Retrospective 2008

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Collage2008 

We've come full circle! Here we are at the cusp of a new year. As we stand on top of the hill looking forward to all 2009 will bring, I can't help but take a quick glance back at 2008. 

Even though we've just experienced an extremely volatile year with the economy down to it's worst, terrorists in Bombay and the yo-yo prices of gas to name a few issues, personally it was a good year with several great highlights scattered throughout.

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Daring Bakers: Chocolate & Coconut French Yule Log

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French Yule Log (01) by MeetaK

This gives layer cake a whole new dimension. We've had a couple of those within the Daring Bakers' challenges this year, but none quite like this one. This was an exquisite example of taking a few of the most delectable desserts, loved by many, and putting it together, layer upon layer all in one dessert. Trust the French to pull off something like this so elegantly!

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A German Christmas and Zimtsterne - Cinnamon Stars

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Cooking School: Classic Zimtsterne - Cinnamon Stars

Zimtsterne (01) by MeetaK

The countdown to Christmas, here in Germany, starts with the beginning of Advent. Soeren especially loves this time of year. For him the magic of Christmas chimes in on the first of December with the opening of the first door on his Advent’s calendar.

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Marzipan Almond Kipferl - The Crescent Cookies

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Almond Marzipan Kipferl (02) by MeetaK

Just a few more days to Christmas! I really love this time of year. I just can't help it. The merry spirit absorbs me completely, sucking me into all it's glittery glory. The crisp cool air is radiating making my nose and cheeks tingle. I feel elated as I walk down the cobblestone streets, the shop windows decorated in sparkling tinsel and colorful baubles. It's all so cliché, I know but I just love it. 

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Crumbly Ginger Shortbread

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Ginger Shortbread (01) by MeetaK

December brings the pleasant and rather therapeutic baking period with it. My cookie sheets and baking forms are all scrubbed clean and the oven is raring to go. December is the time for Christmas baking – where sugar, spices, sweet and savory, nuts, chocolate and fruit all are the main ingredients for joyous Christmas spirit.

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Menu For Hope and My Prize

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MFH Banner LongA Menu For Hope 5 starts today. I've been participating in this annual fundraiser sponsored by Chez Pim for the past two years. Something I am very proud of. 

Each December, food bloggers from all over the world join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related prizes for the Menu for Hope raffle. Anyone – and that means you too - can buy raffle tickets to bid on these prizes. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of your choice. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim.

Last year Menu for Hope raised $91,188.00!

Once again this year, donations will raise money for the UN World Food Program, targeted to a school food program in Lesotho.

I am asking everyone who reads this blog to take a bit of time and read what this program is all about and what our donations do to help the children in Lesotho.

I love cookbooks! Flipping the pages of exciting new creations or finding a recipe of a traditional dish is a passion. Any die hard foodie will know what I mean. I have selected a grand cookbook for my prize donation.

600 Curries is a new and exciting cookbook by Raghavan 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer Prize Code EU17  Iyer. A few months ago I bought my own copy of this book and have been licking my fingers at all the delicious recipes presented here. There are several traditional Indian curries in this book but what I love the most about 660 Curries is that Iyer presents new and innovative recipes. 660 Curries is the gateway to the world of Indian cooking, demystifying one of the world’s great cuisines. A must have for every curry lover.

Prize Code: EU17 [Shipping: Europe Only]

Here's how to participate in A Menu for Hope:

  1. Starting December 15 you'll see prize announcements appearing on food blogs around the world. Complete lists of prizes can be found at the blogs of the regional hosts (you'll find the list of each host below) and the full list of prizes at Chez Pim. Browse through each prize carefully. There are some great offers and I am sure you will have fun visiting your favorite food blogs and choosing a prize.
  2. Once you've picked your prize, go to the donation site at First Giving and make a donation. (That link will be active starting at 9:00 A.M. Pacific Time on December 15).
  3. Please specify which prize you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form. You must write in how many tickets per prize, and use the prize code. (Each $10 you donate will buy one raffle ticket toward any prize. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for UW09. Please write 2xEU01, 3xUW09.) The prize code for this donation is EU17.
  4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.
  5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win.Your email address will not be shared with anyone.


Here are the regional hosts, where you can see more prizes.
Europe - Sara of Ms.Adventures in Italy
US: West (Closer to SF than to NY.)  - Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites
U.S. East (Closer to NY than to SF.) - Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen
Canada - Meena Agarwal of Hooked on Heat
Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand - Ed Charles of Tomato
Special Wine Blog Host: Alder of Vinography

If you're a food blogger who'd like to sponsor a prize, find the e-mail address for hosts at Chez Pim and contact the regional host in your area.


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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Aromatic: Sun Dried Tomato and Purple Basil Pesto

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Sundried Tomato Pesto (01) by MeetaK

A simple light meal today! The period from Thanksgiving right through to New Year’s is a killer. For the past few days I have been feeling extremely satiated. It’s all those parties and get-togethers that are the norm during this time of the year. We have so many events scheduled on our calendar this month and each one with promises of luscious food.

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Monthly Mingle 28: The World of Spice Cookies

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MM spice cookies

No other month in the year can boast of "sugar and spice and all things nice" like December can. Ovens around the blog world are currently working overtime baking cakes, pies, and sweet treats for the Holidays. Cookies are always a vital part of the Holiday baking. Every country has its own cookie specialty and very family have their own recipes for baking such specialities.

To celebrate the Holiday baking season I would like to get all my friends and readers together to join me in this month's Monthly Mingle and bake cookies. Not just any cookies mind you. For this mingle I am looking for traditional spiced cookies from around the world.

Add a hint of cardamom, a touch of cinnamon or a sprinkling of saffron to a cookie and you have cookies full of delicious fragrance and flavor. I would like you to travel the world of cookies in search of traditional spice cookies specialities. The Indian Badam Katli, Italian Amaretti, French macaroons, German Lebkuchen, Lebanese Baklava or the Austrian Vanilla Kipferl are all exciting options for this mingle and I would like to end the year with a luxurious extravaganza of spicy, sweet, savory, piquant and tasty cookies. Come join me and celebrate a World of Spice Cookies!

51OehUjVyuL._SL210_ I am not alone this mingle! This month I am joined by my lovely blogger friend Anita of Dessert First. For those who read Anita's blog will know that she has recently published her first book. We all fevered with her each step of the way and now it's finally here: Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imaginable!

This cookie bible includes not only over 100 cookie recipes but offers helpful baking notes and fascinating historical trivia. Each cookie is photographed in glorious full color with step-by-step instructions on how to prepare, bake, serve and store your creations. And a copy of this cookie book could just become yours!

Anita has been kind enough to provide a copy of her Field Guide to Cookies to one lucky winner. Being my personal cookie expert I have asked Anita to judge and pick an entry that best qualifies. Remember the criteria for the entries are:

  • the cookies have to be a traditional speciality from a country of choice
  • contain at least one spice in the ingredients

Get those aprons on and your cookies sheets out and send me your world of spice cookies. The deadline is 5 January 2009.

There has been a minor change in the Monthly Mingle's guidelines. I am requesting all my readers submitting entries for the Monthly Mingle to send me recipes that have exclusively been made for the respective mingle. Over the past few months I have noticed one entry being submitted to 5 - 6 blog events! In the past I did not mind if your Monthly Mingle entry was submitted to 1 or 2 other events. However, after seeing some entries being submitted to 6 blog events I decided to enforce this guideline with immediate effect.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Create a dish that fits the theme of “World of Spice Cookies” as described above
  2. Post about it on your blog anytime from now until 5 January 2009 (entries must be in English, please).
  3. Your creation must exclusively be prepared for the current Monthly Mingle theme and cannot be submitted to any other blog event.
  4. You must provide a link to this post and send the details to me (see below).

Once you’ve posted your dish, send an email with “Monthly Mingle: World of Spice Cookies” in the subject line to: meetasmingle (at) gmail (dot) com by 5 January with the following information:

  • your name
  • your location
  • the name of your blog and its URL
  • the name of your dish and a link to the relevant post
  • a copy of the main photo of your dish 200px wide (and compressed so that it is below 1MB!)

I hope you will enjoy your cookie baking. Anita and I are really looking forward to each wonderful cookie creation. See you!

If you too would like to guest host the Monthly Mingle in the future drop me an email at blogmeeta [at] gmail [DOT] com (Please note that this email address is different to the one you should send in your entries at.)


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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Low-Sugar Treats: Orange Chocolate Muffins

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Chocolate Orange Muffins (02) by MeetaK

Being a mother of a 6 year old, we often have full house. Sleep-over friends, play afternoon friends or just the neighborhood kids, all have become a part of our household. When we are at home, our front door remains unlocked and Soeren’s friends have gotten used to ringing once and then just coming in.

I cannot tell you how many times I have jumped out of my skin when I come racing downstairs to find a kid in my kitchen who is not my son. Yeah – that’s the first place they all head to. It does not surprise me – it’s where all the goodies are stored after all.

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RAW & Delicious 2009

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It's time to think ahead folks. 2009 is right around the corner and a few of you wrote to me asking me if I was going to be making the RAW calendar again. Yes - but this time you're not getting one but a choice of two different calendars.

Delicious 2009

Scrumptious and mouth watering - Delicious 2009 takes a few favorite desserts from the past year and each month becomes a sweet treat. Here's a closer look at the 12 pictures featured in this delicious calendar!

Delicious 2009 01 

Delicious 2009 02

 Delicious 2009 03

Delicious 2009 04

You can order the Delicious 2009 calendar exclusively at my Zazzle gallery.

RAW 2009

My RAW series has been very popular in the past two years and for 2009 I've created the latest calendar in this series. RAW 2009 has glossy pictures of fresh fruit and vegetables, some never been seen on the blog. Take a closer look at the pictures featured.

RAW Set 01 

RAW Set 02 

RAW Set 03 

RAW Set 04

 RAW 2009 is also available at my Zazzle gallery.

All further calendar details regarding sizes, customization, price and quality can be found on the link for each respective calendar.

For future reference you will find the link to the calendars easily on my sidebar.

If you are in Germany and are interested in one of these calendars, please contact me per email. As Zazzle only offers calendars in English and the shipping prices to Germany are rather high, I have arranged for other means. The calendars are in German, with German Bank Holidays and delivery prices are very reasonable.

Hope you like these calendars!


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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Homemade Parsnip Gnocchi with Rucola Cashew Pesto

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 Parsnip Gnocchi (02) by MeetaK

Rock solid! That’s what the ice on my windscreen this morning was. It was so hard that here was no way my ice scraper was going to break any ice. At -5 degrees C my hands were freezing onto anything that had the slightest bit of moistness!

Winter has settled down comfortably in our parts. There was beautiful snow all through the Thanksgiving weekend and this week it’s been a bit dull, cold and icy.

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Flavors: South African Chicken Biryani

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South African Biryani (02) by MeetaK

It is believed that a culture cannot have a great cuisine unless it is spiced with many outside influences. Should this be true then South African cuisine has got be among the greatest in the world.

I was introduced to this cuisine several years ago when a South African friend cooked a delicious bobotie for me. The several layers of flavor in this one dish were incredible and it prompted me to look a little more deeply into the food from South Africa.

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