Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy News :)

A big Hi to all of you :)

This space has been eerily silent for a long long time now.The longest break I ever took!Not without a reason of course,but before that let me thank all of you for keeping this space alive through searches,comments,e-mails and even helping each other out during my absence-I can't thank you enough,really!

Now coming to the 'happy' part of it-Ajay and me have been blessed with a baby boy on October 14th.It has been a long due happiness and we are enjoying every second of it.He is just so precious :)

I am not sure when I can get back to blogging but I can assure you,I WILL be back and hopefully soon.Thanks a bunch again,from the bottom of my heart!

Happy Holidays :)


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Onion,Bell pepper & Paneer Schiacciata

When I started baking cakes a few years back,one thing which I couldn't help myself from doing was peeping into the oven every now and then.To see if the cake was rising well,browning well or sometimes overflowing from the pan(yes,it has happened to me!)But as time passed,I stopped doing that,checking only once or twice to see if the oven was indeed switched on or the heat is right.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Same thing with bread baking.Though I have to say,it still amazes me to see the bread dough rising in room temperature first and then in the oven.Somehow makes me feel content thinking I have finally started baking 'edible' breads consistently,lol.Bread baking is indeed therapeutic and addictive.More so when the recipes are simple,no complicated steps to follow and foolproof.

Schiacciata[pronounced Skiah-cha-tah]is an Italian flatbread containing four basic ingredients - Flour,Yeast,Water and Olive oil.It means crushed or flattened in Italian and is the name for flatbread in Tuscany.The filling can be of your choice-sweet or savory,or none at all.I chose a basic filling with onions,tomatoes,bell pepper and paneer[cottage cheese].I added spices as I fancied throughout the cooking process and the filling turned out to be slightly Kadai Paneer-ish.A good mix of Italian and Indian cuisines I must say ;)
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Recipe source - Citron & Vanille ; Baked as part of Fondbites,Bakealong


Instant dry yeast/ Active dry yeast – 2 teaspoons
Water – 100 ml to 150 ml, adjust
Sugar – 1 tablespoon
Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
All-purpose flour – 250 gms, extra for dusting
Olive oil – 30 ml, extra for basting
Milk – 3 tablespoons, for brushing

For the filling

Oil - 1 tbsp.
Jeera/Cumin - 1/4 tsp
Onion - 1,sliced into chunks
Ginger garlic paste - 1/4 tsp
Tomato - 1,pureed
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Haldi/turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/3 tsp
Bell pepper/Green Capsicum - 1/2 cup,chopped into chunks
Paneer/Cottage cheese - 100gms
Kasoori Methi - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste


Take 1/4 cup of water and heat it up to lukewarm. Lukewarm in simple terms to work in home is to put one of your finger into the warm water and count till 5. If the 5th count is the final moment of bearing that heat, then you are good to go. Hotter than that will kill your yeast, colder than that will not kick start your yeast to react.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
To the luke warm water, add sugar and yeast and mix it well. Set it aside and do not disturb for 5 to 10 minutes until it will start to bubble up and become frothy. Those using instant yeast could skip this step and add the yeast to the flour along with sugar, salt and oil and start adding lukewarm water and begin making  your dough.I use instant yeast but still follow this step just to check if the yeast is active.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
In a large bowl add flour and salt and mix well. Add oil and use your fingertips to combine oil and flour mixture. Make a well in the center and pour the yeast mixture into the well. Add remaining water from the measurement little by little until the dough becomes soft and sticky. Not too wet and not dry and hard. It is hard to tell  the exact water measurement,  because moisture that is needed differs due to various causes. The key here is to add between 100 ml to 150 ml in total and get a sticky soft dough.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Transfer the dough onto your counter top that is cleaned well.Ideally for gluten to form at this stage, the dough gets a stretch and fold kneading. So stretch the dough extending your hands to maximum possible extent, then fold the dough and bring it back, repeat. If its sticky, sprinkle very little flour and do the stretch and knead process. If it is not soft, sprinkle some water and repeat kneading. It is this stretch and knead that makes the dough smooth and silky and helps in gluten formation.  So stretch and fold, stretch and fold for 10 minutes.
If your dough wont become shiny in 10 minutes knead for a little longer. Idea is to get a shiny smooth surfaced dough.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Once the dough kneading is done, use a bowl to cover the dough and let it for proving for about 30 to 45 minutes until the dough becomes double in volume.

Meanwhile,make the filling
You can either keep the filling plain-layering onion,tomato and herbs directly on the flattened dough or use a cooked filling to sandwich the schiacciata.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
In a pan add oil and splutter jeera.Saute the onions for 2-3 minutes till it starts slightly changing colour.Add the ginger garlic paste and tomato puree and cook for another 2-3 minutes on low flame.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Add red chilly powder,coriander powder,haldi powder and garam masala.Cook for 1-2 minutes on a low flame taking care not to burn the spices.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Now mix in salt to taste,chopped bell pepper and paneer and give a good mix.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Add kasoori methi,mix well and switch off the flame.Let it cool completely.

Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Knock or punch it down is the term used. Yes, use your fist to punch the dough, here we are releasing the air that's collected in the proved dough. Knock down throughout and combine the dough, give it slight kneading and now you are ready to go.
I decided to make 2 medium sized schiacciatas, so I divided the dough into 4 pieces. You can also make one big and you can divide into 2. Slightly flour your counter, take one portion of dough, roughly flatten it and roll it with your rolling pin to round shape about quarter of an inch thickness.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Transfer the rolled dough to your baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper or silicon mat. Spread over the prepared filling.
Now take another portion of the dough and again flour your counter and roll it to round of a size little bigger than your first. Brush the sides of the first dough with milk and place the second rolled dough over the first. Seal the sides with your fingers first and use a fork to mark lines and seal it completely. Now use the fork to poke holes on top. This is done to let vapour release out during baking, so your sides wont split open. Let this prove again for 10 to 15 minutes to just increase a little in size. This stage is second proving and this is when 90% of the size of your yeasted dish will take up. Baking only cooks them, most of the rising bit happens outside of oven.
Now brush the top with milk using a pastry brush,or dab ever so slightly with your fingers.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 200 degrees, for 17 to 20 minutes until the top turns golden brown.
Once the schiacciata is out of the oven, immediately brush oil all over. Now you can be a little less gentle. This is called basting of oil and that helps keep it soft once cooled down. Once basting is done and you are able to bear the heat, remove from the baking tray to a cooling rack else the bottom will soak up moisture. You are ready to slice and eat while its warm.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
You can store in refrigerator for a day or 2 and could re heat it before serving.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream

Knock..knock..anybody home?Lol,wishful thinking by me since I abandoned this space a while back and didn't peep in for the longest time.In fact,the longest gap ever since I started writing this blog in 2008.The blog's birthday went unnoticed,so did my better half's birthday cake and our anniversary cake.Well,what was supposed to be a small break got stretched into 4 long months and I have absolutely no excuses for the silence,rest assured all's well:)

Thanks to every single one of you who wrote in to ask me if anything was wrong and have I stopped blogging,gasp!
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
I haven't been baking much too,just the usual favorites when the baking bug strikes me bad.So just like the blog,the oven's been getting a long due rest as well.Not anymore,when blogging has resumed how can baking be left behind?I have a huge list of bookmarked recipes which would all find their way into the blog soon.I thought I'll start with something chocolate,what else!

The cupcakes are named Ultimate Chocolate cupcakes and I agree completely.Rich,dark,with a good dose of cocoa powder along with coffee,this cupcakes would make any chocolate lover go weak in their knees.The cupcakes taste great on their own but some coffee buttercream would make it more appealing.Since I made the cupcakes and frosting on a day the heat touched almost 44C,the frosting just wouldn't hold together,hence I've just dabbed it on top,you can try using different nozzles and make it look pretty! Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream
Recipe Source - Add a Pinch ;Baked as part of Fondbites,Bake Along


All-purpose flour – 1 cup
Granulated white sugar – 1 cup;I pulsed the sugar in my small mixie jar for about 2 seconds,just to break down the sugar crystals,it is an optional step though
Cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Milk – 1/2 cup
Cooking oil – 1/4 cup
Egg – 1
Vanilla Extract – 1/2 teaspoon
Boiling strong black coffee – 1/2 cup - Mix a tsp of Instant coffee powder and 1/2 cup boiling water


Pre-heat oven to 175 degree C. Line a 12 muffin tray with paper liners.
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder,
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
baking soda and salt.
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
Once sifted add sugar and whisk the dry ingredients.
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
Into another bowl add egg, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Whisk it well until well blended.
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry flour mixture and whisk it well until combined. You can use your electric beater for this.
Now add boiling black coffee and first beat slowly until it has incorporated well. Now increase the speed and beat for 2 to 3 minutes on medium high to incorporate air into the batter.
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
Spoon the batter into the paper lined muffin trays and bake in pre-heated oven at 175 Degree C, for 20 to 25 minutes until the cupcakes have well risen and a tooth pick inserted into the center of one cupcake comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the muffin tray once bearable to touch and let cool on wire rack until it comes down to room temperature.

Coffee Buttercream
Top thick film formed on boiled and cooled milk/Cream – 1 1/2 tablespoons
Icing sugar – 1 cup, sifted thrice
Butter – 1/2 cup, at room temperature
Instant coffee powder – 3/4 teaspoons
Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes For the buttercream: In a bowl take the cream and whisk well. Add icing sugar little at a time and whisk well until it is combined. Beat for a minute or so on medium speed. Now add the butter and instant coffee powder and beat until the butter has incorporated evenly and the buttercream has lightened and airy. This process will take 2 to 3 minutes on medium high speed. Buttercream is now ready to be frosted.

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
Use a nozzle of your choice and pipe the frosting on top of the cupcake or just dab a tbsp of frosting on top and spread using a spatula.Dust the top with some cocoa powder.

The recipe is very similar(almost same)as the popular Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Cake,but uses half the recipe.Makes 12 cupcakes.
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