Friday, 6 May 2016

Avocado Cheesecake (No Bake)




Another cheat's recipe, nonetheless very welcoming and a total treat. I love experimenting with no bake desserts and they seem like quite the easy thing to do. Make a delicious crunchy base, a creamy filling and a decadent topping if you want to go that extra mile.That's it.  My no bake desserts mostly involve the usual suspects; chocolate ganache, cream cheese, whipped cream, fruit pulp. It really is a matter of mix and match and you can come up with some real wonders. What makes them the most tempting is that they take hardly any cooking time, and all they require is a little setting time in the refrigerator.

Having found 3 avocados in my fruit basket, all ripened at the same time, I contemplated if I should scoop and freeze them, till of course I reasoned out that Thursday nights required dessert to finish off a mid week meal. Like the usual procedure for cooking goes in my house, I try to make do with what ingredients are freely available in the house, rather than go hunting that minute for special ingredients. This way, it stays simple and doesn't become time consuming either.

I used 5 ingredients to make this dessert, if you skip the butter -biscuit base. and I must be honest with you, the end product was nowhere close to the effort I put in. . . . .  .Too little effort, too much deliciousness.

To make my cheesecake, I started with making the base, the usual butter and biscuit combination, this time, noting down the exact proportions of butter and biscuit  to put here, since I usually go with what looks just right. I prefer putting the biscuits in the mixie to powder them, though you can go with the "put in a ziplock and bash em hard with a rolling pin " method. Whatever suits you . Also I melt the butter to mix with the powdered biscuits; just makes life easier. Just toss the butter in a microwavable mixing bowl and heat for about 30 seconds. Once you start mixing the biscuits and butter, they'll resemble the texture of wet sand. You can press them into the base of a loose bottom tin or spring-form pan with the back of a spatula. Of course I use my trusted mini pink piggy spatula; such a cutie.








To make the filling, once I let the gelatin to bloom, I just blended all the other ingredients in the mixie till it turned in a smooth creamy filling. If you are not comfortable with using gelatin or have had issues using it, do read my earlier post No bake mango cheesecake , for some tips about using gelatin. I added lime to the filling; not only does it give a lovely taste to the mix, it also prevents the avocados from turning brown once scooped . To scoop the avocados, I find it easiest to run a knife through them horizontally and then twist it to separate the two halves. Just take out the seed, and scoop the fruit with a spoon. Once the gelatin is blended into the filling , it is  ready to be poured over the base. All it will need now is some chilling time in the fridge.




What I loved most about this dessert is that it had a lovely creamy texture and I felt less guilty about eating a large wedge of it, considering I tried keeping it healthy, with the whole avocado and low fat cream combination. I used regular Amul Cream, that doesn't require any whipping or anything.
Mix, chill, and indulge this weekend!!!!!




No Bake Avocado Cheesecake


Ingredients :

For the base :
200 gms digestive biscuits (powdered in a blender)
50 gms butter (melted )

For the filling :
1 1/2 tbsp gelatin
4 tbsp water.
3 ripe avocados
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup condensed milk
200 ml low fat cream

Method :

1. Start with making the base. Mix the powdered biscuits and melted butter in a bowl, till it resembles a sandy texture. Press into the base of an 8 inch loose bottomed cake tin with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Keep aside.
2. In a small microwavable bowl, mix the gelatin and water and keep aside.
3. Into a blender, toss in the scooped avocado fruit, condensed milk, juice of a lime and cream. Blend till it becomes a smooth creamy texture.
4. Melt the gelatin mixture by heating it in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds till it turns into a clear mixture. Add it to the mix in the blender and blend again till well combined.
5. Pour the filling over the biscuit base and leave the cheesecake to set in the fridge for about 4 hours.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Zucchini, Sweet Corn and Mushroom Soup





Ok . So new year means new enthusiasm for old promises. So that one, where I said I was going to eat healthy, yeah that challenge is back !!!! I couldn't help but whip up a bowl of soup for a weekday dinner. I have been trying various combinations and might I add, this one has been one of the most successful. The first time I tried it, I almost ended up gulping down the entire bowl myself, struggling to keep some for the foodie on duty. I know what you're thinking, "he musta been glad you didn't leave him any" but you got to trust me, he really liked it too. "Loved" might be a misleading term.


So, like the title says,  this is a zucchini, sweet corn and mushroom soup. You'd think its a weird combination, and I would have too, but one Monday evening, I opened my fridge to find exactly these three sitting side by side. Now, being in the spirit of healthy eating and renewed enthusiasm, I thought it was sane enough to try cooking all three together to whip up a soup. Got to tell you, sometimes these weird ideas can lead to beautiful things.


I followed my usual steps to making soup 1.Saute veggies in a little butter, 2. Add some herbs and seasonings. 3 Add a little rice, cook . 4. Blend to a soup. And this seems to be a fail proof procedure to end up with thick, creamy soup. Works every time!!!!!. For the seasoning, I added mixed dried herbs, you can go with oregano, pizza seasoning or all purpose seasoning.


I did garnish this soup with some bell peppers at the end, but that is totally optional...



Zucchini, Sweet Corn, Mushroom Soup .

Ingredients : 

1 zucchini, roughly chopped.
200 gm mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 cup sweet corn
1 tsp butter
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
2 tbsp raw basmati rice
salt and pepper to taste


1. In a vessel, heat the butter. Toss in the zucchini, sweet corn and mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes.
2. Add salt, pepper and dried herbs, mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Add the basmati rice, saute for a minute. Add 1 1/2 cups of water.
4. Bring to a boil and then let the veggies and rice cook covered on a low flame. till the rice is cooked.
5. Let the mixture cool down a bit. Blend it to a smooth paste.
5. Put back on a medium flame, adjust salt and add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency. Bring to a boil and serve hot.




Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Gooey Butter Cake




I am so excited to share this recipe with you. I think it's the perfect recipe to start the year.  I must admit the recipe did seem a bit weird to start with. It includes a layer of an yeasty dough base and then a very buttery filling, interesting enough but still odd. But with the renewed enthusiasm that accompanies the first few weeks of a new year, that makes you want to take up anything that seems challenging and new, I readily agreed to give it a shot . Boy oh boy, was that a smart decision !!!!


This cake seems like a perfect marriage of baked cheesecake and ghee cake (Cochin bakery lovers in Mangalore will understand the excitement of this one). This is food of the angels!!!! Don't let this slightly weird recipe put you off, it is worth every ounce of butter you put into it. I served this cake to a bunch of family I had over and they loved it . I would think this cake is best eaten in a day or two. Beyond that, though you can re heat it in the microwave, it fails to retain that amazing texture.

The cake has two parts to it ; one, a layer of cake, made with yeast and two, a very gooey butter filling. The batter or rather dough for the first layer of cake is rather thick, so don't be alarmed with its consistency. You will have to wrestle a bit with it to spread it out in the tin, but that in no way should predict its texture, which will eventually taste like a layer of soft cake.The second layer is much thinner and very spreadable. Make sure the butter is softened when you start. Also if you're using a spring form/loose bottomed cake tin, make sure to grease and line the base of the tin and also cover the base with cake on all edges. The gooey layer melts at first as the cake bakes and if you have gaps in the base, you'll lose precious gooeyness that'll leak through. Wonder how I know this. Anyway, if that does happen, don't worry, the gooey layer firms up in a bit and will stop leaking at some point of time, and you'll still have loads of the filling left on the cake. I know this for sure too.



Gooey Butter Cake:

From : Life is Sweet

For the cake:
55 ml milk
55 ml water
50 gm unsalted butter
2 1/2 tsp dried active or instant yeast
265 g plain flour
50 g castor sugar
1/2 salt
1 large egg

For the butter filling:
310 gm unsalted butter
160 ml condensed milk
160 gm golden syrup
2 large eggs
90 g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt


1. Start with preheating the oven to 175 C. Grease and line a 9 inch round cake tin.
2. For the cake layer, heat the milk, water and butter over low heat in a saucepan. Heat till the butter has just melted, then allow to cool till lukewarm. Sprinkle the yeast over and leave for 10 mins.
3. In another bowl, mix the flour , sugar and salt. Add the yeast mixture and the egg, whisking with an electric beater for about 2 minutes. Switch to a dough hook and knead for 10 minutes.
4. Pour this rather firm dough into the prepared tin, spreading it all over using a spatula. Keep aside as you make the butter filling.

5, For the filling, first beat the butter till fluffy. Add  two thirds of the condensed milk and all the golden syrup and mix thoroughly.
6. Add the eggs one at a time, mix in the flour and alternate with the remaining condensed milk. Add the vanilla, salt and mix well.
7. Spoon the filling over the yeast dough , (which could have risen a bit, leave as is) and bake for about 30 mins .
8. The butter filling will turn a golden brown when its done.  Take the cake out of the oven when the filling is still slightly wobbly, the filling will set as it cools.
9. Let the cake cool in the tin, and serve dusted with icing sugar if you like.



Monday, 4 January 2016

The food bucket list for 2015/ 2016

*Updated Post

Happy 2016 y'all....  I'm starting the new year with updating my food bucket list. While I know I haven't accomplished my list from last year, I couldn't wait to add a few more items to the list this year. Moreover, I tried the biggest item on last year's list " the gingerbread house" and to top it, I made a video too. Now doesn't that say all is forgiven.  The new additions are again, my "have been on my mind for too long" kind of recipes. I shall make a much more earnest attempt this year in checking items on the list and as I do, I promise to try many other simple, easy and 'everybody can cook " sorta recipes too. Scroll down and see items 19 onward for this year's additions.

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Happy new year all!!!!!!!! It's that time of the year, for new enthusiasm, new renewals of old resolutions, new lists, goals, and in all this energy I couldn't help but think of a recipe list. That's how I've come with my Food bucket list for 2015, with a list twist. One, it's a list of to do's for this year and 2 , it's a list of things I'm going to try making not exactly eating at some place. Well I am going to eat them eventually, after I've made them and yes every successfully completed recipe will be up on the blog.


So I looked through my recipe books, which by the way have totally overflowed from my little kitchen shelf to my book shelf to my bed side table to my study table.  Every recipe book has been decorated with bright post it's for "must try recipes" and when I got down to making my list, it continued to over a 100. Geez, I wanted to keep this real, a number I could actually accomplish, given how time flies with all the other zillion things I need to and plan to do with my time.

I decided to take on some godzilla recipes, the ones that I have been staying away from, for their accompanying anxiety and  some simple recipes, mostly bakes that I've been meaning to try for so long and just have not made the time for or shunned for something more fancy.


So this list contains recipes I plan to try out this year and the ones that go well will be up here on the blog, for you'll to try.

Let's have a look at the list shall we .

1. Baked Alaska (this has been on my mind for a couple of years now. It'll make a spectacular dessert)
2. Bibique ( my favourite take away from Goa, one of my favourites, along with the wine and sausages)
3. Angel food cake ( 12 egg whites!!!!)
4. The perfect pound cake  Done
5. Roasted leg of Lamb, not going to let it bake overnight though. Need a simpler recipe.
6. Creme CaramelDone
7. Baklava, (need to find that filo pastry)
8. Summer pudding, sweet and simple
9. Bitter orange Ice cream ,for those summery days. Done
10. Snickerdoodles (How can I not try something that sounds so adorable. I did. )Done
11. Croissants
12. Om Ali, a very delicious Egyptian pudding
13.Boston Cream pie :Done
14.Pineapple, carrot and apple cake (yes, all in one, I already love it)
15. Mango Ice cream
16.Puff pastry, I'm on the lookout for a cheat's recipe.
17. Christmas Pudding
18. Gingerbread house, Plenty of time to research and get it ready in time for Christmas!!!!DONE
19. Ghee cake
20. Prawn Rissois
21. Biriyani (You should know I struggle with this )
22. Grape Wine
23.Stuffed pork tenderloin
24. Sacher torte
25. Perfect choco chip cookies
26. Tiramisu
27.Doughnuts
28. Karachi biscuits

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Now now , let this list not fool you. Though I hope to keep at it, ummm I don know, ,, , also this doesn't mean you won't see any other posts on the blog. I got plenty of other recipes lined up .

Do you have a " must try recipe list" . I'd love to hear about it. Email me : ronamarlene@gmail.com

Also, if you try recipes posted here, don't forget to email me pictures, I'd love to know how they turned out.

Again, Happy new year !!!! Here's to new dreams, hopes and aspirations. Cheers!!!!!

Monday, 21 December 2015

Easy 10 minute Chocolate Fudge.







Don't have the time or don't fancy traditional kuswar, but need some Christmas treats in the house ? This one's perfect for the occasion. This fudge takes 10 mins from start to finish and tastes heavenly. Food for Santa's elves eh? This stuff is delicious and to think it needs hardly any time. Sinful!!!


This probably will be the last post for the year, (Sowwie guys, I just go all crazy at Christmas time, and will not really be spending any time on my laptop ) and truly is a recipe for what this blog is all about : Simple , easy recipes that anyone can make.

You really can't go wrong with this one;  kids will love, adults won't be far behind.

So I'll see you in the new year. Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas. May the holiday season be filled with laughter, cheer and the love of your dear ones. I hope the new year is filled with everything that means the most to you.

Christmas Fudge :

Ingredients :

340 gm chocolate, roughly chopped
1 can  condensed milk (400 gm tin)
200 gm butterscotch chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup tutti fruitti
1 cup of almonds/cashew/walnuts roughly chopped
Glace cherries, chopped for garnish.


1. Grease and line an 8 inch tin with butter paper. Keep all ingredients ready and handy.
2. Tip in the condensed milk, chocolate and butterscotch chips into a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over low heat till the chocolate is all melted. Stir continuously, lest the mixture catch at the bottom.
3. When the chocolate has melted, the mixture will come together and become thick and resistant to stirring. At this point, tip in the vanilla extract and take it off the heat.
4. Immediately stir in the tutti fruitti and nuts and stir till it roughly mixes in. The mixture will begin to set almost immediately, so quickly pour into the cake tin. Level it with a knife if you like and garnish with cherries.
5. Let the mixture set on a kitchen counter. Cut into tiny slivers when it has completely set.  

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas Spice cake





Now if you haven't had the time to soak fruits for your Christmas cake, or if you don't like fruit cake at all but still want a festive cake, don't worry I got ya. This spiced cake is very Christmasy, full of holiday flavour and a good option if you're not into the whole fruit cake tradition, or even if you just want to try something different. Although fruitless, it still is very much Christmas on a plate.


The water in the cake makes it light and airy, the spices give an interesting flavour and the cake is sticky and moist as well. Very simple to make, this batter takes hardly any time to whip up, considering it doesn't need any butter, but just a mix of egg and oil with the usual ingredients or suspects shall I say.


I'm keeping this post really short, considering I'm in the middle of making kuswar, baking cakes and getting geared up for the holidays. Can't wait to be home with family, soaking up in that lovely Mangalorean comfort and enjoying mum's food. Such a special time indeed.

You can bake this cake in a large loaf tin or a 9 inch round tin, or bundt pan. Don't be put off by the list of ingredients, it's just a little bit of everything really and all you got to do is measure and mix.

Spiced Christmas Cake :

Ingredients:
4 large eggs, separated, plus 2 extra egg whites
100 gm caster sugar
125 ml oil
125 ml water
2 tbsp honey
200 gm brown sugar
180 gm flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
zest of one orange

Preheat the oven to a 180 C.

1. In a bowl, beat the egg whites still soft peaks form and then add the sugar gradually. Leave this aside and get to mixing all the other ingredients.
2. In another large bowl, start with whisking the yolks and oil and don't worry if it looks split, it will, especially coz we aren't making mayonnaise.
3. Add the water, honey and all the other ingredients, gently folding in the flour.
4. Fold in the egg whites and gently pour the batter into a greased cake tin. Bake for about 45 - 50 mins or till a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  
5. Let the cake cool for about 20 mins before you take it out of the tin. 

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Gingerbread House






This has to be the highlight of the year for me, in my baking world. Oh gosh, the excitement of making it, the research that went into finding the right recipe, and boy did I feel proud that I made it through. With this, I tick off another item on the food bucket list, which by the way, I definitely need to carry over to next year and this probably will be the last item ticked off on the list this year. Yeah, I know I have about a month more to go, but Christmas season is always such a busy time, I'm not sure.

Making this gingerbread house was such a memorable experience for me, and is the first of many things too. Apart from being the first gingerbread house I ever made or ate, this recipe also is the first video I made. I hope you'll like it . Let me know.


Anyway, some disclaimers about this gingerbread house :

1. This post is going to be a bit long. 

2. My gingerbread house was not perfect and I'm totally ok with that, in fact more than happy. This was my first attempt and I think I did pretty good. I was immensely happy to see that it actually stood and pieced up together, and I think I was as or even more excited than my nieces and nephews who got to cut into it finally. My house was a bit messy, my icing a bit runny but I can't think of any reason, why I wouldn't want to make this gingerbread house again. It was soooooo much fun.

3. This recipe worked for me and it should work for you. The only ingredient you might have to hunt for, is the golden syrup , which is available in cake supplies stores in Bangalore. You can also use treacle instead of golden syrup if that's easily available for you.

4. This will take some time. Yes it will. Though ideally it should take just a little more than a couple of hours from start to finish, I took longer. I wanted to give the structure enough time to set and I didn't want to take chances. So I gave it sufficient time to cool down once they were baked, sufficient time for the walls to set before I attached the roof, and some time after that before I decorated it, but it was all so worth it.




So let's get on with it :

For the gingerbread house you will need :

300 gm butter 
125 gm caster sugar 
125 gm brown sugar
225 gm golden syrup
725 gm flour
2 tsp soda bicarb
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon



For the icing :( which will act like glue to put the house together)

Mix together 500 gms sugar
2 egg whites

For decorating the house :

Sprinkles.
Gems
Coloured candies
Jujubes

1. Start by mixing the butter, sugars and golden syrup in a saucepan.  Heat the mixture on a low flame till the butter melts.
2, Sift the flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the melted butter mixture and mix together using a spatula or wooden spoon.
3. Knead the mixture for a few seconds, adding a bit of water if you need to , to bring the mixture together. The dough will be a bit crumbly at this point, don't worry. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap it in cling film and place it in the fridge for about 30 mins.
4. While the mixture is chilling make your paper templates for the gingerbread house. (pics given below). You will need
Front and back wall : 12.7 x 17.7 cm
Sides : 12.7 x 15.2 cm
Roof : 10.7 x 17.7 cm

5. Preheat your oven to 180 C when you start to roll out the dough.


I've made a video for the rest of the instructions, to give you a better idea of how to go about making the house. Once the dough has chilled and the templates are ready, you can start making the gingerbread house. If you have a smaller oven, bake the pieces, 2 at a time, though you can roll them out all at one go and keep them ready on baking parchment.


When the dough has been baked and is cooling, you can make the icing. Make sure to keep it covered till you need to use it. To use the icing, put it in an icing bag, while still keeping the remaining icing covered, so that it doesn't dry up

Sides


Front and back wall

Roof

                     Watch the video for instructions on how to make this Gingerbread house.