Dulce De Leche Pudding

IMG_5189Often I get feedback from friends and my readers that they tried out a recipe from the blog and it turned out good , which makes my day !! 🙂  From the feedback I get the Dulce de Leche Pudding recipe is the one that I got the most applauds for ..

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Dulce de leche is the name for cooked condensed milk .. Cook the condensed milk in a pressure cooker with the weight on for 45 minutes and you get a thick toffee mixture which is Dulce de leche..  After my first attempt in using the dulce de leche as it is for the pudding, I found it too sweet.. To reduce the sweetness I have added milk and used conrflour to thicken the mixture..

You can cook the condensed milk (which is dulce de leche ) and refrigerate for future use.. That way you can whip up this pudding within 10-15 minutes…

IMG_5055I felt that my previous snaps were not doing justice to this silky delicious pudding..So revamping the Dulce de Leche pudding !! All those who haven’t tried this , go ahead and try this yummy treat !!

collge1I had been thinking of adding recipe cards for sometime now.. Here’s my first attempt at it.. Do you like the design?

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Torcettini di Saint Vincent – Yeasted Cookies

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This month’s challenge of ‘We Knead to Bake’ is something new to me – yeasted cookies !! Never knew cookies can be made using yeast.. These are not overly sweet , just perfect with a cup of tea !! The one thing I love about baking is the excitement kids have when they get the aroma of ‘something special’ from the kitchen oven !!

The recipe doesn’t have  much long procedures. Mix the flour , butter and yeast to make a dough and let it rise ( I left mine overnight in fridge) .. Then take small portions out of the dough ,roll each of then into a rope shape and twist to form the loop . Coat them with sugar , let them rise again and bake .

Torcettini are smaller versions of Torcetti (meaning small twists), and these pear/ teardrop shaped twists are made of a dough of flour, yeast and butter which are shaped and then rolled in sugar before being baked. These biscuits are synonymous with the town of Saint Vincent in Valle d’Aosta, a small mountainous region in North-Western Italy.

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Torcettini di Saint Vincent

(Adpated from A Baker’s Tour by Nick Malgieri)

Ingredients:

  •  1/2 cup warm water, about 110F
  •  1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 tsp instant yeast)
  •  1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (if making chocolate torcettini)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lime/ lemon zest (replace with orange zest for the chocolate version)
  •  40gm unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  •  about 1/3 cup sugar for rolling the cookies

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Preparation

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, in a small bowl and keep aside.
  2. Put the flour and the salt in the food processor bowl (or a largish regular bowl if kneading by hand) and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is well mixed and the flour-butter mixture looks powdery.
  3. If making chocolate Torcetti, remove 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and add the 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder mentioned in the recipe. Don’t add the lemon zest/ anise. Use orange zest and maybe add 1/ 2 tsp instant coffee powder with the flour.
  4. Add the yeast-water mixture and pulse till it all comes together as a ball. Do not over process or knead. Place the ball of dough in a oiled bowl, turning it so it is well coated with the oil. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise quite a bit.
  5. This dough does not really double in volume, but it should look “puffy” after about an hour or so. When you pinch off a bit from the top you can see the interior looking a bit like honeycomb. Press down the dough and deflate it, wrap it in cling warp and refrigerate it for at least one hour or up to 24 hours.
  6. When ready to make the cookies, take the dough out and lightly roll it out into an approximately 6” square. If the dough feels sticky, scatter a little sugar on it. Using a pizza wheel cut the dough into four strips of equal width. Cut each strip into 6 equal pieces, by cutting across, making a total of 24 pieces. The measurements are not very critical in this part because this just makes it easier to have 24 equal sized bits of dough, as compared to pinching of bits of the dough.
  7. Roll each piece into a pencil thick “rope” about 5” long. Sprinkle a little sugar on your work surface and roll the “rope” in it so the sugar crusts the dough uniformly. Form the “rope” into a loop crossing it over before the ends.
  8. Place the Torcettini on parchment lined baking sheets, leaving 1 1/2″ between them. Leave them for about 20 minutes or so till they rise/ puff up slightly. Don’t worry, they will not “puff up” much.
  9. Bake them at 160C (325F) for about 25 minutes till they’re a nice golden brown. Cool the cookies completely, on a rack. Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature. Although, I found them best the day they were baked. This recipe makes 24 biscuits.

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They are delicious served warm and equally good cold, and keep very well if stored in airtight containers.

Hokkaido Milk Bread with Tangzhong

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I am really glad that I joined Aparna’s bread baking group.. or else I never would have found the courage to plunge into these bread making sessions.. Really happy that Aparna lead us to try this soft bread – Hokkaido Milk Bread . It comes real close to the milk bread we get in the Asian groceries. Aparna had suggested to try the dough to make the bread as well as rolls.. I tried them both and am quite pleased with the result !! Well , the kids are happier than me as they sure enjoyed the rolls with chocolate chips inside !!

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The Hokkaido Mild Bread owes its texture and height to the use of an interesting ingredient called Tangzhong. Basically, the Tangzhong method involves cooking 1 part of bread flour with 5 parts of water (by weight) at 65°C (149 °F) to form a roux.  This method of using Tangzhong is often seen in South Asian breads and was created by a Chinese woman, Yvonne Chen, who describes this method in her book which translates to “65 degrees Bread Doctor” .

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Ingredients:

 For The Tangzhong (Flour-Water Roux)

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk

For The Dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp powdered milk
  • 2 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk (and a little more if needed)
  • 1/8 cup cream (25% fat)
  • 1/3 cup tangzhong (use HALF of the tangzhong from above)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 25gm unsalted butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips if making the rolls

Method:

For The Tangzhong  (Flour-Water Roux):

  1. Whisk together lightly the flour, water and milk in a saucepan until smooth and there are no lumps. Place the saucepan on the stove, and over medium heat, let the roux cook till it starts thickening. Keep stirring constantly so no lumps form and the roux is smooth.
  2. If you have a thermometer, cook the roux till it reaches 65C (150F) and take it off the heat. If like you don’t have a thermometer, then watch the roux/ tangzhong until you start seeing “lines” forming in the roux as you whisk it. Take the pan off the heat at this point.
  3. Let the roux cool completely and rest for about 2 to 3 hours at least. It will have the consistency of a soft and creamy crème patisserie. If not using immediately, transfer the roux to a bowl and cover using plastic wrap. It can be stored in the fridge for about a day. Discard the tangzhong after that.

For The Bread Dough

[You can knead the dought wither using food processor or by hands..  Using a food processor saves a lot of work though.. ]

  1. Put the flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk and instant yeast in the processor bowl mix well.
  2. In another small bowl mix the milk, cream and Tangzhong till smooth and add flour. Knead to form a dough (I added abt ¼ cup more milk to get the whole flour to form a dough) Now add the butter and knead well till you have a smooth and elastic dough which is just short of sticky.
  3. (The dough will start out sticky but kneading will make it smooth. If the dough feels firm and not soft to touch, add a couple of tsps of milk till it becomes soft and elastic. When the dough is done, you should be able to stretch the dough without it breaking right away.  When it does break, the break should be form a circle.)
  4. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl turning it so it is well coated. Cover with a towel, and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes or till almost double in volume.
  5. Place the dough on your working surface. You don’t need flour to work or shape this dough. This recipe makes enough dough to make one loaf (9” by 5” tin), 2 small loaves (6” by 4” tins) or 1 small loaf (6” by 4”) and 6 small rolls (muffin tins). Depending on what you are making, divide your dough. If you are making 1 loaf, divide your dough in 3 equal pieces. If you are making two smaller loaves, divide your dough into 6 equal pieces.
  6. To make one small loaf and 6 small rolls, I divided the dough into two equal pieces first. Then I divided the first half into three equal pieces to make the loaf. The other half was divided into six equal pieces for six rolls.
  7. The shaping of the portions, whether for the loaf or the rolls, is the same.
  8. Roll out each portion of the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape, about 1/8” thick. Take one end of the dough from the shorter side of the oval and fold it to the middle of the oval. Take the other end and fold so it slightly overlaps the other fold.
  9. Roll this folded dough with the rolling pin so the unfolded edges are stretched out to form a rectangle. Roll the rectangle from one short edge to the other, pinching the edges to seal well. Do this with each of the three larger pieces and place them, sealed edges down, in a well-oiled loaf tin. Cover with a towel and leave the dough to rise for about 45 minutes.
  10. To make the rolls fold them in the same manner described above, but before rolling them up, place some chocolate chip on the dough. Roll the dough rectangles carefully and pinch to seal the edge. Place each roll of dough in a well-oiled muffin cup and cover with a towel. Allow to rise for about 45 minutes.
  11. Carefully brush the tops of the rolls and the loaf with milk (or cream) and bake them at 170C (325F) for about 20 to 30 minutes till they are done (if you tap them they’ll sound hollow) and beautifully browned on top. Let them cool in the tins for about 5 minutes and then unmould and transfer to a rack till slightly warm or cool.
  12. Serve or else store in a bread bin. This bread stays soft and delicious even the next day. This recipe makes enough dough to make one loaf (9” by 5” tin), 2 small loaves (6” by 4” tins) or 1 small loaf (6” by 4”) and 6 small rolls (muffin tins).

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No Bake Strawberry Ripple Cheesecake

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My first cheesecake post !!  I have tried a few no bake cheesecakes in the past, but they were all too ‘cheesy’ for me..  after the few failed attempts I had not ventured in to cheesecakes for sometime..

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Recently as I was skipping through one of the new cookbooks I bought, came across this cheesecake recipe.. Actually it was the snap that caught my attention, all pink and heart shaped !! And  the recipe didn’t have loads of cheese . One of my favourite puddings is the one with yogurt and cream. This cheesecake recipe had both these along with the cheese.. So this was something that would be suitable for my taste palettes !!

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The original recipe calls for raspberry.. but as strawberries are in season, I thought of trying those.. And while browsing through the foodgawker site, came across this beautiful heart shaped swirl patterns at Tracy’s culinary adventures ..  I love these swirls, don’t you??

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NO BAKE STRAWBERRY RIPPLE CHEESECAKE

[ RECIPE SOURCE – ADAPTED FROM COMPLETE BOOK OF DESSERTS, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING ]

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE BASE

  • Chocolate bisuit crushed – 225gm ( I used Good day biscuits)
  • Butter (at room temperature) – 100 gm

FOR THE FILLING

  • Strawberry puree (sieved) – 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp for the swirl design
  • Yogurt – 300 ml
  • Low fat soft cheese – 150gm (I used Puck cream cheese)
  • Gelatine – 1 tbsp
  • Whipping cream – 2 cups
  • Icing sugar – 100gm
  • Mint leaves – to decorate

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METHOD

Grease a spring release cake tin

For the base

  1. Mix the crushed biscuits and butter .
  2. Spoon the mixture into the base of the cake tin .
  3. Chill while making the filling

For the filling

  1. Mix the yogurt, cheese and strawberry puree in a blender.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatine over 2 tbsp pf water in a small bowl and leave to soak for 2-3 minutes.  Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until dissolved.Leave to cool for 2 minutes and add to the cheese mixture .
  3. Fold the whipping cream into the cheese mixture with a spoon.
  4. Pour the cheese mixture over the biscuit base.

For the swirl pattern

Spoon in the puree into a piping or sandwich bag with a small hole at the tip . Pipe in small circles on the cheesecake in a swirl pattern.  Run a toothpick , beginning from the outer circle through each dot all the way to the center , without lifting the toothpick . Or you can just put in random dots all over and swirl them with the toothpick.

Refrigerate the cheesecake for 5-6 hours… Decorate with mint leaves and serve .

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HERB & CHEESE PULL-APART BREAD

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A few days back I came to know about a new Bread Baking Group – WE KNEAD TO BAKE!! –  formed by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. The idea is to bake a bread each month and post it by the end of the month . Baking is something I love to do ( which must be obvious from my blog posts ), but i have yet to master the art of bread baking..

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January’s bread is HERB & CHEESE PULL-APART BREAD . ( Joined in the group late and so got a bit late in posting !! )  Since I am a novice in bread baking, decided to stick with the original recipe by Aparna… Her detailed recipe instruction was really helpful for a beginner like me..

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The dough was easy to work on. The only variation I did from the original recipe is the shape of the bread… Instead of stacking each layer of dough, I rolled them up and let them to rise …  While baking the bread , kids were asking me what is smelling so good in the oven?? 🙂 Needless to say, hubby and kids loved this one..

There are a whole lot of variations done by the other members of the group, like adding veggies or going to the sweeter version with chocolate and cinnamon..  Will experiment with the fillings soon.. !!

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INGREDIENTS

 For the Dough:

  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 25gm butter, soft at room temperature
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 3/4 cup milk (+ a couple of tbsp to brush over the bread)

For the Filling:

  • 15 to 20gm melted butter
  • 2 tsp dried Provencal or mixed herbs*
  • 1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
  • Crushed pepper/ red chilli flakes to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

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Method:

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up.
  2. Put 2 3/4 cup of flour, salt, softened butter, and garlic paste in a large bowl and knead together. Then add the yeast mixture and the 3/4 cup of milk and knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable dough which is not sticky. Add a little extra flour if your dough is sticking,but only just as much as is necessary.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat itc ompletely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until almost double in volume.
  4. Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a larger square that is about 12’ by 12”. Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter.
  5. Evenly sprinkle the herbs, pepper/ chilliflakes and the cumin seeds and then the grated cheese. Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips.
  6. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect.
  7. Butter and lightly flour a round cake tin.
  8. Roll each strip from one end to the other. Place the 6 rolls in a round pan , leaving space between them to rise.
  9. Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour.
  10. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf
  11. Bake the dough at 180C (350F) for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown.

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Singapore Satay with Peanut Sauce and a peek into the upcoming Singapore Food Festival in the UAE

IMG_2592_shadow1Speak of coincidence – last month I had gone to Singapore and Malaysia for a short visit. On return I was planning to blog about Singapore food. A few days later I got an email  from Mojo PR  inviting me to a preview event of the Singapore Food Festival that will take place in the UAE in February. There was going to be a cooking demonstration by the renowned Chef Violet Oon . I got really excited, I didn’t know much about the Singapore cuisine , and here I was getting a chance to know more about it and from none other than the brand ambassador of Singapore food, Chef Violet Oon , herself !!

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The event was held at Parti Perfect, a lovely restaurant behind the Marina Mall in Abudhabi. Chef Violet introduced us to the history of the Singapore cuisine and then led us to the kitchen, where all the action was going to take place !! She started with the Satay and Peanut sauce. As she was explaining each ingredient I noticed that almost all the ingredients were commonly used in the Indian cuisine… the spices, tamarind, jaggery . The chef then explained to us each process – the dry roasting of spices, pounding them using mortar and pestel , making the marinade and then the peanut sauce… This dish could be easily made at home, I was surely going to try this out !! On to the next item ,the famous Chilli Crab –  one of the country’s greatest culinary inventions. This special dish has a sensuous, sweet yet savoury gravy created with a base of chilli and tomato sauces. A few of us tried our hand in cooking this along with the chef .
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The Singapore Food Festival aims to introduce Singapore cuisine through its iconic dishes and food products to consumers in the UAE. The food festival is a joint initiative of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, the country’s external trade promotion agency, the Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association (SFMA) and LuLu, one of the largest hypermarket operators in the Middle East..

Taking place from 20th February to 3rd March, the two-week festival will serve up a smorgasbord of Singapore taste sensations, cooking demonstrations as well as daily competitions.

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At the Singapore Food Festival visitors can expect to widen their culinary horizons with Singapore’s fusion of Asian flavours. More than 20 Singapore food and beverage companies will participate in the Singapore Food Festival, presenting a selection of authentic Singapore cuisine such as ready-to-cook sauces, oodles of noodles, traditional snacks and teas as well as signature dishes like Singapore Chilli Crab and Chicken Rice.

On hand to show just how easy it is to cook authentic Singapore cuisine at home will be celebrity Chef Violet Oon. Dishing out a delicious and modern menu, inspired by iconic Singaporean foods, Chef Oon’s Singapore Food Festival repertoire will include the Singapore Satay, Chilly Crab, Laksa – smooth rice noodles in a spicy coconut broth; and Chicken Rice – succulent bites of chicken served on fragrant rice.

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Dubbed Singapore’s Food Ambassador, Violet Oon is one of Singapore’s leading food gurus, and is known as much for her cooking as for her opinions on food.Today, Oon is considered one of the leading authorities on Asian cuisine. She specialises in an array of Singapore cuisines, culled from the nation’s heritage of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures. Oon shares her wide knowledge of food in classes as well as in consultancy projects and she most enjoys teaching cooking and bringing joy with her food to people who love to eat.

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She is a leading cookbook author in Singapore, having written three books titled Peranakan Cooking, Violet Oon Cooks and A Singapore Family Cookbook.  Tasty Singapore Timeless Recipes by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore published in 2007, is one of the most exciting challenges in her career . She has co-authored the Curry Cookbook in German and is also author and recipe tester of the Peninsula Hotel group of Hong Kong’s 1st cookbook called Naturally Peninsula.

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Established as a trading port in 1819, Singapore has attracted an influx of migrants and merchants over the years from China, the Malay Peninsula, the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East. Along with their cultures, languages and customs, these migrants brought with them their food traditions that have since shaped Singapore’s culinary landscape.Today, Singapore has transformed into a food paradise abound with a diverse array of flavours from around the region.

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Home to a variety of food cultures, Singapore has been dubbed the ‘Melting pot of Asia’. Good for the heart, tummy and soul, some of Singapore’s Chinese fares are the delicious dim sum, roasted meats, chilli crab and double-boiled soups. Another internationally known cuisine found in Singapore is the Indian cuisine. Roti prata, a crispy pancake eaten with curry or sugar and accompanied with a glass of teh tarik, or ‘pulled tea’, which is creamy and frothy milk tea. Just as popular, the local dish nasi biryani, a saffron rice dish with spicy chicken or mutton

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For the Malay cuisine in Singapore, spices and herbs are the trademark of their dishes. Some of these include ginger, turmeric, galangal, lemon grass and pungent belachan, which is shrimp paste. Peanut sauce holds a special place in the Malay cuisine as they are used as gravy for dishes and as a dip for the local favourite satay.  Other widely popular local Malay fares are also the nasi lemak, coconut steamed rice, and nasi padang, steamed rice mixed with a selection of dishes. Not forgetting the unique Peranakan or Nonya food, the flavours that their food offers are a blend of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian.

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One of the most famous Malay dishes in Singapore, Satay is a must-try.

SINGAPORE SATAY

INGREDIENTS:

MEAT

  • 1 kg chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds or powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds or powder
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds or powder
  • 5 candlenuts or macadamia nuts (optional) (You can use cashewnuts instead)
  • 10 shallots or 1 large red or brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, use only the root
  • 1 cm slice galangal, or blue ginger
  • 1 cm slice fresh ginger root
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 50g brown or palm sugar
  • 2 tsp tamarind pulp
  • ½ cup water

SATAY SAUCE

  • 40g to 60g tamarind pulp
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup toasted skinless peanuts, ground till
  • fine OR 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt

SPICE MIXTURE FOR SATAY SAUCE

  • 3 candlenuts or macadamia nuts, washed and drained
  • 15 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water till softened
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 30g shallots or large red onions
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste, or belacan (optional)

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METHOD:

SATAY SAUCE

  1. Mix tamarind pulp with water and strain, discard pulp.
  2. Pound or grind spice mixture until fine.
  3. Fry spice mixture in hot oil till fragrant.
  4. Add tamarind liquid and remaining ingredients.
  5. Boil for 15 minutes, stir well. Cool for 30 minutes before serving.

MEAT

  1. Dry fry coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds till fragrant and grind till fine.
  2. Pound or grind candlenuts, shallots, garlic, lemongrass and ginger till fine.
  3. Mix the tamarind pulp with quarter cup of water, then knead and sieve to remove seeds.
  4. Mix the sugar with quarter cup of water and dissolve over low heat.
  5. Mix the shallot mixture with the ground seeds,turmeric powder, tamarind water, sugar syrup and salt.
  6. Marinade meat in this mixture for 6 hours.
  7. To grill, skewer 3 pieces of meat on each skewer, brush with oil and BBQ till golden
    brown on both sides.
  8. Serve with satay sauce, cucumbers and sliced raw onions

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1-2-3-4 Cake

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Wishing You all a Happy New Year ! May this year bring you happiness and peace !!

Last month,  my friend Shemeem asked me an easy cake recipe , as she was planning for a surprise birthday party for her nephew.. She said all recipes in my blog seem difficult for newbies , too much complicated !! Now, I had never thought of that.. a cake recipe from a beginner’s point of view..

I gave her the recipe for 1 2 3 4 cake – which is a favourite in the family  . I had made this for my hubby’s birthday ..  The cake  tastes good even without the icing.. Actually, this is a very frequent cake in my kitchen, perfect for an afternoon tea.

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I had been wanting to try the pastel swirl effect for sometime.. hmm.. not quite perfect..  I think I need bit more practice..

Here’s Shemeem’s version  .. Loved the smurf icing.. Should try that out some day!!

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The recipe is quite simple and the cake never fails !! The cake got its name from the ingredients’ quantity…

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INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CAKE

  • Butter – 1 cup
  • Powdered Sugar – 2 cups
  • Flour – 3 cups
  • Egg – 4
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
  • Baking powder – 3tsp
  • Milk – 1cup
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
  • Orange rind – 1 tsp

FOR SUGAR SYRUP

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp orange essence

FOR FROSTING

  • Whipping cream – 2 cups

METHOD

TO PREPARE THE CAKE PAN

Butter a cake pan and sprinkle about 1 tbsp of flour.  Gently toss the pan so that all sides are coated with flour.

Note :

  •  Eggs, butter and milk should be at room temperature
  •  The bowls used for mixing and the egg beater should be dry.
  •  Mix in flour and milk to the batter using a wooden spoon, do not use beater.

TO MAKE THE CAKE

  1. Separate the egg yolks and whites.. be careful that the whites do not have even a tinge of yolk in it. ( There is a video at the end of the post, I found on You Tube , which shows how to separate the yolks and whites)
  2. In  a deep bottomed bowl, beat the egg whites till they whip up. It will look like whipped cream. Keep it aside.
  3. In another deep bottomed bowl, beat butter using egg beater for 2 minutes.
  4. Add powdered sugar to the butter and beat well till it looks creamy.
  5. Add the egg yolks one by one and beat well for around 10 minutes
  6. In another bowl, sieve flour and baking powder.
  7. Mix one third of the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture slowly using a wooden spoon.  Add one third cup of milk  and mix again. Repeat adding flour and milk alternately 2 more times.
  8. Add the vanilla essence and orange rind
  9. Add the egg white to the batter . Using a spoon slowly mix in the egg whites using the cut and fold method. (Video at the end of the post)
  10. Pour the batter into the pan . The batter should fill only till 2/3 rd of the pan or you can use 2 pans. Bake at 180 degree for around 30 minutes . You can test if the cake is done, by inserting a tooth pick . If the tooth pick comes out clean ( without any crumbs on it) , then the cake can be taken out of the oven .
  11. Let the cake cool to room temperature before applying icing

TO MAKE THE SYRUP:

Stir the sugar, water and essence in a small saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer till the sugar has dissolved, and cool completely.

TO ASSEMBLE :

  1.  When the cake is cooled, use a long serrated knife and cut off the top to make it straight. Slice the cake into 2 halves (if you have used a single cake pan).
  2. Pour the sugar syrup on both halves to make it soft.
  3.  On top of the first half spread the whipping cream or any filling. Place the second half , soaked side down, on top of the first.
  4. Coat the top and sides of the cake with cream to give a thin uniform coating.
  5. Keep in fridge till the icing sets. better to keep for atleast 3 to 4 hours.
  6. Apply a thicker coating of cream on top and sides and decorate with chocolate curls or sprinkles.

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Few links for details…

How to separate and fold egg whites   –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yie5V37E1w

How to beat egg whites
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpicWVE76l0

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Chattippathiri

My brother n family was here from Qatar  for the Eid holidays.. We had a few trips , shoppings , get togethers with friends..  My niece who is in 9th grade has become as tall as me.. only a few more inches and I will have to ‘look up’ to her !!  And she was telling me smugly to buy high heels the next time we meet ..  !! The younger one is as cute as a doll.. infact  among the kids in my family, she is the only one who never gets into any fight,  always adjusting.. and she is only six !!  🙂

The day before they left to Qatar , we had a nice dinner at our friend’s home..  Azna is a superb cook.. Though a vegetarian, she prepares awesome non veg dishes..

Biriyani, mutton curry, chicken fry , vegetable stew from Azna’s kitchen ..

and the delicious semiya paayasam by Praseeda..

While having dinner, our  friend asked me to make Chattipathiri the next time we meet…  Two of my friends , whom I hadn’t met for 16 years were coming over the next weekend..  so I thought of making chattipathiri when all of them were there ..

Chattipathiri is basically layers of pancake and minced chicken.. The pancakes can be dipped in beaten eggs and arranged.. or you can use coconut milk instead of the eggs.. I found coconut milk more flavorsome..

Everytime I do the editing of the snaps for the blog, I ask feedback from my dear hubby.. and almost always the reply is the same,  “ But I don’t remember you making this dish for me !!”   …  For the last post Nutella Custard Pudding, I was editing the snaps and asked  my hubby whether the snaps look good?? .. He said,  “The snaps are good, but isn’t this made  by someone else?? So why are you asking for feedback??”  I replied “Dear, this pudding was prepared by yours truly  , a few days back.. and you had your share too… !!”  Well , so much for the interest my hubby shows in my cooking and blogging !!  And this time, while editing the snaps for this post, he saw me at work.. to set right the earlier slip ups  , he said , “Ohh that’s a nice cake !!” ..  Though I understood his good intention, I couldn’t help laughing and replied “Dear, that’s not a cake, but the chattipathiri I made a few days back.. !!”

Today it’s my dear sister in law Zareena’s birthday .. Here’s wishing you lots of luv n happiness, dear !!

So.. here goes the recipe…

For the chicken mince

  • Chicken  – 500gm
  • Onions , large – 3
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic –   6 cloves
  • Green chillies – 3
  • Chilli powder – 1tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala – 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves, chopped – a  few sprigs

Method..

  • Cut the chicken in to big pieces. Rub the chilli and turmeric powders on the pieces and keep aside for 15 minutes.
  • Cook the chicken pieces in a little water and salt .(You can use pressure cooker.. If there is water remaining, cook with the lid open till water evaporates).
  • Remove the bones and shred the chicken into small pieces. (Can use food processor)
  • In a  medium sized non stick pan , heat oil.
  • Add the chopped onions and saute till it turns soft. Add the chopped chillies, ginger and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes .
  • Mix the shredded chicken and saute well for 10-15 minutes. Toss in the pepper powder and garam masala.  You can adjust the pepper powder and garam masala acc to how spicy you need.
  • Stir in the chopped coriander leaves .
  • Turn off the flame and let the mixture cool.

For the pancake..

  • All purpose flour – 2 cups
  • Water – 4 cups
  • Salt –  a pinch

Method

  • Beat the flour and water in a blender to get a lump free batter. Add the salt.
  • Heat  a non stick pan.
  • Pour about a big ladle of batter and cook on one side on low flame. Do not toss the pancake. The pancake should not be too thin , or else it might tear while layering.
  • Transfer the pancake to a greased plate or newspaper.
  • Make the pancakes with the rest of the batter .  Do not keep the pancakes on top of each other as they will stick to each other .

To  Dip…

  • Thick Coconut Milk – 2 cups
  • Garam Masala – 1 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – a few sprigs
  • Mix all the ingredients

To assemble

  1. Take a deep bottomed non stick pan and grease with ghee.
  2. Take a pancake. Dip it in the coconut milk and keep in the pan.
  3. Spread about 2 tbsps of the chicken mince over the pancake.
  4. Repeat the process of adding layers of pancake and chicken mixture . The last layer should be pancake.
  5. When all the pancakes are arranged , pour the remaining coconut milk over the layers.
  6. Sprinkle a few drops of ghee around the sides of the pan.
  7. Cover the pan with lid and cook on medium flame for around 20 minutes, till the coconut milk is absorbed.
  8. Your Chattipathiri is ready now …
  9. Transfer to a plate upside down and cut into slices to serve..

 

Nutella Custard Pudding

My son was asking the last day, ‘ Have you stopped blogging?’  I replied ‘ No…  why?’ His answer was ‘ Well , you are not making any new dishes these days’  Yes.. I am back after a  long hiatus.. and the reason –  a nagging back pain, which turned worse..  a rush to the hospital followed by treatment and bed rest .Now slowly getting back to the normal routine – which includes cooking and blogging..

One good thing that came out of my ill health was the bed rest.. though initially  bit depressed as I couldn’t move round, the treatment period gave me  sort of ‘chill out time’ .. a break from the daily routine.. after a few days, I was enjoying it – the rain, the greenery and the long conversations with my little sister… Infact  my friends and cousins were bit envious seeing my long rest period..

And this post is for all my loving friends and family who rushed in to help and offer support when I was in distress due to the back pain .. and to my dear hubby who had to take over the household duties and look after me too..

Thanks to all my fb page fans.. We have crossed 200 likes !!! Do keep supporting me..  Your positive feedback instills a sense of pride in me..  🙂 and  gives me the motivation to keep going.. To celebrate let’s have something sweet.. this recipe was given to me by my friend Roshan who knows about my love for puddings..  🙂

INGREDIENTS

1. Marie biscuit – 150 gm

2. Butter – 3 tbsp

3. Nutella chocolate spread – 1 cup
Fresh cream – 1 cup

4. Chinagrass -10 gm

5. Milk – 2cups
Custard Powder – 3tbsp
Condensed milk – 1 tin

6. Fresh cream – 2 cups
Vanilla essence – 1tsp
Sugar – 6 tbsp

METHOD

Layer 1 —  Biscuit Layer 

  • Powder the biscuits finely.
  • Add the butter to the biscuit powder and mix to form breadcrumb like texture
  • Spread this as a layer on the serving bowl or in individual glasses and keep in fridge for about half an hour to set.

Layer 2 – Nutella layer 

  • Beat the 3rd ingredients .
  • Spread half the nutella cream mixture over the biscuit layer and refrigerate again.

Layer 3 – Chinagrass layer

  • Soak chinagrass, cut into strips,  in 1 cup of water for an hour .
  • Heat the chinagrass with water till it is completely dissolved
  • In another pan, heat 5th ingredients
  • When the mixture thickens add the melted chinagrass and stir continuously.
  • Remove from fire after a minute.
  • Beat 6th ingredients in a bowl
  • Add this cream mixture to the chinagrass mixture.
  • Let it cool for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the chinagrass mixture over the nutella layer and  refrigerate to set for about 3 hours.

Layer 4 – Nutella layer

  • Spread the remaining nutella mixture over the chinagrass layer
  • Refrigerate and serve.

Nazook – Daring Baker’s Challenge

Bogged down by flu and backpain.. Result – A very late Daring Bakers Challenge post. But I sooo much loved  the Nazook – an Armenian flaky pastry with a sweet filling –  that I had to post it.

The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.

I was hearing the name Nazook for the first time and after seeing the wonderful reviews in the Daring Bakers forum , decided to give it a try.. and am glad that I did!!! The dough making part is easy – the interesting thing is the addition of sour cream . One mistake I did was I forgot  to refrigerate the dough, which made it loosen a bit more than it was supposed to be.. Adding a bit more flour helped to handle the dough. But the second time I made it (yes, I loved this pastry so much that I made a second batch ) the refrigerated dough was easy to work with and the pastry looked a bit more perfect.

While the Nazook was in the oven hubby came back from office and said the house smelled like a bakery !!! And he was getting impatient with my photo session , so finally suggested – why don’t you take a snap showing me having one of these?? 🙂 So I went on clicking while he could have a piece , without having to wait for my never ending photo session 🙂

Kids have been asking to bake something for them with chocolate for quite some time. I wanted to try the filling with some pistachios but keeping the kids’ request in mind, made half of the batch with chocolate chips… And yes, they too loved the Nazook and the pastry disappeared quickly 🙂

Though the recipe looks like lengthy process  – it is quite easy to make these.. and the dough is easy to work with (just don’t forget the refrigerating part).. So go ahead and try these , I am sure you will love them !!!

Recipe

Yields 40 pieces

Ingredients
Pastry dough

  • 3 cups  all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
  • 2½ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (240 ml)  sour cream
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter (room temperature)

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1½ sticks) softened butter (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract

Wash

  • 1-2 egg yolks (for the wash; alternatively, some yogurt, egg whites, or a whole egg)

Directions:

Make the Pastry Dough
1. Place the sifted flour into a large bowl.
2. Add the dry yeast, and mix it in.
3. Add the sour cream, and the softened butter.
4. Use your hands, or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, to work it into a dough.
5. If using a standing mixer, switch to a dough hook. If making manually, continue to knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl or your hands. If it remains very sticky, add some flour, a little at a time.
6. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight if you like.

Make the filling
7. Mix the flour, sugar, and the softened butter in a medium bowl.
8. Add the vanilla extract.
9. Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside.

Make the nazook
10. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4.
11. Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters.
12. Form one of the quarters into a ball. Dust your working surface with a little flour.
13. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle or oval. The dough should be thin, but not transparent.
14. Spread 1/4 of the filling mixture across the rolled-out dough in an even layer. Try to spread the filling as close as possible to the edges on the short sides, but keep some of pastry dough uncovered (1 inch/2.5 cm) along the long edges.
15. From one of the long sides, start slowly rolling the dough across. Be careful to make sure the filling stays evenly distributed. Roll all the way across until you have a long, thin loaf.
16. Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit).
17. Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.
18. Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
19. Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown.
20. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Blueberry Banana Muffins

This post has been sitting in my drafts for a long time… To be honest, blogging has taken a back seat lately.. well , nothing other than my laziness to be blamed… To blog more often was one of my New Year Resolutions.. hmm ..  Looking back at the previous months’ posts, I haven’t been quite faithful to my blog… Thinking to come back in action in the coming months..

Spotted fresh blueberries in the supermarket few weeks back..  Had been thinking of baking with blueberries for sometime. Picked a packed from the aisle , thinking of baking some muffins…

I love the flavor of bananas in cakes.. Add to it the goodness of blueberries and you are in for a treat!!! Berries are a good source of fiber and antioxidants. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals — unstable molecules linked to the development of cancer and Alzheimer’s.

This is my first attempt at baking with blueberries and I loved it.. But must say, the kids didn’t prefer the berries in the cupcakes.. Wondering whether the berries can be mashed and added so as to make the kids have them ..

Recipe Source – Jamie Oliver.com

Ingredients

  • Mashed banana (1 1/2 bananas) – ¾ cup
  • Sugar – ½ cup
  • Vegetable oil – 1/3 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • All purpose flour – 1 cup
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Buttermilk – 1/4 cup
  • Blueberries – 1/2 cup
  • Cinnamon powder (optional)  – 1 tsp
  • Brown sugar (optional) – 1 tbsp

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. In a bowl whisk together bananas, sugar, oil, egg and vanilla.
  3. Sift together all purpose flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Add the wet mixture to this along with the buttermilk and mix well.
  5. Now fold in the blueberries.
  6. If you prefer cinnamon flavor, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon powder and brown sugar on top of each muffin.
  7. Fill 12 muffin tins. Bake until golden brown (20 min)

Sending this as my entry to this month’s Monthly Mingle hosted by Mele Cotte this month’s theme being ‘Berries and Cherries’

Devil’s Food Cake

Friends often tell me , I have more posts of cakes in my blog.. And I had decided to reduce the cake posts in future… Hmm but fate had other plans it seems.. This again is a cake post .. and I have my excuse too. It was my nephew’s 2nd birthday 2 weeks back and my sister in law and family were  visiting us on that  day.. Now how can I resist the temptation of baking a special cake for my dear nephew???

The kids too were all excited and got busy decorating the room with balloons and setting the table before the birthday boy arrived… I decided to make a chocolate cake as kids would love it.. and this is a very chocolatey cake – Devil’s Food Cake.. I wonder how the cake got this name? This is really a super moist chocolate cake and I strongly feel the name should be changed 🙂

I found this recipe from Nigella Lawson’s site and have prepared this few times before.. Couldn’t click the snaps then.. this time too I was in a but hurry, so the photos are ,well ,not so perfect..

Coming back to the celebrations, the birthday boy was super excited 🙂 .. He was amazed to see all the  balloons, candles, cakes … Smiling happily as everyone sang the birthday song for him .. My sister in law told me that he still fondly says of his Abudhabi Bday Celebration 🙂

What I loved about the cake is its luscious frosting.. Though while preparing the frosting would appear runny, allowing it to settle for an hour will give it the right consisitency . Last time I made this cake, I had piped chocolate rosettes with the frosting… This time, topped the frosting with some chocolates to surprise the kids..

Here’s the recipe for all you chocolate lovers..

Recipe Source – Nigella Lawson

INGREDIENTS

For the cake

  • 50g best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 125g soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

For the frosting:

  • 125ml water
  • 30g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g unsalted butter cubed
  • 300g best-quality dark chocolate finely chopped

Pan required

  • 2 x 20cm sandwich tins

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
  2. Line the bottoms of both sandwich tins with baking parchment and butter the sides.
  3. Put the cocoa and 100g dark muscovado sugar into a bowl with a bit of space to spare, and pour in the boiling water. Whisk to mix, then set aside.
  4. Mix the flour, baking powder and bicarb together in another bowl.
  5. Cream the butter and caster sugar together, beating well until pale and fluffy.
  6. Add eggs one by one to the creamed butter and sugar  mixing well.
  7. Keep mixing and incorporate the rest of the dried ingredients for the cake, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture.
  8. Divide this fabulously chocolatey batter between the 2 prepared tins and put in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Take the tins out and leave them on a wire rack for 5–10 minutes, before turning the cakes out to cool.
  10. But as soon as the cakes are in the oven, get started on your frosting: put the water, 30g muscovado sugar and 175g butter in a pan over a low heat to melt.
  11. When this mixture begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan so that all the chocolate is hit with heat, then leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.
  12. Leave for about 1 hour, whisking now and again – when you’re passing the pan – by which time the cakes will be cooled, and ready for the frosting.
  13. Set one of the cooled cakes, with its top side down, on a cake stand or plate, and spread with about a third of the frosting, then top that with the second cake, regular way up, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides, swirling away with your spatula.

Sending this to Love and Chocolate Fest event at My Culinary Trial Room

and Dish for Loved Ones by Sravs Culinary Concepts

Lets Cook for Valentines event by simply.food

Kinnathappam

Kinnathappam is a Muslim traditional dish. Basically it is steamed sweet rice batter.. There are many variations for this dish from place to place… This recipe uses basmati rice  and sugar.. Another version is using matta rice and jaggery. Will be posting that some other day…

 I love the kinnathappam my aunt used to make when we were kids.. Actually  her preparation was a main specialty dish during weddings at our home.. It was so soft , melt in the mouth treat..yum .. But she never used an exact measurement while preparing..

During Ramadan this a constant dish at our table..  It can be served as a tea time snack also..  The main thing to get the soft texture is the batter should be sieved through a fine muslin cloth or cheese cloth . And the batter will have a watery consistency, but that makes the kinnathappam softer..  So go ahead and try these out..

Ingredients

  • Basmati Rice – 1 cup
  • Coconut Milk powder –3/4 th cup
  • Water – 2 ½ cup
  • Sugar – 1 1/4 cup
  • Cardamom – 4
  • Eggs – 2

Method

  1. Soak the rice in water for about 4 hours.
  2. Grind the rice with the required amount of water (from the 2 ½ cups) in a grinder/ mixi into a smooth batter.
  3. Add the coconut milk powder and beat again. Add the remaining water to this batter .
  4. Beat the eggs, sugar and cardamom in the mixer.
  5. Add this to the batter and mix well.
  6. Sieve the batter using a fine strainer/muslin cloth .
  7. Grease a steel plate/ pyrex dish with a small amount of ghee.
  8. Pour the batter into the dish until ¾ th full.
  9. Cover with aluminium foil  and steam for around 45 minutes on high flame. (The cooking time may vary depending on the size of the dish).
  10.  Steam the remaining batter also.
  11. Cool and serve into desired shapes.

Sending this to the “Show Me Your HITS” event by Spicy Treats

Kerala Kitchen hosted by Roshan’s Cucina

Orange And Almond Cake – Celebrating a year of blogging !!!

Back to blogging after a big gap.. and I have my excuse too 🙂 … Well, I was on vacation at my hometown… Had a hectic schedule, but enjoyed each moment of it, hanging out with my dear ones … My little nephews and nieces are growing up fast.. and they are quite a bunchful too, like different flowers in a garden –  the emotional one, naughty ones,  girly ones and the quiet ones..  Miss you dears…

Was really looking forward for the meeting my school friends had planned .. to meet our teacher, mentor, guide – Father Mathew Vithuvettickal..  am so happy that I could make it for the get together… that was the moment for which I was looking for since long time – I was meeting my friends after a long gap of 18 years!!!  After all these years, we could feel the same camaraderie.. It was like travelling back to our school days, recollecting the  fun times we had .. And it was a blessing that I could meet my favourite teacher after so long !!!

And yes, the other main thing is my blog is turning a year old.. I have to thank all my dear friends for their continuous love and support.. Your feedback means a lot to me.. and thank you for trying out so many of my recipes and sharing the result..So A Big Thanks guys, for all your love.. it is appreciated more than you will ever know.. Keep it coming.. And love and thanks to my dear sis in law , Zareena, for being the unofficial proof reader of my blog 🙂

For this blog anniversary, decided to deviate from my comfort zone of chocolate and coffee cakes… and finalised on an orange and almond cake from one of the recipe books. The cake batter uses almond flour and semolina … And the cake is soaked with orange flavoured sugar syrup.. On retrospect, I could have reduced the quantity of semolina a little more.. and hubby suggested that the sweetness could have been brought down a bit.. But apart from that, this is wonderfully moist cake, with the citrus flavour bursting in…. So here goes the recipe..

INGREDIENTS

  • Orange – 1
  • Butter, softened – 115gm
  • Powdered sugar – 115 gm
  • Eggs – 2
  • Semolina – 3/4 cup (The original recipe uses 1 cup)
  • Ground Almonds -1 cup
  • Baking powder – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Icing sugar – for dusting

For the syrup

  • Orange juice – 1 cup
  • Superfine sugar –  100gm ( You can reduce the quantity of sugar, depending on the sweetness of orange)
  • Cardamom pods, crushed – 3

Method

  1. Grate the rind from the orange, reserving some for the decoration and squeeze the juice from one half.
  2. Place the butter, orange rind, and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the semolina, ground almonds and baking powder , then fold into the creamed mixture with the orange juice.
  4. Spoon the batter into a greased cake tin and bake at 180 degree for 30 – 40 minutes or a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  5. To make the syrup , place the orange juice, sugar and cardamom pods in the pan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 4 minutes or until syrupy. Strain and keep aside.
  6. Turn the cake out into a deep serving dish. Using a skewer make holes over the surface of the warm cake. Spoon the syrup over the cake and let stand for 30 minutes.
  7. Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar and serve.

Custard Tartlettes

My last minute entry to this month’s Monthly Mingle is hosted by Sally@My Custard Pie. The theme is custard and so I came up with a pretty simple recipe of tarts filled with custard..

I wanted to try the creme anglaise recipe from Sally’s post, but finally opted for the custard powder.. I was already running short of time and didn’t want a last minute disaster..

INGREDIENTS

For the tarts

  • Flour – 100gm
  • Unsalted Butter – 50gm
  • Cold water- 1 tbsp
  • Salt- a pinch

For the custard

  • Custard powder – 3tbsp leveled
  • Milk – 500 ml
  • Sugar – 6 tbsp
  • Vanilla essence – 1tsp

Method

For the tarts

  1. Sieve the flour with the salt.
  2. Rub in the butter and make a dough by using ice-cold water.
  3. Roll out the dough and cut into desired sizes.
  4. Press into tart cases and prick with a fork
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius for 10 minutes
  6. Cool the tart cases.
  7. Turn the cases upside down to remove the tarts.

For the custard

  1. Mix the custard powder in 3 tbsp of milk from the 500 ml.
  2. Pour the remaining milk , vanilla essence and sugar into a pan and boil.
  3. Add the custard mixture and stir continuously until the mixture thickens .
  4. Remove from fire and allow to cool.

To Assemble

Spoon 1 or 2 tablespoons of custard into the  cooled tart shells.  Garnish with whipped cream , fresh fruits or cherries

Zebra Cake For A Birthday

Kids’ birthdays fall within a gap of 5 days. I wanted to bake a birthday cake for the elder one, but he rejected the proposal as he wanted Harry Potter cake from bakery.. Disheartened I focused on the younger one’s birthday cake (atleast he wasn’t old enough to turn down  mamma’s cake … ) I was planning to make a fondant cake for quite some time ( inspired by Dina’s fondant cakes and Dima’s blogpost on how to cover cake with fondant ) … I decided to make a zebra cake as it would make hubby  (who doesn’t like chocolate) eat some …

The cake came out well… But in retrospect I could have doubled the quantity to make the cake bigger.. I applied a coating of whipped cream and kept the cake in fridge for about an hour.

As it was my first attempt on fondant , I had planned to keep it simple… Light blue cake with orange polka dots.. I was okay with the result, but when I showed it to my elder son, his reply was “Oh this is a baby cake!!! Doesn’t look good!!!”.. hmphhhh !!! I pulled out all the orange circles, rolled each into small roses and fixed them back.. Though not quite impressed , the kid was okay with the final result..

But the biggest disappointment came when both kids didn’t like the taste of fondant 😦 .. They wanted the cake, but  without the icing please !!! Huh…  I think I should stick back to old whipped cream frosting for sometime …

The recipe for the cake is the same that I used in Checkerboard Cake…  Only the method is different.

Ingredients

  • Butter – 1 cup
  • Granulated Sugar – 2 cups
  • Eggs, yolk and white separated – 4
  • Flour – 3 cups
  • Baking powder – 4 tsp
  • Salt – ¾ tsp
  • Milk – 1 1/2 cup
  • Cocoa – 4 tbsp
  • Boiling water – 5tbsp
  • Baking soda – 1/8 tsp
  • Almond essence – ¼ tsp
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp

Method

  1. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Powder the sugar.
  2. Using an electric beater,  cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating after adding each.
  3. Add 1/2 of the flour and mix it into the batter using your hand. Add ½ cup milk and mix again. Repeat the process with the remaining flour and milk. Add vanilla essence.
  4. Add cocoa powder and baking soda to boiling water and mix well.
  5. Divide the batter into 2  halves… To one part add cocoa mixture.
  6. Pour a big ladle of plain batter to the middle of the prepared cake tin.  Then pour a big ladle of cocoa batter into center of the plain batter. Again pour a ladle of plain batter to the center of the cocoa batter. Repeat this alternately so that you get concentric circles of plain batter and the cocoa batter.  (The batter will spread out evenly by itself…)
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C  till a tester comes out clean (around 30 min)

Sending this to Bakefest hosted by Vardhini at Zesty Palette

 

Whole Wheat Cappuccino Muffins

Anything with chocolate and coffee… I’m in !!! Add to that the goodness of whole wheat , Yummy!!! I saw this recipe on Aipi’s blog , and decided that I SHOULD make these.. The big plus point of this recipe – no one noticed the substitution of whole wheat for plain flour. My main concern was whether it would be rejected by my elder son , who is a really picky eater. Well, he loved these muffins … Naturally, I am on the look out for more wheat based cakes and muffins …

Last week, I was chatting with my sister in law and she mentioned that she had tried my Chocolate Banana Cake and it came out really well.. And the reason that she tried it  –  it was healthier as the cake batter was made using oil instead of butter…  Being a doctor she counts the calories whenever I bake something 🙂  I am sure these muffins will pass her approval 🙂

On a different note, my cousin had called me up last day to say that she loved the snaps of my previous post. I am a newbie photographer, so words like this do mean a lot to me.. And would like to thank all you guys who send me words of encouragement.. Love you all !!!


Thanks Aipi, for sharing this awesome recipe…  This is really a keeper … And guys, do check out Aipi’s beautiful blog  USMasala  !!!

Here’s the recipe...

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat flour or atta – 1 3/4 cup
  • Cocoa powder – 3 tbsp
  • Semi sweet chocolate chips – 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Baking powder – 2 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Powdered Sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Milk – 1 cup + 1 tbsp
  • Vegetable Oil – 1/3 cup (I used canola oil)
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Instant coffee powder – 2 1/2 tsp dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Line a muffin tray with paper cups
  2. Melt 3/4 cup of chocolate chips with 1 tbsp milk in microwave or double boiler. Cool it slightly
  3. In a bowl mix together the flour, baking powder , baking soda,powdered sugar  and salt.
  4. In another bowl,beat milk and oil for a minute . Add in the coffee mix  followed by the melted chocolate.
  5. Add the flour mixture to this and mix with a spatula . Do not overmix.
  6. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon in muffins tray lined with paper cup till they are 3/4 th full.
  8. Bake  for 15 -20 min or till tester comes out clean.

Chana Masala

My cousin had asked me to post the recipe for Chana Masala a few days (ahem, months ) back… Though this dish is a regular at home, I was skeptical of posting this – mainly because this is my own version …

Friends often ask me if the recipes posted in this blog are my own recipes or not.. Nope, almost all the recipes posted till date are from magazines, or cookery shows or given to me by friends and relatives. I am too bad in inventing new dishes – I know people who create dishes on the spur of the moment, adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that..  But I need a clear recipe beforehand and most of the time follow the measurement to a tee..

So that was my confusion – whether my recipe is worth posting  🙂 … Last day, after having Chana Masala for dinner , my son declared that it tastes like restaurant version… and that was my green signal to go ahead..

I think, the authentic recipe calls for amchoor powder (dried mango powder) and crushed pomegranate seeds.. But I use the shortcut version – Chana Masala powder …

So let’s get to the recipe..

Ingredients

  • Chickpeas, soaked overnight – 2 cups
  • Onions, sliced – 2
  • Ginger paste – 1 tsp
  • Garlic paste – 1/2 tsp
  • Green chilly , slit – 2
  • Tomato, chopped – 1
  • Kashmiri chilly powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 3 tsp
  • Garam Masala – 1 tsp
  • Chana Masala powder – 2 tsp
  • Cardamom – 3
  • Cloves – 2
  • Cinnamon – 1/4 ” piece
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sugar – a pinch
  • Coriander leaves – a few sprigs

Method

  1. Mix the chilly, turmeric , coriander and garam masala powders with a little water to form a smooth paste. Keep this aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add cardamom, cloves , cinnamon and cumin seeds.
  3. Add the chopped onions , slit green chillies and saute them in medium flame, till they turn light brown in colour.
  4. Add the ginger paste and garlic paste and saute well.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute till they turn soft.
  6. Add the chilly, turmeric , coriander and garam masala  powder mixture and saute well.
  7. Toss in the chickpeas and stir well.
  8. Add about 1 cup of water and enough salt. Close the pressure cooker and cook the chickpeas. (After 1 whistle, keep the flame low and cook for about 12 minutes).
  9. Lightly mash the chickpeas in the gravy (this is to get a thicker consistency).
  10. Add 2 tsp of Chana Masala, chopped coriander leaves and cook on medium flame, with the lid open, for 3-4 minutes . Add a pinch of sugar and turn off the flame.
  11. Garnish with chopped onions, ginger strips and coriander leaves. Serve hot.

 

Ethakka Pineapple Pachadi

My friend, Zareena called me up yesterday to ask if we would like to join her for the Onam sadhya , at ISC. Eagerly accepted the invitation, no way was I going to  miss a sadhya.. And at the back of my mind, I wanted to let the kids see and feel the festive atmosphere. Festive is the worda really nice sadhya with Onam songs in the background and most of the people wearing traditional Kerala dress…. took me back to the days in Kerala… Onam with pookkalam and sadhya, especially paaysam… Though my eldest son wasn’t quite thrilled to eat from a banana leaf , the younger one was quite happy and even enjoyed the vanchippattu  ..  Thanks Zareena, for the invitation.

[A modest Sadya that I made for Onam… As it was a last minute decision the number of curries was less, nevertheless managed to make Parippu Paayasam..]

My favourite among the sadhya dishes – Madhura Curry/ Ethakka Pineapple Pachadi – a tasty combo of fruits in ground coconut. Though the name mentions only ethakka and pineapple, this one has mango and grapes added which adds a really nice flavour. I think the curry should be called Fruit Salad Curry, (courtesy my sister in law) . What do you say?

Here’s the recipe

Ingredients

  • Banana (frying variety) , cubed – 1 cup
  • Pineapple , cubed – 1 cup
  • Mango , cubed – 1 cup
  • Black grapes – 5
  • Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
  • Chilly powder – 1 tsp
  • Sugar – 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Coconut, scraped – 6 tbsp

For tempering

  • Coconut oil – 3 tsp
  • Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  • Red chillies – 4-5
  • Curry leaves – a few

Method

  1. Keep the grapes in hot water . After 10 minutes remove  from hot water and keep them aside.
  2. Mix the banana, pineapple and mango pieces with the chilli and turmeric  powders. Cook the pieces adding about 1/2 cup of water and salt.
  3. When the pieces are cooked well and all water is absorbed, add the sugar and mix well.
  4. Grind the coconut into a smooth paste and add to the fruits mixture.
  5. Add the grapes.
  6. Heat a pan for tempering. Add oil . When oil gets heated , add the mustard seeds. When it starts to splutter , add curry leaves and red chilies.
  7. Pour the oil over the curry.


Sending this the events- Food Palette Series- rainbow colours , Life is Green , Kerala Kitchen hosted by Easycooking, and Anyone Can Cook events

Spring Roll

A very popular snack – pancakes  filled with meat and vegetables, coated with breadcrumbs and then deep fried. The whole process is a bit time consuming but worth it as you can freeze them for later use. When required defreeze them for half an hour and fry .This one is another regular on our Iftar table.

For the filling

  • Chicken – 1 kg
  • Soya sauce – 1 tbsp
  • Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Carrot , cut into thin long slices – 1/2 cup
  • Cabbage, cut into thin long strips – 1 cup
  • Onion, chopped – 3
  • Garlic, chopped – 10 cloves
  • Ginger, chopped – 3″ piece
  • Green chillies, chopped – 3
  • Light Soya sauce – 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Pepper powder – 1 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves , chopped – a few sprigs
  • Salt – as required

For the pancake

  • All purpose flour – 1 cup
  • Water – 2 cups
  • Salt – 1 pinch

For the coating

  • Egg whites – 3
  • Breadcrumbs – as required

To make the filling

  1. Cut the chicken into fairly large pieces and rub the soya sauce and chilli powder over them. Cook with required amount of water and salt. If there is water remaining, cook with the lid open till all water evaporates. After the chicken cools, shred it into long pieces.
  2. Heat a non stick pan and add oil.
  3. On medium flame saute chopped onions and green chillies till onion turns translucent.
  4. Add chopped ginger and garlic and saute for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add the shredded chicken and saute again.
  6. Finally add the sliced carrots and cabbage. Increase the flame to high and stir continuously for around 5 minutes till the vegetables turn soft.
  7. Add soya sauce and pepper powder. Adjust the pepper and salt according to your taste.
  8. Stir in chopped coriander leaves and remove from flame.

To make the pancakes

  1. Mix flour , water and salt in blender to get a lump free batter. The batter will be thin in consistency
  2. Heat a non stick pan . Keep the flame low. Pour a big spoonful of batter and spread to form a circle .Cook one side of the  pancake (Do NOT flip over). (If the pancake sticks to the bottom , increase the heat slightly)

Make the spring rolls

  1. Remove the pancake and place on an oiled plate. Place a spoonful of filling on one end of the pancake leaving an inch.
  2. Roll the pancake once. Fold both the sides towards the center.
  3. Roll the pancake till the end .
  4. Continue this with the rest of the batter to make spring rolls.
  5. Dip each spring roll in egg white and then in breadcrumbs.
  6. Heat oil in a deep pan and deep fry the spring rolls till golden brown in colour.

Sending this to Joy from Fasting to Feasting, Iftar Nights, Kerala Kitchen hosted by Vidya and Monsoon Medley hosted by Saffron Streaks