Friday, December 17, 2010

Blackberry Cobbler

Now it was the blackberries’ turn to surrender. Blackberry, such an ugly fruit yet so delicious. Blackberry cobbler. So easy, I could bake this in my sleep. This is definitely one of my favorite baked dessert. By the end of it, we were scraping the bottom of the pan to savor the last bits. It does look similar to the blueberry buckle I made earlier, but the taste is anything but similar. Blackberries are more tart and sweeter than blueberries.
1 cup flour (sifted)
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
½ cup melted butter
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups fresh blackberries
2 tbsp sugar (to sprinkle over blackberries)
Mix sugar, flour, baking powder and milk together. Add milk and whisk. Now add the melted butter and mix well. Butter your baking dish. Pour batter, tip the blackberries evenly over the batter. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp sugar over this. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 50-60 minutes in 180C.
Serve it warm/hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The tanginess of the berries and the creaminess of the ice cream…it’s something else!
PS: if you have friends coming over from the US or any place else, ask them to get these kind of berries instead of the usual chocolates and perfumes fair. I’m waiting for raspberries!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blueberry buckle

This time around I got my hands on fresh blueberries and blackberries (courtesy, USA return Mr.Rao). My first time tasting fresh blueberries, wasn’t as much as I’d built it up in my head. Nevertheless, I had to bake something. Instinctively I thought of a simple sponge with blueberries. Didn’t seem enough though, so I looked up some blueberry desserts online (girl’s gotta bake, people). I found something very similar to what I had in mind, but with a streusel topping. Streusel is a buttery crumbly topping you’d find on pies and certain cakes. You can try this even with strawberries I suppose. In a nutshell, I was going to bake a Blueberry Buckle!
Streusel topping:
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup chilled butter
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
Cake batter:
1 cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup butter (room temp)
1 cup sugar (powdered to make life easier)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup warm milk
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
For the streusel, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and using a fork mash the chilled butter till it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Keep aside.
For the cake batter, combine the dry ingredients and keep aside. With your hand blender or even a fork, cream the butter till fluffy. Add the sugar and cream it till well combined and fluffy. Now add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Now add the flour mixture and milk alternatively and fold it into the butter mixture, without whisking or ever beating it.
Pour the cake batter into a greased baking tin (8 inch) and smoothen the top with a spatula. Tip the blueberries evenly across the batter. Top it with the streusel and bake for 50 minutes or till the top is nice and brown in color. Make sure you do the tooth pick test. If it comes out clean you know what to do. Take it out and let it cool.
Serving …must: Warm/hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, please!
I have some in the fridge I need to polish it off clean ;)
PS: I am going to bombard the blog with more dessert recipes. Kindly put up with my sweet tooth. I have to cater to its needs from time to time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


First of all thanks a lot Karthik for inviting us for lunch over to Xian. We discovered one of the best spare ribs in the city.
Xian is located near the Ulsoor Lake. You might just drive pass it as because it has no flashy sign with the restaurant’s name. We assume that the interiors are on the cusp of completion, however that fantastic ginormous yin-yang on the ceiling, didn’t go unnoticed. The abundance of natural light just made it pleasant.
We started off with an array of starters: Spare ribs, chilli prawn balls, bacon wrapped prawns and crispy spinach with vegetables. The spare ribs like...stole the show! We aren’t big fans of the fat part of pork, but talk about being cooked to perfection. The meat just separated from the bone with one effortless stroke of the fork. It was tender, juicy and succulent. The sauce of the ribs could be served as a dip to turn any boring finger food yum! Well we held a mini conference over the last piece of ribs at the table. Moving on to the main course, we went for the Malaysian flat noodles with mixed meat, pickled prawn in black bean sauce, shredded lamb, Thai red curry with steam rice and sliced pork in char siu sauce. Yet again the pig stole the show. We guess Xian knows how to cook their pork and come up with lip smacking sauce to go with it. The Thai curry was another favorite at the table. There was a perfect balance of coconut milk and the spices. It was impressive to see ingredients like galangal and kaffir lime leaves to bring out the best flavors.
The crispy spinach with vegetables and pickled prawn in black bean sauce weren’t memorable. Basically, the flour over powered the taste of the spinach and the corn starch was just too evident in the black bean sauce. But the most disappointing of the lot were the chilli prawn balls and bacon wrapped prawns. The coating of the corn starch was used excessively for both these dishes that it made them chewy and heavy. The chillies in the prawn balls were over powering and were hard to go down. The flavor of bacon was totally lost in the bacon wrapped prawns. We definitely recommend any of the pork dishes, especially the spare ribs and the Thai red curry. And as someone said, good company always enhances the taste of food ;) thanks Karthik, Snigdha and Sreeja.

Thai red curry(chicken)

Pickled prawns in black bean sauce

Sliced pork in Char Siu sauce

Malaysian flat noodles with mixed meat

Shredded Lamb

Spare Ribs

Chilli prawn balls

Crispy spinach with vegetables

Bacon wrapped prawns

Monday, December 6, 2010

Roast Chicken

We had this picture in our minds, one large roast chicken, well stuffed, a bottle of wine...basically we were in a mood for something fancy yet not much investment of stress. Even while preparing, there wasn’t much thought put into it...lot of learning from accidents this time. So when we were getting our pedicures done, we put down a small list of basic stuff (since our hands were free) of the roast chicken and headed off to the supermarket.
1 whole chicken (skin on and cleaned)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs (oregano, parsley, rosemary and the likes)
2 large onions
1 large pod of garlic
10 cooked baby potatoes
2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp of tomato ketchup
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
approx 1 handful of cashew nuts and raisins each
salt to taste
Marinate the whole bird with balsamic vinegar, mixed herbs and half the pod of garlic chopped. Leave it covered for about 30 minutes.
In the mean time, get on with the stuffing. Sauté the finely chopped onions in hot olive oil till it turns golden brown. Now add the garlic, cashew nuts, raisin, tomato ketchup and soya sauce and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Keep aside.
Now, stuff the chicken with this mix and seal the opening with toothpicks or use a sterilized needle and thread to stitch it up.
Heat butter in a heavy bottom saucepan, preferably place the chicken breast down and cover it for about 10 minutes or till you fork it and realized that it’s done, pour any remaining marinade on the bird. Post 10 minutes, turn over the chicken and let it cook till the skin turns golden brown.
Serving Suggestions:
Cream of mushroom soup with garlic bread sticks goes perfectly well with this deadly dish. Also, good old mashed potatoes on the side of the chicken and steamed / grilled veggies (carrot, peas, baby potatoes). So what we did was, we enjoyed the steamed veggies with caramelized onions with red wine. We poured ourselves a nice glass of Jacob's Creek Vintage Merlot.
This was just how we wanted a tiresome day to end, and it was healthy! :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Blueberry banana muffin

The fiance was back from the US after a 2 week work related trip. I am so very fortunate to have a man who 'listens' when I jabber what would be of absolute irrelevance to him. For instance when I whine about how we have no blueberries growing here and how I wish I had some to bake muffins or any dessert. It was tremendously sweet of him to remember all the whining and get me a pack of dried blueberries (would've been better if it were fresh, but hey what the hell!). So then followed blueberry banana muffins. Why the banana? I figured since the berries weren't fresh, they wouldn't kick in a lot of flavour. And I was right. They were nice but maybe I'd ask him to get fresh ones nicely packed the next time. But for now, I'm just glad I have atleast the dried ones :)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
3/4 cup mashed banana
1/4 cup curd
1 egg
1/3 cup oil / melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup fresh/fozen/dried blueberries
a pinch of salt
Combine the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl mix in the wet ingredients. Add the dry to wet mix and fold. Do not over-mix else the muffins would turn hard. Now fold in the blueberries and walnuts. Scoop 2 tb sp batter into each muffin mould or fill it up 3/4th of the mould. Bake for 20 mins at 190 C in your pre-heated oven. Let them cool and enjoy with some coffee or serve them warm for breakfast. They're not too sweet or heavy as I'd expected. Quite light and tasty. You get a bit of everything, banana, blueberry, walnut and cinnamon. Real good treat!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apple pie

Anybody who knows me must know my love for apple pie. It's the comfort food of desserts for me. After a few failed attempts I finally got my way around. Cold night, warm pie. Couldn't get better. Well...with more pie it does get better ;) Let me not ramble on as usual and get on with the recipe.
3 large apples chopped (green, worse comes worse red)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
3 tbsp sugar
juice of half a lemon if red apples is what you use
1/4 cup cashews/almonds/raisins (optional)
125 gm margarine frozen and cut into small pieces
250 gm flour
2 tbsp chilled water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp powered sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
First things first: make the dough for the crust, because it has to sit in the fridge for about 20 min. On your kitchen counter, which I really hope is clean!, place the flour with the salt and milk powder. Tip in the frozen margarine, with the help of a fork mix the margarine into the flour. When the margarine has slowly disintegrated, use your fingers to bring the mixture together along with the chilled water. The water is just to bring it all together and make the dough. Don't knead it! just bring it together. Now wrap this in plastic and chill in the fridge. Meanwhile, get on with the filling.
Now for the filling. If you have green apples (which are the best btw) peel, core and dice them. Mix the other ingredients together with the apples.
Get the crust out of the fridge. Use 3/4th of it and roll it out carefully not breaking it. Roll it enough to fit a 9 inch pie base. Trim the extra dough off the rim of the crust. Fill it with the apple mixture. Roll the rest of the dough out, thinner than the crust. Make stripes of the dough and arrange on top of the pie. Now brush with milk or beaten egg. This is to give the pie a nice golden brown color on top. Let it bake in your pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes or till it turns golden brown. Let it completely cool before you cut. But once you do, don't waste any time. Attack!! ;)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

UTMT, Under The Mango Tree

Veg and Non Veg Xacuti...flavor from Goa we love :)

Spare ribs in brown chilli sauce with caramalized apples...that was some fiesta for my soul :)

Best chicken pasta ever! ....above are those Kingsize Sausages with Caramalized Onions; cant have enough of that...EVER!!

I love this coaster...and Thank you for the balsamic vinegar!

happy birthday Pallavi :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Strawberries on cloud 9

The season of strawberries is upon us. Juicy plump strawberries, stacked close to one another, neatly arranged in a box were reaching out to me. I thought I'd do them a favour and use them for dessert and maybe breakfast for the weekend. Strawberries' best friend? fresh cream of course. Had to get some. And don't they look like a match made in heaven?!


6 strawberries finely chopped
2 tb sp powdered sugar
2 tb sp dark rum
1/2 cup fresh cream
1 tb sp powdered sugar for the cream


Mix the cut up berries and add the sugar and rum, keep aside. Whip the fresh cream with 1 tb sp powdered sugar till its light and fluffy.
Now in your favourite dessert serving dish, we used shot glasses, scoop a spoonful of the strawberry mix and place it on the bottom of the glass. Next, a spoonful of the fluffy cream goes on top of the berries. Again the strawberries, then the cream,
layer your dish/glass with the strawberries and cream till full. Voila! you have a stunning dessert ready to be served.
I don't think we wasted anytime and polished the whole thing clean off the glass. YUM!

Blueberry french toast stuffed with drunken strawberries

We're still in the middle of the weekend, so technically we are still allowed another strawberry story. After last night's dessert, we couldn't get over the rum and berries combo. We just had to repeat it. But now this is breakfast. We still had some fruit left from last night. Neither of us wanted to step out of home to shop for anything, since it being a lazy sunday morning.
We did have the basic ingredients for French toast though. But we had to add our zing to it. We present, Blueberry french toast
stuffed with drunken strawberries.

5 strawberries chopped
1 tb sp dark rum
2 tsp powdered sugar
2 eggs
6 slices of bread
1 tsp vanilla
1 tb sp powdered sugar for the egg mix
2 tb sp blueberry fruit filling


To the chopped strawberries add the rum and 2 tsp sugar, mix and keep aside. In another wide mixing bowl crack the eggs and whisk them with the sugar and blueberry filling. Add the vanilla. Take one slice of bread, place some of the strawberry mix on it, and place another slice over it. So basically you have sandwiched the stawberries with the bread. Now dip this sandwich
into the egg mix making sure you have some of the blueberries on the bread, and immediately place it on a hot pan greased with some butter or oil. Let it cook on both sides for about 2 min each on low-med flame.
Done! Breakfast is ready to be served.
Garnish with some whipped cream and strawberry slices if you like, or eat it just like me, straight up!

Flavored Veggies with Roti

Well one thing I realized is that...Moroccan cooking involves a lotta flavors and the trick is to work on a process that doesn't let the rich flavors clash. Though I am not a huge fan of spicy and strong flavored food, this book kinda inspired me :) So here I am, going slow...small portions...and experimenting with my concoction of flavors

8 cherry tomatoes
A handful of button onions
11 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of poppy seeds
1 pinch of each cumin powder, turmeric and corriander powder
1 elaichi
1 small cinnamon stick
8 olives
1 green chili
1 large pinch of each fresh corriander leaves and mint leaves

Heat 1 tbl spoon of oil, and add the chopped garlic. When the have turned their goldenish best, add the sliced chilli. Now throw in the onions and pour in 3/4 cup of water. Let the onions cook for about 6 mins and roll in the tomatoes and stir them. You could now add the poppy seeds, turmeric, cumin, corriander, elaichi, cinnamon and olives and continue sauting fir about 2 mins. Now, pour in some water (depending in what consistency you want) and throw in the leaves and lid it for about 1 min.

Done!...Ensoi with some soft roomali roti!!

Welcome to Morocco...Sea Bass curry, cherry tomatoes and olives

"You know what, basil is available in Spar! What say shall we experiment with some Thai?"
"Sounds good, lets get some coconut milk, lemon leaves and some sea bass...this should let us come close to something Thai-ish"

At Spar...all excited we pick up the fish and rush to the veggies section. Another reason for chasing basil is cause we have been hoarding
pine nuts and olive oil ever since one of us had some brilliant pesto pasta. As luck would have it, they had to be out of basil only today! Bloody! Well this isnt gonna stop us from making the Saturday night dinner...scanned the shelves and spotted the best looking cherry tomatoes, leafiest corriander and some fresh organic mint. Morrocan it is!! (you know what, we would like to take a moment and gloat about the fact that we thought on our feet :P )

Just to rewind a bit, earliar today we were going through the Moroccan recipies by Ghille Basan. Awwman, the ingredients like cumin, bell pepper, corriander and mint are so familiar to us but the cooking techniques and process are so foreign, it kind of stayed on.

So, Moroccan it is.

10 cherry tomatoes
1 tomato (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
1 spoon ginger garlic paste
15 large cloves of garlic
8-10 green olives
5 sambhar onions (those bonsai onions)
Handful of mint and coriander
1 tbl spoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2 teaspoons of paprika and one of ground cumin

Marinate the the fish in lemon juice, 5 cloves of garlic, paprika, 1 tbl spoon of oilve oil and chopped coriander, cumin powder and salt to taste. Keep aside for about 15 mins. In the mean time, in some hot oil saute the onion, tomato, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of paprika anmeric, for about 5 mins. Bring it to room temp and grind it to a coarse paste.

Now, shallow fry both the sides of the fish till it is cooked. Keep aside.

In about 2 tbls spoons of olive oil, add about 5 chopped garlic cloves, when it changes color, add the cherry tomatoes, shallots and saute till thy e tomatoes are soft. To this add the groud paste add about 2 cups of water, olives, rest of the coriander and bring to a boil. Slide the fish in with some mint and close it wit a lid for at least 5 mins.

Garnish with corriander and serve on a hot bed of rice!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes.

As usual, we were at the supermarket at the vegetable section, just browsing for the moment. We tumbled on some gorgeous looking peppers, red, green, yellow! They looked so pretty, we had to get them. We also didnt want to just cut'em up, did I mention how pretty they looked? Then followed the idea of stuffing them and the rest just fell into place. Here we go...
1 large green pepper (capsicum)
1 large yellow pepper (capsicum)
2 large ripe firm tomatoes
3 big potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
2 cups finely chopped button mushrooms
5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup of pitted olives
1 tb sp mixed herbs
2 cubes of cheese
mozzarella/pizza cheese to go on top of the peppers
salt and pepper for seasoning
Mix the potatoes and sweet potato together with the olives, herbs and cheese. Cook the mushrooms with garlic for 10 minutes.
Tip this into the potato mix. Season it with salt and pepper.
Now cut the tomatoes and peppers (capsicum) horizontally into halves and core them making sure there is no pulp or seeds left. Stuff these with the mix made earlier and grate some mozzarella or pizza cheese. Pop them into your pre-heated oven and let it bake for about 10 minutes at 180 C, or till the pepper and tomato shells are soft and cooked. Take them out and serve hot with bread or eat'em up just the way they are.

We had some cooked sweet potato left, so we stuck it into a skewer and put it on the stove and seasoned it. Great alternative to mashed potato as well. What we also had was leftovers from the stuffing. We broke and egg into it, gave it a nice mix and made a patty, let it cook on the nopn-stick pan and what have we got? Voila! Stuffed hash browns! haha.

Figs with cream and honey:
We found fresh figs just about the time we found those beautiful peppers. We didnt want to cook these either. So we just picked some fresh cream instead. After we cooked dinner that night, I whipped the fresh cream till it turned fluffy and light. Cut the figs in half. Drizzled some honey, dipped it in the whipped cream and savoured every last bit of that juicy li'l fig.

Prawns with flat mushrooms

So this was a totally impromptu decision after watching Masterchef Australia! This is usually the after affect, but this time I chose to put it to practice...Headed out in the evening towards Spar with the intention of picking up the simplest of ingrediets to cook the simplest and quickest prawn dish. As I was walking through the 'sauces' section, there was this whole array to experiment with and their prices allow you to do so...the one that I picked up was a Sweet & Chilli sauce, little did I notice that it read 'Thai' underneath in bold. Here is what followed the sauce in my pushcart:
One packet of dehydrated mushrooms
250 gms of frozen and cleaned prawns
One bunch of spring onions
200 gms onions and 100 gms garlic
By the time I was home, I had already planned in my head that this dish would be best served with just plain rice and may be some red wine. I was all set to get started on my quick experiment.
Process: Ground the onions and garlic to a fine paste and throw them into the pan of a generous dollop of butter. Let them turn slightly brownish-goldenish (you know what I mean). To this add finely chopped spring onions, stir them to perfect blend and cover it for a about 2 mins and keep aside. In the mean time empty the packet of dehydrated mushrooms in a vessel of hot water and cover for about 10 mins.
Now in a thaw the frozen prawns and then light fry them in two teaspoons of butter. Add a pinch of salt per your taste. This should take about 5 mins. Now pour in your gravy into the pan, if you feel its a lil to dry, add half a cup of water, the Hydrated mushrooms (I used half a packet in this preparation) and half a cup of the ready made sauce into it and lid it for about 5 mins...well this is now when the magic happens and the flavors totally blend with each other.
In the mean time I already served myself some wine in my favorite big goblet.
So there you go...this was the quickest prawn dish I ever prepared besides just frying them with salt & pepper and soya sauce (telling you thats my all time favorite quick starter).
Suggestions: When the prawns are de-shelled, it just very magically contributes to a very 'sea food' kinda flavor. You could also try this dish by not removing the tail of the prawns you pick up. Feel free to experiment with the kinds of 'ready made sauces' available in the market...the plain sweet and chilli and chilli garlic should be great too...Mine was just a template for you guys to play around with. Bon apitite!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Try at home Chicken Pan Fried Noodles

I am probably one of the biggest Chinese cuisine fan alive. The distinct taste remained from the first time I tasted a 'chicken thick soup' in a small restaurant called 'waldorf' in Calcutta. I was 9 years old. It was a perfect thick chicken stock with some bits of spring onions...i think..(some green crunchy bits were there in the soup). Anyways, since then Chinese it is.
So this time, it was an experimentation with Pan Fried Noodles. Apologies for in the inacurate measurements of the ingredients.
1 large pack of plain noodles, 2 large capsicums, 1 large onion, 250 gms of boneless chicken, 5 garlic pods, 3 large carrots, 2 large green chillies, one small cabbage...chopped, one packet of button mushrooms and a handful of brocolli, 2 large tomatoes, soya sauce, ketchup, corn flour and ajinomoto.
To a heated pan add the chopped garlic pods and chilli. Let them fry till the garlic turns a little soft. In the mean time, slice some large squarish chunks of the carrots, capsicums and tomatoes. Now add the tomatoes, when they are tender enough throw in the capsicum, brocolli, mushrooms and carrots...add some water and lid up for about 10 mins for them to cook.
Simultaneous to this, bring enough water to boil with a dollop of butter. Add the plain noodles to it. Make sure you dont over cook them for them to turn really tender cause after you add the hot sauce, they will continue cooking anyway. After the strands are boiled, strain well and keep aside.
Now add the diced chicken to the already boiled veggies, if you see a scum on top, its just means that they arent well done yet. Now add a generous portion of tomato ketchup, 3 tbl spoons of soya sauce, a good pinch of ajinomoto, salt to taste and lid up for about 15 mins max. When done, fork the chicken pieces to check if they are cooked well. You will have a dark brown sauce boiling happily. Now, since we like our sauce a little thick, we shall add a little cold water to 3 table spoons of corn flour and add it to the sauce. Stir well to get a smooth and heavy sauce. Now throw in the cabbage and some large jullian on onions...they will be the right amount of crunch and cooked combination when you just lid it and take if off of the flame.
To a heated non stick pan, add some butter and place one portion of noodles on it gently. Let the base of the noodles fry without stirring the entire bunch for 2 whole minutes. Scoop the bunch of noodles out of the pan into your serving dish. Now pour the Chicken Sauce over this Pan Fried Noodles. If you have your chop sticks ready...what are you waiting for...enjoy!

A Chick Brunch..

August 1st. Friendship Day, 2010.
An impromptu brunch brought all the ladies together after quite some time...and yes...over some good cocktails and home made spread of a good English breakfast.
Our fabulous menu included made to order omlettes with a variety of toppings to choose from like salami, sun dried tomatoes, veggies and the likes with herbs to choose from along with some mozerella...toasted bread, vegetarian and meaty pizzas, apple cinnamon muffins, sauted vegetables, sausages, roasted salami, chips and cream cheese dip, green apple lettuce wraps, cut up fruits, beer and other cocktails, tea....yes the list does seem endless...

Green Apple Lettuce Wraps:
Our good pals, Everon and Shwetha who are members of the Food Lovers Club, introduced us to this refreshing easy to make starter. All you need is fresh lettuce, some goat cheese, strips of green apple, drizzle of fruit vinegar, drops of lime juice and a sprinkle of sugar.
Spread the lettuce leaf and neatly place the apple strips. Add the vinegar, lime juice and sugar to it. Now, gentle place a generous pinch of goat cheese on it and wrap it up...and its ready to take a bite off...CRUNCH!

Apple Cinnamon Muffin
Ingredients: 2 cups flour, 2 eggs, 1/2 milk, 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 chopped green apple, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder.
Process: Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and salt. Now, add keep adding the flour in batches alternately adding the milk. This gives you a batter, to this add the chopped grenn apple and cinnamon powder. Mix 'em up.
Now pour in the batter, filling 3/4th of your greased muffin tins.
In your pre-heated oven, bake these muffins for 30 mins in 210 C. Tada!!

Chicken Salami Pizza:
Smear a hearty portion of tomato ketchup on your ready made pizza base. Now throw in some thick julliane onions, capsicum, sundried tomatoes, baby corn and pitted olives. Now, place the salami on the veggies, sprinkle herbs of your choice (we used oregano and thyme). Go berserk with mozerella topping. Pop it in your pre heated oven at 220 C for 20 mins or till your crust turns pleasant golden. Enjoy your pizza as you chug some chilled beer!
It was a perfect setting with bustling live counters, too many helping hands, singing along to 'our' feel-good bollywood numbers, sipping some citrus cocktails with olives and laughing away to nostalgic stories...all this at Zaanz!...this is how we turned an overcast gloomy Sunday into our Happy sunshine Sunday. Happy Friendship Day chickas...Shwetha, Riya, Ananya, Bhakti, Asha, Dimpz, Everon and Akshu!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jerk roast chicken stuffed with cheesy mushrooms..with penne arrabiata

Sunday morning, I rushed to the supermarket (spar) where I make my decisions with regard to cooking, and sometimes other aspects of my life. I love supermarkets! I was in the herbs and spices isle when I came across some new merchandise. Caribbean seasoning and Jerk chicken seasoning. Constant battle in my mind as to which one to choose. I picked up both. I don't like fights, not even in my head.
Boneless pieces of chicken, Some celery, onions and I was good to go. On my way back, I made a stop at a local vegetable mart. I hadn't seen such fresh plump tomatoes in a while and the timing was just right for me to pick some up. By then I knew what I wanted to cook. I had the rest of the ingredients at home.

Ingredients for (my) arrabiata sauce:
3 medium tomatoes chopped
1 medium onion chopped
2 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp sugar
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp jerk seasoning
salt and pepper for seasoning

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped garlic. Saute till it releases its flavours and aroma. Don't let it burn. Tip in the onions and saute till it turns transparent. Now the tomatoes go in. Add the tomato puree. Put the lid on and let this cook for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it not to let it burn. Need be add a little extra oil. Add the sugar. Now let this cool and get to room temperature. Churn it into a puree consistency using your hand blender. Your sauce is ready. That's how easy it is.
Ingredients for Jerk roasted chicken stuffed with cheesy mushrooms:
1 chicken breast boneless and skinless
2 big cloves of garlic chopped
1 lemon (juice and zest)
1 tbsp Jamaican seasoning
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper for seasoning
1 cup chopped and cooked mushrooms
1 tbsp shredded cheese

Marinate the chicken with the oil, lemon juice and grated zest(skin of the lemon), garlic, salt, pepper and the Jamaican seasoning. Now slice the chicken breast horizontally all through just leaving about an inch in the end. Pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Now flip the chicken open and place mushrooms and the cheese. Close it. Heat a heavy bottomed saucepan preferably non-stick. Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil. Place the chicken and cover the pan. Sprinkle some of the Jamaican seasoning again if you like. Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Check for a nice roasted look on the chicken and then flip it to let the other side roast. Again for 2-3 minutes. Surprisingly quick, I know! Me thinks it's the heavy bottom pan. Otherwise the chicken would burn or not cook through out. Give it a try anyways.
So now get it out and serve it as you like it. What I did was, lay it on a bed of pasta and the arrabiatta sauce and garnished it with some celery leaves. Tadaaa!

Friday, September 10, 2010

We Love makes us happy!

Today has been an absolute monochromatic day at of those days when nothing on your screen seems relevant and your clients take a day off and you feel you are better off else such days, the quench for a scrumptious meal is even know there is an urge to make the day productive! I am not sure if its a gift or a disorder, but I just know exactlly what taste my pallet is craving for; I happen to be surfing Donna Hay's official website too, looking for some budget recipe for my bro's birthday brunch. I stumbled upon RIBS...and I knew that it is a craving for jack daniel's pork ribs from tgif.
They serve you with a good portion and a some divine tasting onion rings with an amrit patram (kinda like an abyss) of the JD sauce. next time you get a chance, please do not forget to try out the right ribs ;)
I had a super chilled out lunch and rushed back for my brief business meeting. For some reason, enjoyed the ribs today even more, guess there is always a way food finds to make your day.

Coming up next is some tried and tasted good chinese dishes...but with a hint of our touch. Have fun!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blueberry cheesecake

I had this tin of blueberry fruit filling. I wanted to use it for muffins. But when I saw the picture of a cheesecake topped with the fruit filling, I was tempted to try my hand on a cheesecake. The cheesecakes that I have eaten at various restaurants cafes, have a thick crust with a bite to it and the cheesecake was a spongy sometimes grainy textured so called 'cream cheese' filling. Was never a big fan of this kind. And so I thought it's about time I tried making what I wanted to taste (in my head, the cheesecake had to be smooth and creamy). So here is what I ended up with, and I must say I liked it. I can still improvise, but I did get pretty close.
5 nos. digestive biscuts
4 nos. marie biscuts
4 nos. glucose biscuts
2 tb sp butter (melted)
2 cups hung curd (cream cheese)
1 cup thick fresh cream
3/4 cup sugar (powdered)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tb sp blueberry fruit filling
1 tsp gelatin
Run all the biscuts in the blender till it looks like sand. Tip in the butter and blitz some more. Now put this mix on your pie tin and press the bread crumbs to form a crust. Pop it into the freezer till you get your cream cheese filling. Whip the fresh cream till it forms soft peaks. Mix this into the cream cheese along with the rest of the ingredients.
Soak gelatin in 2 tsp cold water for 30 mins. Use a double boiler and melt the gelatin. Add this into the cream cheese mixture. Pour this mix into the pie tin lined with the biscut crust and let it chill for 5-6 hours or preferably overnight. Remove and top it with a generous amount of blueberry fruit filling. You could subsitute the blueberry filling with fresh mangoes or strawberries. This is a very refreshing dessert on a warm night.
Try to fight the urge of licking the bowl clean of the cream cheese filling ;-)

Savoury Crepes

...with mushroom and spinach cream cheese filling
After my blueberry cheesecake episode I had about 2 or 3 cups full of cream cheese left. Looking at my record I haven't been doing many savoury eats, I thought I'd give crepes a try. Savoury ones of course, with a nice light yet creamy veggie filling. You could substitute the veggies for chicken if you feel like it.
Ingredients for Crepes:
This makes about 4 average sized crepes
1/2 cup flour (I used 1/4 cup all purpose flour or maida and 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 tb sp oil
a pinch of salt

Mix all the ingredients in a and let it rest in the fridge while you make the filling.
Once the filling is ready get the batter out of the fridge and pour one ladel onto a hot nonstick pan. Immedietely swirl it around to let the batter spread. Do not be bothered about the shape :)
Once the top seems dry, in about 1 minute, flip it and let the other side cook till there are a few brown blisters.
1 cup cream cheese (hung curd)
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp butter
salt and pepper for seasoning

Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. Saute the spinach in 1 tsp butter and keep aside. Saute the mushrooms in 1 tsp butter and keep aside. Now spread the cream cheese on half of a crepe and top it with the mushrooms and spinach. Fold the other half over the filling and pop it into the microwave for about 20 seconds. This is just because it tastes much better when served hot.

This can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It's quite filling and I pretty much loved it. It definitely beats a bread and jam sandwich or cornflakes for that matter. ;-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cheese at Noir

Cafe Noir, UB city rooftop, Bangalore. Must visit. We had a few American friends in town and they asked for us to take them to a nice French/Italian place for lunch. I didnt think twice before I recommended Cafe Noir. Us girls had been there once for some quiche and coffee kind of thing, Loved it. It's not the snooty fine dining French restaurant you'd expect it to be. Extremely friendly staff, quick and efficient service even on a weekend, great view and to top it all great food!
I'm actually just back from lunch, a pretty long one mind you, considering our friends who were blown away and declared it the best food they've had in Bangalore (well, second best, Citrus buffet brunch being the first).We ordered the cheese platter to begin with and this was the highlight of the lunch, no, make that the entire weekend. Now I may not be able to tell my cheeses apart, but I knew what I ate today was an experience in my mouth.
It was a beautiful platter of all kinds of cheese, some I dont remember, some I can't pronounce. The ones I can articulate were the ones that turned out to be my favourites. Brie, goat cheese, mozzarella, blue cheese. Ah! dairy-heaven. All we needed was a bottle of Chardonay. Spread some of that blue cheeseon a piece of baguette and enjoy. Even try the brie with a piece of strawberry, feels like sin. We couldn't stop moaning afer every bite. We tried not to over do it and get ourselves thrown out. But there's no other way to describe the feeling. I think we stopped speaking for a bit.
I think wine and cheese is not over-rated. It's fun with your friends and a great expreience on it's own. Do try it. You'll make a day of it. Any restaurant, any city, good friends :)
Watch this space for desserts at Noir. Coming soon! ;)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Speedy Brunch Chicken
After a very long time the two of us got together to cook up a quick dinner. Chicken, mustard sauce, cream and honey. These were what we had at our disposal. This is just atrociously easy to cook. Great for brunch or dinner. We also had a side of cream cheese mashed potato and sauted veggies. Doesn't seem like a lot, but we felt like we ate a whale!
500 gm chicken cut into medium/large peices, 1 tbsp honey for each piece of chicken, 2 tbsp oil. Salt and pepper for seasoning
1/2 cup mustard sauce
1/4 cup fresh cream
4 potatoes cooked and mashed
1/4 cup cream cheese
And salt and pepper for seasoning

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and place the chicken pieces with the seasoning, and let it sear on the pan for about 4 minutes on each side, or till the chicken has cooked and has a nice brown color to it. Take it off the pan and glaze it with the honey.
For the sauce, bring the mustard sauce and the fresh cream to a boil and take it off the heat and serve it with the honey glazed chicken.
For the cream cheese mashed potato, mix the seasoning and the cream cheese to the mashed potatos and serve!
And as we say in the end...Aashte...thats all!...enjoy!

Inspired by some...Jerk Chicken :)
is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meats are dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Jerk seasoning is traditionally applied to pork and chicken. Modern recipes also apply jerk spice mixes to fish, shrimp, shellfish, beef, sausage, and tofu. Jerk seasoning principally relies upon two items: allspice (called "pimento" in Jamaica) and Scotch bonnet peppers (among the hottest peppers on the Scoville scale). Other ingredients include cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper
Thanks to the Lonely Planet,I read about 'jerk chicken'; before I went through the recipe as usual, I wanted to make my own quick one with the very limited ingredients at my disposal. My palate signaled that this should have a perfect combination of sweet and red chilli spice taste.
Clean chicken breast piece, 2 teaspoons of lemoneez, 2 tablespoons of honey, chilli flakes, 3 cloves of garlic, nutmeg, butter and salt and pepper per tatse.
potatoes, cheese, pepper and choice of vegetables.
I usually prefer marinating the defrosted chicken in some white fruit vineger and salt for about 30 mins. Keep aside.
My choice of veggies include carrots, cauliflower, some brocolli and green peas. Boil them sufficiently, strain and keep aside. If you wish, you could very lightly fry these little chuncks of veggies in a very small dollop of butter for that perfect crunchy yet boiled tatse.
Now in a non stick pan, add a generous dollop of butter and let it redden. Add the chopped garlic and let it fry till they turn golden (take in the aroma!). Add a spoonful scrapped bits of nutmeg to it. Place the ckicken breasts gently on the pan and lid it. Keep switchin sides and and cover it back. At this rate in about 15 mins the chicken should be pretty much cooked, now add the the lemoneez to the chicken and just in a while add the honey to it. Sprinkle the chilli flakes, pour a small cup of water and lid up the chicken for about 6-7 mins (keep switching sides of the chicken for a perfectly cooked piece; you could poke the chicken with a fork to test).
Mash the perfectly peeled and boiled potatoes with a spoon and a add cube of cheese to the portion. Sprinkle a little pepper and salt according to your taste. For a different flavour altogether, you could place a serving of mashed potato in the foil and grate cheese on it, and put it in the oven for about 8 mins. Unwrap and enjoy.
Now when you are in a hurry to eat, there no much place for a lot of garnishing. Minimalism and easy arrangement serves the purpose. Place the crunchy veggies and mashed potatoes next to the chicken. If you wish, you could add a small amount of baked beans. I also placed two twigs of wheat grass on the chicken...just got inspired by some presentation I saw in the magazine.
Bon Apetite!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chicken Quiche

Chicken quiche:I can finally make quiche! My favourite person's favourite thing in the world, isnt it? Can't wait to make one for her soon :)This one's for you Upsie!
150 gm flour
75 gm unsalted frozen butter cut into small peices
1 tb sp salt
3 tb sp ice cold water
3 tsp herbs (I used thyme)
Seive the flour. Add salt. Add the cold butter. Now using a couple of forks mash the butter into the flour till it breaks into smaller peices. Add the thyme. Now use your hands and quickly bring it together without using much pressure. Add the water to help form a dough which should not be too hard or too soft. Let it sit in the fridge for about half an hour. Bring it out and roll it to get 1/4 inch thickness. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut out a big round shape, basically bigger that the rim of you pie tin. Now place it in the greased and dusted pie tin and scrape off the extra dough from the rim. Place a sheet of butter paper in it and fill it with kidney beans or rice or any grains to weigh the butterpaper down. Now bake this in a pre-heated oven for 30 min at 180-190C. This is basically to bake the crust.
250 gm boneless chicken cut into small peices
1 med onion chopped
3 tb sp oil
Salt to taste
3 tb sp mixed herbs
1 tsp pepper
1 cup grated mozzerella cheese
2 eggs
1 cup milk
Heat oil. Add onions. Saute till it turns transparent. Add herbs. Add chicken, pepper and salt. Let this cook till chicken is done, that should be about 10 min. Let it cool. Bring out the baked crust in its tin. Remove the butterpaper with the grains. Arrange a layer of half the cheese at the bottom of the crust. Now add the chicken filling and again top it with the remaining cheese. Beat the 2 eggs into the milk and just before popping it into the oven pour it into the quiche filling. Bake for about 30 min in a pre-heated oven, at 200C, or till it forms a golden brown color on top. Let it cool before you tear it apart.
This makes for a great lunch with a side of steamed veggies and some iced tea maybe. So comforting :)
PS: Thank you so much Bhakti for these lovely pictures :)

Rum Tart

This was for a friend on his birthday. What better than an alcohol based chocolate dessert. Must be on every guy's wishlist. I learnt the basic 'art' of making tart at baking class. The alcoholic twist was my idea ;) So was the chocolate ;)
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter cut up into small peices..veryy cold!
1/4 coco
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp milk powder
A pinch of baking soda
3 tbsp ice cold water
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup coco
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp dark rum
Seive the flour, soda, salt, milk powder and coco together. Now drop the cold butter into it and using 2 forks and mash it as much as possible, till the butter has mixed with the flour to form coarse bread crumbs. Now use your hands and quickly bring it together making sure the butter does not melt. Add the ice cold water at this point to form a dough which is not too hard neither soft. Do not knead it. Just make a ball of dough. Let this sit in your fridge for about half an hour. In the meantime you can make your filling.
Get all the ingredients together in a saucepan in a low flame and bring it to a boil. Keep aside and let it cool down to room temperature. Now add the rum and mix well.
Now bring the dough out and let it sit at room temperature for 5 min. Roll it out now to about 1/4 inch or even lesser than that if you can. Cut out round shapes using a knife or a big cookie cutter. Grease and dust the tart tins. Place the cut out dough into it one by one making sure it fits right. Scrape out any excess dough from the rim of the tin to give it a clean finishing. Now using a fork make a few pricks on the base and the sides of the dough lined tin and bake it at 180C for about 20 min or till it does not feel like dough anymore, in a pre-heated oven. Let it cool. Then spoon in the filling and let it chill in the fridge for atleast an hour before serving.

This makes for a great party dessert, or in my case, a hangover fix for the next morning! Haha!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vanilla butter cake with creamy fruit frosting

Summer calls for a more lighter and refreshing desserts. That's when I tried this frosting. For the vanilla butter cake, refer to 'Sponge cake' recipe. I just wanted to top the usual sponge cake with a refereshing summer-y frosting.
Ingredients for frosting:
1 can of cut up fruits
250 ml fresh cream
2 tb sp gelatin
1/2 cup sugar (this you can alter according to taste)
1/2 cup warm water
Dissolve gelatin in the warm water and keep aside in refrigerator. Whip cream till almost stiff along with the sugar. Remove gelatin from fridge after 10 mins. Guve it a couple of runs in your blender, till it turns creamy. Now add the creamy gelatin into the whipped cream and fold them together. Add about 2 tb sp of the juice from the fruit can. Tip in the fruits, keep a few peices aside for garnish. Now spread, or like i did, slather this mixture on the cake completely. Just randomly place the remaining fruit peices on top of the creamy frosting. Ready to eat, or even better when chilled for an hour or so.
Enjoy! :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Apple Crumble

I am possibly the biggest living apple pie fan. I will bake one once I have the pastry down. But for now I had to settle for a crumble pie. Of course my version with tips from a friend who wants to remain anonymous As you can see in the picture I have used a mini pie tin. Just to get it right, this being my first time and all.
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup flour (maida)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tblspn butter
1 green apple (peeled, cored and cut into small pieces)

1 tspn cinnamon powder
3 tbspn powdered sugar
juice of half a lemon
In a nonstick saucepan, bring together butter and sugar. Add the flour in and whisk it. It will thicken and form a dough in a matter of a few seconds. When you see it becomes all thick and dough-like, take it off the heat and keep aside.In another pan heat a spoon of butter, add the apples, cinnamon and sugar. Let it cook for about 5 minutes on low heat(smells devine!) Take it off the heat. Now get your pie tin or any small baking tin. Take a handfull of the dough and line it inside the tin, pressing against the base and walls of it. When done, add the apple mix and top it with the rest of the dough in crumbles. Bake this for 40 mins at 170C or untill golden brown.
Let it cool before you dive in :)
Green apples and cinnamon together is a devine combination. This is a very easy fix for your dessert cravings in the evenings. Best eaten with a cuppa coffee or like me...straight up! ;-)