Monday, October 31, 2011

Savory Semolina cake { A very healthy breakfast option }

Baking has taken all over me...I am just in love with it and is a real stress buster for me....I am always on a lookout for  healthy yet delicious recipe ......This cake is one of my mother's signature recipe which she has been making for years....She made it on the Sunday mornings for the breakfast and sometimes when we had guests for evening teas.....And it has always been the shining star of the table....This is easy to make and the ingredients are not hard to find in your pantry......



All you need is

Semolina-1 cup
Yogurt- 1 cup
Water- 1\2 cup
Peas- 3\4 cup
Carrot-3 {grated }
Onion- 1 {chopped }
Ginger-1 inch piece {chopped }
Green chilli-1 {chopped }
Red chili powder-1\2 tsp
Turmeric powder-1\4 tsp
Salt
Oil- 2tbsp
Curry leaves-1 tbsp
Cumin seeds- 1\2 tsp
Mustard seeds-1\2tsp
Baking soda-1\2 tsp
Baking powder-1\2 tsp
Sesame seeds- 2 tbsp



Method of preparation

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees
Oil and line a bread pan
In a bowl, mix together semolina, red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt ,veggies and yogurt
Add water to make a batter
In a pan, add oil
When the oil is hot , add mustard seeds
When the seeds starts crackling, add cumin seeds and curry leaves
Add this oil in the batter
Add baking soda and baking powder and pour the batter in the prepared pan
Sprinkle sesame seeds on top
Bake for 35-40 minutes
Serve hot with coriander chutney and tomato ketchup



This is a very healthy lunchbox option for kids.....You can add the veggies of your choice and can make the batter before hand ...Just add the baking powder and baking soda at the time of baking and you are good to go.......

PS.-Always use parchment paper to line the pan.....I lined it with butter paper and the sides got stuck to it....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Povitica { A Eastern European Dessert Bread }

I have joined Daring Kitchen from this month on...I am always keen on learning anything new and baking is my current passion....So what better way to roll up my sleeves and get all set to bake a challenging recipe....

The daring baker's October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of the Gingered whisk....Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat....



  Povitica (poh-vee-TEET-sah ) is  sweat or savory yeast bread of Croatian origin....It is typically served at special occasions like weddings, birthdays and holidays....A sweetened dough is made which is rolled paper thin and slathered with a filling and then rolled again and baked...Although walnut is the most traditional filling, other fillings can also be used like peaches, apple, apple and raisins, chocolate, strawberry jam etc....The end result is a beautifully patterned slices when cut....
The original recipe made 4 loaves of bread, but as I was baking it for the first time, I was a little apprehensive.....But Jenni was very generous to provide a halved recipe and even a quartered recipe...Quartered recipe made one loaf , so I was a happy girl....Even if something goes wrong with the first loaf, i'll still have my chance....


All you need is

To activate the yeast

Sugar-1\2 tsp
All purpose flour-1\4 tsp
Warm water- 2tbsp
Dry yeast-11\2 tsp

For the dough

Whole milk-1\2 cup
Sugar-3 tbsp
Egg-1
Salt-3\4 tsp
Unsalted butter-1 tbsp {melted }
All purpose flour-2 cups {sifted }

Topping

Milk-2 tbsp

Filling ingredients

Ground walnuts-13\4 cups
Whole milk-1\4 cup
Unsalted butter-1\4 cup
Egg yolk-1{beaten }
Vanilla extract-1\4 tsp
Sugar-1\2cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder-1\4 tsp
Cinnamon powder-1\4 tsp


Method of preparation

To activate yeast

In a small bowl, stir together sugar, flour and yeast into warm water and cover and keep aside for 5 minutes

To make the dough

In a pan, heat the milk just below the boiling point
Keep stirring
Cool a bit
In a bowl, mix milk with sugar and salt
Add egg, yeast mixture, melted butter and 1\4 cups of flour
Mix nicely and continue adding flour till a soft dough is formed
Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 3- 4 minutes
Keep the dough in a covered oiled bowl for one and half hours in a warm place , till it doubles in size

To make the filling

Ground the walnuts in a blender
Mix , ground walnuts, sugar, cocoa powder and cinnamon powder
Heat milk and butter to boiling
Add in the walnut mixture
Add the egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly

To roll and assemble the dough

Spread a plastic sheet on top of the working surface
Sprinkle little flour on the sheet
Roll the dough on this sheet, as thin as you can without tearing the dough {I teared mine at a few places :-( }
Spread 1 tbsp of butter on the rolled dough
Spread the filling on the rolled dough evenly
Lift the edge of the dough and roll it gently into a long roll
Place the dough roll into the greased pan in the shape of a U
Brush the top with milk
Cover the pan with a plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 15 minutes
Pre heat the oven to350 degrees
After 15 minutes, remove the plastic wrap from the pan and bake the bread for 15 minutes at 350 degrees
Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake for another 40-45 minutes
Remove bread from the oven and brush with melted butter
Let it rest in the pan for 20 minutes
Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack
And yipee.....Here comes a beautifully baked loaf with a surprise inside.....When the slices of this loaf were cut, there were beautiful patterns inside.....The bread was very soft to eat and the flavor of the filling was phenomenal......So it was a day well spent.....

Lining to YeastSpotting

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sugar cookies { Diwali diya and rangoli }


First of all, a very happy and prosperous Diwali to all my blog readers.....I wish you, all the happiness and success in your life....
This is for the first time we are not at home in India for Diwali.... It is one festival we always celebrate with great  pomp and fare.... I would start preparing at least 10 days before the Diwali day; cleaning the entire house thoroughly would be the first thing to do.... My hubby dread this part as he is also expected to help me with the bed boxes and the lofts....LOL..... Then came the making of the dry snacks....And as I have always seen my mom making big baskets full of mathries, shakkerpare, chivda mix and a lot of other snacks, I want to keep the tradition going....
I always painted my diyas....And felt proud when they were appreciated...They were always better than any store bought ones....
And the best was the shopping part...I would buy bed sheets and cushions covers for the house and new cloths for all of us....Gifts for friends and family....lots and lots of crackers....

Oh I am missing home....

But this year is a different story.....We are living in a service apartment with minimum supplies and no friends and family around....So the enthusiasm is on a break this year....

But then Diwali cannot just go away like that....So I  made these sugar cookies , which I have never made for diwali before....They always adorned the table on Christmas....To give the cookies a Diwali touch ,I made them in the shape of diyas and rangoli....I didn't had a diya shaped cookie cutter so I made my own template from card board...So here it is....


All you need is

For the cookies

All purpose flour-230 gm
Baking soda-1\2 tsp
Butter-115 gms
Salt-1\4 tsp
Confectioner's sugar-100 gms
Egg -1
Vanilla extract-1 tsp

For royal icing

Egg white-1
Lemon juice- 1tsp
confectioner's sugar-11\2 cups


Method of preparation

For cookies

In a bowl ,mix flour, salt and baking soda
Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy
Add egg and vanilla extract and whisk till mixed
Do not over mix other wise the cookies will not keep the shape while baking
Add flour and mix to make a soft dough
Divide the dough in two equal parts and wrap each part in cling film
Refrigerate for 3-4 hours
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees
Line a baking tray with parchment paper
Slightly flour the surface and roll the dough to 1\8 inch in thickness
Cut the desired shape from the dough using cookie cutters or hand made templates
Refrigerate the cut cookies for 10 minutes
Bake for 9 minutes, till the edges are lightly browned
Cool on a cooling rack

For the royal icing

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg white and lemon juice for a minute
Sift the sugar and add to the egg mixture
Whisk for 2-3 minutes
You can add more sugar if the icing looks thin
If the icing looks thick, add water drop by drop
This icing starts to harden very soon
So keep it covered when not using
Decorate as you want to



I made rangoli pattern and diya for Diwali...Be creative and make your own designs...The cookies were light and crisp....Bhavye kept asking for more and by the evening got high on sugar....:)
Once again a very happy Diwali to you guys....Enjoy and be safe.....












Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chocolate cake with Chocolate whipped cream and Chocolate Ganache - Death By Chocolate

It's time for another blog hop and this week  I am paired with Divya of Easycooking....   
She has a wonderful blog with a lot of interesting  recipes and I was literally confused, which one to choose.....As I love to bake ,this cake caught my eye....It looked beautiful and had a lot of chocolate in it....So this was it...It's a little time consuming but worth to make....I have done a very few changes to her recipe and it came out wonderful.....

All you need is

For the cake

All purpose flour-13\4 cups
Cocoa powder-3\4 cup
Baking powder-11\2 tsp
Baking soda-11\2tsp
Sugar- 2cups
Salt-1 tsp
Eggs -2
Milk- 1 cup
Vanilla extract-2 tsp
Oil-1\2 cup
Boiling water-1 cup

For the filling

Dark chocolate-80 gm
Heavy cream-2 cups
Sugar-2 tsp

For the soaking syrup

Sugar-1\4 cup
Water-1\4 cups
Rum -2 tsp {you can use vanilla extract as well}


For chocolate ganache

Semi sweet chocolate-200 gm
Heavy cream-1 cup
Sugar-1 tsp


Method of preparation

For the cake

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees
Grease and dust , two 9 inch pans
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl
Add egg, milk , vanilla and oil
Beat for 2 minutes
Add boiling water and mix
Pour half into each pan and bake for 30-35 minutes
Cool for 10 minutes in the pan
Take out and cool completely on a wire rack

For soaking syrup

Mix together water , sugar and rum and refrigerate till required

For chocolate whipped cream

Cut chocolate into small pieces
Heat cream and sugar in a pan and when it starts to boil , pour it over the chocolate
Mix well with a whisk and when it has reached room temperature, refrigerate for 4-5 hours
If you are in a hurry like me , you can also keep it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes
Whip with a blender till stiff peaks are formed
Keep refrigerated till required

For chocolate Ganache

Cut chocolate into small pieces
Heat sugar and cream in  a pan and when it starts to boil, pour over the chocolate
Mix well with a whisk
Cool to room temperature
Chocolate ganache starts to become thick after it is cooled
So you can microwave it for 10-20 seconds to required consistency when needed



Assembling the cake

Put one cake on the board and pour half of the soaking syrup evenly on top
Put 5 tbsp of whipped cream on top and spread evenly
Cover with another cake
Pour the remaining syrup on top of this cake
Crumb coat the entire cake {Crumb coating means covering the cake with a thin layer of frosting to seal the crumbs.This gives the final frosting a neat look.}
Keep in the fridge for 10 minutes
With the remaining cream, cover the top and side of the cake
Pour the ganache on top and spread to cover the top of the cake
Decorate the cake with the remaining ganache



By now my hands are really aching.. Not because of this post; but with all the icing I'd done; but it was just one of those bad days... You know what!; the cake just slipped of my slab and messed up all the icing uugghhhhh!!!.. Can't imagine.. I was nearly in tears......And  that's why the layers between the cake are not very pronounced...But the taste was not compromised.....Started all over again... The end result was worth all the extra efforts....So enjoy your dessert....










Saturday, October 15, 2011

Perfect vanilla cupcakes with Strawberry jam filling and chocolate butter cream frosting...A treat for halloween

I have been baking for past 6-7 years now and these cupcakes have given me a tough time....Sometime they won't rise and sometimes they don't have a uniform dome...I have been trying and trying until I got this recipe....I have tried this recipe for quite sometime now and I can happily say that it is has always worked....These are the basic cupcakes which can be filled with filling of your choice or can be just frosted and not filled or can be eaten as such...


All you need is

For the cupcake

All purpose flour-11\4 cup
Eggs-2
Baking powder-11\4 tsp
Baking soda-1\2 tsp
Salt-1\2 tsp
Sugar-3\4 cups
Oil-1\2 cup
Milk-1\2 cup
Vanilla extraci-1 tsp
lemon juice-1\2 tsp

For filling

Strawberry jam-4 tbsp
Water- 2tsp

For chocolate butter cream


Unsalted butter- 1 cup
Confectioner's sugar-31\2 cups
Cocoa powder-1\2 cup
Heavy cream-1\2 cup
Vanilla extract-1\2 tsp


Method of preparation


Vanilla cupcakes

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees
Put cup cake liners in the tray
Add lemon juice in milk and keep aside
Mix all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl
Beat egg in a bowl for 10 seconds
Add sugar and beat for a minute
Add vanilla and oil and beat for another minute
Add half of the flour and beat for 10 seconds
Add half of the milk and beat for 10seconds
Repeat with the remaining flour and milk
Pour batter into the liners till 2\3 rd full
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees
Cool in the tray for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack

Filling the cup cakes

Add  2 tsp of water in the jam and mix well
Fill in a zip lock bag fitted with a long tip
Insert the tip in the center of the cupcake and fill the jam
If you don't have a tip, just scoop a little from the center and fill with the jam

Chocolate butter cream

Cream butter and sifted sugar in a bowl till light and fluffy
Add whipping cream, vanilla extract and cocoa powder
Increase the mixer speed and beat for 3-4 minutes
If you want more stiff consistency, add more sugar
And if you want thinner, then add a tsp of milk



You are all set to play with your cupcakes now....As Halloween is approaching,  I made white chocolate spider webs  for the top...You can decorate them as you want to....

Linking my recipe to Halloween Fiesta  hosted by Vardhini of http://vardhiniskitchen.blogspot.com


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Egg Dum Biryani

It's time for another blog hop and let me tell you that I am truly enjoying this event....This is a lovely event hosted by Radhika of http://ticklingpalates.blogspot.com/...I have already learned a lot of new dishes, courtesy this event and  sure to learn a lot more in the future....For this week I am paired with Shireen of http://ruchikrandhap.blogspot.com.....Shireen has a beautiful space with some really mouth watering recipes...It was difficult to choose what to make and what not....For now ,I decided to make this very tempting looking egg biryani , but will surely try a few more recipes from her wonderful collection....



All you need is


Eggs-6

For the rice

Rice-1 and 1\2 cup
Chicken stock-3 cups
Cloves-4
Cinnamon stick-1 inch piece
Black cardamom-3
Black pepper-4-6
Bay leaf-1
lime juice-2 tsp
salt
Ghee or oil-1 tbsp

For the masala


Ghee-4 tbsp
Onion-2 {thinly sliced }
Ginger garlic paste-3 tsp
Tomato- 2{chopped }
Fresh coriander-1\4 cup
Red chili powder-1\2 tsp
Turmeric powder-1\4 tsp
Garam masala-1\2 tsp
Yogurt-1\2 cup
Lime juice-2 tsp

For garnishing during layering

Onion-1 {thinly sliced }
Ghee- 2 tbsp
Cashew nuts-1\4 cup
Raisins-1\4 cups
Saffron-1 pinch
Milk- 2tbsp



Method of preparation


Boiling the eggs

Keep the eggs in a wide pan and cover with water
Bring the water to a rolling boil
Cover the pan and cook the eggs for 12-15 minutes on high
Run under cold water and peel the eggs
Slit the eggs into half

For garnishing

Add ghee in a pan and fry the onions till golden brown
In the same pan , fry cashews and raisins
Add saffron in the warm milk and keep aside

Masala

Add ghee in a heavy bottom pan
Add onions and fry till they turn pink
Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 3-4 minutes
Add all the remaining ingredients and fry till oil comes out
Add the boiled eggs and cook for 2-3 minutes

Rice


Wash and soak rice for 15 minutes
Drain
Add ghee in a pan and add all the whole spices
Add rice and cook for a minute
Add chicken stock , salt and lemon juice
Cover and cook on low heat till rice is 90% done

layering


In a heavy bottom pan, place half of the eggs and the masala
Spread half the rice on top
Sprinkle half of the fried onions and cashews and raisins
Repeat with the remaining masala, rice and garnishing
Sprinkle saffron milk on top
Cover tightly with a aluminium foil and keep on a heated griddle for 10-15 minutes on very low flame
Serve hot with Raita



Biryani came out wonderful...Addition of saffron gave it a very royal taste...Thnx Shireen for sharing this awesome recipe....





















Monday, October 10, 2011

Baked Apple cuplettes

It's almost time for us to go back home...I am excited to go back to my home sweet home but will surely miss this place...We have traveled to a lot of countries around the world, but felt almost at home in the US....This will be a period to cherish in our life...During this time of 5 months , I have loaded my pantry with a lot of different things.....I got a packet of puff pastries to make spinach cheese rolls and used only one sheet that time....So thought to utilize it.... I googled for some recipes and landed on this one at http://www.foodiecrush.com It looked easy to make and good to see...So here it is..
All you need is

Puff pastry sheet-1 {I have not yet tried my hands on puff pastry sheet , but trust me ,the day is not far }
Butter-2 tbsp {melted }
Apples-2 {thinly sliced }
Sugar-2 tbsp
Brown sugar-3 tbsp
Lemon juice-2 tsp
Cinnamon powder-1\2 tsp



Method of preparation

Take out the pastry sheet from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees
Cut the pastry sheet into 3x3 inch pieces
Brush with butter and place into a greased muffin tin
Sprinkle with sugar
In a bowl mix apples, 2 tbsp brown sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon powder
Fill the pastry with this mixture
Sprinkle some brown sugar on top
Bake for 25-30 minutes, till pastry is golden brown
Serve hot with some ice cream


The cuplettes came out awesome....These can be perfect when you have sudden guests and making a detailed dessert looks like a NO NO....Very easy to make and very fancy to make an impression....





Friday, October 7, 2011

Orange and Pistachios Tuiles

Just after a month after our marriage, I got a chance to visit a small town in France called Toulouse...My husband had a project there, so I also went along...One of his friends called us for tea and it was there that I was introduced to these crispy little treats....And to my amazement , the cookies were home made...After we came back I was carrying and had to finish my Internship...So all the cooking and baking took a back seat....Now that my little monster has grown up and I get a little time to myself, I try to learn a lot of new recipe...
tuile is a thin, crisp sweet or savory cookie or wafer made of dough or cheese. Originally from France, 'tuile' means tile in French, and is named after the shape of French roof tiles it is supposed to resemble. They are commonly added as garnishes to desserts such as panna cotta or used as edible cups for sorbet or ice cream.
Source-wikipedia


I saw this recipe in a book called Afternoon Tea by Susannah Blake and as I have tasted Tuiles before, I wanted to try it out...The first batch was a failure as I have pored too much batter....It spread a lot and the center was not crisp...
Then I used my brain and made 6" circle templates on the parchment paper and poured only 1 tsp of batter for each...This helped me make my cookies, all of the same size and because the batter was less, the cookies turned out very crisp and had a melt in mouth texture....



All you need is

Egg white-1
Sugar-1\4 cup
Zest of half orange
Butter-2 tbsp {melted and cooled }
All purpose flour-3 tbsp
Flaked pistachios-3 tbsp
Method of preparation

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees
Put egg white in a clean bowl and beat till stiff peaks are formed
Add sugar and orange zest
Add half the butter and flour and fold into the mixture
Add the remaining butter and flour and fold into the mixture
Drop 1 tsp of batter on the parchment paper and with the back of a teaspoon , spread into 6" rounds
Sprinkle pistachios on top
Leave some space in between the two rounds as these will spread during baking
Bake for 7 minutes at 375 degrees
Take out from the oven and with the help of a spatula, remove the cookie and wrap around a rolling pin, with the pistachios on the outer side
You have to be fast in this step as the cookies cool and become crisp, so they can break
Cool on a wire rack completely before storing them


Mine turned out very crispy and the hint of orange added to the flavor....I made a small batch this time but I am sure to make more of these....


















Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mini Pita Bread with Hummus and Baba ganoush dip


It's time for some change...I have baked quite a few desserts in the past few weeks and wanted to cook something which is as interesting and which we don't eat very frequently and is not a dessert...Middle eastern food pops up...When I think middle eastern food, first things that comes to my mind is Pita, Hummus, Baba ganoush and Falafel....So why not a middle eastern treat for today's lunch...

Pita bread is an integral part of the Middle Eastern cuisine and can be stuffed with array of ingredients to make a Falafel or can be eaten as such with any kind of dip....The key to make a good Pita is to bake it at a very high temperature, so that it puffs up immediately leaving a pocket in between....As the bread cool and flattens, a pocket is left in the middle...

All you need for pita is

Whole Wheat flour- 1 cup
All purpose flour- 1 cup
Salt-1\2 tsp
Warm water-3\4 cup
Active dry yeast-1\4 tsp
Olive oil-1 tbsp
Method of preparation

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and knead to form a soft dough
Knead the dough for 5-6 mins
Cover and keep for 2 hours
Divide the dough into 15 equal sized balls and allow the balls to rest for 30 minutes
Pre heat the oven to 450 degrees
Dust and roll each ball to a 5 inch circle
Bake for 5 mins at 450 degree
I was first introduced to hummus by one of Mohit's Bua who lived in UAE for sometime....She got me a big container of the dip and I managed to finish it alone in a few hours of time...I was in instant love with the dip and always wanted to recreate it....She even gave me the recipe to make it but unfortunately I don't have it right now as we are travelling and it's very difficult to carry all my collection....So I surfed the net and decided on a recipe from http://www.sweetannas.com.....I did a few changes to the original recipe and made my own Tahini from scratch....Hummus came out very good...It was way better than the store bought one....Thnx Anita Bua for introducing me to this lovely dip....


All you need is

Garbanzo beans(chole)-1 can{you can use dry chole and soak them overnight}
Garlic cloves-8-10 {I love the flavor of garlic, if you want to use less feel free }
Extra virgin olive oil- 3tbsp
Tahini- 2tbsp {In a blender , blend 2 tbsp of sesame seed, add 1 tsp of sesame oil or olive oil, salt and little warm water , blend to make a smooth paste }
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt
Cumin powder-1\4 tsp
Chilli flakes-1\2 tsp
Warm water-approx 1\2 cup



Method of preparation

Blend all the ingredients in a blender till a smooth paste is formed
Do not add water all at once
First add a little and if you feel the dip is too thick then add more
The dip will thicken a bit after refrigerating , so make it a little thinner than you would like it
Refrigerate the Hummus for a few hours before serving so that the flavors blend well
Before serving drizzle with EVOO, chili flakes and fresh coriander




Baba Ganoush is a Lebanese dish of aubergine mashed and mixed with virgin olive oil and other seasnings....Whether you know it as Mutabbal, Moutabal, caviar'd aubergines or baba ganoush, the smoky aubergine puree is a classic....Like its cousin Hummus, baba ganoush is readily available at a lot of Grocery stores...But nothing can beat a home made stuff....It's basically hummus in which chickpeas are replaced with smoked aubergine....


All you need is

Aubergine-1
Tahini- 2tbsp (Recipe in Hummus)
Lemon juice- 2tbsp
Garlic-5-6 cloves
Greek or hung yogurt- 2tbsp
Salt
Olive oil- 2tsp
Chili flakes-1\2 tsp
Fresh coriander for garnishing



Method of preparation

Prick the aubergine at 5-6 places with a knife
Roast aubergine on stove top from all the sides till it is soft from inside
Insert a knife to check
If the knife gets no resistance while passing through , the aubergine is done
You can also roast the aubergine in a oven for an hour
Peel and chop the flesh
In a blender , add all the ingredients except fresh coriander and blend till smooth
Add little water if required
Drizzle with olive oil, chili flakes and fresh coriander

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