Category Archives: This, that and the other

Fire up your oven – April Mega marathon

This is a recap of the month-long baking marathon – Fire Up your Oven- for April 2015.

You can imagine the sugar high and the weight gain in process ;-)

Click on the image to take you to the post.

Week 1 : Celebration Cakes

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Ponque – Puerto Rican pound cake

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Tres Leches – Three milk cake

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Ombre cake

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Sofa cake

Week 2: Simple fruit based Cakes (except the first one :D)

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Chocolate cake : base for sofa cake

Eggless fruit cake 1

Eggless fruit cake 1

Eggless Fruit cake 2

Eggless Fruit cake 2

Caramel banana cake

Caramel banana cake

Easy Banana cake

Easy Banana cake

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Strawberry cake

Week 3: Savory Bakes

“Crazy dough” focaccia

Baked potatoes

Baked potatoes

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Roasted garlic

Roasted vegetables

Roasted vegetables

Masala loaf

Masala loaf

Eggizza - Quiche with a fancy name

Eggizza – Quiche with a fancy name

Week 4: Cookies and quick breads

Eggless chocolate chip cookies

Eggless chocolate chip cookies

Ultimate chocolate chip cookies

Ultimate chocolate chip cookies

Oatmeal raisin soak cookies

Oatmeal raisin soak cookies

Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies

Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies

Quick chocolate cupcakes

Quick chocolate cupcakes

Coconut quick bread

Coconut quick bread

Week 5: Everything else

Plum Clafoutis

Plum Clafoutis

Egg puffs

Egg puffs

Pound cake

Pound cake

Rich chocolate buttercream

Rich chocolate buttercream

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Hello world!

 

 

I have been away too long, haven’t I?

I hear you and I agree as well! It’s been long long break. But thing is, you see, I have been working on some really big, secret things that need to be done to save the world from hunger, poverty and war. Kinda like what James Bond does.

If that was true, that would be one cool blanket excuse for everything. But unfortunately, it isn’t and I haven’t been doing anything special. It’s just been about taking each day as it comes. Looking at the sun shine every morning and wondering at the sun set. Well, you would wonder too if the sun sets by 5 PM.

I know I didn’t give a goodbye kiss to 2014 as it sailed past by nor gave a welcome hug to 2015 to make it a bit more warmer. But the good thing is that, behind the scenes, I didn’t miss any of the personal milestones.

Our marriage completed 10 solid years (thank you, but the credit goes to the man than me :D). My son turned 8 just after Christmas and my man turned…errrrrr….an year older just before New Year. All these were celebrated with love, laughter and cake, of course.

I am opening the first blog of this year with a salute to 2014. And some cakes to sweeten it up!

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An egg less vanilla cake with fresh cream frosting. Decorated with Hershey’s chocolate syrup, chocolate and butterscotch chips and grated chocolate on top. The man and his close friend cut into this as they turned a year older together.

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This is my standard to-go chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. It has picnic food on top made using ready-made fondant. The sides are covered with chocolate biscuits. Yum!

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The cake traveled all the way to the Central park in New York. That’s where my son celebrated his birthday.

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Sometimes there are too many coincidences in life. My man and his close friend were born on the same day. The friend’s wedding was the day after ours. And now, so many years later, we live just a kilometer away from them and our kids are going to the same school. Coincidences, huh!!!

And the ombre cake was the way they celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.

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Now this cake is special. It was made to celebrate 10 years of our being together. I made the cake, but my neighbor who is a professional cake decorator, decorated it for me. I was sitting next to her, watching as she worked, admiring the effort she put into it and the perfection she was looking for.

The cake is an egg less chocolate cake, decorated with butter cream icing.

The day was just wonderful! I still can’t believe that we have been married for a decade now :-).

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My hibernation is over and I hope I will be more in action here from now on.

Stay happy and stay warm..See you all soon!

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Baby Shower for Sapana

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I am joining my Blogging Marathon friends for a virtual baby shower for a BM blogger buddy, Sapana.

Sapana is expecting a new addition to her family and we all decided to throw her a surprise party online from various corners of the world.

The plan was to select a recipe from her space and cook, click and present it back to Sapana to enjoy.

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I wanted a cake… cakes are the best way to celebrate any occasion. This is my version of her Black Forest recipe. Mine doesn’t quite qualify as black forest, since I was not able to get cherries for the cake on time :D.

I didn’t bother much since it was made with love and good intentions, though definitely short on cherries :D!!

The best part about the cake is that my son made the cake. I took care of the decoration (for which he sulked for sometime, but later he decided he wasn’t interested anyway!), but the cake was made from scratch by kiddo. That makes it all the more special :-)

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Since that feeling of a complete replication of the recipe was not there, I made one more cake from her space. An eggless fruit cake, this time. This one had mixed fruits and (almost) everything that the recipe called. So it indeed is a fruit cake :-).

I will be putting a separate post for the recipes. Scroll down for more pictures and join me in wishing Sapana a whole world of happiness as she is getting ready for her big day :-).

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Click the linky tool to see who else is participating.

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Indian Food Odyssey : One state at a time

A recap of the 30 day Indian Food Odyssey. Click the link/picture to go the particular post.

Andhra Pradesh:

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Arunachal Pradesh: Thukpa

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Assam: Simple Lunch Platter

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Bihar : A mini lunch with Sattu ka Bharta 

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Chhattisgarh : Pancharatna Dal 

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Delhi: A glimpse of street food 

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A lunch platter from Goa

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Gujarat : Mini Thali

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Haryana : Halwa Poori Chhole

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Himachal Pradesh : Meetha rice, Madra, Khatta and sweet chhole

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Jammu and Kashmir : A mini platter

 

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Jharkhand: Chilka roti and chana dal ki chutney

       

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Karnataka Oota: Mini Meals

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Kerala : A traditional breakfast

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Madhya Pradesh : Indori Poha, Jalebi and Bhutte ki khees

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Maharashtra: Poori bhaji Thali

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Manipur : Mini meals

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Meghalaya:

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Mizoram: Cauliflower Stalk Bai

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Nagaland: Dal with phool gobi and Naga chutney

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Orissa: Odia thali 

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Pondicherry: Simple Meals

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Punjab da Khana

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The desert state of Rajasthan

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Sel roti from Sikkim

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Pongal meals from Tamil Nadu

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Tripura Khichuri Bhog

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Awadh Mini Thali from Uttar Pradesh

 

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Uttarakhand Mini Meals

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West Bengal: Luchi, Doi dharosh and Tok dal

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An year older…an year wiser?

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Time rolls by and I turned a year older sometime back.

And yet, the man forgot about it. And so did the kid.

And I was preoccupied with a hundred things to remind them.

The day almost got over before the kid and the man wished me.

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But my friends didn’t forget.

Calls started coming in from 6:30 in the morning. STDs, roaming calls and ISDs. Few in numbers, but it kept coming for the whole week.

And some of them came in with really beautiful gifts.

A personalized cup with the message: ‘Ageing is just a cakewalk’. My eyes popped out when I saw an old picture of mine (when I could easily fit into a jeans) in it.

Thoughtful indeed :-). And thought-provoking (diet-wise) indeed!

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Another gift came in the form of a beautiful caramelized banana cake. It made me really happy, because nothing completes a birthday the way a cake does.

There was no candles, no ceremonies, I just cut the cake and popped a piece into my mouth. Somehow, cakes make everything right.

It does, it really does.

With my man across the seven oceans at the moment, I need all my friends, all their love and of course all their cakes to keep life sweet.

Love you all. God bless!

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Achari Bhindi

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For the past some months, my sweet little ‘weekend world’ has come crashing down.  Earlier we would sleep late, get up late, roam around, drive somewhere and just relax the whole day. The best part was that I wouldn’t cook as we would almost always eat outside.

But now, the man and the kid are totally into sports. So now the alarm rings at 6 AM (midnight for me). I would be wondering whether the world has come to an end when it rings. 

But on the other side of the bed, the man springs out like a jack-in-the-box and gets around with so much of energy that it’s almost unbearable for me to watch. All I want to do is to curl up under the sheet and sleep till 9 AM and here, the man gets ready, wakes up the kid. You have two bright-eyed, energetic people in front of you when you are groggy and half your mind is still in la-la land.

But the good part is that they both will be away for their cricket match and stuff . So I get to finish off the cooking and then relax as much as you want. Since we hardly eat out now a days, an easy to put together restaurant style meal does uplift the mood. So presenting achaari bhindi and soya pulao, our weekend lunch sometime back.

bhindi achari   

Recipe Source: Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kg Okra/ Ladies finger
  • 2 tsp ginger, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 14 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (or per taste)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Oil
  • Salt 
For the Achaari masala
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds/saunf
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds (I didn’t use)
  • 1/4 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
  • a pinch of hing

Method:

  1. Wash and clean the ladies finger. Let it dry by itself or pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel. Cut it into 1″ long pieces.
  2. Microwave it with 1 tbsp oil until 3/4th cooked or saute in stove top until slightly brown and almost cooked. If doing in stove top, you might need a bit more oil. Keep aside.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and add the achaari spices (saunf, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds and hing). Once the mustard crackles, add the chopped ginger and green chillies. Saute for half a minute and add the chopped tomatoes.
  4. Let the tomatoes cook and become soft, stir often to avoid sticking to the pan.
  5. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and coriander powder to the yogurt along with 1/4 cup water. Mix well.
  6. Add this mix to the tomato mix and cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the cooked ladies finger and cook for sometime until it absorbs all the flavour, about 4-5 minutes. Taste test and adjust seasoning as required.

bhindi achari-002

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Easy Chana Chundal

chana

Even when the man is at home, I am always looking for ways to cut down the cooking. So when the man is not in town, you bet that the cooking is minimal.

For luring the kid, I give nutella sandwiches, peanut butter dosa, marmalade idli and what not!

And for dinner, it’s these quick to make ‘chundal’ varieties. I don’t even know whether it qualifies as a chundal as it doesn’t have coconut. But I call it chundal anyway.

Scroll down for the recipe if you are also looking for a short cut curry for dinner!

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Serves 2-3 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • Whole chana/chickpeas         :             1 cup
  • Sambar powder                        :              1 tsp (or per your taste)
  • Salt, per taste
  • Oil
  • Mustard seeds                           :               1 tsp, optional
  • Red Chillies                                :               1, optional

Method:

  1. Wash, clean and soak chana overnight. Pressure cook with salt the next morning for 5-6 whistles or until its cooked fully.
  2. Once the pressure is released, drain and keep the chana aside.
  3. In a kadai, heat oil. Add the mustard seeds and red chillies, if using. Add sambar powder after the mustard crackles and saute for 20-30 seconds. Once the powder starts turning brown, add the chickpeas. You need to switch on the chimney before adding the sambar powder, else it will smoke and you will end up coughing!
  4. Mix the chickpeas well, taste test and add salt, if required. Cook for 3-4 minutes and take off the heat. Serve as such or as a side dish for rice.

Note:  I always soak and cook a whole batch of chana. After taking out what I need, I deep freeze the rest. That way, you don’t have to go through the soaking and cooking process again making life really easy.

chana3

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Chocolate Oatmeal

Rajani:

Happy Valentine’s Day to all who celebrate.

Originally posted on My Kitchen Trials:

CHOCO_OATS-002   

There are only a few things in life, better than waking up to chocolate in the morning. So when I saw ‘Chocolate Porridge’ in the breakfast aisle in the Supermarket, I thought of buying it.

Then I remembered about the big packet of oats sitting at home and decided to try a chocolate version of oatmeal. Bit of Google search and I found that the idea was already implemented.

Add a spoon of cocoa powder to your regular oatmeal and you are done. Add some chocolate chips on top and you are looking at the best way to start your day.

Check out the Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal too while you are here.

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Recipe Source: 5 Minute Oatmeal

Serves : 1

Ingredients :

  • Oats                                  :          2 heaped tbsp
  • Milk                                  :          3/4 cup approx
  • Cocoa Powder             :           1 tbsp
  • Sugar                               :           2 tsp (or per taste)
  • Vanilla essence           :           1 tsp (optional)
  • Banana, grated apple :  …

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Focaccia Caprese : We Knead to Bake

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I am quite chatty usually, but now a days past 11 PM, the energy is completely concentrated on keeping your eyes open! That’s funny considering that I have always been a late night person. But life style changes with time and age and different stages in one’s life…
So there is a good chance that I will be hitting the bed early till my son goes off to college. Until then, my midnight chatter is going to be on the shorter side. 
This Focaccia Caprese was Aparna’s ‘We Knead to Bake’ group’s bread for January. I got around doing it only now. But at least a little late than never! Head out to Aparna’s space for more information about the bread. Scroll down below to check out the step by step pictures for making this bread.
focaccia
Recipe Source: My Diverse Kitchen
Ingredients:
For the Dough:
  • Instant Yeast             :      2 tsp
  • Sugar                             :      1 1/2 tbsp
  • Flour                              :      3 1/2 cups**
  • Vital Wheat gluten  :      1 tbsp (optional)**
  • Salt                                 :      1 tsp
  • Oil                                   :     1/4 cup (preferably olive oil)
  • Warm Water                 :    1 to 1 1/2 cups
  • Oil for brushing dough

**I don’t get bread flour here, so Flour + gluten is a substitute for that

 For the Topping: 
  • Tomatoes               :           3 big, sliced thin
  • Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4” slices. I used up about 150 gms, I guess!! 
For the Herbed Oil (double and use):
  • Olive Oil                         :     1/4 cup
  • Dried Oregano            :     1 tsp
  • Dried basil                    :     1 tsp
  • Red chilli flakes         :      1/2 tsp
  • Garlic                              :      1 big pod, crushed
  • Salt to taste

Method:

Make the herb oil. Whisk the chilli flakes, oregano, basil, crushed garlic, salt and oil together. Keep aside.

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Get the ingredients for the bread.

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In a big bowl, add the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, gluten, oil. Whisk. Add a cup of warm water and make the dough. You might have to add more water as you go till you get a slightly sticky but soft dough.

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Cover and keep it undisturbed for an hour or so. The dough should be double in quantity – that’s our target.

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Once the dough doubles, punch it down. I wanted only two. So I divided the dough into two.

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Roll out one portion into a thick oval-ish rounds. You can shape the dough with your hands as well. The thickness should be uniform all over. (Mine wasn’t, as you can see :D)

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Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Let it sit for 20 minutes or so. 

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Once its risen, make dimples on it with your fingers. You can lightly oil your fingers before you do it. Brush generously with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 210C till it’s golden brown. Take out the bread and raise the oven temperature to 230C.

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Drizzle the herb oil generously. Place the cheese slices all over and then arrange the tomato slices. The top should be covered with the fillings. Drizzle some more herbed oil on top and bake again for 5-10 minutes until the cheese has just melted.

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Beat eaten fresh and hot :-). Serve with a bowl of soup for a complete meal.

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Gobi Manchurian – Step by Step pictures

Originally posted on My Kitchen Trials:

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Words are extremely difficult to come at times. The more so, when there is a pressure. When you really wish, hope and even demand, the ‘word well’ inside us just seem to dry up.

I am trying my level best here, to write something. And I am not able to. This is funny, especially when you consider that I am quite a yakety-yak. It’s a fact that there are people who really run away or hide when they see me – cause they know I yack their head off. They know I don’t stop once I start.

My friend who was staying with me, tried her level best to hide her relief when she moved out. No more midnight yack-yack-yack to listen to. Cramped her hostel may be, but there will be peace and calm when she reaches home from work now onward!

Oh well! I have done it again. Four paragraphs…

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