Friday, January 20, 2012

Healthy, Low Fat Cake with Hung Yougurt Icing and Fresh Fruits

Its a shame how little I have been blogging since Siyona came into my life. This post will be another quick one. Straight to the point!

So, make a sponge cake. Here's how:

1 cup self raising flour,

1/3 rd cup soft butter (I find using leftover malai helps make the cake really soft so use that if you have some)

2 tb sp vegetable oil

1 tea spoon baking soda

1/2 tea sp soda bicarb

2 eggs (always measure 2 eggs per cup of flour)

1 tea sp vanilla extract or essence

1/3rd cup castor sugar

Cream the butter and sugar in a food processor. If dont have one use a hand-blender, or even the blender jar that comes with the 'mixie' :-). Add both eggs whole to this and blend.

Tip: I find if you separate the egg white and beat it till its light and frothy and fold this gently into the batter it make a very light cake. Always use a clean, dry vessel to beat egg whites otherwise they wont get beaten stiff. once you've beateb egg whites use quickly or they start loosing air after a few minutes.

So now that both eggs (or egg yolks), butter and sugar are creamed together. Sieve flour, baking soda and bicarb. Add to the egg mixture and blend till smooth. Add the vegetable oil while continuing to blend. Adding vegetable oil makes the cake spongier. Got this tip at a baking session conducted in a 5-Star. Dont over do the blending.

If you chose to beat yr egg white now is when u gently fold it in the batter.

Preheat the oven at 250 degrees. Pour the batter from a few inches above the greased and dusted baking dish. Adding it from a distance traps more air in the batter (for a lighter batter). Bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or till a knife inserted in the centre some out clean.

Cool the cake completely before applying the icing.

Icing: 1 tub of nestle dahi hung in a muslin clothe for 5-6 hours.

1/3 rd packet of the 200ml Amul frsh cream

4 tb sp of honey

1 tea sp of vanilla extract

zest of an orange(optional)

4 tbsp of icing sugar or use artificial sweetner

Beat the cream and sugar till light. Always use chilled cream. With our climate thats the best thing to do.

Beat the yogurt with the rest of the ingredients. Fold in the cream. Icing is ready.

Slice your cake into 2 or 3 slices (horizontally). Soak the slices in orange juice (dissolve 1 tsp of sugar in the juice first). Apply the icing. Spread some chopped fruits over each slice and layer them up. Cover the sides with icing and more fruits.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mushroom and Vegetable Pie

Making a pie crust is NOT difficult. Have heart and try sometime.
Knead together 2 cups of flour with 50 grms of salted butter (butter should be soft but not melted). Add a little water as required. Knead for 10 minutes. Rest the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Take it out. Make two balls out of the dough. one slightly larger that the other

Roll the larger ball into a round, 1/2 inch thick and large enough to cover the base of your pie dish. I made this one at my mom's place and she din't have a pie dish. So i used the upturned cover of a microwave dish. Grease and dust the dish.
fill up the pie base with raw rice/rajma/any dal and bake for 10 minutes in a 180 dregree oven.

To prepare filling:
Heat a tbsp of butter on low flame. Add a clove of garlic, a bayleaf, two cloves (laung). Add 1 tbsp of flour and whisk well till no lumps are there. Cook for 2 minutes. Add a cup of milk and whisk again till no lumps are there. keep stirring till you get a sauce like consistency. Add salt and pepper.
Seperately, fry 1 cup of mushrooms sliced in quarters, thinly sliced carrots and beans in butter for 5 minutes or till the water evaporates. Add salt and pepper. Add 1/3 cup of sweet corn. Switch off the gas.
Add the mushroom mixture into the sauce. Take the bayleaf, cloves out of the sauce.

Once the pie crust is baked and ready, take the rice/rajma/ dal out of it. It is perfectly good to be used again.

Pour the filling in the pie base. Roll out the other ball of dough into a 1/2 inch thickness. Cover the top of the pie. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees, till top in browned.
Cut in kische slices and serve.

Mushroom and Potato Rosti

Parboil 2 medium sized potatoes...which means boil till half done. Grate it

Chop a small onion finely

Chop 200 gms of mushrooms finely.

Chop parsley finely. You can replace it with coriander.

Grate 1/2 cup of processed cheese.

Mix 2 tbsp of melted butter with 1/2 cup milk and 1/3 cup flour till smooth. Add all chopped/grated ingredients, salt and pepper. Mix well. The mixture will be thickish, not too runny. slightly thicker than pouring consistency.

In a non-stick pan add ladle full of this mixture. Cook for about 8 minutes on low flame. When the side becomes crispy, turn over carefully. Cook again for 5 minutes.

Serve hot cut in pizza slices.

Gnocchi with Mushrooms

Shall go straight to the recipe. my 8 month old will wake up anytime.

Buy a packet of gnocchi. The process of making it is long and you may not get desired results each time.

Dunk the gnocchi into boiling water. When they rise up on the surface you know they are done.

Prepare the sauce : melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add a clove of crushed garlic. Add 2tbsp of flour (maida) and whisk like hell for 2 minutes on low flame. Switch the gas off. Add 1 cup of milk gradually. Keep stirring. There shouldn't be any lumps. Add 1 cup of cream. Switch the gas on. On low flame, keep stirring till the sauce thickens. Add freshly grated nutmeg, just a pinch.

Take a tsp on butter and add mushrooms. Fry for about 6-7 minutes or till mushrooms are done.

Add gnocchi to the mushrooms to let it soak up the mushroom flavour. Toss the mixture in the sauce. Grate a lot of parmesan on top and serve.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Doughnuts! Cinnamon glazed, Dark chocolate, White chocolate

Its hard to come by good, fresh doughnuts in India unless you are breakfasting in a 5-star hotel or rushing to the nearest CCD joint. There are so many bakeries that shape bread into dougnut look alikes, glaze the top with sugar and call in a doughnut! Then there are others like Doughnut Bakers. I had high hopes when i packed one each of some 8 varieties of doughnuts only to find them tasting mainly of really bad, overused oil.

Anyway, I am not a doughnut junkie but I do like one, once in a while. And its exciting to think of the possibilities you can cover your doughnut with! I adore the cute round shapes too . I have made doughnuts in the past with average results. But this time they turned out really well. The dough rose beautifully. The doughnuts fluffed up dutifully. I was so happy just looking at them! :-)

I think what I did right this time was keeping the dough slightly sticky. Not as much as a bread dough. Maybe sticky ain't the right word. More like a loose, really soft dough.

You will need 2 cups of flour
2/5th cup sugar (granulated)
2-3 tbsp warm water
1.5 tbsp butter
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup hot milk
a pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp of active yeast
1/2 tsp of baking soda
Mix the milk, water, sugar, butter and salt well.
Mix the nutmeg powder, flour, baking soda.
In some warm water (not more than 50 degrees hot) add the yeast and leave for 15 mins, till it all bubbly and frothing.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour a part of the milk mixture and the whole yeast. Gently fold in a rounded motion. Keep kneading, adding the milk mixture gradually, as required till the flour feels slightly sticky. Keep working the flour for a few more minutes till its reaches a soft consistency.
Leave the dough to rest and prove for an hour. I covered the dough with cloth and put it in a slightly warmed oven. At this point, I always send a prayer to heaven. You never know of the dough will rise as much as it should. The dough should rise to twice its size.

This is a picture of my beautifully proven dough! Was so proud! :-)

Roll out the dough atleast 1/2 inch thick. I used a big bowl to cut the outer egde and a small bottle cap for the inner edge.

Heat vegetable oil. Carefully place the doughnuts in it. I fried the small roundels that were left behind after removing the big circles to get small hole-less dougnuts. And using my little finger poked holes in some of them to get miniature doughnuts!

Fry till they are fluffed up and golden brown.!

Cinnamon Glaze: Dissolve 3/4rth cup sugar in 2 tbsp milk, along with 2 tsp of cinnamon. Dip warm doughnuts in the glaze. Set aside to cool.

Dark Chocolate covered Doughnuts: Melt Chocolate, dip doughnut in chocolate, let cool (if you have the patience), eat doughnut dipped in chocolate. Yummm... As you can probably spot in the picture below, I couldn't even wait for the entire chocolate to melt. There are some chocolate pices still left. How can that be a bad thing right? Yummm

White choco Glaze: Melt White chocolate, Dip doughnut. dark chocolate beats white chocolate any day. It was worth a try. Not bad. White choco lovers like my mom, would like this.

You can store them for a week or two (or more??) in airtight containers in a refrigerator. Warm in oven before eating.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Emmental Cheese

Also known as Swiss cheese, this cheese takes its name from Emmental valley, where it originated in 1923. It is considered Switzerland's oldest and most prestigious cheese. And we know its Jerry Mouse's favorite cheese. How many times has he ducked in and hidden in one of its numerous holes when Tom chases him...

This cheese melts easily and is great for sauces or just to be had with some fruits and wine. Chop some dried apricots, fresh or dries figs, fresh berries and serve with small slices of the cheese.

Simply grate over mini pizzas and grill till the cheese melts.

Melt emmental, gruyere, parmesan in white wine with garlic for delicious cheese fondue. Serve with pieces of bread and fruits. And appetizer's done.

I added emmental and parmesan along with a little garlic, pepper, salt and butter to hot mashed potatoes. The heat of the recently boiled potatoes melted the cheese. It was delicious.

Another divine recipe goes as follows:
Toast 2 slices of bread. Apply some mustard sauce on one slice.
Lay slices of good bacon on one slice. Vegetarians may use thinly sliced button mushrooms (don't add mustard for veggie version)
Grate emmental cheese on top.
Place the 2nd slice over the cheese.
Drizzle Be`chamel sauce on top.

To make be`chamel sauce melt 2 tbsp butter in a pan. Add 2 tbsp flour and whisk for 2 min. Take off heat. Heat 1 cup of milk along with a bay leaf, 3-4 cloves, half an onion, pinch of nutmeg, pepper and salt.
Remove onion, cloves and bayleaf and add the milk mixture to the flour-butter mixture. Whisk and heat till sauce thickens. Add emmental cheese and mix.

Pour over the sandwich and bake for 5 mins. Heavenly.

Extra Rich Caramel Custard

Heat a cup and a half of full cream milk till warm. Add half a cup of condensed milk to it. Taste if more sweetening is needed. Add more condensed milk if needed to sweeten more. Beat 3 eggs with a tsp of vanilla. Don't overbeat. Take warm milk and rapidly mix the egg mixture with the milk mixture. I find adding a tbsp of store brought custard powder to this add to the taste.

Heat 3/4 cup of sugar and a few drops of water till sugar dissolves. Swirl around the pan to ensure even heating. Once the sugar caramelises to a golden color take off heat and pour in the baking dish you will be making custard in. Swirl to cover the entire surface of the pan. Once the caramel sets pour the custard mixture in the baking dish.

Bake in a Bain Marie- Fill a larger dish with water till the level reaches half way up the baking dish. Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees or till done.

Variations you can have by adding one of these to the custard mixture:
lemon zest
Ginger powder
All Spice and dark rum
orange zest

Fresh Sweet Cherry Crumble

Bright red, plump, juicy and sweet cherries are such a beautiful sight! Just wash them and serve as afters for a dinner party and you have an elegent finish. Leave stalks on of course- Looks are almost as important as taste soemtimes!

Pitting and halving cherries can be a little time taking task. run a knife around the seed, Hold one side of the cherry and twist gently. That half should come off quite easily. Simply pull the seed out of the other half in which it is embedded. Add 2 tbsps castor sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon powder and a drop of vanilla to a cup of cherries and leave covered for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the crumble topping. A rather simple task.

For a cup and a half of cherries, simply mix together 3/4 cup of flour, half cup castor sugar, a drop of vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon powder and 50 gms unsalted butter. Use firm cubes of butter. Rub between fingers till the mixture resembles bread crumbs or moist sand.

Spread the marinated cherries on the bottom of a greased baking dish. Sprinkle the crumble topping to cover the cherries. A few cherries peeking out are totally OK. Gently press down the crumble topping. Don't try too hard.

Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees. Enjoy warm with some whipped cream or icecream on the side.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Cut round thin slices of ripe pineapple/ or use tinned ones. Heat 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 2 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup pinapple juice, 1 tsp of cinnamon powder and a drop of vanilla essence. Replace pineapple juice with orange juice or use same amount of plain water for different flavours.
Heat this mixture till sugar dissolves and mixture becomes slightly thick. When I am using fresh pineapple I simmer the slices in this mixture for 5 minutes before using.
Pour out on a greased dusted pan. Arrange pineapple slices on top. Leave aside while you prepare the cake batter.
To prepare batter beat 1/2 cup butter with 3/4 cup castor sugar till sugar kind of dissolves and mixture looks light and fluffy. Beat 2 eggs till light. Fold into the butter-sugar mixture. Add a drop of vanilla essence.
Sieve 1 cup of flour with 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda.
Gently fold into the butter-sugar-egg mixture. Do not over mix.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes. Check if done. If not then bake for another 10 minutes or till done. Keep checking every 5 minutes after that though.

Decorate with cherries and serve with vanilla icecream.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spiced Strawberry- Banana Jam

I am not a jam person. But I just had to try and make this once. I tried adding spices like cinnamon and dried red chilly flakes to cut the sugariness of the jam. Worked well. I didn't even bother spreading it on a toast. Simply took a spoonful (or two... or three...) and licked it off watching tv. I shouldn't have added the banana at all though. It has a really strong flavour and even a little goes a long way. Banana lovers may make this jam using just banana.

400 grams of small strawberries, washed, patted dry, chopped
100 grams of banana chopped
350 grams of castor sugar
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Cinnamon 2 tsp, 3 Cloves, Red chilly flakes 3 tsp
Place the strawberries, lemon juice, zest and sugar in a large saucepan. Heat over low heat and simmer gently until the sugar dissolves.
Boil the jam jar for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Turn the heat up to medium-high and boil the mixture rapidly for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spices (powder the cloves)
Place a tsp of jam in the fridge and after 20 minutes wrinkle the surface using your fingers .If the jam doesn't wrinkle the first time but sticks to your finger like a thick liquid rather than jam, keep boiling it for another 5 to 10 minutes and then test again. If jam is ready then remove the saucepan from heat and let it sit for 10 minutes or until the edges of the jam sets slightly. Pour jam into a warm jam jar till the brim (warming will ensure moisture is not present) and then let it cool completely before sealing.
Keep refrigerated.
I do not know how long this will keep. A month maybe. We'll find out. It's been about 20 days and the jam is stil fine. Maybe it'll last longer.
Experiment with spices you like. Add dry ginger powder if you like.

Strawberry Shortcakes

In a sudden flash of inspiration brought two packets of fresh strawberries. Baked a chocolate strawberry cake (threw strawberries in the chocolate cake batter, was quite good actually), made some strawberry jam (recipe shall follow shortly) and was still left with some. So I tried a hand at making shotcakes.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 stick butter, chilled
2/3 to 3/4 cup half and half, milk, or cream
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and cubes pof chilled butter. Mix using your fingertips. Mix on until the mixture resembles coarse meal, but with few pea-size chunks of butter left in the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and make a well in the center. With a fork stir in the cream or milk, just until dough is moist. Be very careful not to overwork. The dough doesn't have to hold together well at this point. Let the dough stand for a minute. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times, until it is holding together and is less sticky.
Gently pat the dough into a rectangle about 3/4-inch thick and cut into biscuits with a floured round cutter. Transfer to a greased baking sheet. Brush on a little milk or cream and arrange some strawberries in the center. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees, until risen and golden brown.
Let cool before sprinkling some icing sugar on top. Serve with whipped cream.
The texture of a shortcake was a cross between a cake and cookie. I felt , as I do with puff pastries as well, that too much effort goes into making them compared to the speed with which they vanish from the plate and you are left wondering whether toiling for an hour was worth it!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rich but Subtly flavoured Grilled Prawns- marinated in white wine, cashew and cream

Prawn marinade:
For 16 prawns
a pinch of ajwain+ 1 tbsp hung yogurt+ 1 tsp green chilly paste + 1 tbsp cashew powder+ salt+ 1 tbsp white wine + 1 tsp oil+ grated cheese + 1 tbsp cream. Mix the Marinade and rub all over prwans. Leave for 15 minutes. If you wish you add some chopped coriander leaves. But thats optional.

Heat a non-stick pan and grill the prawns till done. Or you can barbeque the prawns.
Serve and enjoy the delicate flavours. This is a favourite with me. More than a starter I like to have it as a main course along with some good breads and soup/salad maybe.

Pista Kulfi

Its crazy hot in Bangalore. Eating this calorie rich kulfi isnt goin to reduce the fat layer on me (that makes me sweat more) but atleast it'll make one feel better about it being summer season!

So for 6 people boil 1/2 litre of milk
Add 200 grams of crumbled Khoya to this and continue cooking till Khoya dissolves in the milk.
Add 3 tb sp of Bandam- Pista powder (Thandai mix works great or use the flavoured Milk shake mix powder)
Chop Pistachio finely and add to mixture
Add a pich of Cardamom powder
Taste once (the readymade podwer has sugar in it) and add sugar as per taste.

Take it off heat and beat the mixture with a ladle like mad. Or you could run in a food processor (in which case add the chopped pista after done beating). Well beaten Kulfis are lighter. Let cool completely.

Pour into air tight moulds. Freeze for 6-8 hours. Serve

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thai Prawns with Lemon Grass

I have been craving spicy foods. That part about these few months wasn't a myth. I usually love simple continental fare but these days its mostly Indian and Thai. Now that I am over my meat and fish aversion I can cook them again. I was thinking of what to do with the prawns I had brought and I rembered the Thai curry paste lying in the cupboard. I usually have a stalk or two of lemon grass in my freezer. They are absent from the shelves most days in the supermarket so when I do find them, I buy in bulk. They freeze really well and last for 2-3 months easily.
Thai Prawns with Lemon Grass
You will need enough prawns for two people. Never purchase prawns that are curled up. They are not fresh.
Red Thai Curry Paste, about 1/2 tbsp for 12 prawns.
1/2 tsp Fish Sauce
1 tsp Soy Sauce
Fresh garlic, ginger, coriander and lemon grass
Salt, Red chilly powder/ flakes as per taste
Lemon juice and Lemon rind
Marinade the prawns for 15 minutes in a few drops of lemon juice, soy sauce and fish sauce.
Heat 1 tsp sesame oil or vegetable oil. Add thinly sliced fresh ginger, garlic and lemon grass.
Saute for 2 minutes. Add red thai curry paste. Cook for a minute. Add the plump pink prawns, red chilly. Cook for 7-8 minutes till prawns are done. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on top. Grate rind of half a lemon on top. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves. Serve.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Penne in Gorgonzola and Mushroom Sauce

Hi, I have been away for more than 2 months! Well, I have a good excuse...but that news can wait. For now, lets get cookin.

I have been afraid of trying out recipes that involve any cheese other than the 'regular' ones. 'Exotic' has been limited to mascarpone and ricotta to make cheesecakes. But recently I had a chance to sample a divine salad with blue cheese dressing at a restaurant called 'Ambrosia'. A new light dawned and enlightenment occurred that I do like 'stinky' cheeses. if it is used right, of course.

Gorgonzola is similar to Blue Cheese and imparts a delicious creamy flavour. Try it in this simple recipe and it won't go wrong.

You will need enough pasta for two. Use pasta of your choice. I prefer penne for heavy sauces such as this.
1/2 cup mushrooms
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup grated
Gorgonzola, 1/2 cup crumbled
3/4 cup Cream
1/3 cup milk
2 tb sp butter

Pinch of nutmeg
2-3 cloves of garlic

Heat butter and add crushed garlic. Cook for just a minute. Add sliced mushrooms. Cook till mushrooms are done about 6 minutes. Add cream salt, pepper, milk and gorgonzola. Cook while stirring occasionally. Add half the parmesan. Grate a pinch of nutmeg in the sauce.
In the meanwhile, boil 1 litre of water. Add salt and 1 tb sp of olive oil or vegetable oil. When the water the boiling, add pasta. Follow directions on the packet for cooking time. I used Delmonte Gourmet Penne Rigate and it was done in 10 minutes.
Strain out the pasta from water and gently mix it with the sauce. Serve with more parmesan grated on top.

Storing Gorgonzola:
I have half the gorgonzola left and have just dicovered a beautiful shrimp recipe with gorgonzola. Hope to try it this weekend.
BTW ideally you should use up gorgonzola within 2 weeks of opening the packet. If you need to store it longer, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminium foil. Don't freeze it. It will last 2 months. Freezing will change its soft, crumbly texture but it does still taste good and last uptill 6 months...If you see black moulds on the cheese throw it away.

Peetha- Dal Stuffed Rice Bites

This makes for a great vegetarian snack/appetizer, tasty and healthy. And frankly, quite filling.

Heat water till just under boiling point. Use the hot water to make a soft dough with rice flour, salt. Use a ladle to make the dough as the water is hot.
To prepare filling soak chana dal for 2 hours. Make a paste of the dal along with ginger, garlic, green chillies, salt and fresh coriander.
The dough is very soft so u can shape it using just your fingers and palm. Flatten out balls of the dough and place some filling center. Shape them like gujias or empanadas.
Boil some water. Place the peethas in the boling water. Cover and cook. They will be cooked in 10-15 minutes.

The peethas in this boiled state taste great too and are traditionally had as a main course.
To prepare a delicious snack though, slice them into cross sections and deep fry till slightly golden and crispy. Serve with coriander chutney.

Chocolate and Walnut Cookies

100 gms of butter
1.5 cups flour
1 cup Castor sugar(fine sugar)
1/3 cup cocoa
1 egg
1.3 cup broken walnuts
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven at 250 degrees. Soften the butter. Sieve the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.
Work the butter and sugar into the flour mixture using your finger tips. Once the butter and sugar is mixed well with the flour mixture make a center and pour a beaten egg. Mix everything into a soft dough. Stop working the dough once it comes together.
Make desired shapes. the cookies and press in some walnut pieces. Bake at 150 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool before removing from baking sheet.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Strawberry and Cream Sponge Cake

Strawberries and Cream are the quintessential pair that can never go wrong. So when I decided to cover a sponge cake with the two I dint go through any nervous birth pangs- I knew it will be good.

The question for many is- will the sponge cake in question will be spongy enough? I want to share how I make sponge cakes. I have followed recipes that have gone wrong but with this method you have a good chance of ending up with a light, airy, very spongy cake.

Heat oven at 250 degrees for 10 minutes. Grease and dust an 8 inch cake tin.

Separate yolks of 3 eggs. Cream together all 3 egg yolks, 1 cup of castor sugar, 1/3 cup butter or malai (the layer of cream that settles on boiled milk as it cools down). Using malai here sounds odd but you have got to trust me when I say it results in the moistest and softest of cakes. Continue beating egg yolks, sugar and butter or malai, whatever you are using, till sugar somewhat dissolves and mixture looks creamy.

Now seive 1 cup self raising flour (maida), 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda together. As you seive this dry mixture, keep the seive few inches above the pan in which the mixture seives and falls. This will capture more air into it.

Mix the dry ingredients into the egg yolk, butter/malai and sugar mixture. Mix well but avoid overmixing.

Now beat the 3 egg whites you had. Beat swiftly in one direction till it becomes frothy and light and soft peaks start to form. You must always beat the egg white just before using them because it doesnt stand well. After just a few minutes it will loose all that froth you worked so hard for.

Fold in the egg white mixture gently into the batter. Mix into a homogenous mixture. Again, dont over mix.

Your batter is ready. Pour over the lined cake tin from a distance of a few inches or a foot. As the batter falls in sheets in the tin, it will capture more air.

Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

You can use smaller cake moulds and bake two of these instead of one big one. With two cakes, though smaller, you can have more layers.

Cool the cake completely. Slice horizontally into layers using a long sharp knife or a wet thread. Heat 3/4 cup of water with 1 tbsp of sugar till sugar dissolves. Cool and pour over the layers and let the layers soak in the syrup.

Whip 250 ml cream with 1/2 cup icing sugar till soft peaks form. Apply on bottom most layer. Place the next layer on top. Continue till you run out of layers. Cover the sides with the whipped cream icing.

Slice strawberries and arrange around the iced cake and on top in any pattern you like.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Fish En Papillote

This is an incredible way of cooking. En Papillote means cooking in an envelope. This is a self saucing recipe as all the juices run out and collect. Its creative and nutritious.

You will need:
Fillets of any skinless firm fleshed fish. Salmon, Seer Fish, King Fish, Tuna are good choices. You can also do this with prawns or lobsters.
Vegetables like zucchini, bok choy, spring onions, thinly sliced carrots, bell peppers- red, yellow.
Garlic, a clove each for fillets
Lemon Juice and lemon zest OR Orange Juice and orange zest
Parsley, salt, pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
Olive Oil

Take some parchment paper or aluminium foil. Place the fillet in the center. Grate a clove of garlic on it. Place slices of veggies on top. sprinkle salt, pepper,and parsley. Grate some lemon zest and sqeeze a tsp of juice over. Alternatively grate orange zest and sqeeze 2 tbsps of juice. Pour 4 tbsp of white wine out on each filet.
Pour out about 2 tsp of olive oil all over the fish and veggies.
Fold over the foil from each side making an envelope. Seal edges to prevent steam from escaping.

Bake at 170 degrees for about 15 minutes for an inch thick fillet. Serve the parcels placed on a plate and the guest open their own parcels. Enjoy this healthy, different, delicious dinner with some herbed rice or bread.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cognac Fruits Flambe`

Ever had those moments when your hubby comes back raving about the food that his friend's wife made and how good it was and blah blah blah? Its maddening isnt it...? And then they just dont get why we are mad at them? Sigh...

Anyway this is how you get back at them. Make them a dessert that will make them forget their favorite dessert destinations. The recipe I am about to share will make you look like a pro (with the flambe`ing and all) and will take you 15 minutes or less to prepare and serve.

Chop 1/2 cup Strawberries, 1/4 cup pineapples, 1/4 cup apples, 1/4 cup grapes(keep whole), and 1/2 cup bananas.
Heat 2tbsp butter in pan, Add the fruits and sweat for 4 minutes on high heat. Add 1 cup brown sugar and a drop of vanilla essence. Cook for another 3 minutest till sugar melts and fruits have released juices.

Now take about 1/4 cup cognac (use dark rum as alternative if cognac not available) and heat it. Do not boil just warm.
Light a matchstick or cigarette lighter. Pour the warm brandy over fruits touching the flame. the alcohol will catch fire and flambe`the fruits. Make sure to turn heat off otherwise the steam of the fruits will keep extinguishing the flame of the matchstick.

I served this on top of some roughly crumbled brownie. I am thinkin on serving this over a slice of plum cake with some icecream on the side..Yummm.. Cant wait...

Honey- Mustard and Ginger Roast Chicken

Another weekend has just gone by. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly these two precious days zoom past. After a long time I cooked on a Saturday evening on the insistence of my husband. This recipe has a preparation time of less than 15 minutes. The rest one hour your oven does the work for you. So you effectively need 15 minutes of your time on this.

Lets Go:
You'll need a whole chicken (this one was about 1.2 kilos) with skin on of course.
Wash chicken well, specially the cavity.
Rub the chicken with 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. You may replace red wine vinegar with 1/2 tbsp Soy sauce. They taste different but both work.
Keep in refrigerator for atleast 1 hour.
Take chicken out and dunk the following in the cavity: a whole pod of garlic, 4- cloves, one onion skin on.
Now grate some ginger all over the chicken. Rub enough butter to thinly cover the chicken. Tie chicken legs and wings to keep the whole chicken together. Use normal thread soaked in water.

Place chicken in an Oven at 170 degrees and rost for 30 minutes with the bottom (tummy) side up. After 30 minutes turn it over so that the chicken's back is on the exposed side. Roast for another 15 minutes at 170 degrees. Nor mix 1 tbsp of honey , 1/2 tbsp of mustard, 1/2 tbsp melted butter and mixed herbs. Rub all over chicken. Roast again for an0ther 15 minutes. The chicken is done when a knife is easily inserted in the thickest part of chicken and juices run clear.

Your Honey-Mustard and Ginger Roast Chicken is ready. Collect all the liquids that collect in the pan. Put heat on and reduce the liquids a little. Gravy is ready. Serve it along side with Roast chicken.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Momos- Perhaps among the most popular street foods in India. A long lane in a Delhi marketplace seems incomplete unless it is dotted with a Momowalla selling these astonishingly low prices I might add, probably another reason why they got this popular.
Its amazing how good something so simple to make can taste. Be it fried or steamed. And its healthy too.
Make a soft (but firm) dough using maida (white flour) and a pinch of salt. Knead dough till it springs backs when pressed. Dont over knead. Keep aside for half hour wrapped in a cling film.

Mix 1 small cup raw chicken mince with 1/4 cup chopped spring onions, 2 tsp finely chopped ginger, 4 tsp finely chopped garlic, 3 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves, 1/4 cup grated carrots, 4 tsp soy sauce, 2tsp fish sauce, and black pepper and salt to taste. I find adding about 2-3 meduim sized prawns, finely chopped to this mixture takes up the taste by several notches.
If making Sea Food Momo: Keeping the rest of the quantities same, reduce soy sauce to 4tsp and garlic to 3 tsp. Sea food reqires less salt and there is salt in soy sauce and fish sauce so be careful while adding salt.
Vegetarian momo: Use a medley of grated carrots, finely chopped cabbage, roughly chopped peas, sweet corn, spring onions, cauliflower any veggie you like basically, specially root vegetables like potatoes, even radish if you like it . Add to a cup of veggies, 3tsp soy sauce, 1tsp finely chopped ginger, 2 and 1/2tsp garlic, finely chopped coriander, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with the following sauce: Its simple to make and will stay in fridge for a week. Tastes great with momos
Heat a tsp of vegetable oil in a small pan. Fry 5 tbsp of finely chopped garlic, and 2 tsp of finely chopped green chillies. After 1 minute, add 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 tbsp sugar and let boil till vinegar reduces a little- say, 5-6 minutes. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce, tiny pinch of salt and red chilly paste. Stir. Take off Heat. Let cool completely before serving.
To make the red chilly paste simply soak dry red chillies for half hour in warm water and grind to a paste.