Monday, November 5, 2012

SRC: Mocha Muffins

Is is just me or does it seem like time has been moving past at warp speed? I guess it's just me. I've been upto my ears with work, orders, prepping samplers etc. and am enjoying every minute of it. I just wish there were more hours in the day. There's so many ideas I can't wait to try out for this holiday season but such little time.

Anyway, today I find myself at yet another SRC reveal. I literally had to scramble about all day to get my post done in time. I try to not leave things till the nth hour, but this month really took its toll. Nevertheless, alls well that ends well. And end well it did. This month I was assigned a cute blog called Dancing Veggies (so much cuteness right at the start in the name itself). I was amazed at the variety of vegetarian food Amanda has on her blog. I'm always looking for ways to try and incorporate more meatless meals in our diet, so I was very excited. I have a list of things I'm itching to try like her Farmer's Market Quiche, Vegetarian Moussaka and her BBQ Pineapple Tofu Pizza to name just a few. I finally settled on her Mocha Muffins with chocolate chips, simply because you can't go wrong with chocolate and I happen to know that coffee and chocolate pair together nicely. I wasn't wrong, the flavors of these muffins were spot on. Not too sweet - just the way I like it, with the right coffee to chocolate ratio. I really enjoyed these and I know I'll be making them again with just one change, I found my batter a little dry and so eventually after baking, the muffins were soft and moist on the inside but crusted on top. I guess there's something I didn't do right. Hop on over to Amanda's blog to see what they should look like. I  think I'll up the moisture content next time by adding some yogurt or buttermilk and see if that helps. I will update this post once I do that. All said and done, I really liked these muffins. I think I'd be able to have about 2 or 3 of them in one sitting with a nice tall glass of milk.Yummy.

I love the look of these brown swirly striped cupcake liners I managed to score with great difficulty. Here's what the inside looks like -

Mocha Muffins 
Yields 12

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup coffee (I used instant coffee and made it fairly strong)
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 170ºC and line a muffin pan.

Mix the flour, cocoa and baking powder in a mixing bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips. Mix well till just incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tin and bake for about 12-15 minutes.

Enjoy with a tall glass of milk.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Week 6 of 12WOCT: Thin Mints

I was just thinking back about my previous posts and experiments in the kitchen and what struck me was that a great many of them actually happened because of lack of availability of store bought options in India. Needless to say, I don't need an excuse to make things from scratch at home, I actually prefer it that way so that I know exactly what I'm eating. Having said that, sometimes its nice to have the store bought variants to compare with. This time around though, it wasn't going to happen since we don't get girl scout cookies here. I've been drooling over posts of these treats popping up all over the place now and then and finally decided to try them out myself. This recipe for thin mints is perfect to start of with, since it uses store bought Ritz crackers and so is fairly simple and quick to put together. Now, finding Ritz crackers itself it an impossible task here, but we do get a local variant called Monaco crackers and that's what I used today.

Nothing could be simpler than making these treats. But the end result is so satisfying. You get the subtle mintiness from the dark chocolate and the crunch from  the crackers and all in all, I think its a fantastic combination. I know I'll be making these often.

Thin Mints
Recipe from: Averie Cooks
Makes a dozen

120-150g good quality dark chocolate
A few drops of peppermint extract (Its fairly strong, so start with a couple of drops and add gradually till you get the strength of flavor you're looking for)
12 crackers (Ritz / Monaco)

Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler.

Add the peppermint extract and stir well. Taste and adjust flavoring if needed.
(Note: If you accidentally add too much extract, you can still salvage the chocolate, simply add more melted chocolate to the bowl and mix. This should dilute the flavor.)

Dip the crackers in the chocolate and lift up using a fork. Let the excess chocolate drip off.

Place on a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to set. Alternatively, you could also leave these to set at room temperature.

Enjoy your very own almost homemade Thin Mints.

Don't forget to stop by and check out what the others have brought to the table for Week 6 of our 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats series, hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Week 5 of 12WOCT: Besan ke ladoo

Today, I'm going to share with you a wonderful Indian sweet. This little gems make an appearance at every Indian festival. I love them so much that I can have them anytime of the year. I'm talking about none other than the famous Besan ke ladoo - famous in India atleast :) A "besan ka ladoo" is a little ball made out of sweetened chickpea flour, some clarified butter or ghee and flavored with some cardamom. Though this is not typically made for Christmas, I see no reason why it can't be included on the platter. Moreover, its simple to make and really quick to put together. The best part is that there is absolutely no wheat flour, this treat uses only chickpea flour, so even those on a gluten free diet should be able to enjoy them. They have a wonderfully nutty taste, they're creamy in texture and can be topped either with raisins or a piece of cashew nut or really anything else of your choice. I went with raisins this time.

Besan ke Ladoo
Recipe from: Cumin and Cardamom

1 1/2 cup tightly packed Chickpea flour (besan)
3/4 cup ghee (clarified butter), melted
1 1/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
Some raisins for topping

In a nonstick pan, over low heat melt the ghee and then tip in the chickpea flour (besan). Mix well and cook for about 7-8 minutes on low heat or till the mixture starts smelling nice and nutty. Keep stirring all the while so that it doesn't burn.

Take off the heat and leave it to cool completely.

Add the sugar and cardamom powder. Mix well and let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes.

Divide into 24 portions and roll into small balls (ladoos). Place a raisin on top and this yummy treat is ready.

Note: If the dough feels too soft when shaping into balls, don't worry. Shape them anyway and leave them to stand for about 15-20 minutes. The mixture should dry out a little during this time. Then re-shape them into balls and they should hold their shape now.

I placed them in little brown paper cups. You can then easily place them in little boxes to give them away.

Don't forget to check what the others have put together for this weeks edition of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Week 4 of 12WOCT: Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Week 4 is here and this week I decided to finally get my act together and try out some delicious biscotti. Can you believe I've been eyeing biscotti posts and saving recipes for about 2 years now and still hadn't made it at home? Thats something I tend to do, there's so many yummy posts and sources of inspiration out there that I end up saving tonnes of recipes but its usually a while before I try some of them :(

Anyway, I am so glad that I finally tried these out and needless to say, I'm hooked. I loved this recipe. It was simple to make and resulted in a nice crisp cookie, studded with little green jewels in the form of the pistachio. It tasted pretty great too, chocolaty and not too sweet. I think that's what I like about it the most. If you tend to like your cookies sweeter, you may want to add more sugar. I think I'll keep these just the way they are. And I know I'll be making more of these. They'd be perfect for the holidays.

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
Recipe from: Skinny Taste

1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp  baking powder
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup whole pistachios
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Prepare a cookie tray. I used my brand new silicone mat. :) It was perfect, no more greasing tins or paper for me atleast while making cookies.

Combine the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Add the nuts and stir.

Cream the butter and sugar for 1 1/2-2 minutes on medium speed. I used an electric hand blender.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined to make a dough.

Divide the dough into 2-3 pieces and shape them into long, flattish logs about 8" long and 1 1/2-2" wide.

Place these logs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

When its cool enough to handle, using a sharp knife, gently cut the loaf at an angle into thin slices. (If you don't use a sharp knife, your loaf will end up crumbling all over the place.)

Place the slices on the baking sheet, fitting as many as you can on the sheet. Bake it for about 4-5 minutes on each side. (Little shorter time if you like a softer cookie.)

Enjoy them with a hot cup of coffee.

Do check out what the others have made this week and will continue to do so every Thursday for another 8 weeks :) If you'd like to join in on the baking fun, visit our hostess Brenda's blog - Meal Planning Magic and fill out this form and she'll send you the details.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 3 of 12WOCT: Candied Popcorn

Would you believe how time has flown by? We're already at week 3 of our 12 week series where a group of wonderful bloggers posts about some yummy treat they would like to add to their Christmas platter of goodies or use as gifts etc. This week I am a little late, however I have a super quick, super easy and super yum treat to share with you. I came across this post while researching Raina's blog for my last month's assignment for the Secret Recipe Club. I was itching to try it out and it worked out wonderfully well that 12WOCT gave me an opportunity to do just that. I made it in typical Christmas colors - Red and Green, but you could simply use whatever color you'd like and use little packets of these as party favors as well. With a little pretty packing, ribbons and some embellishment, they'd made a pretty addition to a gift basket. Let's talk about the taste, shall we? Its a lovely slightly salty popcorn flavor coupled with the sweetness of the sugary coating. So yes, it is sweet but it is hard to stop munching on them. So what are you waiting for? Go on then, and fix yourself a batch of candied popcorn. You'll be enjoying them in about all of 15 minutes, 10 minutes if you have no patience and don't mind trying them out while they're still hot (like me ;) ). Yes, they're that quick to put together.

Candied Popcorn
Recipe from: Connor's Cooking

1/2 cup popcorn kernels, unpopped
Salt, to taste
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp water
1/2 tsp food color of your choice

Pop the popcorn kernels, salt to taste and set aside.

In a pan large enough to fit the popcorn and toss them, place the sugar, butter, vanilla, water and food color and bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring continuously.

Cook for 1 minute at a rolling boil and remove from the heat. Add the popcorn to the pan and toss using a spoon to coat well.

Leave to set for about 10 minutes.

Serve or pack and store.

If you'd like to be a part of our 12 WOCT series, drop by our hostess Brenda's blog, Meal Planning Magic and fill out this form and she'll send you the details you need.

Don't forget to check out what the others cooked up.

Monday, October 8, 2012

SRC: Pure Magic Truffles

For this month's installment of SRC, I was assigned Raina's blog Connor's Cooking. Now this doesn't happen to me very often, infact this would be a first. Usually I'm torn between a multitude of options that I could try out for SRC and I just can't make up my mind. However, as soon as I started looking though this blog, there was one thing I knew I had to make ASAP. There was so much yumminess listed there, but I had a surprising clarity about what I was going to make - why the oreo balls ofcourse! I've seen similar treats all over the place in the form of cookie pops or cake pops but just never got around to trying them out. I knew for a fact that this was the month that I would hop onto the pop bandwagon. There was just one little thing - I don't really like Oreo all that much, but we have another company here that manufactures a packet of biscuits called 'Pure Magic' - these are very similar to the Oreo cookies but I think they're much tastier. So I decided I was going to make these pops by simply switching the biscuits.

Making these couldn't have been easier or simpler. I'm so glad I decided to make these treats. Now I'll have a sweet treat in my arsenal that I can whip up without even breaking a sweat. I see these creeping into my Christmas goodies platters too. You might want to make a few extras. Even though they're fairly indulgent, they're very more-ish, it's hard to stop at just one. I found myself reaching out for another one after a couple of minutes. With a tall glass of milk, these will disappear for sure.

Pure Magic Truffles
(Makes 1 dozen)

2 packets of Pure Magic biscuits (200g in all)
60g cream cheese
Melted chocolate (Dark / White)

Pulse the cookies in a food processor till they reach a fine crumb stage.

Stir in the cream cheese and mix well.

Roll into balls. Refrigerate them for about an hour.

Melt some chocolate and dip these cookie balls in them, shake off the excess and leave to set.

Decorate as desired. I just used contrasting chocolate but I think sprinkles would be cute too.

Don't forget to check out what the others in Group A have made this month. Thank you Jane Bonacci for hosting Group A month after month. You're the best!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Week 2 of 12WOCT: Walnut Toffee Shortbread

** This post contains affiliate links.

It is indeed Week 2 of our 12 week party. I think this ones going to fly by faster that the previous ones. This week, I used a recipe from "The Cookie Book", the original one being a Pecan Toffee Shortbread. Well pecans aren't available here, so I used the next best thing - Walnuts. I've wanted to try this recipe for a while. It has a hint of coffee, some toffee, some nuts for crunch and is in all quite a treat. This is quick and easy to put together. A few things I will do when I make these next is chop up the walnuts into smaller pieces and probably cook the toffee for a couple of minutes more, I would've liked it a little thicker. But overall, I like the cookie, it goes well with my afternoon cup of tea.  My sister in law and her husband dropped by the day after these were made and I served these bars up with a hot cup of tea and they were wiped off - isn't it the best when that happens? If you like walnuts, you'll like these.

Walnut Toffee Shortbread
Makes 20

For the cookie base - 
1 tbsp coffee powder
1 tbsp recently boiled water (still hot)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup cornflour
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease and line a 7" x 11" pan with grease proof paper.

Pour the coffee powder in a small bowl and pour the water over it and dissolve. (I used instant coffee, if using ground coffee, leave to steep for 4 minutes, then strain and keep aside.)

Cream the butter, peanut butter, coffee and sugar until light. Sift in the flour and cornflour together and mix well to make a smooth dough.

Press into the base of the tin evenly and prick all over the base with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes.

For the topping - 
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup / light corn syrup
1 cup shelled walnuts, chopped

Put the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan and heat until melted.

Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the nuts and spread the topping evenly over the cooked base.

Leave to cool in the tin itself.

Cut into bars or squares, remove from the tin and serve.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats is hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic. We'd love for you to participate with us. If you'd like to join up, please fill up this form and Brenda will send you the necessary details.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Sandwich

Today's post for me is a bittersweet one. One of our dear members of the SRC, Daniel Saraga of The Haggis and The Herring, passed away recently. His demise was an unexpected one. His wife Meredith posted a very touching eulogy which gives you an insight into the lovely person Daniel was. His passing came as a great shock to our group of bloggers. Even though I'd never met him personally, I teared up as soon as I read about this. It is amazing the bonds that blogging forms and nurtures. Daniel was a cheerful spirit and I know he will be greatly missed. As part of a tribute to honor him, the SRC members have come together and  decided to showcase a recipe from his blog.

I was pressed for time, but I wanted to be a part of this tribute. So I picked a sandwich for today's reveal. Even though this humble sandwich is so simple to put together, it is absolutely delicious. Further more, it is extremely versatile, so you can easily switch things up to suit your preferences. I made this for breakfast today and I know that this sandwich will feature now and again at our breakfast table. So here's to Daniel and his wonderful family. Meredith, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this trying time.

Breakfast Sandwich
Makes 1

2 slices of fresh white bread
2 rashers of bacon, fried to your liking
1 egg, fried easy over
Salt and crushed black pepper, to taste
A small knob of butter
Grated cheese (Use whatever you like)
Tomato ketchup
Thai Sriracha sauce

Spread a little butter on one slice of bread.

Place the egg and the rashers of bacon over it.

Place the grated cheese over the eggs and bacon.

Pour a few drops of Thai Sriracha sauce over it. Use this hot sauce to taste.

On the other slice, spread some tomato ketchup and top the sandwich with it.

Sit back and enjoy with a steaming hot mug of coffee.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Week 1 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats: Candied Spiced Nuts

Welcome to this years edition of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (12WOCT). This will be my third year participating and its always been heaps of fun. Christmas is my most favorite time of the year. I wait very eagerly all through the year for it. For the past two years I've posted recipes both old and new, some all time favorites and some that have joined that league right from the get go. This year I want to do something a little different. I'm hoping to make and post about treats and recipes that are a little out of my comfort zone, stuff I've never tried before.

This brings me to my first post for the year. I decided to 'go nuts' right at the start ;) I've always loved these little munchies, either plain roasted or spiced, but have never tried making them at home. So I decided it was the perfect time to give these a go. And am I glad I did! These candied nuts are so easy to put together. With  minimal time and effort you can whip up a batch of this and I know I'm going to add these to my platters of goodies that I'll be sending out to friends and family this year. I'll probably use some festive cellophane packing and dress it up with a little bow. I'll try and get a picture up for when I do that later this year. For now, I'm gonna enjoy having a little jar of these to snack on. Oh, did I tell you that these are really delicious and addictive. 

Candied Spiced Nuts
Recipe by: Emeril Lagasse

2 cups mixed nuts (I used a mix of almonds, cashewnuts and walnuts)
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp water
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix the spice powders and salt and set aside.

Heat nuts in a dry skillet to roast lightly, stirring to prevent them from burning for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add the butter, sugar, water and spice mix to the hot skillet and cook, stirring frequently to make a lovely glaze. This should take about 1 minute. 

Tip the nuts back into the skillet and toss to coat the nuts with the glaze. Cook for about 1-2 minutes or until the nuts are glazed and golden brown.

Take the skillet of the heat and transfer the nuts to a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil, separating them with a fork. Leave it till cool and the sugar has hardened. This should take roughly 10-15 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

I'd like to say "Thank you" to Brenda of Meal Planning Magic for hosting this years 12WOCT. If you'd like to be a part of this delicious merriment, get in touch with Brenda and she'll include you in the group. Hope you can join us!

 Don't forget to check out what the other fabulous bloggers have made - 

Monday, September 3, 2012

SRC: Double Chocolate Scones

Its SRC reveal time again. What a ride The Secret Recipe Club has been! I've been a part of it for more than a year now and have had a blast. I've been a part of Group B since the member were first split into groups and have gotten to know some wonderful people there. This month though, is my first month with Group A and at the helm is Jane Evans Bonacci a.k.a The Heritage Cook. I'm looking forward to meeting all the wonderful folks in Group A; I can't wait.

This month, I was assigned Noelle's blog - Opera Singer in the Kitchen. Hi Noelle!!! You can head over to check out some of her performance videos. She is mommy to the gorgeous little Julianne and is currently expecting her 2nd little bundle of joy. Oh and she blogs regularly. I'm in awe of her ability to do it all. I had the most wonderful time going through her blog this month and have made a nice little list of things I'd like to try. For this months reveal, I picked the Double Chocolate Scones. Things have been insane around here lately and I needed a chocolate fix. This seemed perfect. It was so simple to put together and in no time I was sitting back with some lovely warm scones.

I didn't make any changes to the recipe except for swapping the heavy cream for yogurt, since I was out of cream and cut down on the amount of chocolate chips. The scones still turned out really well. As a personal preference, I think I will make these with Vanilla extract the next time and maybe add some toasted chopped hazelnuts to switch things up.

Double Chocolate Scones
Makes 8

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa, unsweetened
1 tbsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed (I used salted and reduced the amount of salt)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup yogurt, unflavored (The original recipe calls for cream)
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Icing sugar for sprinkling, optional

Line and grease a cookie sheet with baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Sift the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder together to make sure they've mixed well.

Place these dry ingredients in a bowl and add the sugar. Stir to incorporate well.

Rub the cold butter into the dry ingredients till it reaches a crumb stage.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, yogurt and the extract to blend them well.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones, add the chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon to form the batter.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to an 8" disc and cut into 8 wedges or cut using a biscuit cutter. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Serve them warm or cool completely and store. Sprinkle with icing sugar (if using) when the are cool.

Do you wanna see what they look like on the inside? Absolutely yummmmm!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

SRC: Smokey Potato Salad with Pan fried Chicken

Welcome to this month's installment of the Secret Recipe Club or SRC. I can't believe another month has gone by too. My posts on this blog have been rather sparse lately but I absolutely look forward to SRC reveal days every month. Oh! by the way, I have to share whats been taking up so much of my time lately - I've gone back to college - I'm pursuing a course on Baking, Pastry and Confectionery. It has been action packed and very labor intensive, but I've learnt so many new things. This has got to be one of the best things I've done, ever. It makes me feel like I'm another step closer to starting my own cafe. More on that later, when I can spare some time to breathe! :)

Back to SRC. This month I was assigned a blog called Avocado Pesto written by Vicky. Vicky is fairly new to SRC, this month being her second. Welcome to the club Vicky! I hope you're having fun here! Do stop by when you get the chance, there's some lovely recipes you can pick from there. Vicky is soon going to embark on a 2 year trip backpacking around Europe and Asia along with her boyfriend D. It sounds really exciting and I can hardly wait to read about their travel exploits. My husband and I have a similar trip in mind, only not so soon. Maybe a few years down the line, fingers crossed. But I can sure use a few tips.

For this months reveal, I found it incredibly hard to stick to just one recipe. So I decided to do two instead. This was a lovely little meal in itself, easy to put together and incredibly flavorful. I made a delightfully Smokey Potato Salad. And guess what made the salad smokey - BACON. Prior to this, I had never tried bacon in potato salad, but it is so good in there, it makes me wonder why I didn't try it out before. I used Vicky's recipe for Grilled Chicken Thighs but pan fried mine instead of grilling it. I had to make a few adjustments due to non availability of a few ingredients. The result was still fantastic. I see myself making this quite a few times. But do forgive the picture quality - I had to use my phone for these pictures since my camera battery had run out of juice. Also, I think exhaustion makes you do some pretty weird stuff. I cannot figure out why I used this plate, you can barely see the chicken. However, do NOT let these pictures fool you. We loved the meal, and if you love fried chicken, bacon and potato salad (not necessarily in that order), I know you will too.

Smokey Potato Salad
(Serves 4-5 as a side)

2-3 potatoes, boiled and cubed
3 rashers of bacon, fried and finely sliced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
3/4 cup yogurt (natural and unflavored)
2 heaped tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp chives (I used the dried, bottled variety)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Mix together all the ingredients except the potatoes. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Add the potatoes and stir gently to make sure all the potatoes are well coated with the dressing.

NOTE: This salad makes for great left overs. Keep refrigerated. The smokiness gets more pronounced the next day.

Pan-fried Chicken

1/4 kg chicken pieces (You can use breast, thighs or chunks)
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp soya sauce
A sprinkle of red chilli flakes, to taste
1 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
Salt, to taste

Mix all the ingredients except the chicken, to form your marinade.

Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and toss well. Keep aside for about 30 minutes.

Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan and fry the chicken pieces till done. (You can also grill them).

Enjoy an awesome weeknight meal!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Zebra Cake

This week, you're in for a visual treat - my first attempt at a zebra cake. I fell in love with these stripes ever since I first saw them. However, months passed till I actually got down to making this beauty. The cake was simple to make. I was a little anxious during the process, but was very happy with the end result. This cake does not use butter. I'll be honest, I'm not a big fan of cakes without butter - I'm not too crazy about the taste. However, I read in a few places that this cake is all about the consistency of the batter and since this was my first time trying it, I didn't want to experiment. I stuck with the original recipe and now that I know what to expect, I'm going to experiment with my tried and tested (not to mention - much loved) sponge cake recipe.

If you like the way it looks, you should try it out sometime. You'll be amazed at how simple it is. Once you've tried it out, you can switch the recipe if you wish to. Have fun!

Zebra Cake
Recipe from: AZ Cookbook
Makes one 9" cake

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 cup veg. oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp baking powder or 1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Grease and line the cake pan and keep aside.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Cream the eggs and sugar till light and fluffly.

Add the milk, vanilla extract and oil and continue beat till it is well combined.

In another bowl, sift the flour and the baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, mixing till incorporated. Do not overbeat.

Divide the batter into 2 equal portions. Keep one as it is and add the cocoa powder to the other and mix well.

To assemble the cake, remember that you need to work quickly. Start by spooning 3 heaped tbsp of the plain batter in the middle of the prepared cake pan. Then spoon the same amount of cocoa batter over this batter in the middle. DO NOT TILT OR TWIRL THE PAN. JUST KEEP SPOONING THE BATTER ONE OVER THE OTHER ALTERNATING THEM. The batter will spread out on its own. Don't try to help it do that or you'll interfere with the lines. Continue till all the batter is done.

Carefully place the pan in the oven, trying not to disturb the layers. Bake for about 40 minutes or till done.

Remove from the oven and take the cake out of the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

You'll have yourself a gorgeous looking cake. Stand back and admire.

NOTE - For step-by-step pictures stop by AZ Cookbook.

Now, aren't these pretty -

Monday, July 16, 2012

SRC: Nutty Cinnamon Bars

Time sure does fly by real fast when you're having fun. And it is time for this months SRC reveal. This month I was Secrets from the Cookie Princess. Such a pretty name and such a pretty blog. I've spent hours going through The Cookie Princess' a.k.a Colleen's blog. I've had my eye on this blog for a while. Colleen has a huge collection of cookie posts. When I say huge, I mean HUGE. Saying "I was spoiled for choice" would be an understatement. I had such a hard time narrowing it down to one recipe for reveal day. In addition to her cookies, she has some other yummies too. I can wait to try this Pita Bread, her Roasted Garlic Flatbread and these Mini Fritttatas. However, since her blog is called Secrets from the Cookie Princess I knew from the start that I was going to try out a cookie recipe to being with. Also, its been ages since I made cookies at home. One glance at the Recipe Archive and I knew I was in trouble. I have a whole list of cookies and bars that I want to try out.

Coming back to today's post, I decided to try out Colleen's Cinnamon Bars. I'm not too sure if they're supposed to be softer like a blondie or crisper like a cookie. Mine ended up more on the crisper side like a cookie. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, just curious. Either way, the kitchen smelled wonderful while these were baking. These bars tasted wonderful. We absolutely loved them. The original recipe calls for pecans and I wanted to use almonds, but ended up using walnuts. I can't wait to see what these will be like with almonds. I know I'll be making these every now and then. Maybe the next time I'll try baking them for a slightly shorter while and see what they turn out like. Maybe I'll add some chocolate chips or even drizzle them with melted chocolate. The possibilities seem endless. All I know is that I've found a good base recipe and I intend keeping it. Thank you Colleen.

Nutty Cinnamon Bars
(Yields 24 bars)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon powder
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 170ºC.

Grease a 9" x 13" pan and keep aside.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl till light and fluffy. 

Add the egg yolk and the cinnamon powder and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Sift the flour and add it to the bowl 1 cup at a time and mix until combined. You should end up with a crumbly dough.

Press the dough evenly into the greased pan.

Pour the egg white over it and spread it around making sure it has coated the entire surface. Drain off any excess.

Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over this base and lightly press into the dough.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Let it cool in the pan itself. When cool, cut into bars. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fish N Chips with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Even though I'm not British or Australian for that matter, or have never been to these countries, Fish N Chips has established itself as comfort food in my household. A lot of times when we'd go out for dinner, especially to Pop Tate's (now Jughead's - near Movietime, Malad), one of our favorite things to order had to be their Fish N Chips. What hooked me onto this was their tartar sauce. It was so good, I could literally enjoy it by itself. After quite a few dinner's there and spending quite a buck, I wondered if it would be possible to try and replicate this at home. So after going through a few searches on the internet, I had a rough idea of what would go into the sauce and I decided to wing it from there on.

The results were amazing. I was astonished at how simple the entire meal was to put together. We were feasting on Fish N Chips in no time at all. Would I dare compare it with the one from Pop Tate's. This time around, hell yeah! My version was just as good, if not better and my husband agrees. Now we no longer have to go out to tuck into a platter. Every single element on this plate can be made from scratch. Isn't that wonderful.

Fish N Chips
Serves 2

For the fish:

4-6 fillets of fish depending on the size (I used 2 Premium Basa fillets from Hypercity and cut it into smaller pieces. You can use any fish you like, preferably not the tinier ones.)

I simply crumb fried these fillets. I used the same recipe like the one for Crumb Fried Prawns.

Try not to fidget with the fish while it is frying as it is fairly delicate. Once it develops a nice golden brown crust on one side, flip it over and let the other side cook.

For the chips:

Use 2 potatoes, more if you'd like a larger portion of chips. I used the recipe for my Homemade French Fries.

For the tartar sauce:

1/3 cup Mayonnaise (This time around I used some store bought Mayo, that I happened to have on hand, but you could just as easily whip up some on your own. Click here to find out how.)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
Some chives, chopped (I didn't have any fresh chives at hand, so I used dried chives)
A spoon of Pickled Sweet Cucumber Relish (I had a jar of this so I used it, otherwise I would've just thrown in some finely chopped cucumber)
A large squirt of lime juice

Place all these ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix.

Check for seasoning and adjust the ingredients as required to suit your taste.

Keep refrigerated till you're ready to serve. Stir before serving.

This recipe is linked to - 
Real Food Wednesday
It's a Keeper Thursday
Full Plate Thursday

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thick Strawberry Milkshake

Something of a sequel to my thick mango milkshake, here's my take on a thick strawberry milkshake. Simple, quick and so tasty. Once you try these, you'll be hooked. I used frozen strawberries for this since fresh strawberry season is over here :( These actually worked to my advantage as it resulted in a thicker milkshake, like a gelato. I had to use some milk to thin it down a little. However if fresh strawberries are easily available, by all means please use them. You may not even need to use milk to thin it down. This makes a really pretty drink in my opinion. :)

Thick Strawberry Milkshake
Makes 2 glasses

1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups vanilla ice-cream
12-15 frozen strawberries, hulled
A couple of splashes of milk, if needed

Blend all the ingredients together till you're left with a smooth milk shake.

If you want your milkshake sweeter, feel free to add a sweetener to your liking.

Add more berries for a more fruity flavor or cut down the quantity of strawberries if that suits you better.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thick Mango Milkshake

A real treat for those crazy summer days is a good milkshake. In the past, I used to make mine with fruit or berries or chocolate and milk. It acted as a good cooler, but I could never get it to be as thick as the ones found commercially. And we really love a thick milkshake.

 A well made, thick milkshake is really hard to come by these days. Don't get me wrong! When you step into a McDonald's outlet or the like, you can sure get what they call a thick milkshake, but honestly it tastes so artificial and who really knows what goes into one. So once I started using the internet to check out recipes and other wonderful resources and how to's on food etc. I realized what I had to do to make a nice thick milkshake was simple freeze the fruit and add some yogurt for a healthy treat or for a more indulgent one use ice cream instead of milk. This changed our whole home made milk shake experience.Sure you still can't be too sure about what goes into commercially made ice cream, but atleast I have the satisfaction of using actual fruit instead of just flavors and sugar. And a homemade milkshake tastes so much better.

I had to make a mango milkshake before my favorite fruit went out of season. This thick mango milkshake that I make uses just 3 simple ingredients. The measures given make 2 glasses, but you can easily adjust the amount to make more or even tweak the flavors or the thickness. So have fun this summer with your very own homemade milkshakes.

Thick Mango Milkshake

1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
Pulp of 2 ripe mangoes (You can use any variety you like)
A couple of splashes of milk (Depending on how thick you want your milkshake)

Blend all the ingredients together till you get a smooth milk shake.

If you want your milkshake sweeter, feel free to add a sweetener to your liking.

Add more mango for a more fruity flavor or cut down the quantity of mango if that suits you better.

Most importantly have fun.

This recipe has been linked to -
Mix It Up Monday
Mangia Mondays
Just Another Meatless Monday
My Meatless Mondays
Hearth & Soul
A Little Birdie Told Me
Crazy Sweet Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Monday, June 11, 2012

SRC: WW, Oatmeal and Raisin muffins

Yay, its reveal day for Group B at SRC again. SRC or Secret Recipe Club was founded by Amanda over a year ago and she has now passed the baton on to April who looks after the functioning of the club. Suzanne is our Group B hostess and along with the other hostesses makes sure that all the SRC members have a great time every month. If you'd like to join in, check out the SRC page now as there is a bit of wait list to get into the club. But its all worth it. I've had so much fun in the last few months. You can check out all my previous submissions here.

This month my assigned blog was BetsyLife. Hi Betsy! I had so much fun catching up with her blog. She has so many wonderful recipes. You have to check them out. I cant wait to try some of her cookie recipes. And oh, I've been looking for a Kimchi recipe forever, and she has one. I also stumbled upon some coconut shortbread and its been stuck in my head since I first saw it over on her blog. I know I will try that out too. Latkes anyone? I know its nowhere close to Hannukah but Betsy has a post on Cilantro Jalapeno Latkes and I can only imagine how good those are. I hope to try all of them out soon. But for this months reveal I picked on these gorgeous muffins that are full of wholesome goodness. Just take a look at the ingredients list. I knew right then that I was going to make these. I'd made some oatmeal and raisin cookies before and really enjoyed them, so I knew these would be a treat too. The original recipe calls for wheat germ and wheat bran. I didn't have any wheat germ so I just used wheat bran instead. They were good, really good. They will be perfect for breakfast. These are not too sweet and I guess thats why they were a winner in my book. However, if you like your muffins on the sweeter side, you will need to add more sugar, honey or whatever sweetener you prefer.

Wholewheat, Oatmeal and Raisin muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 tbsp wheat bran
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup chopped, pitted dates
1/3 cup seedless raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup boiling water

In a large mixing bowl place the wheat flour, sugars, bran, baking soda and salt and stir together.

Stir in the oats, dates, raisins and cranberries.

In a seperate bowl, mix the buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg.

Make a well in the flour mix and pour the wet ingredients in, stirring till just moist. 

Stir in the boiling water. (I should let you know that here I just added the water to the other wet ingredients and tipped them all into the flour mix at one go since I somehow missed this little detail while going through the recipe. They turned out perfectly though.)

Let the batter stand for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Brush the muffin tins with a little oil, butter or some cooking spray.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 15-20 minutes or till muffins spring back when touched lightly in the center.

Don't forget to stop by and check out what the other members of Group B made this month!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Today, I'm extremely happy. Wanna know why? It rained this morning and the weather is so pleasant. After months of blistering summer heat, this is a welcome change. I've been waiting for the rains for a while now. I still have a couple of summer recipes that I haven't yet posted, but seeing as to how summer is just kicking in in some parts of the world, I'll post them over the next few days. Get ready to see a few more baked goodies now. I'm so happy I can comfortably use my oven again.

But before we get there, I must tell you about this awesome Vanilla Bean Ice Cream I recently made. I mentioned it here and then almost forgot about it. This morning, while going through some pictures, I happened upon the ones I'd clicked of the ice cream and realized I hadn't posted it yet. So here goes. This is a little more complex than the other ice cream recipes I've made in the past. All the previous ones have been simple, no churn recipes. This, however, requires you to make your own custard. In the past, the thought of making my own custard had intimidated me big time, but I wanted to get over it, so I followed the recipe down to the letter and managed to whip up a wonderful custard. The process really was quite simple and left me wondering what all the fuss was about.

This ice cream was like none I've had in the past. It had a lovely taste, so much more like custard that the commercially available vanilla ice cream. I think it should be called frozen custard or something like that. Needless to say I enjoyed it very much and I hope you do too. Since I don't have an ice cream maker, I simply froze it and when it had almost set I whipped it a couple of times every couple of hours, to try and get a creamier texture. If you do own an ice cream maker, by all means take advantage of it and use according to manufacturer's instructions.

Don't forget to enter my cookbook giveaway, if you haven't yet. The giveaway ends on 10th June 2012.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Recipe by: Nigel Slater

600 ml milk
1 plump vanilla pod
6 egg yolks
150g caster sugar

Pour the milk into a saucepan.

Slit the vanilla pod and scrape the beans into the milk, using the blunt edge of the knife and then drop the pod in too.

Bring the mixture almost to a boil - this is known as scalding. Turn the heat off before the mixture comes to a boil. Leave it to rest for about 30 minutes so that the vanilla infuses its flavor into the milk.

Beat the egg yolks and the sugar well. It should be light and fluffy.

Pour the milk through a sieve into the beaten eggs, stirring well till you get a thin custard. Pour this custard into a clean saucepan.

Place the pan on moderate heat and stir continuously using a wooden spoon, bringing it slowly towards a boil.

Once the custard is thick enough to thinly coat the back of the wooden spoon, your custard is ready. Take it off the heat and pour it into a cold container and leave it to cool.

Without ice cream maker - Once it has cooled, freeze for a couple of hours and just before it has set, whisk it up again. You can use a blender for this. Repeat this once or twice again every couple of hours.

With ice cream maker - Once it has cooled, refrigerate for half and hour before churning. Pour into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Note - I thought I should mention the cautionary note by Nigel. Since I don't have any prior experience with custard, I am in no position to offer you my opinion, but I think its important that you have this tip handy. He says and I quote "The custard must not reach boiling point, but should start to thicken before it gets there. If you overheat the custard it will curdle (I guarantee), so make certain that the spoon gets right into the corners of the pan. Your most helpful utensil will be a sink of cold water. If there is even the remotest sign of curdling, quickly dunk the pan into a sink of cold water to cool the sauce down and whisk like you mean it."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tropical Summer Smoothie

I know how erratic my posts have become on the blog lately. Heck, some of you, I'm sure, are wondering how come there's another post so soon. I've been loaded with work lately and that's always a good thing. I'm so eager to show you some of the stuff I've been working on once they're done. But till then, here a quick, simple and yummy smoothie to keep you going. They're perfect for summer. I'm seriously considering putting them into popsicle moulds the next time I make it. I popped all my fruit into the freezer overnight so I didn't need to use any ice.

Tropical Summer Smoothie
Makes 2-3 servings

10-12 strawberries, frozen
3 ripe bananas, frozen and chopped into pieces
Flesh of 2 mangoes, frozen
Sugar / sweetener to taste
Approx. 1/4-1/2 cup of unflavored yogurt

Pop all the ingredients into the blender and give it a whiz. 

Serve chilled.

Easy peasy, isn't it?

Do check out and participate in my ongoing giveaway. You can find the details here.

This recipe is linked to - 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My 200th Blog Post and My 1st Ever Giveaway

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed and the winner will be announced shortly. Stay tuned.

Thanks everybody for participating. The winner for this giveaway is - 

Comment #16 - Miz Helen - "Hi Trisha,Congratulations on your 200th post! I have followed your blog for a long time and always enjoy your post. This is a great cookbook that would be a perfect addition to my collection of well over 200 hundred cookbooks. My favorite of all of those is the one that my Grandmother wrote in her own hand writing, it is awesome! Thanks for sharing with us!
Miz Helen"

Congratulations Miz Helen!

Can you believe it? This is my 200th post. I'm pleasantly surprised. When I started out, I thought I would be able to keep going for a while, but was wondering how long that would be. Turns out I ♥ blogging. I also absolutely love checking out other blogs, getting to know the bloggers and checking out their wonderful creations. Its been really inspiring.

Of course, my primary source of inspiration comes from the piles of recipe books that I own. I can tell you that this habit started a long time ago. I remember right from my college days, I would gather my pocket money and spend it on recipe books, specially the ones with fabulous pictures. In those days, I didn't really check the index out too keenly. I must also tell you that back then, I wasn't too keen on cooking. I took special interest only in sweets and cakes. So my first few books were mostly about desserts. I still remember my Mum getting frantic each time I came home with yet another book. I could spend hours admiring them but never really got into the kitchen to whip up something. So her concern was "what ever was I going to do with my ever growing pile of cookbooks, considering I never used them?" Well Mum, I'm glad to report that I now use every single one of them and I'm really happy that I picked them up when I did.

Its now more than 10 years later and I still have a thing for cookbooks. Needless to say, there is also loads of information, recipes and pictures on endless sites and food blogs. So my growing stack of recipe books is in check, though I still add to it regularly.

I thought I would take this occasion to give something back. I want to say "Thank you" to each and every one of you who stop by regularly or just the once, those who follow my blog publicly or silently - in the shadows - I would really like to know you better, so if you are one of those who just stops by once in a while or leaves me anonymous comments, its time for you to step out of the shadows :) and also all you wonderful folks that take time out to leave me comments, I do love comments, so please keep the love coming. And it doesn't end at that. I'm going to give you the opportunity to participate in my first ever giveaway. I recently came across this beauty of a book on desserts and one lucky ready will have their very own copy.

This gorgeous book is something one should have handy. Its filled with wonderful dessert recipes covering a wide variety of goodies like meringues, souffles, mousses, pies, chocolate desserts, puddings, frozen desserts, fruit desserts to name a few, complete with gorgeous pictures and all.

How to participate - 

This giveaway is open to all. Participation in this giveaway is very simple.

1) You need to follow this blog, and comment on this post and let me know that you're a follower. If you already follow the blog, simply leave a comment and let me know.

I'd also love to hear a little about you. So please include the answer to this question in your comment - How many cookbooks do you have and which one is your favorite? I can't wait to hear from you. If you don't want to answer the question, you can still participate, just leave a comment on this post. :)

2) You can increase your chances of winning by following me on twitter and tweeting about this giveaway, following My Hobbie Lobbie on Facebook and blogging about this giveaway. Once you've done this, please leave me a separate comment for each of these. This allows you 3 additional chances to win.

3) The giveaway ends on 10th June 2012. The winner will be randomly picked and announced soon after. Please make sure I can get in touch with you. If you don't have a blog, please leave me an email address so that I can contact you.

Good Luck!!!

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored giveaway.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

No churn Blueberry Ice Cream

Every summer, our consumption of ice cream, yogurt and other frozen yummies goes up like clockwork. I guess its just natural. Given that every summer is exponentially hotter than the last, or atleast seems like it, I'm not surprised. This year as summer kicked it, I knew what was in store. And right enough, we are now in what perhaps is the hottest month of the year. Last year, I'd tried my hand at a couple of ice creams - a delicious mango ice cream and a honey and roasted almonds ice cream,  both no churn, made without an ice cream machine. They were a big hit and this year I wanted to try out a few more. When I checked online there were so very many options, it was impossible to pick. So I went by what I had on hand. I made some vanilla bean ice cream and this yummy blueberry ice cream. More on the vanilla bean ice cream later.

It just so happens that I love blueberries. I think a lot of folks do. But you see, here in Mumbai, finding fresh blueberries is impossible. And its the same with frozen ones too. Back in Goa, these little gems grow wild and till date I remember our annual vacation trips to Goa and how we'd go berry picking every once in a while. I used to look forward to it all year. We don't go there as often anymore, not in the summer atleast. So when I was in Panchgani on one of our weekend getaways, I spotted a Blueberry crush at a Manama factory outlet. I was elated and picked it up at once. I knew this was as close to the real thing that I would get for a while. It tastes divine and even has little berry pieces.  And this crush is what I used for this no churn ice cream. However, if you are fortunate enough to have access to the berries, fresh or frozen, I would suggest using it, I can only imagine how much better it would make this ice cream. I didn't use any sugar, since I used Rich's sweetened soya cream.

No Churn Blueberry Ice Cream

200g Rich's sweetened soya cream
Manama's Blueberry crush, to taste

Whip the cream till it is nice and light and fluffy.

Add the crush to the cream and stir well to incorporate thoroughly.

Taste and add more crush as required and mix well.


This recipe is linked to -
Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweets for a Saturday
Weekend Potluck
My Meatless Mondays
Savory Sunday
Mix it up Monday
Mangia Mondays

Disclaimer - This is not a sponsored post. All views and opinions are my own.

Monday, May 14, 2012

SRC - Chocolate Fudge Tarts

At the start of this year I honestly thought I would be able to dedicate more time to this blog. I had a few plans and unfortunately, they've still remained plans. I intend getting to work on those plans soon, so fingers crossed, you should see more frequent posts here. It seems like the stars seem to have something else in mind for me altogether. I've been awfully busy with work and some medical issues - my husband had to get knee surgery done week before last, and that didn't allow me to spend more time here. But I'm really glad to be a part of the Secret Recipe Club, because month after month, this blog party makes sure that I post, no matter what. So "Thank You" Amanda of Amanda's Cookin' for keeping me on track, atleast once a month. Also, our wonderful hostess Suzanne of Thru the Bugs on My Windshield makes sure we remember to get our posts up and running on time.

My blog partner this month was From Arepas to Zwetschgen. I was delighted to be partnered with a blog with so much culinary diversity. German Mama has a wonderful selection of food from all over the globe. She has a wonderful ongoing event, or project, as she likes to think of it, called "Cook Around the Globe" where every month you get an insight into the cuisine of a certain region. What a wonderful way to get familiar with the culture and food of other countries! Do stop by and go for a trip around the globe, right from the comfort of your own home.

This month, I decided to try out something sweet. After all the running to the hospital and back, I figured we could do with a little treat. So I picked out these lovely chocolate fudge tarts. I love the way these turned out. The original recipe serves these up with some whipped cream, but I just dusted some icing sugar over these. These tarts have just the right amount of sweetness for me. They're not too sweet and that suits me just fine. Next time I think I'll try topping these with some toasted almond flakes or chopped, roasted hazelnuts. I think that'll be really good too. This recipe yields 5-6 4" tarts.

Chocolate Fudge Tarts

4 tbsp unsalted butter
125g dark chocolate
125g heavy cream
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Icing sugar, for dusting over

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Roll out the shortcrust pastry and line the tart moulds with the pastry. Pierce with a fork and bake for 10-12 minutes till lightly browned.

Let the shells cool off and while this is happening prepare the filling.

Melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler or on very low heat. (I didn't use a double boiler.)

Add the cream and stir well to incorporate. (The original recipe adds the cream to the chocolate and butter and melts them down together. I added the cream after the chocolate had completely melted to bring down the temperature of the mix so that I didn't have to wait to add the egg mix.)

Whisk the egg, the yolk, vanilla extract and the sugar till it is well combined and add to the chocolate mix.

Stir well to incorporate.

Preheat the oven to 130ºC. 

Pour the filling into the pre-baked tart shells and carefully place them back in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or till the fudge has set. 

Once the tarts have cooled, you can serve it with your choice of topping.

Don't forget to check what the others have chosen to make for this month's reveal.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Savory Oat Pancakes

When I hear of pancakes, the first things that come to mind is a stack of American pancakes with a good drizzle of honey or a typical Goan Coconut Pancake or usually something sweet. However, today's post is about pancakes made using oats which is savory and is a wonderful snack that you can have for breakfast or even in the evening with a cup of tea.

Typically, these pancakes are supposed to be spread as thin as you possibly can so that they crisp up. This was my first time with them so I didn't manage to get all of them as thin as I'd have liked, but they were really tasty, so I won't complain. Also, they are supposed to be round, and clearly mine weren't. But that is something I need to try and perfect in the next attempts. These were really good with some coconut chutney.

Savory Oats Pancakes
Recipe from: Bring On The Chef In You

1 cup oats
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup semolina
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small onion, kept whole
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper corns
1 green chilly, chopped fine
Salt, to taste
Enough water to make a runny batter
Oil for frying and to saute the onion

Heat a non stick pan and dry roast the oats till it turns slightly brown.

Cool and powder it in a dry grinder.

In a pan, heat a little oil maybe about a tsp. and saute the chopped onion and green chilly till the onions soften and turn slightly pinkish and keep aside.

Take the whole onion and leaving the skin on, cut it flat at the base so that it can stand. Make sure the broader part of the onion forms the base. Pierce a fork into the opposite end. This will now be used to smear the pan with oil. This lessens the amount of oil used to fry the pancakes.

In a bowl, place the powdered oats, rice flour, semolina, cumin seeds, the sauteed onions, the crushed pepper and salt and mix it up. Add enough water to make a runny batter.

Place some oil (a couple of tbsps) in a small bowl. Heat a non stick pan and using the whole onion on a fork, dip it into the bowl of oil and smear the pan with the oil. For the first pancake, make sure you smear the pan well so that the batter doesn't stick to the pan.

Pour a ladle of batter onto the pan and swirl the pan around to make sure you have a thin layer of batter on the pan. You can use the back of a spoon to help you do this if you'd like. You have to work fast while doing this. Initially you will notice a lot of holes in the pancake while pouring the batter, but swirling the pan should help this a little.

Once a few bubbles appear on the pancake, cover and let it fry. When done one one side, flip over and cook on the other side. When it has cooked to a crisp pancake, take off the pan and serve hot with some chutney.

This recipe has been linked with -
Savory Sunday
My Meatless Mondays
Mix It Up Monday
Mangia Mondays

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chutneys for the homemade Samosas

Yesterday, I had posted about a wonderful samosa recipe I had come across at U.S. Masala. This amazing blog has a bunch of wonderful recipes that I so want to try. Why perusing this space, I found a recipe for a Green Chutney as well as a Tamarind and Date Chutney, both of which can be used as accompaniments for a large variety of chaat and Indian snacks. I was very pleased with how both of these turned out, just the way I like it. These are going to be my "Go To" recipes for now. And it'll not be easy to knock these off their spot.

Green Chutney (Pudiney (mint) ki chutney)

1 cup fresh coriander leaves, packed
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cumin powder (I suggest you roast some cumin seeds and crush them on the spot - its a lot more flavorful that way)
2 green chillies
1-2 tsp lemon juice
Salt, to taste

Blend all the ingredients till you get a smooth paste. 

Adjust salt and lemon to taste.

You can decant it in a clean glass bottle and refrigerate if you aren't using it immediately.

Tamarind and Date Chutney (Imli ki chutney)
Makes about 1/2 cup

3 tbsp tamarind pulp
3 tbsp dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup jaggery, roughly chopped
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp fennel powder
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/4 tsp black salt

In a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat, place the tamarind pulp and water and mix well. 

Add the dates and let it come to a boil.

Lower the heat to medium low and add the jaggery and mix. Let it cook on medium to medium low till the jaggery melts and the sauce reduces to half, stirring regularly.

Add the salt and all the spice powders and mix well. 

Cook for about 2-3 minutes and turn the heat off when it gets to a ketchup like consistency. Keep in mind that this sauce will thicken as it cools.

Cool down to room temperature and store in a clean and dry glass bottle and refrigerate till you need to use it. It keeps for weeks, if it lasts that long :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bombay Street Food Special #7 - Homemade Samosas

Samosas are a big hit in my family. None of us have made it ever, but everyone enjoys this yummy snack piping hot. A couple of weeks ago, I got ambitious and decided to finally try making some on my own, complete with homemade condiments. It takes a while to get everything in place. But what I absolutely love about this recipe is that the chutneys can be made ahead and refrigerated and they keep well. That saves a considerable amount of time when you do make the samosas. If you want to take a shorter cut, you can simply serve these samosas with some tomato ketchup. I was really excited when I found the complete set of recipes for the crust, filling and the chutneys at U.S. Masala. And I've got to tell you that these recipes did not disappoint. They are definite keepers, though I don't know when I will make these again. It will have to be once  the rains kick in. There's no way I will try this again during this insane summer we are experiencing. Getting back to the Samosas, if the weather in your part of the world is slightly more bearable than ours is, go ahead and try making these.


For the crust - 
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp semolina
3 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp carom seeds
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 cup water

In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, semolina, oil, carom seeds and salt. Make sure the oil is well incorporated in the dough.

Using the water knead the ingredients to a smooth, pliable yet firm dough. Knead for about 5 minutes.

Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for about half an hour.

For the filling - 
4 large potatoes, boiled, peeled, cut into small cubes (about 2 cups)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 green chilly, chopped finely
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp amchur powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
A pinch of asafoetida
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Oil for deep frying

Heat the 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the asafoetida, cumin and fennel seeds and let them sputter. Make sure it doesn't burn.

Add the green chillies and stir for about a minute.

Add the turmeric and coriander powders and salt and stir well for a couple of minutes.

Add the potatoes, stir well and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the red chilly powder, garam masala and amchur. Mix thoroughly and add the coriander leaves.

Stir well and remove from the heat and let the mixture come to room temperature.

To make the samosas - 

Keep a small bowl of water at room temperature at hand.

Divide the dough into 6-7 portions slightly larger than the size of a golf ball.

Roll each portion into a disc and cut into half. This will give you two semicircles.

Working with one semicircle at a time, moisten the straight edge and bring opposite ends together to form a cone, making sure you press the edges firmly to seal them.

Spoon some of the filling into the cone taking care not to over fill.

Moisten the rounded edge and close the cone and press the edges of the dough together sealing it well.

Continue till you've made all the samosas.

Heat oil in a wok for deep frying. You can test the temperature of the oil by placing a small ball of dough in the oil. It should sit at the bottom for a few seconds and then float to the top. If it doesn't float to the top, the oil isn't hot enough. If it rises to the top instantly, the oil is too hot.

When the oil is heated right, deep fry the samosas till they turn golden brown on both sides, carefully flipping them over when one side is cooked.

Serve hot with tomato ketchup or some green chutney and some tamarind chutney.

Stay tuned for those recipes tomorrow.

UPDATE: You can now find the recipes for the Green Mint Chutney or Pudiney ki chutney and the Date and Tamarind Chutney or Imli ki Chutney here.

This recipe is linked to -
Savory Sunday
My Meatless Mondays
Mix it up Monday
Mangia Mondays
Mouthwatering Monday

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