Homemade Garlic Breadsticks

Crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, nothing can beat these Garlic Breadsticks from heaven!

Garlic Breadsticks

Friday, 14th February. When everyone was busy cuddling with their loved ones, I was at home baking these delicious garlic breadtsticks and I think I still had more fun than they did. I know bread making is the most dreadful task one can think off but surprisingly it wasn’t that difficult. Actually, it wasn’t difficult at all. All you really need is patience and good quality yeast. If you have these then you’re almost there.

Garlic Breadsticks

I had originally planned to make only twisty breadsticks but I couldn’t help but make myself some cheezy garlic breadsticks too. It’s the same bread only shaped differently and topped with cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Now that I come to think of it, I can make endless number of breads and pizza bases with this dough. It really is a full proof recipe and not at all difficult. All you really do is mix flour, salt, olive oil and a little sugar together and add in lukewarm water with proofed yeast. You knead these together until the dough is springy to touch and then let it rest for 1-2 hours. Believe me you do not need a mixer, you are very much capable of kneading this bread by hands. For a good bread you don’t need a mixer, what you need is high quality yeast. Yeast is what makes your bread rise, if it isn’t good enough you’ll end with a cooked blob of flour. Use only the highest quality yeast you can find. No compromises. After the resting time is over the dough should’ve doubled in size. I took pictures of my before and after dough, you can see below that my dough has doubled in size. At this point the you have to punch the dough to release the air and then let it rest for another 10 minutes before baking it.

bread dough

Once the dough has rested you have to roll it out on a lightly floured surface and then brush it with melted butter mixed with chopped roasted garlic, sprinkle salt and pepper and cut stripes. To twist the bread strips, overlap one end of the strip onto the other and lightly press it. Now twist both the ends at the same time (one clockwise and the other anti clockwise) to give it that look. You can see below that I made strips with only half of the dough, with the other half I made a flat style loaf, much like Domino’s. No need to fold this one over, place it on the baking tray with butter garlic brushed side on top.

Garlic Breadsticks Garlic Breadsticks Garlic Breadsticks

Garlic Breadsticks Garlic Breadsticks Garlic Breadsticks

You can skip making the flat loaf and only go with the strips or not twist the strips. It is completely up to you! You can try any shape you like, sky is the limit, literally! You can also load the twisty breadsticks with lots of cheese or skip it all together. Bake the breadsticks and dip them in melted butter to experience Nirvana.

Garlic Breadsticks

Once the bread is baked, sprinkle lots of mozzarella and cheddar cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the top has browned to your liking. The bread had a perfectly crisp crust and chewy center. All I can say is the satisfaction of eating a homemade is bread is incomparable. I know I say that for a lot of things but this time I really mean it.

Garlic Breadsticks

Garlic Breadsticks

Ingredients:

Makes: 28 sticks or 4 flat style loafs
(you can freeze half the dough if you don’t fancy making so many at once)

Prep Time: 2 hours 10 minutes (including dough resting time)

Baking Time: 20 minutes + 5 minutes for the cheese to brown (optional)

For the dough:

  • Active Dry Yeast, 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • Lukewarm Water, 1 1/3 cup* (or 360 ml)
  • All Purpose Flour, 3 1/2 cups (or 440 grams)
  • Olive Oil, 2 tablespoons**
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar, 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon

For the toppings (for half the dough):

  • Melted butter, 60 grams (and extra for dipping if you like)
  • Garlic bulb, 1 medium
  • Cheese, 1/2 cup grated (mozzarella and cheddar mixed) ***
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

*Make sure the water is lukewarm and not hot. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast, if its not too warn the yeast won’t wake up. It has to be just right. To make sure the water is the perfect temperature, warm it up and stick your finger in it. If you can keep your finger in the water comfortably then go ahead and add the yeast but if it feels hot to touch and you can’t hold your finger in the water for more than a few seconds, wait until it cools down a bit.

**If you’re out of olive oil, you can use vegetable oil instead.

*** Cheese is completely optional, if you like you can even add a little Parmesan.

Garlic Breadsticks

Method:

1. To Make the Dough:

  • The first step in making the dough is proofing the yeast. If you’re using instant yeast you can skip this step. Pour the lukewarm water in a jar and add in 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, mix until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, sprinkle yeast over it and stir vigorously until the yeast is somewhat dissolved. Cover the jar with plastic wrap for 10 minutes and keep aside. After 10 minutes you will notice that the surface of the water will be foamy, this means the yeast is active and ready to be used.
  • In a bowl, add in the flour, salt, olive oil, 1 tablespoon sugar and mix. Slowly add in the yeast water until you form a ball of dough. Toss the dough out on a floured surface and knead for 7-8 minutes or until the dough is springy to touch, meaning if you poke the dough it springs back slowly. If it doesn’t spring back, knead it until it does.
  • Lightly coat the dough with oil and place it in a large bowl lightly coated with oil too. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 1-2 hours or  until the dough doubles in size. This time can vary depending upon the quality of the yeast used, mine took around 1 hour 10 minutes. Whilst the dough is resting, roast the garlic.

2. To Roast the Garlic:

Slice off the top of the garlic (the hairy part) and drizzle olive oil over the exposed cloves. Sprinkle salt and pepper and roast at 180 degree Celsius for 20 minutes or until it is lightly browned. Take out the garlic and peel it when it cools down a bit. The insides will be very soft, chop them very finely and mix with melted butter and keep aside

3. To Make the Breadsticks:

  • When the dough has doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap and punch the dough down to release the air (the most fun part of baking bread). Divide into two balls and place them in separate bowls, cover and keep aside for 10 minutes. At this point you can decide to either use both the balls or freeze one and use one later. Freezing and thawing details are given at the end of the recipe.
  • Preheat oven at 180 degree Celsius for 15 minutes and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Take one ball out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out until about 2/3rd of an inch thick. Generously brush the melted butter roasted garlic mixture all over the dough surface, sprinkle salt and pepper and cut into strips, overlap and twist them . You can use half to make flat loaf style garlic breadsticks (details given above with pictures).
  • Bake the breadsticks at 180 degree Celsius for 20 minutes. If it doesn’t brown on top after 20 minutes, switch off the bottom grill and move the bread to the bottom shelf of the oven and switch on the top grill or roast mode for 4-5 minutes. When you see the top browning slightly take the breadsticks out.
  • For Cheesy Flat loaf Style Breadsticks: After you take out the flat loaf garlic bread from the oven, cut it into strips and push the strips close to each other, load it with grated cheese and roast only the top for 4-5 minutes or until the cheese browns a bit.

Devour the goodness of this fresh homemade garlic bread, enjoy it with melted butter. I brush some on top after the bread has been baked and also dip the bread in it. 

Freezing and Thawing : If you decide to save half of the dough to be enjoyed later, simply coat it with oil lightly and place it in a ziplock or airtight bag and freeze until required. You can freeze the dough for upto 3 months. You can freeze the baked breadsticks for 2 months. Thaw: Transfer the frozen dough ball bag from the freezer to the refrigerator and keep it there overnight or for 12 hours. When you’re ready to bake the breadsticks, place them outside on the kitchen counter 30 minutes before baking or until it reaches room temp. Continue with “To make the breadsticks” (step 3 from Preheat the oven).

Write to me for any queries!

You can connect with me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Google Plus for regular updates.

This recipe has been adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction. 

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How to Make Strawberry Jam with Only 3 Ingredients?

This strawberry jam requires only 3 ingredients and will fail all the other jams!

Strawberry Jam

I’ve been taking full advantage of the seasonal strawberries and now that winters have almost come to an end I thought of preserving this love fruit to be enjoyed later on. Like a gazillion other people, I too was extremely reluctant to make jams because of the perceived fear of it being a “complex” process. This recipe proves all your fears wrong because its literally as easy as boiling water. I found this strawberry jam recipe last year and this was actually what helped me gain confidence in jam making.  

Quite honestly, after tasting this jam you will actually understand what you’ve been missing in your life. That lifeless commercially produced jam that you’ve been eating for centuries will suddenly feel like dirt to you. I’m dead sure you’ll agree with me once you eat this.

Strawberry Jam

My aim has always been to find the easiest recipes and get them to you and this is one of my best. This recipe requires 3 ingredients: Strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. All you really need to do is puree strawberries, add in the sugar, lemon juice and boil the mixture for 10 minutes. Nothing complex about that, is there?!

Normally while making jams, you’re required to add pectin but not in this one. Pectin is what makes jam, jam-like. It the substance that is required to help set the jam and make it jelly-like. The sugar is quite enough to make it set. The jam isn’t as hard though, its more like a strawberry spread but you can increase the amount of sugar or alternatively add in pureed and cooked apple to it as apples are natural sources of pectin. I would suggest about 1/4 cup of cooked and pureed apple. To learn about cooking and pureeing apple refer to my apple and cinnamon jam.

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:

Makes: 1 cup Jam or roughly 250 ml (perfectly fits a 320 ml Bonne Mamman jam jar)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

  • Strawberries, Pureed, 1 cup
  • Sugar, 3/4 cup or 170 grams
  • Lemon Juice, 1 tablespoon

You will also need a Glass Jar, 320-350 ml and a funnel to pour the jam, if you’re clumsy like me.

Strawberry Jam Strawberry Jam

Process:

Sterilize a glass jam jar. Learn all about sterilizing jars here.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.

  1. Clean and hull (get rid of the green leafy part) the strawberries. Puree all the strawberries, except a few. Save 3-4 whole strawberries (hulled). That way you’ll have a few whole strawberries in the final jam.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pan, add in the pureed strawberries, the whole strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Heat this on low until the sugar has completely dissolved. It is important for the sugar to completely dissolve or else the jam will be sugary.
  3. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to high and start a timer. You have to boil this jam for exactly 9 minutes, while stirring constantly.
  4. Let the jam stand for about 10 minutes so that whole strawberries distribute evenly (if you’re not putting whole strawberries then skip this step and pour the jam straight away). Using a funnel, pour jam in hot dry jars and tightly secure the lid. Keep the jar in the refrigerator and eat when cold with toasted bread or scones.

*You will notice foam building up when you start boiling the jam but it should settle down after 4 minutes. It is completely normal.

** I make jams to be eaten straight away. This one is no exception. Keep this jam in the refrigerator at all times and it will stay for up to 3 months.

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Easy Mushrooms Stuffed Ravioli with Tomato and Basil Sauce

Easy homemade ravioli stuffed with super easy mushroom filling and served with tangy tomato and basil sauce. This is SOUL FOOD AT IT’S BEST!

Disclaimer: I have no training in any cuisine whatsoever. All recipes and techniques I develop are from the internet and/or cookery books. If you feel like my recipe needs a bit of work or thought, please feel free to drop in a comment. I would love to hear from you. Calling all my fellow Italian bloggers to review the recipe and give it their nod! 🙂

Mushroom Stuffed Raviolis with Tomato and Basil Sauce

I love raviolis, my favorite being spinach and ricotta ravioli in tomato sauce. The creamy salty ricotta gets perfectly balanced with the tanginess from the sauce. I can eat that thing forever and I do, all by myself! Who needs to share soul food anyway, right?!

Last year I made raviolis for the first time, that was when I had started creating and experimenting with different cuisines in the kitchen and started trying out dishes labeled as “Complex”. I know a lot of people would consider raviolis or homemade pastas as complex and wouldn’t dare to try it. I was one of them too. The ease of opening a packet of supermarket pasta and boiling it is immeasurable and it would take a lot of effort for me to convince you to attempt this dish but all I can say the you sense of achievement of achievement you feel when you make your own pasta is out of this world. When you see pasta made with your own two hands, you’ll understand the feeling I’m talking about. Quite honestly, when I made raviolis for the first time and they came out perfect, I became so much more confident of my cooking skills.

homemade pasta

You don’t need too many ingredients to make pasta at home and it is way cheaper than the store bought version. All you need is flour, olive oil, eggs and salt. I’m sure you have these in your pantry now and it doesn’t even take that long. All you need to do is mix these ingredients, make a ball of dough then knead it for 10 minutes. It doesn’t take up too time much except that you’ll need to let it rest for a little while, from 30 minutes to 1 hour and then cut it in the desired shapes. I know a lot of people let their doughs rest for 12-24 hours but I lack their patience, if I want something I want it now and 1 hour resting time works perfectly because you can prepare your sauce and the filling in that time.

pasta dough

This recipe doesn’t even require for you to have a pasta machine, I don’t have one and I don’t even feel the need to get one, not because its useless (I’ve heard its a bliss to have one) but because I don’t make raviolis everyday and investing in something I’ll only use once or twice a month or sometimes once in 6 months doesn’t make any sense to me. My good ol’ rolling pin works just fine. It takes a bit of effort but I’m Indian and we make rotis, so I know how to knead and roll out dough perfectly. It takes a bit of practice in the beginning but once you get hold of it, it becomes quite enjoyable and relaxing.

homemade mushroom ravioli with tomato sauce

Ingredients:

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 1 hour (including the dough resting time)

Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes

For the Dough

  • All Purpose Flour, 200 grams
  • Eggs, 2
  • Olive Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Salt

For the Filling

  • Garlic, 4-5 cloves
  • Button Mushrooms, 200 gms
  • Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Butter, 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Sauce

  • Garlic, 4-5 Cloves
  • Onion, 1 large, chopped
  • Butter, 2 tablespoons
  • Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon
  • Tomatoes, 3 medium, chopped (use the reddest tomatoes you can find)
  • Tomato Puree, 1/2 cup
  • Cheddar Cheese, 2 tablespoons, grated
  • Water, 1/2 cup
  • Basil Leaves, 4-5
  • Salt, pepper and oregano, to taste

TIP: If you don’t have olive oil, use vegetable oil instead.

Homemade Mushroom Stuffed Raviolis with Tomato and Basil Sauce

Process:

  1. Prepare your dough by mixing all the ingredients listed under “for the dough”. Get it all together using a fork and toss it on a floured surface to knead. If you feel the dough is not coming together, add a little water. Now knead this dough for roughly 10 minutes or until the dough feels soft and looks smooth. You can refer to a picture above, that’s my dough. Cover it in cling film or plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes-1hour.
  2. In the meantime, prepare your filling. In a pan, add in the olive oil and butter. Once the butter starts melting add in the garlic and fry until just golden brown in colour. Now toss in the chopped mushrooms and saute it. At this point lower the heat,  cover the pan and cook mushrooms until just done. This should take somewhere around 10 minutes. You should keep peeking though so that they don’t burn.
  3. Whilst the mushrooms are cooking, we’ll prepare the sauce by taking a heavy bottomed pan. Heat the olive oil and add in 1 tablespoon of butter (save the remaining 2 for later). When the butter starts to melt, add in the garlic and saute until golden brown in color. Now toss in the chopped onions and saute for a minute. Lower the heat and let the onions cook on low heat and brown.
  4. By this time your mushrooms should be done for the filling. Add in the salt and pepper and set them aside to cool. You need the filling to be at room temp before stuffing it in the raviolis.
  5. Getting back to our sauce, check if the onions have browned a bit, if they have add in the tomatoes and tomato puree and cook at high for a minute. Lower the heat again, add in the remaining tablespoon of butter and let the tomatoes cook. Add in  the basil leaves (as many you desire) and a little water from the 1/2 cup you have reserved for the sauce, 1/4 cup should suffice. This should prevent the tomato from sticking to the bottom. Let this cook on very low heat for about 10 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally. DO NOT hurry this sauce or else it won’t taste the same. Give it time to develop flavor, the most important part being cooking the tomatoes until they turn deep red.
  6. Once the tomatoes look cooked or darker in color, add in the remaining water if required. If you like a thick sauce you may skip the water. Add in the cheese, salt, pepper and oregano. You can fry a few extra mushrooms like you did for the filling and add them to the sauce at this point. I also like to add in an additional tablespoon of butter after this point but its completely your call.
  7. This sauce will be rustic with bits and chunks in it, if you prefer a smoother version just whizz up the sauce using a hand blender or in a food processor. WARNING: The sauce will change color from red to orange if you blend it. If you don’t mind that, carry on but if you want the sauce to remain red even after whizzing, skip the cheese in step 6, add it only after blending the sauce (or you can skip it altogether).
  8. For the raviolis, refer the pictures below.

homemade raviolis

  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface using  a rolling pin. The dough should be really thin. Paper thin.
  • Using a cookie cutter cut out round shapes in the pasta dough and mount the mushroom filling on them in the center.
  • Using a pizza cutter, you can make linguine pasta too. (optional)
  • Take another piece of round cut dough and place it over the piece of dough with filling on it. Press the edges.
  • Use a fork to seal the raviolis by pressing it gently on the edges and making sure that the pieces of dough are locked.
  • In a deep pan, add in water and salt and bring to a roaring boil. Toss in the raviolis and boil for 2 minutes. Same for linguine.

TIP: Apply flour to your rolling pin too, to prevent it from sticking. Avoid using too much flour while rolling the dough though as it can make the raviolis tougher.

9.  To assemble, simply transfer the raviolis to the serving plates and drizzle sauce generously. Sprinkle cheese, Cheddar or even better Parmesan. Decorate with a few basil leaves and serve.

I really hope you like the recipe and try it out. I’d love for you to write to me with your feedback.

Connect with me: I’m available on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. All links on the homepage.

Radhika M. xx

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Tomato and Capsicum Soup

It’s cold! I don’t know about the world but Delhi is COLD! 6 degrees is cold enough to freeze your brain! Getting out of the bed and cooking is a task for me these days. Who wants to leave a warm bed to make a gourmet meal ? I know I don’t, despite being addicted to cooking and baking. So I keep searching for soups and other things that can be made easily. I actually made this soup a few days back, didn’t find the time to upload the recipe. It’s quite simple and tastes ‘almost’ like Minestrone soup. Anyone who’s looking for a quick yet yummy fix for this chilly weather must try this. I actually made cornbread to go with it, will upload that recipe next!

Tomato and Capsicum soup

Tomato and Capsicum Soup with Cornbread.

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 tbsp Olive Oil/Vegetable Oil

2 Tomatoes Chopped

1 small Potato Chopped

1 medium Capsicum Chopped

3 Cloves of Garlic Chopped

500 ml Vegetable Stock (Add 500 ml hot water to 2 cubes of vegetable stock)

2 tbsp Tomato Puree

Salt and pepper to taste

Process:

Tomato and capsicum soup 1) Heat oil in  a pan, fry garlic, onions  and capsicum in it until the onions are soft.

 

 

 

 

vegetables2) Add in the tomatoes, tomato puree and potatoes and fry for about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

tomato and capsicum soup3) Add in the vegetable stock. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes on low heat, or until the potatoes are cooked. Once the potatoes are tender, take the soup off the heat.

 

 

 

 

tomato and capsicum soup 4) Using a hand blender, whizz the soup until it has a creamy smooth texture. Add in the salt and pepper and the soup is done!

 

 

 

 

Once the soup is done, serve it warm with a bread of your choice.

tomato and capsicum soup

I hope you like this recipe, please write back for any queries or comments! I would love your feedback!

Keep warm and keep cooking!

Love,

Radhika xx

Eggs in Bell Peppers

Hello my readers!

A few days back, I found this really adorable picture of eggs in bell peppers on the internet. I was so impressed with how easy and cute they looked that I couldn’t stop myself from trying it! (addicted to cooking I guess) :p

So, I’ll show you how to make these really easy, I mean, really really easy Eggs in bell peppers for breakfast! All the guys, who starve themselves to death because you can’t cook a decent meal, READ THIS! All you need is eggs, bell peppers, tomato and seasoning! I made this today and it turned out great! Loved the recipe too much and they look super adorable too!

Eggs in bell peppers

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs
  • Bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 tomato
  • Salt, pepper and oregano for seasoning

Process:

 

eggs in bell pepper

Heat a pan, add some olive oil. Cut a thick slice of bell pepper (deep enough for an egg to fit) and tomato. Cook tomatoes and bell peppers for a bit on either sides. Season the tomato after putting them inside the peppers. Crack an egg in each bell pepper case and cook until done to your liking! Season with salt, pepper and oregano!

Breakfast is ready! As easy as that!

eggs in bell pepper

eggs in bell pepper

eggs in bell pepper

I hope you’ll enjoy making this as much as I did! Write back to let me know what you think of this recipe!

Happy cooking!

Love

Radhika xx

Apple and Cinnamon Jam

Hello my lovely readers!

Today I’m sharing the recipe of my beloved Apple and Cinnamon jam, or “winter in a jar” as I like to call it! Jam making is a dreaded activity, Indians don’t make jams as much as they should and with all the range of fruits and veggies we have available, I think we can make 5 types of jams for each season! The comfort of making your own jam and then waking up and eating it the next morning on your favorite bread with a little butter is ~ out of this world but the process is so overrated! So before you decide to just put off the idea of making your own jam, just read the recipe once and decide for yourself! This jam recipe does not require any complex ingredients, all the ingredients are so easily available and the process is easy too. And I bet, once you make your own jam you will never ever eat that cheap crap available at the supermarkets.

Here goes the recipe, I hope you enjoy it!

apple cinnamon jam

Ingredients

This recipe yields about 650-700 grams of jam. You will need two sterilized jars. To learn about sterilizing jars, click here.

5 Medium Sized Apples or 900 gms Apples

400 gms Sugar

370 ml Water

1 Lemon (Juice and Rind)

1-2 Cloves (optional) for that extra feel of winters

1/3 of a whole Cinnamon stick

I’m a sucker for cinnamon, so I used an extra tsp of cinnamon powder and put that when my apples were done cooking. You can see my beautiful cinnamon through that golden goodness of my jam! This recipe is forgiving and if the ingredients are a little here and there, it won’t matter. I anyway never follow recipes thoroughly, I read them and adjust them to my taste. Like this recipe called for 700 gms of sugar, but who can eat that much? :o I know I can’t. This is a sweet jam, but not one of those crazy super sweet jams that could give you Diabetes!

P.S. I found this recipe on the internet a long time ago, despite my best efforts I can’t seem to locate it now, so if this recipe belongs to you or anyone you know, then please write back. I’ll be happy to credit you!

Process

Step 1: Wash the apples, remove the stalks and only the stalks! Do not peel or remove the core of the apples, that’s what’s going to make your jam, jam-like. Dice the apples (shapes don’t matter) and put in a pan with the lemon juice, lemon rind, cloves (if you’re using it), cinnamon stick and water. Cook until the apples on a low heat until the apples are tender  and reduced to a pulp. After 40 minutes of cooking, when the apples have lost their color and start to look opaque, they’re done.

Step 2: Take the apples off the heat and sieve them to the last drop! In this process, you will sieve out cinnamon, cloves, the core and all the unwanted stuff. What you’re left with is one hell of a pulp.

Step 3: Put the pulp is a heavy bottomed pan and add the sugar (this is when I added the cinnamon powder, you can too, as I said earlier this recipe is very forgiving). Let the sugar melt on low heat. Once the sugar melts and the mixture looks smooth to you (shouldn’t take longer than 3 minutes), bring it to a roaring boil and keep stirring. The jam has to boil for exactly 10 minutes with constant stirring. Do a quick cold plate test. If your jam wrinkles, it is done.

Store in sterilized jars and consume within a month.

Enjoy this sunshine on a toast with butter and tea!

Jar full of sunshine!

I really hope you enjoy making this jam!

Love,

Radhika xx