Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Fruit Biscuits

I first tasted karachi bakery biscuits during my 2 year stay in mumbai. I had a lovely  hostel roommate , from Hyderabad, who faithfully showed up with a box of these crazy good biscuits each time she returned from her hometown. I remember rationing them to eat, so they would last for the week Got to say, that was one of the tough challenges of my life back then. Seeing a box of these anywhere these days brings a smile on my face, and then knowing I can have a box of them all to myself, makes me feel like I won the lottery. It was only natural these biscuits made it my food bucket list.

So about that food bucket list of 2016 , there are some other things I've successfully marked off the list and haven't made the time to update here. I promise to get on to the job soon.  I'm calling them fruit biscuits, because they taste like karachi bakery biscuits but not like karachi bakery biscuits. Yeah, I know. These taste nice and fruity, are addictive and are almost there. The only way I  thought they were different from the bakery biscuits , were that they weren't as flaky. I'm contemplating increasing the ratio of butter the next time I try making these.  That being said, these taste great and are super easy to make, and with a cake beater in your hand, take hardly any time to make. I would make them over and over again, without a thought, Oh wait, I've already been doing that.

So here goes. 

Fruit Biscuits(Karachi Bakery Biscuits)

Ingredients :

113 gms butter/1 stick of butter/ 1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp pineapple essence
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp pista essence
3 tbsp milk
1.5 cups flour
4 tbsp custard powder. I used this one
1/2 tutti fruitty

1. Start with beating the butter and sugar. Make sure the butter is at room temperature. 
2. Toss in the pineapple, pista and vanilla essence, followed by the milk. Beat to mix.
3. In goes the flour and the custard powder. The mixture will make little clumps but may not come together yet and that's ok.
4. Lastly, add the tutti fruity and mix well , using a wooden spoon if you like, in place of the beater. 
5. Divide the dough into roughly 2 equal parts. 
6. Take one portion and bring it together using your hands, and roll into a log. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate. Repeat with the other portion. 
7. Let the dough chill in the fridge for atleast a couple of hours. 
8. When you're ready to bake the biscuits, pre heat the oven to 170 C. Take out the dough and cut into little rounds of equal thickness. Place on a baking tray and bake for about 18-20 mins. 
9. The biscuits will crisp up as they cool down. Store in an airtight container. 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Baked Chicken Wings

So another easy peasy one here. Nothing much to do, but rest assured you'll have some dainty looking delicious wings on your plate for dinner. This is one of those 3 steps dishes. Lemon Pepper Chicken is another of my favourite 3 steps dishes.
So the 3 steps here are ;
Step one : You toss the wings in some seasoned flour
Step two:  Put those wings in the oven to bake, for about 40 mins, while you sip on some wine, take a shower or go for a walk, entertain your guests. (Yeah !!!Really!!!)
Step 3: Toss those wings in a pan with a couple of sauces. Tada!!!!! We're done!!!!

If this sounds like a perfect weekday menu item, it sure is. Just as much it sounds like a perfect dish to serve while you have friends coming over. Geez this dish is kinda versatile. Pefecto!!!!!
I used a combination of barbecue sauce , honey and chilly sauce, but I am so sure, these wings will taste great with just about any combination of sauces. I'm thinking terriyaki, mustard and honey, chilly and soya, siracha. The possibilities seem endless. Good luck then!!!! Let's get baking.

Baked Chicken Wings

Ingredients :

1 cup : Flour
1 Kg   : Chicken wings ( cut into 3 pieces)
1 tbsp : Grated garlic
1 tsp   : Paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

4 tbsp : Barbecue sauce
2 tbsp : Honey
1 tbsp : Chilly Sauce

1. Pre- heat the oven to 200 C
2. Wash the wings, drain the water and keep them aside.
3.Mix the flour, salt and pepper, grated garlic. Toss the wings in the flour mixture till well coated.
4. Place the wings on a greased oven tray. Bake the wings for 45 mins, flipping them once around the 20 minute mark.
5. In a pan, toss in the sauces. Add the baked wings and mix together till the wings are coated well.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Banana Butterscotch Pudding

This recipe for banana butterscotch pudding seemed too easy to be true. Honestly, I found the method a bit weird too. Read on and you'll know why. With all the uneasiness around the recipe, I still went ahead to try it out, without thinking twice, in fact, I baked it twice, two batches for a lunch we were going to. The only reason I wasn't jittery about it, is because it's a Rachel Allen recipe and I love Rachel Allen. Scroll through the baking section and you'll find quite a few Rachel Allen recipes. Date bars and Peanut blondies are couple of my favourites.

This batter takes just 10 mins and a whisk to make. Sometimes that's the best part of a recipe, that it doesn't need an electric beater, which means less cleaning and who doesn't love that.
This is a kind of odd recipe. For starters, it uses 3 tbsp of baking powder. That does sound like a lot, in fact that's how much I'd use in  a month of baking. Put your doubts aside and use it all though, 3 whole tablespoons of it, coz Mrs. Allen said so. The butterscotch sauce for the pudding is the easiest part of the recipe and it goes into the oven dolloped all over the batter to bake. Yup, you heard that right. Once the pudding batter is ready and in the dish, make the sauce and then gently pour it all over the uncooked batter. You'll see the pudding slowly bubble up, ( and your heart skip a beat) making place for all the sauce. It'll look like a lot, but it will settle down all at the bottom when you bake it.
And like all warm puddings, this goes great with vanilla ice cream!!!!! Butterscotch ice cream? Even better!!!!! You can make the pudding in advance, even a day. Making the pudding a bit in advance lets the pudding soak up all the sauce, and if served immediately, you probably will have a runnier sauce to serve. Both options seems equally enticing. So I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Banana Butterscotch Pudding

Ingredients :

For the pudding

125 gms flour
3 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 bananas
85 gms butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
175 mls water
2tbsp golden syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 180 as you get started on the pudding.
2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and sugar. Keep aside.
3. In another bowl, using a fork , mash the banana, beat in the egg, stir in the butter, milk and essence.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk it till you find no lumps. Use a spatula to give a god final stir.
5. Pour the batter in a baking dish. I used a 9 inch round  ceramic dish.  Set this aside as you quickly make the sauce.
6. Mix the ingredients for the sauce and bring to a boil . Pour the sauce gently over the pudding batter.
7. Bake the pudding for about 45-60 mins. When the pudding is ready, the top will be spongy to touch.
8. Serve warm with ice cream. 

Friday, 3 March 2017

The Perfect Birthday Cake

Ok.... So ever wanted to make that one pretty, perfect, sparkly cake that you can whip up quick, bake with no fail and dazzle the kiddos at a party.?? I'm posting a recipe for just that. Yes, you can thank me later, but for now, keep reading.
Honestly, it doesn't much to make a beautiful birthday cake. A lovely vanilla cake, some delicious frosting and a bowl of sprinkles will do the trick. You got to trust me, this cake will be appreciated just as much by adults as kids will. There's something about a cake covered in sprinkles that screams out HAPPY!!!!! This recipe is the usual butter, sugar, egg, milk  ,flour kind. For the frosting I used Whipped Vanilla frosting, but,  if you're big on chocolate,  you can use even ganache, which by the way is the easiest and only frosting you really need to know. Works wonders in so many ways.

I loved the idea of using a whole mix of colours for the sprinkles, but if you want to stick to a single tone, I think that'll look pretty as well. Think shocking pink!!!!! oooohhh. I've put pictures of both cakes, one with ganache and the other with the vanilla frosting and no I won't tell you which I like more, but got to say they both look very pretty. Of course, the gems add an extra pop of colour and cuteness

So here goes :

Vanilla Birthday Cake :

For the cake :

226 gms/2 sticks of butter
2 cups castor sugar
4 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract.

For the frosting:

1 cup non diary whipping cream
4 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

If you plan on using ganache, you can find the recipe for ganache here

A bowl of sprinkles for decorating the cake.


For the cake:

1. Like all good cakes, start with beating the butter, and keep going till the butter is fluffy. Add in the sugar, little by little, and beat till the butter is creamy.
2. You've heard me say it before and I'll say it again, add the eggs, ONE by ONE, just until they combine with the butter mixture.
3. Beat in  the vanilla essence. Sift the flour with the baking powder and baking soda into a bowl.
4. Add the milk and flour in parts, starting and ending with the flour.
5. Pour into a greased and lined 9 inch round tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180 .
6. The cake is done, when the sides have left the pan and the top of the cake is springy but firm.

For the frosting:

Beat the cream and sugar till the frosting forms stiff peaks. Mix in the vanilla.

To assemble the cake :

1.Place your cake on a cake base. Smear a little bit of icing on the base, before you place the cake on it,  so your cake stays in place.
2. If you are refrigerating the cake and want the cake to be a tad more moist, sprinkle some simple sugar syrup on the cake.
3. With an icing spatula, spread the icing, first on the top of the cake, then cover the sides. Flatten out the top and the sides, and don't worry about getting a super neat finish, coz the sprinkles will do that for you. You see why this is a great cake!!!
4. Place the cake over a large bowl that's filled with sprinkles. Scoop up a handful of sprinkles and toss them on the cake, starting on the sides and then covering all around and the top of the cake,  holding the cake over the bowl, to collect all the extra sprinkles. (Note: it's no fun cleaning a counter or floor full of sprinkles) and VOILA the cake is ready!!!!!!
5. You can pipe out little borders or stars on the cake and decorate with birthday candles or gems.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Chocolate Amaretto Cake

Looked through one of the latest additions to my kitchen book shelf, "The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook" and found this super simple recipe for a delicious chocolate cake. As I type this I  realize, I haven't really picked up a new cookbook in a while. Any suggestions? What are your favourite or go to cookbooks. I'd love to hear.

So the recipe asked for amaretto flavoured liqueur. I had Disaronno lying around and went ahead with that. Also the recipe asks for melted chocolate and I got to admit, at times I've skipped a recipe, because of this, but, melting the chocolate in the microwave in short spurts made this a super simple requirement for an otherwise very easy cake.

The cake is fairly easy to make, and the batter doesn't take much time to make. In fact, I decided to make this cake, last minute when a friend said she was dropping in for a quick visit. I did what I always love to do; find an excuse to bake. I hope you give this a try.

Chocolate Amaretto Cake


170 gms chocolate
225 gms or 2 sticks butter
1 cup castor sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp amaretto flavoured liqueur

1. Begin with melting the chocolate. Roughly chop the chocolate and place in a microwave safe bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, in 30 - 60 second intervals, stirring in between. Keep aside
2.Grease and line a 9 inch round tin. Pre heat the oven to a 175 C
3. In a large bowl, beat the butter till it is nice and fluffy. Toss in the sugars and beat till well incorporated.
4. Follow the golden rule of adding the eggs one by one. When all 4 eggs have been beaten in, stir in the melted chocolate.
5. Add half the milk, followed by sifting in the baking soda and half the flour. Then the rest of the milk and the flour.
6. Beat in the extracts and the liqueur and your batter is set to go.
7.Pour the batter into your prepared cake tin and the cake will take about 45 mins to bake.
8. Another golden rule, the cake is done, when a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Apple Cake

Baking has always had to be simple for me and these days quick as well. I cannot stress how important quick is at the moment, now that I have a little one on my hands. Yes, the chef on duty is now also a mommy on duty. I managed to make this cake twice, in the weeks that my lil baby was a couple of weeks old. It wasn't hard to make, didn't take much time and turned out perfectly delicious (enjoyed with a gigantic scoop of vanilla ice cream), it's just that it took  me a month to finally blog about it. Oopsie.

I found this recipe in my darling Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book. Have you watched her shows? She's such a doll, lovable Nan. I love poring through her recipes because they are so simple, yet traditional and use such great combinations of flavours and ingredients. This recipe also uses almonds and I seemed to have run out of them when I decided to try this cake, so I used raisins and cashew nuts instead. Feel free to go with what you like.

I'm gonna get to the recipe right away then:

Apple Cake


450 gm apples, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
4 eggs
1 tsp almond essence
250 gm castor sugar
225 gm butter melted
350 gm flour
2 tsp baking powder
a handful of chopped almonds

1. Start by pre-heating the oven to 180 C. Grease and base line an 8 inch round tin or a 12 x 9 inch tin with butter paper.
2. Mix the thinly sliced apples with the lemon juice , so the apples don't discolour.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and almond essence. Add the sugar and mix well.
4. Next whisk in the melted butter.
5. To finish off, sift in the flour and baking powder and mix well.
6. Pour half the batter into your prepared tin. Then place the apple slices, arranging them as you like. Top it off with the remaining batter.  Scatter the almonds on the top. If using raisins like I did, mix them with the batter instead of scattering them on the top. They'll blister and burn if you put them on the top.
7. Bake the cake for about 1 hour or till a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
8. Serve the cake warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Vanilla Custard Cake

Two ways to describe this cake : One;  it is like a caramel custard with cake on top, two : super moist, delicious vanilla dessert cake. I'm not sure if the description does justice to this lovely cake, but this was such a different kind of cake, nothing like what I've made or tasted before. To top it all, it was quite a simple recipe.

I've been consciously trying  to try different kind of recipes, specially with cakes and other bakes that stray from the usual "beat sugar and butter" method. This totally fit the bill, but at the same time, remained simple enough with ready at hand ingredients, which kinda made it hard for me to ignore it.

If you look closely, you will notice this cake has 3 layers to it . Now don't let that misguide you into thinking it consisted of making separate batters for each layer or that it needed to be baked one layer at a time. I don't know how the magic happens, but it actually is just one batter, baked one time that ends up with 3 lovely layers of different texture and I got to tell you it tastes pretty darn good!!!!!! I'd make it another time without thinking twice. Such  little effort, so much goodness!!!1

Doing a bit of research on this kind of magic cake, I came across similar recipes for different flavours like chocolate , nutella, butter-scotch and lemon.  I can hardly wait to try them all. Also this cake handles refrigeration well, if you need to keep it beyond a day or more. I had just about a quarter remaining to store away, since it was dug into instantly

So remember, one batter, one round of baking and you get a 3 layered cake!!!! That's all I need to say why this recipe has made it here. So let's get to it.

Vanilla Custard Cake


4 eggs
150 gm sugar (3/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
125 gm butter (1 stick/ 1/2 cup), melted
115 gm flour ( 3/4 cup)
500 ml milk


1. Start with preheating the oven to 180 C. Grease and line an 8 x 8 inch cake tin.
2. Separate the egg yolks and whites. In a bowl, beat the egg whites using an electric beater till the egg whites are stiff. You can also beat with a whisk, it'll only take a bit longer.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, till it turns pale and fluffy. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract and continue beating for a couple of minutes.
4. Slowly incorporate the flour and mix till it is well incorporated.
5.Pour in the milk in a steady stream and continue beating on low speed till the batter looks well mixed.
6. Using a spatula, fold in the egg whites in 3 batches. Mix it till it is just well combined.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 40 - 60 mins, till the cake turns a light golden brown on top.
8. Let the cake cool completely, before you slice in.