Sunday, 22 June 2014

Chunky vegetarian delight

      With cloudy day today, we need to take an preferable break from summer-delights, isn't it?   Well, these tikkis are made from chunky vegetables, spinach, cheese and are baked.  Out of the oven, these were completely gorgeous with an cheese burst surface and full of flavours.  All loved it and my little daughter showed her  not-so-bumpy biceps and said, 'mommy, I am getting lot of strength now'  :)  :)    These cute, cheesy and iron-rich tikki's are best served hot with tomato & fig flavoured sauce.

Though these tikkis are made of finely chopped vegetables, baking them  released not only their flavour, but also chunkyness is reduced to mushy, soft, grainy texture and paalak is like dissolving in your mouth.  This delightful tikki not only kids-friendly, sure to appeal adults too.  You must cool tikkis completely before peeling them from butter paper, as they might disintegrate when they are removed hot.  

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Tomato & fig flavoured sauce

    My kid is tomato sauce-aholic, yes, I think she might be the only kid on earth to have one regular pack of french fries with almost two cups of tomato sauce :D :D   Sometimes, I do worry, what goes into the sauce, but when you have the option of making your own sauce with customized taste - I say, 'Why wait, darling?'

 Tomato sauce makes an great option along with appetizers, but, with dozen of dried figs lying around the corner, I decided to hit on an combo-treat. :)  Suprisingly, the sauce/spread didn't taste like there were any figs on them.  They can go absolutely fabulous with tikkis, cutlets, stuffed parathas, chips etc.  You could also eat them with figs :)

Also, one other special mention is that this sauce is full of flavours- starting from caramelised onions to red wine (optional), there is an subtle sweetness, and tangyness felt towards the end.   This sauce, being iron-rich, can  also boosts up your health.  After an intial taste-check with your folks, I better suggest you to make an huge batch for an healthier you & your family.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Cheddar and sage scones

       Scones are quick-bread, usually leavened by Baking powder.  They are tea-time snacks, and had preferably with butter/cream and sometimes with Flavoured jam too.  As part of this month's Baking Partners challenge, Archana has suggested these scones.  Cheddar and sage scones, were highly aromatic, crumbly-cake like textured with an cheesy twist.  Topped with butter, these scones can be an absolute kid-pleaser and an hearty tea-time treat.

They were super-quick with an handy ingredients.  Once baked, they filled up my entire home with an strong aroma.  All this magical credit goes to sage, which imparted an light pungentness, when paired up with mustard.  Sage is better known to many, as, 'Karpooravalli' an medical plant at South India.  Since my childhood, these raw leaves were suggested to us, for an excellant cure of cold, cough etc.  Not only in scones/muffins, these scones can impart in various dishes like chicken, lamb, turkey etc.  Since, I didn't have fresh leaves, I went on to use dried sage.  All thanks to Archana and Swathi for introducing this exotic herbed scones to us.

For those, who would love to have spicier, don't hesitate to add an heavy pinch of chilly flakes.  
Next time, I am opting for those...  These scones, can be stored in an air-tight container over an week.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Chocolate macaroons

Macaroons are lightly baked confectionery.  Remember the ones, we used to avail at Adayar Bakery, Chennai?  Similar to them, yet imagine them with an hint of  chocolate....... Imagining sooo, replace the crunchy cashew pieces with chocolate vermicelli, wonderful them, aren't they?   Any kid would drool over these and by the time, my kid opened her snack-box, everything was gone.... :)  :)  Next time, I am planning to bake an huge batch of these.....

 These macaroons are made from egg whites, which are stiffly beaten and folded with sugar and required essence.  Then, these are piped with foil/ parchment paper lined tray and baked for 100 degree celsius, for about an 80 minutes.  This baking at an slower temperature helps macaroons in gaining an crusty top with crunchy body.  You can skip few minutes, if you wish to have an gooey centre (Like marshmallows).  These macaroons, are best made at summer as humidity or an rainy day would introduce moisture into them, and would make them soggy....

I made them using an single egg white, (as my oven had moderate capacity).  Remember stiffly beaten egg whites cannot be stored and piped again, these macaroons must be baked as soon as they are done with batter.  Exact trick lies in obtaining stiff peaks, also folding other ingredients into stiffly peaked egg whites.  And, after done they can be stored in air-tight container for almost an week.  This hot temperature was easing the macaroons, don't miss them out for an perfect climate.  :)

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Kolhapuri masala

    Kolhapur, city from South-west Maharashtra, has been blessed with delecious cuisine.  From, taambda rassa, pandra rassa to  sukka, they have also been entrusted with loads of vegetarian dishes like Misal, bharleli vaangi and ghavachi kheer as well.  What makes Kolhapur additionally special is largest production of jaggery owing to massive sugarcane fields around.  Not only on culinery terms, they excel in Jewellery, leather chappals and wrestling.  Relegiously, they have also been termed as, 'DAKSHIN KAASI' due to presence of Goddess Mahalakshmi.

    Though they multi-excel, our key point to note would be the entire soul for Kolhapuri cuisine - Kolhapuri masala.  The unique combination of dry roasted spices like sesame seeds, coconut,  garlic along with garam masala like cinnamon, cloves, star anise flavours this masala in an wholesome way.  Special regards to the chilly used here - Bedgi mirch (dark in colour, mildly spicy), Jawari mirch (lightly toned, but highly spicy)  So, when I saw an recipe by Prachi Joshi from GOOD FOOD Magazine (May 2014), I could hardly resist myself from preparing them.

So, here they are.  The given recipe yields 250 gm of Kolhapuri masala (You could half them, for an small batch also).  At room temperature, this can be stored in an airtight container, for almost ten months.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Chocolate conecakes - My anniversary treat

    First I saw them on an random google image search, I was stunned.  These cute conecakes were simply amazing to look, and would definitely be an 'hit' dessert for any occasion.  I decided that I will bake my own version someday.  And when that 'someday' turned out for my anniversary, I was completely excited.

I had baked these few weeks back, for my daughters's summer camp party.  At first, my other half mocked me, by saying, 'Can you do those, all by yourself?'  This, itself was like, enough to trigger the 'baking' fire on me.  But, unfortunately he was right and I flopped first time.  But, second time, I tried keeping in mind, all my flaws, I got them perfect.  Don't worry guys, I will share all my flaws with you, so that you need not suffer any, 'first loss'  as I did.  Just keep yourself hooked till the end of the post for all kind of tricks and tips.

These conecakes, usually are baked from short-bottomed cones.  But, here I have used normal cones, we can see at every ice-cream parlour.  The batter I have filled is chocolate sponge cake, with whipped white chocolate ganache and an dark chocolate ball, to top with.  Overall, these triple chocolate conecakes, were an delight to watch, delecious to eat, everything I have imagined them to be....

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Whipped ganache

 I had plans to bake an awesome cake for my wedding anniversary, and so inspected my refrigerator for my available ingredients.  With cream and white chocolate lying around, I happily proceeded to make ganache sauce...  Later, I was shocked to realize that instead of planning an icing for my cake, I had settled for an sauce :/  sigh..... So, as I started browsing around, I had,  understood that this ganache sauce can be whipped up to form an icing.  OMG, that was sooo close, an blessing in disguise, actually :)

Ganache, an sauce is used as sinful filling in truffles.  Dark chocolate and cream are usually added in 2:1 ratio, but milk and white chocolate can alternatively used too.   It is an myth to refer white chocolate as an, 'chocolate' because they have an lot of cocoa butter content in them than the actual cocoa iself.

Care should be taken that ganache should be an smooth pudding-like (ie, an thick sauce) before whipping, if they harden after refrigeration, they must be brought under room temperature till they become saucy.   Alternatively  overwhipping might also result in grainy textured output.  So, whipping till they increase in volume and become fluffier might be suggested.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Karahi chicken

   'Karahi Chicken', an Pakistani dish, derives its name from the round, circular shaped wok (called as karahi) they are cooked with.   Prepared with tomatos and green chilly as its base, this gravy is not only flavourful, but also was delecious.  

With an toddler around, I decided to go with moderate amounts of green chilly (If you wish this dish to be highly spicy, you can add more amount of green chillies) Remaining amount of green chilly, was substituted with capsicum slices to give an sweet touch.  This dish, is cooked as an one pot meal and traditionally was cherished till late nights.  Simplistic approach, with easy-peasy ingredients and no-oil cooking complements this dish an lot.

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