Coconut bread – quick bread

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We all make mistakes. Sometimes big mistakes.

Mine was also big. A BIG pack of coconut flakes.

Now, if you know how to use it up, then it’s not a problem. But if you are short of ideas, the bag will totally weigh you down.

Thank God for the internet and the problem isn’t that big anymore. It’s one cup short now and I am taking it cup-wise now a days.

Scroll down for the recipe.

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Recipe source : Taste of home

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flaked coconut, toasted

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a big bowl (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt).
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg, milk and vanilla extract.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just incorporated.
  5. Fold the coconut flakes and transfer the  batter into the loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes free of crumbs.
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Quick chocolate cupcake

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This is another one of those 40 posts that has been sitting on the drafts folder for a long long time. This is a very quick and easy cupcakes from Hershey’s. I had baked these when I was in India, just before moving to U.S.

Another special thing about these cupcakes are these were baked for a friend of mine. He had dropped in at our place as he knew I was relocating soon. He is a great photographer and he taught me to click with the ‘Live view’ mode in the DSLR. I was using the viewfinder until then.

With the LCD display ON (Live view shooting is just that – it shows the picture in the LCD screen before we take the picture – just like how it is in a P&S or phone camera), clicking a picture is so much easier. For one thing, we can see our photo setup before we click. Secondly, you can switch on the grid display which helps with the ‘rule of thirds’ in photography. Third thing is it helps you focus where you want to.

These are the first pictures that I took with Live View mode ON and I use that feature a lot now. Check out this video which explains it so much better!

Before you go check out that feature in your camera, have a look at this easy-peasy cupcake recipe as well.

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Recipe source: Hershey’s

Makes 2 dozen small cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat oven 180 C/ 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with paper cups.
  2. In a big bowl, add all the dry ingredients and whisk well.
  3. Add the oil, vinegar and vanilla. Blend until well mixed.
  4. Fill the batter up to 2/3rd of the paper cup and bake for 20-25 minutes until the center is cooked.
  5. Let it cool completely and frost, if preferred.

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Chocolate chip cookies

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I always wanted to have a girl. Always.

But the minute I was pregnant, I knew it was going to be a boy. It was pure intuition, but it was so strong that we didn’t even look at girl names. (I guessed correctly for both my brothers as well, I should have charged them psychic fees! )

Once the kid was born, I knew the beautiful pink dresses were never going to come home. The doll house, the Barbie, the cuddly teddies… all the toys that I wanted for myself my daughter would never come. I was not just upset at this loss of toys, but I genuinely believed girls were easier to manage. Girls listen to you, are more obedient and a lot less rough than boys.

It was around this time that my brother’s call came. We were talking about our childhood and this thing of girls being nice and proper came up. He started laughing and reminded me of my childhood. Off the three of us, I was only one who was naughty. I was the only one who has broken stuff, lost things, gone missing and most importantly, the energetic one. If I am not to be found, they  would look up and not down in the house.  I was a climber apparently and I would be on top of a window or a desk than under the bed.

The stories went on for hours and lets just say, I was beyond convinced that not all girls are calm and quiet. As for the pink dresses and accessories, that’s for a different post!

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Pictorial:

In a bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda and salt). No picture :D.

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In a big bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to beat the butter with both the sugars until light and fluffy.

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Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat them in. Add vanilla and mix.

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Add the flour mix in batches until it forms a dough.

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Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.

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Drop by tablespoons onto a parchment paper lined tray, leaving space for the cookies to expand.

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Bake for 9-12 minutes or until the cookies turn golden brown.  Let the cookies sit in the tray for sometime before moving them to cooling racks.

Recipe source: Nestle toll house cookies 

Makes: about 50 cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks ~225 gms) butter, softened***
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I didn’t add)

***1 stick (approx 100 gms) of very softened butter would also work here. Cut down only the butter, make sure it is really soft and follow the recipe as such. 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda and salt)
  3. In a big bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to beat the butter with both the sugars until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat them in.
  5. Add vanilla and mix.
  6. Add the flour mix in batches until it forms a dough. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using
  7. Drop by tablespoons onto a parchment paper lined tray, leaving space for the cookies to expand.
  8. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until the cookies turn golden brown.
  9. Let the cookies sit in the tray for sometime before moving them to cooling racks.

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Oatmeal raisin soak cookies

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I have been given a very different bringing up than others. For one thing, our parents never raised their hands on us. To be honest, we have driven them up through the walls especially in our teens. Yet, they were always lenient with us.

I still remember the kind of punishments I used to get when I was younger. My father would ask me to stand in a particular spot until he allows me to go. Surprisingly, I was the only one who got this punishment. Not so surprisingly, my brothers weren’t so much of a trouble :D.

I am talking about the early 1980s, when we have never heard of a thing called time out. I wonder how my dad got that idea when he had no parenting books, the internet or Dr. Spock to guide him!

Anyway, my dad is right now in Trivandrum and they are flying to my brother’s place today. So I was thinking of my dad, of my childhood, of my home, about the future and a lot about the past. So this just came up in my mind.

These cookies are also special, because I made it for my parents and my brother’s family two summers back. On demand from my dad. I didnt take any pictures then, because it was all over in a day or two. But still the memory lingers.

Browse through the pictorial and the recipe to know how it is made!

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Recipe source: Food.com

Pictorial

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Soak the raisins in the beaten eggs and vanilla for an hour.

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Beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy.

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Add the flour, salt, baking soda. Mix in.

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Add the raisin mix.

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Followed by oats and nuts, if using.

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Form a dough.

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Take tablespoonfuls of dough and place in a parchment lined tray.

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Bake for 10-15 minutes (took around 13 for me) in a preheated oven, keeping a close eye on it.

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The cookies are done when the base starts to brown lightly. Let them rest in the tray for sometime or they might crumble.

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Once cool, store in an airtight container.

Recipe source: Food.com

Makes : about 50 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 1cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 3cup chopped nuts(optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C.
  2. Beat the eggs well with the vanilla. Soak the raisins in the egg-mix for an hour.
  3. In a big bowl, beat the butter with the brown and white sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the baking soda, salt and flour (in batches) and mix it in.
  5. Add the raisin mix and oats and blend until combined. You might have to use your hands or a rubber spatula at this stage.
  6. Scoop and drop tablespoonful of dough or roll into balls and flatten a little with your hands. Place them in a parchment lined tray, leaving some space in between for the cookies to expand.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned.
  8. Let the cookies rest in the tray for sometime or it might crumble when you try to take it out.
  9. Once cool, store in an airtight container.

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Ultimate Chocolate Chips Cookies

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This space was never meant to be a recipe repository alone. It was meant to be collection of everyday moments of our lives , a space to write down the simple things before life wipes out our memories and writes on top of it again.

I remember our father’s attempts to record our childhood. He still has a recorded audio cassette where we are singing rhymes, talking and fighting and everything. I don’t think I was even five then.

Though it feels very good when we listen to the cassette, its  my parents’ face that truly lits up whenever we put it on. Its like reliving our childhood once again for them. Unfortunately, the cassette is now kept aside safely because that technology is redundant now. We tried copying it into a CD, but they advised us against it since its very old. But still, whenever appa talks about it, he is very happy.

That’s what this place is for me. Reliving our everyday life.

I have no idea where this blog is going to be when my son would be inching towards his 40. May be blogs won’t be there and may be they would have advanced to something more efficient. But I had some of the best moments when last weekend, me and my son sat down together and went through some of the posts about him.

He laughed a lot.

Yes, I did the right thing by starting this place. I did the right thing by not giving up in between.

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Another right thing I did, was to bake these ultimate cookies. These are just amazing and pretty easy to put together.

Pictorial

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Cream the softened butter using hand or stand mixer.

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Add the white and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

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Add vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat it in. As you can see, I have no patience and added both in.

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Add flour (whisked with baking powder, baking soda and salt) in batches.

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Mix until just incorporated.

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Fold in the chocolate chips and chunks.

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Let the dough rest in fridge for sometime to firm up.

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When ready to bake, scoop tablespoonfuls of dough in a parchment lined tray, leaving space to spread. Take your kid’s help here :-).

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Bake for about 12 -16 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies.

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Bake until light brown on the edges. Let the cookies cool in the tray for sometime before taking them out.

Recipe source : Martha Stewart’s Ultimate chocolate chip cookies

Makes : about 48 medium cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 sticks(~500gms) butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 8(~240gms) ounces chocolate, chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 180 C.
  2. Whisk the baking soda, baking powder, salt and the flour until well mixed in a separate bowl. Keep aside.
  3. Cream the butter until light. Add both the sugars and beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat it in.
  5. Add the flour mix in 3-4 batches, beating it in slowly, until just incorporated.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chunks and chips.
  7. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to one hour.
  8. Scoop out tablespoonful of dough and place it in a parchment lined tray, leaving space for spreading.
  9. Baking time would depend on the size of the cookies. For this size, its around 12-16 minutes.
  10. Take them out once light brown on the edges and let the cookies cool in the tray before taking them out.

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Eggless chocolate chip cookies

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We are into the last week 10 days of this month-long baking marathon.

This week there is no specific theme, but most of it is going to be cookies. Most, not all!

It’s surprising that I am baking cookies now as I find them more time-consuming to prepare. It’s a dough, not a batter, so handling and mixing is not as easy as cakes. Again, you need to stick around and watch like a hawk as it hardly takes a minute for a cookie to go from browning to over baking to burning!

Earlier, I used to have at least one tray of burnt cookies every single time I bake them. But it’s not that bad now. I keep an eye on the cookies and they behave a lot better!

My son has started loving the chocolate chip cookies and I have been baking more than a fair share of those. I make the dough, but bake only when my son asks for it.  He usually wants to help me with it, so its something fun for us to do together.

These eggless chocolate chip cookies were a gift for someone. These chewy cookies were quite easy to prepare. Check out the recipe and let me know if you ever give them a try.

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Recipe source : Maria’s menu

Yields : 20 medium-big cookies

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 cup (~110 gms) butter, at room temp, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • a pinch salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chip cookies and/or peanut butter chips

Method:

  1. Beat the butter and the sugars well until light and fluffy, using a hand mixer.
  2. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and beat in until combined.
  3. Add the baking soda and salt and beat it in.
  4. Add the flour in 3 batches and fold it in.
  5. Now add the chocolate chips and peanut butter chips and mix using a rubber spatula.
  6. The dough will be very soft to handle, so refrigerate it for an hour for it to firm up.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F.
  8. Take small balls of dough and place it in a parchment paper lined baking tray. Make sure you leave enough space for the cookies to spread. Flatten the dough balls out a little with your hands.
  9. Bake for 12-16 minutes or until they are done. If the base of the cookies are beginning to brown, they are done.
  10. Take out the tray and let the cookies cool in the tray itself for 10 minutes. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container.

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Eggizza – Baked eggs with vegetables

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There might be times when there won’t be even a single vegetable in my fridge. No dal, rice or cereal in my pantry. But there will never ever be a time when I am out of eggs, flour and butter. It’s a panic situation if it comes to that. In fact, just thinking about it is stressing me out!
So when we had an impromptu get together, all I had at home was the “crazy dough” in the fridge and some eggs. Crazy dough got used up as pizza and these went in along with it. I used the same veggies that went in the pizza and used up the cheese from there as well.
And we named them “eggizza”.
I made these again, a week later. This time I used some spinach and corn. And I was able to click some hurried pictures too!
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Chop the onion finely and add the thawed spinach and corn.
Beat the eggs with salt and pepper.
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Pour a layer of the egg mix to cover the base of a greased pan.
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Add the vegetables on top.
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Add rest of the egg mix over it.
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Sprinkle cheese/ bread crumbs on top. You can skip this layer also.
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Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is set and doesn’t jiggle and its cooked in the center.
Recipe adapted from: Vintage Zest 
Serves : 4-6
Ingredients: 
  • Veggies of your choice: I used 1 onion, handful of corn, two handful spinach (I used frozen). Bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, mushrooms all are good choices.
  • Eggs : 1 – 1.5  per person. (I have used 8 eggs for 6 people)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp cheese or bread crumbs
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Grease a muffin pan or a loaf pan. Its a good idea to line the pan with parchment paper or use paper cups for easy cleaning of the pan.
  2. Chop the vegetables into fine pieces.
  3. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper in a separate bowl.
  4. Pour a layer of the seasoned egg mix into the greased pan.
  5. Add the vegetables on top of the egg layer.
  6. Add the rest of the egg mix and sprinkle cheese or bread crumbs on top, if using.
  7. Bake for around 30 minutes or until the eggs are set and cooked in the centre.

NOTE:

  1. DO NOT overfill the pan. The egg puffs up a lot when cooking, so it might overflow.
  2. The eggs puff up and then fall down once its out of the oven.
  3. These freeze well, so its a make ahead dish.

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Masala loaf

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I had given my laptop to my in-laws before coming to US. Their laptop died an unromantic death the day before I was travelling.

Now, my in-laws and me, we are great at buying vegetables, groceries, stationary and a whole lot of stuff. But purchasing from the world of electronic media is beyond our capacity. So I gave my almost brand-new laptop to them. The only thing was I didn’t have the time to take back up or upload the pictures.

Fast forward 8 months. Now my in-laws are visiting us. Yesterday my FIL mentioned about the pictures and I could see there are tons and tons of my food pictures in his laptop. Can you imagine my happiness :-)?

This masala bread is one from there. I have been almost grieving for this bread and its pictures :D.

This one is inspired from Nandini’s masala bread. I followed a recipe from the net.

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Recipe source: Oysters and lemons

Ingredients: 

For the masala part,

  • Very finely chopped coriander leaves, curry leaves, green chilli and ginger. about 1/2 cup, all put together
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil/ softened butter
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

Method:

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  1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt and turmeric powder) until combined.
  2. If you are using active dry yeast, you need to proof it in the milk until it bubbles up well.
  3. Add chopped items for masala and the oil/butter to the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the lukewarm milk in portions and knead until you get a smooth, soft dough.
  5. Shape into a ball and leave in a well oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or a lid.
  6. Depending on the temperature in the place, the dough will double in 1-2 hours. Doubling of the dough is the criteria and not the time.
  7. Once the dough has almost doubled, gently deflate it down and shape into a loaf and place it in a greased bread pan.
  8. Let it rise until it reaches 1 inch above the rim of the pan.  About 1 hour or so.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden and the bread sounds hollow when tapped under.
  10. Once its baked, I always rub the bread with a little stick of butter. Let the bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then on the cooling rack until cooled completely.

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Roasted vegetables

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I can totally imagine me having a blog, but how I ended up having a food blog is still a mystery to me and many others. I guess it was mainly my husband’s idea.

The smart guy figured out that if I have a food based blog, he will get better food and more varieties everyday. It did succeed to some extend, but it threw him a few surprises as well. There has been times when he had to sniff, touch or bite to believe that the ‘stuff’ on the plate is actually his dinner. But turning a blind eye to the failures, the recipes that turned out good hasn’t been all positive as well.

Imagine his surprise when he comes home hungry and finds that the dinner is great, but he can’t eat it because it has to be dressed, decorated and clicked before its served.

My mom used to serve the first slice of food as an offering to God as a ‘Thank you’ every morning. In my house, that offering is for the camera. The celestial and terrestrial beings just have to wait for me to finish clicking.

Well, that was how it was in the beginning when I started the blog. We have traveled 4 years from there. Still, the pattern is same. Camera checks out the food before everybody else. But the difference is that now, I click before everyone gets home.I get good sunlight this way, the camera gets the clicks, the men get their food. Everyone’s happy this way.

But at times, I still have to make them wait. Like I did for this recipe.

Valli asked us to share our “behind the scenes” set up for our pictures and here is mine : Look at the click and imagine two guys standing a foot away from it with their plates in their hands and a resigned look in their faces. That’s my behind the scenes for many a pictures :D.

Now scroll down for the details about the recipe.

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Recipe adapted from : All Recipes

Serves : 3-4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • handful of broccoli
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • chili flakes (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Peel, wash and cut/dice the veggies into equal sized pieces. Quarter the onions and separate the layers.
  3. Mix the oil, Italian seasoning, vinegar, salt n pepper and chili flakes in a bowl.
  4. Coat the vegetables evenly with the dressing.

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Spread as a single layer in a tray.

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Bake for about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. I roasted these along with the garlic. Time and energy saved  :-).

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Bake until the vegetables are cooked through. Take out and let it cool a little before serving.

Note:

  • If some of the veggies are too thin (like the onion layers), you can add them after the first 15 minutes or so of baking.
  • I used the vegetables I had in my hand.
  • Stir every ten minutes, that ensures even browning.

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Roasted garlic

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There are times when I go totally berserk in this place. I talk for hours at end. But luckily, there are days when I don’t say much. Those are fewer in number, but they definitely exist.

And this is one of your lucky days.

No lecture from me. No long stories. No incidents. Nothing to share.

I have an amazing capacity to elaborate the “nothingness” for four pages.

But no…not today. Today is just for roasted garlic.

Scroll down for the pictorial and the recipe (if you can call it that!).

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Recipe source : too many from the net

Ingredients:

  • garlic bulbs or peeled pods
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • aluminum foil for making a bag

Method:

  1. Rub off the excess whitish papery layers of skin from the garlic.
  2. Cut the garlic bulb into This way, you just need to squeeze a bit (like a lemon) to take the pods out once roasted.
  3. If you are using pods, then peel those. Else it might be difficult to take it out of the skin.

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Sprinkle some oil, salt and pepper on the garlic.

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Same for the pods.

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Make a bag out of the aluminium foil. It should enclose the garlic fully. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 F/ 200 C  for about 30-35 minutes until garlic feels soft when pressed.

I roasted these along with something else as it hardly takes up space.

Uses:

  • With the right amount of salt and pepper, it is a good spread on a toast.
  • Any place where garlic is used. I used these in some soups.
  • Many spreads/dips can be prepared using this (yet to try that though!)

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