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... =)

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

  • 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 ( 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!

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:

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 :)

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.

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


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 :)

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, 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 :)

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

  • 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!!!! :)