Monday, December 7, 2015

Eggless Carrot Muffins Healthy bhi, tasty bhi

Having an infant in the house means you get used to waking up at odd hours and acting as if nothing is amiss. Today the infant was actually kind and gave me about six hours straight night sleep (a huge rarity these days when the normal is to get up every two hours) so when he wailed at 5:30 and wanted a feed I got up in an instant.

Having fed the baby and put him back to sleep I noticed the time was almost six and sleeping now meant being late for work so I decided to bake instead.

I had just baked a winter fruit cake (Orange) and now I wanted to try my hands on a winter vegetable; the red juicy carrots. There was only one hitch I had run out of eggs. That is when I remembered the flax seeds which have been lying unused for a while now.

Here are the ingredients I gathered:

1 cup white flour (maida)
1.5 cup grated carrots (the red juicy ones)
Half cup powdered sugar (take a lil less if the carrots are really sweet)
Half cup olive oil
2 tbsp flax seed powder
2 tbsp curd
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla essence

What to do:

whisk together sugar and olive oil till creamy and then add the flax seed and curd. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon powder into the wet mix and whisk well ensuring no lumps. Add the grated carrots and mix everything well. Add the nutmeg.

Pre-heat the oven at 185 degrees and in the meantime prepare 12-15 muffin molds by lightly brushing them with olive oil. Scoop the batter into the molds (remember to fill only till half way up)  and bake at 185 degrees for about 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.

Let the muffins sit in the oven for sometime and then take them out to cool.

Have with a cup of coffee or pack for tiffin at school and work.

So by the time the hubby and kid got up I had a tray full of muffins and house full of aroma waiting for them :)




                                                     GOOD MORNING!


C for Citrus, C for Cake, C for Celebration

My toddler is hyper active and over intelligent so time and again we are told to keep her occupied with multiple tasks that engage her both mentally and physically. Finding time from all the household chores to spend time with the kid becomes a challenge and the best solution I have found is to get her involved in what I am doing.

Baking is one of my much loved activities during winters and so from an early age the girl has helped me bake (she is all of 4.5 years right now). Whisking is her special task and she hates handing over the whisk to anyone. Once when her dad baked me a cake on my birthday, she tasted it and commented that, 'its good, but would have been better if I had done it'.

So coming back to the point, winters have set in and the past weekend we got out our baking stuff and got ready to get happy.

Oranges are the girl's special love and she has been looking forward to the fruit hitting the market so we chose that as the flavor we wanted to experiment with. We adapted the recipe from Cafegarima.com with much glee we collected together the following:

3 Oranges and 1 lemon
200 gms sugar coarsely powdered
1 cup olive oil (you can take a lil less if you want, I like my cakes moist so opted for a full cup)
2 eggs
1/2 cup curd
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (using the oranges mentioned above)
2.5 cup white flour (maida)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Orange essence
A pinch of salt


We cut the oranges in half and using a strainer squeezed out the juice and put it aside. Then proceeded to finely cut up the peel of one orange we added the peel of the lemon to it. We added this to the sugar and rubbed it in well to release the oil from the peels on to the sugar. We left the sugar covered while we went ahead with sifting the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt twice. This is to ensure that the flour is well aerated and will not have any lumps.

Then we poured out the sugar into a large bowl and added the olive oil (leaving just a bit for greasing the baking dishes) to the same and whisked it till it turned creamy.

Eggs, curd and juice were all added into it with generous whisking in between.

Slowly incorporated the flour mix into the batter whisking to ensure a lump free smooth batter.

Pre heated oven to 185 degrees for 5 minutes ( I use the convection mode on my IFB microwave). In the meantime we greased the baking dishes with the olive oil and lightly dusted it with flour. I used a Bundt dish, a loaf tin and 6 muffin holders for the same.

We baked the cake for 40 minutes at 185 degrees, checked with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. And by the time dadda came home from work we were ready with the season's first cake to welcome him.




                    The muffins took about 15 minutes and were happily taken to school today.

We had planned to do a chocolate ganache topping on the cake but it tasted so good as is that we let it be and just dusted a bit of powdered sugar on top.










Thursday, October 15, 2015

Porky Dreams

Two years ago we were invited to a 2 year olds birthday party at home.

We went with our own totally excited toddler to whom the high point of a birthday was the cake and balloons expecting to share a few words with adults over the head of shouting kids and  generally being happy watching the kids interact.
 To our delight the gathering was a small one which meant the din was reasonable and some conversation possible. 

Post the cake cutting and settling down of the kids the host said let me treat you to something special and brought out a hunk of roasted pork. It glistened with fat the way only pork can and the aroma was amazing.

I had a forkful and I was entrapped in its magic. The dish got over in no time and I didn't get the oppurtunity to linger over it longer.

Though the intention was to return to the dish at the earliest possible two years and more passed before I could again taste it.

The wait was well worth it cause this time it was cooked in my own home and apart from having to my heart's content I also have some left over to relish later.

The recipe like all good ones is a simple one taught to a friend's mom by her Mizo neighbour and faithfully reproduced by the son.



Ingredients:

A slab of pork - from the rib onwards about a kg
Half a kg onion peeled and halved
200 gms garlic peeled whole
200 gms ginger julienned 
100 gms dry red chillies whole
100 gms of whole cardamom, cinnamon and clove 
3-4 tablespoon honey
Salt to taste
A tablespoon of any white oil

Method:
Wash the pork well and pat dry
In a pressure cooker add the white and then add the whole spices, lower the pork slab into it.
Add the onions, garlic and ginger
Keep the whole thing on high flame and keep an eye on the same
Turn when needed. The idea is to let the pork singe in places but not get burnt. The pork will keep releasing fat so don't worry too much.
After about twenty minutes of the same use a knife to cut into the pork and make incisions 
Drizzle the honey on top and let it cool for a few more minutes
Add salt and then close the cooker an cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Open, take out, carve, eat. Arrive at pork heaven.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Aarini's Activity - whole wheat cookies


The four year old fancies herself as Suzuka the intelligent girl friend of the ever whining Nobita from the Doraemon series.

Amongst the many abilities of Suzuka who is a brave, compassionate and intelligent girl is her ability to bake cookies. So when Aarini decides she wants to do an activity she has to but of course choose cookie making as the ideal activity to indulge in. 

I picked a simple recipe I have been meaning to try out for a while now and provided her the ingredients and stayed with her as my lil baker went about with full zeal.

Waiting for the cookies to bake
18 minutes is a long time for a 4 year old.

Recipe:

1 cup whole wheat (atta)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 cup ghee and olive oil ( I mixed both as I was short on ghee)
Some chopped almonds for garnishing 

Sieve the atta and cardamom powder together and keep aside. 

In a separate vessel mix the oil-ghee combo with the powdered sugar and whisk till a creamy consistency is achieved. 

Now add a tablespoon of atta mix at a time and keep mixing. Do not knead. We used the back of a spoon to mix it up. Once the entire atta is mixed set it aside for about 10-15 minutes.

Roll out small balls and press them lightly with your thumb to make a depression. Add chopped almonds. 

Preheat oven at 185 degrees and then bake the cookies for about 16-18 minutes at the same temperature. 

Your cookies will be ready enjoy with a nice cuppa :) 

Sweet results

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fishy Tales In High Summers

Our gang of girls at work is forever into planning the next fun thing to do. From being dressed in sync to shopping sprees to sneaking out for a lunch or movie or even at times planning a socially relevant protest - we are upto it all and more.

Last weekend bored with the office canteen food and craving something nice talk started about doing a pot luck. Most of us being non-veg lovers the food of course was going to be predominantly non veg we did decide on a couple of veg dishes as well keeping in mind the token vegetarian in the group and also to provide ourselves from the overload of non veg.

I was told to get a fish dish and it better be finger licking good I was told. Monday was set as the D day. The weekend being ample prep time.

Now Sunday was also Jamai shoshti or the Day of the Son in Law in Bengali households. Mom was getting ready to cook up a storm in the kitchen. With outside temperatures already hitting 45 degree plus I managed to dissuade her and instead opted for a lunch date for the entire family. It turned out to be a sane thing to do. Everyone had a good time and we got back home to sleep out the rest of the terribly hot afternoon.

What this meant however was that the pot luck fish dish still needed to be cooked. And I had to do all the cooking.

So Sunday evening I got down to ordering the fish from our local fish seller who has an amazing delivery system as well.

A 2.5 kg freshly cut Rohu was delivered to my home and I set out to turn it into a curry that would have a bong touch and would yet be relished by non-bongs. Why I mention this is - in temperatures as high as the ongoing ones - most bengali households would stick to the kaalo jeere kaacha lonka jhol (aniseed and green chillies), jeera & adda bata (Shahi jeera and ginger paste) or the doi maach versions. The heavier kaalia would be kept for cooler temperatures.

Most non bengalis however would find such versions not too palatable so it had to be a judicious mix of both.

After some thinking here is what I did:

A Doi Kaalia with Fried Onions

Ingredients:
Rohu or Kaatla fish - about 1.5 kg ( I had ordered a full 2.5 kg fish so that I could pick the pieces I wanted and leave the rest for another day)
Onions julienne - 2 medium size
Onion paste - 2 medium size
Ginger paste - 2 tbsp
Tomato paste - 1 tbsp
Curd - 3/4 cup well whipped with a tsp of salt
Cumin Seeds - a tsp
Bay leaves - 2-3 
Dry Red Chilli  - 2-3
Coarse grind (3-4 green cardamom, 3-4 cloves and 1/2 inch cinnamon stick)

Raisins - 1 tbsp - soaked in water
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp for marination and 1 tsp for the gravy
Chilli powder - 1 tsp (or more if you like it spicy)
Cumin powder - 2 tsp
Mustard oil or any cooking oil - 1.5 cup


Recipe:
Wash and pat dry the fish pieces - I had about 14 pieces
Add a tsp each of turmeric and salt and let the fish sit for half an hour

In the meantime heat the oil in a deep kadhai and let it heat up well - add the onion julienne and stir around on high heat for a minutes, reduce flame and fry till crisp without burning. With a slotted spoon take them out on a paper towel lined plate and spread. Keep aside.

In the same oil fry the fish about 4 pieces at a time. Make sure you lower the heat and turn the fish around so that its evenly fried. take the pieces out and let them rest. Once all the fish pieces are fried, switch off the flames for a short while. This is to just ensure that the temperature is not too high and doesn't burn the next ingredients.

Re-switch on the heat and then in quick succession add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, pinch of sugar and coarse ground garam masala ingredients. Add the onion paste and stir around on medium flame.

Add a pinch of salt, keep stirring to ensure the onion doesnt catch at the bottom, once the onion starts to release oil, lower heat and add turmeric, chilli powder, ginger paste, cumin powder and tomato puree. Stir rigorously and let a few bubbles form, once you can smell the fried masala add the curd mix and let it all simmer on low heat. Add some water incase you feel you need a little more gravy. Add the raisins. Check the salt and adjust.
Once the gravy is boiling well slip in the fish pieces, do not stir. Let it boil for about two minutes and then switch off the heat.


Transfer to a shallow bowl making sure to ensure you dont break the fish pieces. Top with the fried onions and serve with rice.

The fish dish was received well by my office colleagues and even my mom didnt criticize it ;). Made me think posting this is a must.


All set to go with me to work. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Healthy Strawberry Cheese Cake

The partner got a box of lovely looking strawberries and demanded a whipped cream and strawberries dessert. He sliced and soaked the strawberries in sugar.

I decided to better it with a Strawberry cheese cake sans the cheese (that's why the healthy tag)

Here is what I did.

Used a clean cloth to hang up a cup and half of curd for about 6 hours getting smooth hung curd (one cup) in the process.

Once I had the hung curd in place I started assembling the rest of the ingredients.

1 packet Amul's whipping cream (200 ml)
1 packet marie biscuit (large)
125 gms butter
3 tablespoon powdered sugar
coloured balls for decor




1. Crush the biscuits in a mixie jar, once finely crushed pour out into a bowl and add melted butter. 
2. Mix with a spoon till its evenly mixed with no lumps
3. Spoon about 3 spoons of biscuit butter mix into individual glasses and lightly tap with the bottom of the spoon to straighten it up into a uniform base - these quantities work for about 6 portions. Put the glasses in to chill while you work on the rest
4. Sieve the strawberry and save the syrup 
5. In a large bowl add the syrup, hung curd, sugar and whipping cream and beat to a smooth piping consistency 
6. Scoop two spoonful of the cream onto the the biscuit base
7. Add the strawberries on top
8. Top with coloured balls or a swirl of cream or chocolate shavings if you so wish
9. Chill the dessert for atleast four hours and then you are ready to serve

ENJOY!!!






Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Brownie Points

Brownies are those gooey chocolaty things that one digs into with or without reason. To have a brownie is sheer indulgence. The high chocolate content gives me the perfect kick and while I will eat only a small piece of cake, a brownie is always in the bigger is better category.

So it happened that I was holding onto a cupful of rum soaked dry fruits & spices which were leftovers from the Christmas cake.  I didn't want to bake more plum cake for two reasons. One the process is lengthy and secondly I had baked quite a few in December and didn't feel like doing it again.

A brownie seemed a better alternative. I replaced the usual walnuts with the soaked fruits and hoped it wouldn't be too weird a taste. Well the outcome was a finger licking good brownie with just a hint of rum to take its addictive qualities a notch higher.

Ingredients:

125 gm Maida (white flour)
1 TSP Baking powder
200 gm i.e half tin condensed milk
3 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP Cocoa Powder (I used Cadbury's)
1 cup Grated chocolate( I used Morde's dark chocolate)
1 bar of Lindt Orange flavoured chocolate
Few drops of Orange flavour
1/2 TSP Baking Soda
1 cup rum soaked dry fruits (check details here)
A few spoonfuls Milk

Directions:

Sieve all the dry ingredients together twice. In a double boiler add the chopped chocolate,butter and condensed milk keep stirring till all the chocolate is melted.

Add the sieved flour mixture to this and mix well. If your batter is thick add 3-4 TBSP milk. Add a few drops of orange flavor.  Grease  a 9 inch baking dish with butter. Preheat the oven to 160 degree for 10 mins. Put 1/2 the batter into the greased tray. Now add the dry fruits evenly on top of it. Break the Lindt chocolate into small pieces and add on top of the dry fruits. Pour the rest of the batter on top of it.
Bake it for 30 mins at 160 degree. Let it sit in the oven to absorb the heat.

The usual test of a clean tooth pick insert doesn't work with a brownie since it's supposed to be gooey anyways. This one will have a melted center thanks to the Lindt chocolate there.

Let it cool a bit and then dig in and be delighted.

P.S: Incase you want to bake a regular brownie just replace the the lindt bar with choco chips and add walnuts instead of the soaked dry fruits. You can skip the orange flavor as well. I added it since I wanted to overcome the spicy smells of the soaked fruits.

Sorry for not posting any pictures alongside. I forgot to click the pictures before it got polished off.