Desperately seeking Patty and a Book Review

“Who is patty and how does she make this.”

Well although Wynter was drooling after taking a bite of Patty’s cake, somehow it did not turn out so great for me. I have to confess it could be my fault. I read  the measurements all wrong and had to start all over again, then I accidentally burnt the chocolate, and then as if the gods were plotting against me, the cake just spilled over in the oven.

In spite of the disastrous cake baking process, the end result was just YUM!! But then how can something that has chocolate butter and sugar NOT taste good!! DUH!

But before I give you the recipe (if you wanna try it in spite of my disaster) let me tell you more about Wynter Morrison….

When I first flipped through the book ‘Bread Alone’, I thought it looked like just another  chick-lit(not that I dislike that genre)..but it was trulya really enjoyable ‘light’ read ,emphasis on light.

The book follows the trials and tribulations of (baker at heart-but she just doesn’t know it) Wynter Morrison, a thirty-one-year-old chanel wearing trophy-wife whose life falls apart when her husband suddenly announces that he feels their marriage is over.Kaput.

We then travel back and forth with her; to her past  baking internship period in France , her relationship with her parents, and also to the present , when she starts work and soon become part-owner of a quaint little bakery and how she slowly picks up the pieces and gets another chance at rediscovering her true self and finding love again(and I don’t mean her love for bread alone!!)

I loved the authors lucid , fluid style of writing.  I felt an almost poetic quality to her words, peppered with vivid imagery and  a lovely sense of humor.

Wynter , initially came across as a annoyingly shallow whiner-Spoilt and forever wallowing in self pity, acerbic and impulsive ..thankfully (for us readers) she stops grieving and starts to  transforms from the “willfully ignorant,” to a new woman who knows what she wants from life. Her friendship with CM is also portrayed very beautifully and realistically as is the camaraderie between her new baking buddies. Although the plot is very predictable and totally uninventive, the author makes up for these flaws with almost poetical descriptions of bread making and a feel good ending that deftly balances themes like self-reliance, love, revenge , recovery and even baking.

and now here’s the recipe

Ingredients

    7 (1 ounce)  unsweetened chocolate squares
    1/4 cup butter
    1 1/2 cups strong coffee
    1/4 cup bourbon
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups cake flour
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt

     

    espresso caramel sauce

    1 cup sugar
    1/3 cup water
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    3 tablespoons espresso

Directions

Grease and flour 2 81/2 by 41/2 inch loaf pans.

Put the chocolate, butter and coffee in a large heavy saucepan.

Place over low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted, then stir vigorously until mixture is smooth and blended.

Set aside to cool for 10 mins, then beat in the bourbon eggs and vanilla.

Sift dry ingredients and beat into the chocolate mixture until well blended.

Divide batter between pans and bake in a 275* oven for 50 mins, until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Cool in pans for 15 mins, then turn out onto racks to cool completely. Serve with whipped cream, creme fraiche or Expresso Caramel Sauce.

“Espresso caramel sauce.”

Whisk the sugar into water and pour into heavy bottom saucepan.

Stir over med heat until sugar is dissolved, increase heat and bring to a boil. Do not stir, but wash down sides of pan frequently with a brush dipped in water.

Meanwhile heat the cream to a simmer in another pan.

When sugar begins to caramelize, lift pan carefully and swirl mixture to even caramelization.

Boil until syrup is a beautiful brown color, about 3-4 mins.Remove from heat and set pan in sink.

Slowly pour cream into the syrup , whisking to combine. Be Careful as it may splatter.!

Stir in espresso and stir until smooth.

If mixture starts to harden, return to low heat and whisk until dissolved.


Daring Bakers November Challenge- Cannoli

Should I? Shouldn’t I? I pondered and pondered…..

Where on earth where in Goa would i find cannoli tubes.

Then one day when i googled cannoli for more information, it suddenly hit me…they look freakishly similar to an Indian(North Kerala to be more exact) savory snack called Kuzhalappam.Although it is a savory snack ,the shape was pretty much similar. And what we used back home was the cassava or the stem of a banana leaf .

Well that clinched it for me.

I WAS IN!!

This months The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.


The challenge was fun and after a few failed trials (a few opened up and a few didn’t get crisp) i realized that the trick was
to roll out the batter as thin as possible
to keep the temperature of the oil even and keep adjusting the heat to make sure that it doesn’t burn or brown immediately
to ensure that the ends are sealed tightly.
I used a tried and tested Ricotta Pistachio and Ricotta Chocolate filling. I would have loved to experiment with the filling but i had guests visiting and i ran out of time. Still they were delightful and we thoroughly enjoyed them.Thanks Lisa!!

Pistachio Ricotta Filling
About 1 1/2 cup ricotta( i used homemede that i made using this recipe)
4 tbsp icing (confectioners) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
finely grated zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup toasted chopped pistachio nuts
1/4 dark chocolate chips, chopped or grated
1/3 cup dried sour cherries, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoons
amaretto liqueur (that i happened to have)

Whisk ricotta well along with the sugar. Add vanilla, lemon zest and cinnamon and beat until smooth and well combined. Fold in remaining ingredients.

Place mixture into a piping bag or ziplock with a corner cut off . pipe this mixture into the cannoli shells .

Cannoli Shell
Speculaas Cannoli Recipe
Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli

Ingredients

Cannoli Shells:
2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) speculaas spice
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) grated chocolate for garnish
Confectioners’ sugar

Directions For Shells

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, speculaas spice, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that).

Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (or whatever you are usuing instead.). Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

Directions For Filling:

1. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta and mascarpone until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, speculaas spice, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

Assemble The Cannoli:

1. When ready to serve, fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the filling. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Teaser Tuesday

teasertuesdays31Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser…

Her poor heart must be broken, people say, but it is’nt true.Her heart was merely squeezed and wrung dry for a time, like an old rag.

page 122

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

“When you have brought up kids, there are memories you store directly in your tear ducts”

Raising kids is part joy and part guerrilla warfare said some bloke named Ed Asner -though I tend to agree with this for most part ,motherhood does have some exciting and wonderful wonderful moments.

Its my oldest sons 6th birthday tomorrow and I lay in bed this morning wondering how fast time is FLYING. I mean I’ve heard the clichés: “They grow up so fast!” “Where does the time go?” And so on, but I truly didn’t get it, until now.

Although everything seems the same and normal the sudden epiphany reminds me that a lot has changed. I realize that Daksh is only 6, but already it feels like there’s this giant Wizard of Oz hourglass with sand just pouring through…time is zooming, he’s changing and growing, and becoming so independent. He doesn’t need my help for most things now and probably will need me less as the years go by. Of course I’m glad he’s smart and independent but it really is an odd day when you realize that your son is a ‘big boy’. Of course there are days when his attitude exasperates me but those days are easily forgotten. As someone said A child is a handful sometimes; a heartful at all times!

Each stage of his development process is etched and celebrated so clearly in my heart and mind and now a feeling of something eluding me overwhelms just as I also realize that the babyhood of the past is now a permanently carved memory. And this little beautiful person, so sure of himself and so full of hope and smiles lets me know that it’s the same new world for both of us.

I do hope that his memories of childhood are happy and that he grows up to be a wonderful human being. I know that every day cannot be exciting and big but I realize that it’s the small gestures, heartwarming memories and times of togetherness that make life a life worth living…

Anyway here’s something I got as a forward which I kinda liked….

Kids Are Like Kites

Kids
are like
kites. You
spend a lifetime
trying to get them
off the ground. You
run with them until you
are both breathless ~ they
crash ~ You add a larger tail
~ they lift the rooftop. ~ You
pluck them out of the spout ~ you
patch and comfort, assure them that
someday they will fly! ~ Finally they
are airborne, but they need more string.
~ You keep letting the string out but
with each twist of the ball of twine
there is some sadness along with
the joy. The kite becomes more
distant and somehow you know
it will not be long before
your beautiful child will
snap the life line that
bound you together
and soar as he
was meant to
soar…
Free
and
alone.

 

http://forkbootsandapalette.wordpress.com/

12Kuvaa/photos-Its November!!

12 kuvaa/photos-october

12 photo september
Fellow Bloggers from Finland, Krisu and Mari, have invited me to join the project of a Finnish bloggers’ group, “12 kuvaa, 12 pics” which involves photographing the same spot from the same perspective over the course of one year, one photo each month. So this is my picture for the photo challenge. Its taken from the top of Spring Beach in Dabolim, Goa. It’s a breathtaking view and a fantastic beach. It’s the first beach I visited in Goa, and its one place we love to go to..rain or shine. The pic was taken at 9 am, 13 Sept 2009.

Brief Instructions

1) Select the target.
2) Take a photo, write down the place, the focal length and time.
3. Make the blog post between September 1st and 15th to your blog.
4. Link post to MckLinkyyn (here at Kameravene.fi Logbook).
5. Wait a month:-D
6. Take a photo from the same spot under the same settings as before. EDIT 2.9: … as same size as possible and from same perspective.
7. Make the blog post between September 1st and 15th to your blog. Include all photos taken over the past months (two photos in October, November three, etc. ).
8. Link post to MckLinky.
9. Repeat every month points 5-8 above.

Teaser Tuesdays

teasertuesdays31Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

This morning i cant help wondering whats he’s giving Kelley.What she’s giving him.
Hopefully ,something that requires penicillin.

Bread Alone ,Judith Ryan Hendricks
p 148

Easier than I thought…ICC Gulab Jamun

gulab jamum main
At first I thought –no way!! Make khoya at home- it’s way too tedious. I mean a challenge is fine but this was really taking it a bit too far. Even my cook agreed. She said ‘chechi , I will get it for you why do you have to slog so much’ Obviously she doesn’t understand WHY I even bother entering the kitchen and what’s with the photographing food she asks. Do you get paid?
Doing it for ‘myself’ is something she doesn’t get.
I absolutely enjoy blogging and cooking its my space where I get to say whatever I want..its liberating isn’t it?

Anyway, I had decided not to take part in this months ICC but then at the last moment I had sometime to kill and I thought ‘why not’ I’m so glad I did..it was so exciting and not at all as difficult as people around me made it out to be. The Jamuns were moist and just PERFECT!!I used the recipe from indos blog.Here’s the recipe once again

Gulab Jamun
Ingredients
1. 4 litres whole milk
2. 1/2 kg maida (all purpose flour)
3. 1 tbsp curd (yogurt)
4. 1 tsp baking soda
5. 2 cups ghee
6. 2 litres of sugar
7. 1/2 lemon

Method

milk thicken-Gulab

How Long will this take!!!


To Make Khova
1. In a wide mouthed heavy bottom pan add the milk and heat it in a medium flame. (add a couple of stainless steel spoons into the milk to avoid burning)
2. Reduce the milk for 3-4 hours till the milk solidifies and becomes thick.
3. Whip together yogurt and baking soda
4. To the khova add the flour and yougurt mixture and knead till it forms a pliant dough. (make sure not to add too much flour, just enough flour to make the khova pliant)
4. Make 3/4 inch diameter balls and set aside

Prepare sugar syrup
1. In a pan add the sugar and just enough water to cover the sugar. Heat till it comes to a boil.
2.Squeeze the half of the lemon (this is to avoid sugar crystals). Set aside.

Deep frying
1. Heat the ghee and deep fry the balls, adding a few at a time till golden brown.
2. Cool the balls and soak them in the sugar syrup.
3. Let sit for a few hours.

gulab jamun bowl

Delectable Dark Beauties!!!!

Paa-The Baritone-voiced Legend at work again

Do you remember the scene in Slumdog Millionaire where the slum kid, Jamal, locked in a makeshift toilet jumps into a pile of shit just so that he can get to meet his favourite superstar Amitabh Bachchan and get his autograph. He stands there covered in a poop suit, next to the iconic superstar who signs his dog-eared photograph.

Big B
I am a huge fan of Amitabh Bachchan(i know, i know who isn’t?) and while I wouldn’t go to these extreme measures, I sure do wish I can get to meet him someday.

I grew up watching him make even incredulous scenes credible, and listening to his wonderfully deep baritone voice threatening the bad guys. He has such a massive and unique repertoire of work and even today continues to astound us with his performances. Amar Akbar Antony, Sholey, Chini Kum, Don, Satte pe Satta…I mean ,you name it and his performance is just outstanding.

paaAB
CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS HIM???

When I saw this promo picture from his latest movie paa I was speechless. It’s tremendous don’t you think. He plays the character of ‘Auro, a 13 year old child suffering from progeria. Progeria is a terminal disease; a rarest of rare genetic disorder in which a child begins to age at a rapid pace and dies before hitting teens.

Amitabh Bachchan will be playing son to parents Abhishek Bachchan and Vidya Balan in the Balki directed Paa. I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

paa

Apfel-Streusel-Kuchen …er…what????

Inviting- Apple Streusel Cake
Simply put STREUSEL [ˈʃtrɔyzl̩] (pronounciation) can be decoded to mean granules or crumbles. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term streusel comes from the German verb streuen, which means “to sprinkle.”It is a crunchy topping used to cover pies, fruit crisps and coffeecakes made with a sinfully delicious mix of butter, flour and sugar . You mix these things with your hands together and they crumble into ….crumbles.
Or Streusel.
They taste heavenly even on their own….and even better on cakes and pies.
You just have to marvel at the joy that is butter flour, and sugar mixed together. Why can’t it be better for you when it tastes so amazing? Why must it give with one hand and take with another?why why why!!!!

apples
And have I already mentioned my love of apples before?well let me say it again.I LOVE apples they are sweet and healthy and delicious. Like candy..like healthy yummy yummy candy..

Well, there ya go , and now I’m going to leave you with the super delicious Apfel-Streusel-Kuchen or the Apple Streusel.I made this a couple of weeks back and its still raved about in my circles….

apple streusel cake

And let me just say this one more time: I love apples Oh, and I love cake too. So, if you’re wondering if you should make this, the answer is yes. Go make it right now.It sure is calling out to me!!!!

1/2 cup butter, plus a bit extra for greasing
450 grams tart apples
1 1/4cup all purpose flour,
little less than 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
generous 1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
icing sugar for dusting

Streusel Topping
generous 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup superfine sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F, then grease a 9-inch springform cake pan.

To make the streusel topping, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles. Stir in the sugar and set aside.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. To make the cake sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl with the cinnamon.

Place the butter and sugar in a separate bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little of the flour mixture with the last addition of egg. Gently fold in half the remaining flour mixture, then fold in the rest with the milk.
apple preparation
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Cover with the sliced apples and sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until browned and firm to the touch.
apple streusel cake
Let cool in the pan before opening the sides. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

My In-Laws Garden – A Flowery Feast

Took a quick(couple of days) trip to Kochi to visit my in-laws and to meet my parents who were returning from a LONG holiday to the UK and US…
as you can imagine i’ve been – as the bokononist tenet goes busy busy busy

anyway for now here are some pics from my father-in-laws beautiful garden…
flower4
flower1
flower2
flower3

jasmine

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