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





Monday, 30 May 2016

Avocado Ice Cream : No churn recipe


Too soon for another avocado recipe??? I definitely do not agree. Avocado is such an amazing fruit for kitchen experimenting. It's creamy, healthy and versatile. If you haven't yet, do check my previous avocado recipes for avocado cheesecake and one of my favourite go to salad recipes, avocado chicken salad. Both recipes are super simple and fail proof. Avocado is such an amazing fruit, that you can use for both sweet and savoury. One of the many ways you can use it, is, to make Avocado milkshake or even lassi. So super simple. Just blend avocado , milk and honey to make a refreshing milkshake and for lassi, substitute the milk with yogurt. They are sure winners.



 The ingredients for this no churn ice cream recipe are similar to what I used for the cheesecake, of course, omitting the gelatin bit. This, again was a fun experiment with favourable results, that made me wanna go back to it with minor tweaks and voila, it is now a regular in the household.


As with the cheesecake, I've used lime in this recipe as well. I can't seem to get over that crazy good combination of avocado and lime, and that the lime prevents the avocado from browning is extra help. I've used condensed milk for sweetness, thereby avoiding even the least bit effort of creaming the avocado and sugar together to combine.

This ice cream is perfect for summery days and really needs nothing else. My only advice, eat it fresh.






Avocado Ice Cream

Ingredients :

2 ripe avocados
Juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp milk
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsp of yoghurt
75 gms cream cheese softened


1. Start with lining a mini loaf tin, or a suitable container with cling film, with a sufficient amount of film, overhanging on the sides.
2. Scoop the avocados into a blender. Add the juice of a lime, the condensed milk and 2 tbsp of the milk.  Blend till it resembles a puree. You could pulse it a few times and then blend it if that makes it easier.
3. Toss in the yoghurt, the remaining milk and the cream cheese. Make sure the cream cheese is softened, it will be hard to blend otherwise. When everything has blended into a smooth puree, pour the mixture into the lined loaf tin.
4. Cover with the cling film and put into the freezer to set for atleast 4 hours or as I did, leave it to set overnight.



Monday, 16 May 2016

Chocolate Cake (Super moist, One bowl, Butter-less)





This cake takes care of all your chocolate cravings in one go. It's moist, rich, chocolaty and most of all so easy to make. Chocolate is one cake flavour you can't have enough recipes of. I've tried many, some of my favourites being this  recipe for rich chocolate cake, and this one that makes a perfect birthday cake and of course this flourless chocolate cake is heaven on a plate.


What sets this recipe apart is the simplicity of making it. It's a one bowl, butter less, moist chocolate cake. Butter less meaning there is no beating and creaming involved , so the batter takes a few minutes to come together. Baking didn't take too long either and while the cake would taste great even on its own, I made a simple ganache to make it extra chocolaty. Got to say was a good kitchen decision. I found the recipe on I am baker ; such a wonderful blog with great recipes and a delight for any baker. One of my go to baking websites. Check it out. You'll love it.

Making ganache is super simple, all you need to remember is putting together equal quantities of cream and chocolate. I use low fat cream and it works perfectly fine, every-time!!!. Roughly chopping the chocolate or grating it before adding it to warmed cream, helps it melt much faster. Once all the chocolate melts into the cream, the frosting thickens as it cools down. I generally toss it into the fridge for about 30 mins and then spread it over the cake. I used a mix of dark and milk chocolate for this cake, feel free to go with what you like.


Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake :
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water

For the ganache:
150 ml low fat cream
150 gms chocolate, roughly chopped.


1. Pre heat the oven to 180 C. Grease and dust an 8 inch round tin with flour .
2. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Using a whisk, lightly combine.
3. Add in the egg and whisk it in. Then add the milk and whisk gently. If you prefer, you can use a cake beater from step 3.
4. Toss in the oil and vanilla extract and mix in well.
5. Add the water and whisk till everything is well combined.
6. The batter will be fairly thin. Pour the batter into the cake tin and let it bake for about 35-40 minutes.
7. The cake is done when a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.


For the frosting:

1. While the cake bakes, make the frosting.
2. Heat the cream on a gentle heat in a small saucepan. Do not let it boil, but just come to a warm temperature.
3. Take it off the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Stir till all the chocolate melts and there are no lumps.
4. Let the cake and frosting cool completely. The frosting will thicken as it cools.
5. Using a spatula, spread it over the cooled cake.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Banana Honey Cake



A quick, easy, and simple tea cake. If you've followed this blog long enough or even for just a while, you'd know how much I love baking with bananas. Tea cakes/loaves are a favourite. They don't need a special occasion, nor laborious prepping; just a Sunday evening , a whisk and a bowl will do.

I found this banana honey cake recipe in Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book. This book is just a treasure, and of course it's a favourite in my kitchen bookshelf,  more about which, you can read here. Also, if you've ever watched her show and done a little reading about her, you'll see what an absolute darling this lady is.

The method for the cake is slightly unconventional, considering you start with blending the flour and butter together, but if Mary Berry suggests you do so, you do just that. Make sure the butter is softened to start with. This will make it much easier to mix the flour and butter. Also since the recipe uses bananas and honey for sweetness, there's little sugar you need to add to the recipe.

As is the norm while using bananas in baking, (at least for me), over ripe bananas are a perfect choice. They add to the sweetness and moistness of the cake.  I tweaked the recipe a bit, using all purpose flour instead of self raising, butter in place of margarine and adding some chopped nuts for crunch. Feel free to skip the nuts if you like; or use any kind you prefer. I used cashew nuts. Walnuts, almonds also make a great choice.


Banana Honey Cake

Adapted from Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book

Ingredients :
 225 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
100 gm butter (softened)
225 g bananas (peeled and mashed)
100 gm caster sugar
zest of 1 lime
2 large eggs
6 tbsp thick honey
A handful of chopped cashew nuts



Method:

1. Pre heat the oven to 180 C. Lightly grease and line a medium sized loaf tin (900 g).
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg powder into a large bowl.
3. Add in the butter and mix it with the flour with an electric beater on low speed. You can also rub in the butter with your fingertips.
4. Add the mashed bananas, along with the sugar and lemon zest.
5. Beat in the eggs one by one. Add the honey. Add the chopped nuts, mix well.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for about 45 mins or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
7. Once the cake is baked, allow it to cool in the tin slightly, before turning it out on a wire rack to cool completely.


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.