Sweet 'tea' of mine

Sweet 'tea' of mine

Down foodpath

Sweet 'tea' of mine

I have a full-time job that keeps me busy almost all the time but food has always been a big part of my life. I grew up in a family where we dined out a lot and tried new recipes at home as well. I am a huge collector of cookbooks — I believe I own at least 75 cookbooks at home. It’s almost like my bedtime reading book, there’s always one on the side table. My favourite books are the ones with photographs as that gives me a good idea of how I can dish out when I try a recipe.

Because food is important to me, I started a blog in 2009 called ‘The FoodPorn Diaries’ where I document the recipes that I create. I’ve also started reviewing restaurants and there are a few travel stories on the page too. I manage my blog as a hobby. As I’m busy with my other work, I try to balance my time accordingly to take care of the blog as well. It is not always easy to do so, but I guess when you love something, you tend to set aside some time for it. And it doesn’t feel so traumatic because you’re doing what you love after all. I try not to overburden myself with work, so it’s usually on the weekends that I post some recipe on the blog. 

I take inspiration from the number of cookbooks I have in my bookshelf. I usually refer to the ‘Family Circle Encyclopedia of Cooking’ that’s written by multiple authors. For Indian recipes, I like Pushpesh Pant as he has some of the recipes we’ve forgotten about and even the ones that we never knew someone has even created. I also like Rachael Ray as she has a great way of creating the recipes in a fast and fulfilling way — it’s easy to try one of them during the weekdays.

    Nigella Lawson is also one of my favourites for her unique recipes. I can spend hours on Pinterest and Instagram browsing through recipes. Even though I refer to many recipes, I add my own twist to them as I wouldn’t be able to find all the ingredients
listed. And I’m always up for short cuts!

I’ve always been associated with food as I would be my dad’s personal sous chef even when I was just four or five years old. My dad would be the master chef who would make something unique and exotic while my mom would make the everyday dishes. Our dinner conversations would also revolve around food. We used to have this ritual at home where we would have our own ‘chaat’ party. We would fill the table with all the items we needed to make ‘chaat’ with and we would create our own. There was a time when I ate about 50 ‘pani puris’ and my parents had to ask me to stop so that I don’t fall sick. I think I have an iron gut because I was perfectly fine after all that!

Cooking and creating dishes has become a hobby for me and I’d like to keep it that way. I’ve never considered running my blog as a full-time opportunity as I have too many things I absolutely love doing. I don’t want to dedicate all my time to doing just one thing. I’ve also evolved a lot in terms of what I present. I started off making heavy, creamy pasta and baked pies. But now I make more natural, seasonal, high-flavoured and low effort dishes. The recipe that I’m sharing today is of a ‘Swedish Chocolate Cake’. It’s a traditional Swedish Fika (tea time) cake which is a cross between a cake and a brownie. I was surprised the moment I saw that it takes just about eight minutes to bake. The cake needs to be gooey.

All it needs is a dusting of cocoa powder to make it look gorgeous. It’s an absolute delight served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.”

Swedish Chocolate Cake



Cake flour 1 cup
Unsalted butter (melted and cooled) 10 tbsps
Plain breadcrumbs 3
Sugar 1 cup
Eggs 2
Natural cocoa powder
7 tbsps
Vanilla extract 2 tsps
Salt 1/4 tsp


 Grease the cake tin with some butter, dust with the breadcrumbs and shake away the excess. Heat the oven at 200-degree celsius.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt till well combined.

Add eggs one at a time and whisk until smooth.

Fold the flour into the batter until just combined. Pour into the cake tin.

Now bake for eight minutes. The cake should just form a skin but the center will still be gooey.

Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cake cool completely. You can pop it into the fridge to help unmould it.

If you are in a hurry, just scoop out a slice and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Swapna Venkatesh
(As told to Anila Kurian)
For details, log on to thefoodporndiaries.com

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