Thursday, December 29, 2011

Joy of Cookie- ing!!


Recipe: Oats and Raisin Cookies


I am back again with more baked stuffs…. and this time I have decided to please my cookie lover husband with some nice crunchy and chewy oatmeal cookies.



 During my early days in Bahrain, on one of my grocery visits I had mistakenly bought old fashioned oats and didn’t realise it until I took it out to make some porridge for my daughter.
I had never tried it before and was dismayed to learn that my girl didn’t enjoy it at all. It was during that time that I got to read this recipe for oatmeal cookies on the newspaper. It talked about using old fashioned rolled oats and I was only more than delighted to try it out.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Double Chocolate Treat


Recipe: Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache


I continue to be on a baking spree and its cupcakes again J
I like making cupcakes because they take very little time to bake and are easy to stash away too.
And this time I have decided to bake our all time favourite… chocolate cupcakes!! 
I am not sure from where I got the recipe for this one, but I have been making them for quite some time now and it gives wonderfully soft and moist cakes.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Experiments with stuffing Potatoes !!!


Recipe: Potato ball with Meat Mince and
               Potato ball with Pasta




Few months back we had been invited to a friends place for dinner and there we were served these very interesting and tasty appetizers made by filling out mashed potatoes with grated coconut and mint. I had wanted to try them out ever since but with my vacation trip to India (which followed immediately after this particular visit) I had forgotten completely about it.

But a couple of days back an item on the menu card of a restaurant reminded me of this forgotten goody. What I saw looked really mouth watering….. Balls rolled out of mashed potatoes, filled with creamy, cheesy pasta.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Velvety Christmas Treat


Recipe:  Velvet Muffins with Whipped Cream Frosting


This is something that I had wanted to make for a real long time but had been prolonging for no particular reason. But with Christmas fast approaching, I guess there was no better time to try out these really velvety muffins.

Trust me; these muffins are for its softness….. They just seem to melt in your mouth.



I stumbled upon this great recipe in ‘Joy of baking’ and was wonderstruck by the beauty of it. The original recipe uses liquid red food colour giving the cake a beautiful scarlet colour.
Looked very Christmassy!!
But I haven’t used any food colour as I have a slight phobia towards artificial colouring.
It has a lovely flavour too with a mild chocolate taste which comes from a single table spoon of cocoa.
It’s quite simple to make and the output is a surprisingly soft and fluffy bunch of muffins.
The original recipe uses cream cheese frosting, but I wanted to use something that was much lighter on the tummy and hence settled for whipped cream.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Cocoa Attack!!



Recipe: Chocolate Cookies with Roasted Nuts and Hot Cocoa



Christmas is just round the corner, winter is getting colder and windy by the day and of course the New Year fever is fast catching up too…. What better reasons do I need to do some baking!!
Though I love baking and absolutely need no reasons to do so, I haven’t been doing much of it for some time.
I guess lethargy was getting the better of me…. But not any more. How could anybody miss out on this season??!!
As I pulled up my sleeves and got ready to do some baking, I realised that I had to make one of the most taunting decisions….. Cookies or cakes!!
Cookies were my husband’s favourite and cake my daughter’s. 


You can imagine the kind of fix I was in!!
It was as I was trying to decide that I realised that it had been ages since I had baked some cookies. In fact I couldn’t remember the last time I did….
So the decision was made, it was going to be our all time favourite, chocolate cookies with some crunchy nuts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pasta Mania



Recipe: Pasta in Mixed Sauce




I am especially proud to present this dish because I can say that I managed to gather the recipe for this one, all by myself.
No, I don’t mean to claim that I discovered it…. Of course not, But I figured out the ingredients through mere observation and imagination and also managed to get the closest to the real flavour. J




Pasta is relatively new to my favourites list.  Precisely speaking, it walked into my life almost 2 and half years back, when we moved to Bahrain.
Though I have had pastas a couple of times in India, it had been a disastrous experience. In fact we decided that pasta was just not our cup of tea!!
It was during our initial days in Bahrain that we began to notice this particular pasta place, which was always queued up with customers. There was not a day when there wasn’t at least a small queue in front of their counter.
So what’s so special with this pasta we wondered …. And yes the dish smelled and looked inviting too.
Finally, we decided to give pasta one last shot… we ordered for a chicken pasta with mixed sauce and settled down for our adventurous meal J
As the first spoonful of the cheesy, tangy, soft pasta went into my mouth, I realised that this one was here to stay!!!!
What surprised me more than ever was that, my ever so fussy daughter was gobbling up morsels of pasta and all the veggies that went with it, in absolute joy.  So, obviously, I had to make it…

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mushrooms in a Wok


Recipe: Kadai Mushroom- Pan grilled Mushrooms cooked in Tomato purée, cream and spices (Adapted from Moti Mahal’s Tandoori Trail)





I am sure most of us are familiar with Moti Mahal, the famous Tandoori place with their famous Tandoori chicken, their very own original butter chicken and of course the popular Dal Makhani… but what most of us don’t know is the fact that these were all  creations of a man who actually internationalized Indian cuisine and gave it a place on the International gourmet chart.
 And that man is none other than Kundan Lal Gujaral. 
The book Tandoori Trail is a recipe book written by Monish Gujaral, grandson of the legendary Kundan Lal Gujaral, as a tribute to his grand dad. It has awesome recipes begotten right from the horse’s mouth.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Garlic, Cheese and Bread


Recipe:  Garlic Bread with Cheese




I love bread, I love cheese, I love butter so it’s not surprising that I love garlic bread, especially the ones lusciously covered with melted mozzarella cheese!!


My daughter is also a cheese garlic bread fan and each time we visit a pizza place she ends up stuffing herself with garlic bread (and of course I follow suit J) and almost always we end up packing half the pizza back home which is then breakfast or lunch the next day.

One such day when I gave a slice of pizza to my daughter for lunch she pushed it back to me and demanded the small pizza instead (my daughter thinks garlic bread is small pizza!!). When all my attempts to pacify her failed, I had to fake a garlic bread for her… I simply sprinkled some mozzarella cheese and oregano on a piece of buttered bun and popped it into the microwave. Though I managed to satisfy her then, it didn’t exactly taste like real garlic bread.


Until then it never occurred to me that this little delight could actually be made at home, but now, I just had to!!!
When I discovered the ingredients to make garlic bread I felt silly about not thinking about it earlier. All I needed was some bread, garlic, and butter and yes, cheese…

Let’s go for the recipe



CHEESE GARLIC BREAD

Ingredients

French bread or Italian bread – 1 loaf
Butter – 2 tbsp
Garlic – 2 cloves crushed or made into paste
Parsley – a handful finely chopped
Mozzarella cheese grated – 1 cup
Oregano – to season (optional)
Salt – to taste

Preparation

Mix butter, garlic, parsley and salt to make a paste.
Slice your French loaf into oval shaped discs. Do not detach the slices so that they don’t come off loose.
Now spread the garlic- butter paste on each slice, any remaining paste can be spread out on top of the loaf. Wrap the loaf in aluminium foil and pop it into your oven. Cook for 10 mins.
If you are doing a barbeque, just drop the aluminium wrapped loaf into the hot charcoal and take it off after 2 -3 mins. Garlic bread is a perfect accompaniment with sizzling barbeque.
Cooking in aluminium foil makes your loaf very soft. Once done, you may remove your loaf from the aluminium foil and the separate the slices.
It’s wonderful to eat this as such. And the aroma is undefinable……
But to make our garlic bread cheesy you will have to resist that temptation!!!!

Now sprinkle mozzarella cheese on each slice and season with oregano and then put it back into your oven and heat until the cheese melts.


Enjoy this cheesy garlic bread piping hot….   

  








Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Roast of All Roasts



Recipe: Prawn Roast




Prawns… something I cant keep my hands off….Irresistible!! No words to describe the taste and flavour. It has been my all time favourite and shall always be I guess.
Nevertheless, I have always had a taboo towards the prawn dishes we get at the restaurants… I usually keep away from them. I guess it’s a phobia I developed because of my dad… well, he’s a clean freak, you see and never trust restaurants especially when it comes to sea food and in particular prawns.
So prawns were a delicacy confined to home kitchen. Not that it mattered at all as I had a master chef for a mom J
Come prawns season and its festival time for me…. there’s always a packet of prawns stashed away in our freezer and every other day my dad returns from office with a bag of prawns and then I love my dad more than ever ;)
My mom cooks all kinds of dishes with prawns but the one that is completely irresistible is prawn roast.
I miss it the moment I polish off my plate!!
Just don’t seem to get enough of it…..
So this weekend when my husband bought some prawns home, I could think of nothing but prawn roast.
Of course, it’s not for any of the health freaks out there, but anything for a bite into that lovely white meat, don’t you think so!!!



Here goes the recipe.


PRAWN ROAST

Ingredients

Prawns – 1 kg, cleaned and de-veined
Onions – 2 big ones, finely sliced
Ginger – ½ inch, julienned
Gamboges (kudam puli) – 1
Green chillies slit - 2
Curry leaves - a handful
Coconut chipped into thin, small pieces – 4 tbsp
Chilly power – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Fennel seed powder – ¾ tsp
Pepper – ½ tsp (optional)
Oil (preferably coconut oil)- 4 tbsp

Preparation

Put the cleaned prawns, turmeric powder, 1 tsp chilly powder, gamboges and a few curry leaves into clay pot or any pot of choice and cook covered on a medium flame for about 2-3 mins and then cook uncovered till all the water evaporates and the prawns are cooked well.
Meanwhile, heat a pan and pour 4 tbsp of oil, put in the julienned ginger and sauté for few seconds, put in the chipped coconuts and continue sautéing for a couple of mins. Now add the sliced onions, slit green chillies and the curry leaves and stir on till the onion turns light brown and crisp. Now put in all the spices (remaining 1 tsp chilly powder, coriander powder, fennel powder and pepper powder). Sauté till the raw smell is off but be careful not to burn the spices.
Now remove the gamboges from the cooked prawns and put the prawns into the onion-chilly-ginger-coconut mixture and stir till the prawns are nice and dry and roast to perfection.


So easy and sooooo yummy!!!
You may team it up with steaming rice, appam, parata etc.





Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Double delight

Recipe: Chocolate Mousse with Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt







Most of the time when we have guests over for lunch or dinner, I end up being too busy with deciding on the starters and Main courses that I eventually overlook the desserts. Finally, the usual scenario before the guests arrive would be me yelling to my husband to run to the nearest grocery to buy some chocolate or strawberry ice cream (that’s the usual favourite with our friends).
So this weekend when we invited some of our friends over for dinner, the first thing I set my mind on was on desserts. This time I was going to make it different.
I love chocolate-strawberry combinations, so I decided that I would make something that would have the best of both the flavours.
And this was what I got….
I made some chocolate mousse and topped it up with some yummy strawberry frozen yogurt.
The combination was quite a mouthful!!


Let’s look at the recipe.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH STRAWBERRY FROZEN YOGURT

Chocolate mousse

Ingredients

Cooking chocolate (bitter-sweet or semi-sweet) – 120 gms
Unsalted butter – 2 tbsp
Eggs – 2 large separated
Sugar – 4 tbsp (divided)
Vanilla extract – ½ tsp
Whipping cream – ½ cup
Cream of tartar – 1/8 tsp (optional)

Preparation

In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Then whisk in the two egg yolks. Refrigerate this while you whip the egg whites and whipping cream.
In another bowl whip the two egg whites using an electric mixer or hand mixer with the cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add two tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, yet the whites are still glossy and not dry. Set aside.
In another bowl, whip the heavy cream, remaining two tablespoons sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.  
Remove the chocolate mixture from the refrigerator, and then fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, gently but thoroughly. Fold in the whipped cream as well.
Spoon in the mixture into individual serving bowls, cover and refrigerate until time to serve. This quantity can go into almost six serving bowls.


Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients
Yogurt – 3 cups
Strawberry essence – 1 ½ tsp
Sugar – ¾ to 1 cup
Gelatine – 2 tsp
Warm water - 3tbsp to melt the gelatine
Fresh strawberry chopped or mashed slightly – 4 or 5

Preparation

Completely dissolve gelatine in warm water and keep aside
Blend together yogurt, strawberry essence and sugar in a blender and pour into a freezer proof bowl.
Stir in the dissolved gelatine and chopped (or mashed) strawberry pieces and mix well.
Keep your freezer temperature to coldest and place the bowl into the freezer. After an hour, whisk the mixture to break the ice crystals. Repeat this 3 or 4 times after every hour. Now freeze your yogurt for 4-5 hours or overnight.
Your lovely strawberry yogurt is ready!!!

Keep outside for around 10 mins before serving to making the scooping easier.






Assembly

Assemble your dessert just before serving.
Take the individually set chocolate mousse bowls and place a scoop of strawberry yogurt on it and garnish with some copped strawberry if desired.

Take one big scoop of the chocolate mousse and frozen yogurt and enjoy!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Veg or Non- Veg That’s the Question?!


Recipe: Soya chunk Cutlet






My husband is a hard core non vegetarian. Though a sport with any non- veg item, it was a near to impossible task to get him to open his mouth to an unfamiliar vegetarian item. So I was quite sceptical when I wanted to make some Soya chunk curry. It was one of my favourites but the thought of getting my husband to tread on unfamiliar grounds was daunting.
 I had to get him to eat it without making him realise the ingredient and at the same time impress him with the taste… any flaw meant that Soya chunks stayed out of my house for ever!!! I was also in my initials days of cooking and had not yet learned to experiment J
It was during one of those days that I was talking to my mom and she mentioned that she made this cutlet with soya chunks and fooled everyone at my home to believe that it was beef!!!!   
Bingo!!!! That’s it…. That’s exactly what I am going to do… cutlets… why didn’t I ever think of that….




So that evening I had some soya chunk cutlets ready and served it with dinner…. I couldn’t help giggling when I saw my husband gobbling it up with absolutely no questions being asked. When I revealed to him, what he had just had he wouldn’t believe that he had eaten something purely vegetarian. And to my joy he said, if this is how soya is going to taste then he’s ready to make soya a regular item at home… yippee!!!
Seriously, soya cutlets really don’t taste vegetarian…. Just try them!!



Now for the recipe.

SOYA CHUNK CUTLETS

Ingredients

Soya chunks(soak in water for nearly ½ hour and squeez out water completely) –  1 ½ cups chopped coarsely(use a chopper for fine results, if you don’t have one them just use an ordinary grinder, but be careful not to powder them. It should look something like a meat mince)

Potato – 1 medium sized, boiled and mashed
Onion – 1 medium sized chopped finely
Ginger- 1 ½ tsp finely chopped
Green chillies – 2 chopped
Pepper – 1 tsp (as per spice needs)
Garam masala – ¼ tsp
Egg white- 1 slightly whisked
Bread crumbs – 1 cup
Oil – enough for deep frying

This makes nearly 10 – 12 cutlets

Preparation

Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and fry the chopped soya chunks in it for a few mins or until the soya chunks are completely dry and lightly browned.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and add chopped ginger and green chillies and sauté till you get rid of the raw smell. Now add the chopped onions and continue sautéing till the onion is transparent.  Once the onions are done, add on the chopped and fried soya chunks and sauté till the mixture is nice and dry. Now season the mixture with pepper and garam masala and switch off the flame.
Once the mixture has completely cooled, put the mashed potatoes and mix well. Now roll out small balls and flatten them out to get oval shaped cutlets. You can make them into any shape you desire.  
Get your whisked egg white and bread crumbs ready. Dip your patties first in the egg whites and then cover them up with bread crumbs.
When all the cutlets are ready, take a deep pan and heat enough oil for deep frying.
Now a rule of thumb….see to it that your oil is really hot before you drop in your cutlet patties… if its not hot enough your cutlets will end up breaking!!

Fry out all your cutlets and enjoy them hot and crispy with some tomato ketchup.
Your kids and husband will never ever guess that they are enjoying something that’s unbelievably vegetarian.
Get ready for an ultimate deception ;)