Friday, June 28, 2013

Spaghetti Bolognese

We have this Italian restaurant near our place and the ever since I tried spaghetti bolognese from there I was hooked, now  every time I go there  I go through the  menu as if I am going to try something different, but I  always end up ordering the  same thing, silly right ? But thats how much I loved it. Most of the time the portion they give is soo big for me so they pack it in takeway boxes and I enjoy the rest  at home  :) I think it all depends on from where you try it, because atleast for me eventhough I tired it from several restauants, (even from Italy) none of those impressed me like the one served there. I still remember I posted a picture of my favourite sphaghetti in a post long time back which you can find here

Since my  lil one loves spaghetti so much, I make the  bolognese sauce at home and freeze in batches. They are so easy to make and taste really yummy, almost close to the my favourite restaurant's bolognese !

Recipe adapted from here
Ingredients(serves 4 )
Minced beef - 250 gm
Bacon slices - 2
Onion - 1 large
Carrots - 2
Garlic - 3 cloves
Tin of  plum tomatoes(200 gm ) - 1 tin
Fresh Basil - 1 small bunch
Parmesan cheese - 50 gm
Sphaghetti - 250 gm
Oregano - 1 1/2 tsp

  • Place a  big saucepan or wok on flame  and add olive oil. 
  • Add bacon slices and fry for few minutes until its golden.
  • Add chopped onions, chopped carrots and miced garlic and cook for few minutes stirring in between until vegertables are soft. Add salt, oregano and pepper  and cook for a minute or so.
  • Add minced beef and stir till they turn brown.
  • Finally add tinned tomatoes, fill the empty tin with water and add that water too.
  • Bring the sauce to boil and then simmer it for 1 hour with lid on stirring in between.
  • Take the lid off add basil leaves and  cook uncovered for another 15 - 20 minutes, if the sauce is getting dry add little water.
  • Remove from fire and grate half of the paramesan cheese to the hot sauce and stir. Check salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile cook spagetti according to package instructions, while draining the pasta reserve some cooking liquid.
  • Mix the cooked spagetti and bolonase sauce and add little cooking water if u like to loosen it a little( I didn't do this ). 
  • Serve hot with sprinkles of paramesan cheese on top.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cupcakes for a cupcake sale !

No dont read it wrong, I am not yet into cupcake business or anything, by cupcake sale I just meant  I contributed some cupcakes for a cake sale at lil ones nursery for fundraising. I was overwhelmed by the response I got from other mums and teachers for my effort and they decided to jack up the price of my cupcakes which I was a bit sceptical of. But to my surprise the sale went very well and all my pricey cupcakes were sold  in 5-10 mins raising a descent money for Nursery !

Eventhough I wanted to try different flavours and frosting I just went with simple vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting to focus more on decoration. I had plans to make some ballerina cupcakes as well with a balle dress  but bacause of time constraints I couldnt do it. Among all  cupcakes the pirate ones were the one in great demand and it was all gone in less than 1-2 minutes ! So maybe next time I should make more of pirate cupcakes and some ballerina  cupcakes or hello kitty cupcakes  for little girls :)

For cupcakes I used the same recipe of my vanilla cake and the frosting was vanilla buttercream frosting !

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Baby shower cake, a Chocolate Mocha cake with Mocha buttercream

With only few weeks for my India trip, blogging and cooking has taken a back seat these days. Lots of things to organise, lots of shopping and moreoever lots of dusting and cleaning to be  done at home too. Usually before going on a vacation  first thing I do is cleaning up  nooks and crannies of home just because I like to come back to a clean house ! Only when I started cleaning I realised that it s a never ending process ! And on top of all this,  summer is not making things easier either. Lil A likes to play out longer and bringing him back home from playgrounds is not that easy :) So after a long day I just curl up in the couch watching Tele with no energy to type a blog post. 

Coming to todays topic, I did this baby shower cake few weeks before. I did try to make a small video for this but unfortunately director didnt do a good job and neither did I ! Many  of my friends and readers have requested me to make tutorials about fondant cakes but as a self tought person  I am still in learning process and each cake is an experiment to me and the uncertainity in the outcome when I start the work is the only problem which stops me from making a tutorial, but inspite of all that I did try to make a video but it wasnt succesfull. So I promise you all that one day when I am confident enough about my work  I will post a video for you all :) 

Flaten out a  ball of fondant.

With the modelling tool shown press the edges for the pattern.

With a flesh coloured fondant roll out an oval face.
Place the face on the pillow and press gently in the place of  eyes.

Make a dummy  and place near the mouth.

This was a chocolate Mocha cake with mocha buttercream. I made two 9 inch cakes  and sadwiched it with Mocha buttercream and covered it with fondant. Placed the  pillow and baby's head on the cake. Roughly  made a small body  and covered it with a fondant blanket. Cut out some polka dots with piping(icing ) tips back side and sticked them with water. Made a small feeding bottle and placed near the sleeping baby. Tada a baby shower cake is ready for u :)

INGREDIENTS ( yields two small  8 inch cakes  for serving 8- 10 )

Plain flour - 1 1/4 cup
Cocoa powder - 1/4 cup
Coffee powder/ granules - 1 tbs
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Sugar - 1 cup
Eggs - 2 large
Oil - 3/4 cup
Milk - 1/4 cup
Boiling water - 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

  • Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and keep it aside.
  • In a bowl beat eggs and sugar for few minutes .
  • Add oil, vanilla extract and mix.
  • Mix coffee powder in 1/4 cup of boiling water and keep it aside.
  • Add 1/3 rd   of the dry ingredients and fold in.
  • Add the milk and fold in.
  • Add the next 1/3 rd of dry ingredients and fold in.
  • Add boiling coffee and fold in.
  • Finally add the rest of the  flour and fold in.
  • Pour the batter into two 8 inch  greased cake tins and bake it  in a preheated oven at 180 degree celcius for 20- 30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

For Mocha buttercream icing 
Unsalted butter - 200 gm (apporximately 1 cup )
Icing sugar - 400 gm ( nearly 3 cups )
Meringue powder - 2 tsp
Double cream - 100 ml
Salt - pinch
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Dark chocolate - 80 gm (melted )
Coffee powder -  1 tsp
Warm water - 2- 3 tbs

  • In a mixing bowl add 1 cup of sugar, salt, meringue powder and mix.
  • Add cream to it and beat it in a electric beater at medium speed with paddle attachment for 5 minutes.
  • Add remaining sugar and beat for 3 minutes.
  • Add softened butter little by little and beat for 5-7 minutes at medium high speed.
  • Dissolve coffee powder in warm water and  keep it aside. Melt chocolate in a heatproof  bowl placed above a simmering pot of water. Let the coffee and chocolate cool.
  • Add vanilla extract, coffee and chocolate to the buttercream and beat at a very low speed for few seconds until mixed.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chocolate eclairs with custard filling

Baking Chocolate eclairs has been in my to do list for a long time.  I have seen bakers baking this on TV and I have been wanting to try my hands on it ever since but like many other things it never happened  and luckily Baking partners came with a lovely challenge of baking chocolate eclairs this month and I was delighted to give this a try. I halved the recipe which yielded me 10 small medium eclairs and I took them to a friends place for a tea party and the they all loved it .

Before going to the recipe let me tell you a little about custard filling too, I have been making homemade custard and custard cream  since a long time eventhough I  never got to blog about it and I have to tell you you should try to make  home made custard atleast once and I am sure you will never go and make custard out of a packet ever again as it tastes soo soo delicious !


For custard filling
Eggs yolks - 3
Milk - 3/4 cup
Double cream - 3/4 cup ( or use  milk )
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp or  Vanilla pod -1 
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cornflour - 3 tbs
Salt - a tiny pinch

For pastry
All purpose flour/ maida  - 1 cup
Unsalted butter - 4 tbs
Sugar- 1 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Eggs - 2 
Water - 1/2 cup

For chocolate glacing
Chocolate - 100gm
Double cream - 100ml
Butter - 1 tsp
Honey - 1 tsp


Making of Custard cream 
  • In a pan take 3/4 th cup of milk  and  3/4 th cup of double cream .Split vanilla bean by running a knife and put the bean in the milk- cream mixture. Place them on a low flame and bring it to boil.Turn of the flame and set aside for 10-15 minutes for the vanilla flavour to infuse.
  • Meanwhile in a bowl whisk  custard powder, sugar, salt and three egg yolks until sugar is dissolved and looks like the picture shown below.
  • Very slowly add warm milk mixture to this and stir continously taking care not  to cook the  eggs.
  • Pour everything back into a saucepan and cook on a very low flame( must be on low flame )whisking continously until the custrad thickens.Takes about 10- 15 minutes on a very low flame.
  • Transfer the custard into a bowl and cover it with a cling film touching the custard to prevent skin forming.
  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Making of pastry
  • In a saucepan bring water, butter, salt and sugar to rolling boil. Turn off the flame and add  flour and stir continiously with a wooden spoon for 30-60 seconds until its mixed properly.
  • Return the saucepan to fire and cook for 30 seconds stiring continously and you will get a smooth dough.
  • Transfer it into a standing mixer with paddle attachment or to a mixing bowl with hand beater aside.
  • Break 2 eggs in a bowl and lightly beat them. With mixer running add the beaten eggs to the dough slowly until the dough  is smooth and glossy. Dough should be thick and should fall like a ribbon from the beater. Add more beaten eggs if dough is too tight  to get the smooth dough.
  • Fill a  pastry bag / icing bag with a round tip of 2 cm and pipe a line of about 5-6 cm. Leave few inches between them as they puff up when baked.
  • Finally give an egg wash  with a brush or finger and smoothen  any bumps.
  • Bake them in a preheated oven at 210 degree c for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 190 degree c and bake for another 25- 30 mins.
  • Once baked let them cool .
Making the chocolate Glacing
  • In a saucepan bring double cream to almost boiling point.
  • Turn off the flame and add chocolate, butter and honey. Mix well and set aside.


  • Once they are cool make a hole on each eclairs. Fill the prepared custard cream in an icing bag and pipe them into eclairs. You can also cut the eclairs into halves and fille the custard inside.
  • Dip the eclairs into chocolate glacing and set aside until chocolate sets. Decorate the eclairs if you like and  serve them immediately.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Chinese style Noodles with Veg and eggs

I always cook Indian food at home and it takes a whole lot of my time every day. The whole of the last week we got some amazing sunshine with temperature as high as 20 degree  and we spend most of our time outdoors smelling the fresh air and sun basking and at the end of the day when we come inside even the thought of cooking used to tire me, so last few days I have been doing some quick dinners  exploring different cuisines and the dinner used to get ready in 30- 45 minutes ! Inspite of having plenty of sunlight for taking pictures, I didnt  click any and we used to finish our dinner as soon as it got ready and I have to say  the food straight from the pot tastes divine, something which I miss when I blog especially  while photographing some crispy apperizers. By the time whole photo session finishes the food goes cold :( 

Chinese style Noodles was our dinner one day but I couldnt click the picture that day. Since it tasted so good   I had to make it again for two reasons, mainly for eating again and another reason for photographing it. So this weekend with the help of S, I managed to click some step by step clicks as well ! It was a team work as Lil A was also excited about the step by step session and he too was helping S in clicking the pictures and helping me with  stirring and all !

Boil water with salt and little oil .To the boiling water add Noodles

Cook for 3 minutes or until done and drain the water.

Rinse it with some cold water and and mix with few tsp of oil.

In a wok add sesame oil and add 1 tbs od ginger and 1 tbs of garlic.Fry for few minutes.

Add sliced onions, Whites of spring onion and saute for few minutes.
Add veggies chopped lenghthwise.
Add all the sauces( soya sauce, redchilly sauce and worcetershire sauce )
Add salt and pepper
Make a well in the centre and break 2 eggs.Scramble the eggs.

Add capsicum/ green pepper and green  of spring onions

Finally add cooked noodles.

Ingredients( serves 4 )
Noodles - 400 gm
Ginger - minced - 1 tbs
Garlic minced - 1 tbs
Onion - 2 (sliced lenghtwise )
Spring onions - 5 ( chop white and green separately)
Shredded cabbage - 2 cups
Carrot - 2 large ( chopped lenghtwise )
Soya sauce - 5 tbs
Chilly garlic sauce - 4 tbs
Worcestershire sauce - 2 tbs
Sesame oil
Eggs - 2
Green pepper/ Capsicum- 1 large  ( chopped lenghtwise )

  • In a big saucepan  boil water with salt and 1 tbs of oil. Add noodles to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes or until done. Drain the water and rinse it with cold water. Add 2-3 tsp of oil to cooked noodles, mix well and keep it aside.
  • In a big wok and 2-3 tbs of oil and add minced ginger and garlic. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add sliced onions, whites of spring onion and saute on a medium high flame  till soft and brown.
  • Add shredded cabbage, carrot, all the sauces, salt and pepper and cook the veggies until they are 3/4 th cooked.
  • Make a well in the middle of wok and break 2 eggs. Scramble the eggs in the well and mix it with rest of the veggies.
  • Finally add green pepper/ capsicum and green of spring onion and cook for few minutes.
  • Finally add cooked noodles, give it a mix until noodles are coated in the veggies.Check the salt and turn off the flame.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Aloo tikki

Simple recipe with few ingredients is what everyone likes. I was chatting the other day with my little sister  who  used to try a lot of my recipes when she got married, but few months before we had a new arrival in our family who is keeping her busy all the time. Since then she doesnt do much cooking . She was telling me  that when she checks my blog and find lengthy ingredients she give up straighaway and another reason was  most of the ingredients that  is not easily available there. There might be lot of people like her who want to do simple cooking with readily available ingredients so I am going to really work on that and post some simple recipes and post under the label simple cooking :)
This Aloo tikki defintely falls in that category, it takes only about  30 minutes if you pressure cook your potaoes and with few ingredients  you can serve this is as a starter when you are running out of time :)

Indredients (makes 10 tikkis )
Onion - 1 small(finely chopped 0
Boiled Potato - 5 ( Medium )
Green peas (boiled ) - 3/4 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Redchilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Chaat masala - 1 tsp ( use a mixture of  garam masala and coriander powder if you dont have chaat masala )
Coriander leaves - finely chopped
Bread crumbs - 3 tbs (optional )

Oil ( for shallow frying )

  • Mash the potato and keep it aside.
  • Add rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  • Make small balls out of it and flaten  it a little bit in between the palms.
  • In a frying pan add oil and shallow fry the patties on a medium flame for about 4-5 minutes  until they are firm and hold their shapes without falling apart.
  • Serve hot with some tomato ketchup.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Atti pathal/ Athishaya pathiri / Chatti pathiri/ Atti pathiri ( Layered pancakes with chicken filling ) , A north kerala special

Inspite of me being from Kannur, North kerala ( malabar ), I never heard about this Ari pathal until few years ago, cant really blame me as I lived  in Kannur only few years  while growing up but I was surprised when  my other half who is a Telicherry boy with lots of   Muslim neighbour hood told that  he also dont  know about this. Whenever we go home for a vacation during Ramadan season we used to get lucky to taste the typical Malabar specials  like  Erachi pathiri, Ari kadukka , Unnakai and all which our neighbours used to bring over.  That was my inspiration to try out this Ari pathal  recipe by  Rafeeda    for this months cook out in   Kerala Kitchen. I am glad I made this as we all loved it , especially lil A. Big thanks to Rafeeda :)

For pancakes
All  purpose flour (maida) - 1 cup
Egg - 1 large
Milk - 1 cup
Water( as required )
A pinch salt

For filling ( chicken masala )
Boneless chicken - 250 gm
Onion - 2 medium ( chopped )
Fennel / perum jeerakam - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder /  manjal podi - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder/ mulaku podi  - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder / malli podi  - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/4 tsp
Pepper powder/ kurumulaku podi - 1/4 tsp
Ginger - garlic paste ( Inji - veluthulli paste )- 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Curry leaves - 1 sprig ( torn to pieces )
Green chillies (chopped ) - 1-2 ( I didnt use it )
Coriander leaves 

For final coating( Egg milk mixture )
Egg - 3 numbers
Milk - 1/8 cup


Making of filling
  • In a saucepan cook the chicken adding few tbs of water until done. Shredd the chicken with a spoon or with fingers and keep it aside.
  • In a pan add some oil and sputter fennel , add chopped  onions and saute until soft and light brown.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add green chillies and  curry leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add cooked chicken, red chilly powder, turmeric powder, Coriander powder , garam masala, pepper powder, salt  and cook for few minutes until chicken is coated well in masala. Sdd some chopped corainder leaves.
Making Pancakes
  • Make the pancake batter by whisking all the ingredients together by adding enough water to get a thin batter.
  • In a non stick pan pour a small laddle of batter and spread it as thinly as possible. Cook for 2-3 minutes until cooked.
  • Repeat making the pancakes until all the batter has been used up.
Layering and cooking
  • Break 3 eggs in a bowl , add milk, salt, pepper and give it a whisk and keep it aside.
  • Grease a  saucepan with little oil and keep it ready near you.
  • Take one  pancake and dip it in the egg - milk mixture.
  • Place the egg coated  pancake on the greased pancake.
  • Spread the chicken masala on top of the pan cake.
  • Take the second pancake and dip it in egg milk mixture and place it above the first one.
  • Repeat the process by layering chicken masala on top of egg coated pancakes.
  • Pour the remaining egg milk mixture on the top of the layered pancakes and on the sides swells to lock the pancakes.
  • Place the pancake on a low flame and cook for 15 minutes on one side.Carefully flip it ( you can flip it on a plate and then place another plate on the cooked side and flip it again and flip it back into sauepan )
  • Cook the other side for 15 minutes. when done flip it onto a plate. Cut and serve immediately.