Bringing Imagination to your Cooking…!!!


Chocolate Walnut Brownie….

Choco-walnut Brownie....

Dark chocolate & walnuts.. whatta brilliant combination..!!! Love it..!! K wanted to have some brownies.. & I’m not a huge fan of hazelnuts.. checked the pantry if I had a packet of walnuts..n hurrah… I did find a packet. :) The rest does not require to be told.. Mixed the ingredients as I ate my bowl of pasta for lunch.. Yup multi-tasking.. & I only rested when the heavenly aroma of the brownie baking away, started filling up the house… :)

Basic ingredients are what you require for these.. yummy is not the right word.. the best way to describe is “A slice of heaven”.. :)

Choco Walnut Brownies..

Remember, it’s not a cake.. so don’t wait to bake it till a toothpick comes out clean…. If you do.. then its a chocolate cake!.

Happy days are here again….!! Been a long time since I posted two recipe’s on a day.. :) Guess I’m making for all those days when I won’t be able to add posts…!!

Yummy Choco walnut brownies

Ingredients: (Serves 8-10 )      Preparation Time: 40-45 mins
Plain flour – 1 cup/150g
Cocoa Powder – 80g
Light brown sugar – 1 cup/175g
Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
Baking Powder – 1 tsp
Eggs – 3
Walnuts – a handful, chopped
Vegetable Oil – 200 ml

Line a 25cm baking tin with grease-proof paper & keep aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder & cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl & keep aside.

In another mixing bowl, mix together the sugar & the oil. Add eggs one by one, mixing after adding each one in, using a hand mixer. Add the vanilla extract. Mix well.

Pre-heat the oven to 160 degree C.

Now add the wet ingredients to the dry & fold.

The batter...

Don’t over mix.

Prepared baking mould..

Transfer the gooey brownie batter to the prepared tin. Add the chopped walnuts evenly on the top of the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared mould & then add chopped walnuts on top...

Bake for around 25 minutes once the oven pre-heats. You don’t want to overcook this, unlike cakes, you don’t want a skewer to come out all clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle.

Allow to cool in the tray, then carefully transfer to a large chopping board and cut into large chunky pieces.

Choco Walnut Brownies..

Serving Suggestions:
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice-cream. Creme fraiche also makes a tasty accompaniment with them.

Choco-walnut Brownie....

If your someone like me who can’t wait to have accompaniments.. just eat them as is.. :)

This is the picture I uploaded via Instagram. I did not want to wait to work on the pictures from my camera for this post.. !!

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Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand.. A Diwali Special post..

Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand..

While I was adding the picture slideshow to the different recipe category pages, I noticed that the dessert section hardly had any entries, I may not be have a sweet tooth but people who follow my blog sure do, why should I deprive them of the sweet adventures! Having said this, does not mean that I don’t know to make some of the Indian sweet dishes.. K loves sweets.. So, I do make some for him.. :)

Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand..

Indians love sweets.. & with not even a fortnight left for Diwali I got to post a few sweet dishes before some of my friends begin to ask for some recipes. Since Greek set yogurt is easily available here, thought I should try my hands at making some Shrikhand… Oh, for those who are wondering what Diwali is, it is an Indian festival; called the festival of lights..!! It’s a huge festival celebrated by exchanging sweets, lighting small oil lamps around the house when the sun sets, new clothes, colours & festivities everywhere around.. & not to forget the sky filled with beautiful & colourful firecrackers..!!

You would have guessed from all the chatter above & the pictures that Shrikhand is an Indian sweet dish. It is famous in the states of Gujarat & Maharashtra.. It is made from strained yogurt,sweetened with sugar & flavoured with the most famous flavours – cardamom & saffron. Sometimes just with cardamom. It is also available in Pistachio & Mango flavours. It is silky smooth… & filled with loads of calories.. Don’t worry you can’t possibly eat the whole bowl.. it’s too heavy.. So you can’t indulge on loads of it unless you’re a glutton.. :) A version with fresh fruits is also available. It usually chilled before being served.. So you can imagine how heavenly & silky smooth this is.. :)

Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand..

In the state of Gujarat this is eaten as an accompaniment with the Indian bread called Puri/Poori’s. Yes, Gujarat is another state obsessed with sweets & closely competes with Bengal.. :) Both these states have a variety of sweets to offer. Now you know which states not to miss if you have a sweet tooth & you happen to visit India.. :)

Ingredients: (Serves 6 – 8)       Preparation Time: 20 mins (Excludes time to strain the yogurt & chill the Shrikhand)
Greek yogurt/full fat thick-set yogurt – 2 tubs of a litre each
Muslin Cloth
Sugar – 1 cup or more, based on your taste
Elaichi/Caedmon – 12-14 cloves, de-skinned, seeds coarsely powdered
Kesar/Saffron – a pinch soaked in a tsp of warm milk (love the aroma of saffron in milk & of course the colour is so beautiful) + a pinch to serve (optional)
Powdered almonds/chopped pistachios – 1-2 tbsp (optional, sprinkled just before you serve) (I ran out of powdered almonds so used whole almonds)

Fold the large piece of muslin cloth into 2, so that is a wee bit thick. Now place the cloth in a large bowl. Make sure there is enough cloth & it comes out of the bowl. Empty one tub of a litre of greek yogurt into the cloth. Do the same with the next one. The excess water will start to trickle out once you lift the cloth with all the loose ends held tightly in your fist. Make sure you have the bowl at the bottom when you do this, to avoid any mess from the dripping water.

Tightly tie the yogurt in the muslin cloth & let this contraption hang as shown.

Yogurt being strained overnight using Muslin cloth..

Make sure you have a bowl to collect all the dripping water. Leave this overnight to get strained completely.

Note: The amount of yogurt left behind after straining solely depends on the thickness of the yogurt used. Hence your servings depends on the amount left behind. Use a good quality yogurt to end up with more servings.

Next day, add the 1 tsp of warm milk to a pinch of Saffron & keep aside. Take the muslin cloth contraption down, open up the cloth as shown & transfer the contents into a clean dry bowl. Add sugar tbsp by tbsp.

Mix well. Taste & stop adding sugar when you reach the desired level of sugar. Now use a sieve & strain the sweetened hung yogurt as shown. This removes any lumps present. The resulting product is so silky that you will love its texture..

Now coarsely powder the cardamom seeds. Add the saffron milk & the powdered cardamom to the strained sweetened yogurt mixture & mix well till well combined. The colour of the Shrikhand changes to a light yellow. If you have added more than a pinch then the colour may be a deep yellow.

Cover the bowl & chill it in the refrigerator.

Garnishing: (optional)
Garnish with some powdered almonds/chopped pistachios & a few strands of saffron before serving.

Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand..

This pic was clicked when I still had some daylight left & also it was before chilling the Srikhand.. :) 

Serving Suggestions:
Serve chilled as mentioned earlier with or without the garnishing as a dessert or as an accompaniment with some hot fluffy puri/poori’s. Yummmy…!!

Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand..

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Gaajar Halwa/ Carrot HalwaMadgane – one of the quintessential Konkani Payasam/sweet-dish….Charmure Undo.. A guest post by Manjula.. etc.


Celebration Post – Super moist, Venetian Carrot Cake

Super Moist Venetian Carrot Cake...

Yippie Yay! this is my 200th recipe post on Keli Paan and I am so glad that my plans to post a something baked succeeded. Yes, I have been planing this post for a while now. The plan was to indulge & celebrate with a good cake.. It’s such a wonderful feeling writing this post.. Feels like it was just the other day..! Now, I am at the 200th post.. when I now look at few or rather many of my vintage posts, I feel what was I thinking ???.. the photographs are atrocious..!! There is no concept..! It made me think, if I should let them stay or re-do them.. What do you guys think?? Do leave a comment.. I would love to know your thoughts! I’m not claiming I have turned into a master at photography.. I’m still learning the art of food styling… The posts help me see the transition my blog has gone through. I do see I have gotten better from the time I have started.. :)

Super Moist Venetian Carrot Cake....

When I was reading about Carrots cakes, I got to know that they came into existence because sweeteners were scarce & expensive during the medieval period. Since carrots & beets contain more sugar than most other vegetables, carrots were preferred. These cakes were huge in the United States in the 1970’s.. it was considered a novelty.. But then it go so popular that it became a standard dessert across the country. In a radio survey conducted in 2011, in the UK rated Carrot cake came out as the favourite & why wouldn’t it be? they are just so wonderful. I have always eaten store-bought cakes. Never tried making one at home.. I had picked up lovely looking fresh juicy carrots from the store yesterday for this.

Super Moist Venetian Carrot Cake....

This recipe is an adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s Venetian Carrot cake recipe. I baked a smaller cake though.The moment I had seen this recipe, I fell in love with it.. No flour, no milk & even them you get such a lovely moist cake.. ! There were all my favourite ingredients.. Pine nuts.. I’m a huge fan of these tiny silky nuts… !!! Fresh carrots, ground almonds, Rum!! yes, this cake has rum.. & sultanas which are cooked in rum.. The fragrance of simmering rum cooking the sultana’s is wonderful.. :) Ground nutmeg adds jus the right flavour to this cake.. it just gets your senses reeling.. Though it might not be the prettiest cake you have seen around.. I always say that something has to look good to make it appealing, specially when it comes to food.. but then here do not go by the looks…! :) I tried to make it look as pretty as possible :).

1. I used normal sultana’s ,though the recipe calls for golden sultana’s..
2. The most popular icing on this cake is the cream cheese icing. I did not want a sweet overdose, hence I skipped it.. :)
3. I used a silicone cake pan. Use a springform cake tin if you have one.
4. This cake will seem to be shallow. Wont be higher than 2 inches. This cake does not rise like other cakes, you will notice a small rise though.

Ingredients: (Serves 6 )        Preparation Time: 60 mins
Pine nuts – 30g,
Carrots – 2, medium-sized, hand grated, If you’re using a food processor, do not turn it into pulp. It should still have strands.
Dark Rum – 40 ml
Golden Sultana’s – 30g
Golden castor sugar – 80g
Pure Vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
Olive oil – 50ml + for greasing
Ground almonds – 100g
Nutmeg – 1/8 – 1/4 tsp
Eggs – 1 large/ 2 small
Fresh Lemon zest – 1/4 tsp
Fresh Lemon juice – 1/4 tsp

Take a small saucepan & soak the sultana’s in the rum before you start.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Meanwhile, line the base of a cake pan, preferably a springform tin with grease-proof paper. Grease the sides with some olive oil.

Lightly toast the pine nuts on a fry pan without any oil, till they turn golden brown. Keep aside.

Grate the carrots & take out the excess water from them by wrapping them around kitchen towels. Keep aside.

Now bring the saucepan with the rum & sultana’s to a boil over medium heat. Simmer & cook for a couple of minutes.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the sugar & oil. Use a hand mixer/ stand mixer if you have one because you need to mix till they turn creamy & airy. Add the vanilla, eggs, almond meal/powder, nutmeg, grated carrots & the sultana’s along with the rum. Fold all these ingredients in using a spatula.

Note: Nigella does not add the rum which is left behind. I did. So you can choose to do what you please. :)

Finally add the lemon zest & juice. Mix.

Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan. The batter, like I mentioned will seem shallow because it’s not a tall cake. Use a spatula, preferably a silicone spatula to even out the top of the cake. Since I added the left over rum my batter was not as solid, hence I did not need to do that. Sprinkle the toasted Pine nuts around.

Ready to be baked...

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until you see a golden hue on the cake with a slight rise. Check using a toothpick, it may be come out a wee bit sticky, but that’s alright.

Cool the cake on a wire rack.

Baked & Out... cooling on the wire rack...

Let it sit for 10 minutes or so before you spring it out of the tin. Now cool further.

I’m sorry to say I did not get down to clicking more pictures of the preparation process..  was a cloudy day & did not get enough sunlight for good pictures while I was mixing & preparing the batter.. Luckily the sun came out for  a bit when the cake was out of the oven. I must say I got lucky.. :) 

Transfer to a serving plate..

Oh by the way, this serving plate is a prized new possession now.. :) I had to own it, the instant I saw it….. :) I’m in love with the little pink & red hearts..!! It can just pep up anything you serve on it.. :) That’s how I made this cake look pretty.. !!

Serving Suggestions:
Serve a slice with some cream cheese mixed with some rum & icing sugar on the side if you wish.. :)

Super Moist Venetian Carrot Cake...

You can save this cake for 3 days tightly wrapped in cling film & stored in a air-tight container.

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Summer fruits Compote sandwiched between Sponge cake..Coffee Banana loaf Cake with Coffee ganache frostingDark Chocolate & Mocha Cheesecake with Rum…Plum Cake etc.


Dark Chocolate & Mocha Cheesecake with Rum…

This cheesecake has so many different flavours that blend so beautifully that it will definitely be a treat for your taste buds..

We had a wee bit of an Indian Dark Rum called Old Monk left with us; it wasn’t enough for a drink & it was not going to be wasted :). I had noted this recipe down sometime back from a magazine & found it while I was cleaning up some old documents in my laptop. Guess its meant to be.. I had everything that I needed to make this cheesecake.. did not have to make a run to the grocers at all..

The only thing was that it needed to be set for at least 6-8 hours before you dig your fork into it for a bite.. ! Well, I know it’s easier to buy a slice from the bakery or your favourite restaurant because your wait time is just from the time you place your order & till the plate is brought to your table.. But think on the brighter side.. here for the same price of the slice you have a whole cheesecake which is yours!! That’s just one way to think about it… then it always involves all your precious time & love that goes into baking it is definitely special.. :)

Dark Chocolate & Mocha Cheesecake with Rum...

This is the first time I tried a cheesecake which involved baking. The last time I had tried a no bake cheesecake.. I fancy cheesecakes because it’s a bit sour & salty when compared to other cakes which are only on the sweeter side.. Its been unbearably hot from a couple of days & a chilled cheesecake just helped me cool down.. :)

As I did not have a 18 cm tin, I used 2 smaller tins to make this. One was a midnight snack.. I could not wait to let it set overnight & ate it.. shared it with K .. :)  The other one I patiently waited till the next day & went through the process of garnishing it & clicking pictures for the blog.. :)

Ingredients: (Serves 4 – 6) Preparation Time: 75-80 mins
For the cheesecake base:
Dark chocolate digestive biscuits – 150 gms
Butter – 50 gms, melted
Tip: I used unsalted butter, you can use salted butter for a nice salty flavour to add a nice salty biscuit base.
Mixed spice (optional) – 1/4 tsp, I used this just for the twist :)

For the filling:
Dark chocolate – 100 gms, I used Bournville
Cream cheese or soft cheese – 400 gms
Sugar – 90 gms
Eggs – 2
Cornflour – 3/4 tsp
Granulated coffee of your choice – 3/4 tsp
Sour cream – 150 gms
Dark Rum of your choice – 2 tbsp

Pre-heat your oven to 130 degrees. While the oven is heating up, break each biscuit into 2-3 pieces. Using a blender, blend the biscuit pieces into tiny bits.

Blend the biscuit pieces into a bits in a blender...

Take a medium-sized mixing bowl, & mix together the blended biscuit bits, melted butter & mixed spice powder if you plan to add it using a spatula.

Mix the biscuit bits with melted butter & mixed spice..

Line the base of a 18 cm springform tin/ a loose bottom sandwich tin with grease proof paper & transfer the biscuit mix to it. Evenly spread & press this to make a base. Once the oven has pre-heated, bake this in the oven for 10 mins.

While the biscuit base is baking, take a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, eggs, corn flour & using an electric beater, beat all the ingredients together. Mix the coffee granules in 3/4 tsp water & let it dissolve completely. Add this to the cheese mixture. Mix well.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a bowl of simmering, bubbling hot water. Once its melted, add this to the cheese mixture along with the rum & give it a good mix with the beater. Make sure everything has blended well.

Mix all the ingredients well....

Cover & keep aside.

Meanwhile the base should be ready, let the base cool down to room temperature. Now pour the cheese mixture over the biscuit base.

Pour the mixture over the baked & cooled biscuit base...

The mixture should fill it to 3/4 the height of the cake pan. Give the pan at least 4-5 sharp taps so that any air bubble will escape.

Place the cake pan on a baking tray & bake at the same temperature 130 degrees for around 40 – 50 minutes or till done. The centre should wobble & the sides should be firm; that’s when its done.

Take the cheesecake out, place it on a wire rack & let it cool down completely.

Baked & cooling on the rack...

The sides should loosen up & get separated from the tin, else use a blunt knife to separate the edges. Cover with cling film or with a ceramic plate & chill in the freezer for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Once chilled, take out the cheesecake from the tin.

Garnish with shavings of dark chocolate & white chocolate or dust with some cocoa or coffee powder.

You can even add chocolate chips if you wish to. Or  you can eat it as is… :)

Serving Suggestions:
Slice, serve & enjoy chilled..

Dark Chocolate & Mocha Cheesecake with Rum

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Madgane – one of the quintessential Konkani Payasam/sweet-dish….


First things first, for all those who don’t know what Payasam is… let me explain.. It is a thick or a little runny sweet dish prepared in the Southern states of India; an integral part of a South Indian meal. It is traditionally served after a meal, on the banana leaf & is scooped out with your entire palm; wiped clean by your tongue, while the other hand is used to hold the ends of the banana leaf so that the payasam does not flow out of the leaf.. Oh, very messy indeed.. but very yummy..

There are loads of kinds of Payasams. Some are made by boiling rice/dal/semolina etc in milk or coconut milk with sugar/jaggery & then flavoured with saffron, cardamom etc & garnished with raisins, cashews, pistachios or almonds.

As we never had dessert after a meal in my house; for me Payasam is a sign of the festive period or a celebration. Madgane is the quintessential Konkani payasam which is made of Split bengal gram in coconut milk, sweetened with jaggery. In Konkani, all payasams  are referred to as Goddi..  The traditional Madgane recipe does not use jackfruit, but when the jackfruit season is on, you do tend to add a good amount of chopped jackfruit into the pot while preparing this & garnished with some cashews & raisins, finally flavoured with some powdered cardamom.

Madgane - one of the quintessential Konkani Payasam/sweet-dish...

When at home, I like to drink it out of a glass :) that’s the reason I have served it this way.. :) But it can’t beat the method of wiping your palm & fingers clean off some paysam scooped out of a banana leaf. If you have had a chance to eat it this way, you may know what I’m talking about.

I was leisurely scanning the Indian grocery store on one of our grocery shopping trips & my eyes fell on a can of jackfruit!!! I jumped with joy as I love the fruit & I so missed not eating it.. & there were flashes of all the things jackfruit is used for.. & what topped the list was Madgnae!! Madgane with oodles of jackfruit is one of my favourite payasams.. So i instantly picked up a can. Over the weekend we had a potluck party at home. I was busy with other chores so I promised all that there would be a yummy payasam from me for dessert & I ended up preparing this.. :)

Madgane - one of the quintessential Konkani Payasam/sweet-dish..

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4) Preparation Time: 20 mins
Split Bengal gram/Chana dal – 1 cup
Jaggery – as per taste
Coconut Milk – 300 ml, medium-thick
Jackfruit (optional) – 4-5 pockets, de-seeded & chopped finely, if you like to bite into them, then chop them into small pieces
Cashews – 8-10, chopped or use more if you wish
Raisins – 1 tbsp or use more if you wish, soak them in some water
Green Cardamom – 2 whole, finely powdered

Wash & soak the split bengal gram for 10-15 minutes before you start (This is to facilitate easy cooking of the dal). Transfer the soaked chana dal into a pressure cooker, cook with water enough to cover the dal 1 inch above its level. Pressure cook for 3 whistles. Remember you do not want the dal to get all mashed up. (Check on it once the pressure is off, if the dal is not cooked as required then pressure cook for another whistle).

Tip: I heat water using a kettle so that I can avoid the time taken for the water to come to a boil.

Meanwhile when you are waiting for the pressure to come off, of the pressure cooker, you can bring the coconut milk to a boil in a pot. Simmer & add the jaggery & mix well. Add the chopped jackfruit. Next add the chopped cashews & soaked raisins. Add the cooked dal & its water to the simmering coconut milk. Mix well. Check the sweetness level; adjust as per your taste. Increase the heat to medium. Let the payasam comes to a boil again, let the payasam bubble for a minute or two, turn off the heat.

Note: This payasam tends to thicken up as times passes by because of the dal in it. So add a dash of water when you re-heat leftovers & adjust the sweet levels accordingly.

Garnish with the powdered cardamom.

Glasses waiting to be poured in..

Mix well before you serve.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot as a dessert after a South-Indian meal. Else as dessert after any meal of your choice & drink it off a cup like I do or serve it in a bowl.

Madgane - one of the quintessential Konkani Payasam/sweet-dish...

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Caramel CustardYogurt Filled Strawberry Pots!Muhallabia.. a Lebanese sweet dish….Lime n Lemon Cheesecake Pots etc.

Yogurt Filled Strawberry Pots!

Yogurt Filled Strawberry Pots!

I read though for healthy tips.. While I was browsing through the website last evening.. I noticed this recipe to enjoy Strawberry’s.. I had strawberries in the fridge as it’s the season now.. ! Been feasting on them from the time the season was on.. ! :D

Fresh Strawberries...

I should say we ate the best strawberries ever when we were driving down to Cornwall last weekend.. there was slow moving traffic for a kilometre or so.. & I saw signboards on the side of the road that said.. “Buy fresh Strawberries handpicked straight from the farm..” & I had to buy some.. & then for another hour or so kept eating them.. :) They were the sweetest strawberries I had ever had..!

Anyway… this recipe can be enjoyed as a side during breakfast or as a dessert after a meal.. Fill the strawberry pots with your favourite yogurt or ice-cream.. sprinkle the top with corn flakes/nuts/raisins or any other topping of your choice & voila there you end up with something that looks pretty & tempting!

Tip: For you diet conscious people.. use fat-free greek yogurt.. flavour like Vanilla, coconut & banana go best.. but feel free to use any flavour you like…. & for those who don’t care about calories use full fat greek yogurt/slightly melted ice cream of your choice… Cool them if you wish to, before you serve them.

Yogurt Filled Strawberry Pots!

For those of you who have trouble making your kids eat fruits.. this maybe a good way.. Make it look pretty, i’m sure they will make their hands dirty! :D

Try one... :)

Ingredients: (Serves 2)    Preparation Time: 5-10 mins
Strawberries – 200 gms, larger the better, Sweeter the better too.. :)
Greek Yogurt/Thick yogurt/Ice-cream – 2 tbsp
Banana – 1/4 of a ripe banana
Tip: If you plan to use plain greek yogurt, you can add a few drops of vanilla essence & mash 1/4 of a banana into it; & stir in some sugar if required. You can add some honey instead of sugar too.
Toppings of your choice; I used some Wheatabix & almond flakes, raisins & cinnamon powder to sprinkle on top.

Mash up the banana in a bowl. Now add the yogurt to this & mix well.
Tip: To reduce the sugar added, I used very ripe banana’s.

Add sugar/honey if you used plain yogurt. Take each strawberry & de-core each of them carefully, as shown. Make sure you don’t end up puncturing the sides..

For the filling:
Option 1: Fill the strawberry pot with the banana+yogurt mixture. Chill if required.

Option 2: Else fill the pots with melted ice-cream of your choice. Place them in the chiller.

Top the filled strawberries with your choice of toppings… I added some wheat flakes from my pack of breakfast cereals, almond flakes & raisins.. finished it by sprinkling just a wee bit of cinnamon dust.. & we had them along with our breakfast.. :)

Yogurt Filled Strawberry Pots!

If you liked this recipe; you may also want to check out – Strawberry PancakesFresh Strawberry LassiBanana Cranberry Muffins….Banana Pancakes etc.

Muhallabia.. a Lebanese sweet dish….

Muhallabia.. a Lebanese sweet dish

Remember my post Olan.. ?? the dish from Kerala which I had posted a while back? Yes, when one of my friends Radhika had invited me along with some other friends of her’s for lunch… she had made this for dessert. I really liked it, as it is mildly sweet.. And has a nice rose flavour to it !! I asked her for the recipe as K was not free to join us for lunch that day & I was sure he would love this. K has a big weakness for sweets.. The only reason I could not prepare this till today was because I did not have rose essence with me. I bought it this weekend, as I finally found it in an Indian store…

Muhallabia.. a Lebanese sweet dish

Usually served chill.. The consistency of this sweet dish is thick just like rice kheer/pudding..

Ingredients: (Serves 4) Preparation Time: 15 mins
Rice Flour – 1/4 cup, around 50 gms
Milk – 3 cups, approximately around 750 ml
Sugar – 1/4 cup, around 50 gms
Almonds – 1/2 cup, around 80 gms, ground to a paste with a bit of milk, Tip: You can soak the almonds in some milk for a while before you grind it into a paste. This makes a nice smooth paste out of the almonds.
Rose water – 1 tsp or more if you like more of the rose flavour
Pistachios/ Almonds – a handful, coarsely ground
A pinch of salt

Keeping 1/4 cup of milk aside, In a heavy bottom pan, bring the rest of the milk to a boil. While the milk is set to boil, blend the rice flour & 1/4 cup milk to a smooth paste. Now add the blended rice flour-milk to the boiling milk. Also add a pinch of salt & sugar. Mix well till all of these combine well. Set the heat to medium. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon so that this mixture does not burn from the bottom.

The mixture tends to get thick as time passes by. When the mixture begins to bubble simmer for 5 minutes. Now add the ground almond paste & rose essence. Mix till all the ingredients blend well. Remove from heat & let the mixture cool down. Once this reaches room temperature, chill it in the fridge.

Traditionally garnished with coarsely ground almonds/pistachios. I used flaked almonds as I did not have pistachios with me.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve chilled.. Enjoy.. :)

Muhallabia.. a Lebanese sweet dish

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Coffee Banana loaf Cake with Coffee ganache frosting

A slice after chilling it in the fridge..

Again, banana’s were turning a wee bit ripe; I did not want  to waste them… I had this recipe of Banana chocolate cake… But was not in the mood to eat chocolate.. so substituted it for some coffee…

I’m not a fan of the fruit.. I don’t eat banana’s until & unless I suffer from constipation.. :P My dad would be a better person to explain how all the while in my childhood & days when I grew up he was after me to eat banana’s & I would cleverly come up with a new excuse each time not to eat them.. :) It’s the same even now.. Now I make reasons that I like the tiny banana’s called Elakki (Cardamom in Kannada) Banana’s… this variety of banana has small cardamom seed like eyes in them… hence the name.. & here in Glasgow you don’t find them.. :)

I know they are full of iron & that they are good for you.. but the gooey texture always made me feel like I wanted to puke after the first bite…! But cooked banana i really don’t mind.. fried plantain… plantain bajji’s..banana halwa.. banana cakes… banana flavoured Wrigley’s chewing gum.. are all fine.. :)

Coffee Banana loaf Cake with Coffee ganache frosting....

Note: This cake turns out real soft & gooey.. It was very spongy & puffed up when I just took it out of the oven…. but as it cooled.. the weight of the banana made a dip in between.. So I flipped the cake over to add the frosting as this side was flat.. The recipe calls for one medium-sized banana but I ended up adding 2 close to medium-sized banana’s.. which I should not have.. :( That’s the reason the cake had a dip is between.. Also make sure you mash the banana real well.. use a blender if required…

This cake does take some time to get ready.. but in the end your efforts are worth every bit of it..

Ingredients: (Serves 6-8; Depends on how greedy you are.. ;) )  Preparation Time: 1 hr 30 mins..
All-purpose flour – 125 gms
Granulated white sugar – 200 gms
Coffee powder – 5 tsp
Baking powder – 3/4 tsp
Baking soda – 3/4 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Eggs – 1
Banana – 1 medium-sized ripe banana
Warm water – 1/2 cup/120 ml
Whole Milk – 1/4 cup/60 ml
Cooking oil – 60 ml, use any flavourless oil
Vanilla extract – 3/4 tsp

For the Coffee Ganache:
Cream – 75 ml
Dark chocolate – 80 gms, chopped, use any of your choice
Coffee powder – 2 tsp

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Butter, or spray using a non stick vegetable spray, a large loaf pan. I used a 27.5 cm loaf pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, coffee powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk lightly, until well combined.

The batter..

You will notice that the batter is quite thin, do not worry, this is how the texture should be. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

When the cake is baking, you can prepare the ganache & let it cool & get thick… The ganache takes about 20-25 minutes to set once you prepare it..So start preparing the ganache when there are about 10 minutes left for the cake to be completely baked.

If the proportions are right, you will also notice that the cake won’t stick to the sides.. & it can be easily taken off the pan when it cools down.

See the edges are free.. & not sticking to the mould..

As I mentioned earlier.. I used a wee bit extra banana.. so the cake has a dip in between after cooling…

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cooled, I cooled this for 30 – 40 mins. I upturned the cake & frosted it, because of the dip… :(

Now frost the top of the cake with the Ganache.

Coffee Ganache:
Heat cream, add coffee powder and bring to boil.Transfer the chopped chocolate to small mixing bowl. Pour this mixture over chopped chocolate.Stir until chocolate has melted and combined with the cream and coffee. Check the sweetness level. If you want to, you can go ahead & add some sugar.. I added a tsp of sugar. This purely depends on the sweetness of the chocolate you have used.. so add accordingly..

Pour the cream & coffee mixture over the chocolate...

Allow ganache to cool to room temperature before covering the top of the cake with the ganache. It takes about 20-30 minutes for the ganache to turn thick & get set. So begin to prepare the ganache in the last 10 minutes left for the cake to be completely baked. Use a bread knife or a flat knife to spread the ganache over the cake..

Serving Suggestions:

A slice before chilling it in the fridge.. notice that the cake is so soft that I could not cut a clean slice using a bread knife... should have used a sharper knife...

Serve as soon as it’s ready or chill it in the fridge before you serve.. your choice.. :)

A slice after chilling it in the fridge..

Messy Black forest fruits fresh cream cake

Messy Black forest fruits fresh cream cake....

Watching Russel Peters live.. was indeed an experience.. was so much fun.. we were about 10 of us who went in a group to watch the show.. This was my first time watching a live stand up comedy show.. It was brilliant.. had loads of fun.. Man! that man can really talk straight for 1.5 hrs without taking a sip of water in between..

It was one of our friends bday this weekend.. & he was here to watch Russel Peters show in Glasgow & spend his bday with us…Since K was home & I had help to bake this cake. Yes, my neck & arm are still recovering.. & I did not want to stress it out with all the mixing involved in cake baking..

This is a 2 layered cake… with some plain cream frosting & a forest fruits mix in between the 2 layers.. The cake was pretty dry when I cooled it.. I was worried… But then when the bday boy cut the cake.. it was perfect… It got soft & yummy from the juices soaked in from the fruits… First time I tried a layered fresh cream cake..

The cake...
I modified the black forest cake recipe to what I had in mind.. Click for  the original recipe.

Yes this cake does involve some patience if you are attempting to prepare a fresh cream cake for the first time.. but then its worth the efforts..! This is not very sweet.. perfect for those who do not like sweet things..!

Ingredients: (Serves 8 – 10) Preparation Time: 1.5 hrs
For the Cake:
All purpose flour – 235 gms
Sugar – 220 gms
Unsweetened cocoa – 85 gms
Baking Powder – 1.5 tsp
Baking Soda – 3/4 tsp
Salt – 3/4 tsp
Whole Milk – 250 ml
Vegetable Oil – 125 ml
Vanilla extract – 1 tbsp
Eggs – 3

For the Fruits filling:
Black Forest Fruits mix – 500 gms, pitted, I used a pack of frozen fruits..
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Sugar – 110 gms
Corn flour – 30 gms

Black forest fruits mix...

For the Messy frosting:
Double cream – 330 gms
Icing Sugar – 40 gms

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease and flour two 12 inch, round, cake pans..If you have waxed paper use them… I did not have any waxed paper.. so did not line the bottom of the cake tin with  it…

In a large mixing bowl sift & combine flour, 220 gms sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix eggs, milk, oil, and 1 tbsp vanilla in another mixing bowl; beat until well blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry & mix well till combined. Pour equal amounts of batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks for at least  10 minutes. Loosen edges, and remove to racks to cool completely.

Drain the forest fruits mix, reserving about 50 ml juice if present, else add 50 ml water if there is no juice present. Combine reserved juice/water, forest fruits mix, 110 gms sugar and corn flour in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool before using.

The thickened cooked fruits mix... kept to cool..

Add double cream and Icing sugar in a blender jar. Beat to combine them at high-speed until stiff peaks form.

To assemble, place one cake layer on cake plate. Spread some of frosting on the top with 3/4 cup mix fruit topping. Top with second cake layer, frost side of cake. Add the rest of the frosting on the top layer and add rest of the fruit on top, spread it around as you like. If you want to, spoon reserved frosting into pastry bag fitted with star decorator tip. Pipe around top and bottom edges of cake.

Messy Black forest fruits fresh cream cake....

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Vanilla flavoured frosting

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Vanilla flavoured frosting

It was my brother in laws birthday yesterday.. and as always Keshav waits for a reason to ask me to make something sweet. Since I’m not a big fan I seldom make sweet/desserts. So we decided we will make some Peanut butter cupcakes. This recipe is from a website called taste of home, but then I made modifications to suit our taste. The original recipe sounded very diabetic to me. So I made appropriate changes to the cupcake as well as the frosting.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Vanilla flavoured frosting
But unfortunately my BIL doesn’t live anywhere close to us, so Keshav just ended up feasting on them all by himself ;).

Ingredients: (Makes about 12- 14 cupcakes)   Preparation Time: 20 min (Excludes Baking Time of 15- 20mins)
Plain flour – 300 gms
Unsalted butter – 100 gms softened
Peanut Butter – 2 tbsp, I used the crunchy peanut butter, you can use the smooth one if you wish to
Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup
Egg – 1, beaten well
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp
Baking Powder – 1/2 tsp
Ground Cinnamon – 1/4 tsp
Milk – 3/4 cup, I used whole milk, you can use skimmed if you wish to

Frosting Ingredients:
Icing Sugar – 2 cups
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Thick Cream – 6-8 tbsp

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, peanut butter and sugar till they blend well. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well. Mix all the dry ingredients (Plain flour,Salt, ground cinnamon, Baking powder & Baking soda) together. Add the dry ingredients little by little to the creamed mixture alternating with milk. Keep mixing every time you add to the creamed mixture.

Pre-heat the oven to 175 degree celsius. Fill paper lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Once the oven is pre-heated place the tray in the centre and bake for about 16-18 minutes or till a toothpick comes out clean when pierced through in the centre. Once out of the oven let it cool for about 10 mins before you take the cupcakes out of the tray.

While the cupcakes are cooling, you can prepare the frosting. In a bowl cream together the sugar and the cream. When it blends together and becomes light and fluffy add the vanilla extract. If the frosting becomes too thick, just add a tbsp or more of milk to achieve the right consistency.

Once the cupcakes cool move them from the tray to wire racks and let them cool completely.

Cooled cupcakes ready to be frosted

Now add the frosting on the top, make any design you wish to.

Serving Suggestions:
Decorate with any cupcake decorations you wish else serve with just the topping.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Vanilla flavoured frosting


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