Wednesday, December 28, 2011

MILK BURFI


I decided to make this for the New Year treat, but curiousity got the better of me. Saw the recipe on a television show and had long been wondering how this was made in sweet shops. At last i came to know how simple it was. Really simple; doesn't need any attention till the last minute. Yes.. you can leave it alone and attend to it for a mere few minutes and this will be beautifully done. The next time i do this am going to take it away from the flame five minutes before so that it stays much softer which is often called "paal halwa". I  intentionally made it into a burfi because it is easier to serve. Next thing about this sweet is that it does not have any butter or ghee in it. Though i am not a milk sweet person except rosgollas, this was a winner.

Recipe

Milk                     1 litre
Sugar                    100 gms
Curd                     2 Tbsp
Liquid glucose           1 Tbsp (omit if you cant get it, this just makes the burfi  soft and prevents hardening)
Maida                    1 Tbsp

Mix maida with all of the milk before boiling.Make sure it is well blended and there are no lumps.

Bring the milk to a boil and simmer it for 10 mts until it gets a nice color and aroma.

Add the curd and allow it to curdle.

Do not drain (as we do for paneer). Allow it to cook with the whey until all of the water evaporates.

When the mixture is thick and comes together halwa like, add the sugar and leave to simmer again for another 15mts.

By now it should reach a nice brown color.

When the water from the sugar has evaporated, increase the flame and keep swirling the pan.

DO NOT STIR, JUST KEEP SWIRLING UNTIL THE BOTTOM IS BROWNED.

When the bottom is crystallized,transfer this into a tray. Allow it to cool and cut into pieces.

Garnish with almonds or pistachios. (i didn't). Neither did i add liquid glucose. Googled it to find that it prevents the dish from hardening and keeps it soft. Doesn't matter. It tasted good even without.

Mmm...should think about New Year Dessert.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

FRUIT CAKE



What is Christmas without a fruit cake..?. Though we do now celebrate Christmas, i enjoy the fervour and spirit it spreads in this time of the year. I enjoy all the goodies that my friends pass on during Christmas, and as a return gift, i pack them a slice of this cake.

This is, again, a few of my original recipes that i have developed myself with some innovations each year. The first time i made this was with plain sugar and treacle. Next year it was demerera sugar with home made caramel. The fruits of course, we are spoilt with choice, but, i stay to almonds,walnuts, dates, dried black raisins and dried cranberries. Once you get to taste home made fruit cake, you would never go for a store bought one. I do not restrict this bake to Christmas alone. This family favourite will find a place in the table during any special occasion that needs a cake.

One could play with this recipe (as i did); say you could change the proportion of fruits added or the flavourings or the soaking syrup. We are strict non alcoholics, thus a mix of apple and orange juice. The traditional rum soaking method is always there. Another thing that is amiss in this recipe will be candied peel. That does not work for me. If you want a very strong flavoured cake you can add a dash of it too.

An important tip in this cake is, use the soaking syrup according to the days you will make the cake in advance. I make this cake two weeks in advance , so 200ml. By the time it is 4 days before Christmas(that is when i start distributing), the cake would be packed in flavour and Punch.

Now for the recipe

Flour                    200gms
Demerera Sugar           200gms
Butter                   200gms
Eggs                     4
Salt                     1/4 tsp
Caramel                  4 Tbsp
Cinnamon                 1/4 ts
(i don't enjoy it thus such meagre amt, add 1  tsp if you are a fan of cinnamon)
Nutmeg                   1tsp
Dryginger powder         1/2 tsp
Vanilla                  1 tsp
Dates                    100gms (soaked in hotwater for 15mts)
Dried black raisins      100gms (soaked in hotwater for 15mts)
Dried cranberries        100gms (soaked in hotwater for 15mts)
Walnuts                  100gms toasted
Almonds                  100gms toasted

Apple Juice 100 ml
Orange juice 100ml

Cream butter and sugar till light and creamy.
Add eggs one at a time untill well blended.
Add all the flavourings and mix well
First add the caramel and soaked fruits and make sure they are mixed well
Then add the nuts (cooled).
Now add flour and mix untill well incorporated.

Give it a quick mix (do not worry about over beating) and fill in a 12 inch bundt pan and bake for 35 mts at 180c.

Wait unitll completely cooled. The next day, mix both the juices in a nozzled bottle and spray liberally over the cake. You will find the cake very wet, but have faith, the refrigerator will do the magic. Pack it in a airtight box and leave it in for two weeks. When you open it after two weeks you will never regret the labour of this cake.

MERRY CHRISTMAS.

I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #14: Creative Christmas Bakes (December 2011) hosted by Hankerie







Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CONDENSED MILK POUND CAKE


This is not a pound cake in the strictest sense. I have learnt that a pound of each butter, sugar, eggs and flour contribute to a good pound cake. To make this extra special, we add condensed milk, i suppose. When i saw the post here, it looked so good. But alas, i ran out of stock of two things, cake flour and vanilla extract. The forever adventure seeker that i am, i went ahead with the recipe with some.....tweaks..yeah you guessed it right. There was AP flour and nutmeg.

The cake was good, i had to steam it for a few seconds the next day to make it extra moist. The flavour of nutmeg was something different to me. Since i prefer nutmeg over cinnamon on any given day, i enjoyed it very much. One thing i missed was the tight crumb that baking fiend had. Must have something to do with the cake flour.

So, this month awaits another variation of pound cake, the "ELVIS PRESLEY FAVOURITE POUND CAKE". Waiting for the right occasion to make it.

Here is the recipe for the cake:

120gm good quality butter
45gm sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (152gm) condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste  (replaced with 1 teaspoon of nutmeg)
120gm cake flour (replaced with AP flour)
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs

Sift cake flour and baking powder tog. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar tog till light and fluffy.
Add in salt and vanilla paste and cream well.
Pour in condensed milk and cream till well combined.
Using the mixer on low speed, add in flour in 3 additions. Mix till batter is smooth.
Add in eggs one at a time. Make sure it's well mixed and smooth.
Bake at 175 degrees for 1 hour. (mine was done in 45 mts)

Monday, November 14, 2011

HOKKAIDO MILK CUPCAKE


I was waiting for a long time to try this cake. It looked soooo.. good and the reviews were great. When SSB announced this month's theme, the first thing that came to my mind was this cake. It yielded a whole dozen of cupcakes. The cake was soft, moist and tasty, but....the eggy smell was overriding everything else. Though i added two sachets of sucre vanille, it still was there, Otherwise the cake was a superhit. Very healthy and tasty for evening tea. The next time i am thinking  of adding lemon zest or orange zest to suppress the eggy smell or does anybody know anyother means to get rid of it ...?

Here is the original recipe. I gave my tweaking fingers some rest and followed the original recipe to a T.

Chiffon CupCakes:
yields 8 large cupcakes (I got 12 medium ones)

Yolk mixture:
40 grams milk
50 grams oil
70 grams egg yolk (about 4 large)
30 grams sugar
70 grams flour
10 grams cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Egg White mixture:
160 grams egg whites (about 5 large)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (i used lime juice)
80 grams sugar

1. beat egg whites with cream of tartar until it forms soft peaks. Add sugar gradually and peak to stiff peaks
2. Combine all yolk ingredients and mix until smooth
3. add 1/3 of egg whites to yolk mixture, and whisk to combine. Dump and yolk mixture back into the rest of the egg whites and fold gently until smooth and there are no more white streaks.
4. bake at 340F for 20 minutes.

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #13: Enjoy Cupcakes! (November 2011) hosted by Min of Min's Blog.



Saturday, November 5, 2011

CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE


This is the same cake as this. Only difference is, i substituted lindt 99% dark chocolate with cocoa powder in the original recipe. Everything looked so well done (or so i thought).When i placed the cake in the fridge to set, fate grinned at me. Power played spoil sport; the refridgerator started to defrost thereby water droplets started to drip on the cake. That is why one end of the cake is so untidy. The frosting was vanilla buttercream covered with chocolate gananche and the borders were malt flavoured buttercream.

Now that i have gained some confidence in frosting a cake, the next time, i should try something with freshcream. Baking fairy...are you listening.....?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

BOONDI LADOO


Ladoo... This is what i call my nephew G in bombay. He is such a cute boy that this sweet reminds me of him. The staple of any south indian weddings, this is as versatile as the badusha and the mysorepak. This is another of my own recipe. Handed down from my grandmother, i made some changes. My gm makes the traditional south indian ladoos which are yellow in color and has a sugar basted look and feel in it. I always make this north indian version ladoo which has tiny boondis and is much softer and tastes great, but i have my own doubts about the shelf life (The SI ladoo stays fresh for 10 days in the fridge) .

 OK, now for the verdict, the ladoo tasted great, had the same texture and look, but......, i went wrong with the color and aroma. Out of curiosity, i added a bit more of the orange color (that is why the ladoo has a deeeeeeeeeeeeep color); i should have added pure saffron, i went for the essence instead; The usual elaichi and nutmeg combo gave this dish a nice aroma but the "shree mithai" aroma was lacking. Should do some research to acquire that aroma. Nevertheless the dish was superhit.

Recipe

Besan Flour - 500 gms
water           - 3 cups
orange color - a pinch

Sugar          -  1000 gms
oil               -   to deep fry
ghee           -   to deep fry
cucumber seeds - to garnish
elaichi, nutmeg - 1 tsp
saffrom essence - 1 tsp

Make a runny batter with the besan flour, water and color. Leave it for 10 mts. Heat a kadai with oil and ghee in equal proportions. Seive the batter through a fine boondi strainer. Make boondis with all the batter.

Prepare sugar syrup of less than one strand (1/2 string) consistency. Put in all the boondis. Simmer the mixture with the lid closed for 10 mts. The boondis should absorb all the syrup and they should not be sticking to each other. Let them cool down until they are warm.Mix in the elaichi/nutmeg powder/essence/  cucumber seeds and shape into ladoos. Enjoy

Monday, October 10, 2011

HEALTHY APPLE BANANA MUFFINS


This is a sort of inspired post from here. I wouldn't do any justice if i said i tweaked it. I took the measurements as it is and changed some ingredients (well, many..). Firstly i substituted half of the mashed bananas with apple puree. Secondly i replaced AP flour with Whole wheat flour. As for the third tweak, i replaced white sugar with demerera. The resulting texture and aroma was good the next day with the sweet strong smell of demerera and nutmeg (i prefer nutmeg over cinnamon,  too pungent).

I am not preaching austerity or health benefits folks, Diwali is round the corner, so i am saving the calories for the gastronomic gushes and the overload my stomach is going to take over the month end. :-)

Here is the original + inspired  recipe

INGREDIENTS:

Banana(she used dole, long variety) (i used one banana and one apple)
Flour3/4 cup (replaced with whole wheat flour)
Walnut,chopped1/4 cup
Sugar1/2 of a 3/4 cup (less than half cup of demerera)
Oil1/4 cup
Baking powder1/2 tsp
Baking soda1/2 tsp
Vanilla essence1/2 tsp (replaced with 1/2 tsp of nutmeg)

  1. Pre heat oven to 190oC
  2. Take the peeled bananas in a bowl and mash it well with hands to make it a paste. Add oil,vanilla sugar to it and mix well. Keep a side.
  3. Mix flour,baking powder,baking soda in another bowl with a whisk.
  4. Fold gently,do not over mix,just mix well so that every thing blends properly and don't beat,with 3/4 th of the walnuts added to it,reserve some for sprinkling on the top.
  5. Line the muffin tray with paper liners and spoon the batter in it up to 3/4 th of it. It will raise so much so make sure you leave room for it.Top with some walnut sprinkled over it.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean and top turns golden brown.Mine got baked at around 28  minutes itself,so keep an eye after 25 minutes.





Saturday, October 8, 2011

CHOCOLATE COOKIES






I should have posted this earlier. This is an impulsive recipe. I didn't take this from any website or cookbook. Just a spontaneous thought about what to do with the frosting that went wrong. I am jotting down the recipe (roughly)

recipe

milk chocolate (melted) - 200gms
butter                  - 200gms
icing sugar             - 400gms
instant coffee          - 1 tsp
cocoa powder            - 2 tbsp
baking soda             - 2 tsp
flour                   - 350gms

i sort of eyeballed the flour. Kept on adding it to the frosting until it came together. Mix everything, roll into balls flatten with a fork, bake for 15 mts.This will be soft when warm but hardens as it cools. Tastes chewy the same day, but better and crispy the next day.



  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

BIRTHDAY CAKE




If any body cares for day 1, here it is.  


day 2). Frost the cake, check for the look and feel and ready the cake.

I sliced the cake horizontally into two. Good, no problem, that was easy with the new turn table at hand.

The icing was rock hard when i took it out from the fridge, so i thought of easing it down by whipping it once again. OH MY GOD, THE ICING FELL APART IN CLUMPS, IT HAD A CURDLED LOOK AND GOSH..! MY HEART STOPPED. I had no idea of how to repair this. After racking my brains for a few minutes, i decided to start afresh, this time going with the age old recipe of butter, icing sugar only.

So made a fresh batch of butter cream with the above ratio omitting the milk chocolate, it was a bit grainy at first, but as i whipped in intervals of 15 mts 3 times, the texture was nice and smooth. THANK GOD..face saved.

But, there is the catch, i had promised her a chocolate frosting. I didn't want to experiment again (putting the inner genius and the genie to sleep; i now understood the look on appa's face), i made a chocolate truffle by melting equal portions of dark chocolate and cream till it is of pourable consistency. Whew....let me catch some breath.

Firstly, (remember i had left the cake as it is once it was slit) i layered the cake with buttercream, then crumb coated it and set it in the fridge for 15 mts. Once set, i plastered (is it the right word..?) the cake with more buttercream and smothered the edges nice and smooth. Set in fridge for another 15 minutes. Now the cake looked half beautiful (or half ugly...!). Gently pour the cooled truffle until it coated all the sides of the cake. That was the only thing i could well in this (mis)adventure. There it was a smooth delicious looking chocolate cake.

Next, what, i let my imagination run wild and piped out designs using the remaining buttercream all over the cake. (lousy, lopsided, lethargic). These would be the words going through anybody's mind if they caught me in the act of piping. Time to get serious and get good practice. All in all, the cake was done. It looked pretty, not professional. Am waiting with bated breath about the outcome of the cake from my friend.


P.S. For people wondering what i did with the chocolate frosting "gone wrong" check out my next post.

EGGLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE


I had a request For a birthday cake. An eggless one. Till then i didn't have any chance to try eggless ones, but this friend is a strict vegetarian; so, for her little one's birthday, i challenged myself to make a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.I zeroed in a recipe from a milkmaid collection recipe book of my mother's.I was not sure of how the texture of this cake is going to be or how much this will yield, so i made a trial version a week before. As this was my first cake for somebody else, i had to set out a plan to make the cake and frosting.

day 1). Make the cake and frosting, set both in fridge.

Chocolate cake recipe

milk maid - 400gms
butter- 150 gms
maida - 200 gms
cocoa powder - 35 gms
baking powder - 2 tsp
baking soda - 1 tsp
warm water - 200 ml

salt - a pinch
vanilla essence - 1 tsp

grease a 9 inch baking pan and line it with butter paper. (i always do this, makes cleaning the dishes easy)

sift the maida, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt twice.
melt butter in a bowl and allow it to cool
Add milk maid and mix well
stir in the water and mix again
when everything is a homogeneous mixture, add the dry mixture and mix lightly until they all come together.
Do not over mix.

transfer into the cake pan and bake at 150 for 45 mts.

You have to make it to believe it. The cake smells heavenly. I had made a lots of cakes before, but his was something special. It tasted so divine the next day. I had set it on the table early in the morning to cut out the wedges, the whole room smelled of milkmaid (i could eat a whole can just like that). The cake, though lacked the spring form effect of an egg based one, was dense and very very tasty, like a pound cake. But the aroma, nothing could be compared to it. So, my eggetarian friends, please try this cake atleast once in a lifetime, you will never regret it

Allow the cake to cool.

Frosting:

This was another opportunity to spread the austerity drive that i always practice. There were lots of milk chocolates in the fridge; suddenly an inner voice prompted me to substitute cocoa with milk chocolate (that was the disaster waiting to happen).

I whistled aloud of what a genius i was; Appa just gave a baffled look..!(i didn't know why).

So meticulously i took 250 gms of butter, 500 gms of icing sugar, 250 gms of melted milk chocolate and mixed everything with a hand held mixer and whipped them until they were soft and fluffy.

Notwithstanding, the inner genius (i think it should be read as genie) hinted on to add a table spoon of instant coffee powder to make it a mocha frosting.

Just imagine, a first timer dishing out a chocolate cake with chocolate mocha frosting (sounds so professional yo..).

Everything was hunky dory, the cake was good and the frosting was well done. I thanked all my stars and went to bed.

Friday, September 23, 2011

APPLE HALWA



During the Jangiri debacle, i browsed so many sites for help and Rak's Kitchen made my day. She had announced an event for the month for sweets made with fruits or veggies.



I remembered, long long ago, when we were kids, amma used to make apple halwa every birthday. I completely forgot about it over the years, she too, i suppose. Nowadays it is more of stylish dishes like 'Mysurpa' or 'Ghee ladoo'.

The moment i read about the event, the recipe that came to my mind was this halwa. It is very easy to prepare and very tasty too. I am submitting this for her event.

Recipe:
Apple - 2 nos
Sugar - 1/2 cup (reduce it if you like it less sweeter)
Sugarless Khoa - 5 Tablespoon
Cardamon - a pinch
Almonds - for garnish (optional)

Cook the apples with the skin (nutrients, vitamins... aaghh) until tender.

Then add sugar.The mixture will turn
liquidy now.

Cook till all the moisture is absorbed.

When it is nice and thick add the
khoa and cook for five minutes.

Remove from fire add the cardamon and garnish with almond flakes.
Tada... it is done.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

BUTTER BUNS


I had bookmarked this recipe a long time ago, but didn't find the right occasion to try it. Suddenly when we had an unexpected guest, these buns came to my mind. Moreover i had to test the instant yeast that i am using for the first time. SSB's buns were perfectly round. I skipped her stuffing and substituted with kaya paste that was nearing its expiry date. So i didn't make them into a round, i rather used the book fold method. The instant yeast was much easier to use, didn't have to proof it separately, you can directly add it to the flour mixture. Should also try croissants with this one day. The buns tasted very good, better than the store bought ones, but weren't looking like store bought ones. Should work on the appearance

Verdict : There were two flaws, i could not get a smooth surface on the buns as she had. Number two, the buns were not as soft the next day. Don't know where i went wrong, should clarify with her.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

MINI JANGIRI



I had been long waiting for an opportunity to make this sweet. But, i had my own inhibitions.There was one attempt (which i would quickly want to forget) which was a catastrophe. Fortunately mom was not there at home during that (otherwise i would have been worse than that jangiri of mine). Appa silently took away with the garbage before she sensed any mischief.

This time i did a lot of R&D. The occasion too was special. It was my parents' anniversary. Every year i make them Paal Payasam, but this time i wanted to try something different. It was so selfish of me. Though they both are diabetics, they relish whatever i make except for my sister A, who is a devil of a critic. Even Nigella should put some extra effort to please her.

I am no Nigella, so this was a better attempt from my previous one. I played safe with going with mini jangiris this time, not the fancier original design. Was pretty easy,need to practice a lot.I made two mistakes with this recipe. I cut the cone which held the jangiri batter a little too wide, that is why they are a bit stout. Mistake number two is, the sugar syrup crystallized quickly than i had anticipated. So when the jangiris cooled it formed a coating of sugar which i didn't like. Two things to keep in mind in future(should also try the real jangiri design next time).

As usual this is not my recipe, i had taken it from
here. Hers was far far better than mine.

Monday, August 22, 2011

FLAKY PASTRY


This is an impulsive post. Yes i baked this in an impulse. Saw this recipe, though it didn't have any pictures or anything eye catching, i had an intuition that this will turn out great (and it did). We can't have this plain so am planning to make some minestrone soup "The Soup Spoon" style, which i had in Singapore last month. The soup was yummy and i hope this will be a good condiment for it.


I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011), hosted by Janine of Not the Kitchen Sink!


Flaky pastry :
Ingredients :
225g/8oz plain flour
pinch of salt
80g/3oz lard
80g/3oz butter

Preparation method :
1.Mix the flour with the salt and rub in half of the lard. Add enough cold water to bring the flour to a soft dough.

2.Mix together the rest of the lard and the butter.

3.Roll out the dough to make a rectangle 12.5 x 25cm/5 x 10in.

4.Dot one third of the butter/lard mixture over two-thirds of the rectangle. Fold the third without any fat on it over the middle third of the pastry. Bring the other third on top. Seal the edges with a rolling pin and turn the dough 90 degrees. Chill for 10 minutes.

5.Repeat stage 4 with half of the rest of the fat and then repeat one more time with the remaining fat. Chill for 10 minutes after each folding.

6.Roll and fold one more time without any fat and then chill for 30 minutes.


The pastry was very flaky and crisp, Should also go well with tea or coffee as well, but i personally felt it would go well with anything spicy like korma, or i am thinking of adding it to the potato gravy for dinner.



Saturday, August 20, 2011

KALAKAND



After much discussion and thinking, we decided this sweet for Krishna Jayanthi. Only last week there was an overdose of sugar with Gulab Jamun, so i wanted a very simple and light sweet for the little one. This was made with paneer and milk with some crushed almonds that was left over in the fridge for a long time. I don't know how they get the pristine white colour in the shops, this was off white in colour. After bringing it down to room temperature, i refrigerated it for 2 hours before cutting them into pieces. Garnished them with salted pistachios to give a kick. Will keep you posted on how they tasted, later....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

GULAB JAMUN



I AM BACK. Back with the ever popular "Gulab Jamun". After the long vacation in singapore, back to chennai and how lovely it was to see my house and garden. The initial days took my time to set right the mess. When i checked my kitchen pantry, i saw the milkpowder nearing its exp date.

Such a miser that i am, i don't like to waste anything, i jumped into the idea of making gulab jamun. This is my maiden adventure of making GJ from milk powder. With my creative juices flowing (flooding rather) this is was an instant way of dishing out this beautiful delicacy (though it tasted best the next day).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

KAJU BARFI



This post is a bit late, actually the first post abroad. Landed in the cleanest city of the world five days back and am awestruck by the clockwork precision of things managed in Singapore. Since i didn't bring in much for A to eat, i thought of making it here; there is no dearth of shops that supply exclusive Indian goods here. This is the first of many to come (or so i hope).

It was pretty easy. Just mix in powdered cashew nuts with sugar syrup and tada...you are done.The one thing i was blown over again by how clean the sugar was. Not a speck of dirt. In the other post of Kaju Katli, the color was a bit ashen (courtesy:India sugar industry). I was too apprehensive to use any bleaching agents to whitish color (as in store bought ones). I just add milk to the sugar syrup to remove whatever slime that floats by. This time i didn't have to do anything, the syrup was crystal clear. A had already ordered the moon cake moulds online. The sweet came out beautifully and were lip smacking to taste. Aren't they cute..?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

JUMBO VANILLA CUPCAKES


The day i sulked about sponge cakes, the baking fairy must have heard it. She turned around and stayed with me for the next two endeavours (devil's food cake and the current post). The cupcakes turned out beautifully. More beautiful than i had expected. They were absolutely spongy, melt in the mouth cupcakes. I had never dreamt that i would bake such beautiful cupcakes one day.


Thanks to "The little teochew". This is her recipe for clear water sponge cake. I added a dash of vanilla to make it a vanilla cupcake. Next time, should try it with orange or lime flavour.



Friday, June 3, 2011

DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE




This is my second frosted cake. As i have already said, frosting is not my forte, but this seemed quite easy. The recipe is HHB's Devil's Food cake.This is a deeply dark, chocolaty, velvety cake. The only thing i tweaked is, i omitted the bananas in her recipe and i think i went overboard with the spikes on the cake. Her cake's spikes are much gentler. Should work upon it next time. May be i was very much carried away by the way the frosting was responding to the movements of the spoon. They spiked very nicely. Only after seeing the picture did i realise that i had played too much with it. Other wise, for a person like me who doesn't like chocolate too much, this was an occasion to fall in love with chocolate.


Another tweak was that i didn't use dark chocolate for frosting, i used milk chocolate (phew, there were so many leftovers..)along with low fat cream (that is all i could manage in chennai). The cake was overall received well, but i will stay with my bet with fruited cakes that are my all time favourite.








Wednesday, June 1, 2011

KULFI



Chennai's summer was at its best this year. Temperatures soared in par with gold prices. The best thing to cool off was the CSK matches and they kept winning and winning. They were great and unstoppable. Glad they won the cup again.

Summer brings with it all kinds of coolants. Seasonal fruits, vegetables and other delicacies that are synonymous with summer crop up at every nook and corner of the city.

When we were young (i am not old now :-}), a kulfi man with his trademark red cloth bundled over a barrel of kulfis, would ring his trawler's bell (wonder why they didn't' have the conventional horn...!). All the kids would be out and throwing tantrums at their parents to get what they wanted. But, once amma tasted it and decided to make it herself once she saw our (we are three gentle giants) appetite for it.

The recipe is very simple: Whole milk boiled for a very long time along with crushed almonds,cardamom with a dash of cornflour and sugar. Once it cooled off, they re poured into kulfi moulds and frozen till rock hard and all of us would delve into it as much as we liked.

I grew up with this; when it was time to make my own, i started to improvise. I omitted cardamon and added badam flavouring (MAS is the best), and thinly sliced almonds to give an extra kick to this dessert. Biting into the almond slices midway adds richness to this dish and we all love it.




Tuesday, May 17, 2011

CASTELLA/KASUTERA CAKE


"success", "success", "success" Does this remind you of an old M.G.R movie's opening line; then so be it. I had baked a sponge cake successfully after so many days that my joy knew no bounds. As posted previously, i had my own inhibitions about baking cakes with oil. Now, when i came across a recipe that didn't call for oil either, i was intrigued, how on earth could they do it..? It is called "Castella/Kasutera" or Japanese sponge cake. The picture of this cake was out of the world. Seriously; anybody who takes a look at this beauty will fall in love with it instantly.

After the damp squib in the last post, i was determined to conquer the "Sponge Cake territory";So: the spider from Robert Bruce's episode, that i am: i scoured through scores of sites that dealt with sponge cake 911's.I always turn to HHB for all my baking misadventures. She is so versatile as a baker. From HappyHomeBaking's blog i jumped from site to site until i laid my eyes on The Little Teochew, another fantabulous blog that finally opened the doors to Just Hungry from where i took the recipe that didn't have a drop of oil or butter in it. It was so kind of her to dote down step by step instruction on baking the cake that i made this one which was 80% the texture of the original Castella(since i halved her recipe, i baked it in a loaf tin and i used AP flour, u dont get bread flour in chennai). Next time i would try this in a square pan. I pinched myself when the cake was sliced the next day as she had instructed. From now on this is going to be called as Ms Maki's cake. It was so tasty...that all of them drooling over it.

This was my far the best sponge cake that i had ever baked. Hip Hip Hurray.

Friday, May 13, 2011

SPONGE CAKE



Looks like i am always running out of luck when it comes to baking a good sponge cake. As i already said, i am yet to try some cakes that uses oil. This is one such (mis)adventure.

This cake uses the separation of eggs(whites and yolks beaten separately) and uses oil and water. I was very skeptical initially, but gave myself a daring bakers challenge. What is life without taking up challenges.

The cake was good but not good enough. It was more "cottony" in texture rather than "spongy" . But, i think i know where i went wrong. The pan i used was a 7 inch round pan for a 100 gm flour batter.This could be a reason (or so i think).

Any way, about the cake, as usual, my family didn't want to break my heart; they said it was good, but for me it was a learning curve. I don't like cakes filled with butter cream or whipping cream. I prefer jams and fruit preserves to coat them. This one was smothered with orange marmalade to make up for the lacklustre texture of the cake. So friends please ask the baking fairy to visit me when i bake my next sponge cake...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

MINI CHOCOLATE MUFFINS


Am i getting repetitive; "NO": All the previous posts were to do something about chocolate and muffins. This too is no different; or so you think. Both the previous muffins were made with dark chocolate, while this one was made with cocoa powder and oil.

I had seen some chocolate cake recipes that used oil instead of butter, but i dared not try them for fear of "if they went wrong". I scaled down the proportions of the cake and tried them as muffins so that i can save the labour of cleaning so many bowls and whisks.

The muffin did'nt have a dome like a cup cake does and the crust was soft and not crunchy. May be because of the oil. It was delicious but did'nt quite taste like the cup cake. So i reserve this for any "diet time cravings".

Monday, May 9, 2011

CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFIN


Yuuuhuu, i got new paper liners(really cute ones); so what are we waiting for, baking time folks. The last one was choco banana muffins, so this time i made some plain muffins studded with chocolate chips. I used hersheys, kind of melt in the mouth chocolate drops. Should really congratulate people who found this. This kind of stays like half melted so that you can get the taste of chocolate in between.

I baked them in heart muffin pans that the other A gave me. If you are looking at this blog then A thank you so much. As an alternative i added an extra spoonful of yogurt to the batter and made it quite runny unlike muffin batter that are just moist.

It actually worked out. The muffins were tender and stayed fresh the next day as well. The pan made bigger muffins than the cup cake pans; so next time i would eat half instead of one.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

CHOCOLATE BANANA MUFFIN


I don't know why, suddenly i got all gaga over cupcakes and muffins. I plan to bake more of them this month. With so many bananas going stale and lots of semi sweet chocolate chips lying around, the combination was inevitable.

Initially, i found bananas with chocolate intriguing, but the first bite solves it all. Bananas gives the muffins extra moistness and it tastes even better the next day.

Anytime of this month, banana cake is also on the list. I have tried various versions of it, but yet to come out with a successful recipe. This muffin was good for morning tea and an ideal snack with cold drinks in the late afternoon when the temperatures soars (literally it is reaching 40 almost everyday)

Friday, April 29, 2011

KAJU FLOWERS



This is the second takeaway for A. Actually this is kaju katli gone wrong. While i took so much pride in my last blog that i am great at sweets, this one brought me down to earth.

I planned to make this early before A's friends came to say good bye, but a sloth i am this took much more time than i had anticipated. They arrived and that was it. I discussed with so much enthusiasm about Nigella's cooking exploitations that i completely forgot about the project that was cooking. Atlast when i remembered it, it was too late. The wok was so happy to have the dish that it would'nt let go of it. But i was too proud to admit my mistake.

I silently covered it for a while and once completely cooled, i added a tablespoon of hot water to make it into a pilable dough. Then with the mooncake moulds that A had got from singapore, i punched them into it and my sweet babies were ready in a jiffy.

A later told me that her colleagues were raving about my cooking skills, only i know the truth, i am not a good cook but am intelligent cook.

BADAM HALWA



Aptly named the "king of Halwas", this is once in a year delicacy; reserved for special occasions. A had come to India and i made so many things for her during her return. This is the first one i made. I must confess that i lack talent in making anything that is savoury. I dont know why, i have'nt tried to make anything savoury (snacks/titbits)in my life.

One of my new year resolution is to try with success some amount of savoury.My sweets always turn out to be good; so may be i was satisfied with it and not adventurous enough to sail into unknown territory. ok coming back to the halwa. This is like old wine, it tastes better as it ages. I made it on friday, the real taste surged only after sunday. i couldnt have just a spoonful.

Actually i have a ploy to cut down my cravings for anything sweet. I fill a very small cup with the sweet dish and savour it all through the day.So, two in one. i had the sweet and no more guilty of calories.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

MEDU VADAI



Oh how i love this...There is no alternative to this dish at any point of time. A vadai is a vadai is a vadai by anu other name. (oops..sorry that is my liking for this snack). This is so versatile that it can be manifested into so many different tasting snacks withoout much ado.


SAMBAR VADAI - Dip them in hot sambar and lo and behold.....mouth watering evening tiffin


THAYIR VADAI - Soak in thick curd and garnish with corainder and roasted cumin and kara boondi. lip smacking.....


RASA VADAI - A perfect evening snack that leaves a hangover till the next day..peppery rasam and soft vadai...


KEERAI VADAI - Add greens to the dough before frying and gourge on the heavely crispy healthy munchies..


The list could just go on with VEGETABLE VADAI or i have heard some people stuffing with meat or chicken mince (didnt try that yet), but i could have it just like that.

BADUSHA




Translated as "The King", this sweet delicacy has been a must in all traditional south indian weddings until the Gulab Jamun mania took over. Grandmothers, Aunts and other members of the family prepared this in a jiffy and each had their own style. one added orange color to the dough that gave a bright look to it. Some added lemon yellow for a subtle look.  I like this plain without any added colors.

This is a very mildly sweet tasting dish that can be stirred up to satisfy sweet cravings. I have an immensely big sweet tooth, so i keep the sweet pangs at bay by making this sweet. (Less in calories when compared to its other indian cousins). The inside will take a day or two to soften, so dont be alarmed if it stays hard when you taste it immediately.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

KAJU KATLI




Anybody having a sweet tooth would die for this sweet. The most beloved after Gulab Jamun and Carrot Halwa, this is indispensible during Diwali or any special ocassion.

I had a special ocassion too. I made this as a return gift for my aunt in France. (one of my cake baking Guru). She is a lovely lady to have sent me so many baking paraphenalia all the way from France that i thought, it would be embarassing for me to thank her empty handed. So i made a lot of this and am still waiting for her review.

Will keep ya posted

Sunday, March 13, 2011

DATE AND WALNUT CAKE



This is the other baby which was drooled upon. I got extremely astounding feedback on this cake. It was very well received and well it tasted "OUT OF THE WORLD"...



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...