Monday, 24 December 2012

Pineapple Praline Gateau ☆☆☆ Christmas Special ☆☆☆

 Merry Christmas 

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Everywhere you go;

But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be

On almost every front door."

Merry Christmas

With all the Christmas spirit & indulgences, here's to cooking & baking but surely eating our way into a fantastic beautiful new year! This is a special cake which I originally baked for my sis-in-law for her Birthday. I am crazy about nuts and I love almonds & cashews & hazel nuts & the list goes on, ergo goes without saying that I loved my first hand experience with praline cake. The cake came out well, it was gorgeously moist and crunchy at the same time. This cake  could be a show stopper for any occasion. I am sure you will enjoy making this and eating it too :) 

Pineapple Praline Gateau
Recipe adapted from MariasMenu
Pineapple Praline Gateau  ☆☆☆ Christmas Special ☆☆☆

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Channa Masala

Channa / White chickpeas are often stored in food cupboards as pulses have a long shelf life and also because they can be transformed into lovely flavorsome dishes any time. One can make chatpata chaat items or the quite famous middle eastern hummus dips or curries. Well I have a cent percent successful recipe from my Amma (mom) to make this perfect Indian curry which goes well with bhaturas or other breads. Unless you are using the canned chickpeas, the only one important thing to remember while using them is to soak the channa, the previous night in water. (In-case you forget you can soak the channa in hot water for few hours and get the same result). 

Channa Masala
My Amma's recipe :)
Channa Masala

1 cup Channa / White chickpeas, cooked 
(reserve the water used for cooking channa) 
1 Red Onion, large, finely chopped
1 Tomato, large, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
small piece Ginger, finely chopped
2 Green Chillies, slit lengthwise
1 Tbsp Red Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt, to taste
Oil, to saute
a small bunch Coriander leaves, chopped

  • Soak the White Chickpeas/Channa overnight and cook in a pressure cooker till soft . (I wait for two whistles and then on reduced heat cook further for 4 more whistles. Let it cool completely before opening. For getting a darker shade for the channa and gravy, I add a tea bag while cooking channa.) Drain the water and save it for later.
  • Add some oil in a pan and saute the chopped onions till it turns  transparent.
  • Add the ginger, garlic and green chillies and saute further for few seconds until the raw smell goes.
  • Once the onion starts to brown, add the chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt. Saute well for around 5 mins.
  • Add the cooked channa along with the reserved water used for cooking channa (as per your choice).
  • Stir in the chopped coriander and cook till the gravy reaches the desired consistency. (usually it takes around 10 mins).
Notes : Add a spoon of tamarind sauce, for more tanginess (if you like). Though the best accompaniment for channa masala is bhatura or other breads, I like it with basmati rice too.
                                     ♥ Thank You ♥

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins ---> Eggless

During this time of the year we are pure vegetarians. So I have diverted my attention to vegetarian dishes and paratha's but I have to admit I miss my baking trysts. Every recipe that I had bookmarked for baking had listed eggs as an ingredient. That's when I decided to embark on a dedicated hunt for egg-less baking recipes!
Tadaa and here is one! The recipe used peanut butter and it piqued my curiosity. So I put on my baking shoes and baked my first batch of harmless vegan muffins.  They were not really sweet but pretty soft and very pea-nutty :D I love peanut butter and baking, so it goes without saying that it was indeed a super easy recipe & most importantly a lovely experience. Hope you too enjoy baking these munchkin muffins!

Egg-less Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins
Recipe adapted from Divinetaste
Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins  --->  Eggless

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Rustic Plum Tart

I had always wanted to try out all the berry varieties & stone fruits. So one day I bought plums even before deciding what to make of it. I had thought of eating them raw,  but then the idea of making a tart crossed my mind. I decided to use the store bought pastry as I was baking tart for the first time. I got the list of further ingredients required for tart preparation and got them lined up. A scrumptious fruit tart is a gorgeous pastry crust, browned to perfection and filled with a rich creamy filling. It's hard to resist the beauty of this dessert too! So tag along and lets make this fruitilicious tart.

Rustic Plum Tart
Adapted from the book ' Tarts & Pies' by Philippa Vanstone
Rustic Plum Tart

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Carrot Cake ... Scrummy & Yummy

Cakes & Bakes are for sharing, although I am sure that there are plenty of us who wouldn't mind gobbling a whole loaf on their own given the choice. Home baked goodies make perfect gifts, wrap it up beautifully & wait for the smiles! They are also good surprise material, so just wait and bask in all the happiness it creates.
I am not a big fan of carrot cake but here almost everyone loves lemon drizzle or carrot cake. So that is the main reason I gave it a try. Nikhil loved it too. So get ready with your bunny hats to get your load of fresh carotene!

Carrot Cake
Recipe fully adapted from BBC Good Food (Mary Cadogan)
Carrot Cake ... Scrummy & Yummy

Friday, 7 December 2012

Carrot Mushroom Stir Fry

Even if you love cooking, at the end of a long day you don't necessarily have the time or energy for it. Of-course you can order a nice hot pizza or some Chinese take away which will be delivered right at your door step, but a bit of hob side pottering might help some of us unwind or at-least keep our kitchen running!
This is an amazingly easy & flavorful stir fry. My friend Nimisha, introduced me to this beautiful combination during an Easter dinner.  

Carrot Mushroom Stir Fry 
Carrot Mushroom Stir Fry

4 medium carrots, thinly sliced rounds
1 & 1/2 Tbsp butter
200 g Mushrooms, sliced 
Salt, to taste
1 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground

  • In a skillet over medium heat, stir-fry sliced carrots in butter for around 6 mins. 
  • Add sliced mushrooms and saute further for 6-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender and cooked. 
  • Stir in salt and pepper. 
Notes : If you prefer, you could add a tsp of lemon juice along with salt & pepper. For an easy & simple meal, I prepare garlic bread, potato mash and this lovely stir fry.

                                        ♥ Thank you ♥

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Dates Chutney

Chutney is a perfect accompaniment that is fragrant & colorful to wake up even the blandest dishes. Well here I am talking about a sweet variation which would be the perfect addition to a spicy main dish like Biryani. My amma used to make one with roasted onions, cashews and raisins but I found making this chutney a lot easier (on effort and pocket!). So friends make this ahead in time and let it rest in the refrigerator until you are ready with hot steaming Biryani and crisp poppadoms. 

Dates Chutney
Recipe adapted from pachakam
Dates Chutney in a Jar

Monday, 19 November 2012

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

No matter how old I become, I will always be my Daddy's little girl. My friends and my family would agree on this I am sure. Today as my dad turns a year wiser, me and my family, we wish him a lot & lot more years of health & happiness. This cake (post) is for my achan (dad) who is one of the most important person on Earth for me. This is a heavenly moist and fudgy chocolate cake, just for my dad wishing him a perfect chocolaty Happy birthday. Friends let me share the ultimate chocolate cake recipe and I am certain you will make some lucky person very happy whether its their birthday or not. Any excuse goes for a creamy sumptuous chocolaty treat and I hope you enjoy your excuse!!!

Ultimate chocolate cake
Recipe fully adapted from BBC good food
Ultimate Chocolate Cake; for any excuse!

200 g good quality dark chocolate , about 60% cocoa solids ( I used 54%)
200 g butter, unsalted
1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
85 g self-raising flour
85 g plain flour
1⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200 g light muscovado sugar
200 g golden caster sugar
25 g cocoa powder
3 medium eggs
75 ml buttermilk (5 tbsp)
grated chocolate or curls, to decorate cake
200 g good quality dark chocolate, about 60% cocoa solids ( I used 54%)
284 ml pot double cream
2 Tbsp golden caster sugar
Ultimate Chocolate Cake.....a slice

  • Butter and line a 20 cm round cake tin (7.5 cm deep).
  • Preheat the oven to 160 C/ 140 C fan/ gas 3.
  • Break 200 g good quality dark chocolate into pieces and transfer them into a heavy-bottomed pan. Also cut 200 g butter into pieces and tip it in with the chocolate pieces. Mix 1 Tbsp of instant coffee granules in 125 ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted. Ensure that you do not overheat the mixture. Alternately you can melt the same in the microwave on a Medium for about 5 minutes, stirring half way through.
  • Meanwhile add all the dry ingredients; 85 g self-raising flour, 85 g plain flour, ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda, 200 g light muscovado sugar, 200 g golden caster sugar and 25 g cocoa powder into a large bowl and mix everything with your hands to get rid of any lumps.
  • Beat 3 medium eggs in another small bowl and stir in 75 ml buttermilk.
  • Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well combined and you have a smooth but quite runny consistency for your batter. Pour batter into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25 mins - 1 hour 30 minutes. If you insert a skewer in the centre of cake, it should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don't worry if it cracks and dips a bit).
  • Leave to cool in the tin, then cool it completely on the wire rack.
  • Once the cake is cooled completely, cut it horizontally into three layers.
  • Now to make the ganache; break 200 g good quality dark chocolate into smaller pieces and transfer into a mixing bowl.
  • Pour 284 ml of double cream into a pan along with 2 Tbsp golden caster sugar, and heat until it is about to boil.
  • Take it off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is of smooth consistency.
  • Sandwich the layers together with just a little of the ganache. Then pour the rest of the ganache over the cake letting it fall down the sides. Smoothen further with a palette knife.
  • Decorate the cake with the grated chocolate or the pile of chocolate curls.
Notes : The cake keeps moist and gooey for 3-4 days. I had used two 20 cm round cake tins (around 3.5 cm deep) and also reduced the baking time to around 1 hour 10 mins - 1 hour 15 mins. Instead of buttermilk, I substituted with 4 Tbsp of Yogurt and 1 Tbsp of diluted vinegar.  

                                           ♥ Thank you ♥

Monday, 12 November 2012

Besan Ladoo / Barfi ★Diwali special★

Happy Diwali!!!
While I was in Chennai, I realized and loved the variety of sweets the city had to offer, mostly during the various festivals. As a child I used to think that sweets made from milk or kaju (cashew) were only available in North India (primarily because my achan(dad) use to get it for me from Mumbai, then Bombay). Today all kinds of sweets are available in most local sweet shops. Jalebi may be the national sweet of India, but my personal favorite is Ladoo or is it Kaju Katli?... Anyways for the sake of this post my personal favorite is Ladoo! I am certain most Indians irrespective of geographic differences adore ladoos. For my wedding, boondi ladoos were prepared at home and everyone loved it. Apparently any festival would be incomplete without sweets! 
So for the 'festival of lights', Deepavali, let us enjoy Besan ladoos. I usually have besan flour at home, to make spicy onion pakodas but for a change I decided to use the flour for this sweet treat. The remaining ingredients used in the recipe are usually stocked in most kitchens. So let me tell you this very easy recipe to make delicious sweet ladoos and I hope they light up many hearts at your home tonight :D 
"Diwali Ki Light
Karay Sab Ko Bright
Khake ladoo Pakdo Masti Ki Flight
Aur Dhoom Machao All Night"
"The festival of light is full of delight
Let me double the charm of your Diwali night"
Have a Happy & Safe Diwali!!!

 ★Besan Ladoo

Recipe adapted from Ria's Collection
Besan Ladoo / Barfi ★★★Diwali special★★★

Friday, 9 November 2012

Creamy Chicken

Cooking is not performance act or should not be. Its probably unrealistic for one to expect to be a model of serenity throughout however if one manages to be relaxed, both food & the evening with friends would go a lot better. Its not a test of your worth or acceptability, its just a dinner! Once in a while I don't mind buying certain ingredients, specific masala's or even dishes for that matter, however there are certain ingredients which I prefer to be strictly homemade. The tandoori masala is one of them and today I have come with a recipe of my own using the magic masala. So friends I present to you my creamy chicken recipe:) Nikhil loved it and asked me when I was going to make the curry again. That is when I decided to publish this recipe. So here it is!

Creamy Chicken:
Creamy Chicken!!!

Tandoori Masala (Homemade)

Spices were once more valuable than gold, and their worth in the kitchen remains priceless. They are found in forms of seeds, bark, roots and flowers, each adding a unique flavor. You can get a variety of flavors like sharp, musty, tangy, earthy, peppery, pungent, hot, herb like and plenty others that you could name on your own ;). All I can say is that our cooking will never be the same without some or most of them :). Homemade Tandoori masala is one such magical addition to my kitchen and I wish it brings magic to your dining table as well! 

Tandoori masala 
Recipe adapted from Ria's collection 
Tandoori Masala (Homemade)
2 Tbsp garam masala
2 Tbsp ground cumin (since my ground cumin seemed very strong, I reduced it to 1 & 1/2 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp coriander powder ( I added 1/2 Tbsp more)
4 tsp paprika (you can use Kashmiri Mirch)
2 tsp Kasuri Methi /Dried Fenugreek Leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder ( I used a heaped 1 tsp)
Tandoori Masala in a reused, labelled glass jar


  • Combine all the ingredients listed above using a spoon or blender and store it in an airtight container. 
Notes : It stays fresh for 4-6 weeks.
                                     ♥ Thank You ♥

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Chocolate Truffle

I am a chocoholic, I love chocolates especially them with nuts. I am not a big fan of dry fruits in chocolate or for that matter even plain chocolate. My love for chocolate is quite popular among friends and family. My Achan (dad) used to get me a regular ration of snickers or Dairy Milk chocolate, the one with dry roasted almonds:) Recently my friend Nishima & her husband Ajin, gifted us a signpost that read the following :
Hand over the chocolate & nobody gets hurt!
Well that pretty much explains the situation here ;) Once Nikhil got me a chocolate that had truffle filling and when I noticed that it did not contain any nuts, I started making faces. To my surprise I loved it, the chocolate simply melts in your mouth, it had that silky smooth texture. So I decided to try and recreate the magic sensation in my small kitchen.Without further ado I hereby present the recipe for Chocolate truffles. Hope you enjoy every bit and bites of this magic truffle.

Recipe adapted from Ria's Collection
Cashew Chocolate Truffle

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Black Chickpeas / Kadala Curry

Innu (today is) Kerala Piravi Dinam. Keralites or Malayalees around the world celebrate November 1st as "Kerala Piravi", which in my mother tongue means the day Kerala was formed on the face of earth. So today's post is for God's own country, my very own Kerala.

One of the most popular breakfast variety in Kerala is 'Puttu & Kadala curry'. Kadala curry is a gravy of sorts with black chickpeas often made in earthen ware. Puttu, a form of rice cake was traditionally steam cooked in coconut shell. When I was a child my mother used to prepare the dish in this manner. It was a wonderful experience and brings back fond memories. Though the cookware may have changed over time, the fondness I share for this dish lingers on. At home back in Kerala we often pamper ourselves with this super breakfast. Over our stay in UK, this dish rarely made it to our dining table, as ground coconut is not quite easily available. 'Puttu' along with fish or chicken curry is also a much loved combination!

Yesterday when Nikhil saw that I had soaked some kadala (Black Chickpeas) in water, he was very happy. With a grin he asked if I was planning to cook puttu and kadala the next day. Later in the day, I had finished cooking the curry, we had an unexpected visitor from an agency for a routine check of the building. As soon as he stepped in, the whiff of well roasted ground coconut and spices caught his attention. He said the aroma from kitchen is too inviting :). Below I have detailed a simple recipe and here's hoping that the aroma in your kitchen turns heads and hearts both...

Black Chickpeas/ Kadala Curry 

Black Chickpeas/ Kadala Curry with Puttu

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Lemon Drizzle Cake - Simple & All time favorite

I am not sure if all the bloggers out there share this same sentiment, an euphoric excitement before the first ever post on one's first ever blog :) I have read that usually people never expect blogging to be the kind of addiction that it eventually becomes! 
My first baking experience was a hit and I have to give full credit to the simple foolproof recipe. I was quite inspired about cooking from watching the movie 'Julie and Julia' :) followed by further encouragement from my best friend , Nimisha. With her by my side I baked my first ever Lemon drizzle cake. 
I have always loved the smell of fresh lemon and cake baking in oven. I am sure this recipe will keep you feeling fresh and relaxed. With bated breath I watched  the timer clock the set limit. Oh my god! that first bite off the tangy piece of soft cake, I was in heaven and I had a proud feeling, a sense of achievement!! The whole cake vanished literally before me as everyone gobbled up whatever pieces they could muster. Nikhil loved it and I needed no more compliments!!!
So here is the recipe which was fully adapted from the BBC Good Food website (Tana Ramsay recipe).

Lemon Drizzle Cake/Loaf
Lemon Drizzle Cake on display!

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