Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chocolate cake with fresh cream frosting


It’s almost the end of our summer holidays and I am dreading the thought of morning rush and busy weekdays. The summer here has already ended and it almost feels like autumn with grey skies and rain, but I am glad that we had a good summer this year which helped me in not missing India badly as we usually go home during this time of the year. We went for a coastal holiday to Cornwall and had a good break there. It was a perfect holiday in every sense and then came my little sister and family from Ireland. We are busy taking them in and around London and days are flying. She is still here and I have few more days to enjoy before we all get back to our routine J. Onam ( Kerala’s festival) is around the corner and this time we are going to prepone it a little bit and have a family Onam before my sister leaves. I will try and post few recipes which I cook for our sadhya/feast before Onam.

I made this cake for a group of friends celebrating their friends birthday ( how sweet ) and it was a last minute request so even though I couldn’t do justice to the look of the  cake I got a good feedback for the taste which is what matters after all J.


Ingredients ( for cake)
Maida / All Purpose flour - 225 gm /  roughly 2 cups
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Cocoa powder - 1/2 cup
Boiling water - 250 ml
Unsalted butter (softened )- 125 gm 
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
Dark muscuvado sugar - 100 gm ( tighly packed 1/2 cup) 
Caster sugar - 150 gm ( 1 1/2 cup )
Eggs - 2 large (at room temperature )

Method

  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and keep it aside.
  • In a bowl measure cocoa powder, dark brown muscuvado sugar, boiling water and whisk. Keep it aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar until soft and creamy.
  • Beat one egg at a time and beat well ,add a  tbs of  sifted flour and beat for few seconds, break the second egg  and beat well.
  • Add vanilla extract and  beat.
  • Add  the rest of the sifted flour and beat.
  • Finally add the cocoa mixture and fold in.
  • Pour the batter into two 8 inch greased cake tins and bake them in a preheated oven at 180 degree celcius for 30 minutes.

Ingredients for frosting
Whipping cream/ Fresh cream – 600ml
Icing Sugar – 4tbs or as per your sweetness
Vanilla extract – 1tsp

Method
Whip everything together in a bowl until soft peaks are formed.

Assembling the cake
Place the first layer of cake on cake board and spread the frosting on top, place the second layer on top of it and repeat the same and also on the sides and then decorate it with fruits of your choice.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Garlic Naan



Since last few days I have been missing blogging very badly and when I looked in drafts I was disappointed as  there was no recipe to post and thats the reason why I posted  some random summer pictures last time...but I must say that it  wasn’t satisfying as doing a recipe post so I had to cook something specially for blogging. So after quick brainstorming   here I am back to business with my tried and tested Naan recipe !  I have been making this for a long long time now, and it’s very much appreciated by my friends and our small family especially my lil boy. As soon as it comes out of the oven it goes straight into our tummy and that’s why this recipe never found its way to my blog. The trick for a good Naan is a very sticky dough which I learnt from Vahreh Vah chef. This weekend we have been lazing around at home so I managed to take a video with hubby’s help (though its not a prefect one ).

I should tell you that photographing the pictures was  quite challenging as my lil boy was behind my lens waiting impatiently to grab one Naan, he even threatened me that if he is not getting his share quicky he will eat my camera ! I hardly got few seconds to shoot it, so pictures might not be appealing as it tasted but I assure you this recipe is a keeper.

Recipe adapted from here and here

Ingredients
Maida/ Plain flour – 3 cups
Milk – 1 cup
Instant Yeast – 1 ½ tsp
Sugar – 1 1/2 tsp
Yogurt -3 tbs
Oil – 3 tbs
Salt – 1 tsp
Gralic cloves - 6 (crushed)
Butter - 3 tsp (optional)

Method
  • Dissolve 1 ½ tsp yeast and 1 ½ tsp sugar in a cup of warm milk and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Measure 3 cups of flour in a bowl.
  • Add yogurt, oil , salt, yeast – milk mixture and knead with a spoon or with your hands roughly.
  • Cover it with a damn cloth or with a cling film  and let it sit for 2 hours or until its double in size.
  • Divide the dough into six equal balls ( use flour to dust if required)
  • Apply little oil on your hands and stretch the dough between your palms as shown in the video or roll it into oval shapes .                                                                                  
  • Sprinkle the garlic on top. Let it si for 15 minutes.
  • Place the Naan into a a preheated oven( maximum tempetarure) for 6 minutes or until its slightly brown on top.
  • Spread butter on top and serve hot with curry of your choice !

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Glimpse of our summer !

It has been a busy summer holiday for us and so far this is one of the brightest and hottest summer here. We are out in the sun most of the time getting  our annual vitamin D  dose and getting super tanned too ! I do cook amidst of all the outings but hardly take out the camera, so until I find some time to post a recipe here is a glimpse of our summer life captured in my mobile !!



Rasberry picking




Pond dipping




Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mango rice


Summer is at its peak here now and  temperatures are  high up to 30 degree C which is very unusual for  British summer and it’s really hot. I feel that sun  really burns us  here compared to India and I assume it might be because of the lower ozone layer . I am not complaining though as I love it like this and want to make the most of it. Growing up back home, I always used to wonder why the tourists from other countries are so obsessed with our beaches and weather, but now I know why. There are plenty of beaches here but most of them are pebble beaches and only very  few are  sandy beaches.  Another thing is even on a hot day beaches can be cold if it’s windy and water can be really cold too. I guess that’s why  beaches back home are so special!!

When I think of summer in Kerala, mangoes are  the first thing that comes to my mind. I cannot swear enough how much I love mangoes, be it raw or ripe. If it’s raw I used to cut it and smear it with some salt and chilly powder and enjoy. I used to wait for the  Indian Alphonso mangoes which we get here every summer but sadly  for unfortunate mango lovers like me its temporarily banned here now due to sanitary regulations ! We still get mangoes from other countries but they are not as tasty as our desi mangoes J Coming to today’s recipe, every year when its Vishu (kerala festival ) I buy raw mangoes for Vishu kani( you can read more about Vishu here) and I usually make mango chammanthi or fish curry with raw mango  but last year I saw this mango rice recipe in my friends blog (cook like Priya) and I tried it. Its an absolute comfort food for raw mango fans and we all enjoyed it. Eventhough I wanted to make it again I never did until  another Vishu came. I made it again after a year gap and this time I took pictures to share it with you all. So when mangoes are in reason and you want to fix something quick for lunch/dinner try it out and you will love it.

Recipe adapted from cook like priya

Ingredients
Raw rice - 1 1/2 cup
Oil - 1 tbs
Mustard seeds - 1 /2 tsp
Urad dal/ uzhunnu parippu - 1 tsp
Chana dal/ kadala parippu  - 1 tsp
Whole red chilly - 2 ( broken into 2-3 pieces)
Green chillies- 2 
Curry leaves(few)
Peanuts/ kadala - 2 tbsp
Asofoetida/ hing/ kayam - a pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt 

To grind
Raw mango - 2 ( sliced)
Grated  coconut - 1/2 cup
Whole red chilly -2 
Shallots/ cheriya ulli - 3 
Cumin seeds/ Jeerakam - 1/2 tsp
Garlic pods - 2
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Curry leaves - 1-2 sprigs

Method

  • Cook the rice and keep it aside.
  • Grind all the ingredients under 'to grind' to a paste.
  • In a big pan /wok add oil and sputter mustard seeds, followed by urad dal, chana dal and  peanuts once they are roasted add dry red chillies, green chillies and saute for a minute.
  • Add the ground paste, add turmeric powder, salt , hing and cook everything for 3-5 minutes.
  • Switch off the flame and serve immediately.


Friday, July 11, 2014

English Trifle


Living very close to Wimbledon has definitely rubbed on some serious tennis interest in me. Last Sunday when it was Wimbledon final I was all set to watch the game with a classic English trifle. It was a nail biting game indeed, we were supporting Djokovic and I really jumped out of joy when he won! Now that the Wimbledon is over I am following football religiously. I would have loved to see in Brazil in final but now that they are gone I am supporting Argentina J

Anyway coming back to topic, it’s so easy to assemble this trifle and all you need to cook is   some home -made custard. In case if you don’t want to make homemade custard use custard powder which is also pretty good.



Ingredients (Serves 4 )
Trifle Sponges/ Sponge cakes – 8
Strawberry jam – 8 tsp
Brandy – 2tbs (optional) ( dissolve 2 tbs of  brandy in 2 tbs of water and add 1 tsp of sugar)
Home- made custard ( recipe here)– 2 cups ( thick consistency )
Whipped cream – 300 ml
Icing sugar – 2 tbs
Strawberry and banana slices – 1 cup

Method
  • Slice the sponge lengthwise into two and  spread the  jam and sandwich it back.
  • Place the sponges into a one big  trifle bowl or in individual dessert bowls.
  • Sprinkle brandy (if using ) on the sponges and leave it for 2-3 minutes for soaking.
  • Pour home- made custard on top of it .
  • Spread the fruits slices
  • Finally whip some cream with icing sugar and spread it on top layer.
  • Allow it to set for an hour or 2 and serve chilled !


Monday, June 30, 2014

Jerk Chicken


Finally I get time for breather. Today I officially finished my studies and has submitted all my paper works, it definitely calls for a celebration for me. All these days I have been opening my word for typing up assignments and it feels so good to finally write a blog post !

This post is long overdue, its more than a month since I made this Jerk chicken for our anniversary dinner and before I totally forget about this I wanted to post it mainly for my my own future reference and secondly for few friends who has asked me for this recipe. It was actually my hubby who came up with Jamaican  Jerk chicken recipe first. Once in a blue moon he gets into the mood of cooking and do all the search online for a recipe  and cooks for us , the only down side of him cooking is that  for  few hours he  goes on and on about what a good cook he is !!  Anyway coming back to topic, first time when he read this recipe here it mentioned that the scotch bonnet chillies are really hot so use as per your taste, but we both being mallus thought that this scotch bonnet would be something like  Kanthari (small hot green chillies)  and  we ignored that warning and decided to be generous and use 3 scotch bonnet chillies !! Oh boy we were wrong, our mouth was on fire, and the worst part was that we had some friends over for dinner and they suffered too..luckily as it  was my hubby  who made it, I could blame him for all that heat without spoiling my name J .Inspite of all that heat the chicken was still delicious and we all ate it. Second time I decided to take over and made this for our anniversary, but this time I was very cautious, I deseeded the chillies and used only 2 small ones and it made a big difference. It was perfect, we could enjoy the flavours without that heat and for the first time he admitted I cook better than him :) We made this again one more time after that and this is a winner recipe for us now.



Recipe adapted from BBC good food
Ingredients
Chicken thighs – 9
Lemon halves – 2-3 (optional)
For marinade
½ of a small onion
1 ½ inch ginger piece
Garlic cloves – 2
2 small scotch bonnet chillies (deseeded)
Thyme leaves – ¾ tbs
Juice of ½ lime
Soya sauce – 1 ½ tbs
Oil – 1 ½ tbs
Brown sugar – 2 tbs
Ground all spice powder – ¾ tbs
Salt
Method
Blend all the ingredients mentioned under marinade to a paste.
Marinate the chicken in that paste and leave it in the fridge overnight.
Bake the chicken in a baking tray in a  preheated oven at 180 degree C for 45 minutes flipping sides in between.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Minnie Mouse Cake and Mini Mouse themed cookies



No matter how tired or busy I am it’s so hard for me to pass any cake requests, so in spite of a having tight schedule till June end, I took up this Minnie mouse cake and Minnie mouse cookies for a little girl who loves Minnie mouse. I was really nervous about making the Minnie mouse standing up on a floral wire but luckily it turned out fine and was the wire was able to hold the weight of Minnie, but things can’t go really smooth every time can it ? An accident happened.. a major one I should say. All my cookies were done and decorated and just when I lifted the cooking rack in which my decorated cookies were resting,  ¼ th of cookies slid through the gap  from  the cooling rack  and crumbled on floor !!! I stood there numb without knowing what to do as I was really running out of time and this happened just when I was going to put them in cookie bag and tie a ribbon for delivery. I had guests coming next day so I was waiting for this cake and cookies to get done to prepare myself for the guests next day. I had to act fast and after the initial panic my brain started working again and I decided to bake it all over again. I have never baked anything as fast I did that day. In one hour cookies were ready but I had the challenge of cooling them before decorating it. So I had to cool them in fridge and freezer and just after mere 15 minutes from the oven , my cookies came to room temperature . I decorated it as fast I could and finally in less than 2 hours I managed to replace the crumbled cookies and delivered it ! All my effort came worthwhile when the birthday girls mum called me to thank me. She gave me a good feedback and  said everyone in the party loved it. After all that’s what matters really and I totally forgot all the stress I had that day!



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