Fig Halwa (Dessert)

Happy New Year to you 🙂 Wishing you health and joyful moment throughout 2017…

Starting the new year on a sweet note. I made this quick dessert – Fig Halwa / Fig Fantasy, on the 1st of January.

halwafig

 

Figs : 150 grams

Warm Milk: Enough to soak the figs

Ghee (clarified butter) : 4 tablespoons

Cardamom powder – 1 teaspoon

Condensed Milk: 1/4th of 200ml tin

Slivered almonds: for garnish

 

  1. Soak the figs and keep aside for an hour. Blend this, to a paste
  2. Heat the ghee and add cardamom powder
  3. After few seconds, add the fig paste
  4. Mix and fry well
  5. Add condensed milk and stir well
  6. Fry it leaves the sides of the pan
  7. Garnish with almonds
  8. Serve

 

Have a sweet year ahead…

 

Methi Chicken Curry Recipe

Methi Chicken
Methi Chicken

 

Methi or Fenugreek has a distinct flavour, whether in dried form(kasoori methi), fresh leafy form or seed form. Packed with medicinal properties, methi is used very commonly in India. Methi dal, methi paratha, methi malai matar, methi pakoda; there are very many Indian dishes that uses methi as one of it’s ingredients. My all time favorite methi dish has to be Aloo Methi (potato cooked with fresh fenugreek leaves)

Here is another one. Methi chicken. I have made this twice and both times my, with-fussy-eating-habit-kids loved it. Here is how I made Methi or Fenugreek Chicken Curry

 

Chicken – 1/2 kilo

Tomato sauce – 3 tablespoon

Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tablespoon

Red chilli / Black pepper powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Oil – 2 tablespoons

Butter – a inch stick

Curd – 1 tablespoon

Kasoori Methi – 5 tablespoons

Onions – 3 medium sized (finely sliced)

Lemon juice / vinegar – 1 teaspoon

Ready made chicken masala powder (I used Kadai chicken powder) – 1 tablespoon

Salt to taste

 

  1. Wash and score* the chicken.
  2. Prepare the marinade by bringing together ginger-garlic paste, pepper powder, 2 tablespoons of kasoori methi, 1 tablespoon of oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt, curd, chicken masala powder and tomato sauce. Rub this mixture onto the scored chicken pieces. Nicely massage it over and leave it for 30-60 minutes.
  3. In a pan , heat rest of the oil with butter and toss in the onions, add a pinch of salt and saute well.
  4. Add marinaded chicken, cover the pan and cook on low flame.
  5. After 5 minutes and add rest of the kasoori methi. Turn the chicken pieces, cover the vessel, check seasoning and continue cooking until chicken is done.
  6. Serve with rice or any form of bread

 

*scoring a chicken: Cut few light gashes about 1 inch apart over the entire surface of the meat using a sharp knife, then turn and move the other way and repeat the process. Scoring helps tenderize the meat and also ensures the flavour goes in deep.

 

Until next time…..

 

 

 

Maize Biscuits

Maize Biscuits
Maize Biscuits

 

I tried these unassumingly simple to bake and delicious to eat maize biscuits at a friends. I immediately took down her recipe and put maize flour on my grocery list. When my significant half, walked in with double the quantity of maize flour, that was actually mentioned in the list; I knew I had to stop procrastinating and get to baking those delightful biscuits soon. Here goes the recipe…(I have some alterations to it based on my baking experience)

Maize flour – 90 grams

All purpose Flour – 90 grams

Butter – 80 grams

Salt – a pinch

Egg yolk – one

Vanilla essence – 1 teaspoon

Sugar – 70 grams (original recipe says 50 grams. Since I used salted butter, i increased the quantity of the sugar)

Water – 1 teaspoon

  1. Chop the cold butter into chunks and add to it rest of the ingredients.
  2. Mix all the ingredients well, gently breaking the butter with hands and incorporating it into the mixture.
  3. Add water, only if you feel the mixture is not coming together. I mainly used water while I made balls out the mixture to plaster the cracks if any.
  4. Place the balls on a cookie tray, lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake in a preheated over at 180 degree C for 15 minutes (original recipes says 160 degree C for 10 minutes). All depends on individual oven.

 

have fun baking these lovely maize coins! 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Pops

Left with Cake scraps? Or, as in my case, leftover tea cake from the market that noone wanted? :$
Cake gets a makeover for a post school treat 😀 …. There you go – Chocolate pops!

 

Chocolate Pops
Chocolate Pops

 

  1. Take a plain cake
  2. Powder it with your hand
  3. Pour warm melted chocolate*
  4. Mix it well
  5. Refrigerate till hard
  6. Take it out and make balls
  7. Roll it around pop stick or ice-cream stick and roll it in sprinkles…

 

*Place a bowl with chocolate over a bowl of simmering hot water till the chocolate melts or else heat fresh cream and toss in, chocolate into it, mix till its melts completely

Kids simply love this one! You can even try them to make the balls and roll it in sprinkles for you!

Till next time!

Baking Essentials

baking

I love baking. I love the smells and the mess in the kitchen, when am baking. Forget the smells, I love entering my kitchen, when it is for baking.

In this post, let me list out few of the baking essentials. This post is for those, who want to bake, are sitting under the cloud of doubts and hence haven’t taken the plunge. Baking is fun, just go for it!

In my early days of baking, I wasn’t sure if I would love it and will sustain this hobby for life. Hence, I went for a smaller oven. In the retrospect, it was a bad decision. The time and electricity required to say bake 24 muffins is double vis-à-vis when baked in one lot. God help you, if you decide to bake a rainbow cake. That said, choose your oven wisely.

 

Once that big purchase is done, get these:

  1. Measuring cups and measuring spoons
  2. Measuring jar / mug – for measuring liquids
  3. Hand mixer (a standalone mixer is a delight to have specially to prepare large batches of dough)
    Whisk – Certain recipes ask for a gentle hand mixing of the batter than an electric mixer
  4. Mittens
  5. Moulds / baking pans – for cakes and cupcakes / muffins. For cakes invest in a loose bottom mould. It’s easy to take the cakes off your mould
  6. Measuring scale – Get a digital one. Saves time and is more accurate
  7. Sieve – To incorporate the baking powder, cocoa etc into the flour, almost all the recipes ask for sieving. It also ensures that you get rid of knots in the flour which could have formed due to moisture / weather conditions
  8. Silicon spatula
  9. Cookie cutter – when you are baking with kids; its quite useful. Kids love to give shapes to the cookies and feel important doing it 🙂
  10. Baking tray – for cookies (you line the tray with baking sheet or use a silicon sheet before
  11. Pastry brush – to give that lovely shiny glaze to your cakes and pastries
    Baking sheet / parchment paper
  12. Bottle spray – to spray the cake with sugar syrup etc

 

Try your hand at some simple recipes and make yourself comfortable.

 

Simple Sponge Cake

Simple Carrot Cake

Simple Coconut Cake

Chocolate Muffin Recipe 

Chocolate Banana Cake

Healthy Muffins

Simple Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Simple Tea Cake

 

Once you are at ease with baking make round two to the market and invest in

  1. Cake cutter / leveller with height adjustable saw – Great to get that clean cut through the centre of the cake
  2. Disposable piping bags
  3. Piping nozzles (most common ones are star nozzle and the piping nozzle)
  4. Edible colors
  5. Rolling pin and shape cutters – Am not a great fan of fondant icing. But if you are then, get these
  6. Rolling Cake stand – 360 degree roll is useful while icing the cake
  7. Sprinkles and other sugar crafts to decorate your cake / cupcake

I usually use whipped cream topping or butter icing for my cakes. Here are few Icing recipes that you can try.

Check out some simple but divine tasting cakes with icing

White Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

 

Hope you found this article useful..

Happy baking!

Mango pudding

Ripe, juicy, yellow like sunshine mangoes, I love eating them i all forms; favorite form being the fruit as it is. But sometime I indulge myself with mango shakes and puddings. Here is one very easy recipe for you to try..

mango
Mango Pudding

Ripe Mango – 1 (large)

Fresh cream – 200 ml

Gelatine – 2-3 teaspoons

Sugar – to taste

  1. Soak gelatine in 1 tablespoon of cold water, then heat it up either on the stove or in a microwave for 30 seconds till it dissolves
  2. Puree the mango
  3. Whip the cream till fluffy
  4. Combine the pureed mango, cream and gelatine and mix well. Gelatine should be combined well (without lumps)
  5. Set in the refrigerator for minimum 4 hrs or keep it overnight
  6. Serve with cut ripe mango cubes

To cut the sweetness of the pudding, I drizzled some frozen cranberry coulis over the top and the combination really worked. You can use fresh strawberries, blueberries, cherries or any acidic fruit as a topping.

I think this pudding will also go well with chopped nuts like cashew, almonds, pistachio or a slice of rich chocolate cake slice!

 

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Chocolate Delices (Chocolate Mousse)

In want of spending the day productively and creatively, Tabita and I decided to try our hand at a deceptively hard dish called Chocolate Delices. Tabita is a friend and a baker who’s creations you can check out, on her Facebook page called Love Bites.

Armed with our recipe book and all ingredients we set off. And the outcome was this…

Chocolate Mousse (Chocolate Delices)
Chocolate Mousse (Chocolate Delices)

 

If you want to try your hand at this simple no bake dessert…here’s the recipe which we tweaked a little bit..

Caster Sugar – 1/4 cup (55 grams)

Whipping cream – 200 ml

Fresh cream – 225 ml

Dark chocolate – 450 grams (roughly chopped)

Gelatine – 5 grams (roughly 1 and 1/2 teaspoon)

Egg – 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk

For Ganache

Cream  155 ml

Chocolate – 100 grams

 

  1. Line your ring moulds with transparency sheet (used for projectors) cut into circle for the bottom and rectangle to line around the ring. We used loose bottomed moulds which made it easier to take the chocolate delices out of the mould
  2. Place sugar and 1 tablespoon of water in a pan over high heat. Do not stir. Once you get a dark caramel gradually add 125 ml of fresh cream and stir using a metal spoon..(I did my research to find out why only metal spoon and apparently metal spoons are less likely to carry trace amounts of fat, air bubbles, or other food particles than a rough-surfaced wooden spoon. These foreign particles can also cause the sugar to crystallize). Stir it till the caramel dissolves.
  3. Place 100 grams of chocolate in a bowl and pour the above hot cream mixture. Stir until melted and combined. Pour into the mould and put it in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set it. This is our truffle base.
  4. To prepare the mousse, place 150 grams chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted. Keep aside to cool.
  5. Whisk 200 ml of whipping cream to stiff peaks. Chill it in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes to firm.
  6. Add few tablespoons of cold water to the gelatin and soften it (it takes about 3 minutes). Microwave it for 30 seconds and leave it to cool.
  7. Place 100 ml of fresh cream in a pan and slowly bring it to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin until dissolved.
  8. Add the gelatin mixture, egg and egg yolk into the melted chocolate and mix.
  9. Fold in the whipping cream.
  10. Spoon or pipe in this mixture into the mould with truffle base.
  11. Refrigerate overnight.
  12. For ganache, boil the cream and pourit over roughly chopped chocolates.
  13. Pour ganache over the mousse, and level it. Chill for atleast 3 hours to set.
  14. Serve with strawberry coulis*

* You need caster sugar and water to boil. Add chopped strawberries (or any berries) and cook till its soft.Puree it.

Tip 

Add dash of orange liqour into the mousse for that added flavor. Orange and chocolate goes very well…

You may add the liquor to puree if not the mousse.

You can serve it with fresh fruits too, since the dessert in itself will be too sweet and chocolate-y! 🙂

 

Happy baking!

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

As per the legend, the creation of chocolate chip cookies was a complete accident.  One day while making cookies, Ruth Graves Wakefield ( inventor of the Toll House brand of chocolate chip cookies) realized she was out of an ingredient for the recipe she was using. She had run out of baker’s chocolate, so she substituted it with a semisweet chocolate bar from Nestle. However, unlike the baker’s chocolate, the chopped up chocolate bar did not melt and mix into the batter like Ruth thought it would. The small pieces of chocolate only softened and the chocolate chip cookie was born.

What a yummy accident! 🙂

Here’s a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie from A’s Chocolate Factory, run by a young and talented Ann Benjamin in the city of Kochi.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Pic: Ann Benjamin
Chocolate Chip Cookies Pic: Ann Benjamin

All purpose flour (Maida) – 1 and half cups
Unsalted butter – 100 gms (melted)
Caster sugar – 1/2 cup
Dark brown sugar– 1/2 cup
Egg – 1
Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon (tsp)
Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
Salt – a pinch
Chocolate chips – 1 cup
Optional :
Cornflakes (crushed)- 1 cup
Rolled oats -1 cup

  1. Combine maida, baking soda and salt well. Keep aside.
  2. Preheat oven at 150 degrees for 10 mins.
  3. Line the tray with parchment paper.
  4. Add both the sugars to the butter. Whisk it until the mixture is thick.
  5. Add in the egg and vanilla essence. Whisk it again for about a minute.
  6. Add in the dry ingredients.
  7. Form a dough using hands and then add the chocolate chips,cornflakes and rolled oats.
  8. Make equal sized balls and gently press the top while placing on the baking tray
  9. Bake for 10 minutes
  10. Remove and cool on the wire rack

Happy baking! 🙂

Egg Plant Recipe

Well its been quite a while since I blogged here or on my travel blog. Neither have I stopped eating no stopped traveling….so there is no excuse. 🙂

Here’s a recipe my creative sister shared with me recently that I would like to post here –  Spicy Egg Plant /Aubergines / Brinjal..

Spicy Brinjal / egg plant
Spicy Brinjal / egg plant

 

Medium sized brinjals-2

1 tbsp lime juice

Oil for frying

 

For paste :

50 to 100 gms red chillies ( as per your taste)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tomato-big

2 medium onions

 

1) Cut brinjals into circles (less in thickness),sprinkle water and keep aside

2) Heat oil in a pan either deep fry or shallow fry the brinjal pieces

3) Turn both the sides of brinjal and cook till crisp

4) Combine all the paste ingredients and grind coarsely

5) Heat 2 tbsp of oil and saute the paste for about two minutes

6) Pour the lime juice over the paste

7) Mix the spice paste and the eggplant pieces together and serve it hot

 

Can be served along with Chapati/dosa/rice

 

Cheesecake

Cheesecake Pic: Priya Q
Cheesecake Pic: Priya Q

For this cheesecake,you don’t even need to have an oven. Set it in the refrigerator and you are good to go:)

You need

Cottage Cheese (Paneer) – 200 gms

Condensed Milk – 200 gms

Fresh Milk – 200 ml

Gelatin – 1 tbsp (soaked in 2 tbsp warm water)

Biscuits 400 gms (I used parle g)

Butter – enough to get the biscuit crumbs together (roughly about 350-400 gms)

 

  1. Crumb the biscuits and to it add melted butter. Mix it together till  biscuit crumbs can form a nice ball
  2. Line your dish with the biscuit mixture. Press it down nicely and refrigerate
  3. Blend in the cottage cheese in a mixer until you get a fine smooth paste
  4. Add Condensed milk and Fresh milk and blend for another 3 minutes
  5. Add soaked gelatin and blend with help of a mixer for about 3-4 minutes
  6. Pour this mixture on top of the biscuit mixture which by now would be nicely set
  7. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours
  8. Serve

 

*double the quantity for a bigger cheesecake

*the cheesecake stays good for 3 days in a refrigerator

 

Till next time…happy cooking!