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Ragi/Finger Millet Biscuits…. more healthier biscuits for all + they are Gluten free.. !

Ragi/Finger Millet biscuits..

Baking some biscuits has been on my to-do list since a very long time. I’m not a biscuits lover, so this never got done until last week. I’m a wee bit late in posting this, I was out-of-town for a cousin’s wedding.

I baked a huge lot of these biscuits for all my cousins & carried them along. All loved it, now mum wants me to make her some sugar-free ones & my FIL wants a savoury version of them. This is enough encouragement for me to bake more of these.

Since Valentines is around the corner, I decided to bake them in heart shapes. K was happy that I was finally putting the cookie cutters to use ;). He loves to have rusk/mathri/biscuits with his chai, so it worked out well for him. Who doesn’t love a batch of home-baked biscuits ;).

Raagi biscuits...

Raagi is very popular in Karnataka. Raagi as it is referred, yes with an extra “A” is usually eaten in the form of Ragi balls called as Raagi Mudde in Kannada. It is the staple diet of many Kannadigas (People who belong to one of the Southern State of India – Karnataka) living in the rural areas. Raagi mudde is usually prepared by cooking the flour with water to generate a dough like consistency & then rolled into balls of desired sizes. Mudde is smashed or broken into smaller pieces, swallowed after dipping it in one of these accompaniments – Sambhar, ghee, chicken/mutton curry, huli (a sour curry with tamarind) etc. Hmmm yes, swallowed & not chewed. I have never had raagi mudde ever. But I do hear from the people who have that it is pretty tasty.

Ragi is very nutritious. A porridge made of raagi flour with milk & sugar is fed to babies as an alternative to the store-bought Cerelac or the likewise. Ragi is known to keep the body cool. Hence consumed a lot in hot, dry areas of Karnataka. It is often used to prepare rotti, very similar to an old post of mine called Akki Rotti & consumed for breakfast. In Kerala, the famous putty is also made using ragi flour.

Gluten free - Ragi/Finger Millet biscuits....

Lately, Ragi has shot to fame in the urban areas because of its high nutritional value (rich in calcium & iron). Now you often find Ragi sevvaiya/semiya, biscuits etc. in the market. Ragi malt is also popular.

These cookies are Gluten free, so these are just perfect for those who need a new variation in gluten-free biscuits. The cookies last for a week when stored in air-tight containers. 

Ingredients:            Preparation Time: 60 mins
Ragi flour – 320 gms
Unsalted Butter – 100 gms (Room Temperature)
Confectioners Sugar – 150 gms
Egg yolks – 2,  You can substitute the egg yolks with 1 tbsp corn flour dissolved in 2 tbsp of water.
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp

Method:
Sift together the ragi flour, salt & keep aside.

Cream together the softened butter & sugar in an electric mixer. Add the yolks & vanilla extract. Mix till the egg blends in well. Add the sifted flour & salt mixture. Mix till you get a firm dough to work with.

Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 400 degree Fahrenheit.

Roll the dough into 1/2 cm thick sheets. If you find it easier, roll between 2 sheets of butter paper. Now cut to desired shapes using cookie cutters. Remove the extra bits of flour & transfer back to the remaining dough.

Note: The ragi dough is usually crumbly. You need some extra patience to work with this dough.

Bake the cookie shapes in the centre of the oven for 8-10 minutes or till done.

Tip : You will see that the cookies puff up a bit, so leave enough space between each cookie.

Repeat the process till you have consumed all the dough.

Ragi/Finger Millet biscuits..

These biscuits are very crisp.  The texture is a little powdery. 

Tip: If you wish to, you can substitute Ragi flour with All purpose flour.


Cheesy Red Onion & Pimento Olive Focaccia…

Cheesy Red Onion & Pimento Olive Focaccia...

Sorry for playing the disappearing act too often. I’m still scouting around for my ingredients & equipment. I just managed to select the oven I wanted & guess what??!?? its out of stock.. 😦 So while I wait for everything to fall into place I’m catching up with friends & family. Another couple of days & i’m heading to Mangalore,,!! After about 2 yrs.. & yes I’m damn excited.. being home.. lazing around, going out with mum, the food & all my favourite people around.. :))

Cheesy Red Onion & Pimento Olive Focaccia...

Again this is another recipe I managed photographing between all the packing & moving back to India..

Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)      Preparation Time: 120 mins
Strong white Bread flour – 350 gms
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Active dry yeast – 1 sachet
Honey – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper – 1/4 tsp freshly ground,
Warm water – 250 ml
Plain Olive oil – 3 tbsp + extra for greasing
Red onion – 1 small, diced
Pimento Olives – 8-10, each cut into 4 discs
Mature Cheddar Cheese – 3-4 tbsp grated
Parsley – 1 tsp freshly chopped
Salt – 1 tsp

Some of the ingredients..

Tip: You could mix up the olives, parsley & onions with some salt in a bowl & let the flavours mix. 

Method:
In a saucepan, mix the olive oil, black pepper & minced garlic. Heat the oil mixture over low heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the garlic does not change colour. Turn off the heat & let the mixture cool. The best part about this focaccia is you infuse olive oil with the flavours you want & you do not need to hunt stores for infused olive oil.

Now in a large bowl, mix the yeast with the honey & water. Stir a couple of times & let it rest for about 5 minutes. Add about 140 gms of flour & the cooled olive oil mixture. Mix about 5-6 times, till the flour is moistened. Let this sit for about 5 minutes. Now add rest of the flour & salt. Mix till the dough comes together. Now knead the dough till its smooth. Oil the bowl & place the dough in the bowl & cover with a warm damp cloth & let the yeast work on the dough for around an hour. Place the dough in a warm area so that this helps it rise better.

Let the dough rise..

Pre-heat your oven to 230 degrees C or 450 degrees F. Use some olive oil to grease a 9 by 13 inch rimmed baking sheet. I used a slightly larger sheet hence my focaccia is a little flatter than usual.

When an hour is up & the dough has risen well, knead it again a couple of times, then transfer it to the greased baking sheet & flatten it out using your hands. Else use a rolling pin. Let it be for another 20 mins so that the dough rises again. Spread a tsp of olive oil over the top using a pastry brush. Press down the strands of red onion evenly on top of the dough. Add the olive discs between the onions.

Arrange the veggies around..

Doesn’t this look colourful??? I couldn’t help but pop in some olives when slicing them.. 🙂 & the bread is so spongy it was springing back as I was placing the veggies around.. 

Sprinkle the chopped parsley around & then finally spread the grated cheese around evenly.

Sprinkle the cheese around..

I just love how this looks even before its out of the oven.. 🙂

Now bake for 15 – 20 minutes in the centre of the oven or until the top is golden brown.

Since I used a larger pan the dough was spread a little flatter, hence my focaccia was ready in 15 minutes.

The aroma is just brilliant. Makes you all warm & you crave for some creamy soup/pasta to go with it. Once done, let it cool on a cooling rack.

Serving Suggestions:
Cut into pieces of the desired size & serve warm. They are yummy as is or they go really well with some Pasta or soup or just as is with some wine.

Cheesy Red Onion & Pimento Olive Focaccia...

Note: The bread tastes best when warm & out of the oven. If you plan to save some for later, then it lasts for a couple of days in the refrigerator.

If you like this recipe, then you may also like –


Potato & Mushroom Pie…..

Potato & Mushroom Pie...

This is the first post after I got back to India. Sorry, been busy catching up with friends/family & unpacking.. Unpacking can get as exhaustive as packing for sure.. It feels good being back & not wearing layers of clothes to keep warm. Glasgow has already begun having subzero temperatures. The ironic part is that its getting difficult to keep the single layer of clothing on here in India.. 😛 Supposed to be winters now in Bangalore but it does not feel even one bit like it. Though the evenings do get a bit nice & chilly; that for sure is a blessing in disguise.

These are some of the few last things I prepared & clicked in between all the mess around the room & all the packing before we left for India. Yes, even the packing did not let me get away from the kitchen, also I was on a try to use up most of the groceries at home rather than waste them away.

Potato & Mushroom Pie...

I had bought a few cookbooks from M&S during our shopping. The moment I has seen this recipe while skimming through the book I knew it had to be on my list of must try because it was so simple & the flavours seemed to be so lovely. I instantly knew K would love it. The poor hubby has been doing all the lifting of heavy suitcases & me bugging him to make space for my photography in between all the mess in the house. I also had the task of keeping him at bay with a few slaps on his hands while he wanted a bite of the food before I was done clicking.. !!!

Ingredients: (Serves ) Preparation Time: mins
Potatoes – 500gms, sliced into 1/2 cm thick pieces, Par-boiled. I used the roast potato variety
Mushroom – 150 gms, sliced
Chives – 1 tsp, dried
Rosemary – 1/2 tsp, dried
Double Cream – 150-200 ml
Garlic – 2-3 cloves, finely chopped
Butter – a small piece to grease the baking dish
Paprika/Cayenne Pepper/Black pepper powder (optional) – a tsp, to serve
Salt to taste

Method: (Serves 2) Preparation Time: 60+ mins
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Grease a medium-sized baking dish with some butter, if you want to go healthy use some olive oil instead. Place a layer of parboiled potatoes on the bottom.

Place the drained par-boiled potatoes on the greased baking dish..

Place the sliced mushrooms to fill the gaps between the potatoes. Sprinkle some garlic around.

Place the sliced mushrooms in the gaps between the potatoes..

Next pour some of the double cream evenly over the layer of mushrooms & potatoes. Sprinkle some chives & rosemary evenly. Sprinkle some salt as well.

Repeat this process till you finish up the ingredients. Make sure the top layer is of potatoes & reserve some cream to pour over in the end. Sprinkle some chives too.

Sprinkle some chives over the cream..

Place in the centre of the pre-heated oven & cook till the top layer turns golden brown. Around 35 – 40 minutes. If you like the potatoes crispy then cook for another 10 minutes till the desired results are obtained.

Just out of the oven..

Garnishing: (Optional)
Garnish with some paprika/cayenne pepper/black pepper or any other kind of chilli you like to add some spice on the top.

How  to dig in?
Cut in desired portions & serve hot.

Potato & Mushroom Pie...

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – The Versatile Aloo/Potato Bhaji – South Indian styleAdraki Aloo Gobi/Gingery Potato & CauliflowerPepper chicken in cream and basil with roast potatoesGrilled Filled Capsicum etc.


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

Method:
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.. !!

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Dark Chocolate BrowniesDark Chocolate & Mocha Cheesecake with Rum…Coffee Banana loaf Cake with Coffee ganache frosting etc.

 


Cauliflower, Broccoli & Red onion Flan..

Cauliflower, Broccoli & Red onion Flan..

Back in Bangalore.. during the early 2000’s there was a bakery chain called “Sweet Chariot”,that was where I had tasted quiche’s for the first time. Since I’m a savoury food freak.. I loved it.. the cheese, the pepper & baked veggies with the crispy base.. bliss for sure.. !!! By saying “there was” I don’t mean to say the chain is closed, still exists for sure.. but now there are so many options when it comes to food in Bangalore.. Bangalore is so Cosmo when it comes to food and beer.. You will be truly amazed at the variety now. Since I landed here in Glasgow, about 1 year 8 months.. my friends keep talking about their new favourite haunts & the yummy food that’s been making these new places a big hit..!!

Cauliflower, Broccoli & Red onion Flan..

While I was thinking about being back in Bangalore & the places that I missed eating, I remembered my fav quiche place.. & from then on I have been looking to buy a nice flan tin.. so over the last weekend when I went out, I bought myself a tin to bake a flan.. 🙂

This is a super easy & tasty recipe. Its from a treasured book of mine from M&S. The book it filled with easy peasy pies, tarts & flans.. This flan has wonderful flavours.. & its so cheesy that it will surely be a heavenly trip for your taste buds..!

Cauliflower, Broccoli & Red onion Flan..

If your lazy to prepare the pastry at home, go ahead & use a store-bought shortcrust pastry.. 🙂 as easy to please your friends/guests for a sudden party at home.. 🙂

Ingredients: (Serves 4)       Preparation Time: 1 hr 20 mins (Excludes time to chill the pastry)
For the pastry:
Plain flour – 175g + extra for dusting
Cayenne Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Butter – 85 gms
Iced water – 2 tbsp
Salt – a pinch

For the Filling:
Cauliflower florets – 100g
Broccoli florets – 100g
Red onion – 1 medium-sized, cut into 8-10 wedges
Butter – 2 tbsp
Plain four – 1 tbsp
Vegetable stock – 6 tbsp
Milk – 125ml
Cheddar Cheese – 85g, grated
Black pepper – 1/2 tsp, freshly ground
Cayenne Pepper powder – 1/4 tsp to garnish
Salt to taste

Method:
To prepare the Pastry:
Sift the flour into a bowl & add salt to the bowl. Add the cayenne pepper powder & mix. (Optional, you can add a tsp of dried thyme if you wish to). Add the butter & cut into the flour, rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the water & mix to a smooth dough. Add more water, only if necessary. Shape into a ball & chill for 30 mins in the refrigerator. Since I have a square flan tin I chilled it in a rectangular shape.

The pastry, chilled & ready to be rolled..

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Line a 18cm, 7 inch loose-based flan/tart tin with some grease-proof paper. Now place the rolled pastry on the grease-proof paper & gently press against the sides. Cut off any extra pastry using the sharp sides of the flan tin. Place in the oven & bake for 20 mins.

Transfer the rolled pastry sheet to the tin lined with greaseproof paper..

While the pastry is getting baked, you can work on preparing the filling.

The veggies...

Fill a large saucepan with about a litre of lightly salted water. When the water comes to a boil, throw in the washed cauliflower,broccoli florets & onion.Lower heat & let the veggies cook till tender, about 8-10 mins. Drain & reserve the stock.

Keep an eye on the pastry & take it out when 20 minutes are up. Let it cool.

Note: The pastry may tend to move away from the edges of the tin, that is fine. Do not get worried about it.

For the sauce:
Melt butter in a saucepan, add the flour, mix well. Keep stirring for a minute so that no lumps are formed. Turn off the heat & stir in the milk & stock. Turn the heat back on & bring to a boil, remember to stir constantly. Now add 55g of grated cheddar. Mix, turn off the heat once the cheese melts. Season with salt & crushed black pepper.

The sauce..

Note: Do not prepare the sauce well in advance, it tends to thicken as time passes by. Prepare it only when the tin with the pastry is about 10 minutes into the baking in the oven.

Now spoon the veggies evenly on to the pastry. Pour over the prepared sauce & sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese over the top & bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Hmmm… after all the wait… was it worth it?? Yes, of course it was.. 🙂 Look at the colours.. 🙂 truly enticing for sure….  The pastry is so fresh & melts in your mouth.. 🙂

Tip: The one’s who want to add some meat can go ahead & add some ham if you wish to. Add it with the veggies before pouring the sauce.

Just out of the oven....

Garnishing:
Garnish with the cayenne pepper.

Garnish with Cayenne pepper powder before you serve..

Serving Suggestions:
Slice & serve immediately.. I prepared this the day before.. typing out this recipe is making me crave for it again…!! Food blogging is a tough job I must say..!! First you end up eating all that you make, then you crave for more if it’s already history when you type the recipe out…

Cauliflower, Broccoli & Red onion Flan..

Lesson learnt – always type the recipe the day you make it.. that way you can avoid these uncontrollable cravings..!!

Any leftovers can be couriered to me ! You can wrap them up in an airtight container & warm it up in the microwave oven for a minute before you serve. Lasts for 2-3 days. I wish it did in my case.. 😦 sadly it vanished with an hour…! 

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Egg Puffs – A South Indian, Savoury Bakery treatOlive & Basil breadRosemary, Lemon thyme Focaccia.. etc.


Rosemary, Lemon thyme Focaccia..

Rosemary, Lemon thyme Focaccia..

Hiya.. I was back this monday from my vacation, but was still in the holiday mood so did not get much cooking done. Our trip was wonderful, even though the weather did not really help much we made the most of it. I got my dose of laughter to last me for a while, thanks to our friend Shomu. We visited the Roman Baths, the pretty town of Oxford, Swansea & Cardiff .. 🙂 If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen some of the pictures I posted.

Its getting chillier & its made me laze.. that’s the reason you have not seen a post from me..! I was really craving for some Focaccia last evening. I did the digging bit, found a perfect recipe. Made up my mind to get it done using some wholemeal flour, (guilt from all the calories I gobbled up during the vacation).. But nah.. I just could not get my stubborn butt to move & get the focaccia done & the lazy me kept wishing I had a twin sister who would get it done..! If wishes were horses huh!!

Freshly baked focaccia..

My love for Focaccia developed along with K.Back during the days when we were dating, we used to visit this particular Italian Bistro. They did not have an elaborate menu. They just had a few things to nibble on with your coffee & some salads, Panini’s along with some cakes. We tried focaccia & fell in love with it. I have meaning to bake a similar focaccia we used to eat back there, but then the store did not have aubergine which I very much-needed for it.

This recipe is adapted from http://www.inspiredtaste.net. I made a few modifications to suit my taste. The focaccia I baked looks more brownish rather than golden brown because I used plain wholemeal. Go ahead & substitute it with all-purpose flour if you wish.

Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)            Preparation Time: 150 mins
Plain Wholemeal flour – 350 gms
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Lemon thyme – 1 tsp, dried, you can use 1 tbsp of fresh thyme if you have it
Rosemary – 1 tsp, dried, again use 1 tbsp if you have fresh rosemary
Active dry yeast – 1 sachet
Honey – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper – 1/4 tsp freshly ground,
Warm water – 230 ml
Plain Olive oil – 110 ml
Salt – 1 tsp

Most of the ingredients..

Method:
In a saucepan, mix the olive oil, rosemary, lemon thyme, black pepper & minced garlic. Heat the oil mixture over low heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the garlic does not change colour. Turn off the heat & let the mixture cool. The aroma is wonderful. The best part about this focaccia is you infuse olive oil with the flavours you want & you do not need to hunt stores for infused olive oil.

Olive oil infused with the herbs..

Just look at the colours.. its tempting already isn’t it? I could not wait for the finished focaccia. What a pity K wasn’t at home.. (Buhahahha – Evil laugh, sometimes its best to try new experiments without him around. Kidding, I just wanted to surprise him).. 

Now in a large bowl, mix the yeast with the honey & water. Stir a couple of times & let it rest for about 5 minutes.

Mix yeast, honey & warm water

Add about 140 gms of flour & half of the cooled olive oil mixture. Mix about 5-6 times, till the flour is moistened. Let this sit for about 5 minutes.

Add olive oil & flour..

Now add rest of the flour & salt. Mix till the dough comes together. Now knead the dough till its smooth. Oil the bowl & place the dough in the bowl & cover with a warm damp cloth & let it be for around an hour. Place the dough in as warm an area so that it helps it to rise.

Pre-heat your oven to 230 degrees C or 450 degrees F. Use half of the remaining olive oil to grease a 9 by 13 inch rimmed baking sheet. I used a slightly larger sheet hence my focaccia is a little flatter than usual.

When an hour is up & the dough has risen well, knead it again a couple of times, then transfer it to the greased baking sheet & flatten it out using your hands. Press down to make impressions on the top using your fingers.

Let it be for another 20 mins so that the dough rises again. Now add the remaining olive oil mixture over the top & spread it around using a pastry brush.

Bake it for 15 – 20 minutes in the centre of the oven or until the top is golden brown. I had a peak after about 5 minutes.. & wow what a sight.. the olive oil was sizzling & I wanted to enter the oven..! 

Note: Since I used a larger pan the dough was spread a little flatter, hence my focaccia was ready in 15 minutes. Also if you use the perfect pan, you can make deeper impressions with your fingers.. Since my bread was flatter I could not. Lesson learnt, next time I need to use the perfect tray.

The aroma is just brilliant. Makes you all warm & you crave for some creamy soup/pasta to go with it. Once done, let it cool on a cooling rack.

Just out of the oven..

Serving Suggestions:
Cut into pieces of the desired size & serve warm. They are yummy as is or they go really well with some Pasta or soup.

Rosemary, Lemon thyme Focaccia..

Tip: If you’re in a mood for a yummy focaccia pizza base, when the focaccia is about 12 minutes in the oven, take it out & top it with your favourite pizza sauce, toppings & cheese & return it to the oven till the cheese is sizzling & your pizza is ready. For a homemade pizza sauce idea check here.

The bread tastes best when warm & out of the oven. If you plan to save some for later, then it lasts for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Else you can toast the day old bread to use them as croutons for a salad or soup.

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Bread rolls with an Indian flavour/Masala bread rolls.. they go perfect with Masala chai..Olive & Basil bread 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 :).

Notes:
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

Method:
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..so 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

Method:
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.

Garnishing:
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

If you like this recipe, then you may also like –Lime n Lemon Cheesecake PotsCaramel CustardMuhallabia.. a Lebanese sweet dish….Gaajar Halwa/ Carrot Halwa etc.


Bread rolls with an Indian flavour/Masala bread rolls.. they go perfect with Masala chai..

Indian flavoured Bread rolls/Masala bread rolls.. they go perfect with Masala chai..

Baking is something that I always tend to keep for laters.. Its been real long since I baked.. The fear about baking still haunts me somewhere.. Baking bread is always tedious.. as the yeast needs to get fermented.. then you need to knead the dough.. let it puff up.. & I’m always in a hurry in the morning as I need to rush to prepare both breakfast & lunch for K.

So last night.. before I hit the sack.. I was thinking about Keli Paan. It’s been 5 days since I posted a recipe.. Bread had been playing on my mind from a while..  I made up my mind.. I set an alarm.. woke up early this morning.. & was at it..

Mission – I had to have bread with my evening tea..!!!  (Kidding… I don’t have evening tea.. I have tea just once in the morning.. that’s just because K won’t drink alone.. & wants company… but that was the goal I set..)! K & I can have them for breakfast tomorrow.. though they won’t be nice & hot.. ! But homemade bread is always a delight.. Yes, so take up baking bread when you have lots of time.. Today, I figured out a perfect way to bake bread.. So I kneaded the dough, set it aside for the yeast to take its action on the dough & did my other chores..Last time I baked bread.. I was pretty impatient.. as I started preparing the dough when I was done with all my other chores… & then all the wait to let the dough puff up got me all worked up.. as a friend called asking if I wanted to join for a movie.. n I obviously could not leave till I was done baking..

I made use of the basic bread recipe.. but used more wheat flour & lesser all purpose flour. Added some tempered cumin, turmeric sautéed onions along with some fresh garlic & finely chopped coriander to the dough… hence the house was smelling heavenly while these were in the oven.. n my ever hungry tummy started growling.. I ate one up before they could cool down completely.. !

Indian flavoured Bread rolls/Masala bread rolls.. they go perfect with Masala chai..

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6) Preparation Time: 4 hrs (Includes time to let the dough puff up & double up + time to bake)
Wheat flour – 4 spoonfulls… I used a 100ml spoon as a measure..
All purpose flour – 1.5 spoonfuls + some more to help knead, again used the same 100ml spoon as a measure
Dried yeast – 1 sachet/7gms,
Warm water – about 60 ml
Water at room temperature – about 150 – 175 ml
Sugar – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – finely chopped amounting to about a tbsp
Onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Freshly ground Black peppercorns – 1/2 tsp or use more if you want the bread hot
Turmeric powder – 2 pinches
Cooking oil – 2 tsp
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Garlic clove – 2, finely chopped
Melted Butter – 1 tsp, I used salted butter. You can use unsalted butter as well..
Salt – 3/4 tsp

Method:
Combine the yeast & sugar along with the warm water & stir & set aside for 10-15 minutes till the yeast gets all frothy.

Meanwhile when the yeast is in its process of waking up.. sift together – Wheat flour,all-purpose flour & salt in a large enough mixing bowl. Make a well in between & add the activated yeast mixture. Add water little by little & knead the flour into a dough, you may or may not need all the 175 ml water mentioned. Sprinkle some all-purpose flour a rolling surface, such as a wooden or a marble surface used to knead & now knead the dough to a smooth & elastic dough. Take your time, spend 10-15 minutes to knead the dough.

Transfer the dough back to the bowl used to mix it initially & cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel. Now set this aside for 2 hours. When 1.5 hours have elapsed after setting the dough aside, chop the onions & garlic & coriander. Heat oil in a fry pan. When hot, reduce the heat to medium & add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds begin to change colour, add the finely chopped onions along with turmeric & the a pinch of salt to help fry the onions. When the onions turn translucent, turn off the heat. Add the crushed black pepper & mix well. This sautéed onion & cumin should cool down to room temperature, when the dough finishes its 2 hours. The dough doubles up.

Check if the fry pan & its contents have cooled down, only then, add the chopped coriander & garlic. Next transfer the dough to this fry pan & combine all of them together & knead well.

Dough Kneaded together with sautéed onions & tempered cumin..

Note: The dough & the resulting rolls are have a yellow hue because of the turmeric added.

Now divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Use .5 times more than the amount you use for a paratha or the amount used to make a bread roll. Now, roll each into a cylinder/roll, Sprinkle all-purpose flour to help roll them into cylinders, if required. Transfer them to a work-top which is sprinkled with flour. You can also place them on a greased baking tray. Cover with the damp cloth & set aside for the cylinders to double up again. Probably another hour should be fine.

Make rolls or cylinders out of each divided portion of the dough..

Tip: Make sure there is enough space between each cylinder, because when the dough doubles up it needs space around.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees & place the baking tray lined with the rolls in the centre & bake for about 40 mins/ till the bread looks golden brown on top. Then they are done. Take them out & cool them on a wire rack.

Just out of the oven..

Rub the top of each of them with some melted butter, while they are hot.

Butter them up.. :)

See them change colour or rather glow… once you rub some butter on them.. 😉

Enjoy warm/Transfer them to a breadbox/tin once they cool down completely. These are a little crusty on the top, but soft inside.. 🙂

Indian flavoured Bread rolls/Masala bread rolls.. they go perfect with Masala chai..

These go perfect with some hot Masala Chai.. or you can just butter them up & enjoy.. 🙂

If you liked this recipe, you can also check out – Olive & Basil breadVeg Pizza, Fiery Cheesy Tomato Macaroni Bake with Mushrooms & Frankfurters.. made using a homemade sauce… etc.


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.. 😛 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

Method:
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..