa kitchen perfecting a range of delicately spiced chocolate bars and after lots of trialing and tasting we've finally launched the first 2 editions: Milk chocolate with chai masala and ginger; and Milk chocolate with cinnamon, nutmeg, a burst of orange and the crunch of crispy rice! There are definitely going to be more flavours to come - a white chocolate one is already on its well on its way so in the meantime check these out at www.devnaa.com/Chocolate+Bars.htm



There's a great offer on at the moment too - 10% off all orders if you use the discount code offered on our Facebook fanpage and the first 10 people to order the chocolate bars will receive a free surprise gift! Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Jalebi & Chocolate Messi!!!!

Everything's getting a bit hot and messy in the Devnaa kitchen today as we experiment with one of my all time favourite Indian sweets - Jalebi!!!! Mmmm.... No taste testers required today - I'm more than happy to devour each and every one these sticky, sweet fritters!!! Almost like a fried pretzel dunked in sugar syrup and sprinkled with nuts, Jalebi are often referred to as India's national sweet dish as they come in many varieties across the country and are almost as well known for their bright orange colour as well as their delicious taste!!! We're trying to come up with our own chocolate partnered variety... Its hard work, but someones gotta do it!!!

Speaking of chocolate and MESSI-ness we can't let today go by without sharing a link to this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/06/chocolate-lionel-messi-li_n_526909.html

Not that I'm hating on Arsenal fans after last night's epic football match, there are a fair few Arsenal supporters on the Devnaa team, but with Messi in mind I had to take the opportunity to share this amazing tribute to the soccer playing hero - entirely made of chocolate it really is amazing!!! =)

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Tonights TV Treat...

Still in the spirit of Easter weekend which has just passed (far too quickly!), today's blog is all about putting your feet up in front of the telly and indulging in some Willy Wonka-esque antics whilst finishing what's left of the Easter chocolate! Heston Blumenthal is a chef mostly known for his slightly weird but wonderful methods of cooking. Owner and head chef of a 3 Michelin starred restaurant 'The Fat Duck' his eccentricity in the kitchen has awed if not inspired many food enthusiasts since he came to the attention of the mass media in around 2003. Having demonstrated his modern, scientific ways of preparing food on various TV series and through a number of books, tonight at 9pm on channel 4 he will be treating the UK to 'Heston's Chocolate Factory Feast'. With promises of everything from lickable wallpaper to duck confectionery and chocolate waterfalls this is definitely going to be the one to watch tonight - the Devnaa team can't complain about their homework today!!

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Easter Recipe 1: Hot Cross Buns with a Twist

Continuing the Easter theme for this week I'm going to get straight into a recipe for Hot Cross Buns but in true Devnaa style I've given this recipe a slight Indian twist, I hope you enjoy... =)

Ingredients:
150 ml Warm Water
55g Caster Sugar
1 tblsp Dried Yeast
450g Plain Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp (heaped) of Mixed Spice
1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom
80g Currants
25g Chopped Almonds
20g Chopped Pistachio Nuts (Shelled)
50ml Warm Milk
1 Egg, beaten
50g Melted Butter

3 tblsp Water
3 tblsp Caster Sugar
1/4 tsp crumbled Saffron Threads

Method
  • Stir 1 tsp of the caster sugar into 150ml luke warm water. Sprinkle in the yeast and leave until the surface develops a good layer of froth
  • In the meantime sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a bowl and add the cardamom, remaining sugar, currants, almonds and pistachio nuts. Lightly toss these together
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the yeast mixture, warmed milk, egg and butter and mix together with a spoon
  • As the mixture comes together use your hands to combine it and transfer to a floured surface. Knead for about 5-7 minutes to produce a smooth, stretchy dough
  • Dip your fingers in a little oil and lightly grease the surface of the dough
  • Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size
  • Bring the dough back onto your work surface and knead back to its original size
  • Divide the dough into 12 portions, forming each portion into the round bun shape and use a knife to mark them each with a deep cross
  • lightly oil the surface of each bun, cover with cling film and leave to rise again for about 30 mins
  • Bake for 15 minutes in an oven that has been pre heated to gas mark 7
  • While the buns are baking make the glaze by gently warming the 3 tblsp of water and sugar and the saffron together in a pan over a gentle heat until the sugar has melted
  • When the buns have baked brush them with the glaze whilst they are still hot. Allow to cool and then enjoy warm or cold =)

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Easter Bunny, Hot Cross Buns and the Saxon Goddess Eostre

I love how festivals are so intertwined with feasts!!! Following on from yesterday's blog here's a little more background on Easter food traditions...

Eostre was the Anglo Saxon Goddess of Dawn and she was celebrated during spring time as a sign of rebirth and renewal. Her symbol was the Hare. This celebration period is now known as Easter and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Instead of the hare the bunny rabbit is used as a symbol as rabbits are more common everywhere - especially in spring! The tradition of the Easter bunny is much more prevalent in America than England as it was taken over there by German settlers in the 18th Century. It is common in America for children to be told tales of an Easter bunny who will distribute baskets of Easter eggs and chocolate treats on Easter day. They even organise treasure hunts of brightly coloured eggs with lots of yummy treats for the winners!

Hot cross buns are also a tradition derived from Eostre. The Saxons used to bake these little round buns marked with a cross as the bun was supposed to represent the moon and the cross marked each of the moon's four quarters. In relation to Easter the cross represents the crucifix.

With all this talk of Easter goodies I think tomorrow I'll have to post a recipe for hot cross buns - with a slight Indian twist!!! =)

Monday, 29 March 2010

Why we eat Chocolate at Easter...

This week is the lead up to Easter and with that in mind I'm going to try to stick to an Easter theme in my blog.

The first investigation had to be into why chocolate is so strongly associated with Easter and why the eggs and bunnies???

Easter Sunday is the day upon which Christian's celebrate the end of Lent - a 40 day fast (beginning on Ash Wednesday) which marks the period that Jesus Christ spent in the desert prior to the events leading up to His crucifixion. It is also a time for penitence and reflection. Traditionally people used to give up meat, dairy and other animal related food products as well as any rich and luxurious foods. Easter is the festival which marks the end of this fasting and the resurrection of Jesus with feasts and celebrations.

Although as times have moved on fewer people now fast through the duration of Lent it is still common for believers to give up certain things and mark the period in their own ways.

As chocolate was introduced to the Western world it was very much considered a luxury product and as it also contains milk it was often one of the things people gave up for Lent (and some people still do). With this in mind chocolate became one of the key components of Easter celebration feasts with people gifting each other chocolate eggs, bunnies and even cakes!

The cakes are understandable as they are also a very indulgent item but the eggs and bunnies? They represent the celebration of Jesus's resurrection by symbolising life and rebirth - the bunnies being symbolic of spring (when Easter is celebrated).

So there you have it - this year when you receive your Easter treats take a second to remember the tradition and roots of the festival - it will make them all the more delicious!!! =)

Friday, 26 March 2010

Cross Cultural Community!!!

It makes me really proud to say that earlier this week Devnaa was featured by BollyInStyle (www.bollyinstyle.com). A lifestyle blog committed to Asian inspired arts, fashion, style and of course - food!

It's amazing to see how other people with a combined Eastern and Western influence in their lives have embraced that and used it to create such different and wonderful products with truly unique and revolutionary style. From jewellery and fashion to children's toys and homeware BollyInStyle features the cream of cross cultural Asian influenced art and provides a treasure trove of inspiration and information to all of us.

Thank you BollyInStyle for bringing to our attention not only all of these fantastic cross cultural products but also the fact that we're part of a growing community of people trying to incorporate old traditions and culture with our modern day western lifestyles and it's all coming together with fabulous results! I for one am hooked and will definitely be checking back often to see whats new in the world of BollyInStyle!

www.bollyinstyle.com

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Limited Edition Chocs!!!

As a prelude to the fantabulous chocolaty surprise we've got coming up for you (hopefully next week!) we've launched a limited edition 18 piece chocolate box only available until April 4th 2010. It's on the Devnaa website now so hurry to try these delectable little hand rolled truffles in milk chocolate with orange and nutmeg, white chocolate with saffron and cardamom and our classic milk chocolate with chai masala. Give something different this Easter! :) x

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Chocolaty Surprises En Route!!!!!

We've been busily working away here at Devnaa recently to come up with innovative new products to tempt and tantalise you with and I'm pleased to announce that our latest creation will be joining our product list very very soon!!! In the next week or 2 we'll be launching a chocolaty new product that we've been working hard to perfect and produce... We've just had word that it's fancy new packaging is almost ready and so we'll be able to present it to you in no time at all! I'm not going to tell you what it is just yet... Going to keep you in suspense until we're ready to show you!!!! It won't be too long, I promise!!! :) xx

Monday, 22 March 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!!!!!

This weekend was all about celebrating my birthday!!! The Devnaa kitchen came to a standstill as I decided what kind of cake I wanted and then swiftly set about making it (I say 'swiftly' but it somehow managed to take most of the day on Saturday!!!) The obvious choice had to be a cupcake tower - just a 2 tiered one for little old me! I could not for the life of me pick the cake flavours though, I wanted everything! Instead I went by colour - it had to be pink and white so the cakes had to be pink velvet and vanilla sponge! The muffin sized cupcakes around the edge of the tower were decorated with a glace icing and lots of mini marshmallows, the mini cupcakes in the middle with pink and white butter cream and the top cake was a traditional velvet cake cream cheese frosting. Delicious, even if I do say so myself!!! :)


Friday, 19 March 2010

Recipe of the Week - Springtime Shortbread

With Spring finally setting in here in London town we here at Devnaa are excitedly preparing for the return of fresh, light flavours and yummy fruits to wake our palettes up from the heavy but comforting, winter warming flavours of the last few months!

One of my favourite spring time recipes is for Strawberry & Mascarpone Shortbread Slice. Crumbly biscuit with a cool, creamy topping fortified with strawberries and a hint of spice. The great thing is that you can mix pretty much any flavour you like into the topping - in the Summer try folding in some lemon curd and sprinkling with a touch of finely chopped mint.

Strawberry & Mascarpone Shortbread Slice:

Ingredients:
175g Unsalted Butter
70g Caster Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
250g Plain Flour
300g Mascarpone
60g Icing Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4tsp Cardamom
300g Chopped Strawberries

  • Pre heat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a 20 x 30 cm baking dish with grease proof paper (leaving it long enough to hang over the sides)
  • Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  • Add the egg yolk and beat well
  • Gently fold in the flour until you are left with a well combined dough
  • Press the biscuit dough firmly into the baking dish and prick all over with a fork
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown
  • Remove from oven, place tin on a wire rack and allow the biscuit to cool completely
  • Beat the mascarpone, sifted icing sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth
  • Fold in the strawberries and cardamom
  • Spread this mixture over the biscuit base and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (until firm)
  • Use the long sides of the grease proof paper to lift the shortbread out of the baking dish and place onto a chopping block to allow ease of cutting
  • Cut into pieces and enjoy! :)

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Whiff of Chocolate!

This is just far too strange!!!! I'm just not sure how I feel about it!!! Breathable Chocolate!?!?!?! I'm going to need to try some!!!

Le Whif is a new aerosol development which allows us to eat by breathing. Developed by a Harvard professor, Le Whif is a little lipstick sized spray which contains millions of little food particles which we inhale - allowing us to breathe in our food minus any calories but plus a caffeine hit equal to a small shot of espresso! It comes in a few different flavours including coffee and yes, chocolate! We're definitely going to have to try this one to believe it! Check it out at www.lewhif.com :)

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day!!!

St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland is possibly the most widely recognised saint all over the world! Every year on March 17th celebrations are held in countries across the globe to mark the Irish icon - A priest most commonly known for his method of teaching the Irish about the holy trinity using a shamrock, a three leaved plant similar in appearance to a large clover.

The festivities are as infectious as the good humour and spirit of the people celebrating - all dressed in green and with plenty of green accessories to represent the 'emerald isle' and some places even rivers and lakes are dyed green! Here in London there is an annual get together in Trafalgar Square where over 100,000 people meet and enjoy traditional Irish music, dancing food and of course drink!

Traditional Irish foods include potato champ, soda bread, black pudding, rock oysters and Gaelic stew. As here at Devnaa we like to keep things sweet we decided to celebrate in our own little way with St Patrick's Day cupcakes! Happy St Patrick's Day!!! :)



Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Recipe of the Week - Irish Potato Pie!

We were so busy designing our new cupcakes here at Devnaa last week that I completely forgot to post a recipe! Turned out to be a blessing in disguise however as with St Patrick's Day coming up tomorrow I thought I'd investigate into some traditional Irish desserts and came up with this very unusual recipe for a dessert pie made of potatoes.

Ingredients:
1 cup of Mashed New Potatoes
2/3 cup of Sugar
2 Eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups Milk
1/2 cup Butter
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
9" Pie dish lined with uncooked Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

  • Whilst the mashed potatoes are still hot stir in the sugar, butter and a pinch of salt and continue to stir until they've melted in
  • Next stir in the milk, followed by the eggs and vanilla
  • Pour this mixture into the pie dish and bake at 450C for 10 minutes
  • Lower the heat to 350C and bake for a further 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the pie comes out clean
  • Enjoy whilst warm :)

This tastes great served with an intense cinnamon ice cream and a little nutmeg grated on top! The Irish take on sweet potato pie... Mmmmm!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Introducing the new cupcakes!!!

Hello my blog family!!!!! Today I'd like to introduce you to the newly designed Devnaa cupcakes. Colourful, traditional and reminiscent of Indian festivals, celebrations, weddings and culture all combined with one of my favourite western treats - cupcakes!! It gets no better! These colourful cupcakes will be available for delivery inside of the London M25 and there will be the option to customise them for your special occasion - you choose the colours and leave the rest to us here at Devnaa! The egg free cupcakes come decorated in sumptuous soft icing and the the cupcakes containing egg have a rich butter cream swirl.

Mehndi inspired egg free cupcakes

Double colour swirl cupcakes inspired by the colours of India





Thursday, 11 March 2010

Edible Mehndi...

Just thought I'd update you all on the progress I'm making in the Devnaa cup cakery...

After a few days of experimenting and agonising over different methods of icing cupcakes I've gradually got better at icing little mehndi designs onto the cakes - its taken ages but slowly and surely I'm mastering a few different patterns to decorate the cuppies with in yummy milk chocolate - just the right colour for mehndi! Combined with traditionally Indian bright colours the Devnaa kitchen here in London is starting to look like a festive scene right out of Mumbai!!!

Anyway, back to the kitchen with me, just a few finishing touches to go and soon I'll be able to share them with all of you :) xx

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

3 Days to Go!!!!!!!

With only 3 days left it seems appropriate to gently remind everyone about Mother's Day. In the UK we honour our Mums every year on the fourth Sunday of Lent but other countries have different days for this special occasion. It doesn't matter though, whats important is that all over the world regardless of race, colour, culture, religion it is widely recognised that Mums deserve at least a day to be honoured, appreciated and celebrated! In fact, it might even seem trivial to have just a day or 2 dedicated to something so important but the dedicated day serves to remind us what we should know all year round - Mums are special and should be treated so!


Now that the Devnaa website is up and running why not spoil your Mum with one of our special Mother's Day gift boxes. The ideal gift to send to your Mum if you can't be with her on the day or to share with her alongside a nice cup of tea and some quality time :)

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Aim.... Fire Cupcake!!!!!!!

Now that the new site is almost complete and the packaging is here and a sense of calm has returned to all of us at Devnaa I'm back to experimenting in my kitchen! Task for this week is to perfect some unique designs for our eggless and eggfull cupcakes. Simple enough you might think but no - nothing is ever that simple! Soft icing or butter cream? Chocolate or glace? Bright colours or subtle ones? What will hold better? What looks great but is fairly quick and straight forward to do? I love this but how do I make it more straight forward??? How to get them to cupcake cravers all over London and beyond??? So many questions, such indecision! Its gonna be a loooooong week with a lot of cupcakes flying around - I'm gonna have to take a few hits for the team! :)

Monday, 8 March 2010

DEVNAA DEVNAA DEVNAA!!!!!!!!

It's finally here! After months and months of to-ing and fro-ing, disapproving and approving, laughing and crying and of course blood, sweat and tears Devnaa is finally up and running!! Our initial selection of Indian inspired sweets and chocolates is now available to buy - in our fancy new packaging- online at http://www.devnaa.com/ :)

We've provided a choice of just Indian sweets, just the Indian inspired chocolates or a mixed selection of the two all available as a box of 9 or in a 'tiffin' style double stack (18 pieces). Soon to follow will be our weddings and celebrations section (please bear with us while we put the finishing touches to the web page), comprising of favour boxes, alternative gift boxes, personalised barfi and the delicious cupcake towers (eggless or with egg!).

In the coming months we'll also be introducing a great new range of chocolate bars and some other exciting new products but for now, we're up and running with our first lines - check them out at devnaa.com, Indian inspired sweets and chocolates (from London!) :) xxx

Friday, 5 March 2010

Recipe of the week...

Today the new film version of Alice In Wonderland (directed by Tim Burton) opens in London and here at Devnaa we can't wait to go and see it! Well, maybe not everybody here - I don't think Alice In Wonderland is quite Jay's cup of chai but personally I love all things film and fairy tale, combine those with a mad tea party and in my eyes you can't go wrong!

So, taking inspiration from the Mad Hatter himself today's recipe is for scones, the perfect tea time treat :)

Ingredients:
225g Self Raising Flour
a pinch of salt
75g Butter (at room temperature)
40g Golden Caster Sugar
1 Egg
2 tblsp Buttermilk

Method:
  • Pre heat your oven to gas mark 7
  • Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl
  • Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour
  • Rub butter and flour together with your finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  • Mix in the sugar
  • Beat the egg and buttermilk together in a measuring jug and add gradually to the flour mixture, combining the two using a palette knife
  • When the milk is all in and the mixture begins to hold together finish the mixing with your hands and shape into a circle
  • Place the dough on a floured surface and roll until 2.5cm thick
  • Use a 5cm round cutter to press out your scones (this recipe should make about 10)
  • Grease a baking sheet and lightly dust it with flour
  • Place the scones onto the baking sheet and brush them with a little more buttermilk
  • Dust with a little more flour
  • Bake for 12 minutes until golden brown
  • Cool on a baking rack and serve warm with plenty of jam and clotted cream :)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Mother's Day

That time of year is coming up again which Mum's across the country look forward to! Rightly so considering that in most cases it's the only day, aside from their birthdays, where they get to kick back, put their feet up, relax and be looked after by the rest of the family - yep, that's right - Mother's Day is upon us!!!! This year it falls on Sunday March 14th, just over a week from today so if you haven't already it's time to start thinking about gifts!

The launch of our new website at Devnaa will come with this year's Mother's Day collection - 6 & 18 piece boxes with the word 'MUM' spelled out across some of the pieces and gorgeous little gold and pink 4 piece boxes - the ideal 'pocket money gift' from the kids. The site will be up by the weekend so go on... Spoil your Mum, she deserves it! :)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Egg Free Cupcakes

Just in time to coincide with the launch of Devnaa I have finally come up with an egg free cupcake recipe that passes the taste test! Having struggled through trials and errors resulting in 'rock' cakes (literally!) and cakes with hard crusty tops, others that didn't rise and some that worked but just didn't taste that great I have come out at the other side with what I (and my regular taste testers) think actually works - woo hoo! Spongy, light and tasty!

So, for those vegetarians out there who like the idea of a cupcake tower at your wedding but thought it couldn't be - don't fear! They are on their way! (also available in vegan) :) xx

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Final Countdown!

Its all systems go at Devnaa right now as we are getting everything finalised and ready to go for launch - the website is being fine tuned, products are being photographed, packaging is due to arrive in the next day or two - everything is slowly coming together! Its been a long journey but seeing all the different pieces of the puzzle ready and falling into place I can definitely say it's been worth it, truly a labour of love! Now its just a matter of days before the website will be up and our selection of Indian Inspired Sweets & Chocolates will be ready and available to purchase - just in time for Mother's day!

We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak at some of our finished packaging and I can't wait to show it off! Brightly coloured boxes with a matt finish and a touch of gold foil for that extra luxury feel... I'm so excited that I get to show you all in a few days!!!!

These next few days are going to be excruciating! I'm literally playing a waiting game while the last few tweaks are tweaked and the packaging is sent out but fingers crossed, Devnaa will be live and kicking by the end of the week!! Good times!!!! :)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Chocolate - The Life of the Party!!!

Since blogging about the Chinese chocolate expo a little while ago I've begun to notice more and more 'chocolate-centric' events happening around the world - it seems that wherever you go people are drawn to chocolate and always associate it with having a good time!

One of the best examples I've come across is happening this weekend - the 7th annual Chocolate Fantasy Ball in Arkansas, USA. This event occurs on Valentine's weekend every year to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities that provide accommodation and support for families who have to commit themselves to looking after children in hospital. Not only does it play on chocolate to bring people together and experience an indulgent, chocolatey Valentine's day it's for a really good cause.

The night starts with a chocolate themed cocktail reception - heaven! Those of you who have managed to get a taste of the Godiva Liqueurs will agree with me there! Dinner will comprise of chocolate themed dishes and there will be auctions and dancing throughout the night all accompanied by lots of delicious chocolate creations to nibble on. Now that's a party!!!!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Sweet Video Tutorials

Its finally arrived!! My very fancy new HD camcorder that I'm going to use to film a series of video tutorials on Indian sweets =) As soon as I've figured out how to use it I'll be filming short, easy to follow recipe guides in an attempt to bring Indian sweet making to the masses!

From simple barfi to the slightly more complex rasmali I'll hopefully be able to show that making these dishes really isn't as daunting as it may seem. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see leave a comment and I'll see what I can do. For now, I'm gonna figure out how to use this thing...!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Indian sweets from everywhere!!!!

These last few days I have been researching the many varieties of Indian sweets and desserts and have been amazed to see how so many dishes give or take influence from other types of cuisine. Mostly, although I was aware of the impact Middle Eastern food on Indian during the Mughal regime, I was surprised by the the huge relationship between their sweet dishes.

Having already looked into the varieties of Gulab Jamun found across the Middle East I was surprised to find Greek versions of Halwa that are identical in name and nature to the Indian version. Ful Khaja are also a popular Indian sweet, very similar to the Turkish Baklava, layers of thin pastry sheets baked with a pistachio stuffing and drizzled with a sweetened syrup.

Jalebi had to be the big surprise though! One of my favourite sweets when I was growing up, I was intrigued to see all the variations across Persia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia to name a few! All with slightly different takes on the name, recipe and presentation but all essentially the same.

Heading Eastwards from India it is even more incredible to see Far Eastern takes on some 'Indian' sweets. The Vietnamese version of Gulab Jamun is Che Xoi Nuoc and the Chinese is Tangyuan in fact these are almost a cross between Gulab Jamun and Rasgulla.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Recipe of the Week 2 - Red Velvet Cupcakes - Finally!!!

As promised, after much trial and error(!), the recipe for some of the most delicious red velvet cupcakes I have ever tasted! Even if I do say so myself!!!

For the cupcakes:

240 ml Milk
1 tblsp White Vinegar
250 g Self Raising Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tblsp Cocoa Powder
113 g Unsalted Butter
300 g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tblsp Red Food Colour
1 tsp White Vinegar
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

  • Pre heat oven to gas mark 4 and line 2 12 cavity cupcake pans with cases
  • Whisk together the milk and 1 tblsp white vinegar. Set aside for 10 mins to curdle
  • Sift flour, salt and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl and set aside
  • Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft
  • Add in all of the sugar and beat until fluffy
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time
  • Add the vanilla and beat again until all of the ingredients are combined
  • Stir the food colouring into the curdled milk mixture
  • Fold about a third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture followed by half of the milk mixture, another third of the flour, the rest of the milk and lastly the flour
  • Combine the bicarbonate of soda and remaining teaspoon of vinegar in a small bowl, it will start to fizz and should be immediately added to the cake mixture
  • Divide the batter between the cupcake cases (about 1 heaped teaspoon per case, this cake mix will rise a lot!)
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean.

For the icing:

400 g Unsalted Butter

200g Cream Cheese

800 g Icing Sugar (sifted)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

  • Beat the butter with an electric mixer until soft
  • Fold in the cream cheese
  • Gradually beat in the icing sugar uand lastly the vanilla
  • Beat well until smooth
  • Spread generously onto cupcakes and enjoy! :)