Friday, November 30, 2012

Pirate Pizza

Lil A's nursery has a lots of cooking activities for children every term and this term they were learning all about Pirates. To make the topic more interesting they planned to do some cooking activities with the same theme too.Pirate boat sandwiches and Pirate pizza was the two things they choose.The teachers then asked the parents who are keen to cook to come forward.I have done cooking with them before and loved it,so decided to go this time too..but this time the things they choose was not easy as I did before. There are 20 kids in his class and making them roll the dough spread the pizza sauce ,sprinkle cheese and keep the toppings like this and then baking  20 pizzas in was impossible in 3 hours,so I decided to buy the readymade mini tomato pizzas and then just make them  do the toppings and then bake it. I did spend 2 hours in my kitchen that morning getting all the toppings chopped and ready for them,thinking that i will finish it way before the 3 hour target,oh boy I was wrong. I carried the pizzas and toppings to nursery that day and started calling the kids one by one .Initially they were all so eager to do the toppings but after a while some of them got bored,they wanted to go and play and some of them were fussy about the toppings ,they said they dont want tomatoes  or olives in their pizza !! Somehow convinced them that if they dont put those their pizza wont look like pirate.By the time i finished toppings and baking them it was nearly 3 and had only 30 minutes to pack the pizzas for them to take home and then to clean the mess ...phew it was quite hectic ! I cant imagine what would have happened if I took the pizza dough and sauce and made them roll their pizzas too..then only half of them would have got their pizzas on time :)
Cheese and toamto Pizza - 1
Cherry tomatoes - 6 nos(sliced into half )
Red pepper
1.Make the scarf  of the pirate with cherry tomatoes.
2.For eyes I used  Parnsnip and olives
3.For eye patch I used beetroot
4.For nose I used Cheery tomato
5.For moustache and mouth  I used beetroot .
6. For Beard I used olives
7.Finally for the scarfs tie I used redpepper/Capsicum
8. Baked them at a prehaeted oven at 200 degrre centigrade for 10 minutes !

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thomas Train Birthday Cake with few step by step click pics !

It was my lil boy's dear friend's birthday party this weekend and I was asked to make the birthday cake. Birthday boy was always into Thomas train so choosing a theme for the cake was easy,but the biggest challenge was making Thomas with fondant. I was not sure how it would turn out ,but still I clicked   step by step pics to share with u all ,but unfortunately  I could only  click the first few stages of it. By the time I finished 3/4 th of it , it was time for me to pick lil A from nursery and after that I was busy with other things and could finish the rest only in the night ,but its not that complicated  ,only the face was a bit of a challenge, especially when u make a small figurine getting the face right is  bit tough, I tried it 2 times and got satisfied only at my 3 rd ttempt, still not completely happy with the face though !

  I wanted to create a Spring time look on the cake with greenery and flowers. In Thomas and his friends series ,Thomas the tank engine always goes through scenic routes resembling a  typical english country side,thats how  sheep came on the cake and then  tunnels was always an obvious thing for train sets .So with all these things in mind I drew a sketch. In the sketch I had few extra things which I didnt put on the cake. Since it was spring I wanted a baby lamb  and a mummy sheep as the babies are born during spring time. The other thing was  a fence to divide the track and field. I even made the mummy sheep and fence but the cake was looking a bot overcrowded with all those things so I decided not to use it .
The train, small tree and the sheep were  made with  fondant with pinch of CMC and the tunnel was made with rice krispy treats.The cake was again a Vanilla cake with Swiss meringnue buutercream which was a hit in the party !

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Birthday Cake with Edible Handmade Wine Bottle, Books and Cheese !

I made this cake for my friends Pappa. My friend wanted a personalised cake for him to make his birthday really special, so she wanted a cake with  stuffs  that he loves ( Wine bottle,books and cheese ). I started doing home home work, thinking about the different options..First option  was to make 3 D cake,making all the those stuffs with cake which I knew was a big challenge and I was not even sure how it would turn out,other plan was to keep it simple by making a sheet cake and making fondant books,cheese and bottle .I told her the 2 options and she was happy with the seond one which was quite an easy one compared to the other one.
I made the wine bottle by colouring fondant with  green paste colour and then added a pinch of cmc, rolled it to log and made it thinner for the neck.Covered the neck with a kitchen foil which I previously wrapped on a original wine bottle neck for the neck effect.Making Books was easy, I made square shaped fondant and placed them inside  coloured fondants  which i rolled to sheets , I cut the excess off and then I ran a knife around the edges of book to show the papers.Cheese was the simplest, just make a rough traingle shape with yellow fondant and with a finger gently press on top and sides to make small wells !
The cake was a vanilla cake with swiss meringue buttercream which was her choice .

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Meen Pollichathu (Fried Fish wrapped in banana leaf with masalas )

I think it was an 1 1/2 years ago, Gordon Ramsay a celebrity chef in this country went to India to explore Indian cuisine for his show.He travelled all across India and when he went to Kerala ,he was tought how to make our delicay Karimeen Polichathu by some local chef .At the end of his culninary journey in India he had to cook for some famous Foodies in India  and for that he tried to recreate the recipes which impressed him a lot , Karimeen Polichathu was one among them !! Till that day I never tasted or tried this at home and that inspired me a lot and so I tried  thisfor the first time  an year ago,but since Pearl spot /Karimeen was not availabel here I had to satisfy with Seabream a local fish available here and it was delcious.

 Last weekend during our shopping at Indian grocery shop, I found some banana leaf and I picked it for the same purpose.I went ahead and  bought the same fish, a fresh seabream from a fish monger and made this today and it was super delicious . I cant imagine if the Sea bream can taste this good how good it will be if it was Karimeen !

Pearl spot /Seabream or any firm fish of your choice - 1
Banana leaf -1
Cooking twine
Oil for frying

To marinate

Redchilly powder - 1 1/2 tbs
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbs
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp

For masala
Shallots (sliced ) - 1 cup
Tomato -2 small
Redchilly powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Tumeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Corainder powder - 1tsp
 Ginger (minced ) - 1 tbs
Garlic minced - 1 1/2 tsp
Green chillies - 2 nos
Curry leaves - 2 strings

1.Clean the fish and cut some gashes on both sides and marinate with ingredients under " to marinate " for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
2.In a saucepan add some oil and saute sliced shallots until brown.
3.Add green chillies,ginger,garlic,curry leaves and saute for 1-2 minutes.
4.Add all the spice powders , chopped tomatoes and salt.Cook until tomatoes are mashed and masala is a paste.
5.Meanwhile shallow fry the fish for 5 minutes on each sides.
6.Wilt the banana leaf for few seconds on both sides on the flame(to avoid leaf tearing)
7.Spread the cooked masala paste like a bed on banana leaf and place the fish on top,cover the top and sides of  the fish with masala and wrap the fish in banana leaf and tie the parcel with  a cooking twine.
8.Cook the fish parcel  in a frying fan for 10 -15 minutes !

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chettinadu Chicken Curry

S who is a good cook always claims that he cooks better than me,which I never agree.We always argue over this every now and then but at times when I am lazy and not in a mood to cook I take advantage of that and  make him to do  all the cooking by telling him that  he cooks better than me :) Poor S ,he always fall for that :)

 Last weekend he cooked a Malabar chicken curry and I gotto to agree it was delicious and one of the best chicken curry I had..he was pulling my legs ever since and challenged me to make a chicken curry better than that . I  wanted to somehow prove that I was  better, so I started looking for recipes and  finally found this chettinadu chicken curry in My Kitchen Experiments and it looked delicious.I went ahead and decided to cook this one for my  challenge..The curry was delicous and he too agreed that, but he still claims that his was the best.I guess I will have to wait for my boy to grow up and settle this fight between us :) 
Chicken - 750 gms
Shallots - 1 cup(sliced)
Tomato - 2 ( small)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coconut milk - 1 cup
Curry leaves - 2  string
For masala powder
Peppercorns - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Corainder seeds  - 1 1 /2 tbs
Cardamom seeds - 2 no
Cinnamon stick - 1 "
Whole red chillly - 6 nos
Curry leaves - 1 string
Oil - 1/2 tsp
For Paste
 Poppy seeds - 1 tbs (saoked in little warm water for 10 mins)
Ginger - 1" piece
Garlic - 5  cloves
Green chillies - 2 nos
1.In 1/2 tsp oil roast the masala powder ingredients for 2-3 minutes.Once its cool grind it to powder.
2.Make a paste of the ingredients under "for paste "
3.In a saucepan add some oil and add sliced shallots and saute till its light brown.
4.Add the grinded  paste and saute till raw smell goes.
5.Add the Chicken and cook it on a medium flame uncovered for 3-4 minutes.
6.Add salt,turmeric powder,salt and half of the coconut milk,curry leaves  and cook for  20-25 minutes.
7.Add the ground masala powders and rest of the coconut milk and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Serve with Rice,chapathy or Malabar paratha !

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cheese Bread Rolls

Yesterday while I was with my friend in a cafe,she mentioned me about a website by Annabel Karmel where we can find many easy quick fix meals for kids and some lunch box ideas.I have one more year before my boy takes packed lunch,but still I went to explore the website to find whats in there  and look what I  stumbled across ,Easy  cheese bread rolls !! I had all the ingredients in handy and the cheeses were almost nearing their use by date,so I went ahead and baked this lil bread rolls ! Eventhough everybody says fresh bread smells heavenly,to be honest with you I couldnt get such heavenly smell as everyone describe whenever I baked bread  and  this time when I baked it too there was some nice smell but nothing divine or heavenly  but while the rolls were cooling down I went out to drop off my son for a play date and when I came back and opened the door I could smell the so called heavenly/divine  freshly baked bread !! Finally I could smell it too :)


Bread flour  - 1 3/4 cup
Yeast - 11/2 tsp
Sugar - 1tsp
Salt -1/4 tsp
Luke warm water - 3/4 cup
Oil - 1 tbs
Grated cheddar cheese - 55 gm
Grated Paramesan cheese - 30 gm
Egg -1
Sesame seeds or Sunflower seeds - to sprinkle

1.Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup cup of lukewarm water and set aside for 5-10 minutes.
2.Add flour in mixing bowl and add yeast solution,salt,oil ,remaining water and knead for 5-10 minutes until you get a smooth dough.
3.Allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hour.
4.Now roll the dough to a circle and sprinkle the cheese and fold it into half to enclose cheese and then fold one more time.Knead for 1-2 minutes.
5.Divide the dough into 8 balls and brush them with some beaten egg.
6.Bake them in a preheated oven at 200 degree centigrade for 15-20 minutes.