Monday, June 14, 2010
As usual,I depended on Google God and got a decent looking 3 column template which I thought looked cool[then].I literally struggled copying all the code,widgets,pictures etc and transferring it to the new template and swore I'll stick with the same template,no matter what!
I was actually getting bored of seeing the same page again and again and when I posted a message on Facebook regarding template changes,I got lot of feedback saying the old one looked quite dull and I should choose something which was vibrant and clutter-free.
I chose the easier option this time.I went with the new feature that blogger has come up with and it is a much much easier process.Check your Blogger Dashboard for a tab named Design and follow the instructions and you could change the template without the headache of code-copying and widget transferring etc.
Blogger-meet in Chennai- Again thanks to Facebook,I happened to read a status message posted by Nithya calling for bloggers to meet up at a restaurant in Chennai.I had never met a blogger in person and badly wanted to,so I sent a message saying I was joining too.It was a wonderful afternoon,made more chirpy by Priya's lovely kid who made up for her[Priya's] quiet nature.I met Shanthi aunty too who was so lively and enthusiastic.Srivalli came in and went like a breeze and I was so happy to see her after all our plans to meet up failed:) and Nithya,an adorable girl who came with her SLR and kept taking wonderful pics,of all of us and the food.You could check any of our Fb profiles for the pictures taken during the meet!!
Recipe Index - I finally FINALLY compiled all my recipes in one place.Something that I had been meaning to do for so so long.It was a tough job alright but I am a very happy girl now!!
A big FAT break - As many of you already know,I am taking a long break for a month or so.I am going to Kerala to attend and be a part of my brothers' engagement and wedding functions.Both of my brothers are getting engaged and married in a span of one month and you could imagine all the hustle and bustle going on at home!I am thrilled for them and my parents who are looking forward to two adorable daoughters-in-law!
I hope all of you have a great time.See you in July!!
Saturday, June 12, 2010
3.30pm-Usual blog-hopping going on,feeling a bit hungry after seeing all yummilicious pics,I raid the fridge-nothing.Kitchen-nothing.I remember we had decided not to stock up on anything which was fattening lest we binge on it.But nothing?..argh.Back to the comp.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
It was one of those mornings where I was sitting in front of the laptop[as usual],lunch not prepared yet and it was already 11 or so.I was chatting with Aparna.As is the usual tone of our chats,the second[or third utmost] question to each other would be..so what did you cook today.[Does this happen with anyone else other than food bloggers?].She said Batat Piyav bhuthi and I got interested as it sounded very much like something we would love and I could make in a jiffy.
The recipe is pretty much the same as this only the vegetables you add into it differs.Ajay’s aunt once made this only with Onions and I realized I could eat it plain too as it was so darn tasty!!
Batata Piyav Bhuthi – Potatoes & Onions in Ground Coconut Masala
Potatoes – 2,chopped
Onions – 2,chopped
Grated coconut – ½ cup
Red chillies – 3-4[roasted in a tsp oil]
Tamarind -1 small piece
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil – 1 or 2 tbsp
Keep aside some chopped onion for tadka and pressure cook the potatoes and rest of the chopped onions together till soft.
Grind the coconut,red chillies,tamarind and coriander seeds to a slightly coarse paste[much similar to a thoran].
In a kadai add oil and sauté the onions till golden brown.
Mix in the cooked potatoes-onions and sauté well.
Add the ground masala and salt to taste and just enough water for the whole thing to mix.
Switch off the flame when the potatoes are covered with masala[about 5 minutes]
Serve hot with rice and dal.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Like many,I was intimidated by the recipe the first time I saw it and read through the lengthy recipe.But,it is just a detailed explanation and hence even more foolproof.If planned correctly,you could do one component each at a time and the final assembly would be a breeze!!
Making Homemade Mascarpone Cheese was one big leap for me.Except that I chose the wrong time to do it.Peak of summer with temperatures touching 42C,I shouldn’t have blamed the cheese after all[more on that later].
I made the Mascarpone cheese first and as I said,it was a big leap for me.Never did I think that I would be making something as exquisite,luscious and creamy as this at home.I might reduce the quantity next time,though.I had to make 2 more cakes and use it up as filling to finish the whole batch..no one’s complaining!!
The cake is a simple Butter Cake and I can see myself making this cake again[with different fillings/frosting next time].The crumbs tasted so good that I was tempted to have it plain.
The easiest part,which is the final assembly of the cake is where I struggled.I chose one of the hottest days in May to make this cake and that by itself was a big mistake.The cheese wouldn’t set and what was supposed to be a filling turned out to be so flowy that I kept the cake inside the fridge,sat down with the fridge door open and did the whole filling frosting job much to Ajay’s amusement!!To make matters more worse,I couldn't find my camera anywhere while I was doing this[yes,it was the same day I made this].So I had to do with my phone camera and you can see the results for yourselves!![Ok,I take that back,I don't take extra-ordinary pics with my camera,but then you know..!!]But as they say,it was all worth it when I had a slice of the cake.Heavenly and delicious,that’s how I would describe it!!
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
For the cake layers:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
For the espresso extract:
2 tablespoons boiling water
For the espresso syrup:
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy[I skipped this,added a tsp of Vanilla essence instead]
For the filling and frosting:
1 8-ounce container mascarpone (store-bought or homemade)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto, Kahlua, or brandy[I skipped this]
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or about 1/2 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips[I used chopped chocolate]
Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for decoration (optional)
Cocoa powder, for dusting
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9×2 inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
To make the cake:
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.
Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them, and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right-side up.
To make the extract:
To make the syrup:
Stir the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Pour the syrup into a small heatproof bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the espresso extract and the liqueur or brandy; set aside.
To make the filling and frosting:
Put the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla, and liqueur in a large bowl and whisk just until blended and smooth.
Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream with a light touch.
To assemble the cake:
If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Place one layer right-side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected with strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, soak the layer with about one third of the espresso syrup. Smooth some of the mascarpone cream over the layer – user about 1 1/4 cups – and gently press the chopped chocolate into the filling. Put the second cake layer on the counter and soak the top of it with half the remaining espresso syrup, then turn the layer over and position it, soaked side down, over the filling. Soak the top of the cake with the remaining syrup.
For the frosting, whisk 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining espresso extract into the remaining mascarpone filling. Taste the frosting as you go to decide how much extract you want to add. If the frosting looks as if it might be a little too soft to spread over the cake, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so. Refrigerate the cake too.
With a long metal icing spatula, smooth the frosting around the sides of the cake and over the top. If you want to decorate the cake with chocolate-covered espresso beans, press them into the filling, making concentric circles of beans or just putting some beans in the center of the cake.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours (or for up to 1 day) before serving – the elements need time to meld.
Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with cocoa.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Making my own cheese..wow,it even sounds interesting to me.The only homemade cheese I had ever come across before this was our very own Paneer/Cottage cheese.Somehow,I am not so keen on homemade Paneer mainly because,I cook it only once in a while since I am the only paneer lover here.It sounds much better to order in Paneer Butter Masala when I feel like having it!!
So it is with great anxiety I set about making Mascarpone cheese at home.As you might know,many bloggers have tried making this with great success and Vera’s recipe is a foolproof one.I have seen Deeba and Ria and then the whole bunch of Daring Bakers try it during the Tiramisu challenge.I was excited and couldn’t wait to make my own version of homemade Mascarpone cheese!!Here's how I made it..
Homemade Mascarpone Cheese
Recipe source – Vera’a Baking Obsession
Ingredients [Makes about 12 Oz]
500 ml whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized)
[I used 3 Amul cream Tetra Packs each weighing 200 ml,so totally 600 ml]
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet.
Why did I make Mascarpone Cheese at home??What am I going to do with it??You'll know in a few days..[I love being secretive..lol]
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Nankhatai evokes lots of nostalgic memories in me mainly because,that is probably the closest I came to baking while I was a child.I don’t remember if I enjoyed eating it as much as I enjoyed seeing it baking.I used to shout in happiness when I saw them puff up and break oh-so-gently on top making it the best and perfect nankhatais ever.Sadly,amma doesn’t remember the recipe now.It took me a while to master the art of baking these ‘Indian Cookies’ as I wanted to perfect the looks.
Another funny incident comes to my mind.Many people call this ‘Narankhatar’ in Konkani.Me and ma-in-law once made Butter cookies while she was here and she reminisced about her mother-in-law and how they enjoyed cooking together.Bapama[grandmother-in-law] always called this ‘katar’ as opposed to narankhatar because her bro-in-law’s[who is elder to her] name was Narayan and it was impolite to call his name,even if it was the name of an edible item..sounds strange,eh?
I got this recipe from here,sadly she doen’t blog anymore.I loved her blog and the recipes and hopped on there during my non-blogging days.
Recipe source – Vaishali of Happy Burp
Ingredients - makes 14-16 cookies
Maida/Flour – 1 cup
Powdered sugar – ½ cup
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
Baking powder or baking soda– ½ tsp[heaped]
Salt – a small pinch
Ghee - 6-7 tbsp [preferably homemade]
Sieve the flour and baking powder/soda together into a mixing bowl.
Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the ghee.
Add ghee, a little at a time, while mixing and kneading the dough until you have it the consistency of chapathi dough.
It should be pliable enough to be shaped into a ball.
Cover the dough well or put it into a container with a tight lid.
Keep it in a cool place for a few hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.Grease/Line a baking sheet.
Divide the dough into 16 portions. Shape those portions into round balls and flatten them a little between your palms.
Arrange them on the baking sheet well away from each other.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes or until the biscuits develop a few 'scars' on top and are slightly browned at the bottom.
Take them out of the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet itself.Once cool, store them in an air-tight container.