Apple Cake for the Monthly Mingle

We dont eat very healthy at home…What? YOU KNEW????? Is it that obvious????
Well, I dont wanna hear the answer to that one, so Im just gonna get to the point…
The point being that although fruits are NOT a regular part of our diet, we do consume it in its most unhealthy avatar- desserts! Yes I LOVE fruit desserts- You’ve probably seen the Apple Cheesecake, the Mango Upside down , the Pineapple Cake and various others I have already raved about.

This APPLE CAKE is another deliciously fruity cake I had bookmarked eons ago…
source:smitten kitchen

6 apples cored and chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a pan and keep aside. Toss the apples with the cinnamon and the 5 tbsp sugar and set aside.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Mix to blend all the ingredients.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.

This one goes to Monthly Mingle whose theme this month is Fruit in Baking this month. Monthly Mingle is the brainchild of the wonderful Meeta from What’s For Lunch, Honey and hosted this month by my fav blogger Deeba of Passionate About Baking!

Doughnuts!

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurio
I was so busy all month with other tasks I had decided I wouldn’t be a part of this months challenge. But yesterday I did have some time to myself , thanks mainly to my parents who are visiting. Obviously the fact that my kids and I absolutely love doughnuts did help convince me to make em!!! And am so glad I did!

I halved the Alton Brown Yeast recipe so finally got just about 8 doughnuts and it was a mad scramble to polish them off. As Aparna had suggested on the forum, I reduced the egg and the yeast and contrary to my fears and pervious experiences the dough was extremely manageable. Boy! They were delicious. I made a chocolate –praline topping and it was fantastic…thanks Lori for a great challenge!

Yeast Doughnuts:
Preparation time:Hands on prep time – 25 minutesRising time – 1.5 hours totalCooking time – 12 minutes
Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Ingredients
Milk 3/4 cup
Butter 35 grams
Active Dry Yeast 1 teaspoon
Warm Water 40ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs,small 1
White Granulated Sugar 1/8th cup,25 grams
Nutmeg, grated 1/2 tsp.
Purpose Flour 2 1/3 cup + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

Directions:
Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired

Topping

Over a low heat, melt 1½oz caster sugar in a saucepan with 1½oz almonds.
Once melted and browning nicely, keep moving it around with a metal spoon until but they get a bit darker for a good flavour
Once cold, crush into a course powder.
Mix it in with melted chocolate ….hmmmmm It will make you MOAN!

A Slice of Lemon Heaven

A few weeks back my best friend and I were having one of our never ending chats on the phone( she and I go waay back to early school .Im the talker and she’s the listener). She happened to mention that schooldays were the happiest time of her life so far and asked me when was I most happiest. My answer surprised her. And me.

Now.

Yes, that’s what I said . Im the happiest I’ve ever been right now. Truly enjoying myself and my life. And it’s surprising really. I’m the fattest I’ve ever been, mostly unemployed and on the wrong side of 30!

Who would’ve thought!

But the thing is my life is simpler and Im guessing thats why Im happier.

Another friend of mine..who claims to know me ‘better than I know myself’ says its just a phase. Split-personality is the term he uses to describe me. My wild side is dormant now, ready to break free and let hell loose but until then peace and happiness remains….

Hmmmm..We’ll see about that!

Actually the point of all that blah was to tell you that I have a list of things I wanna do…. ‘goals’ , if I may . And one of the items on that list was to take my art a wee bit more seriously. Working to that end, surely you’ve heard of my Mumbai exhibition, …which I so shamelessly publicized…

Mumbai was fun…Stayed with an awesome family friend ,met a whole lot of my relatives (most of whom I haven’t seen in …well..ever!) also met a few friends ..and re-lived many wonderful memories..

Met 2 wonderful and inspiring fellow-bloggers..Harini and Simran for a cuppa coffee.

And yes..sold many many paintings…..

In celebration here is a wonderful Lemon Cake…its delicious ..esp if , like me, your heart sings at the sight of all things lemony….

Lemon Yogurt CakeFor the cake:

Adapted from Oragette

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1/2 cup canola oil

For the glaze:

Juice from 2 lemons

1/2 jar powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, yogurt, and eggs, stirring until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and zest, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir to incorporate. Stil until it combines to a smooth batter.Pour into a greased and lined 9-inch round cake pan

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.Cool completely and then spoon the lemon glaze( just combine the lemon juice and the powdered sugar).

Lemon on Foodista

Chequered Cake and some meaty Gaga

I don’t hate Lady Gaga , on the contrary I think she is one of the most theatrical performers of our age and while I have blogged about her outlandish dress sense in the past , her latest ‘meat bikini’ is taking it a bit too far , don’t you think.Ewwwwwwwww….

To get over the meaty taste that pic has left you with here is a very interesting cake that I made for my son’s 3rd birthday (it was last month).I first saw this gorgeous cake on Sunita’s blog knew I just HAD to try it. However I ended up using her recipe. Its a pretty straightforward recipe and while its a wee bit time consuming , the end result was just lip-smaking good!!!!!!Check out her website for detailed pics…

Chequered / Checkboard Cake( without a special pan)
Ingredients:

For yellow sponge :
3/4 cup All purpose flour
2 Eggs,at room temperature
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup powdered Sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder

chocolate sponge:1/2 cup Refined flour/Maida

1/4 cup Cocoa powder
2 Eggs,at room temperature
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup + 2tsp powdered Sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder

Filling
2 cups thick cream
1/2 cup powdered Sugar

Sugar Syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Method:

Yellow Sponge:
Line a 9″ round tin with a baking paper and grease it with oil and as well the sides of tin.
Sift flour and baking powder together.
Separate egg whites from the yolks.
Beat egg whites in clean dry bowl till fluffy.
Add Sugar gradually,beating till thick,fluffy and retains shape.
Beat in the yolks and essence till thick and fluffy again.
Add oil gradually,beating till thick again.
Fold in flour gently with a wooden or metal spoon,by sprinking evenly in 2-3 batches.
Pour mixture into tin and level the top.Tap the tin gently to get rid of any large air bubbles.
Bake in preheated oven at 180 deg for 20 mins.
Insert knife or skewer in the center of cake,if it comes out clean ,remove tin from oven.After 5 mins,remove cake from tin onto a wire rack and let it cool.Cool the pan completely before proceeding to make the chocolate sponge.

Chocolate Sponge:Follow the same procedure as the yellow sponge cake just that add cocoa powder and sieve all the ingredients in the second step.

Sugar Syrup
Boil water along with sugar until it forms a nice syrupy liquid.Keep aside.,

Cream Filling
Beat the cream on medium speed till thick.
Only after it turns thick,then add powdered sugar and continue beating on high speed till you get the soft peaks.Chill it for some time.

Assembling the cake:

Level the cake gently using a knife(to cut) to form a uniform surface.
Based on the size of your cake take 2-3 cutters which form similar symmetric hollow circles gives 1″ width for each circle.You can use anything from the lid of steel containers to large cookie cutters to obtain similar results.

Gently press the cake with the cutters to get different symmetric circles and place them aside .
Place a chocolate sponge on the serving platter.Apply plain cream to the inner circles of the cake and apply cream again.Do the same with the remaining 1-2 circles to form first layer of the cake.Follow the same procedure to make the second layer and keep it aside.
Pour the sugar syrup mixture all over the cake to make it enough moist.
Apply a thin layer of cream and place the second layer of the cake.
Pour the sugar syrup mixture all over the cake to make it enough moist.
Apply the plain cream all over the cake and make sure that it is uniformly applied all over and on the sides.
Unleash your creativity and decorate(unlike me).
Chill it in the refrigerator and slice it gently and serve chilled.

Bad Cake Gone Good

I was recently trying out a new chocolate cake recipe that I had been meaning to try for a while now. Alas! To say the cake fell apart would be a gross understatement; it’s a pity I couldn’t take a picture of the disastrous cake….but rather than throwing the whole thing away eating my mistake here’s what I did…..

Take about 5 cups chocolate cake crumbs (though I’m sure they will taste swell with any other cake as well)
1/2 cup cream
100gms dark/bittersweet chocolate (chopped into large chunks)
1 tbsp instant coffee(opt)
3 tbsp brandy
¼ cup chopped almonds(opt)

You can add or reduce ingredients as you wish…..

Put all ingredients in a mixer and mix until they come together to form a ball. If you think the mixture is too dry, add more cream or even milk or brandy to moisten it and form smooth even sized balls.

Now chill them and the cover with melted dark chocolate(hmmm heavenly) or just dust cocoa powder and you are done. Absolutely delectable truffles that look gourmet, like you’ve slogged for hours when in reality its just add few ingredients to leftovers.

So go on mess up that cake and turn it into these….you can thank me later!

Swiss Roll Ice Cream- DB July


The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

Cake and Ice cream..Now that’s a combination that has the angels carousing in divine happiness..and who are we mere mortals to resist its exquisite pleasure.

To say we were thrilled at the prospect of making this dessert would be an understatement….and the end result did not disappoint. NOT ONE BIT. On the contrary it was a perfect dessert at a party we had a few weeks back that had my guests oohing and aahing like never before.

Taking a picture was another story altogether. Somehow the cake came apart by the time I took pictures so the pics I must admit belie its incredible deliciousness.

I made this dessert over the course of 4 days though it can be done in just a day. The ice creams took longer than I expected…..actually deciding what flavor of ice cream to make took even longer. But finally I chose to make a chocolate chip Ice cream and a caramel ice cream. Both turned out great….but sadly don’t have pictures. Maybe next time. Yes there will be a next time for sure. This one’s a keeper. Thanks Sunita.

Swiss roll ice cream cake

The Swiss rolls-

Ingredients-

6 medium sized eggs
1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp / 45gms/ 3 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /2.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans
For the filling-
2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar

Method-
1. Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.
3. it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.
4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
5. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.
6. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

9. Repeat the same for the next cake as well.
10. Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.
11. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
12. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
13. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).
14. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (not chocolate chips), chopped
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens an coast the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Put the vanilla bean into the custard, add the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, and then freeze. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate until there are still small chunks, the residual heat will melt those. Gently add to the vanilla ice cream and mix well and freeze again.

Caramel Ice Cream (Glace Caramel) Recipe
Adapted from here

Serves 4

Ingredients

70 g sugar
80 ml cream
3 egg yolks
360 ml milk
1 vanilla pod

Method
1. To make the caramel, put 45 g of the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and heat until it dissolves and starts to caramelize – tip the saucepan from side to side as the sugar cooks to keep the colouring even. Remove from the heat and carefully add the cream (it will splutter). Stir over low heat until the caramel remelts.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring just to the boil, then strain over the caramel.
4. Bring back to the boil and pour over the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously.
5. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, until it is thick enough to coat the back a wooden spoon.
6. Do not let it boil or the custard will split.
7. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and leave over ice to cool quickly.
8. Churn in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s instruction.
9. Alternatively, pour into a plastic freezer box,cover and freeze.
10. Stir every 30 minutes with a whisk during freezing to break up the ice crystals and give a better texture.
11. Freeze overnight with a layer of clingfilm over the surface and the lid on the container. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

The Hot fudge sauce

Preparation time-2 minutes
Cooking time-2 minutes

ngredients-
1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract

Method-
1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.
Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

Assembly-

1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).
2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).
3. Soften the chocolate chip ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)
4. Add the fudge sauce over the chocolate chip ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)
5. Soften the caramel ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set.
6. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.
7. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Super Healthy Eggless Choco-Nut Banana Bread

Banana Bread, that innocuous looking cake-masquerading-as-bread breakfast choice has eluded me for a while now. But when I saw this, it took me less than five minutes to assemble the required ingredients and a very short while later I had a wonderful banana bread that my family and I absolutely loved. And here’s the bonus- Its low fat and very healthy( flax seeds, almonds..and what have you…).

Go ahead, make some now…….

Eggless Choco-Nut Banana Bread


Ingredients:
(yields one loaf in a 9 X 12 pan)

1. 2 cups whole wheat flour + 1 cup all purpose flour plus more for dusting
2. a pinch of salt
3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
4. 1/3 cup flaxseed powder
5. 1/3 cup + 1 cup milk
6. 1/4 cup oil
7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8. 1 cup sugar
9. 1 cup mashed banana, about 3-4 bananas depending on the size
10. 1/2 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
11. 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
12. 1 cups chopped almonds

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Lightly grease a 9 X 12 loaf pan.

First sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.

Take 1/3 cup of the milk and add the flaxseed powder to it.Keep it aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in another bowl combine the oil, sugar, vanilla essence ,mashed banana, and the remaining milk.

Add the flaxseed powder-milk mix to this and stir to combine.

Add the flour mix to this wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just blended. Dont panic if its a sticky dough. Thats the way its supposed to be.Thrwo in the chocolate chips and the chopped(or powdered in my case) almonds. Fold it it.

Spoon the dough into the loaf pan and bake for about an hour to hour and a half or till the toothpick comes out clean .

Cool completely for about 15 minutes before turning the bread over. Slice only when completely cool or it will fall apart.

Do You Know The Muffin Man

The last month or so have been unlike a previous few.

They have been rather eventful in my otherwise boring life.

No, I’m not pregnant.

I have been doing a lot of things that I love.A whole month of traveling( will tell you about that in another looong post) and Reading( I’m sure the many book reviews Ive been posting are testimony to that) .And have also been doing some writing for an online news magazine that keeps me busy all day.

Also got the news that we may be posted out of Goa to my hometown Kochi, soon.I’m still trying to decide if I’m disappointed or happy. I’m certainly not doing an impromptu tap dance . I love Goa. I have so many happy memories. Its where M and I made our first home. I love my life here.Kochi is not too bad. I have my parents living there which means I will have a lot more time to myself. But after living in the quiet happiness of a place like Goa, even the thought of the crazy roads and noise of Kochi(I’m making it sound like a bustling metropolis- which its NOT) gives me a headache.

Anyway I do have a few more months in Goa…so I’m not going to do too much thinking. What I will do is share this lovely gem of a recipe that I found on Aparna’s blog. .

Strawberry Muffin

Ingredients:
( 8 muffins)

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar*

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup strawberries, chopped into medium sized chunks

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup oil

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt lightly. Add the strawberries to the flour mixture and mix until the strawberries are coated with the flour.

In another bowl, lightly beat the egg, vanilla extract, milk and oil together. Add this to the strawberry-flour mixture and very gently mix together, in a folding motion, about 4 or 5 times.

Do not over stir. It is OK if the batter is lumpy slightly floury. Grease your muffin tins/ cups and divide the batter equally between them, so that each one is about 2/3rds full.

Bake at 190C for about 25 minutes till the muffins are done and lightly golden brown on top. Cool for 10 minutes, unmould them and cool completely on a rack.

Baking Powder on Foodista

DB April 2010- Not so Traditonal , Traditional English Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet

yeah..that was the problem, right there.The last word.

Suet. In case you’re wondering, suet is the hard but flaky fat found on the inside of a cow or sheep around the kidneys and that area of the body.

Ewwww I KNOW…not my kinda thing either..

But thankfully Esther allowed for substitution and so I did what I love to do best….no not whining..but using butter.Arent the best things in life made of butter????

Steamed desserts are not new to us in India. Especially for us South Indians. We make a variety of steamed goodies – kozhukutta(rice ball dumplings), vatayappam being just two of many many.

But a steamed pudding was something I’d never tried.


Don’t let the ugly pictures fool you..I mean I know
I know it’s not easy on the eyes–heck, it would be a great contestant in a ugly photo contest but it was real good…and so we couldn’t have cared less.

Sticky toffee and date pudding with candied ginger
Shamelessly copied from here

For the toffee sauce

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (120g) demerara sugar (or another dark brown sugar)
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt

For the pudding

6 ounces (180g) pitted dates, snipped or chopped
1 cup (250ml) water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup (40g) candied ginger, chopped
1 1/4 cups (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Butter an 8 1/2-inch (about 24cm) porcelain soufflé mold, or similar-sized baking dish.

2. To make the toffee sauce by bringing the cream, demerara sugar, honey and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often to melt the sugar.

3. Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and coats the spoon. Pour half the sauce into the prepared soufflé mold and place the mold in the freezer, and reserve the other half for serving.

4. To make the pudding, in a medium saucepan, heat the dates and water. Once the water begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Add the ginger, if using, then set aside, but keep it slightly warm.

5. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

6. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then the vanilla.

7. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the date mixture, then add the remaining flour mixture . The mixture will be a bit liquidy. Add some hot water if required.

8.Pour mixture on to the sauce, cover and steam for 1.5 hours.
The sauce and sponge mixture mix together during cooking.

9. Let cool slightly before serving.

Yummmmmm…..Ooooey Gooooey Chocolate!

I have a maniacal love for chocolate. I baked these DELICIOUS baked fudge a while back but I MUST share them with you because they are ABSOLUTELY DIVINE( isn’t that my diet flying outta the window!)…and unbelievable easy to make..even ur kid can make ‘em for you!These will definitely be made again in my home!!!!

They are from Ree’s beautiful website and you can find the original recipe here.

Warning: Before you make these you might need to wake up earlier than usual and run an extra hour to offset the catastrophic caloric intake you are about to experience….

Baked Chocolate Fudge
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 50 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 4

Ingredients

* 2 whole Eggs
* 1 cup Sugar
* 2 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
* 2 Tablespoons Flour
* ½ cups Butter, Melted
* 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 to 325 degrees.

Beat eggs until light in color. Beat in sugar until just combined. Add cocoa, flour, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Mix gently until well combined.

Pour batter into four large ramekins or one 8-inch square baking dish. Set ramekins or pan into a larger pan halfway full of water.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until upper crust is crispy and the rest of the batter is firm but not set. Toothpick should come out…not clean, but mixture should not be overly runny. If you pull it out of the oven and have second thoughts, stick it back in for ten more minutes.

Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

This one goes off to the Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman

Two Creations

A friend of mine had asked for a Tanjore painting as soon as she moved in to Goa 2 years back.

I finally finished the painting yesterday..a few days before she leaves for her next posting in Mumbai!

and now I’m tired!

As someone said “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”

But nothing perks me up like baking so here’s something I made from the Deeba’s wonderful blog…

Gâteau à l’Orange

4 oranges
Zest of 1 orange
100 g of softened butter
100 g sugar
150 g flour
3 eggs, separated
11/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp rum
1 Tbsp orange essence (or Cointreau)
1 pinch of salt
Butter (to grease the pan)

Method:
Heat the oven to 170C.
Grease a 6″ cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment
In a bowl, beat the sugar and softened butter together.
Add the yolks one by one to the butter and sugar mixture, taking care to mix each one thoroughly before adding the next one and beat until you obtain a smooth batter.
Add the rum and the orange essence/Cointreau and mix again.
Mix the flour and baking powder together and add it to the batter by “raining it in”. Mix well.
Cut and juice the oranges. Pour half of the resulting juice in the batter, add the zest and mix.
Beat the whites until firm with the pinch of salt. Add them delicately to the batter.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for an hour, checking the coloration from time to time. It will be dark orange when done.

Pour the other half of the juice into the cake while it’s still warm. Take care not to pour it too fast and not to let the cake cool too much before you do so.

Serves 8.

This Cake goes to the ongoing event Bake-off in Champas blog.

Heaven on a Dessert Plate


Although I had decided to give this months DB challenge a go , I did a complete turnaround when I read that 2 of my favourite bloggers were this months hosts…..
Nothing could stop me.
Not the never ending guests we had this month, not the diet I was on, not the painting deadline that was inching so close.
Nothing!!

And I’m so happy I did try this lovely dessert that lives up to its name. It was delicious. Really!
I usually distribute everything I made to near and dear and not so dears..but this one we polished off on our own! I mean actually licked the plates clean!!!!It was excellent!!

I made the dessert over a period of 1 week…made the Savoiardi(Ladyfinger Biscuits) first, then the mascarpone cheese(I can NEVER thank you enough Deeba) and then yummy sauces.
hmmmmm….HEAVEN!!!!!!

TIRAMISU

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

(Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
For the zabaglione:

2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese(see below)
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (see below)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:
For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row.
You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.

Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

HOME MADE MASCARPONE CHEESE

Ingredients:
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

LADYFINGERS/ SAVOIARDI BISCUITS
(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.

Ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

The Disgusting and The Delicious

Use your kitchen sponge to clean your toilet.

Wait! Did u read that right? Yes you did because with the way many of us live we could do this and be none the dirtier. So read on for a few tips to get you going to a healthier, cleaner life…

Let’s start with the Kitchen Sponge; that innocent looking green scrub that no kitchen can do without.
(image courtesy offthemark.com)
Did you know that it carries more than 134000 bacteria per square inch …Horrible isn’t it.
Sponges are a popular party venue for bacteria and the moist environment is a total bacteria magnet. Often people use the sponge to wipe up raw meat or fish from the sink counter and then use the same sponge to clean their baby’s bowl. Nice huh!!
So what can we do, you ask?

For one you could disinfect them, or better still stock up on a few and REPLACE them every week or so. Also leave them to dry in-between every few uses as most bacteria can only survive a few hours on dry surfaces.

Your Cutting Board is also a hot bed for germs. Don’t believe me? Read on.
It is said that there could be more that 200 times fecal bacteria on your seemingly innocuous cutting board than your toilet seat..YUK YUK YUK!
So what can you do? Divide and Rule, I say! Use separate cutting boards for vegetables and non vegetarian food items. That solves a lot of issues.
Clean your board using hot water and detergent and the wash using a chlorine bleach-water mixture. Do this often (and I don’t mean once a month!)

Another potential bacteria breeding ground is the Kitchen Sink. Full or empty, the sink is housekeepers sink of woe, as germs tend to LOVE to live here. Keep baking soda and an old tooth brush near the sink at all times and clean using hot water as and when possible including the tap and tap handle as well.
Now that’s wasn’t too difficult was it? A few extra minutes is all it takes and you have a cleaner home and life!

After that bit of kitchen gyaan let me share with you a delightful cake that I made using the recipe that I found on the Purple Foodies blog..


Chocolate Walnut Marbled Cake

2 ½ cups flour
½ cup coarsely ground walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
9oz. / 250g. butter
3oz./ 85g. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/4th cup hot milk
1 3/4th cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/160C. Butter and dust a loaf pan.Use a loaf pan..I didn’t have one at the moment so used a regular cake dish…thats why they dont look so good…The marbled effect comes out beautifully in a loaf tin.
2. Whisk together the flour, ground walnuts, baking powder and salt.
3. In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt 2 tbsp butter with cocoa and chocolate. Heat until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
4. Mix together the butter and sugar for about 3-4 minutes .
5. Beat the eggs in one at a time, until the mixture looks smooth. Add the vanilla extract.
6. Now either on a reduced speed, or by folding in by hand, add the flour and hot milk alternately.
7. Now take a little less than half the flour and mix it with the chocolate mixture that you set aside earlier. Stir till it is thoroughly blended – don’t overmix.
8. Pour in the white mixture into the pan then the chocolate mixture and then the white mixture again into the bundt pan without stirring and then run a knife through it once or twice for very visibly distinct two layers. For a pronounced marbled look, stir the knife through the batter a few more times.
9. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until the knife comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes or so before unmoulding.
Hope you enjoy it…

The Easiest Dessert Ever- From Portugal


I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not sure

I’m a typical Libran. Most qualities that apply to the Libra Zodiac usually match mine. And one that certainly stands out is my indecisiveness;my friends and family will vouch for it I’m sure!

I suck BIG TIME at making decisions. Seriously. Ask me to choose between A and B and maybe we’re OK, but ask me to choose between A,B and an infinite number of other choices and boy! are we in a Buridan’s ass situation

First i want this, and then i want that …and then i want this again….i can do it all day long.

Sourse: CartoonArt

To chose one dessert off Portuguese Cuisine put me in such a quandary. I had so many I wanted to make…there was the Portugal Leite Creme – Egg and Milk Custard, then i decided to make the Bolo Rei – a traditional Portuguese cake/bread. Finally it came down to deciding between Bolas de Berlim which are plump little ovals of fried dough–white flour tanned by the ovens heat and filled with custard(YUM!!) and the Bolo De Bolacha- Chocolate Cake Roll.

What I finally did make was the Queijadas Economicas or simply Milk Tartlets . I finally chose these because they seemed ridiculously easy to make. It was so easy that i JUST HAD to try it out.

The end result was really nice. It didn’t have great texture or anything but tasted delicious…comfort dessert, if i may….

The addition of cinnamon gave it beautiful flavour and I was extremely pleased with my decision.So were my kids:)

The recipe I found here.Its a lovely blog with lots of great recipes.

And Hey! Have you ever noticed that Libra is the only inanimate sign of the zodiac, all the others representing either humans or animals? Doesn’t that make us most unique and desirable ????What say you?

Ingredients

300 gr/ 2 cups sugar
50 gr/ about 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
0.5L/ 2 cups milk
150 gr/ 1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs

Preparation
Mix all the ingredients well well then pour into greased muffin pans.

Bake at 375 º for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with a mix of cinnamon and icing sugar.Serve warm(I did!)

This quick and easy dessert goes to the A.W.E.D event started by DK of Chef In You and hosted this month by the lovely Priya.

An Award Deserves Chocolate

Yay!! My first award!!!….Thank  you shaz for thinking me worthy of this.
The rule book says I need to pass this one to 8 other worthy blogs..it was a Herculean task to just name 8 but anyway, here goes… in random order..

Joanne of eatswellwithothers
PJ of GingerandGarlic
Happy Cook of kitchen treasures
Ann of splitpeasonality
Shwetha of cookie cutter
Sumi of sumis kitchen
Rebecca of Chowandchatter
Divya of divyascookbook

These are awesome blogs and i am so glad that I discovered them. i am sure that if u visit their blogs, u will encounter wonderful posts.

Also today I leave you with this oh-so-delicious Banana Chocolate Pudding Cake.. I tried it out from the 101 desserts book that I recently purchased and it was DELICIOUS!!

Chocolate Chip and Banana Pudding Cake
Serves 4

200 g/1 ¾ cups self-raising flour ( I substituted with AP flour ..see conversion here.)
6 tablespoons butter
2 bananas – ripe
75 g/ 1/3 cup caster sugar
60 ml/ 1/4 cup milk
1 egg – beaten
4 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips
Glossy Chocolate Sauce and whipped cream, to serve.

Prepare a steamer or partially fill (about halfway) a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Grease a 4 cup pudding mold or four 1-cup molds. Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Mash the bananas. Stir it into the creamed mixture with the caster sugar.
Whisk the milk with the egg in a bowl, then beat into the pudding mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon mixture into mold(s) and cover closely with a double thickness of foil. Steam for 2 hours, replacing water if needed.

Run a knife around the top of the pudding to loosen it, then invert onto serving dish. Serve hot with warm chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Glossy Chocolate Sauce
This is a delicious accompaniment or topping to any dessert. And better still- it freezes well. Pour into a freezer proof container and store upto 3 months. Thaw before use.

Serves 6

½ cup caster sugar
175g chocolate pieces
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brandy/ orange juice
Place the sugar and 4 tbsp of water in a saucepan and heat gently. Sir occasionally until sugar has dissolved.
Stir in the chocolate bit by bit until nice and melted. Similarly add the butter. Do not let boil. stir in the brandy or orange juice. Serve warm.

This dessert also goes to the following events

Cakes and Cookies @ Saras Blog…shes celebrating her 1st Blog Anniversary!

Food for 7 stages of Life – In love with DDPI @ saurashtrakitchen, an event also organized by this lovely blog.

Sanghi’s FIL_Fruits event.

and to Show me your Lunchbox event by Divya of Dil se

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.

Whole Wheat Flour- Double Treat

Mens sana in corpore sano. (Your prayer must be for a sound mind in a sound body.) ~Juvenal

Pumpkin Cupcakes

In my never-ending but seemingly unattainable quest to make (somewhat) healthy eats I have tried adding whole wheat flour to the most unlikeliest of foods.
Therefore when I found these recipes in an old issue of Good Housekeeping I was beaming like an insurance salesman about to sell annuities on the Titanic. It is as healthy as healthy can be;still passes off as a er..treat. My youngest son ate quite a few-he loved them, but then he will eat ANYTHING sweet…ANYTHING. My verdict is that it is quite a healthy breakfast/snack time eat. It has none of the delicious but vicious stuff( read butter, flour) but still manages to taste reasonably good.
At least it doesn’t leave any evidence on your hips.

Healthy Pumpkin Cupcakes

2 cups flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree( its beta-carotene rich..)
3 tbsp oil
He's gonna grab another Pumpkin Cupcake
Preheat oven to 400 C. Lightly oil muffin tray.
In a large bowl mix the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
In another large bowl whisk egg, buttermilk, brown sugar, pumpkin puree and oil.
Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Spoon into muffin tray.
Bake cupcakes for 10 minutes or until nicely puffed and browned.

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins
whole wheat Banana Muffin
Yields 1 dozen muffins
I found this recipe here.
Ingredients
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
2 cup mashed bananas
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine salt, flour, baking powder and baking soda.
In another bowl, mix honey, eggs, oil, and banana well.
Add banana blend to the flour mixture and mix until Just combined.
Pour into a greased muffin pan or paper muffin cups.
Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until done.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and serve warm.

Give me a TINKLE anytime…

supandi
“I have been asked to keep an eye on the boiling milk…….any suggestions on what I can do with my other eye till then??!” – a Suppandi original.

Did you know that Suppandi, of the Tinkle Comics fame will make his debut on the silver screen next November 2010?It seems that the producers of the 28 year old comic series, ACK Media, are producing a stereoscopic 3D animation film with Suppandi as the protagonist.

For those not-in-the-know, the Tinkle and ACK comic magazines were one of the standard reads for loads of Indian kids growing up in the 80’s and 90’s and Suppandi of Tinkle fame was a rectangular-headed village simpleton who often got into troubles because he insisted on thinking for himself. His clumsiness and uncanny ability to get into trouble and his journey from one mishap to another made him such an endearing fool. .

When I read this snippet of information in last week’s Economic Times it brought in a deluge of memories. Did you know the idea behind starting Amar Chitra Katha came to its founder Mr. Pai when he watched a quiz contest on Doordarshan in February 1967, wherein participants easily tackled questions pertaining to Greek mythology, but were unable to reply to the question “In the Ramayana, who was Rama’s mother?”

I too read a whole lot of Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle magazines all though my early school life and even now I sigh with fondness every time I can lay my hands on one. These magazines helped me and many others develop an interest in Indian Mythology and its vibrant history.

I have spent countless hours lost in the vivid stories of poets, dreamers,magical lands, valiant kings and queens, courageous freedom fighters, the clever animals, sly animals… the repertoire was endless and best of all was the eternal victory in all stories of good over evil…if only life were as black and white now….

Anyway I’m going to leave you with a pudding that is as simple as it is delicious …but don’t go by the picture. Its one of those ugly duckling puddings; the taste of the pudding is in the eating……
Chocolate magic mud pudding
Magic Chocolate Mud Pudding
Serves 4

50 g butter
200 g brown sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup self-raising flour( I used its sub i.e.for 1 cup self-raising flour substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp baking soda.
1 tsp ground cinnamon
75 ml cocoa powder

Vanilla ice cream to serve.
Magic Chocolate Mud Pudding
Preheat your oven to 180 C and grease and keep ready an ovenproof dish( preferably use a soufflé dish as it will support the sponge as it rises)

Put in the butter, ¾ cup of the sugar and 2/3 cup of the milk in a saucepan and heat gently until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Remember to stir frequently.

Now, sift the flour, cinnamon and 1 tbsp of the cocoa powder into the pan and stir into the mixture.
Pour this batter into the prepared dish and level the surface.

Sift the remaining sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl, mix well and sprinkle over the pudding batter. Pour in the remaining milk over the top and bake for 40 minutes or until the sponge is firm to tough.

Serve hot with ice cream.

When I Took the Plunge and some Eggless Chocolate Cake

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”
— George Carlin
Driving me crazy

While technically I do know how to drive, I’ve never really ventured to take the car outside of our colony without my M. I’ve always maintained that the world is a happier and safer place without me driving. So I happily drop/pick up my son from his million classes , meet friends who live nearby, pick up an occasional DVD from the store here…But drive OUTSIDE the gate..That i would NEVER NEVER NEVER do.

Or so I thought.

When a friend had some important work asked me to go along I happily agreed. I assumed i just had to accompany her. Its only once she came home that I realized I was supposed to drive her to Vasco- outside the forbidden gates. Well I was forced to take the plunge. .

Driving a manual car requires a long attention span, even more patience and sturdy feet. Its unnerving having to do so many things at once- change the gear, look into so many mirrors(and not to check my make-up), prevent son from jumping out….it was crazy.and the roads. Although Goa has by far the bestest-est-est roads and traffic in the entire country but that day it seemed the Gods were scheming against me- there were cows, small children, people holding protest marches, and to add to it all, my son was creating a racket; screaming, throwing stuff- it was a nightmare. My hands immediately broke out in cold sweat for fear of running over an innocent, roaming seven-year-old. But thankfully I left everyone in Vasco and everyone in my car, safe and sound.….and I’m happier for it. I’ve been to Vasco many times since and although I’m nowhere the close to being what anyone would call a good driver- it’s a start.

In the same vein of trying out something new I decided to try out this eggless cake. Never been into anything eggless, and definitely not cakes. But this one turned out great. Was happy with the results so try it out all you egg-filled cake eaters….“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.”

Eggless Chocolate Cake
Eggless Super Quick Chocolate Cake

1 ½ cups flour
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar
6 tbsp oil
1 cup milk
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence

ICING

I’ve never had icing so quick ….
2 tbsp melted butter
6 tbsp cocoa
1 cup sifted icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp hot hot hot water

Sieve the flour with the cocoa and baking soda.
Put the flour in a bowl. Add in the sugar, oil, milk, vinegar and the essence. Mix well. That’s it, you are ready to go.
Just grease a baking tin (8”) and dust it well.
Pour the prepared batter and bake for 40 minutes or until done.

For the Icing- Mix the melted butter, the vanilla and the cocoa. Sift the icing sugar and add it in. Mix and add the hot water little by little till you get the desired spreading consistency. Spread on cake and allow to set (which I didn’t do..as you can see from the pictures.

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.

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