Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grape Wine

Our Christmas traditions are incompete without home made wine and fruit cake. my mum in law is an expert in wine making. our guests had an enjoyable time with it. i'm in a hurry and lemme quickly get down to the recipe.

black wine grapes-1 kg
sugar-1 kg
yeast-1 tsp
wheat grains-1 tsp
water-2 litre (boiled and cooled)

Wash the grapes and combine all ingredients except the water and keep in a big air tight urn or glass bottle. add the water and mix thoroughly and store for twenty one days. don't forget to stir EVERYDAY. then strain. again store the strained mix in air tight urn for twenty one days WITHOUT STIRRING. fill the wine in glass bottles that are air tight. there will be adequate color to the wine and you need not add color. it's ready for use. enjoy in sips or gulps as per your discretion :)

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Banoffee Pie and Merry Christmas

Christmas is here!! i love this time of the season. good climate (here for us!), holidays, get togethers, food and joy and warmth. only the good things and no space for the bad. everyone is busy pulling out recipes to make a difference on their Christmas table. here i have banoffee pie, an English dessert made from banana, cream and the like. many of us don't like this rich fruit but banoffee pie is glorious with the toffee sauce wrapped around it. it's not a budget-friendly dessert but an excellent option on your Christmas platter. and it's after all Christmas and time to indulge!!

You can also take a look at my fruit cakes: Sherry Christmas Cake and Easy Fruit Cake

chocolate biscuits (bourbon or hide n seek or any)-15-20
butter (melted)-1/4 cup + 1 tbsp
cream cheese-400 gm OR
cheese spread (250 gm) +  shredded cottage cheese (100 gm)
powdered sugar-2/3 cup
cornflour-2 tbsp
banana (robusta)-3/4 cup (two big bananas) OR 1/2 cup (if you want lighter banana taste)
cream-1/2 cup
vanilla essence-2 tsp
instant coffee powder-1-2 tsp

toffee sauce

sweetened condense milk-1 tin
butter-100 gm
vanilla essence-1 tsp

caramelized sugar frill

Heat three or four tsp of sugar and melt in excess butter in a pan. take it off when sugar changes colour. keep it for some seconds for the sugar to settle so that you can see two distinct layers of butter and sugar. scoop out the sugar with a spoon to get a frill.

Powder the biscuit and mix with butter. press to the bottom of a large pie dish and set in the refrigerator for ten mins.
Beat the cream cheese and sugar well.
Add the corn flour to it. combine. then add eggs one at a time and beat well.
Mash the banana and combine well with the cream, vanilla essence, coffee powder. add this combo to the cream cheese-sugar mix.
Pour this atop the set biscuit-butter base. bake at 150 C for 40 mins or till it sets.

For the toffee sauce combine the toffee sauce ingredients in a thick bottomed pan and stir and thicken on a low flame.

Swirl the toffee sauce liberally on it.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

Wishing all my friends and foes (!!) a merry Christmas!

Hoping that the season brings you more peace at heart and better comfort on your table.

God bless.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I've always loved these. i remember craving these at many points of time in my life. half way through i feel guilty and after sating my greed i put it away in the refrigerator. you don't have to feel guilty....gobble the entire gooey ring. and i always thought these were really difficult to make but nope. i'm telling you these chums are pretty easily flipped out of the oil.


milk-1/2 cup
instant yeast-1 tsp
sugar-1 tsp
Heat the milk on low flame; dissolve the sugar and yeast. keep aside and let it rise for about an hour.

maida-3 cups
Put the maida in a bowl and make a hole in the centre.

sugar-4 tbsp
butter (softened)-2 tbsp
yolk of egg-2
Add these to the hole in the maida. pour the yeast-added milk to the flour. knead softly to make a smooth dough in an oiled bowl and keep it to rise for one or two hours without disturbing it. then roll them out into (just by practically pressing them in shape) mini puris with about half an inch thickness. leave it to rise again. with a round cap of a bottle or so scoop out the middle to make it look like donuts. fry them in very hot oil and ease them out of it when it turns golden brown. dip in chocolate sauce and cool and enjoy!

chocolate sauce

Cadbury dairy milk-3 tbsp (or almost two medium sized bars)
cocoa powder-1 tbsp
powdered sugar-1 tbsp
butter-1 tbsp
water-2 tbsp
Combine all these in a thick bottomed bowl. double boil till the sugar melts.

These make 15 donuts.

The loner in the corner you can see in my first pic is a stunner in your bouche. it's practically no work once the maida dough is done. take a ball of it; thrust a square of chocolate into it. close it clean and fry it out. you can imagine what happens then :)

The white ones i have here are an unmessy variation. an option for those who don't like chocolate (is there?) and a decent bite with your evening tea. (Thomas would enjoy both!) For them you just have to flavour some powdered sugar with cinnamon powder and roll the donuts in them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stylish Blogger Award....I Got It Too!!

Isn't this cool!! Toni from passed it on to me. Thank you Toni! as with other awards over here it comes with some conditions...(sigh). they are:

(1) Thank the person who gave me the award.
(2) Tell four (or was it three, Toni!!) things about myself! (wait, those who want to say seven things about them are most welcome to do it; Toni no grudges ;P)
(3) Pass the award to bloggers of my choice.

I thank you again. Toni's blog is my chill out joint. and when i'm stressed i quickly kick in there to ease. i like her positive outlook on life and i'm in awe of her "local" quest. i've started dreaming of Hammond's candies thanks to Toni. she's fun and i like it.

I am I am I am...
I feel terrible if i don't read the newspaper.
I love to eat out with Thomas (my husand), Aby and our latest precious addition, Alice.
I love to work.
I like lemon yellow too hehe. currrently it is a green fad for me.

I pass this on to (in random order)

thisdesignercooks (she doesn't give her name!)

On 29 January 2011med passed this award to me and erin handed it over to me on February 3! well, it's been awards week and how many times can someone say i'm stylish! gee :) THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Med is an avid blogger...she whips in the kitchen and whips her camera for her foodie frens enthusiastically...and mind you she's a stunner!

Erin is a gifted baker who recently came up with a darling goodie-monkey bread-ooo i loved it!! i love her choice of recipes and i always flag them. she recently freaked me with her pumpkin puree store in her refrigerator :P

On 13 February 2011 brooks ever so merrily passed it on to me on the eve of V. thank you so much. you should read his seven facts about himself. veddy interesting!!  and you should take a peek at his whoopie pies and the better better look it up yourself!

Brooks: you were a radio DJ; tht interests me a lot...i kinda dreamed in between of working with our radio channel here...and i like to have a radio in my bedroom and one in my kitchen and turn it on the same time..

I saw that vintage photo of yours...priceless!! i think you should put it up along with that post. it's really good.

I like your blogging pace...helps me catch my breath!! oh yea!

I take time to read your notes because you write well!

On 28 Feb 2011 shabs passed this award to me. she's a lovely person who's constantly worried about packing pounds and baking her goodies....she bakes superb! thank you shabs...and here's to all your extra award... 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bell Pepper Cheese Spread

Livya, it's yours again. i tried Livya's Hot Cheese Sauce but her perfect sauce turned into a cheese spread in my kitchen! however, it was a show-stealer for some days on our breakfast table. i never thought my bro would like it coz he generally likes only anything with a bite of meat or fish in it. the simplest sandwich made out of this is with a dab of tomato sauce. it's good and quick and if you have some boiled shredded chicken pieces i'm sure it's heaven.

bell pepper (green capsicum)-1 big
processed cheese-400-500 gm
olive oil or any veg oil-3-4 tbsp
lemon juice or vinegar-1 tsp
pepper powder

Cut the capsicum in big pieces and put in a baking dish. bake at 150 C for twenty-twenty five mins. cool and peel. run in the grinder with the oil till it becomes smooth and creamy. add a little cheese and beat again. add the remaining cheese along with the lemon juice and pepper powder and beat till the whole thing turns a decent glop. refrigerate and use within five or six days. you can freeze and store for later use but i don't prefer this.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lumpia Chicken-Cheese Rolls

I was compelled to finish the tin of processed cheese in my mum's freezer before i leave. so i'd been snooping around for feasible cheese recipes. and i came across this simple recipe in thank you Livya for contributing to cheese depletion :) this recipe didn't turn out to be so simple for me because i had to roll out the dough to make the sheets. we don't get pastry sheets here readily available. if you can buy yourself some, these rolls are there before you as quick as wind. i have also been hunting for various delicious fillings for these standard rolls of mine. you can try my spring roll filling which is spicier and colorful. or you can use more chicken and less veggies and season with cilantro and mint for an Asian taste. it's all equally exciting.


chicken pieces-500 gm (boiled in a little salt and pepper; deboned and shredded)
processed cheese-1 cup
olive oil or any vegetable oil
pepper powder

Boil the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. debone and shred finely by running in the grinder just once. cut the cheese. grate it or run in the grinder just once. mix the chicken and cheese thoroughly and loosely adding enough pepper. if the cheese is salted (mine was) check for salt and add only finally after mixing the chicken and cheese. keep this aside.


maida (Toni, it's all purpose flour!)-2 cups
water or preferrably milk-as reqd; 1/2 cup or a little over that
salt-to taste
fat (dalda) or oil-1tbsp

Sift the flour. add the beaten egg, salt and fat or oil. add enough water or milk and knead well to make a smooth dough. keep it covered for twenty mins. make small balls and roll out each into mini puris. after the entire dough is rolled out like this take a small puri and oil it well on one side. take another puri and stick it on the oiled one. roll out the doubled puri into a roti size thinning out especially the edges. do the enitre lot like this. on a hot tawa fry the big-sized rotis slightly on one side. turn quickly and fry slightly on the other side. take off the tawa and even as it's hot separate them carefully. do the entire lot like this to get slightly done maida rotis.

Take adequate amount of filling (1-11/2 tbsp) and put it on the edge of one roti. roll it tightly gathering the sides within and as you finish rolling it stick the other edge on the rolled roti using maida batter (mix some maida and water to get a viscous batter). do up the whole stuff like this. this is time-consuming and i don't so much enjoy it. i feel like a line cook!! dab some olive oil or vegetable oil on the rolls and bake them at 150 C for ten-fifteen mins turning sides. make sure they don't burn. adjust the time likewise. have it hot with sauce of your choice. this batter and filling gives you twenty-twenty five rolls. freeze the rest and bake them to your convenience.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Srikhand (Sweetened Yoghurt)

Srikhand is my bro's fave. it is a Maharashtrian dessert and made at regular frequency in Maharashtrian homes. the plain ones are quick to make and refreshingly nice, especially for kids who have a sweet tooth. the recipe i follow is adapted from my local women's magazine Vanitha. what's wonderful about this recipe is the combination of ingredients which works perfectly with each other to produce a delectable dessert. hmmm...sheba pl forget the calories as usual :)

hung curd-2 cups (sourless)
powdered sugar-1/2 cup
fresh cream-3, 4 or 5 tbsp
cheese-2-3 tbsp
mashed fruit-1 cup or more (canned cocktail fruits)
sweetened condensed milk-1/4 cup (absolutely OPTIONAL)
cardamom powder-1/2 tsp

I happened to use tea cups when i measured the curd (in my hurry). five such cups of curd yield two standard cups of hung curd. take a wide plate keep the muslin cloth in it and drop the curd into it. gather the sides, twist the edge and hang on a peg (you don't have to knot it) to drain the water. it takes five or six hours for the water to drain so i normally hang the curd in the night and as soon as i get up take it off and refrigerate it. this way you can make sure the curd doesn't turn sour as it's night and cool. well, too bad if you don't get up early...that's your choice. i hate sour curd.
Mash the fruit and toss into the dessert bowl. blend the rest (the curd and the rest of it including cardamom powder) of the ingredients till smooth and pour atop the fruit. sprinkle extra cardamom powder and garnish with slices of the fruit. chill and serve. finish it in three-four days.

The recipe works best with mango or strawberries (fresh). pineapple preserve is also a wise option but adjust the sugar accordingly as the preserve is already sweetened. if none of this is there go for the canned variety. if the curd is absolutely sourless stick to 1/4 cup powdered sugar (without the condensed milk) especially if you use mango. my curd was some sour so i used 1/2 cup sugar. for plain srikhand you can quickly blend the curd, sugar and cheese and serve your kids. if you don't want two layers (one of fruit and the curd) you can slightly blend both so that it looks a stunner too.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

No, it's actually

I faced a frustrating blogger malfunction for some days and i had two issues. one was that my entire set of gadgets dropped down and however i manipulated the design template it wouldn't get back. the second was that couple of my friends reported that they couldn't access my blog! now how would you feel about all this; especially when you're slowly fumbling your way through your new blog, fiddling with the templates and sadly registering your comment is still on 0 after four-five days of a new post and suddenly going distraught and mushy about it. well i felt pretty bad and everyone was busy with their lives and not wanting to pause. YoboY came to my help and in one single stroke he showed me a way out.

Even as I thank him i want anyone with any technical doubts visit his blog it has a fortified index of almost every kind of blogger help and support--basic and upgraded topics. it's big loot for novice bloggers like me.

So my dear fraternity let's hop into YoboY's
Drum-roll plzzzzzzzzzz!!!

Thank you YoboY!

Caramel Apple Cake

I normally don't have a problem in dishing out beautiful stuff from the kitchen without dying to gum down huge portions of it. but i DID have a problem with this cake. you're gonna love it and your family and friends are gonna love you for it. what's given right below is my version of the original recipe sourced from the magazine mentioned. i got it from big fat baker's blog that was linked to some other blog i don't remember now. those who have a lot of time to pad around your kitchen can very well try the original one. those who have just about a little time like me can wheel in my version of the recipe. it's TOO GOOD NOT TO TRY!!

I adapted the recipe like this and produced a gorgeous feast for our palate so much so that my terribly fussy girl too had portions of it.

2 apples (cored, peeled and chopped into moderate slices)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup ajanta cream (this is slightly thicker than amul fresh cream; use your local brand)
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup (stick) salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 large eggs

Puree the apples by running it in the grinder with 4 tbsp water. i don't like apple pieces in my cake. beat butter and sugar till smooth. in a separate bowl blend the cream, orange juice, vanilla extract. sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and keep aside. beat the eggs one at a time into the butter-sugar beaten mix. add half the flour followed by half the cream-orange juice mix. beat again. add the remaining half of the flour mix followed by the cream mix. continue beating. add the apple puree. beat to a final smooth batter. pour in a greased cake tin and bake till done.

Caramel sauce

granulated sugar-1/2 cup
cornflour-11/2 tbsp (dissolved in 1/2 cup water)
softened butter-11/2 tbsp
ajanta fresh cream-1/2 cup

In a thick bottomed pan add the sugar on medium or medium high flame. after 2-3 mins add the cornflour in water. avoid stirring for a while. then stir it in from the sides occasionally. it doesn't burn so allow it to happily simmer. when it starts turning amber colour add the cream and butter. it may sizzle a little too heavily but it's not scary. keep stirring to blend well and turn off the flame. continue stirring till well-mixed. pour it hot over the cake. jab the cake at different points if you want the sauce to slide inside. and well, wait and see how fast it vanishes!!!


Adapted from Food Network Magazine’s Caramel Apple Cake

For the Caramel:
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 1/2 Tbsp light corn syrup
• 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
• 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the Cake:
• 2 Apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, or Crispin)
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
• 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
• 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 2/3 cup Boiling Water

Butter a 3 inch deep, 8 or 9 inch diameter cake pan.
Prepare the Caramel. In a deep saucepan over medium-medium/high heat, combine the sugar and corn syrup until the sugar melts and the mixture turns a deep amber color. Be careful, because the mixture will be extremely hot. Turn down the heat to medium and carefully add the butter and cream. Be prepared that the mixture will bubble up vigorously. Stir with a long-handled spoon for about 3 minutes, until combined.
Allow the caramel to cool for a minute. Reserve 1/2 cup of the caramel in a container. Pour the remaining caramel into the cake pan. Allow the caramel to set for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice both apples into thin pieces. When the caramel has cooled, arrange the apple slices in an overlapping ring around the edge of the cake pan. Chop up the remaining apple slices and set aside.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In a separate small bowl, mix together the sour cream, orange juice, and vanilla. Set aside. Use a hand mixer to beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. One at a time, beat in the eggs. Then, add half of the flour mixture, followed by half of the sour cream mixture. Continue beating to combine. Add the remaining half of the flour mixture and remaining sour cream. Beat until combined.
Stir in the 2/3 cup of boiling water, until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the chopped apples.
Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the cake springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely in the pan.
To serve, bring about an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan or skillet (with a wider diameter than the cake pan). Turn off the heat and place the bottom of the cake pan in the hot water. Allow the pan to sit in the hot water for 5-7 minutes to soften the caramel. Then, run a knife along he edges of the cake to loosen and invert the cake over your serving plate. Microwave the caramel for a few seconds at a time until it is softened. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the top of the cake. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Eunice Cheesecake Pudding

Eunice is my Goan friend. like the unlimited liking i have for Goa there is this balmy feeling i get about my Goan friends; Eunice one of them. she told me this easy recipe which is like a basic cheesecake. it's a high-scoring dessert for the option of your choice fruit it affords. the final result is a lovely blend of colours and taste.

seasonal fruit-2 cups (about)
(preferrably fresh mango; canned cocktail fruits work equally well)
marie biscuits (arrowroot; graham crackers)-50 nos
butter-150 gm
condensed milk (sweetened)-400 ml
amul fresh cream (or any other lite cream)-600 ml
gelatin-2 tbsp
water-1/2 cup

Run the fruit in the mixer for a soft mash and keep aside. powder the biscuits in the mixer. melt butter in a pan and add the powdered biscuit. mix well and turn off the flame. take this biscuit-butter mix and press into the bottom of the dessert bowl. refrigerate for 10 mins and take out. blend the condensed milk and cream well. dissolve the gelatin in half cup water in a double boiler and let it melt thoroughly. pour the gelatin into the cream-condensed milk mix and pour it atop the biscuit layer. refrigerate till it sets (about 3 hours). take it out and add the mashed fruit layer. garnish to your choice.

I used mango once and canned cocktail fruits. mango works best. the biscuit and butter quantity can suit your discretion. my photograph shows the pudding that was not completely set. otherwise you can cut it out like a cheesecake and comes off in three distinct layers.

If you roughly halve the quantity use 1 1/2 tbsp gelatin. With strawberries use just a quart cup mashed. Mangoes are the delight here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I'm not going to put up the recipe coz at times appearances are truly deceptive! ah the dessert turned out just about average but look at the beguiling. i totally love the robust look of it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

EaSY Rasmalai

I know you're already lip smacking and you better be! this stuff is real good and goes out to all those friends who've been unsuccessfully trying to follow a diet hehe. rules are meant to be broken pal. the presentation was done by my mum. she's damn good at it. i'm no less but she's better.

milk powder (sweet)-11/2 cup
baking powder-11/2 tsp
milk-11/2 cup
condensed milk (sweetened)-1/2 cup
cardamom powder-to flavour (about ¼ tsp)
rose petals for deco

Sieve the milk powder and baking powder. Add the egg and mix gently to make a smooth dough by oiling your palm. Take care not to make the dough tough coz the malais become tough too. Make small balls (not too small) and press each ball to resemble the malai. Boil the milk and condensed milk in a wide thick bottomed pan. Once it boils turn on sim and put the balls one by one gently into the milk. You can do it in two batches to avoid crowding the pan. The balls swell in five mins. Keep a little while more. Take it off the flame and garnish with cardamom powder and rose petals and TRY making it look something like this :)
Cool, chill and serve.

The malais tend to stick to each other slightly after a while once it’s ladled into the dessert bowl. If you have a problem with that (I didn’t) serve it into a wide dessert bowl before refrigerating it. The ras of the malai may seem too thin initially but acquires the right consistency once refrigerated. use only less than half a cup condensed milk if you don't want it to be rasmalai sweet! This measure makes 22-23 balls.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Bit of New Zealand and Lots of Happiness

We come from a middle-class family. never had silks and satins all along but enough food on plate, cottons to absorb the Indian sweat (!!), resources to develop our skills, parents kind enough to make sure the best possible education for us and too much sunshine, too much rain, and some clouds in it. my mum has been gung ho about abroad goodies but never had enough of it. so when my bro flew down from NZ with a masters in information management and a swell job with Deloitte it was nothing less than a carnival at home.
Happy colours, beaming faces, hugs and kisses et cetera. my parents were so them...capture the moment if you coulproud to show off all the NZ knick knacks and gummies. and i had to record d call it. bear with these repeat photographs but my bro really didn't bring a loot from NZ. ha ha.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

Cardamom Hills and eatgreek have given me this award. thank you so much. i love the way in which this close-knit community of foodies continue to inspire each other!

I in turn pass it on to blogs of my choice. what i choose is not offhand. i REALLY LIKE my choices!

Apricosa (I love your recipes, all right. and i love your pre-recipe jingles to bits. you have the flair and strength to tempt us to your delectable recipes.)

Art Food and Travel Chronicles (The one and only reason i have: break that diet vow and happy blogging!!)

bostonfoodrules (For some of the best photography skills i've come across; and for mixing black and white and looking at money)

bigfatbaker (For the pumpkin delights and more)

Cardamom Hills (I CANNOT help but roll it back to you. you deserve multiples of this award!)

eatgreek (There's nothing nobler than turning to roots!!)

everythingsherbed (Ela, i love the rustic feel that i miss even in my own blog!)

feishannie (For leaving behind your profession to housekeep and blog!)

Hopie (I've been quietly following your neat and warm entries. also for being buddies on Shelfari!)

IndoChine kitchen (For the excellent colourful recipes)

intotheflames (For the brilliant versatility and the richness of your blog. man, the napa valley entry!)

yesim (For introducing turkish recipes uninhibited!)

yin (For the balanced variety of dishes and the interesting gadgets strewn all over your blog!)

yearonthegrill (For the originality and the authentic love of food your entries exude!)

squirrelbakes (For being a compulsive baker like me and being therapied by it!)

You can accept it pass it on to fifteen other bloggers of your choice.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pineapple Jam Squares

I picked this straight out of Vanitha Magazine. i should say this mag has given me some of my best recipes along with a rich roster of thoroughly informative articles. i highly recommend this mag to all south indians.
I know that pineapple and coconut and chocolate and coconut is a great combo for desserts. and i didn't hesitate in trying this out. it turned out great. it reminded me of the pastries available in the local bakers! well, the photograph sports a pineapple jam rectangle but that was the first piece i cut for the photograph. you have to trust me; the rest are/were all squares :)

margarine or vanaspathi-1/2 cup
powdered sugar-1/2 cup
maida-11/2 cups
baking powder-3/4 tsp
pineapple jam-3-4 tbsp

powdered sugar-1/2 cup (again)
grated coconut-1 cup
milk-1-2 tbsp
vanilla essence-1 tsp

Beat the margarine and half cup powdered sugar till smooth. beat the eggs separately and pour into the sugar mix and stir for consistency. after sifting the maida and baking powder, hand-mix (you don't have a choice!) it with the egg-sugar mix. spread this into the bottom of a greased cake tin evenly. it's not a smooth job as the dough is quite tough. then apply the pineapple jam as one consistent layer atop this dough. mix the final set of ingredients (powdered sugar, grated coconut, milk and vanilla essence) separately in a small bowl. watch out when you add milk and ensure the mixture is not watery; it should be about a sprinkling consistency or like a paste but not beyond that. toss it on the surface layer of the batter and bake to perfection. you can let the sides turn really brown which gives those particular pieces a caramel taste (mine happened by mistake by the way but i loved it!!).

If the top layer mix is watery the baking time exceeds as the water has to be absorbed first for the baking process to start. so take care there as i already mentioned. do NOT opt for butter as you cannot follow the recipe: if you use butter the bottom layer becomes soft whereby you cannot spread the jam. this is an excellent dessert if topped with pineapple/vanilla ice cream. it got over in my house before i could try this combo but i can predict the taste.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Apple Date Cake

It seems i've only been baking and it's actually true. i'm off the run-of-the-mill dishes for the next two months more! isn't it lovely to have a cook who takes care of your daily humdrum in the kitchen wherein you focus on the cakes and bakes and grills and dandy cooking! well i find it lovely. anyway the following recipe is a sure-fire success as it's the famous tried-and-tested Nita Mehta recipe. to this i added a dash of my daring trial and the outcome was fabulous. my mum couldn't stop eating it and she's generally not generous with compliments. she said it was fantastic. here i go

Nita Mehta recipe

2 large apples-cored, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup or 85 gms softened butter (unsalted)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
13/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup stoned and chopped dates

Blend apples to a puree with 4 tbsp water. Sift flour and baking powder and keep aside. Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Alternately add eggs and sieved flour to the butter. Add the apple puree and mix. Keeping aside 1 tbsp of walnuts and dates for the top, add the rest to the cake mixture. Grease a 11” X 9” cake tin and pour the batter in it. Bake at 180 degree C for 45 min to 1 hour. Cool, cut and serve.

You can religiously follow this recipe and can come off with a beauty. to add some zest to it and as i'm into cake-recipe-skewing i had to do the following gimmick.

2 tbsp condensed milk
3 tbsp gooseberry wine sweetened with jaggery (i happened to have only this. any liquor will do; if it's rum or brandy stick to the 1 cup sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

I used only 3/4 cup powdered sugar as my wine was too sweet. instead of walnuts i used chopped cashewnuts as usual but added some chopped red cherries and chopped orange peel to fill half the cup cashewnut. i soaked the dates and nuts and cherries in the wine for just one day at room temperature with half a tsp of soda bicarb to soften the dates. i added the condense milk and essence in the final mix and baked to delight! i recommend nambisans unsalted butter for south indians. it adds a distinct unforgettable flavour to the cake.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Easy Fruit Cake

Christmas is bobbing in and it's only a month two months away! the first image that pops in our mind when we picture our Christmas table is the fruit cake-with those generous amounts of delicious noble fruits steeped in the volatile liquor. i've been baking the traditional sherry-sozzled Christmas cake for the past two years and i wanted a change. i'm almost always giddy with my family responsibilities and personal career moves and i almost know that i'm biting more than i can chew. but i'm gonna chew for a while more. and i cannot sham on my fruit cake. and i suddenly remember variety is the spice of life. so i begin this daring move of fruit-cake-recipe-skewing and glide in with this easy yum yum fruit cake! my mum-in-law says the basic go-go for a fruit cake is a 2:1 ratio for the fruits:maida, i. e., 500 gm fruits for 250 gm maida and i decide to believe her!

maida-250 gm
sugar-200 gm (powdered)
butter-200 gm
vanilla essence-1/2 tsp
tonovin or grape essence-1/2 tsp
powdered nutmeg and cinnamon-1 tsp each
baking powder-11/2 tsp
soda bicarb-1 tsp

The dry fruits and wine proportion was totally a by-default decision based on the random availability of stuff. i fortunately fulfilled the required ratio.

currants-60 gm
cherries-50 gm
almonds and cashewnuts-100 gm (together)
dates-100 gm
orange peel-20 gm
fresh apple-1/2-1
homemade grape wine-11/4 cups

All the dry fruits were chopped fine and soaked together in one cup wine in a glass container for a week at room temperature. a day before i baked the apple was chopped fine and soaked in 1/4 cup wine and left outside.

Sift maida, baking powder and soda bicarb. beat the butter and sugar till soft. add the eggs one by one (i think i added two by two!!) and continue beating. mix in the flour till well-blended. add the essence and the soaked fruits and hand-mix nicely. place the batter in a cake tin and bake till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. cool, cut and hog away...

It's better to use a spring form pan with a removable bottom or oil your butter paper and place in the cake tin and bake. use rum or brandy if wine not available but reduce the quantity to half cup.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Eggless Plantain Muffins/Cake

Fantastic is the word for it and honestly this is no self-promotion. my gran too loved these muffins. it's much more appealing than the photographs!! sorry for those. i bake under a modicum of pressure which means i have my little girl pulling me from behind; i run to feed my alice; phone calls to attend; guests turning up. so i don't stand like anna olson in that beautiful joint of hers and bake like she shoots for the asian food channel. what i'm driving at is i made the batter quickly but then the interruptions started. and by the time i finished baking the muffins in the individual muffin moulds in my mum's oven it was dinner time! i had to click these sad-looking photos quickly before rushing to put aby to bed.

maida-11/2 cups
butter (softened)-1 cup
castor sugar-1 cup (or a little less than a cup)
ripe plantains (big)-2
walnuts or cashewnuts-1/2 cup
vanilla essence-1 tsp
baking powder-1 tsp
soda bicarb-1/2 tsp
salt-1/4 tsp
milk-3 tbsp
condensed milk (sweetened)-2-3 tbsp

Sieve the maida, baking powder, soda bicarb and salt. keep it aside. deseed the plantains and run them in the grinder to get a non-bumpy mass. crush the nuts using a mortar-pestle. beat the butter and castor sugar till soft. add the mass of plantain and beat again. dump the maida in moderate quantities and keep beating. add the milk, condensed milk, vanilla essence and crushed nuts and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or hand-mix it. pour in the muffin moulds or the cake tin and bake till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. enjoy with a hot cup of frothy coffee! my...i can have it right away!!! these muffins don't rise much.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Plantain-Beef Stew

The plantain fest is on in my home. we've been excited about the bunch of farm-fresh plantains we got and have been honestly trying various interesting recipes. my mum goes beserk in the kitchen when her son-in-law (my husband thomas) turns up for one or two days. she has to make every meal special. i guess it's a mum-in-law-son-in-law connection. i don't care about the equation as long as it's good. i focus on WHAT'S ON THE PLATTER! she got hold of the recipe below from her cookery guru and icon Lakshmi Nair. i like her too for the accuracy of her measurements and variety and originality. i suggest her books strongly to Kerala cooks.

beef-1/2 kg
raw plantain (yethakai)-3 peeled and cut in big pieces
green chilli-2 slit lengthwise
ginger-1 tbsp chopped fine
onion-2 diced
tomato-1 soaked in hot water, peeled and cut
pepper powder-11/2 tsp
coconut milk-2 cups

Pressure cook the beef, cut plantain, salt and one tsp pepper with two cups water. retain the stock. heat 11/2 tbsp oil in a pan and saute onion, ginger and chilli. add the tomato and fry it well. add the pressure cooked beef. to this add two cups coconut milk and keep it covered on medium flame and let it boil for ten mins. take it off the flame. spice it up with more pepper powder if required and garnish with curry leaves.

You can add diced veggies for nutrition but not potato to retain the taste of the original recipe. this is an excellent accompaniment to steam-baked rice flour cakes (oh well, puttu (in regional language) is simpler!; see photograph).

Courtesy: Lakshmi Nair