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Friday, December 24, 2010

Guava Jam

In my household, bread , butter and jam are a must at breakfast, otherwise we feel like we haven't had any breakfast. With guavas in season, guava jam is very much in order. The best part with homemade jams is the control over sweetness. If you find store bought jams too sweet for your taste, give this a try.

With my time distributed towards the university, students and lectures, I wish I could find time enough to always make homemade jams. This jam is the right amount of sweet, oozing with guava goodness and is very easy to make.


Recipe:

Ingredients:


500 gm guavas, seeded and sliced thinly
2 1/2 cup water
1 1/3 - 1 1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1 - 2 lemons

Put guavas and water in a steel saucepan. Boil in low heat until guavas are soft. Break guavas with a wooden spoon or you can use the potato masher to do the same. Put sugar and lemon in the jam. Cook until the jam thickens. Keep stirring constantly. Store in sterilized jars.

Happy cooking!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cherry cupcakes

Another long break, lots of happenings, lots of food experiments and I am back with cherry cupcakes. Cupcakes are complete mini cakes, with their fair share of everything, the taste, the frosting , the goodness. The following recipe for cupcakes is very adaptable. you can add any seasonal fruit you like. I used cherries. You can go for mango , banana or the likes. The recipe for the basic cupcake is somewhere from internet, I missed the link.


Recipe:

Ingredients:


225 gms flour
210 gms sugar
210 gm butter
4 eggs
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp cornflour
Cherries (pitted) , as required

Frosting:

100 gm butter
100 - 150 gm sugar

Preheat oven at 170 C.

Put all ingredients except cherries in a bowl and beat to mix until lumps are removed. Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Put 3 - 4 pieces of cherry in each cup. Fill 2/3rd of the cups with cake batter. Bake for 18 - 25 minutes or until done. The time depends on the size of cupcake pan, less time for smaller cupcakes, more time for bigger cupcakes. Makes 18 - 24 , again depending on the size of cupcake. Decorate with frosting.

Beat butter and 100 gm sugar together until light and creamy. Add more sugar and beat until desired consistency is reached.

Happy Baking!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Aah, finally I gathered the courage to try my favorite cookies, the chocolate chip one. If you remember from a few posts back, my cookies did not turn as good as I wanted them to. Sometimes they were crumbly and sometimes they were too soft. And a couple of times they got too brown, which left me devastated (ok, that's strong, I was just a bit sad). Then I took up on perfecting cookies and in  my last post here I made more than hundred as a gift for others.


This endeavour gave me the courage to try the chocolate chip cookies. You may wonder, why so late? Well... if they didn't turn out good, won't it be criminal to waste that much chocolate :O, shhh.

This recipe has been adapted from the Tollhouse cookies recipe, which I have found on a number of websites, so I am not able to refer to a single resource. I used milk chocolate because that kind was readily available. I also chopped up chocolate bars to get small sized chocolate chunks. You can use your favorite chocolate or chocolate chips.


Recipe:

Ingredients:


2 7/8 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 - 2 cups chocolate chips

Sift flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together and put aside. Melt butter. In a bowl, beat butter and sugars together until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs. Now add the flour and stir with a spatula until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

At this stage the dough would be sticky, and it might seem that there are too many chocolate chips, but don't worry, you will be thankful after the cookies are baked.

Drop cookies on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper, with a tablespoon. Leave distance between cookis to allow them to expand while baking.

Bake for 9-10 minutes at 190 C/375 F.

Happy Baking!!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sugar cookies

I am back after another long break, with more vows to be regular on the blog. After a very hectic Eid, and much more hectic days at the university, I finally have found time to blog about my very satisfying experiment with sugar cookies.

I made these cookies as a gift for relatives for Eid (a religious celebration marking the end of Ramazan). It is a cultural tradition to give sweets to friends and relatives when one visits their home. I made more than 100 cookies for this event, and am really happy that they were really appreciated and liked by all.

Here comes the recipe with a sorry to those who have been asking for it since ages. The cookie dough has been adapted from Bake at 350. This is such a wonderful cookie dough as it does not need to be refrigerated at any point, even though refrigerating it won't really hurt the cookie. The cookies have been decorated with royal icing, tinted with food colors. I used a paper cone (made from baking paper) to outline the cookies and filled the cookies with a spoon and toothpick.


Recipe:

Ingredients:

Sugar cookies:


3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup ghee (or butter)
1 egg

In a bowl, mix flour and baking powder.

In another bowl, put sugar and add ghee/butter. Beat until light and creamy. Beat in the egg. Add four in 3 portions, mixing after each addition. If you are using ghee and dough does not come together, add a little more. If dough is too sticky, add a little flour. But do not disturb the ratios by a large quantity.

Preheat oven at 350 F/180C. When flour is mixed, roll out the dough into a 1/4" thick disc. Cut cookies into desired shapes. Bake cookies on an ungreased sheet at 350 F/ 180 C for 10 - 12 minutes.

Let the cookies cool completely before decorating them with royal icing.

Royal Icing:

1 egg white
115 - 125 gm icing sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Beat egg white and lemon juice until just combined. Add icing sugar slowly and keep beating until desired consistency is reached. Add desired food colors.

For outlining cookies, do the 10 sec test. Swirl a spoon in the icing and see if the surface gets smooth in 5 - 10 sec. If it take longer, the icing is too thick. If it takes lesser, it is too thin. Act accordingly by either adding more sugar or a drop or two of water to reach the desired consistency.

For filling in the cookie, thin the icing by adding a couple of drops of water until it is easy to spread the icing on the cookie.

Let the icing dry before adding more designs if you want the designs to stand out. Make sure you keep the icing left in a bowl covered properly while you are decorating the cookies as it dries out very quickly. For more decorating ideas, visit Bake at 350.


Happy Baking!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Masala Noodles

It's been a long time since I last blogged. All with Ramazan, university, marking papers etc, there was little time to come here and share something. Masala noodles is a Pakistani version of the traditional Chinese dish.

It is very much adaptable to our taste. Spices can be adjusted and others can be added to enhance the taste.

My recipe is loosely adapted from Foodilicious on Facebook. Next time , I will avoid cumin. Much that I love cumin, it just didn't go well with the noodles. Carrots were not in season, they would impart a beautiful color to the dish.



Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 tomato, chopped finely
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ginger paste
1 cup cabbage ,diced
2 capsicums, diced
200 gm chicken , boiled, shredded
500 gm (or as required) noodles, boiled
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/4 tsp Corriander powder 
Red chilli powder, as required
1 tsp soya sauce
2 tbsp tomato ketchup

Salt, as required

Oil - As required

Heat oil in a saucepan, saute onions. When they lose there color, add cumin and stir fry. When aromatic, add tomatoes, turmeric, chilli, salt and corriander powder. Add a little water and cook covered on low heat until onions are almost dissolved, around 15 minutes. When all water has evaporated, add soya sauce and ketchup and mix. Add veggies, chicken and noodles. Toss to coat thoroughly with the prepared masala. Serve warm. You can sprinkle with sliced spring onions.

Happy cooking!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon is a very exotic spice. Even a dash of cinnamon enhances the flavour of almost any baked good; and when it is used as a main ingredient,the dish becomes heavenly. The following recipe has been adapted from Pioneer Woman. I quartered the original recipe when I made it, as the original recipes yields a very large number of rolls, around 50. The following is half of the original recipe.



I did not use any maple syrup in the glaze. Instead I made a simple sugar glaze. If you want the rolls to be less sweet, you can skip the glaze altogether. I have tried both white and brown sugar for the filling, while both having different flavours and textures, both yield a tasty cinnamon roll, so the choice of sugar is yours.


Recipe:

Ingredients:


2 cups milk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/4 tsp yeast
4 cups flour + 1/2 cup extra
1/2 tsp baking powder (heaping)
1/2 tsp baking soda (scant)
1/2 tbsp salt (heaping)
1 cup brown sugar
Lots of ground cinnamon
Melted butter

Sugar glaze:


2 cups icing sugar
Water, as required


Mix milk , oil and sugar in a pan. Scald and cool for 45 mins to 1 hour. Sprinkle yeast and let it sit for a minute or two. Add milk mixture to 4 cups flour and mix, making sure there are no dry parts. If the mixture is sticky at this point, don't worry. Let the mixture rise for an hour or until it has doubled in volume.

Now mix 1/2 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and add to the flour mixture. Mix and knead the dough. It will be a very soft and  elastic dough.

Sprinkle flour generously on the rolling surface. Put the dough and roll out into a general rectangular direction, almost 1/4 inch thick. Drizzle 1/2 cup of melted butter (you may reduce the amount) and cover the dough surface. Sprinkle brown sugar over the melted butter so that it is evenly spread over the butter. Now sprinkle the cinnamon generously, again making sure it is evenly spread all over.

Starting from the long end away from you, start rolling the dough towards you keeping it relatively tight as you go. Roll the log to turn the seam to the underside of the roll. Cut the roll into 3/4 inch thick pieces.

Brush a baking dish with butter. Place rolls in the dish, leaving space between rolls to allow expansion. Let them rise for another 20 - 30 minutes. Bake in a pre heated oven at 190 C/ 375 F for 15 - 18 minutes.

In a bowl, prepare sugar glaze by adding little quantities of water to icing sugar, until a thick but pouring consistency is achieved. Pour over hot rolls. It will set as the rolls cool down.

Happy Baking!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shortbread Cookies

Another cookie experiment. I am always trying to perfect my cookies. This is the second time I made these shortbread cookies from Bake Fresh. I didn't decorate my cookies, because I used a cookie maker to pipe out the cookies.

The cookies turned out really good, melting in the mouth kind. These cookies can be textured to your taste; you can add cardamom, cinnamon, chocolate chips, coffee etc to cater to your taste. You can also decorate them with royal icing.


Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Add sifted flour and mix until combined. Don't knead. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

Roll out dough in 1/4 inch thick disc. cut cookies. Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 mins. This helps maintain the shape of the cookie. Bake at 375 F /190 C for 10 mins. Store in an airtight container to preserve freshness.

Happy baking!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Banana Icecream

Icecream is a food from heaven in this sweltering hot weather. So here is banana icecream. I know what your are thinking. Icecreams are hard to make. They use lots of cream so are very high calorie. And who can make an icecream without an icecream maker. Right?

I say you need only one ingredient for banana icecream. Any other ingredient is absolutely optional. You need bananas and a food processor and you are good to go. This is the easiest banana dish, which is full of the banana goodness.


Recipe:

Ingredients:


Bananas


Take some bananas. Overripe ones will do too. Slice bananas and pop them into the freezer for a couple of hours. When they are almost frozen, not soft, but extremely hard either (you don't want to break your food processor), take them out and put them into your food processor. Start your food processor. Initially it would be coase, you might need to scrape bananas down the sides. Then it will start getting creamy. At this point you can add condensed milk to it (see note). Process until you have a creamy banana mass. At this stage it will be a soft serve icecream. Put it in the freezer to harden or until reasy to serve.

Enjoy!!!



Note:.If you like you can add condensed milk to it. Infact you can put in a variety of things. If an ingredient needs to be well blended into the icecream, you can add it when bananas start to get creamy. If you want to add fruit pieces like sliced bananas, you can add them when you take your icecream out of the processor.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Basbosa - Egyptian Semolina Pudding

Arabian cuisine is very exotic. Be it anything, everything is fulfilling and tasty. When it comes to desserts, arabian desserts are very rich. Basbosa is a baked dessert, made with semolina, instead of the traditional flour. The sugar content is usually very high in arabian desserts. SO is the case with basbosa. WIth a part of sugar in the cake, most part of the sugar content is added in form of a sugar syrup after the cake is baked.

I divided the syrup contents by half , so my basbosa was half drenched in it, while half of it was dry. The real basbosa is supposed to be fully drenched in the sugar syrup. Basbosa is supposed to be decorated with roasted almonds. I didn't use almonds because I didn't have any, and I realized this a tad bit too late. You should use almonds, and take inventory BEFORE making any dish.



Recipe:

Ingredients:


2 cups semolina
1/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp baking soda
50 gm butter
3 tbsp butter (separate)
Almonds

Syrup:
2 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice

Make syrup by combining syrup ingredients and boiling on medium heat to dissolve sugar. Set aside.

In a saucepan, mix mlk and baking soda. Boil and set aside. It may have the texture of spoilt milk but don't worry. It will be used as it is.

In a bowl combine semolina, flour, sugar, milk, 50 gm butter and yogurt. Mix until well combined. In a greased baking dish, pour the batter. It will be a thick batter. In the dish, the batter should be 3-4 cm deep. Bake at 160 C.

When the batter begins to hold (mine got to hold after almost 25 mins, but keep a check) , remove from oven, cut in squares, place one almond on each square, brush with the 3 tbsp butter and bake until golden. Don't over bake as it will get dry. Remove from oven and immediately pour the syrup. Serve warm or cold.

Happy baking!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Donuts

Who doesn't love this fried treat, coated in an exquisite glaze with a cup of coffee? There are two kinds of donuts, cake donuts and yeast donuts. Cake donuts are raised with baking powder and are a little stiff like a cake, while yeast donuts are raised with yeast and are very soft.

I have selected today the yeast raised donuts for my blog. I used two kinds of glazes, chocolate and lemon. You can make any kind you like and use them with the donuts. You can coat donuts with icing sugar as well.


Recipe:

Ingredients:


2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp warm water
3/4 cup warm milk
2 1/2 tbsp butter
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup flour
3 cups oil

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, butter, eggs, sugar and salt and blend until smooth. Add half the flour and mix for 30 seconds. Add remaining flour and knead with flour dusted hands. Cover and leave to rise for at least one hour (rise until double in size) in a warm place.

Punch down dough. Dust rolling surface with flour. Roll the dough about 1/2 inch think. Cut out donuts. Place donuts on a flour dusted cookie sheet and let rise for 30-45 minutes in a warm place.

Heat oil in a pan and fry donuts. Cool for 5 minutes and dip in glaze of your choice.

Chocolate Glaze:

Ingredients:


1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Milk, as required

Put icing sugar and  cocoa powder in a bowl. Add milk 1 tsp at a time and mix until glaze has the desired consistency.

Lemon Glaze:

Ingredients:


1 cup icing sugar
Juice of one lemon
Water, as required

Mix icing sugar and lemon juice. If water is needed , add 1 tsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Happy cooking!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicken Stew

Here is some desi style chicken stew with lots of onions cooked in yogurt with some red dried chilli. This stuff tastes really good with some tandoor bought parathas. The best thing about Pakistani recipes is the flexibility of the recipe. You can adjust almost everything to your taste.

You can use a couple of days old yogurt in the recipe and it would impart a slightly tangy taste to the dish. I used more yogurt than required because if I didn't, the remaining yogurt would have gone more than couple of days old (shhh).  You can add red chilli powder or you can crush dry red chillies to have a spicier stew. I don't like black cardamom, so I used just one, again you can adjust to your taste.

I don't usually weigh meat, rather I count the number of pieces and then adjust the spices. This recipe can also be adjusted for mutton.




Recipe:

Ingredients:


6 pieces of chicken (it would be around 300 - 350 grams)
3/4 cup yogurt
4-5 medium large onions , sliced
7-8 dry red chilli
3-4 peppercorns
1 cm cinnamon
3-4 cloves
3/4 tsp cumin
1 black cardamom
Salt, to taste
3 tbsp oil

Put all ingredients in a pan and place the pan over high heat. When water is released from yogurt and starts to boil, reduce heat and cook covered for 15 - 20 minutes or until chicken is tender. Ideally there should be no liquidy gravy in the dish, so if there is any, increase heat and thicken to your desire. Serve with chapatis or tandoori parathas.

Happy Cooking!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Okra in Yogurt

Summer vacations are here. And I now have the time to do more experiments in my kitchen. I already have done many, but due to a little picture editing stuff, I haven't been able to post them as of yet. My first vacation experiment was with okra.

Okra or lady finger are very much in season these days. I like okra if it is cooked such that the gluey sticky stuff from okra is at the minimum. I found this recipe of okra cooked in yogurt really good and tasty.


Recipe:

Ingredients:

500 g okra - cut and fried in 3-4 tbsp oil on high heat
1 inch ginger
1/2 tsp peppercorn
2 tbsp oil
2 dry red chilli
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 green chillies, split in length
2 tsp coriander powder
pinch turmeric
2 tbsp gram flour (besan)
2 cups yogurt
salt to taste
fresh coriander to garnish

Make a paste of ginger and peppercorn by grinding them together. Heat oil, add red chilli and cumin. Fry until aromatic. Don't let it burn. Add green chilli, turmeric powder, gram flour and stir. Add okra and salt and cook over medium high heat for 4 - 5 minutes. Add ginger paste.

Reduce flame and add yogurt. Cook for 12 - 15 minutes or until okra is cooked to your taste. Thicken or thin the gravy as per your requirement. Garnish with chopped coriander.

Okra in yogurt can be served on boiled rice or with chapatic/naan.

Happy cooking!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Versatile Blogger's Award

I am honored to be recognized and for being awarded with the "Versatile Blogger Award" from Delishhh. Delishhh is a dedicated food blogger, does not like olives, has a great style of writing and prefers her peanut butter and chocolate to be separate.


As a tradition of this award, I have to share seven random things about myself. So here they are:

1. I love chocolate, so I have to spend a lot a of effort to try things with ingredients other than chocolate.
2. I like to use the proper equipment in my kitchen, so I try to update my utensil inventory often.
3. I love Arabian cuisine and plan to include recipes of the same here too.
4. Baking comes to me in phases, so sometimes it is a cake only phase, sometimes, cookies, and sometimes I just move over to some over the stovetop recipes, rather than in the oven ones.
5. Don't tell anyone, but I have to work hard on my cookies, they don't come out perfect the first time. I guess practice will make me perfect.
6. I enjoy shopping. There is a reason they call it therapy.
7.A good recipe, a good assignment submission, and a good software, all give me the same pleasure. Weird, huh?

I also have to share 7 blogs I have discovered and pass on the award, so here is my list

1. Bake at 350 - Cool cookie recipes and ideas, specially cookie decoration. Love it.
2. Heaven is a Cupcake - I followed her on facebook, and now she has a blog. She does some amazing multicolored cupcake decorations.
3. The Purple Foodie - For the South Asian touch to her recipes
4. Bake Fresh - She  makes really beautiful fondant cakes, which can be seen on her facebook group.
5. Sweet Tooth - I love desserts. Period.
6. Everyday Home Cook - Well, one has to make other things besides desserts and cakes.
7. Sweetopia - She not only has recipes, she has tutorials on her site too.

Congratulations!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Banana Bread

Did I mention I don't like summers? And that marking papers is tough enough on it's own and becomes an impossible chore in heat? Don't worry, I am not going to talk about papers and summers, because today I made banana bread, so I am ready to forget the sweltering heat and the papers for the time being.

The weather is getting hotter day by day. Bananas are available but do not stay fresh for long in this hot weather. So what better use of bananas can be other than banana bread? Flavored with cinnamon this bread is soft and yummy. It is a fulfilling as breakfast and tempting as a snack. And it is the best use of those over ripe, yet not spoiled, bananas which get wasted because no one wants to eat them.



Recipe:

Ingredients:


1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bakingsoda
1/2 cup milk
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
1/2 cup assorted nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Mix oil and sugar. Add flour, eggs, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to combine. In another bowl, mix baking soda in milk and stir thoroughly. Add milk to flour mixture and beat well. Stir in bananas and assorted nuts (if using).

Bake for 50 min or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. If the top starts to brown before the bread is done, cover with foil and continue to bake. Serve warm or at room temperature. Slices of banana bread can be buttered before serving.

Happy Baking!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

American hotcakes

I was really bored the other day and did not want to make a cake or cookies like always. Going through my cookbooks, I found  "Omeletes, Pancakes and Fritters" by Family Circle. I used to make pancakes a lot but somehow this book went to the back side of my bookshelf and was forgotten for some time.

Reminding me of all the tasty and not so tasty pancakes (because I read the recipe wrong :S, my bad) I made, I picked "American Hotcakes" for the day. These pancakes can be served with berry jam for breakfast, with icecream for dessert and with caramel sauce or maple syrup as a mid day snack. I love versatile dishes :). I made caramel sauce to go with pancakes.


Recipe:

Ingredients:


1 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp castor sugar
pinch salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
60 g butter/oil, melted
caramel syrup , for serving

Sift flour , baking powder, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in center. Add eggs, milk and butter/oil all at once. Using a whisk, beat until all liquid is incorporated and batter is free of lumps. Cover and leave for 20 minutes.

Lightly grease a pan. Pour a level 1/4 cup of mixture at a time and swirl to a circle of about 10 cm. Cook over low heat for 1 minute or until underside is golden. Turn hotcake over, cook the other side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat process for remaining batter. Serve warm or cold with caramel syrup.

Caramel Syrup:

1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
Milk, as required

Put sugar and water in a saucepan. Dissolve sugar over high heat. Reduce heat and let the mixture boil without stirring until it turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and carefully add milk. The caramel will bubble up so you will have to stay careful. If the caramel begins to form lumps, don't worry as they will dissolve.

Put the sauce pan on medium heat again and stir with a whisk until caramel lumps are dissolved. Remove from heat. If you like your sauce to be on the creamy side, you can add cream instead of milk. Pour over pancakes and serve.

Happy cooking!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gingernuts

Dried ginger has very nice and tangy flavor. And when it comes to cookies, ginger imparts the most exotic flavor to cookies. Throw in cinnamon and you have the most heavenly flavored cookies.

I adapted this recipe from the " The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits" from "Women's Weekly". I got this book recently and am in love with it ever since.


Recipe:

Ingrediets


2 cups plain flour
1 cup castor sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
2 tsp ground ginger
125 gm butter
1 small egg
1 tsp honey

Sift flour and baking soda in a bowl. Add sugar cinnamon, salt and ginger. Rub in butter until mixture has a very fine crumb consistency. Beat eggs with honey and add to dry ingredients. Work into a firm dough with hand.

  Roll into small balls. Place balls on lightly greased baking sheet about 5 cm apart (these cookies expand so make sure they are at least 5 cm apart). Bake at 160 C for about 15 minutes. Loosed biscuits and cool on tray. This recipe yields about 40 cookies.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thumbprint cookies/ Naan Khatai

Back after a long break. With lots of activities going on at my institute, I could barely find time to carry on with my kitchen experiments.

I tried thumbprint cookies today. The recipe looked somewhat familiar. It was something similar to Naan Khatais we make in my country, and that's what it turned out to be. In my part of the world, we flavor our thumbprint cookies with cardamom and decorate it with roughly chopped pistachios or almonds. Since I was making cookies, I decorated them with chocolate topping.

I also replaced butter with ghee (clarified butter). Melt ghee on low heat. When it is completely melted, measure the quantity required and pop it the freezer for 10-15 minutes so that it sort of solidifies. The texture would be somewhere between liquid and solid. Remove from freezer and beat for a couple of minutes. This stuff can be used to replace butter in cookies (as I mentioned in a previous post, good quality butter is a luxury in my country).

These cookies are great snack at teatime. They can be made ahead and stored in an airtight jar for almost two weeks, if your family members leave them to be stored. If they have a sweet tooth, the cookies might just vanish right from the cookie sheet.



Recipe:

Ingredients:


1 cup butter (unsalted)
1 cup icing sugar (I keep mined flavored with vanilla beans, you can add vanilla if you want)
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Preheat the oven at 350 F /180 C.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Sprinkle salt on flour. Add flour to egg mixture and beat until just combined (I added flour gradually, and reached a point where the mixer couldn't be used, so I mixed with hands).

Take small balls of dough and shape into a cookie and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press in the middle with the thumb to create an indentation. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until underside is golden. Cool and fill the indentations with chocolate topping.

Chocolate topping

3 tbsp butter
3 ounces chocolate
1 tsp honey

Melt butter, chocolate and honey on a water bath and mix thoroughly. Cool slight before using on cookies.

Happy Baking!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Brigadeiros

Another chocolaty experiment, brigadeiros turned out to be tasty with a funny name. Brigadeiros is a brazillian candy named after some Brazilian brigadier, for God knows what reason. I, for one, won't give it much thought in front of these exotic candies.

These candies are really easy to make, easy to store (if you get the chance to ;) ). The basic ingredient is condensed milk. You can use any store bought condensed milk, I made some at home with dry milk powder, butter, sugar and some water (maybe someday I will become kind enough to  share the exact recipe).


Recipe:

Ingredients:


1 cup condensed milk
1/2 stick butter (50 grams)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
Chocolate sprinkles

Place all ingredients except sprinkles in a saucepan. Cook on low heat for 12 to 15 minutes. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon.

Pour in a greased dish and cool for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

With buttered hands make balls and roll in chocolate sprinkles. Place in cupcake wrappers and store in refrigerator overnight before serving. This recipe makes about 12 brigadeiros.

Brigadeiros are somewhat heavy, so you might find one enough at one time. This is a great recipe for chocolate lovers get together.

Happy Cooking!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fudgy Brownies

This post marks the completion of one month of my blog.Ok, a little more than one month. So far I have loved it, keeping my fingers crossed for future :)

I tried another recipe of brownies today. Others have not been posted yet to this blog, but these turned out to be so delicious, I couldn't just leave the recipe in my notebook. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Best Cocoa Brownies , this delectable fudgy brownie is to die for.



Recipe:

Ingredients:


1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 cup sugar (Use 1 cup if you prefer less sweet brownies)
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup cake flour
1 cup chopped walnuts , optional

Preheat oven at 160 C (325 F).

Heat oil for a couple of seconds in a sauce pan. Stir sugar in oil. Add cocoa powder and mix until just combined and lumps are gone. Th mixture might be gritty at this moment, but it will smooth out when eggs are added.

Add salt, vanilla, and eggs. Mix well. Gently fold cake flour until mixed. Don't over mix. Stir in walnuts.

Pour in a greased cake pan (optional: lined with butter paper) and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out slightly moist. Don't over bake or it will kill the chocolate flavour. Cut in squares. Enjoy alone or with a cup milk or coffee.

Happy Baking!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Strawberry Smoothie

Strawberries are around and it wold be wasting strawberries if they aren't used in anything. With their sweet and tangy flavor, strawberries are used in a variety of ways from cakes to jams, jellies to shakes, juices to smoothies. I tried my first ever smoothie today. And I love it.


First of all, I had a real confusion about shakes and smoothies and the difference between them. My research enforces the point that shakes are heavier and thicker than smoothies, even though they sometimes may use similar ingredients. Smoothies are normally yogurt or juice based, but may use ice cream and milk as well, while shakes are ice cream or milk based. Smoothies also use lots of crushed ice. How do you differentiate between smoothies and shakes?

My strawberry smoothie uses milk, ice, strawberries and some sugar.



Recipe:

Ingredients:


15 - 20 strawberries, hulled
1 1/2 cups milk
Sugar, to taste
2-3 cups crushed ice
Sliced strawberries, for garnish

Put strawberries and milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Add sugar and blend again. Add required amount of ice and blend again. Don't over blend to melt the ice. You need the flakiness of crushed ice, which gives the illusion of a thick drink, keeping the smoothie itself very light.

Serve in a glass garnished with sliced strawberries.

Enjoy!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pad Thai Noodles

I love Chinese cuisine, but by Pakistani standards, it is a bit bland. So to adapt it to our tastes, we add lots of spices. That's what I did to my Chinese cooking when I wasn't aware of the Thai cuisine. Thai cuisine adapts well with our taste sense. My first ever attempt was Pad Thai noodles.


My attempt at Pad Thai noodles turned out to be sweeter than I expected, which my family found strange, so next time I would be using a little less sugar next. All other ingredients can be easily found in a traditional Pakistani kitchen.


Three basic things in the Pad Thai Noodles are 1. Noodles (ok, that was obvious :) ) 2. Pad Thai sauce 3. Chilli (lots to make the noodles really spicy). The best part about the recipe is that every ingredient can be varied to suit your taste. You can alter the vegetables as per your taste as well. I will be mentioning the amounts and vegatables I used to make this easy yet exotic dish.


Recipe:

Ingredients:

300 gm noodles (slightly more than half of a 1/2 kg pack of noodles)
2 - 3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups thinly sliced carrots (I love carrots, remember? )
1 cup thinly sliced green capsicum
1-2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
4-5 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
2 eggs
3/4 tsp tamarind dissolved in 1/4 cup of water
2 1/2 tbsp all purpose soya sauce*
Chilli flakes, to taste
Salt, to taste
3 Tbsp brown sugar


Boil noodles as directed on the packaging. In a saucepan heat oil and add noodles. Stir fry for a couple of seconds.

In a bowl, put tamarind paste, soya sauce, chilli flakes, salt and brown sugar. Mix to dissolve sugar. This is the pad thai sauce.

Add vegetables to noodles. Stir to mix with noodles. Add peanuts, leaving a tablespoon aside for garnish. Mix in noodles.

Make a well in the side and add eggs in the well. Scramble and allow them to cook. . Once cooked, you can mix the eggs in noodles or serve the eggs on top of the noodles. Serve warm garnished with peanuts.

You can also use green part of spring onions in garnish. I didn't use them because I don't like raw spring onions. You can use any selection of vegetables to garnish Pad Thai noodles.

Happy cooking!!!

* basically fish sauce is used, but I am not sure about the legitimacy of ingredients. I avoid naturally brewed soya sauce in my cooking because I found that that soya beans are fermented with wheat and the resulting soya sauce contains 2-3% alcohol. For details follow Albalagh.net.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Orange Cake

I don't really like oranges. I actually don't like any fruit with a tangy flavor. But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy oranges. I like orange flavored food, orange soft drink, orange slush and orange cake :). And this orange cake comes at the request of a dear friend.
 
After going through a number of orange cake recipes, I found the Sicilian Orange Cake recipe by Ellie of Almost Bourdain to be the best. It doesn't use any alcoholic ingredient which was my requirement. It also used easily available ingredients which again is wonderful.


The original recipe used butter which I substituted with oil since butter is a luxury where I live. And if someone from my region wants to follow this recipe, I don't want them to feel left out because of an expensive ingredient. Even though the cake didn't turn out to be oily, I still think I will go for a little less oil next time, maybe 190 - 200 gm rather than the 250 gm in the actual recipe.

I used a citrus glaze for icing, which is included in this post. I decorated my cake with homemade candied orange peel, which is really easy to make at home.

I used my handy kitchen scale to weigh out the ingredients. If you want a conversion utility , you can use this conversion chart.


Recipe:

Ingredients:

250 gm oil
250 gm castor sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
250 gm cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
85 ml fresh orange juice

Citrus Glaze:

10 gm butter/ margarine, at room temperature
125 gm icing sugar
1 tsp honey
1 - 2 tbsp fresh orange juice

Preheat oven at 170 C/ 340 F.

In a bowl sift together flour and baking powder. In another bowl beat together oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in orange zest. Add flour all at once and mix well. Slowly mix in orange juice.

Pour in a greased pan and bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until done. If it starts to brown soon, cover lightly with foil. Cool cake in tin.

While the cake is baking, take a bowl, put butter/ margarine and honey and mix them. Add icing sugar and mix. Add orange juice 1 tbsp at a time and mix to reach the desired consistency.

When the cake is cooled, remove from pan and  pour glaze over it. If you prefer allow it to drip on the sides. Decorate with candied orange peel if desired. Serve.

Happy Baking!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Carrot Cake

Carrots are in season, and what other time would be best to make a carrot cake? I love carrots ans like to have carrots daily when they are in season. But monotony bores me to death, so I love using my favorite things in a variety of dishes.

 

This is a light and soft cake that can accompany anyone in a beautiful winter evening after a tiring day at work. This recipe specially goes to those who find it hard to feed carrots to their family. Not very sweet, it stands on the healthier side with  a sprinkling of optional nuts.



Recipe:

Ingredients:

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
2 tbsp orange jiuce/milk
1/2 cup walnuts, roasted (optional)
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinammon powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a bowl beat eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in oil. Add carrots, orange juice and walnuts. Mix with a spatula until combined. 

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add to carrot mixture and mix to combine. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. 

The cake can be served on its own .Since a less than usual amount of sugar is used, it can be dusted with icing sugar for people who love their cakes to be on the sweeter side.

Happy Baking!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hyderabadi style green chilli (Hyderabadi mirchain)

Hyderabad is know for it's exotic cuisine with a blend of different spices giving a savory taste to food. Basic spices found in various Hyderabadi dishes are coconut, curry leaves, tamarind, peanuts etc.

Hyderabadi style green chilli is very easy to make and taken as a condiment with lentils and rice, or if you are a spice lover, you can eat it on its own. It is simply amazing when the sweet, sour and chilli flavors melt in the mouth.

 

Recipe:

Ingredients:

250 gm green chillies (medium sized)
250 gm onions (sliced)
3-4 dry red chilles (optional)
A pinch of fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
A pinch of mustard seeds (rai)
A pinch of onion seed (kalonji)
8 -10 dried curry leaves
2 tbsp dried corriander (sookha dhanya)
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tbsp roasted black chickpeas (bhune huay kalay chanay)/ peanuts
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp tamarind pulp
1 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup oil (more if reqd)


Roast corriander, coconut, poppy seeds and black chickpeas/peanuts on medium heat for a a couple of minutes. Grind together to a fine a powder.

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, onion seeds and red chillies. When they start to splutter add onion and curry leaves. Don't brown onion. Add green chillies when onions get soft. Stir again. Add the ground powder. Stir to coat the chillies. Add salt, red chilli powder, sugar and tamarind pulp (remove seeds from pulp if any). Cook on low heat for 10 -15 minutes or until green chillies are tender and oil begins to separate at sides. Chillies should not be too soft. Adjust seasonings if required. Hyderabadi style green chillies are ready. They can be stored in refrigerator for upto 2 weeks.

Happy cooking!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Scrumptious Chocolate Cake


Hello world! (I had to do that being a CS major :) ). Embarking on to the wonderful journey of maintaining a food blog, I wanted it to be something I love. What could be a better option than "Chocolate" Mmmm.

This chocolate cake recipe has been adapted from "Cakes and Pastries" by California Culinary Academy. Try it once and there is no backing off from the dish until sadly, like all worldly things, it finishes ("sigh"). Even the batter is so inviting. Ssshhh, don't tell anyone but I sneaked a teaspoon of batter ;).

The cake is moist, light and fluffy, which can be enjoyed on its own at teatime, taken at breakfast, or combined with ice cream for a dessert. You can also give a slice to your kid for lunch minus the frosting. Even though the frosting tastes good, but in the long run it's not really good for health. So kids out there, if you want this for lunch, you'll have to make do without the frosting. And believe me, you won't be missing too much of the fun.



Now it's your choice to wait till the cake is covered with frosting or you can be impatient and slice it up. But be warned, there's no stopping once you start eating it. I covered it with a layer basic frosting and then with chocolate ganache which somehow got a very fudgy look. But you can use any kind of chocolate frosting you like.

 



Recipes:

Cake:

3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter or oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
2 cups sifted cake flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 inch cake pans. ( I had one large so I used that).

Combine cocoa powder and boiling water and mix to form a thick paste. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla and salt. Add baking soda in milk and stir. Alternately add 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup milk in the egg mixture and mix thoroughly after each addition. Now add the cocoa mixture and mix thoroughly. Make sure no lumps are left in the batter.

Divide batter in two pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Turn out on wire rack to cool. Cool completely before applying frosting.

Apply a layer of frosting then a layer of ganache. You can also cut the cake in 2 layers and apply some frosting between layers.

Frosting:

25 gm butter (at room temperature)
1/2 - 3/4 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp honey
2-3 tbsp milk

Put butter, 1/2 cup icing sugar, honey and 2 tbsp milk in a bowl. Beat with a spatula to mix. If the frosting is runny, add more icing sugar and beat until desired consistency is reached. If too thick, add more milk and mix until desired consistency is reached. Makes about 3/4 cup to 1 cup. Recipe can be increased as required.

Ganache:

200 gm dark chocolate (broken in pieces)
1/2 cup cream

Heat cream until almost boiling. Remove from heat just before the cream boils. Pour over chocolate. Leave for 10 minutes or until chocolate is melted. Starting mixing cream and chocolate from the center with gentle hands. Leave for 10 minutes after mixing thoroughly. Apply on cake.

Happy baking!!!