Indian Cooking Challenge

The World is Flat…But I am Round….
muruku

Technically its still the 30th so here’s my entry to the ICC. Presenting to you the crispy rice and urad dal based favourite ‘Southie’ snack- Muruku. Although my family eats a whole lot of these, I’ve never ventured into making these circular savory snacks for the simple reason its just so much simpler to just hop into the store next door , buy and eat the. I do not stand corrected. I STILL feel they are quite complicated to make at home – am not gonna try powdering the rice at home again!! Whew! but the twirling out part was definitely fun and I got the hang of it pretty soon. The recipe was great but remember these are extremely addictive; M, my boys and I wolfed down the entire lot in one sitting!
Anyway without much ado here the recipe

Jantikalu or Muruku!

Preparation Time : 20 – 30 mins
Cooking Time : 20 – 30 mins
Makes : app 250 kg of Muruku
Cuisine: Andhra & Tamil Nadu

Utensils needed:
Muruku /Chakli Press.
Kadai

Ingredients Needed:

Raw Rice – 4 cups
Urad Dal – 1 cup
Water – app 1/2 cup or more

For Seasoning

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Sesame seeds- 1 tsp
Asafetida/ Hing – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Butter – 75 gms

Method

Wash and drain the rice. Shade dry the Rice for 1/2 hr. Dry roast the Urad dal to light brown. Allow it to cool.
If you are using more quantity, you can get it ground in rice mil, else use your mixie to grind both Rice and Urad dal.

First grind rice into a fine flour, keep it aside. then grind the urad dal to fine powder.

In a wide vessel, take both the flours along with salt. Mix well. Add cumin, Sesame seeds to the flour, mix well.

Whether you use Asafetida powder or the solid ones, you got to mix it in water, make sure it is dissolved before adding to the flour. If its not dissolved properly, when deep frying the muruku, there are chances for the hing to burst our due to air bubbles.

Mix in the hing to the flour and finally add the butter. Gather everything well and you will get more of a crumbling mixture. Now slowly add water and knead a dough which is little more softer than the puri dough.

Heat a frying pan with oil enough to deep fry. Once the oil is hot enough, simmer to low flame.

Take the Muruku Aachu, wash and wipe it clean. Then divide the dough into equal balls. Fill the Muruku maker with the dough. You can either press it directly over the flames or press over a paper and gently slide it down the hot oil. But since the quantity mentioned here is less, you can press it directly over the kadai.

Cook over medium flame, using a slotted spoon, turn it over to other side to ensure both sides turn golden colour. You will know by seeing the colour that its cooked. Remove to a kitchen paper and store it in a air tight container.

This normally stays good for weeks, provided you forget about these which hardly happens!

Retro- All the Way……

pineapple upsidedowncake

Decided to go RETRO this week and bake what (for me) screams retro like no other- the Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I had earlier very successfully baked its mango namesake.
( it was praised with such superlatives that have not been bandied about since) and I decided to try out the original version this time. Although I didn’t have the cherries to adorn these beauties, they still turned out looking great (my below average photography skills don’t do it complete justice- in case you are wondering what I’m talking about!!) They tasted absolutely divine too!!!
arvind_swamy then
arvindswamynow
Also on that retro note I wanted to share with you this somewhat recent picture of Arvind Swamy(for those of you in the know). He had such charming and cute looks earlier and I was a big fan. The college where I did some studying (Stella Maris, Madras) was right next to his home and we would wait longingly for him to make his appearance in his balcony. What a transformation..

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
16 oz can of pineapples
4 eggs, separated
grated rind of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Melt the butter in an oven-proof cast-irom frying pan about 25 cm in diameter.Set aside 1 tbsp of this melted butter.

Add the brown sugar to the frying pan and stir until melted.

Place the pineapple slices on top in one layer.Set aside.

In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks, the remaining melted butter and the lemon rind until smooth. Beat the egg whites with salt until stiff using an electric mixer, and fold in the granulated sugar 2 tbsp at a time.

Fold in the egg yolk mixture.

Sift the flour and baking powder and fold this into the egg mixture in three batches. Spoon this batter over the set pineapples.

Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean..about 30 minutes.

While still hot place a serving tray on top of the pan bottom side up. Holding them together using oven gloves flip over.

pineapple upside down Cake

Serve hot or cold.

Ladoos and the Alphabet

Rava ladoo
Took a quick trip to mallu-land yesterday. No, no didn’t travel there but I certainly felt like I was there. Yesterday was Vidyarambam a Hindu ritual we follow that symbolizes a Child’s initiation into the world of letters. Although M is not too hot on these rituals and traditions I wanted to get this one done.

riceIt involves getting the child to write the words Om Hari Shri Ganapathaye Namaha, the first alphabets a child writes before a lifetime of words. The child is made to write these words alphabet by alphabet on a plate of rice and then write these words again on his or her tongue using a piece of gold.

GoldSince M cannot write Malayalam to save his life and I figured it was probably easier to go to the nearest Malayalee temple than to teach him. We’ve been to this temple only once or twice but I love going there because it makes me feel like I’m home in Kerala.
bikes
Everyone in the temple – the worshippers, the pundits everyone speaks in Malayalam and even people waiting in the cars parked nearby play Malayalam music.Check out some of the garlanded two-wheelers that were part of the vehicle puja. ooohh I miss home so much I’m gonna cry…
anyway lets pep things up a bit this holiday season and make what most of you probably already know -Rava Ladoo.

Rava(semolina) 2 cups
Sugar 2 cups
Coconut 1 cup
Ghee 1 cup
Milk, a bit if you want
Cardamom powdered ¼ tsp
Raisins

Fry the rava and powder it along with the sugar, coconut and the cardamoms. Add the ghee gradually and mix. Add the raisins , if using.Sprinkle some milk if you need to. Roll into lemon sized balls. Enjoy this festive goody.

This treat will also find its way to FIL- Ghee and to the Dussehra, Dhanteras & Deepavali Event

I am a Daring Baker-Vol-Au-Vents

Chocolate cream Vol au vents
Who doesn’t love a good challenge once in a while? I too am no exception and joining the Daring Bakers group is one of the best things I did to ensure that I get my monthly dose of it.

This months Challenge is also very special for 2 reasons. One- it’s my very first!! Whoohoo!! And secondly the reveal date also happens to be my birthday.

Although I knew I was going to take part a long while earlier- the excitement and anxiousness gnawing and eating into my thoughts; it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally decided to start work on it.

I started work on this beautiful layered creation early last evening, turning and chilling (this needed a LOT of chilling as its HOT HOT HOT here in Goa) and watching the very helpful video a million times.

Thankfully it turned out fine- no dishes were thrown in exasperation, no lumps of hair yanked out in frustration and no kids thrown out in anger(though I did come really close when my son accidentally switched off the refrigerator for a good part of the day) Anyway as they say All’s well that ends well and I’m pretty satisfied with the results as they tasted so light and delicious even though they didn’t rise as much as as they were supposed to. Also i think i forgot to press and attach to ring to the base so they turned out as two separate entities……Nevertheless i proudly present to you my very first DB entry!

The chocolate cream vols-au-vent.

This month’s Daring Bakers‘ challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

Puff pastry or vol-au-vent [ vóllō vaaN ] (plural vol-au-vents) is called mille feuilles, or “a thousand leaves” or “flight in the wind”. It is said that to create a good puff pastry, you need a cool room, a flat work surface and several hours to devote to rolling, folding, turning and chilling the dough. In the end, you should have roughly 730 microscopically slender layers of dough and 730 layers of fat. Its hard work but well rewarded and its no wonder that these miniature masterpieces are called the queen of pasteries.

Michel Richard’s Puff Pastry Dough
From: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan

Yield: 2-1/2 pounds dough

http://video.pbs.org/video/1174110297/search/Pastry

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups (12.2 oz/ 354 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups (5.0 oz/ 142 g) cake flour
1 tbsp. salt (you can cut this by half for a less salty dough or for sweet preparations)
1-1/4 cups (10 fl oz/ 300 ml) ice water
4 sticks (16 oz/ 454 g) very cold unsalted butter
plus extra flour for dusting work surface

Mixing the Dough:

I halved the ingredients as I feared the worst. Also since cake flour is not available I used its subs-plain flour and corn flour.

Put the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse a couple of times just to mix. Add the water all at once, pulsing until the dough forms a ball on the blade. The dough will be very moist and pliable and will hold together when squeezed between your fingers.
Remove the dough from the machine, form it into a ball, with a small sharp knife, slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Wrap the dough in a damp towel and refrigerate for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the butter between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that’s about 1″ thick. Take care that the butter remains cool and firm: if it has softened or become oily, chill it before continuing.

Incorporating the Butter:

Unwrap the dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour (A cool piece of marble is the ideal surface for puff pastry) with your rolling pin (preferably a French rolling pin without handles), press on the dough to flatten it and then roll it into a 10″ square. Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floured to prevent sticking and lift the dough and move it around frequently. Starting from the center of the square, roll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with “ears,” or flaps.
Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold the ears over the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely. (If you have to stretch the dough, stretch it from all over; don’t just pull the ends) you should now have a package that is 8″ square.
To make great puff pastry, it is important to keep the dough cold at all times. There are specified times for chilling the dough, but if your room is warm, or you work slowly, or you find that for no particular reason the butter starts to ooze out of the pastry, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it . You can stop at any point in the process and continue at your convenience or when the dough is properly chilled.

Making the Turns:

Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom edges of the square (this will help keep it square). Then, keeping the work surface and the top of the dough well floured to prevent sticking, roll the dough into a rectangle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 24″ (don’t worry about the width of the rectangle: if you get the 24″, everything else will work itself out.) With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the length and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along well, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary, to get a smooth, even dough-butter sandwich (use your arm-strength!).
With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the dough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.
Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 24″ and then folding it in thirds. This is the second turn.

Chilling the Dough:
If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now. If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of turns you’ve completed by indenting the dough with your fingertips. It is best to refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.
The total number of turns needed is six. If you prefer, you can give the dough just four turns now, chill it overnight, and do the last two turns the next day. Puff pastry is extremely flexible in this regard. However, no matter how you arrange your schedule, you should plan to chill the dough for at least an hour before cutting or shaping it.
dough
Helpful notes

-Keep things cool by using the refrigerator as your friend! If you see any butter starting to leak through the dough during the turning process, rub a little flour on the exposed dough and chill straight away. Although you should certainly chill the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns, if you feel the dough getting to soft or hard to work with at any point, pop in the fridge for a rest.
-Not to sound contradictory, but if you chill your paton longer than the recommended time between turns, the butter can firm up too much. If this seems to be the case, I advise letting it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to give it a chance to soften before proceeding to roll. You don’t want the hard butter to separate into chuncks or break through the dough…you want it to roll evenly, in a continuous layer.
-Roll the puff pastry gently but firmly, and don’t roll your pin over the edges, which will prevent them from rising properly. Don’t roll your puff thinner than about about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick, or you will not get the rise you are looking for.flaky
-Try to keep “neat” edges and corners during the rolling and turning process, so the layers are properly aligned. Give the edges of the paton a scooch with your rolling pin or a bench scraper to keep straight edges and 90-degree corners.
-Brush off excess flour before turning dough and after rolling.
-Make clean cuts. Don’t drag your knife through the puff or twist your cutters too much, which can inhibit rise.
-When egg washing puff pastry, try not to let extra egg wash drip down the cut edges, which can also inhibit rise.
-Extra puff pastry dough freezes beautifully. It’s best to roll it into a sheet about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick (similar to store-bought puff) and freeze firm on a lined baking sheet. Then you can easily wrap the sheet in plastic, then foil (and if you have a sealable plastic bag big enough, place the wrapped dough inside) and return to the freezer for up to a few months. Defrost in the refrigerator when ready to use.
-You can also freeze well-wrapped, unbaked cut and shaped puff pastry (i.e., unbaked vols-au-vent shells). Bake from frozen, without thawing first.
-Homemade puff pastry is precious stuff, so save any clean scraps. Stack or overlap them, rather than balling them up, to help keep the integrity of the layers. Then give them a singe “turn” and gently re-roll. Scrap puff can be used for applications where a super-high rise is not necessary (such as palmiers, cheese straws, napoleons, or even the bottom bases for your vols-au-vent).
bakedvols

Forming and Baking the Vols-au-Vent

Yield: 1/3 of the puff pastry recipe below will yield about 8-10 1.5” vols-au-vent or 4 4” vols-au-vent
In addition to the equipment listed above, you will need:
-well-chilled puff pastry dough (recipe below)
-egg wash (1 egg or yolk beaten with a small amount of water)
-your filling of choice

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Using a knife or metal bench scraper, divided your chilled puff pastry dough into three equal pieces. Work with one piece of the dough, and leave the rest wrapped and chilled. (If you are looking to make more vols-au-vent than the yield stated above, you can roll and cut the remaining two pieces of dough as well…if not, then leave refrigerated for the time being or prepare it for longer-term freezer storage.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the piece of dough into a rectangle about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick. Transfer it to the baking sheet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the cutting.
(This assumes you will be using round cutters, but if you do not have them, it is possible to cut square vols-au-vents using a sharp chef’s knife.) For smaller, hors d’oeuvre sized vols-au-vent, use a 1.5” round cutter to cut out 8-10 circles. For larger sized vols-au-vent, fit for a main course or dessert, use a 4” cutter to cut out about 4 circles. Make clean, sharp cuts and try not to twist your cutters back and forth or drag your knife through the dough. Half of these rounds will be for the bases, and the other half will be for the sides. (Save any scrap by stacking—not wadding up—the pieces…they can be re-rolled and used if you need extra dough. If you do need to re-roll scrap to get enough disks, be sure to use any rounds cut from it for the bases, not the ring-shaped sides.)
Using a ¾-inch cutter for small vols-au-vent, or a 2- to 2.5-inch round cutter for large, cut centers from half of the rounds to make rings. These rings will become the sides of the vols-au-vent, while the solid disks will be the bottoms. You can either save the center cut-outs to bake off as little “caps” for you vols-au-vent, or put them in the scrap pile.
Dock the solid bottom rounds with a fork (prick them lightly, making sure not to go all the way through the pastry) and lightly brush them with egg wash. Place the rings directly on top of the bottom rounds and very lightly press them to adhere. Brush the top rings lightly with egg wash, trying not to drip any down the sides (which may inhibit rise). If you are using the little “caps,” dock and egg wash them as well.
Refrigerate the assembled vols-au-vent on the lined baking sheet while you pre-heat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). (You could also cover and refrigerate them for a few hours at this point.)
Once the oven is heated, remove the sheet from the refrigerator and place a silicon baking mat (preferred because of its weight) or another sheet of parchment over top of the shells. This will help them rise evenly. Bake the shells until they have risen and begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (180ºC), and remove the silicon mat or parchment sheet from the top of the vols-au-vent. If the centers have risen up inside the vols-au-vent, you can gently press them down. Continue baking (with no sheet on top) until the layers are golden, about 15-20 minutes more. (If you are baking the center “caps” they will likely be finished well ahead of the shells, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when browned.)
Remove to a rack to cool. Cool to room temperature . Put in filling.
vol au vents
Filling
I used a chocolate cream filling and used melted white chocolate to drizzle lines on it.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Source: About Baking
Prep Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

* 2-1/4 cups milk
* 4 egg yolks
* 2/3 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
* 1/4 cup flour
* 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
* 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
* 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted

Preparation:

Boil 2 cups of milk. Beat yolks with sugar and remaining milk. Whisk until smooth. Add cornstarch and flour until combined. Gradually whisk hot milk into egg mixture. Return to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce to low and stir for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and melted chocolates. Pour into a shallow disk. Cover with plastic wrap. (Make sure wrap touches surface to prevent a skim from forming.) Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Makes approximately 3 cups.
vol au vent chocolate cream filling

Come look at my Cookie Platter

It is a hard matter, my fellow citizens, to argue with the belly, since it has no ears.
Plutarch (AD 46-120) Greek biographer and philosopher
cookieplatter

I love to bake(ok I know I’ve said that like a thousand times already!) but its so true I need to keep saying it. Baking cookies is one of the non-negotiable things I have to do. But they are such a pleasure to make especially since they are devoured by my family and friends alike.
A few days back I decided to bake a lot of ‘em so they would last me awhile. And I made a LOT. Surprise surprise!! I have no idea who finished them all (was it me?) but it’s already time to bake some more.
Anyway here’s what I made. These banana choco-chip ones are just DIVINE!! .These were one of the first cookies I tried my hand at and they have remained a favorite since. They have whole wheat flour too ,so well, they are not THAT unhealthy as well…
The pin roll ones are not too bad either! It is a refrigerator cookie- so just chill and bake and they are always ready when you want them.
Just halve the measurement and you could try them both…I’m sure you will enjoy these.Banana chocochip cookie

Banana Chocolate Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
about 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together both the flours, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.
Put butter and sugars into the bowl mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined. put in the banana. Next add the flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate chips.That’s it!
spoon dough onto baking sheets keeping about 2 inches gap. Bake cookies until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 2 days.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies

Chocolate Pinwheels

1 ¼ cup butter
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 egg
3 cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt

Mix butter, sugar and egg. Stir in flour and the salt. Divide the dough in half. Stir ¼ cup cocoa in 1 half. Chill one hour.
On lightly floured base roll plain-covered dough into rectangle. 16/9 inches. Roll chocolate dough same size; place on top. Roll doughs 3/16 inch thick. Roll up tightly. Wrap rolled dough in waxed paper, plastic wrap or aluminum foil, chill 8 hours.
chill n wrap
Heat oven to 400 C. Cut rolls into 1/8-inch slices (if dough crumbles while cutting, let warm a bit). Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake about 8 minutes. Immediately remove from baking sheet; cool. Alternately use cookie cutter and cut in attractive shapes. These are great for kids and adults alike

Chocolate Cake Pudding

The holidays are almost upon us and I’m REALLY looking forward to it. I’ve had such a hectic week- – guests back to back, kids falling ill, painting deadlines…whew..four seasons in a week, I say!!

Anyway the holiday time is also time for calorie-free, guilt-free, nonsensical noshing! And today I have a chocolate pudding cake that’s so tantalizing, it’s hard to believe that it’s so easy to prepare. Quick and easy… The pudding cake is one of those miracles of science wherein liquid and solid batters essentially swap places in the oven, creating a cakey top and a pudding-y bottom when you spoon out the cake. We served ours with vanilla ice cream and this super combination sort of elevates this ho-hum dessert into something much more special

1 cup flour
2/3 cup cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
¾ cup milk
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla
¾ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cup boiling sugar
A handful of chopped chocolate pieces.

Preheat your oven to 350 C.

In a large bowl sift flour, 1/3 cup of the cocoa, baking powder and the salt.

In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs, sugar, milk, butter and vanilla.

Add this to the flour mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Pour this batter into a shallow baking dish….

In another bowl whisk the remaining cocoa, brown sugar and the BOILING water.Pour this liquid evenly over the batter. Do not mix . This is IMPORTANT. DO NOT MIX. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over this and bake for 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve with cream or ice cream

chocolate pudding cake

Apple Cheesecake

Apple CheeseCake
Many months back, when I lived life as a non-blogger one of the blogs I used to visit frequently was saffron trail. It had and still has some awesome recipes and the first one I tried out back then, was a cheesecake.

Now, my love affair with the cheese cake goes back a long way. We first met at a hotel called Pandal in Cochin. It was just a few blocks from my house and its where I’ve had quite a few meetings with friends (some clandestine, some not).and their cheesecake was a constant feature in our menu. Needless to say we were very upset when they closed shop to give way to what Cochin already has in plenty-another jewelry shop.

But thankfully, all was not lost. The fanta-fabulous Cake Shop (the bakery section of the hotel) soon came up in Panampilly Nagar , just next door to a dear friend’s home. Since we were both ardent fans of the Pandal Cheesecake, every time we visited each other that’s what we gifted each other( and we met almost everyday).

After my marriage too, I managed to get my husband to promise me that he would NEVER pass by Panampilly Nagar without buying me a cheesecake. What happened next is anybody’s guess-He found a new road bypassing that area…MEN!! Sigh!

Nevertheless cheesecake is one dessert I never say no to and I have a waistline to prove it!
apples
And when I saw the Apple Cheesecake post on saffron trail I just had to try it…the fact that it was almost sugarless sealed the fate of the apples lying at home.

Ingredients
200 grams Digestive Marie
1 tbsp melted butter or ghee
3 apples – peeled, and sliced
Cottage cheese/paneer from 1 ltr milk
4 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon powder

Directions

Preheat oven at 200 C.
applecheesecake
Crush the biscuits coarsely in food processor along with the melted butter and the honey. Line this on the bottom and sides of a pie dish, pressing firmly. I like a thick biscuit layer so i piled it on. But thats not the norm:)

Place this in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Take off oven and keep aside.
Puree the

Next, puree the sliced apples and when it’s almost done, add the paneer, cinnamon and honey to get a smooth puree of apple and paneer.

Spoon over the now cooled biscuit base and bake for 45 min at 180 C or until it seems nearly firm.

Serve with ice cream.
apple cheesecake

12 Photos/Kuvaa

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.

Idli Overdrive

My dad and I are suckers for spicy food..and I mean HOT!!!We eat raw green chillies with our lunch and dinner. My husband on the other hand grew up as a proper Defense kid. Bland English food, using a fork to eat dosas(eeoww!!)- you get the picture.

A few days after we were married we visited an uncle whose love for spicy food is legendary in my village. We still laugh at how my husband actually had pails of water coming out of his eyes and nose after eating the SUPER spicy Mutton curry. My uncle, still not realizing why the husband was acting weird continued to top up his plate. What a riot it was!!!

This ulli chamandi , as its called down in South India is a simple and delicious but deadly-spicy accompaniment. Please adjust the red chillies as per your tastes. Don’t blame me later!!
ulli chamandi

Small onions (a Kerala specialty), I reckon you can use the large ones as well 10
Red chillies- 4
Salt
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Curry leaves few
Small Onions

Grind the small onions, red chillies and salt together into a fine paste. In a saucepan add some oil. Once the oil is hot throw in the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds crackle add the curry leaves and the ground chilli mixture. Fry for about 3 minutes. This is to remove the raw oniony taste. Serve with idli/Dosa. This recipe goes to the Think Spice Event Originally started by Sunitha of Sunitha’s World.The reigns of this months event are with Kitchen Chronicle

The other Idli dish I have lined up for you is one that I tried from Madhurams Eggless Cooking site. It has some awesome eggless goodies. You must check it out.
I started out trying the Cocktail Idlis which I thought were so exotic to look at. But somehow mine didn’t turn out too good. What a bummer!! Cocktail IdlisWhat happened was that I added mint leaves to the coriander to make the green chutney and they turned out an ugly shade of green. Then I realized I didn’t have red chillies for the red chutney and decided to use red chilli powder and a pinch of food colour.
Now, one thing about me is that I HATE using these artificial, synthetic things and as soon as I put the Idlis to cook I felt miserable. I kept imagining what horrible things might have been added to these colours. SO I took the idlis out in-between and they whole thing was all the wrong texture…Sigh!

Lesson learnt:-Follow instructions…they are there to be followed. Atleast they are tried and tested. I will definitely try them again and follow the recipe next time.

Next I decided to try the Roasted Stuffed Idlis. These were a hit with my kids. Even my 2 year old gobbled them up. And they are so easy to prepare. I did have some leftover vegetable curry so that’s what I used.
Stuffed and Roasted idlis
Ingredients
Idli batter as needed
Potato curry also as needed
Oil 1 tablespoon
Idli powder as per taste
Salt as per taste
Procedure

Pour idly batter for half measure in the idly plates.
Put a tablespoon of the potato curry on it and cover it with some more batter.
Steam the Idlis for 10 minutes or until done.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the idlis in it and drizzle some idli powder or curry over it.That’s it-a quick snack ready to be eaten.

Tried and Tested , this is a wonderful event being hosted this spetember by Poornima’s Tasty Treats.Zlamushka, the original brain behind this event spotlights a blog each month. This months star is Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking.
t_t_september_egless_cooking

Moroccan Chocolate Yogurt Cake

Night-Out
The venue was Fisherman’s Wharf, a lovely restaurant by the river Sal. The Food was good, the ambience great and the company outstanding. We were meeting some old friends who were holidaying in Goa and we had such a fabulous time.
Options for vegetarians are a bit limited in Goan restaurants but thankfully for my friends, this place had an almost fair share. All-in-all a great evening.

Earlier in the afternoon when my kids took a nap I made a Moroccan chocolate cake. It was all that it claimed to be…and oh-so-soft.

Moroccan cuisine is very new to me and I must thank DK of Chefinyou who started A Worldly Epicurean Delight (A.W.E.D) event and this months host Cooks hideout for giving me a chance to read up so much about this wonderful place. There were so many things I wanted to try out (Brochetter-a lamb kebab, pastilla,baklava-a very popular dessert, the moroccan tea
…..) and a few I didn’t want to try(brain fry, liver sauce, calves heel, snail…) but I had the ingredients for this cake so that’s what I baked…
Moroccan Cake

First make the Chocolate Sauce

In a saucepan, mix together:
3/4 cup of cocoa powder (in Morocco this is “Caobel” powder)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup cooking oil
1 1/3 cups water

Bring these ingredients to a boil. Cool 2/3 cup of the mixture in the refrigerator.

Now the Cake
Sift 2 2/3 cups of flour along with 3 tsp of baking powder.

In a mixing bowl, beat four eggs, together with ¾ cup granulated sugar, and 2/3 cup of cooking oil. Add ½ cup of yogurt. Add the flour to this mixture.

When the remaining chocolate sauce has cooled to room temperature, add it into the batter, and mix well.

Bake in a greased and floured bundt (circular tube) pan, in a medium oven (350 °F, or gas mark 5) until a knife, or toothpick comes out clean. When done, immediately remove from pan, while still very hot, and pour the refrigerated chocolate sauce all over the top of the cake, while the cake is still very hot. Immediately take a table knife and poke the cake in various places so that the sauce goes through. There you have it. Chocolate drenched cake….

Comfort me with Apples

If its not swine flu, its chickguniya.(is that how its spelt?) .Apparently this mosquito-inflicted nightmare is speading all over North Kerala . So looks like our visit to Kerala might not happen after all. We were planning to go end-September. But God and the mosquitoes have plotted against us…..

Meanwhile I have been crazy-busy with the coffee-evening in our Goa Navy Institute. It’s this evening of coffee and blah blah organized by and for us navy wives. Its not the kitty-partyish thing..rather its like those sports or art fests that we used to have in college. There’s games, entertainment, FOOD and loads of chatter.

Goa is a small base so most of us know each other and this once-a-month thing we organize helps us catch-up in the midst of our busy daily lives. I’ve grown to really enjoy these’coffee evenings’. My dept is organizing this month’s event so been real busy getting together some stuff…
Apple fritters
I made this Apple Fritters a while back but just got around to posting them today. These taste really good. Make sure you keep some extra apples at hand you’ll probably have to cook an additional batch.

Apple Fritters
Adapted from Bakes and Cakes
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 1/3 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
3 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored and ¼ inch slices
Icing sugar
Oil for frying
Apple Fritters

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Whisk in the egg and the milk.
Heat the oil in a frying pan.
Mix the sugar and the cinnamon powder in a plate. Coat the apple slices in this mixture.
Now dip the apple slices into the flour batter and fry in the hot oil until golden brown on both sides.
Sprinkle the warm fritters with icing sugar. Serve hot.

Banana Cupcakes

banana cupcake
It’s not the first time this has happened. I have observed many-a-time that either we run out of bananas, or we have too many and they all decide to ripen together.

This time too I found myself staring at the numerous bananas, wondering what to do with all of them.

A banana muffin seemed like a good idea. So here goes.

4 Large bananas, mashed
1 cup sugar
1 slightly beaten egg
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour

Mix the mashed banana, sugar, egg and margarine together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, sift together the baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour.

Now mix the wet and dry ingredients all together, being careful not to over-stir!

Pour into greased muffin tins, and bake in 350 degrees oven for approximately 20 minutes.
Frost with Chocolate frosting.

Chocolate frosting
1 x 200g pkt good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
125ml (1/2 cup) thickened cream

To make the chocolate frosting, place the chocolate and cream
in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water
(make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water).
Use a metal spoon to stir occasionally until the chocolate melts
and mixture is smooth. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool slightly.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until almost firm. Use an electric beater to beat the chocolate mixture until pale and fluffy.
Twirl on to the cup cakes.

Banana and Chocolate-YUM

Banana and Chocolate-YUM

Down Came the Rain

leaves from my balcony
It’s the perfect climate to snuggle up in bed. But alas, my kids think otherwise and insist of creating mayhem at home. It’s impossible to sleep amidst all that noise. Trust me, if it were anyway possible I would be snoring away. The other day I needed to get the number of a local store and had called the Goa helpline. Hearing all the crazy chaos in the background the lady actually asked me if I were calling from a school!!! I swear this really happened; the two of them make that much noise. And today was even worse as they were all excited about some party we had to attend. It was held in an aircraft hangar with helicopters and aircrafts parked all around. Look at our golf course all soaked in the rain ….
It's Flooded!

Water Water Everywhere..

And a commercial aircraft trying to make a quick exit before the next round of rains.
Quick Getaway

Had some leftover shredded chicken …so made some creamy olive chicken sandwich.

1 onion shredded
1 tomato chopped
½ cup cabbage shredded
¼ cup mayonnaise or cheese spread/cream cheese
10 black pitted olives
1 tomato cut into thin rounds
Chicken, boiled and shredded
1 tsp olive oil
As many slices of bread as required. I used brown bread
Butter
chicken sandwich

In a saucepan heat the oil and fry the onions. Once it looks done (read opaque), add the tomatoes and the shredded chicken. Fry until chicken is slightly browned. Put this mixture into a bowl and add the shredded cabbage and the mayo/cheese spread. Throw in the olives. Apply on buttered bread and put the tomato slices and lettuce leaves (I didn’t have any). Grill. Eat.

Not the best thing to have on a rainy day. But then we are suckers for anything fattening! Found the recipe from BBCGood food. It’s quite good…I used caramel topping..divine…

Vanilla Ice Cream

* 284ml carton double cream
* 300ml full fat milk
* 115g caster sugar
* 1 vanilla pod
* 3 large egg yolks
* have lots of ice cubes at the ready

1. Put the canister from the machine into the freezer a day before you want to make the ice cream. Next day, pour the cream and milk into a medium heavy-based pan, then add half the sugar. Cut the vanilla pods into three and add it in.
2. Heat the cream and milk over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until it almost boils .Take off the heat and set aside for 30 minutes so the vanilla can infuse.
3. Beat the egg yolks and the remaining sugar for about 2 minutes until the mixture has thickened, is paler in colour and falls in thick ribbons when you lift the beaters. Using a measuring jug, scoop out about 125ml/4fl oz of the cream mixture and beat into the egg yolks to slacken them. Reheat the cream until it just comes to the boil, take off the heat and stir in the egg yolk mixture.
4. Return the pan to a low heat and cook, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon, for 8-10 minutes, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Watch that it doesn’t boil – as soon as you see any bubbles about to burst to the surface, it should be thick enough, so take the pan off the heat so the mixture doesn’t curdle.
5. Pour the custard into a heatproof bowl, then sit it in a bigger bowl one third full of iced water to cool (this takes about 30 minutes). Stir occasionally to stop a skin forming. Put the bowl of custard in the fridge overnight so it gets really cold.
6. Get the ice cream machine running, scoop out the vanilla pod pieces, then slowly pour in the cold custard. Leave it to churn for 10-30 minutes (depending on your machine). When it stops, it is probably too soft to eat, so spoon into a plastic container, cover with cling film, then a lid, and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours. (It will keep in the freezer for 3 months but don’t take it out, then refreeze.) Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.
7. To make it by hand: in step 1, heat the milk, vanilla, and half the sugar without the cream (the custard will be slightly thicker). At the start of step 6, whip the cream so it’s light and floppy, not too stiff, and fold it into the cold custard. Freeze for 3-4 hours, stirring once an hour until almost frozen, then freeze as above.
topping
Top with caramel or chocolate.

Paneer Burji

“How do you manage to remain so waif-like?” I once asked a friend. I mean, she was stunning, and slim and a mother of one. “You Mallus eat way too much rice”, she said… “I hardly ever eat rice”. I opened my mouth to disagree, but couldn’t say anything, and no, not because my mouth was stuffed with food, but because I had nothing to say. I just had to agree with her.

Come to think of it, most of our meals are rice based; Idlis, Dosas, Appam, Puttu..the list is ENORMOUS. And the quantity of rice we consume for lunch can almost feed a small nation.

At my parents place the only non-rice meal we have is at dinner. “What shall I make with the chapattis?” is a common refrain as my mom always runs short of side-dish ideas for chapattis. Its almost always dal or paneer,so a Paneer Burji is what I’m posting today esp for the Side Dish Event , hosted by Viki’s Kitchen…and I’m excitedly waiting for the round-up so I can expand my repertoire of side-dishes.

side dish-paneer burji
This is similar to scrambled eggs and tastes just as good.
Paneer – 1 cup crumbled
Onions – ½ cup chopped finely
Tomatoes – ½ cup chopped
Ginger – 1” piece chopped
Green chili – 1, chopped
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – one pinch
Chili powder – ½ tsp
Oil and salt

Preparation:

• .
• Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan; add the cumin seeds, chopped onions and the ginger garlic paste fry till brown.
• Add the chillies and tomatoes and fry till they are soft and pulpy.
• Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and little water so that all the masalas are well combined.
• Add crumbled paneer and fry for 5 minutes till the paneer blends into the masala.
• Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.

Lentil Shepherds Pie

Lentil Shepherd's Pie
I make this wholesome dish very often at home. Firstly, because it’s sort of an all-in-all, a main dish in itself. Secondly it’s also very nutritious. Thirdly it’s a very flexible recipe. I add whatever veggies I have in hand. One can also substitute chicken or mutton in place of the lentils, add other vegetables, paneer….anything to suit your palate. Its a wholesome comfort food….

Ingredients

To be pressure cooked
1 cup brown lentils (sabot masoor)
1 tbsp oil
1 inch piece ginger
3 cups water
Salt to taste

Filling
1 cup sliced onions
2 carrots chopped
1 cup mushrooms
½ cup peas (boiled peas)
200 grams tomatoes pureed coarsely
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano
3-4 celery sticks sliced
3 tbsp olive oil

Topping
5 potatoes boiled, peeled and mashed finely
40 grams butter
4 tbsp hot milk
2 tbsp fresh cream
3 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped (optional)

Method

Cook the lentils in stock or water till tender. If using pressure cooker give 1 whistle and simmer for 12 minutes.

Mash the boiled potatoes with the butter, milk and cream to get creamy mashed potatoes. Season this with pepper and salt to taste. Mix in the chopped coriander leaves.

Sauté the onions, celery, carrots and peas with a small amount of olive oil until almost tender. If you think it is taking too long to cook, add a bit of water and cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until carrots are tender.

Now add in the mushroom and cook 3 minutes or so. Add the lentils and the pureed tomatoes and the herbs. Cook for just a few minutes and season with Soya sauce, salt and pepper.

Spread this pie evenly filling the bottom of a greased oven-proof dish.

Cover the mixture with the mashed potatoes, leveling the potatoes with a knife. Ripple or score the potatoes with a fork in a decorative design.

Make designs with a fork like this...

Bake at 200 C for 30-40 minutes until top is golden brown.

I’m reposting this recipe for the My Love affair with Legumes-Fifteenth Helping Event. Its being hosted by Sia whose blog Monsoon Spice is nothing short of brilliant!The brain behind this healthy event is Susan.

MLLA15Logo375

Chocolate Brownies

There is something rotten in the state of Goa. And guess what, it’s the weather. Its scorching hot one minute and poring buckets the next. I’ve never experienced climate this unpredictable. There is a Malayalam saying about Kochites-the people in my hometown. It basically translates to mean that the people of Kochites are as unpredictable as its weather. But, here in Goa what we are experiencing is beyond unpredictable. It’s bordering on strange.

Problems abound because of this. Everyone seems to be having flu-like symptoms (well, its not swine-flu..i think), clothes dry, and get wet again and get wet again then dy and finally just remains soaking in my terrace the entire day..ok ok that just happens in my house…but you get the point, right?

And my evening walks..oohh my walks… the only thing I that I do just for myself..they have come to an end. Oh I miss my walks.

But as the saying goes, make hay while the sun shines, or as in my case, when the rains pour. So a friend and I decided to spend the evening gazing at the rain and enjoy some yummy chocolate brownies…and guess what, we decided to make them with whole wheat flour. Boy oh boy! They were absolutely melt-in-your mouth brownies. I got the recipe from here, the King Arthur site, but I reduced the sugar a bit. Also it’s suggested that the brownies be stored for a day before consumption as it makes them so much more delicious. But trust me..that’s like asking me to go through labour pains again!! NOT HAPPENING!!
Whole Wheat Flour Chocolate Brownies
Wholewheat brownies

2 cup chocolate ,cut into pieces
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F.Grease and keep ready a 9″ x 13″ pan.
Making Brownies
Melt the butter over low heat and add the sugar.Stir until hot, then take off heat. Stir continuously until combined. Now put it back on the heat and mix well again. This is done to lend a glistening coat to the top of the brownies.

Remove from heat and add cocoa, salt, baking powder , coffee powder and the essence. Add in the eggs and beat to make smooth. Using a wooden spoon to stir, mix in the flour and the chocolate chips. Mix until smooth.Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. However do not over bake. When you insert a knife into the center, you should get raw crumbs, not raw batter. They should feel set insides and middle.

Cool and attack!!

This recipe goes to the CFK-chocolate Event hosted by the wonderful Hema.

Chocolate Shake

chocolate milk shake
I love chocolate shake. In fact its one thing I ALWAYS order when we dine out.
A year back we went to this place in Cochin and asked for my fav chocolate shake. For the first time I actually saw and realized that they just used frozen milk packets directly and not boiled and cooled milk.
That sort of ended my love affair with these slurrpy delights.

UNTIL NOW.

Making a thick frothy chocolate shake at home is so incredibly simple and utterly delicious. Just make sure that you have your supplies ready, and keep them frozen or chilled until you need them.

If you delight in all things chocolate, as I do, you will love this recipe.

1 cup milk
1 cup chocolate ice cream
3 tbsp chocolate syrup.

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and thick. For thicker shakes, use more ice cream and less milk and just the opposite if you want a thinner party drink.

My oldest son too is an avid milk,chocolate and shake lover (in that order) and i dedicate this recipe to him. I hope to keep preparing more stuff that he loves.
Since MILK does for the basis for this recipe off this goes to the FIL event!This months ingredient is MILK(as u well guessed) and hosted by sanghi.

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