Celebrating First Blogiversary with tartlets & a Giveaway!

by Shumaila

Finally after the clouds tantalizing us for days, they decided to shower us with some water! And oh what a downpour! I have always loved the smell of freshly wet parched land! And since it started raining a little after I put a fig-date nut torte in the oven, the whole house smelled doubly good. Couldn’t wait for it to bake and have a warm slice with some tea, sitting outside, listening to some good music and enjoying the weather! And that’s exactly what I did!

It was an evening well spent. ๐Ÿ™‚

That was day before. Yesterday, too, it rained! Thank god since the heat had been killing me.

Yesterday, was doubly special as I completed 1 year of blogging!

*Celebratory dance*

I would have posted yesterday but the weather was really nice to be sitting in front of the computer. So I chose to enjoy my blogiversary by not blogging!

Yes, I do things differently. Go figure!

Like most food bloggers, I started this blog as a way to document my experiments in the kitchen with a few little snippets from my life thrown here and there.

I got married last year in March and shifted to the US in April, since my husband, V,ย  works here.

Partly because of the strict visa restrictions but mostly because of the place where we are- its a mining town with only the mine to work at- I could not take on any job, leaving me in a new place- bored most of the day! The blog came to my rescue and kept me busy.

Before marrying, I hardly cooked- never, to be more precise. I did bake occasionally though. So when I started cooking I found posting recipes on my blog as a way to keep track of what I make, serving as a reference when I wanted to make the same thing again. It was also a great way to keep busy and explore my passion for food.

ย The blog, of course grew and so did the obsession with it (I would refresh my site page every few minutes on certain days), though now the obsession is more or less tamed. “With age comes maturity. Thank god for that!”

And since I am in the thanking mood, thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of my blog, leaving me comments here, on my own facebook page- you have no idea how encouraging that is. A special thanks goes to those who painstakingly read most of my entries (and an even bigger one to those who read all)- I don’t know how you take all my rambling, but you should know, it means a lot!

One more thing before I get to the giveaway (sorry if I am testing your patience), here’s a little recap of the last one year- my top ten most viewed entries!

  1. Carrot and Cucumber Paper thin Bowls

2. Mango Kulfi

3. Butter Chicken

4. Vegetarian Samosas

5. Caramelized Onion Tartlets

6. Toasted Coconut Ice cream

7.ย  Carrot Cake Truffles

8. Mark Bittman’s No-Knead Bread

9. Zucchini & Coconut Bread

10. Caramelized Pineapples in Malibu Rum

Well, it has been a delicious year!

And, I want to give back to my readers who have made it possible.

As a thank you, I am hosting a giveaway!

The rules are simple, since I have no Facebook page to like, or a twitter account to tweet about!

And there is no compulsion to subscribe to my blog, though if you like what you see, it would really make my day if you do! You see the button saying “Sign me up” on the right just above the button for my foodgawker gallery- that’s what needs to be pressed!

(I’m sorry but I still haven’t figured out the RSS feed thing- you would think with all the time I spend on the computer I would have and a friend actually sending me a link explaining what to do- nah, I still am clueless or well actually, lazy to figure it out!)

Anyway if you want to, you can subscribe to my blog via email.

You will bring a smile to the novice/ “no vice” housewife’s face!

And like they say, a smile goes a long way!

But, no compulsions- I will understand- V will make me understand- not everyone can be interested in what I write and V will make sure I understand that. So no compulsion. I will have no qualms with you if you don’t subscribe. Promise!

As for what you have to do to get a chance to win the giveaway- just leave a comment on this post letting me know if you have tried anything from the site and how was it OR what you would like to try from my site OR something you would like me to try and post about. If this is your first time here, do explore the blog to find out what recipe you are most likely to try! Also, let me know what you would like to see more of on the Novice Housewife!

Simple, right?!

And since this is a self-sponsored giveaway I can only afford shipping to US residents. But, even if you are not from the US and know someone in the US- aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, sister, whoever, that likes baking and would enjoy this book, do leave a comment. In case you win I will be glad to ship it to that person!

Oh, I forgot what I am giving away!

Silly me!

Its Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hand to Yours

I really like this book and have tried the recipes for puff pastry, apple preserve, brioche- all with great success. The tartlet recipe I am posting today is also from this book. Even if you do not win the giveaway (I wish I could give it to as many people but then V would surely disown me) and would like to buy this book, do click on the link shown above to buy. It would be great if you could buy through my reference! A little money does not hurt anyone and I don’t mind the extra, albeit little, cash I can earn to sponsor some of the stuff I buy for the blog. V would be very happy to see me financing my own groceries!

The giveaway will close on August 15 at midnight, and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter. Good luck!



Adapted from Sarabeth Bakery: from my hand to yours

Makes two 9-inch tarts or eight 3 3/4 inch tartlets. I got 24 smaller tartlets.

For the filling I used salted caramel frosting in one and lemon cool whip frosting in the other. I also added a little orange zest in the tartlet shells to give the shells an identity of their own. It was very subtle so that it did not interfere with the filling but enough to give the shells some character.

The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 day, but let stand at room temperature before rolling out as it will be very hard to work fresh from the refrigerator. It can be frozen, double wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks. Defrost in refrigerator overnight.


  • 12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature, cut into tbsp
  • 6 tbsp superfine sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, beaten ( I used 2 eggs- worked fine for me!)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • Pinch orange zest


  1. Beat the butter on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. Add sugar and beat, scraping the bowl down occasionally. Beat till light in color and texture.
  3. Gradually add eggs and vanilla.
  4. Fold in flour and salt. Mix just until the dough clumps together.
  5. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface. Knead a few times until smooth and supple.
  6. Divide dough in half. Shape each into disk, about 1 inch thick, and wrap in plastic wrap.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  9. On lightly floured surface, roll out each disk 1/8 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter cut out 24 3 1/4 inch circles. And line the pan with each dough circle.
  10. Pierce the bottom of each tartlet in a uniform pattern with a fork. Freeze 15 minutes
  11. Line each with a round of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
  12. Bake until the pastry is set and dry but not beginning to brown, about 15 min.
  13. Remove parchment paper and weights, and bake until tartlet shells are golden brown, about 10 min more.
  14. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.
  15. Remove from pan and fill once completely cool with filling of your choice.