Thursday, December 31, 2009

A peep into the year that went by...

Image source -

It just seems like a few days ago,when I was compiling a post for the Best recipes of 2008 post..time flies,really!!I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to do this post as the house is full now..with my mom and Ajay’s parents around.Besides being pampered by both the amma’s I am enjoying all the yummy food they’ve been preparing since last few days.No wonder I’ve been postponing blogging and blog-hopping for later..:)

The year 2009 didn’t see me blogging so regularly as I did in 2008.Month of March saw me posting 14 posts whereas April went down only with 2 posts for the month.Rest of the months,I’ve averaged between 6-8 posts.Which in fact has made my job easier for compiling this post..:)

On the personal front,the year 2009 has been a mixed bag for us.The year started off with a couple of sad instances but we moved on.The shadow of recession was looming large behind us,and the scare of Swine flu too,but again..we moved on.The end of the year though is looking quite good and we are stepping into the new year with new hopes,new dreams and lots of happy thoughts!!

Sending across this post to Srivalli for the event Best of 2009.

Top 5 posts of the year

1. Chocolate Orange Gateau

2. Masala Cashewnuts

3. Dates and Dry fruits Laddoo

4. Eggless Blackforest Cake

5. Homemade Banana Chips

Best post of the month

January – Hittu/Khotte

February – Heart shaped Chocolate Cake for V-day

March – Chocolate Cake with Fudge Frosting

April – Varutharacha Sambhar

May – Ambya Paank/Mango Jam

June – Poori with Aamras

July – Cherry Almond Loaf Cake

August – Pav Bhaji

September – Kanji/Rice Porridge

October – Rulaava Bhakri

November – Vegetable Stroganoff

December - Christmas Fruit Cake

Cooking resolutions for the year – I’ve always wanted to do a menu plan for the week and buy groceries for it accordingly,saving me the trouble of thinking of what to prepare for the next meal.I am strongly planning to incorporate that habit this year!!

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year…:)

Happy Holidays!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Fruit Cake ~ Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas..the season of joy and happiness.Though we don’t celebrate Xmas,we are definitely a part of the festivities that come with it.Gifting of Cakes,sending Xmas greetings and special gifts for Chris-mom and Chris-child.Yup,the school I went to had this wonderful tradition of choosing a random friend from a chit out of a box which contained the names of all the students in the class.No one revealed who their Xmas friends were.Secret searches would begin as to what that person was interested in and what that person would like.The joy on someone’s face when you gift them something which they like is immense.

Fruit cakes are synonymous with Xmas and no gift is complete without the signature Plum cake.As I have mentioned earlier,I made my first Christmas Fruit cake last year following Mishmash’s recipe.I loved the taste but wondered if I would take that extra trouble this year too when all around bakeries and hotels sell it like hot cakes[pun intended:)].

But as they say,there is something special when you make it on your own.

I soaked the fruits and nuts about 3 weeks back and baked it yesterday so that by Xmas we’d get a matured-in-taste fruit cake.I got 2 cakes with the recipe and one is almost over.With a lovely golden caramel colour,just the right sweetness and the taste of fruits and nuts in each bite,this recipe is a keeper.I don’t think I’ll wait for Xmas to make this again.

Thank you so much Arundhati for this million-dollar recipe:):)

Christmas Fruit Cake


Flour – 2 cups
Baking Powder – ½ tsp
Dry Fruits – 1 cup (figs, apricots, dates, raisins, currants and sultanas), chopped
Candied Peel – ¼ cup
Tutti Fruity – ¼ cup
Mixed Nuts – ½ cup(Walnuts, Cashews, Almonds), chopped
Dark Rum – 1 cup (optional - you could use 2 tbsp Lime Juice to soak the dry fruits)
Light Brown Sugar – 1 ¼ cup
Eggs - 4
Oil – ¾ cup[I used 175 gms butter]
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon Powder – 1 tsp

For the Caramel

Sugar – ½ cup
Boiling Hot Water – ¾ cup


Soak the dry fruits, candied peel and tutti fruiti along with the cinnamon powder and cloves in 2/3 cup rum for anywhere between 24 hours and 1 year. (I soaked them for 3 weeks.) Do remember to remove the cloves before using the fruits.

When you are ready to bake the cake, start by making the caramel. In a heavy bottomed pan, place the ½ cup of sugar and heat slowly. The sugar will begin to melt. Stir this mixture with a spoon slowly as the caramel forms. When all the sugar crystals have melted, slowly add the boiling water and stir to form a smooth mixture. Cool this completely.

Sift the flour along with the baking powder. In a mixing bowl, add the oil/butter, eggs and brown sugar and beat well. To this, add the flour mixture, the fruits and the nuts by turns. Whisk well and then add the cooled caramel.[I added the caramel along with the fruits and nuts]

Grease and line two 8 inch baking tins and divide the batter between the two. (I used a Christmas tree shaped tin and an 8 inch square tin.) Bake at 190 C/375 F for about 50 minutes.

When baked, make small slits in each cake and pour the remaining rum over them. While this cake is delicious straight out of the oven, try storing it for a week before consuming it. (To do this, wrap the cake in foil and then cover it with cling film.) This cake ages beautifully.

One of the best tasting Fruit cakes,there are a few things which attracted me towards this recipe.
--No fancy ingredients-eg:almond/rum essence,dry ginger,orange/lemon zest,spice powder etc--even without all this the cake tasted fantastic.
--The ease of making it--just like any cake recipe.Mix-beat-bake.
--No need to take special care while mixing in the fruits and nuts into the batter[no need to dust the fruits with flour].Even otherwise,the fruits gets distributed evenly and in each slice you'll get a bite of the fruits and nuts.
--Addition of eggs as a whole--somehow,seperating the eggs and beating the egg whites till peak stage and folding it in scares me off a recipe!!

I will be baking this cake again and again for sure.Try this out and you'll know why!!

Christmas Fruit Cake is off to Divya of Dilse,for her event - Show me your Cake!!

and to

Priyanka of Asankhana for Its time to Jingle again..

Friday, December 11, 2009

Eggless Fruit and Nut Cake

I’ve been quite excited off late.Yes,this season does that to you.Even though I am a Hindu and as such we don’t celebrate Xmas,the festival spirit is too hard to ignore.Back home,in Kerala,Christmas stars started to light up as early as late November and during childhood,I used to pester amma to get one for myself too.And who can forget the cakes,Fruit cakes or Plum cakes as it is known in Kerala pouring in by December 2nd or 3rd week.The bakery opposite our home was loaded with cakes,all their shelves and storage spaces were crammed with cakes.We used to gift cakes too-as they say,some festivals are celebrated for the joy it spreads,irrespective of caste or religion.

Though I was not so fond of Fruit cakes..the white icing on top and the pretty flowers on it used to excite me more,I have grown to like the cake more now.I love the strong flavor of the rum soaked fruits and the deep dark colour of the caramel.I tried making my own version last year following Mishmash’s recipe.I was surprised myself knowing that the taste of the Plum cake can be recreated after all.

As going through quite a number of recipes for Fruit Cakes this year,I came across this marvelous recipe at Anushruti’s blog-Divine Taste.I had tried my Birthday cake from her blog and loved it.I made this one for my amma who hasn’t tasted a Fruit cake till date as it contains eggs.I knew she would love it and she did.She shared a few pieces with her friends/neighbours and kept aside a major chunk so that she could relish it.Thank you Anushruti!!

Eggless Fruit and Nut Cake
Recipe sourceAnushruti of Divine Taste


Plain Flour – 300 gms
Baking powder – 2 tsp
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Oil – 150 ml
Water – 200 ml
Dates– 100 gms (pitted and chopped)
Raisins or Sultanas – 150 gms,I added Apricots and Figs too
Mixed Nuts -100 gms(cashewnuts, almonds, walnuts)
Jaggery – 150 gms(or substitute with dark muscovado sugar)-I used Light Brown sugar
Sugar – 150 gms
Fruit jam – 3 tsp(preferably without added sugar)
Mixed spice powder – 2 tsp
Grated rind of 1 lime


Grease and line the bottom of an 8” square or 9” round cake tin with greaseproof paper/baking parchment/butter paper.
Sift together flour,baking powder and baking soda to make the mixture uniform.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the fruits and nuts.
Stir in the jaggery/brown sugar,sugar, jam and 100 ml water.
Heat on a low flame until the sugar and jaggery/brown sugar melt, stirring all the while.
Don’t overcook the mixture. Allow to cool and add the remaining 100 ml water, rind and spice powder.. Mix in the sifted flour mixture and beat with a spoon or a wire whisk until there are no lumps.
Transfer the contents to the greased and lined tin and bake in a preheated oven at 150 degree centigrade for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

Sending this across to Priyanka @ Asankhana who is hosting a Christmas event - Its time to Jingle again...

Monday, December 7, 2009

A reason to Celebrate & A Note of Thanks!!

Starting a blog and adding my recipes had just one aim for create a personal space in the web which I could call my own.After a while,it became a platform for me to try out new dishes and post about them.If not for blogging,I wouldn’t have learnt to bake at all.As I’ve mentioned before,blogging has given me new arenas in cooking and the whole aspect of learning a new dish from someone who has already tried it out in his/her kitchen gave me a different high.

I used to check out my stats daily[more than once] when I initially started the blog.After a while,when my posts got comments and appreciations,I forgot all about how stats mattered and it was a once in a while peep.Off late I had totally forgotten about it and wham..what happened??Yes,yes yes,my blog had 1 Lakh hits..YAY YAY YAY!!!

I am happy and delighted and what not.This occasion is definitely worth sharing a sweet isn’t it??So,I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you,one and all who made this possible for me.Without each one of your support and encouragement,I wouldn’t have come this far.Thank you so much!!

I made Gulab Jamuns to celebrate.Nope,I didn’t follow any recipe,took the easy way out and made it from an Instant mix packet.Love you for all the support..Thanks once again!!

I ♥ you all..:)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake

After the Jam Tarts,its time for some Cake..isn’t it??How about a rich Chocolate cake,flavoured with Cinnamon and a simple dusting of icing sugar..??Bring it on..:):).I had bookmarked this recipe from Deeba’s blog who in turn made it from Mary-The Food Librarian’s blog.The lovely chocolatey colour and the moist slices were too hard to ignore.I decided to make it once I lay my hands on a Bundt pan,but no such luck,I am still without one.Every time I checked the recipe and the pics,my desire increased and I decided,bundt or no bundt-I am making this.

After a season of Butter shortage,my fridge is suffering from a butter of us[me and hubby] brought butter at different times and now I have almost a kilo of butter sitting pretty in my chiller.I decided I should put it to good use and BAKE:).

Its been a while since I made something for Ajay’s friends-how can I forget them,they are my loyal taste testers and quite often the cakes I make ends up in their tummy after my photo sessions.I usually keep a piece or two for us and pack off the rest to them.This time was no different.They loved it and the empty box[not even crumbs left] is the proof.I feel the cake tastes better the next day with the full flavors of chocolate and cinnamon seeping through..MMMM:)

Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake
Recipe adapted from The Food Librarian,
who got the recipe from
Vintage Visuals-readapted from Deeba


Butter – ½ cup
Water – 1 cup
Vegetable oil – ½ cup
Cocoa powder – 5 tbsps[I used Cadburys]
Plain flour – 1 ½ cups
Wholewheat flour – ½ cup
Sugar – 1 ¾ cups
Salt – ½ tsp
Buttermilk – ½ cup
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Eggs – 2,lightly beaten
Cinnamon – 1 ½ tsps
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a large bundt pan/ring mould with cooking spray.
Put butter, water, oil, and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, whisk together both flours, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well.
Then, add the buttermilk and baking soda.
Mix together the eggs, cinnamon, and vanilla in a small bowl, and add to the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 25 minutes.[Mine took 10 minutes extra] Allow cake to cool completely in the pan.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jam Tarts!!

How often have you felt,’if only I could get ___[fill it up with whatever you fancy] RIGHT NOW??Oh..I always do.I fancy eating cupcakes from Best Bakery,Pink Cake from Society bakery and very often,Chocolate sip-ups from Punchiris[a shop near my College in Ekm].sadly,most of the times,I satisfy my cravings by eating something closest to it.I don’t have a choice,do I?

Few days back,while watching Rachel Allen’s show on Travel and Living,I saw her making Tarts.I remembered the yummy Jam-filled and Chocolate filled tarts from Best bakery which my bro used to bring home for me.Even if he didn’t *giggle*,I could just get out of my house,cross the road and get it myself,yup it was bang opposite our place.I had not had them for the longest time and I was literally craving for it.Maybe I should just stop watching those food shows on Tv.

I remembered Ria had posted them a while back.I didn’t waste a moment and set out making it.The recipe is a winner,a simple one which even a beginner can make.I was one-it was the first time I was making tarts and I was a bit apprehensive.But the recipe worked like magic and I was satisfied only after I gobbled down 3 of those in one go..YES!!

Buttery Jam Tarts
Recipe source –Ria ,Original recipe from Thangam Philip book of Baking

Ingredients[Makes 12 tarts]

Butter-60g [chilled]
Baking powder – ½ tsp
Water-4-5 drops


Mix flour and baking powder together.
Add the butter and rub it with your fingertips till it resembles breadcrumbs.
Now add water little by little and form a dough[do not knead,just mix slightly with your fingertips].
Divide the dough into 12 parts.Flatten each ball using a rolling pin and line the tart moulds.
Fill 2/3 of the tart with jam.
Bake at 180 degress for 15 mins or till done.

De-mould when cool.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Fruit Cake ~ Getting ready!!

Have you started your preparations yet?I think Christmas being just few weeks away,there is festive spirit all around.Bakeries taking orders for cakes and Christmas wreaths on doors,I love this festival which spreads joy all around.Me,well I wanted to make a Christmas Fruit cake and had planned to soak the dry fruits and nuts in rum long back.But of course,that never happened.As always,I am struggling to zero in on one recipe!!So many yummy recipes all over blogosphere and its just not possible for me to choose one..I want to make them all!!

Few months back,Raaga wrote a status message on Fb saying that she was soaking the fruits in rum that weekend for the Fruit Cake.I must have gone through her recipe a thousand times,I mailed her asking the details and she was quick to respond.She cleared all my silly doubts and YES,I am following her recipe this year.

So fruits and nuts are chopped,and soaked in Rum.

I just can’t wait to bake the cake and EAT it too:).

Here are some Fruit Cake recipes I had bookmarked-

Mishmash’s Kerala Christmas Fruit Cake-which I tried last year
Cham’s Fruit Cake/Plum Cake
Annita’s Rich Fruit Plum Cake
Maria’s Chocolate Fruit Cake

Anushruti’s Eggless Fruit & Nut Cake
Shilpa’s Eggless Fruit Cake

So many choices,which one are you baking??

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dates Pickle

My friend M’s mom is a very good cook.I like the ease at which she talks about cooking and the flair with which she does it.Sad,I can’t taste most of the dishes she cooks.Why,you may ask—because she cooks excellent non-veg dishes and I am a vegetarian.She feels satisfied when people happily gorge down the food she cooks and is very sad when I stick with salads and pickles.Ajay loved the lunch/dinner invites at their place and was always exhausted by the time he finished coz he just wouldn’t be able to choose which dish to eat!!

Whenever I’m there,she takes care to prepare a vegetarian main dish-pulao or fried rice.Once,she was especially happy and shoved towards me a plate full of pulao with something on the side.I wondered what it was and reconfirmed if it was vegetarian.She gave me the thumbs up and I tasted it.One spoon after the other,I was hooked.I forgot all about the pulao:).

I’ve always wanted to make the yummy Dates pickle that she made that day but never got around asking the recipe.Few months back when I met her,I hurriedly wrote down the recipe and wanted to make it ASAP.But since the recipe measures were for ½ a kg of dates,I was a bit apprehensive.Then comes Bharathy with her rocking dates pickle and would you believe that it is the exact recipe I had but with just 10 Dates,enough to satisfy my cravings..YAY!!

Dates Pickle
Recipe courtesy M’s mom—made easier by Bharathy


Dates – 10,deseeded

Green chillies finely minced-2
Ginger – a one inch piece- chopped
Garlic - 4 cloves- chopped
White vinegar-1-2 tbsps
Sugar – ½ tsp[I increased it to 1]
Chilly powder-1 tbsp
Asafoetida/Hing – ¼ tsp
Fenugreek/Methi-Roasted and powdered finely– 1/4 tsp[I didn’t add this]
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Salt - As needed

Ingredients for the seasoning

Oil – ½ cup[I reduced it to ¼ cup]
Curry leaves – a sprig
Mustard seeds- ½ tsp


Cut each Dates into 4 pieces.
Heat oil in a pan.add green chillies, ginger, garlic bits and curry leaves.Saute for a few seconds.
Add dates.Keep the flame to minimum or just put off and add the all the powders. Ensure they are mixed up and heated well enough,rather than getting burnt.
Add vinegar(I added a little water, just enough to make the pickle a little saucy-as I love that way :)..though addition of water is strictly 'Not' recommended as in any pickles).Adjust the flame and bring the sauce to a boil.
Add salt and sugar.Mix well.
Store the dates pickle in a ceramic jar or glass bottle.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Green Peas Masala ~ Thattukada Style!!

Most of my Google searches these days are for side-dishes.Yes,the one thing which I am always at a loss for.Since we have dry chapathis/phulkas for lunch and many a times for dinner too,I have to introduce some varities on the sides.After all,for how long can one eat dal and dal fry and dal get the drift,don’t you??

We are not very fond of those Korma’s or Shahi dishes to have on a daily basis.It doesn’t serve the purpose of having rotis instead of rice.On the contrary,we’ll be consuming more calories in the form of all the butter,ghee and cream which goes into these curries.So I turned to my treasure house of recipes-yup,my own recipe collection from Vanitha magazine which I have bound into two books.I saw a very simple recipe for Green peas masala which sounded perfect.I had some frozen peas inside the freezer and I tried it rightaway.

After tasting we felt the only thing missing was the ambience of a Thattukada[Road-side eateries which are quite popular in Kerala] and some Porotta’s to soak up the gravy.Perfect thattukada peas masala!!

Green Peas Masala ~ Thattukada Style


Green peas – 1 cup[I used Frozen]
Potato – 1 medium,chopped
Carrot – 1 medium,chopped
Onions – 2,medium,chopped
Green chilly – 1 or 2[according to your spice levels]
Salt to taste
Haldi – 1 tsp

Grated coconut – 4 tbsp
Garam masala – 1 ½ tsp

Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Small onions/Shallots – 4-5,thinly sliced
Curry leaves – 1 sprig


Pressure cook the green peas with potato,carrot,onions,green chillies with haldi and salt to taste for 2-3 whistles or till the vegetables become soft.
Grind the coconut with few tbsp water to a smooth paste.
In a kadai,add the oil and splutter mustard seeds.
Add small onions and curry leaves and sauté till the onions become golden brown.
Add the cooked peas and vegetables.
Mix in the coconut paste and garam masala and let the curry come to a rolling boil.
Check for salt and add more if required.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.
Tastes well with Chapathi and Idiyappam.

Check out my other versions of Green Peas Masala here and here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Vegetable Stroganoff with Garlic Bread and Corn on the side!!

I remember having this dish at a quaint li’l restaurant in Cochin –The Attic,while me and Ajay sat discussing our future plans,days before our wedding.No wonder then,I don’t recollect the taste of the dish at all,all I can remember is that had liked the dish so much so that I ordered the same when we went there few days later.Ok,let me be honest here,we chose the restaurant not because of the food[though the food is really good too],it was one of those few restaurants where the crowd was limited[very limited],the waiters were non-interfering and the ac was on full blast with good music playing in the background.Uh..what more could we ask for!!

I have had Vegetable Stroganoff at different places and each time found that it was different from the one I had before.I liked it nevertheless.I was in for a disappointment when I searched for a recipe for it though,I did not find even one worth trying.I decided to experiment and try my own version.I remember seeing a recipe in GoodHousekeeping which used Soup mix powder for the gravy,went ahead with that idea.Loved the end result,next time,I’ll try out the spicier version.

Vegetable Stroganoff—The easier version!!


Onions – 2 medium,chopped
Mushrooms – 200gms,sliced
Carrot – 1,sliced
Olive oil/Butter – 1 tbsp
Knorr Mushroom Soup packet – 1
Water – 2 cups or more,as required
Salt and Pepper-to taste


In a pan add butter/olive oil and add the chopped onions.
When they start browning,add the mushrooms and carrot and sauté on medium heat till the mushrooms cooks well.
Now add the soup powder and keep stirring.
Add a cup of water and mix well and break lumps,if any.
Depending on the consistency[I wanted a semi-thick consistency]add more water.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot on a bed of Herb rice.

Herbed Rice


Cooked rice – 1 cup
Dried herbs/Parsley – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Butter – 1 tbsp


In a pan add butter and mix in the rice.
Stir well so that the butter coats the rice evenly.
Add dried herbs and salt to taste.

P.S – Though this one tasted good,I felt it lacked something.Was I supposed to cook the rice with the herbs??Please help!!

Corn on the side
Recipe adapted from


Sweetcorn - of 2 freshly boiled cobs
Garlic - 3-4 cloves; finely chopped
Fresh coriander - a handful ; finely chopped
Roasted red chili flakes - 1/4 tsp
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste


Heat butter in a pan on low. Add the garlic & saute for a minute.
Add the sweetcorn,roasted red chili flakes,chopped coriander & salt to taste.
Saute it on high flame for 5-7 minutes till the edges of the corn begin to brown. Take off heat, squeeze in some lime & toss well.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Garlic Bread

Well,it came straight out of the box from from my Birthday dinner:).You can check out instant garlic bread recipe

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Birthdays are always special.Whether it is you who are celebrating or someone close to you.I always looked forward to that special day in my life every year[I am sure most of us do:)].In school,where we were permitted to wear ‘colour dress’ while everyone else wore the boring uniforms,preparations started almost months back.As to what I would wear to who will accompany me to distribute chocolates.Shopping was done usually the previous day,lest I change my mind later:).Little tricks that amma learnt.

Amma always woke me up with a kiss and her birthday wish.Then it was appa’s turn and then my bro’s.Now of course,the baton has turned to Ajay.He has to[yup,its compulsory,lol] wish me at midnight and has to[:)] wish me throughout the day.Gifts would be chosen much beforehand,he just has to buy it for me..afterall,its my birthday:).He feels I would grow out of it after sometime,hah wishful thinking my dear.

Had a fantastic birthday this year too.Thank you all for wishing me through mails,phone calls,sms's and messages on Facebook and Orkut.Love you all,you just made me day extra special.

Made a simple Chocolate cake[Eggless] and that’s all the cooking I did.Ajay took me out the whole day not letting me do any cooking.We cut the cake in the evening with friends and then later ordered Pizza.Hmm,back to the grind from today..why don’t the birthdays come twice every year;).
Chocolate Birthday Cake
Recipe adapted from Divine Taste


Plain Flour/Maida – 200gms
Cocoa powder – 50 gms[I used Cadbury's]
Baking powder – 2 tsp
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Sweetened condensed milk/Milkmaid – 1 tin/400gms
Butter,melted – 150 gms
Vanilla essence – 2 tsp
Water – 150 ml


Grease and line the bottom of a 9” round cake tin with greaseproof paper/baking parchment/butter paper.I used a heart shaped tin.
Preheat the oven at about 100 to 120 degrees centigrade.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda.
In a mixing bowl,add the sifted flour mixture and make a well in the center.
Add in the condensed milk, melted butter, vanilla essence and water. Beat with an electric hand mixer, whisk or spoon just until the mixture is uniform and smooth and there are no lumps.Take care not to overbeat as this tends to make the texture of the cake hard.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for an hour at 150 degree centigrade.

For the icing


Icing sugar – 2 cups,sifted
Cocoa powder – 2 tbsp
Butter – 90 gms,softened
Vanilla essence – 2 tsp

Mix together everything in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon till smooth.
If the mix is too thick,you could add a few tbsp milk to ‘loosen’ it,but add only if required.

Assembling the Cake

Level the top part of the cake with a serrated knife and the cut the cake into 2 or 3 horizontally[I cut into 2].
Fill and cover with the icing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Deluxe [Classic] Brownies!!

I’ve often wondered how I crave for stuff when its shown on tv,like the Maggi noodles ad.Yesterday,I almost got up instantly from the sofa to make myself a hot bowl of maggi when I saw the boy licking his bowl clean in the ad.Few days back,while watching Notting Hill,in the scene where they have dinner together and fight for the last brownie,I was drooling and wanted to have it for myself.I wondered why I haven’t made a brownie in ages.Leave alone bake,I can’t remember the last time I had a brownie.

To be frank,I expect my brownie to be chewy and fudgy and full of chocolatey goodness.I wasn’t sure if I could recreate that taste,so maybe that’s why I didn’t try baking it myself.I’ve bookmarked so many recipes for the same,but didn’t take the plunge.

Enter Betty Crocker.Yeah,I just cant stop raving about the book I bought recently.For those who asked,I got it from one of the Book Fairs going around in Ernakulam.Though I don’t see myself baking/trying out all the recipes,they are a treat for the eye..such goodlooking pictures..:)

So here’s the first recipe I tried..and loving it..:)

Deluxe [Classic] Brownies
Recipe source – Betty Crocker’s Baking for Today

Ingredients [Makes 16 brownies]

Butter/Margarine – 2/3 cup[about 150 gms]
Unsweetened chocolate – 5 oz[about 140 gms]
Sugar – 1 ¾ cup – I reduced it to a cup and a half
Vanilla extract/essence – 2 tsps
Eggs – 3
All purpose flour – 1 cup
Chopped nuts – 1 cup – I used walnuts


Heat oven to 350F/175C.*
Grease/line bottom and sides of a 9’ square pan.
In a saucepan,melt butter and chocolate over low heat,stirring frequently-cool slightly.
In a medium bowl,beat sugar,vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes.Beat in chocolate mixture over low speed.
Beat in flour just until blended.Stir in nuts.Spread in pan.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or just until edges crack and brownies pull away from sides of pan,
Cool and cut into 4 rows by rows.

*Set the temperature according to your oven-my brownies started to burn slightly by 25 minutes,so I loosely covered the pan with a foil and proceeded by setting the temp to 150C and increased the baking time.Though the crust looks a li’l burnt,it didn’t affect the taste in any way!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Praline Vanilla Sponge Gateau

It's tough really,to decide if you are addicted to something or not!!.While at it,I thought it would be impossible for me to live without blogging,blog-hopping and the latest craze-Farmville on Fb.When I took a short break[I was at my mom’s place in Kerala]the internet connection was quite slow and it took ages for me to even log in,ok not exactly.I thought I’d die of a no-internet life,but strange,after the first day,I kept myself distanced from it and in a few days,totally forgot about it!!I am surprised myself..:)

I am back in Chennai now,though totally not loving it-after 2 weeks of pampered life.Hmm..:).As usual,got a few stuff from there which I am totally excited about.Got Betty Crocker’s book-Baking for Today at a throwaway price..I am still not done looking at the pics..:),got a few baking tins,a Xmas tree shaped one,another one which almost looks like a Bundt tin and a Brownie pan.

Got to start baking in a few days..:).
Made this cake a while back,about 2 months back for a friend’s wedding anniversary.Ria has got some amazing baking recipes up her sleeve and this has become our favourite.This should be one of the instant-est cakes I’ve ever made.Got a party invite at 4 in the evening and by 6,I was ready with the cake..:).Good I say..:).Though the pictures don’t do justice,it was a delicious cake with a classic touch to it.

Praline Vanilla Sponge Gateau

Recipe adapted verbatim from Ria

For the sponge

Vanilla- 1 tsp


Beat eggs and sugar till thick and creamy and falls in thick ribbons when poured from a height (approx. 8-10 mins).
Then add in flour ,vanilla and beat till it forms a real thick batter which is almost mousse like(approx.4-5 mins) [I know that for a sponge we should be very careful not to let the air escape and we need to fold in the flour little by little. BUT for this cake this method works like a charm! :) ]
Pour into a prepared round tin and bake in an empty pressure cooker sans the weight for 5 mins on high flame and then reduce the flame to medium high and bake for 20 mins. [You must put in a steel ring/holder and then place the cake tin on it.]
Open the lid and do a skewer test to see if the cake is done.
Take the tin out of the cooker and let it cool in tin for 10 mins.
Remove the cake from the tin and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

You can bake the same in an oven at 180 degrees for 25-30 mins or till done.I baked it in the oven.

Basic Butter Icing

Unsalted butter, softened-75 g
Icing sugar-140 g
Milk-1-2 tbsp ( optional)

Mix butter and powdered sugar to a smooth paste like consistency.
Add milk if you need to make it a bit more loose.
If you like your icing to be thick , double the recipe.


Butter-1 tbsp
Cashewnuts-2 tbsp
Sugar-3 tbsp

Caramelise sugar on a medium flame till golden brown.
Add nuts & butter to it and mix well.
Pour onto a butter/tissue/parchment paper and let it cool completely.
Crush/powder them into tiny bits.

Assembling the cake

Cut the cake horizontally into 2 or 3 [I cut it into 2].Me too.
Sandwich each layer with 3-4 tbsp of butter icing.
Sprinkle some praline in between the layers (optional)
Spread the remaining icing on top and sides.
Sprinkle the crushed praline on top and on sides.
Cut into wedges and serve.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Haldi Doodh/Turmeric Milk ~ Medicinal Food

Diwali fever is slowly dying down,literally.As someone said,Cold&fever has become a given after Diwali crackers these days.One of us somehow manage to catch the virus.This year,it was Ajay.Bad cold,high temperature and heavy chest congestion.Hah..a sad aftermath of the festival of lights and crackers.Though the debate is still on whether or not to completely avoid crackers,I don’t think we can associate this festival without crackers,diyas and sweets.Until next year..:)

Along with the usual medicines,Haldi doodh/Turmeric milk gets made when we have throat related illnesses.I don’t know how this humble milk became almost medicinal but it does wonders to the sore throat.A warm cup of haldi doodh and a sound sleep,you are fresh the next morning!!

Disclaimer – This is not a medicine and cannot be had as a sole cure for cold or throat infection.
Haldi Doodh/Turmeric Milk ~ Medicinal food


Milk – 1 cup
Raw sugar/Palm sugar/Sugar candy – 1 tbsp
Peppercorns – 2-3,crushed
Cardamom – 1,seeds crushed
Haldi/Turmeric – ½ tsp


Mix everything together and boil for 2 minutes on low flame.
Close with a lid and keep aside for 5 minutes or so.
Strain and have it warm.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rulaava Bhakri/Doddak ~ Rava Dosa,Konkani style!

Its been a while since I last updated any breakfast dishes here.Though I am not the one who comes up with varieties of breakfast dishes day after day unlike my amma and ma-in-law,I do whip up some instant dishes.Of late,we’ve been trying to incorporate diet dishes into our menu and I’ve almost said bye-bye to rice based breakfast dishes for a while.So no idli-dosa,puttu-idiyappam etc etc.We have Wheat flakes and Oats Porridge on alternate days and I make Rava upma or semiya upma on some days.

During one such boring breakfast making days,I remembered this yummy dosa that ma-in-law makes.Though it cant be technically called dosa,I prefer to call it thick rava dosa.It is called Rulava bhakri/doddak otherwise.There are many different ways you could go about making these,I followed ma-in-law’s recipe verbatim.

Rulaava Bhakri/Doddak ~ Thick Rava dosa


Rava – 1 cup
Atta/wheat flour – ¼ cup
Grated coconut – 3-4 tbsp
Green chilly – 2
Ginger – finely chopped,1’ piece
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Curd/buttermilk – ½ cup
Water as required
Coriander leaves – ½ a bunch,finely chopped
Sugar – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste


Grind together green chillies,ginger,coriander seeds and coconut to a coarse paste.
Mix together curd and a few tbsp water[if using buttermilk,keep it as is].
Add the coarse paste to the buttermilk and mix well.
Add sugar and salt to taste and finely chopped coriander leaves.
Mix the rava slowly and make a thickish batter.
Add more water if required,but the batter should be of thick consistency.
Now add the atta and mix well.
In a dosa pan,smear some oil and pour a ladleful of batter and spread thinly.
Add some oil/ghee and flip over.
When it becomes brownish on both sides,remove and serve.
Ideally,bhakri is served with dollops of butter,but it can be had plain too.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Phenori ~ Diwali Mithai ~ Happy Diwali!!

Wishing all of you a very Happy and Prosperous Diwali!!

I am late by a day in posting this sweet,life has been busy busy.Cooking and cleaning up has taken a major chunk of my time.This is our first Diwali in Chennai,every time somehow we manage to be in either of our respective homes,but this one we are celebrating in "our" home:).That does sound nice and cozy but the amount of work I am doing alone is not a joke:).

In between deafening sounds of 1000' walas and Lakshmi bombs,I made these Phenoris for the first time.I had this sweet some 5-6 years ago when ma-in-law made it.Had a vague idea and I just went with the flow.Followed the recipe from my Konkani Cooking bible-Dakshin Bharat dishes by Jaya.V.Shenoy.



Maida – 1 cup(heaped)
Butter – ½ cup I substituted it with 2-3 tbsp melted ghee
A pinch salt
Sugar – ¾ cup
Ghee/oil for frying


Sift together maida and salt.
Add butter/ghee and water as required and knead into a stiff dough(like that for puri).Keep aside for 30 minutes.
Pinch dough into small balls and roll into thin puris.
Take 5-6 puris,smear some ghee on one puri,sprinkle ½ tsp of maida and keep another puri,not fully overlapping on top of it.
Continue with the rest of the puris.
Roll the puris into a tight roll.
Cut the roll crosswise into slices ½ ‘ thick.
Place cut surface of slice up and roll into phenori[do not apply pressure while rolling,the layers should be visible even after rolling].
Deep fry the phenoris in ghee/oil on a low flame till golden brown.

Prepare sugar syrup by adding same amount of water to sugar and heat till it reaches one string stage.
Remove from flame,coat the phenoris in sugar syrup one by one by dipping in the syrup.
Take the syrup dipped phenoris out and place on a thali smeared with ghee.
Let the syrup set and then store in an airtight container.
Share with your loved ones!!

Happy Diwali!!
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