Monthly Archives: December 2011

Cupcakes

In any relation, a bit of distance is required for the relationship to survive and thrive. I believe in it a lot. So I have always maintained that distance between my kitchen and my friends.

I don’t ask anyone to drop in for lunch or dinner, for the fear that they might never come this way again. I value my friends too much to torture them with my cooking.

Hubby hasn’t learnt the lesson yet. Now and then, he would invite some of his friends to come home to spend a day with us. He has to find a new set of friends every time, cause its difficult to persuade whoever has come here before.

I am not a bad cook, I do cook some decent meals now and then. But I have a special knack of messing up when someone comes to visit us. If I want to impress someone, you can be really sure that a 100 things will go wrong that day. I am simply blessed that way.

Here is a set of cupcakes, made when some of hubby’s friends visited us sometime back. They came out great and would have been perfect if I hadn’t decorated them with buttercream frosting, which was extra sweet (another mess up!). I loved it, but most of them found it too sweet for their taste. It got finished anyway, so I am not complaining :)

Ingredients:

  • Cake Flour                      :        2 3/4 cups
  • Baking Powder              :        2 tsps
  • Salt                                     :        1/2 tsp
  • Butter                                :        225 gms (2 sticks), softened
  • Sugar                                 :        1 3/4 cups
  • Eggs                                   :         4
  • Vanilla Essence             :        1 tsp
  • Milk                                    :        1 1/2 cups, at room temp

Method: 

One Cup Cake Flour  = 3/4 cup All purpose flour  + 2 tbsp corn flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease a muffin pan or line with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to mix.
  3. Beat the softened butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, and add vanilla essence.
  4. Add one third of the flour, followed by half of the milk. Beat using the electric mixer. Add the flour in two more rounds, followed by milk, until the flour is just incorporated.
  5. Fill the muffin pans and bake for 15-20 minutes, or till the skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  6. Decorate with buttercream frosting once the cupcakes are cool. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Recipe adapted from Family Baking Book by America’s Test Kitchen.

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Veg Lasagna

Sleeplessness is finally catching up with me, with laziness and clumsiness in a close second place. My big plans to make lasagna, pizza, calzone and Christmas cakes have been shoved aside unceremoniously.

I did make an excellent Pumpkin – Banana fudge and a quick microwave cake in between, but there was hardly anything left to click after the initial tasting session.

So, here is a click of lasagna, our ‘Friday special’ for a long time, till we exhausted the lasagna sheets. I did try making the sheets at home, but it was too much of work and so stopped making them, and automatically lasagna too, at home.

There is no specific recipe for this. I just start with an onion tomato base, flavored with ginger garlic paste, italian seasoning and chilli flakes. I usually grind the base into a puree, bring it back to a boil and then proceed to add a lot of chopped vegetables – carrots, beans, capsicum, cauliflower, mushrooms (any veggie in the fridge) and cook till its all done. I keep tasting and adjusting the seasonings as I cook.

Once the tomato based sauce is done, you need to make the white sauce – a combination of milk, all purpose flour and butter, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Once the white sauce is done, you need to layer the lasagna, starting with red sauce, white sauce, lasagna sheet and it has to be repeated for 2-3 times. The topmost layer has to be white sauce, topped with grated cheese.

Baking until the cheese starts to melt and serve hot with garlic bread and coke!

You can check out here for a detailed recipe.

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Coconut Boli

What we had here was an uneventful week followed by an eventful weekend.

The weekend started on a worrisome note with food poisoning of a friend, followed by our apartment motor breaking down. Imagine diarrhea combined with water shortage! The motor-water problem was solved by fixing a new motor and the stomach-vomit problem was soon attended by a doctor with good results.

My friend’s brother has graciously told me that I am always welcome to get myself food-poisoned while visiting them, so that they will also get a chance to take care of me :-))!

Talking about things going awry, this thenga poli comes under that.

What should have been a soft boli, turned out to be slightly tough because I was not liberal with oil and ghee. But thankfully it was very tasty. You can check out here for the original recipe.

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Baingan Bharta

The only mistake my cousin did was to tell me that she makes baingan bharta now and then. That got my attention and I started quizzing her so much that she volunteered to make it for me, even if it is just to shut me up.

Not one to waste time and wait until she has a change of mind, I finalized dinner plans. Baingan bharta, chapatis, a simple dal and buttermilk to wash it down.

Soon, I was making the chapati dough (in the food processor, of course) while she was shedding copious amount of tears cutting the stubborn onions.

Still an hour later, I was rolling the chapatis in a far away cool corner of our kitchen, while she was standing in front the stove, breaking a sweat and cooking  the baingan bharta. Her family and mine enjoyed this lip smacking, yet simple treat immensely.

The only worry is that she may not be talking about recipes to me anymore!

Ingredients:

  • Big Eggplant                                 :          1 (approx 1/2 kg)
  • Oil                                                     :          2-3 tsp. for rubbing on the eggplant
  • Onions                                             :         2 big, chopped
  • Ginger garlic paste                     :         1 tsp
  • Tomato                                           :         1 big, chopped
  • Capsicum                                       :         1, chopped
  • Coriander leaves                         :         2 tbsp,chopped
  • Coriander powder                      :         1 tsp
  • Chilli powder                                :         1 tsp (adjust according to taste)
  • Lemon juice                                  :         1 tsp (didn’t use this)
  • Garam masala/sabji masala   :         1 tsp (optional)
  • Cumin seeds                                  :         1 tsp
  • Oil                                                      :         2 tbsp
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Rub oil over the eggplant till its coated completely and microwave for about 8-10 minutes till its cooked. Cool, peel and mash it finely.
  2. In a pan, heat oil and add the cumin seeds. Once it cracks, add the chopped onions, ginger garlic paste and cook till onions turn pink.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook till its mushy. Add the chilli powder, coriander powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes more and add the mashed eggplant.
  4. Add capsicum, garam masala or sabji masala and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice. Check and adjust seasonings.
  5. Take off the heat and add a dollop of butter (if desired) and serve hot with rotis.

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Banana Bread

Hubby is a huge fan of bananas, but he hates them in baked goodies. Now, I love banana bread and that is precisely the reason why I never bake them.

I tend to finish them off. All on my own. The entire loaf, in case you didn’t understand.

Bananas are never given an opportunity in our house to turn overripe. They are gobbled down much before they reach that stage. But sometimes a piece or two remains as such in the fruit bowl, out of pure politeness (Me: ‘let him finish it’ . Him :’let her finish it’).

So every time we have some polite overripe bananas left, I am faced with this ‘to bake or not to bake’ dilemma. The question is whether I should throw out an overripe banana or add a pound of butter and sugar to it and bake a bread and increase my weight.

But sometimes you can’t help yourself! So, when I saw this wonderful recipe for Banana bread at Priya’s place, I discarded all my weight control plans (I wasn’t following them anyway) and indulged, I mean, baked.

And LOVED it, to the last crumb!

So, here is the recipe for the ultimate moist banana bread.

Ingredients:

  • Banana                           :            3 large (ripe), mashed
  • Eggs                                :             2
  • Oil                                    :            1/2 cup
  • Butter milk                   :            1/3 cup
  • All Purpose Flour      :            1 3/4 cups
  • Sugar                              :            1- 1.5 cups (I used 1 cup)
  • Baking Soda                 :            1 tsp
  • Salt                                  :            1/4 tsp
  • Walnuts                         :            1 cup  (optional)

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 325 F and grease a loaf pan.
  2. Blend bananas, eggs, oil and buttermilk (wet ingredients) together.
  3. Combine the flour, sugar, soda and salt. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients. Mix until there are no dry lumps. Add the nuts, if using.
  4. Pour into the greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Keep checking with a skewer after 60 minutes into baking, to avoid over baking.
  5. Slice and serve when they are slightly warm.

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Best Brownies

My husband is not a fan of sweets.

Me and my friend used to tactfully position ourselves next to him, whenever sweets are being distributed. One look at us and he could make out that we were there specifically for the sweet in his hand, and not just happened to be around to spread some goodwill. He would generously give us his share and we would gobble down everything in one go.

We have been lucky in getting chocolates, cakes, burfis, rasgollas, gulab jamuns and almost all kind of sweets out of him. But never had any luck with brownies. Now, those are his favorite.

From the first time I baked brownies at home, hubby has been hooked to it. This is the only (baked or otherwise) item made by me, that he relishes and eats. I have tried many brownie recipes and been equally lucky with them all.

For the past sometime, I have been making ‘Best Brownies‘ from Hershey’s. So, I thought of starting the 11th edition of Blogging Marathon on a brownie note. Bake these and enjoy them, they are truly out of this world!

Ingredients:

  • Butter                          :           1/2 cup (1 stick/~115 g ), melted
  • Sugar                           :           1 cup
  • Eggs                              :           2
  • Vanilla Extract        :           1 tsp
  • All Purpose Flour   :           1/2 cup
  • Cocoa Powder          :           1/3 cup
  • Baking Powder         :           1/4 tsp
  • Salt                               :           1/4 tsp
  • Chopped Nuts          :           1/2 cup (optional)

Method: 

  1. Heat oven to 350°F/ 180 C. Grease a 9″ square baking pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center.
  3. In another bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and beaten eggs. Stir and combine well with a wooden spatula.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Stir in the nuts, if using.
  5. Spread the batter into the greased pan. Bake at 180 C for 20 to 25 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Cut into 8 big squares and enjoy. Here, I have baked a double batch which got over before I could even blink my eye!

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page to see what’s cooking on other marathoners blogs.

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All Done!

All Done!

Linked to Susan’s Black and White Wednesdays.

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Soft Sannas

Everyone has fond memories of  the first stages of romance.

I still clearly remember the first days of travel in the bike with my hubby. Wind sweeping the hair, cool hubby riding the bike…Romantic, really romantic – until I asked him to move a little bit to the front. (Not enough space in the back for me, you see).

“I  can’t,” he told me. “I am already sitting on the petrol tank. I can only sit on top of the handle now, which I won’t. “

Ouch.

I knew the romance bubble had burst  when I was presented with a gym membership the same evening. What followed was 2 days of getting up at 5AM, going to the gym, trying to stay awake and doing the aerobic steps at the same time.

By the third day, I stopped getting up in the mornings and learnt to adjust in the limited space in the backseat of the bike. End of the episode, for me at least.

Hubby still sits on the petrol tank while driving.

Its Radhika’s Blog Hopping Time again and this time I am paired with Rinku of Kitchen Treats. After going through her elaborate recipe list, I zeroed down on Sanna, as its something I haven’t tried before. I made the chutney from this post of hers.

Sanna is a variant of idli, popular in Mangalore and Goa. Yeast is used for fermentation here, making Sannas fluffy and soft.

We really liked the soft texture and a slightly sweet taste of Sanna . I made some in the idly mould, but loved the ones made in the katoris  better.

Ingredients:

  • Idli Rice                                       :        1 1/2 cups
  • Raw Rice                                      :        1/2 cups
  • Urad Dal                                       :        1/4 cup
  • Yeast                                             :        1 tsp, heaped
  • Sugar (for yeast)                       :        1 tsp
  • Water (for yeast)                      :         3-4 tbsp
  • Salt                                                 :         1 tsp
  • Sugar                                             :         2 tsp or per taste

Method:

  1. Wash and soak both the rice together for 3 hours (minimum). Wash and soak the urad dal separately for 40 min.
  2. Grind the dal to a paste using very little water.
  3. Grind the rice together into a batter, again using very little water.
  4. Mix both and pour into a big vessel as the batter will increase a lot due to fermentation.
  5. Dissolve yeast and one tsp sugar into 3-4 tbsp of warm water. Keep aside for 10 minutes till the yeast starts frothing. If the yeast is not active, start fresh with another batch of yeast.
  6. Mix the yeast solution into the sanna batter, cover loosely and keep aside for 2 hours. If you are using the batter later, then refrigerate it. It is a good idea to keep the vessel on top of a big plate, so that even if the batter ferments and overflows, the plate can catch it.
  7. To make Sannas, grease small steel katoris with oil and pour a ladle of batter (without mixing) into them. Steam for about 10 minutes. Check with a skewer and take off the stove, when it is done.
  8. Place the katoris face down in a plate and once cool, run a knife around it and take it out.
  9. Serve with a nice chutney.

Ingredients: Red Onion Chutney

  • Pearl onions             :          2 cups,peeled
  • Red Chillies              :           3-4, per taste
  • Tamarind                  :           a small piece
  • Oil
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan, add the onions and chilies. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Take off the heat, cool and grind to a fine paste with tamarind and salt.
  3. I used a combination of pearl onions and ordinary onions.

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Bread Knots

The first time I tried making bread rolls, they came out looking great. We tried them fresh out of the oven and they tasted fantastic.

The next day we happily offered them to some unsuspecting guests who, I think, won’t be coming this way again. I still haven’t forgotten the ‘chewing chewing chewing’ face and then the swallowing it down with a glass of water.

The bread roll had become a rubber roll when it went cold! What we didn’t know at that time was that a minute in the MW was all it took to turn the rolls soft again.

Well, we may have lost a friend that day, but we have gained our lesson in return – bread rolls shouldn’t be served cold, ever!

Time for Radhika’s Blog Hop Wednesdays and this time I am paired with Shafa of Schmetterling Words. Check out her space for fantastic food pictures and a cute salt and pepper shaker too :).

The recipe for bread rolls is from this post of hers.

Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour                      :      2 cups
  • Active dry yeast                       :      1/2 tbsp
  • Luke warm water                      :      1/2 cup
  • Salt                                                  :      1 tsp
  • Sugar                                              :      2 tbsp
  • Egg white                                      :      1, for brushing (or milk)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Oil for greasing

Method:

  1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm and keep aside for 10 minutes, till it proofs.
  2. Combine flour and salt in another bowl and add the yeast mixture and form a dough.Add more water, if required.
  3. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes and cover and keep in a greased bowl till it doubles (about 2 hours).
  4. Punch the dough down and divide into small balls. Roll them into desired shapes (clover leaf, twist, knot, S shape) and line them in a greased baking pan.
  5. Cover the dough and let the dough rest for another one hour.
  6. Brush with an egg white wash or milk.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 min at 225 C or till the crust turns golden.
  8. Serve them hot with butter, jam, marmalade. Or microwave at the time of serving.
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