Thursday, July 28, 2011

Carrot Cream

My daughter loves carrots and this is something that I make often to cheer my bunny up. This recipe is courtesy to my Mom who believes carrots are the King of vegetables. My daughter Aishwarya made this painting and since I used it as a prop in the photograph, she wants credit for that :-)
Carrot diced-2 cups
Whole Milk-3cups
Sugar-3/4 cup or as required
Cardamom- 1tsp
Cashew-2 tbs
Pressure cook carrots with one cup milk and sugar till well done. Now Puree the carrots in a blender and add the remaining milk and bring it to a boil. Remove when the consistency of the drink is that of a smoothie Add cardamom powder and refrigerate till cold. Before serving garnish this with ghee roasted or dry roasted cashew.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

I never imagined that the summer would be this hectic for me. Though I am getting up late and enjoys the freedom of not following the school schedules, I have Aishwarya behind my back all the time asking "what should I do next? what should I do next?". Keeping her busy and happy leaves me with time for little else and  what this means is having to do my cooking the last minute, thus leaving little time to blog my experiments. Even though I tried a few dishes with the Around the World in 80 Days theme which I wanted to, most of it I couldn't blog since the moment I am done with my cooking, there would be a hungry monster waiting to gobble it up! This Cinnamon Roll is something that I made couple of days back. Lucky for me, when I checked the origin of Cinnamon rolls, I realized that these originated in  Sweden, where these are called cinnamon buns.
I used the same bread dough used for making the Curry Filled Sweet Buns and I should say these were amongst the best Cinnamon rolls that I had.
For the Bread portion make this
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
1/4 cup raisins, optional
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons milk
Combine the first three filling ingredients and mix well. Heat in microwave 10 seconds to make spreadable. (It's okay if it's fairly thick.) Spread over rolled dough, covering as much of the surface as possible. Sprinkle nuts and raisins over dough if using.
Starting with the widest end, roll dough into a tight log. Pinch edges to seal. With a thin sharp knife, cut log into 12 equal slices. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13-inch glass baking dish. Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm location to rise until nearly double in size, about 30-45 minutes.
 Bake rolls in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. After about 20 minutes of baking, check on rolls and cover loosely with foil if they are getting too dark. Rolls can stay in the dish after baking; set the dish on a wire rack and cover with a clean towel to let it cool.
 To make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup and beat. Add enough milk to make a spreadable consistency, about 1-2 teaspoons.
 Frost rolls while they are still warm for a drizzly melty look!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mexican MiIk Fudgy Logs

Aishwarya was reading Around the World in 80 Days and an idea stuck me: why not try cooking something from around the world  for  a few days  and see how many countries I will be able to do a culinary hop? So here I am, starting with  Mexico. I choose a sweet dish from there as in my opinion  all travelling should start with something sweet.
Source:My Sweet Mexico
11/2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
2 tbs corn syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/8th tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
3tbs unsalted butter
1/2tps vanilla extract.
In a tall heavy bottom vessel combine all the ingredients execpt vanilla and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally so as not to scorch  the bottom of the pan. Cook until it reaches a soft ball stage or 240 degree F.
Remove from heat ,meanwhile line a pan with parchment paper and butter it . When the mixture cools at about 180 F add vanilla and beat with hand ,using a wooden spoon .(DO NOT use the same spoon that was used to do the stirring while cooking, as sugar in the spoon will fasten  the crystallization. I didn't follow this and as a result my logs are not as smooth as it should have been). When the mixture loses the glossy look pour the contents to the prepared pan. Allow it to cool and the cut it in desired shape.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Curry Filled Sweet buns

One of the basic tools for the baker is a good weighing scale. Especially so if you want to bake breads, most of the recipes for which calls for weighing out the ingredients. But the only weighing scaleI have with me is the one that can weigh me, not the ingredients ; this wouldn't help me get along with my baking, but would rather show me the after effects of all the baking that I do. This is not to say that I don't "own" a proper food weighing scale- I do "own" one, but I have it safely tucked away in India. Every time I go there I think of bringing it to the US, but then start thinking why not I buy one from here itself, since this was originally presented to me by my brother, who bought it from the US, while I myself was in India. But once back here, I cannot make myself to buy one - since I already own one..Though I don't usually hold back from buying anything for my baking  (even yesterday I bought a couple of baking pans which were not really essential), this is something that I couldn't really make myself to buy yet...
If you are a sensible baker who owns a weighing scale (unlike me), you can get the recipe for the same bread using weight measures from Corner Cafe.
These breads are wonderfully soft and yummy.
Use US cup size of 240ml
For Japanese Sweet Bun Dough:
Bread flour - 2 3/4 cups + 1 1/4 tablespoons
All-purpose flour -3/4 cup
Milk powder- 5 3/4 tablespoons
Fine granulated sugar - 5 3/4 tablespoons
Salt -3/4 teaspoon
Instant dry yeast -1 sachet (2 1/2 tsp)
Egg - 1 no, lightly beaten
Lukewarm water - 2/3 cup (approx.) l, adjust as necessary
Butter - 2 2/3 tablespoons, cubed

Water-Roux Paste:
Bread flour - 3 tablespoons
Water -1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon

For the Filling:

Mushroom -10
Spring onion/green onion-4
Soy sauce-1tsp
Pepper and Salt-As required

Preparation of the filling:
Slice the mushrooms into fine pieces.Cut the spring onion/green onion and garlic also into fine pieces.Heat a pan and add 1tsp oil.Add garlic and the spring onion. Saute for 20 seconds. Now add the cut mushroom and saute till done.Add soy sauce,vegetable base,pepper and salt.Saute for another 2 minutes till it is dry.
(or you can also fill this bun with any of the following dry curries:
Kerala Egg Roast
Potato Masala )

Preparation for the Water-Roux
1. Mix the flour and water in a small saucepan.Cook over low to medium heat, stirring continuously until it reaches 65ÂșC. By this time the paste would have thickened to a stage when you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir. Remove from heat; place a cling film over the paste and leave until it cools down to lukewarm or room temperature, before using. (If you don’t have a thermometer, cook as before until it starts to thicken, then continue to cook for about 1 more minute before removing from heat).
Preparation for the dough:
1. Sift bread flour, plain flour, milk powder, caster sugar and salt the mixing bowl. Add in the yeast and mix well. Add in the water-roux and beaten egg. Slowly add in the lukewarm water and start kneading the dough until the dough form into a nice ball. (You might not need all the water. I used only 130 ml of it)
2. Continue to knead for 10 minutes and add in the butter. Continue to knead until all the butter is incorporated into the dough and the dough is smooth and elastic. Form it into a round ball and let it to rise until double in size in a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a wet towel or cling wrap (It may take upto an hour to proof the dough but it all depends on the weather and environment on the day you make the bread)
3. Punch down the dough gives it a few knead and divide the dough into 16 equal portions. The easiest way to divide is to cut the dough into 4 parts and from there divide each into another 4 portions. Form each into a ball and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
4. Shape and fill the buns with fillings. Place the buns in baking sheets that line with parchment paper. Cover the buns and let it rise until double in size (it takes another 30-40 min) Brush the buns with some egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
5. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Unniyappam or Kuzhiyappam as these are called are little, sweet,deep-fried dumplings. You need special pans to make these.  As these are very similar to aebleskivers, the popular Dutch pancakes, you can use the aebleskiver pan also to make unniyappams. By investing a little for these pans you can make unniyappams, aebleskivers and spicy paniyarams etc. I shall be posting recipes of those goodies soon.
Rice flour - 1 cup
All purpose flour- 1/8 cup
Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Small banana - 4 nos
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Cardamom - 5, finely powdered
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Baking soda (optional) - a pinch
Black sesame seeds - 1 tsp

Make a syrup of the jaggery using 1/4 cup of water and strain it to remove any impurities. (if jaggery is not available, you may substitute it with brown sugar). Mash the banana and add the rest of the ingredients to this. Add enough water and mix it well to get pancake batter consistency. Set aside for 1/2 hr. Take an unniappam chatti (or an aebleskiver pan) and fill all the indentations half way with vegetable oil (or coconut oil). Once the oil is hot, pour the batter into each of the indentations and reduce the heat to medium.  Once the appams bottom starts to turn golden turn it around. Once it is evenly cooked all over, take it out of the pan with a skewer and let it drain on a paper towel. You may sprinkle some sugar over the appams once it cools, for added taste.
Sending this over to Kerala Kitchen at magpiesrecipes

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pineapple Frappe

This is a refreshing cold drink ideal for the summer. As all the ingredients are readily available during the summer months, making this is a breeze. I typically would have vanilla ice cream in my refrigerator most of the time and whenever I want to give my daughter a special "treat" in place of her regular milk, this is something I whip up.

Pineapple cubed - 1 cup
Vanilla ice cream - 1 cup
Cold Milk - 1/2 cup

Blend all the above ingredients together to a fine, smooth consistency. If you prefer it thinner, add more milk. If you need it a little more sweet, add sugar to taste.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Perfect Pound Cake

It's Sweet Punch time again and for this month we were all challenged to make a Pound cake.The recipe that we followed was from  The Cake Bible .The recipe makes it a breeze to make this cake and I am sure a first time baker can easily follow this recipe and get a perfect cake just as the name suggests. For those of my friends who would love to see a video demo on how to make this yummy cake take a look at this .

3 tablespoons Milk
3 large Eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups sifted cake flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
13 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened [184 gms]
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Butter an 8 inch by 4 by 2.5 inch loaf pan, or any six cup loaf or fluted tube pan.
Lightly whisk together milk, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl.
Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, until blended. Add the butter and half the egg mixture, and mix until dry ingredients are moistened. On medium speed, beat for one minute. This will aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down sides.
Add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds between each addition. Scrape down sides.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth surface with a spatula. Bake for 55-65 minutes (35-45 minutes if baking in a fluted tube pan), until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool on a rack in the pan for 10 minuets before inverting onto a greased wire rack. If using a loaf pan, flip the cake over so the top is up.
For making Cake flour at home - Take one cup of all purpose flour and remove 2 tbsp from it.Replace the 2 tbsp flour with cornflour and sift together 2-3 times.Cake flour is ready to use.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Herbed Asparagus Cheese Bread

I had some asparagus left after making the Oven Roasted Asparagus. I was planning to make this again, but Aishwarya wanted pizza for dinner. So I thought of trying something new that would satisfy both of us. And it proved such a hit with my family. I went to take a shower after putting the pizza in the oven and my husband and daughter didn't even wait for me to be back before starting to attack this - they had already started cutting this up by the time I was back. I had to make do with the cut pizza to take the photograph!

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (can use instant)
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2tsp Chili flakes
Dash pepper
1&1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
For the Asparagus layer
1/2 pound asparagus
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several grinds black pepper
1/4 tsp each chilli flakes,basil,oregano and parsely
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Dissolve the sugar in lukewarm water and add the yeast to it. Add this to flour and salt mixture. Add additional flour if needed to form a soft dough. Knead for 1-2 minutes or until smooth and elastic.Place in a greased bowl. Cover and keep it in a warm place for 20 minutes to let it rise .
Punch the dough down; place on a greased 16" pizza pan and pat into a 16" circle. Mix all the ingredients listed under topping and apply it on to the flattened dough. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over this.
Make long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Toss peelings with olive oil, salt , parmesan ,herbs and pepper in a bowl. Pile asparagus on top of the bread, allow the bread to rest for 15 minutes or so. If you're in a hurry, just skip this rise.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degree F. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown.
Linking  this to Any One Can Cook event at Taste of Pearl City
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