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


Ingredients:

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


Ingredients

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


Method:

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.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Mince Pie





OK, Here's one of those recipes that's a real keeper. Like, for real. I made it twice in a week, so that has got to mean something. To begin with, it was one of the easiest pastries I ever made. No working butter into flour with your fingertips or bringing the pastry dough together by hand. This was just a whiz and blitz in the mixie. And it worked!!!! like really well. I was skeptic at first, but this is now my go to recipe for savoury pastry. I don't think I'm going to bother looking at any other pastry recipe for a while. This was flaky, buttery, crispy crusty, all at the same time. And most importantly sooooo easy to make and a very easy recipe to remember. Easy to remember is important, in case you're a contestant on masterchef and need to remember your favourite pastry recipe. I'm always in awe of how contestants whip up cakes and dish out bakes without a recipe. I might have baked the same cake 10 times, but will still need the book at hand while I need to bake it for the 11 th time. So that way, this one is super easy to remember and poses no such problems. Masterchef Australia fever in the air by the way, in case your wondering where all this masterchef talk is coming from.


The filling again is pretty simple and flexible. From the kind of mince you use, to the spices you throw in. Apart from a few constant ingredients, you really can afford to mix and match. I've tried this both with chicken and beef mince, and both pies tasted pretty darn good.




Putting it altogether was pretty simple too. Chill the dough for about 20 mins, roll it out between sheets of cling film, toss in the filling, fork the edges and bake for about 25 mins. I could go on with my love for this pie. Whether you are looking for a nice sunday meal for your family to dig in to, or serve friends pie over tea or visit a friend who's feeling down, this pie will make perfect sense anytime. So let's get started then


Mince Pie

Ingredients :

For the pastry :

250 gm flour
125 gm cold butter, cut into cubes
4 tbsp cold, salted water (60 ml)
1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt.


For the filling:

2 tbps oil
2 onions finely chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
250 gm mince
2 eggs, hard boiled, shelled and chopped
1 1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs
1/2 tsp all spice
Salt and pepper to taste


Method :

1. For the pastry, measure the flour and toss it into the mixer/ processor. Add the cubes of butter and pulse in 3 - 5 second spurts till the mixture resembles crumbs.
2. Pour the water, lil by lil and pulse again in short spurts till the pastry comes together.
3. Toss the pastry on to a sheet of cling film and cover it tight to bring it together. Keep in the fridge to chill for 20 mins.
4. While the pastry is chilling in the fridge, start on the filling. In a pan, heat the oil. Toss in the onions and salt, and fry till onions are soft.
5. Add the tomatoes, the dried herbs, all spice, pepper and fry till the tomatoes soften.
6. Turn the heat to high and add the mince. Stir well to break up the clumps of mince. When the meat has browned, add the hard boiled eggs.
5. Cook on a low heat till the mince is cooked thoroughly.


To assemble the pie :

1. Preheat the oven to 190 C.  Line an oven tray with a sheet of baking paper.
2.Divide the chilled pastry into two halves. Place one half of the pastry between two sheets of cling film. Roll the pastry into a rectangle, a roughly shaped one will work just as fine. Transfer on to the baking sheet.
3. Place the filling onto the rolled pastry, spreading it evenly using a spoon, and leaving about 1 inch on the edges. Dampen the edges of the pastry with a little water.
4. Roll the other half of the pastry, in the same way , about the same size and place it over the filling.
5. Press the edges of the top and bottom pastry together, first with your fingers and then with a fork.
6.Prong the top of the pastry to make air holes and brush the pastry all over with the beaten egg .
7. Bake for about 25- 30 mins till the pastry turns a nice golden brown.








Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Fudge Brownies

I first got hooked on to the idea of trying different kinds of brownies when a friend of mine sent me a link to  the brownie project blog. As tech arrested as you'd like to call me, it was also my first introduction to a blog!!!!. No wonder then I was hooked on instantly. The idea struck me as excessively cute that someone had dedicated their kitchen experimenting to trying out different  brownies!!!Just good old brownies.... I do remember having tried a few recipes from that blog and soon might I say brownies were a regular project in my oven as well.



Brownies are cake's less fussier cousins. They're easier to whip up, don't demand too much technical knowledge of baking and honestly I've rarely had a batch that has let me down. If there was any, it still tasted brilliant and was probably converted into a super chocolaty dessert or something.


My previously posted recipe for one bowl dark chocolate brownies is still a favourite in my kitchen. Ok.. Correction. I'm making that " is" into a "was". You got to evolve as you move ahead. I say  " was" ,because, I found this new recipe for super fudgy brownies. I made them 3 times in a couple of weeks, and then had to make great efforts to resist baking them, only because I ran out of brown sugar. While you can replace the brown sugar with regular white sugar in this recipe, the brown sugar does add a slightly nutty caramel flavour to the brownies, and I wouldn't give that up so easily. But even if you're using all regular sugar, rest assured it won't take away the lovely texture of these brownies.

These are probably the kind of brownies you'd love to dig into anytimeeee. Like anytime. They have a great fudginess to them, no cakiness in them whatsoever!!! And to add to the super frikkin awesome texture, they are topped with a layer of ganache. Sooooo.., basically.... these are brownies from heaven. Also if like me, if you have a fear of brownies turning out to be crumbly when you slice into them, worry not. These brownies chill in the refrigerator so the ganache can set and this means, they cut perfectly when you take them out of the fridge. Leaving them in the fridge only enhances their texture, so chuck your worries about them turning dry or hard. Also did I mention, the recipe involves no beating butter or using an electric cake beater, a simple whisk will work all the magic for you. Is this the best recipe or what!!!!!!


                               Going into the oven. Looking gorgeous already!!!!!!!!!!




A generous layer of ganache over the brownies, while they are still in the pan. Off to the fridge to set.





Fudge Brownies:

Ingredients :

For the brownies
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup  brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder disolved in 2 tablespoons hot water. 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup  cocoa powder  
 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
For the Ganache
150 ml low fat milk cream
150 gm dark chocolate, cut into little chunks. 
Method :
1.Start with lining and greasing a 9X9 inch square pan. 
2. In a large microwavable  bowl, toss in the butter. Microwave to melt it. Add the sugars, both brown and granulated. Toss in the coffee and vanilla. Combine using a whisk.
3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing just till incorporated. 
4. Whisk in the cocoa till there are no lumps in the mixture. 
5. Add the flour and mix till it just combines. Do not overmix
6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 25 - 30 mins, till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs but not batter. 
7. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan while you start on the ganache.
8. For the ganache, mix the chopped chocolate and cream in a microwave safe bowl . Microwave the mixture in 30 seconds spurts till the chocolate is almost completely melted and the cream is warm. Do not over heat the cream. Stir the mixture and then set it aside for 10 minutes. 
9. Pour the ganache over almost cooled brownies. Smoothen the ganache with a spatula and put the brownies in the fridge for the ganache to set. About an hour or two is good. 
10. Cut the brownies into slices only when the ganache has set . The ganache has set when it's no longer sticky to the touch. 






Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Prawn Rissois

I first came across Prawn Rissois at Infantaria, Goa. What a lovely place that is, and that it makes some of my favourite things to eat, just adds to the charm. Where else can you enjoy a Goan sausage roll. Sigh, I'm craving for one right now. I loved the idea of a lovely white sauce prawn filling, encased in a sort of pastry and crumb fried. When I tasted it , I knew what I had to do; get to my blog and put it in my food bucket list and so I did.


Next, I did some research online, found out that it has a Portuguese origin, not surprising then, I came across it in Goa. I found what seemed like a simple recipe, but making the pastry sort of intimidated me. I'm not a pastry phobic; I've made enough pastry crusts and pies to know it can be pretty simple and fail proof, but this was a new sort of pastry and I had my fears before I decided to face them. Ah and what a good thing I decided to. This pastry was soooo simple to make. Trust me; whether you're a pastry phobic, lazy baker or plain scared to try out something new, this recipe will work for you !!!! Also with this success, I can tick one more item off my Food Bucket List. The first for this year, is it??? Oopise. I realised I did try out some more items but they didn't quite make it to the success list.. Sigh!!! Then again, like I always say what's a kitchen without some burnt dishes and cakes that didn't rise. . to the occasion.

So let's get started.

I started off by making the prawn filling, so it had plenty of time to cool down. It is basically prawns cooked in a thick white sauce. Letting it cool will also help thicken the consistency of the filling. I made a very regular white sauce filling, using butter, flour, milk ,salt, pepper, stock and tossing in bits of prawn...

Then for the pastry, its just flour, salt and water. That's it. No rubbing butter and flour between your fingertips and no extra fuss over making a flaky pastry. This pastry casing is as simple as it can get.





Here's the recipe and oh I've also made a little video for you, on how to roll out the pastry and shape it into lil crescents. Another very very easy thing that was.


Prawn Rissois

For the Prawn Filling :

1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup prawn, cleaned, de veined, and cut into tiny pieces
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

For the pastry :

1 cup water
1 tbsp butter
1 cup flour
salt to taste

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 beaten egg

1. Start with making the filling. In a pan, heat the butter, when it has melted add the bits of prawn. Stir fry for a minute.
2. Toss in the flour, mix it well. Then pour in the milk and stock while stirring continuously.
3. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Stir the sauce, till it thickens and there are no lumps. Set aside to cool.
4. Move on to the pastry. In a vessel , mix the butter  and water and bring to a boil. When the butter has melted, add in the salt. When the water comes to a boil, toss in the flour all at once and stir vigorously till it leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Transfer this dough on to a clean surface and while it is still hot, knead it for a couple of minutes.
5. Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with a cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
6. When the dough has well rested, roll out small bits of dough into rectangles. Place spoonfulls of filling on the pastry, fold, and cut into shapes.
7. Dip each cut out pastry in beaten egg, roll in breadcrumbs and deep fry to a golden brown.
8. Serve with mayonnaise or ketchup.

You can also check out my recipe for homemade mayonnaise.


And here's the video for rolling and shaping the pastry



Hope you give this recipe a try. It really is pretty simple and will not let you down...


Friday, 3 June 2016

Ferrero Rocher Oreo Cheesecake (No Bake)




No bake desserts have hit me like the plague. Yes, I am still a baker at heart, there's no denying that. I'm still up for baking a cake at midnight, or buying another baking book to add to my collection. That being said, no bake desserts are a huge help when you have lesser time to spare or just want to cut down some effort. And more over, who doesn't love a chilled dessert at summer time?


So, this gorgeous dessert took its beginnings from a box of ferreros lying in my fridge. As much as I love them, I felt too guilty about eating all of them by myself, one piece a night. So, I managed to resist the temptation that was lurking around and decided I'd make a cheesecake for an upcoming family lunch. It's a good idea to end your lunch party with a great dessert, that way, people can forgive any flaws that surfaced at lunch or in your meal.


For this cheesecake, I kept it pretty simple. A thick cookies and cream crust with Oreos and butter, and cream cheese for the filling sounded like heaven on a plate. And hours later, tasted like a slice of heaven too. I don't remember myself being more eager to eat any other dessert I ever made. While you can roughly bash up the biscuits for the base using a rolling pin, I prefer tossing the biscuits into a mixie to powder them. This way, I can ensure a smooth crust for the cheesecake. Although whipped cream and cream cheese together will set on their own given enough time in the refrigerator, I decided to add a bit of gelatin to speed up the process, considering I was making the dessert just a couple of hours before my guests arrived. I didn't want to end up with a half set dessert that just plonked all over a plate instead of a lovely nice wedge of cheesecake. If you haven't used gelatin before or are not too comfortable using it, do read this post that will give you some tips about using gelatin. Trust me, gelatin can be your friend.

I was convinced the ferreros would suffice to carry off the dessert on their own, but just to make it extra indulgent I decided to add some bits of Oreo in the filling as well. Another great decision made in the kitchen. Proud of me.  I've used a mix of whipping cream and low fat cream in this recipe. The whipping cream for some volume and the low fat cream to keep it light. I used Amul low fat cream.
Also, since I was very keen on posting this recipe, I did note down, exact measures of all the ingredients I used, something I very rarely do, while going freehand with my own recipe. Yes, gratitude accepted.


Let's get started then.

Ferrero Rocher and Oreo Cheesecake 

Ingredients :

 For the crust :
300 gm Oreo biscuits (powdered)
50 gm butter (melted)

For the filling :

1 1/2 tbsp gelatin
4 tbsp water
150 ml whipping cream
6 tbsp powdered sugar
200 gm cream cheese
400 ml low fat cream
1 tbsp vanilla essence
8 ferrero rochers
150 gm Oreo biscuits

8 Ferrero rocher chocolates to decorate.


1. Start with making the crust. In a bowl, mix the powdered oreos and melted butter with a spoon till the mixture resembles wet sand.
2. Press this mixture using the back of a spoon, into the base of a 9 inch spring form/ loose bottom cake tin, lined with parchment paper,  Set aside.
3. For the filling, start with the gelatin. In a microwave safe bowl, mix the gelatin and water with a spoon and keep aside to allow the gelatin to bloom.
4.  In a separate large bowl, beat the whipping cream till soft peaks form. Add the sugar, softened cream cheese and beat till well incorporated.
5. Toss in the vanilla essence and low fat cream and mix till just incorporated.
6. Roughly break  the oreos and ferreros by hand and add to the above mixture.
7. Melt the gelatin and water mixture by putting it in the microwave for about 10- 15 seconds, till the mixture looks clear and is without any lumps.
8. Add the melted gelatin mixture to the cream cheese mixture and stir well. Pour the filling over the prepared biscuit crust.
9. Allow to set in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 -3 hours.
10. About an hour after the dessert has been chilling in the refrigerator, decorate the top of the cheesecake with the leftover ferrero rochers. 

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

(The making of the ) Rose Petal Cake





I had the most fun making this cake. Call it a rose petal cake, ruffled cake, large rose cake, whatever you will. It was the easiest thing to make and the effort was so disproportionate to the end result; so little effort, so much prettiness.



Now, because this was so much fun, I'm posting a short video of the making of this cake. It's not really a tutorial, but just a sneak peek into  how I made this beauty. Maybe the next time you want to decorate a cake, and try something really simple and elegant, you could just grab that petal tip and try this out. Trust me, it'll make you sooo happy. I couldn't stop saying "ooh so pretty" as I made the cake. Of course, I muted my squeaky voice in the video.

I started with a 5 1/2 inch round , red velvet cake. I filled it with cream cheese icing and then crumb coated it in a very rustic way, as you will notice in the video. Don't worry about neatening it up too much, the ruffles cover it any way.

Though I've used cream cheese icing, coz red velvet and cream cheese is a match made in heaven and you don't fight it, you can use regular buttercream icing of a medium stiff consistency. Just colour it to a shade you like and toss it into an icing bag with a petal tip.


And here's the video. Happy video watching!!!!  Rose Petal Cake