Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup

Nourishing. Refreshing. Comforting. Delicious.

This soup is the perfect way to end a cold, damp, rainy day. The Ginger was almost an afterthought but I saw so many recipes online that totally recommended it so I decided to go with it. The mild heat from the Ginger complemented the sweetness from the carrots perfectly.

Carrot + Ginger = The best idea ever! 

I didn’t really follow any one recipe but sort of came up with my own variation. Instead of roasting the carrots in the pan with everything else, I decided to roast them in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper for that lovely caramelized taste!

Roast carrots

roasted carrots  Broth

Here’s what you need –

  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut in small pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and Pepper as per taste

Let’s get cooking –

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place carrots in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil. Toss to coat and add some salt and pepper. Toss again. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake, flipping every 15 minutes or so, until tender and browned in spots.
  3. While the carrots are cooking, heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until brown. Add the ginger and the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. When both the roasted carrots and the broth have cooled somewhat, add the carrots to the broth. Puree the soup in a blender or use an immersion blender directly in the pot. Please make sure your soup has cooled enough before you start blending.
  5. Place pureed soup over medium heat and return to a simmer. Add some thyme and ground cumin. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with dried parsley. Serve.

Carrot ginger soup

Quick homemade soups are my new favorite meal! :)

p.s. This also makes the perfect detox meal after a week long celebration.


Us crazies turned 3 last week

Easy Peasy Chocolate Cupcakes

I love recipes that involve only a couple of steps. Especially when it comes to baking! This recipe was passed on to me by my mother, who is a terrific baker and would whip up the most extraordinary desserts in minutes! Icing on the cake right!? :)

She never really had the patience to spend a lot of time measuring or whipping or sieving and yet anything she made would taste so incredible. The ingredients would just come together so well! (I still dream of her Orange soufflé with those lovely delicious bits of orange rind. – coming up soon).

I, on the other hand, have always focused on the recipe, getting the exact measurements and making sure it looked exactly like it did in the book or photo and still struggle to get the taste right. With this one, I didn’t have to try too hard to get it to taste good. It is definitely a winner! Made a batch on the husband’s birthday as we had just returned from a trip the previous night and being a weekday, I didn’t have the time to bake an elaborate cake…like this 30 layer cake on his 30th – 

30 layer cake

This year, he just had to make do with these mini cupcakes!

chocolate cup cakes

Doesn’t look terribly disappointed now, does he? :)

Here is what you need to make these beauties –

* 4 table spoons of good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1  cup all-purpose flour
* 1  cup sugar
* 1  tsp baking soda
* 1 large free range egg
* ¾ cup oil
* ¾ cup yoghurt
* 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the over to 180C or 350F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. The recipe makes about 24 mini cupcakes.

Mix all the ingredients in one large bowl and the batter is ready.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each two thirds full. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the tops spring back with touched with a knife.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before icing.

Simple icing –

* 1 can of condensed milk
* 4 table spoons of good quality unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine until smooth, decorate your cupcakes and watch them disappear! :)

Aloha Hawaii! Honolulu, Kailua and the north shores | [Part 2- Oahu]


From lovely lush Kauai, we headed on to our next destination – Oahu. The island of Oahu is definitely a very popular tourist destination. While we did not see many in Kauai, Oahu and especially Honolulu was flooded with tourists. The island is lot bigger than Kauai but just as beautiful. We were totally spoilt by all the lovely sights and incredible weather throughout the duration of our trip.

Here are top 5 sights not to be missed while visiting the island –

1. Lanikai Beach- After having read innumerable blog posts and articles about this beach, I could think of no better way to start exploring the island. Just a short distance from the busy Kailua Beach is this incredibly lovely beach. Parking can be a bit difficult since the area is primarily residential but a couple of rounds later, we managed to find a spot not too far away. At the end of the alley that led to the beach, we could see the glistening blue water. The blue I had only seen in photos and movies. It seemed unreal and in that moment I found myself feeling extremely fortunate for having seen some of the most magnificent sights over the past couple of days. Overwhelmed and excited, we decided to come back at 4:00 am the next morning to watch the sunrise. The experience wasn’t over yet.

We were the first ones on the beach the next morning. We picked a nice spot overlooking the Mokulua Islands and settled down to witness the grand spectacle. The sunrise was definitely one of the prettiest I have seen. We just sat there, the two of us, listening to the gentle waves and taking it all in. Later that morning, we kayaked out towards the Mokulua islands and spent the afternoon lounging in the sun. The beach is also great for snorkeling and paddle boarding.

Lanikai Beach

2. Laie Point and the shrimp trucks – The drive along the North Shores is a must do in Oahu. The road gently meanders along the coast and the pretty blue water looks so inviting as you drive up the Kamehameha Highway (83) along the Eastern side of the island. Along the way, it passes a succession of small coves and bays and miles of white-sand beaches, some nearly deserted. There are some lovely snorkel spots and as you go further up north, the waves are ideal for surfing!

Oahu Revealed, the popular guide-book by Andrew Doughty gave us some great suggestions on places worth visiting, away from all the tourist traps. That is how we found Laie Point. According to local legend, this peninsula was originally a “Mo’o” or giant lizard. Standing upright ready to kill any intruder.  After Kana (a legendary warrior) and his brother had rescued their mother from Moloka’i and had taken her back to Hawaii. Kana set out on a journey to kill all the Mo’o in the islands. In time, he arrived in La’ie where the Mo’o had been killing many people. Kana easily defeated the Mo’o taking its head. He chopped it into five pieces and flung them into the ocean. The pieces of the lizard’s head can still be seen today as five small islands lying off-shore their original names were Kihewamoku, Moluaaniwa, Pulemoku, Malualai and Keauakaluapa’a’a.

 (Source: “Hawaiian Legends” by William Rice, Bishop Museum Bulletin, Honolulu, HI 1923).

The rock formations are a stunning sight and beautiful to photograph. At Laie Point you can also see what the locals call “the hole in the rock.” Located in the rock island to the far left of the point, a hole can be seen in the middle of the island, which was created after a tsunami hit it in 1946. This is also the point where Mila Kunis and Jason Segel jumped off in ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall‘. We didn’t see many cliff jumpers the day we were there because it was terribly windy and giant waves were crashing on the rocks! Would love to go back and jump off the cliff on a day when the waves aren’t as intense.

The north shores - Oahu

After about an hour of wave watching and some soul-searching at the tip of the cliff, we realized we were famished and we decided to go look for one of the popular shrimp trucks in the area. We chose Giovanni’s based on all the reviews and were not in the least bit disappointed. Hot fresh buttered garlicky shrimp was just what I needed. For non shrimp lovers, there are some other trucks in the area that have other options as well.

3. The spitting caves – On day 3 at the island, we started heading towards Honolulu, our final destination. We decided to drive along the southern coast for more scenic views and so we could stop at the famous Hanauma Bay. As luck would have it, the parking lot was already full by the time we got there so we just had to settle for a view of the bay from one of the lookout points. We had read about the spitting caves just a short distance away, so we decided to go check that out instead. It isn’t very easy to find as the access path is in a residential area and not very well-marked. I am glad we didn’t skip seeing this place because the natural rock formations really make this place stand out. The spitting cave is where the ocean smashes against a few huge rocks and there is a cave where the waves go in and the pressure pushes the water out. Quite an amazing sight and it wasn’t crowded at all.

4. Honolulu – Crowded and bustling like any other tourist city. Downtown Honolulu is literally a mixture of old buildings, new buildings, bars, shops and restaurants. We checked into a hotel right on Waikiki so we wouldn’t have to drive out much on the last 2 days of our vacation. It was nice to just walk around, catch some of the FIFA World cup matches at the local bars and sample some delicious Japanese food.

The day we arrived also happened to be the day of the Pan-Pacific Parade down the Kalakaua Avenue, the main strip next to Waikiki beach. The main street is temporarily closed down to vehicular traffic from Lewers Street to Kaiulani Avenue to accommodate this festive parade. Thousands of participants included colorful performers, taiko drummers, dancers, ethnic cultural groups, and high school marching bands. It was a true feast and we felt lucky to have witnessed it.


The next morning we drove up to Mt. Tantalus (Puu Ualakaa State Park) to get a glimpse of the lovely skyline of Diamond Head and the city of Honolulu. It is a beautiful drive up the hill and the views are just stunning! (Opener photo)

5. Pearl Harbor – What a beautiful memorial! The exhibits are great and the grounds are very well maintained. The atmosphere is somber and everyone so respectful of the site. There are four main exhibits and if you choose to see them all, it will probably take up most of your day. Do make sure to reserve a ticket to see the USS Arizona online a few weeks before your trip. A small number of tickets are also given out each morning.  The office opens at 7:00 AM, but an employee recommended arriving at 6:00 AM to get in line.  The tickets assign a time to view the film. Directly after, the audience boards a boat to the USS Arizona Memorial. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, they only had late afternoon slots available and we had a flight out that afternoon so had to miss seeing it. We did get tickets to the USS Bowfin, so we did an audio tour of the submarine. The tour was extremely informative and included personal accounts from veterans and residents to bring the story to life. This was very helpful, as I found the amount of information displayed quite overwhelming, especially in the submarine museum. Will definitely go back to visit the USS Arizona and USS Missouri on the next trip.

The trip ended on a very good note and I have just picked up a copy of Hawaii – The Big Island Revealed, to start planning a trip back to the gorgeous islands.