28 December, 2011

Eggless Pineapple Upsidedown Cake



A friend recommended this recipe when I told her that I can't find a good Eggless cake recipe. I baked this for Christmas and everyone loved it. It is really an amazing Eggless cake with a really good texture. It tastes delicious with pineapple pieces steeped in caramelized sauce.

It is so awesome that people who have always eaten cakes with eggs, refused to believe that this cake doesn't contain eggs. I loved the texture and the amount of sweetness is just perfect for our palate, even without the pineapple topping and sauce. I have already baked this 5 times now and will be baking many more of them.

17 December, 2011

Easy Eggless Tiramisu with Marie Biscuits


Tiramisu is the famous Italian dessert. The word Tiramisu in Italian means pick me up. My love for Italian food always leads me to try new Italian restaurant. Every single time I've checked out the dessert menu and warned Ranjit, my husband that I will be ordering Tiramisu but by the time I'm done with the soup and main course, I rarely have any space left to even think of dessert. Last time, I had a friend with me who agreed to share the Tiramisu, even if I was too full after the meal. Finally after 3years of wanting to have it, I actually had it. The bitterness of coffee and the sweet cheese filling were playing on my palate as it passed through my throat, I could feel the warmth of the alcohol; I loved every bit of it.. Now that I've tasted it, I might actually cut down on my main course and save space for this heavenly dessert.

Even while tasting it, I said my next experiment would be to bake Tiramisu to perfection. But finally, when I got down to my research, I found that it is a no bake dessert, lucky for me, as I still am without an oven in this Christmas season.

How to make Whipped Cream

I live in a place where I go to a supermarket and ask for cream, they direct me to the section where you get beauty creams. They stand dumb found when you say, milk cream or the cream you eat. I'm not saying this based on a single isolated incident but this has happened a lot of times in different shops in and around my area. Believe me, this is no exaggeration.

It isn't easy to find whipping cream or whipped cream in the Indian supermarkets. The best you get is Amul cream.. This one packet, took one month to find me because it's not an easy product to find in our area. Somehow I find it everywhere when I don't need it and when I need it; it suddenly disappears from all the places I shop at. This time I bought it, kept it and made sure that I used it before the expiry date. Thanks to the blog (motivation), otherwise there have been quite a few 1litre packets that I've hoarded and thrown away to the horror of my husband.

14 December, 2011

Homemade Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone Cheese is an Italian Cheese made from coagulation of cream with citric acid. It is used to make the famous Italian dessert Tiramisu.

As you might have guessed, we don't get it in the markets here in Kerala. I've heard a few people mentioning who have got Mascarpone Cheese in the metros, that its way too expensive. It is a similar process to making Paneer or Cottage Cheese. The difference is that Mascaropne is made from cream and Paneer from milk.

Awards

I was excited when Julie (Erivum Puliyum) left me a message that I have an award waiting at her blog. I happily checked out Julie's blog to see the award and I was so overwhelmed to see not just an award but four awards. Next day I checked it again to see if they are still there, I saved its images on my desktop and showed it to my hubby.  My husband said what's the use if you keep looking at it on your desktop. My brains worked, too much excitement blocks my brains. I sent a mail to Julie asking what I'm supposed to do... She promptly replied to all my doubts. Thank you Julie for the awards and being patient with all my silly doubts.

10 December, 2011

Nutella Chocolate Pudding

Since I started blogging, my bookmarked recipe list keeps increasing. This is adapted from one of the recipes from Kavi's Edible Entertainment. She has an awesome blog with so many recipes to try out, the best part is, when it comes to baking, she has already figured out many alternatives for things not available in India, which I would love to try.

Photography update: I take pictures and love them on my cam but when I download it to the computer, I feel like crying. It's so much hard work but only the barely presentable ones are showing up on the blog. Switching to auto mode does seem tempting but then I won't learn. I'm reading up on photography, hoping I'll be able to put it into practice. I wish I just had to cook and someone else would do the photography for me. I was enjoying photography with my old camera, the SLR just intimidates me.

Did you know the difference between, custard and pudding? Simply put, Pudding is egg-less uses cornstarch etc to coagulate the sweetened milk mixture and Custard contains eggs, i.e. egg proteins are used for coagulation. But there is an overlap where some Cream puddings, use a custard base but are thickened with starch. I also read pudding can be savoury. If you are interested in the history of pudding and custards check this out.

If you are Nutella lover, you are definitely going to love this silky smooth pudding.



03 December, 2011

Kadala Curry- Black Chickpeas in Coconut Milk

Kadala, generally refers to the Black Chickpeas or Kala Chana. Though I prefer the Garbanzo Beans, White Chickpeas or Kabuli Chana over the black ones, I've found that the Black Chana that we get in the north are smaller in size and doesn't taste as good as the ones we get in Kerala.

I prefer using fresh ingredients, but for this one I used ginger garlic paste to coconut milk, all store bought. Using fresh ingredients definitely enhances the taste.  I usually make a good amount of this curry, as it is too much work, so why not work once and enjoy it many times. It does taste better the next day. We usually don't make this curry with coconut milk. The first time I added coconut milk, it was purely out of necessity as I was serving the curry the second day with Puttu (steamed rice flour cakes) so it needed more gravy and I did not have much time at hand. Everyone just loved the curry with coconut milk. Now I prefer making it with coconut milk.



01 December, 2011

Vanilla Cake with Royal Icing


Ranjit, my husband, has been after me to bake vanilla cake. I actually tried an egg-less recipe, the texture was great but the taste wasn't up to the mark. Probably, it would have tasted great with frosting. But for a usual tea time bake we don't really need frosting. Unless I get an awesome (taste and texture) egg-less cake recipe I'm not blogging it.

I baked one with egg, my own recipe and it came out great. Initially, i.e. soon out of the oven, when we tried it, I wasn't impressed enough with it, I started to think of adding more sugar etc etc. But after it cooled down, it tasted so good that I don't want to change anything about it. Lesson learned, have enough patience for the cake to cool down before giving the verdict.

This post has been in my draft since I baked vanilla cake last month for my sister's birthday, but I'd been too busy that I couldn't take pictures. It was a big hit and disappeared as quickly as it was presented and they were craving for more. The cake is really good on its own even without the frosting.

28 November, 2011

How to make Cake Flour

I've been baking for a long time now; I started young at 11yrs probably. I baked a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and decorated it with gems for my own 13th birthday. Ya, I have the habit of pampering myself since I was a kid ;). I had actually stopped checking out recipes, as they always mentioned things which none of the shopkeepers would be able to pronounce, let alone understand. Then living in a city like Bangalore for a while, gave me hope and gave me more options but still there are things you wouldn't find in stores.

One such thing is Cake flour; I actually thought it is some super special flour that has undergone some special processing which might take ages to show up in India at least in the metros. Then one day I googled it and found that it is so simple that I can do the super special processing at home. It is actually a simple process. Just follow this formula and voila, cake flour. 

(1cup - 2tbsp) All Purpose Flour + 2tbsp Cornflour = 1cup Cake Flour 

20 November, 2011

Virgin Mojito With Sweet Lime

I'd been away since Diwali, I had a good vacation with family and friends and even got an oppurtunity to try my hand at pottery (me as a potter). Ranjit, my husband who has asked me not to use the camera, in the past, gifted me a SLR for our second wedding anniversary, which we celebrated earlier this month. So out of sheer excitement, I asked if he thinks I'm a good at  photography? He replied with a blunt "No" and added "you are creative, you'll get better".  

The excitement was momentary and then fear and self -doubt set in, it is too big a thing to use, I even had nightmares. I knew I had to brush off the fear and start using it. I've been very hesitant to use the camera in manual, but I guess this Mojito has helped me overcome my fear of using it in manual mode.

Ranjit, picked up sweetlimes instead of oranges ( its nothing unusual for him, everything looks alike) from the fruit shop. Making Mojito was an obvious choice as I already had a bunch of mint ready to be used from my herb garden. (This picture is really not needed, guess, I'm showing off )

Mint in my garden

Mojito is a simple drink made of lime and mint, and if you drink alcohol you can of course add white rum to it, to make the virgin pregnant (a joke you would find funnier if you watch Akkara Kazhchakal).



18 October, 2011

Dill and Potato Biscuits

These are the first biscuits that I've ever made. I was just browsing for recipes randomly and found this. The recipe is very simple and had good reviews , so I set out to give it a try.

I had recently bought dried Dill, just coz I have never seen or used this herb before, I wanted to give it a try. The biscuits came out good, they tasted somewhat like Aliva, but a much bland version. Next time I'll try different flavours. They are great for tea time snacks.



13 October, 2011

Aviyal

Aviyal is one of the main side dishes served in a traditional Kerala style meal, Sadhya. It is a very simple dish, very easy to prepare and tastes really great.

Every region in Kerala has their own version with a few changes here and there. But basically it is made of  mixed vegetables and grated coconut. The kind of vegetables and the seasoning used is what varies. This recipe is my Mum's version. I've had a lot of Aviyals, none as good as this one. I might be biased, but definitely Ranjit is not, even he likes this version





11 October, 2011

Milk Cake

I have googled "Milk Cake" for over a year, and what I find is a kind of Indian sweet, sticky n gooey instead of the recipe of a sponge cake which has a flavour of milk. There is this bakery "Cake Walk", in Bangalore from where we get this cake. My hubby goes crazy over this cake. I'm more like a chocolate cake person so I really can't understand this addiction. Recently I found my BFF too likes this cake. So finally, I got down to try out my own recipe.

1st attempt: Since I'm not a fan of just a plain white cake, I added powdered Cinnamon, more than required. End result was a really good looking but bitter tasting cake. I had to throw it away. lesson learnt, never add too much Cinnamon.

2nd attempt: It was very close to the milk cake but not quite there. This time I did not have condensed milk so I just managed with normal milk and sugar.

3rd attempt: Exactly the same recipe as the 1st one minus the Cinnamon lead to success. Why on earth do I stray from my original plan ever?

I baked and it turned out so great that R has been dreaming about the cake and asking me to bake more. I've already baked it twice and I'm sure I'll be baking many more.


Magic Vegetable Fried Rice

This is one of my quick fix dish, and probably this is the only dish that I've cooked the maximum number of times. When I was working and staying alone, this veg fried rice-raita and curd rice were my staple.

This is a complete meal in itself, you get the carbohydrates from rice, vitamins and minerals from vegetables and proteins from the curd in the raita. The best part is that, its very simple and you can never go wrong, once you get the rice cooked to perfection.

Vegetable Fried Rice


Apple and Cinnamon Cake with Whole Wheat Flour and Oats

I found this recipe or should I say the recipe found me. I'd been baking a lot of cakes lately, and have been feeling guilty as it is not very healthy. I opened my browser to search for healthier options and found this recipe from Neha at From my heart on my google reader. I was like wow, the Universe does listen.


I followed the recipe as it is but with a small difference, that I used vegetable oil instead of butter. I actually was waiting this long, trying to get some unsalted butter, but I couldn't.

Homemade Grape Wine

I always wanted to try my hand at wine making. My mum used to make some great tasting wine with gooseberries. I  don’t remember seeing her making it. I made my first wine with red grapes in July last year. I looked for recipes, all of them had the same ingredients in different measurements and complicated equipment that is hard to find here. So I just did my own stuff. It was my experimental batch, so I just used basic ingredients and equipments, I opened the fermentation vessel  as few times as possible because I feared contaminating it.



04 October, 2011

Kalan

Kalan, is one of many side dishes in a traditional Kerala Sadhya (elaborate meal served on plantain leaves). It is made of plantain, yam with a yogurt and coconut based semi-gravy. Kalan if made to serve for Sadhya should not flow when you serve it on the plantain leaves.

The recipe, I used is from Ammupatti's Blog. Most recipe's I referred to were the same with little or no variations at all, with no proper credit given. I really don't know whose original recipe is being followed around but it works really well and that is why you find it everywhere with very less variations. 

I've made Kalan many times before (Ranjit's favorite) but I never got a perfect Kalan, because I never paid attention to a small detail in the recipe, which said sour -thick curd. The curd should be sour and thick, both. Either thick or sour won't really work well. Believe me, if you get the right curd, your Kalan is half way there. I'm talking out of my mistakes experience here. And then just following this recipe to the T and you will have a finger licking good Kalan.

When I made it the first time I was actually wondering at each step whether it is supposed to look like this ( I'm fairly new to South Indian cooking). For the benefit of someone who has never really known what Kalan is, I took pictures of every step possible. If you try this, please let me know how it turned out, I'd be really happy to know that, it was worth the effort.

That turned out to be a long introduction. Now lets get to work. 



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