Friday, October 23, 2015

Arjun is ONE!

A week back we celebrated Arjun's First Birthday,can you believe it?He turned ONE,I mean,wasn't it few days back I shared the Happy News with all of you?Apparently not,time just flew past without us even noticing and just like that he grew up from an infant to a toddler :)
Arjun is ONE Just like every mother does,I started planning for his birthday right from the time he was a few days old.Plans kept changing a number of times and in the end we decided on having a small get together of very close family and friends.Date was fixed,venue was decided and menu chosen too.I had decided to bake his Birthday cake despite knowing I get stressed if at all there are any glitches.I chose quite a few cake designs and discussed with Ajay.He was very clear-I either bake a simple cake or else we'll outsource the cake.

He knows me too well.Whenever there is a cake order and if there is even a minor problem,I stress.It is a different thing that I've overcome that stage of fearing-if-anything-goes-wrong,but I didn't want to take a chance.I chose a very simple cake design and decided to stick with it.
Arjun is ONE Call me fortunate that I have the Cake Goddess Subhashini at my beck and call for any doubts I have and I had plenty!I hadn't done a tiered cake before and she rendered her full support to me.A week back,I purchased all the ingredients required and planned on a timeline around which I had to start baking/filling/crumb coating the cake.
Arjun is ONE The flavors were decided much earlier too.I am a big fan of Neapolitan cake and the flavors were inspired by that one-base tier was Vanilla with Caramel filling,middle tier was Chocolate with ganache filling and top tier was Strawberry with ganache filling.I baked the cake one day in advance,cling wrapped and refrigerated it.The fillings-ganache,caramel sauce and the frosting-white chocolate ganache too were made a day in advance.
Arjun is ONE 
I thought I had everything planned and ready but things were not supposed to be so smooth.Sadly,Arjun fell ill on the day of the party.He was running high temperature and all my cake plans came to a halt.Luckily,I had both sets of parents around and somehow I managed to pull it off.Not without the help and support of our parents,Ajay,Subhashini and last but not the least,my maid who made sure everything was cleaned and organized :)
Arjun is ONE Party went on well by God's grace and seeing happy faces all around made every effort worth it :)I am already looking forward to his second birthday :) :) 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tomato Biriyani | Easy Rice Cooker Recipes

Tomato Biriyani
Repeating a recipe twice or thrice after trying it out for the first time,that too in a span of 10 days does say a lot about the recipe isn't it?I had bookmarked this recipe from Yummy Tummy a while back but never got a chance to try because mention Tomato rice or in this case Biriyani Ajay makes a face.He likes vegetables in his biriyani or else it has to be a non-vegetarian one.
Tomato Biriyani
One day when I was alone for lunch,I made this.These days getting everything ready for cooking seems to occupy a lot of my time.I have to keep a tab on Arjun who is now too anxious to know what is inside my kitchen cabinets :) All cooking happens when he is asleep and I schedule everything around that time.
Once you have everything ready,cooking this one is a breeze.Primarily because it is made in rice cooker.You can try making it on stove-top too or pressure cooker as well.

The best part is that Ajay loved this one.He tasted whatever was leftover for dinner and the flavors were spot on.I made this again for a ladies lunch potluck and they loved it too.I feel the recipe is a good base for adding core ingredients of your choice,maybe mushrooms or even paneer and green peas!
Tomato Biriyani
If you are a Biriyani lover like me,don't forget to check out some of my favorite Biriyani recipes

Cauliflower Biriyani
Mushroom Biriyani
Baby Potato Biriyani

Tomato Biriyani
Recipe source - Yummy Tummy


Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Ghee/Oil - 1 tbsp
Fennel seeds/perumjeeragam - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1' piece
Cloves - 2
Cardamom - 2
Onion - 1 medium,sliced
Green chilly - 1
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Haldi powder - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Tomato - 2 medium,chopped finely
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup,chopped
Mint leaves - 1/4 cup,chopped
Thick coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 1/2 cups
Bread cubes fried - optional


Tomato Biriyani 
Wash the rice well in running water twice or thrice and soak in enough water for 30 minutes.
Tomato Biriyani 
In a kadai add oil/ghee and splutter fennel seeds.Add cinnamon,clove and cardamom and stir for a minute.
Tomato Biriyani 
Mix in the onions and green chilly and stir till the onion starts changing colour.
Add ginger garlic paste and stir for a minute after which add the spice powders - chilly powder,garam masala and haldi.
Tomato Biriyani 
Mix in the sugar and salt to taste and give a good stir.
Add the tomatoes and mix well so that the masala coats the tomato pieces.Let it cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.Mix in coriander and mint leaves and switch off the flame.
Tomato Biriyani 
Add this into the rice cooker,top with soaked and drained rice and mix in coconut milk and water.Check the seasoning and switch on the rice cooker.
Tomato Biriyani 
Fry some bread cubes in oil(if you are using)till golden brown and drain on a kitchen towel.
Tomato Biriyani 
Once the rice is cooked,fluff it up using a fork and add the fried bread.
Tomato Biriyani
Serve with raita and pickle.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies
I've been baking for about 7 years now and it is strange that I have not yet tried "the" chocolate chip cookie.I love it actually,so many new variants available in the market these days.But I've never tried making it on my own.Long back I did try an eggless version and liked it but the fact is,it never crossed my mind to try the original recipe.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
It could be due to one reason,for a long time I was averse to baking cookies with eggs.I was okay with adding eggs to my cake batter but not cookies.Over a period of time however I realized that I shouldn't have such preconceived notions if I am to try/better a recipe.It was when I tasted homemade chocolate chip cookies made by a friend that I felt I should make some too.Yup,as easy as that I decided I should make it myself.Aversion goes out of the window:)
Chocolate Chip Cookies
I looked around for recipes which did not call for copious amount of butter and chocolate chips and zeroed in on this recipe from JoB.As always,the recipe didn't disappoint.The cookies were chewy in the middle and crisp on the edges and loaded with chocolate chips.I messed up with the size the first time I made it though.My ice-cream scoop yielded massive palm sized cookies which in turn required more baking time.But I tried it again and used a spoon to measure out the dough and it gave me perfect sized cookies.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe source - JoB


Butter - 1 cup/ 2 sticks /226 gms
Granulated white sugar - 3/4 cup / 150gms
Brown sugar - 3/4 cup /160gms
Eggs - 2
Vanilla - 1 1/2 tsp
All purpose flour - 2 1/4 cup/295gms
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Chocolate chips - 1 1/2 cups


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) with rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Chocolate Chip Cookies 
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until fluffy (about 2 minutes). 

Chocolate Chip Cookies 
Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Chocolate Chip Cookies 
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat until incorporated, adding the chocolate chips and nuts (if using) about half way through mixing. If you find the dough very soft, cover and refrigerate until firm (from 30 minutes to two hours).

Chocolate Chip Cookies 
For large cookies, use about a 2 tablespoon ice cream scoop or with two spoons, drop about 2 tablespoons of dough (35 grams) onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake about 10 -14 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Cool completely on wire rack.
Makes about 4 dozen - 3 inch round cookies.

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