“We have so much, too much, that we can buy, yet the basic labor of doing, the making with our own hands, is what enlivens us and makes us feel human." Dan Lepard

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Yogurt Spice Loaf Cake



It is the last weekend of the holidays. Kids are excited as their cousins are coming over in the evening. A lot of games and activities have been planned out. And loads of fun, frolic and merriment is anticipated. My daughter takes charge of making sandwiches and begins to slice cucumber and tomatoes. Son, who is younger of the two, contributes by sprinkling salt and pepper on the buttered slices. A cake has already been baked.


Daughter goes out to throw the peels, suddenly, stands still as she reaches our backyard. A Blue Whistling Thrush is bathing. It splashes water all around and enjoys herself. Soon she flies away.

By late evening laughter, screams, animated conversation and commotion resounds. The games go on endlessly. Soon all the rules are broken and there is boisterous buffoonery. The kids are forced to call it a day, tired players settle down. Sandwiches and cake is served. Everything vanishes in no time. Everybody loved the cake. It was moist and aromatic. The leftover pieces were savoured by us after dinner.


Your home will  smell sweet when the aroma of spices from the cake will waft through while baking. It is a moist, soft and delicious cake with the heavenly flavour of spices in every bite. This is a must bake cake for special evenings when you want to enjoy tea with your loved ones.



Yogurt Spice Loaf Cake
Ingredients
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon freshly ground cloves
3 large eggs
1 cup castor sugar
½ cup thick yogurt
½ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of an orange 
Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line the bottom and grease the sides of one 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Whisk together first five ingredients in a large bowl.
Beat white of eggs till frothy.
In another bowl, mix together sugar, yogurt, vanilla extract, zest and beat till smooth. Add yolks. Add melted butter. In the end, fold in egg whites.
Add dry ingredients in three shifts, mixing well after each addition to get a smooth, lump free batter.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Level the top with a spatula.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or till the top turns brown and the cake shrinks from the sides. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.



Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Baked Chocolate Gujiya

 


It is late spring and nature is celebrating the festival of colours.


Rhododendrons are blooming in the hills.


Roadside bushes are full of flowers.


A group of Cosmos lights up the barren patches in the fields


Hibiscus too  paints the landscape red.


Festival of Holi is round the corner and some Gujiyas are to be prepared. This time we plan to give a twist to the traditional recipe.


 We plan to make chocolate Gujiyas and then dip them in Ganache.
To make them low fat, the Gujiyas are baked. Gujiyas are delicious and guilt free.



Baked Chocolate Gujiya

Ingredients

Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour (240 ml cup)
4 tablespoons ghee + some for brushing
¼ teaspoon salt
A pinch baking powder
Filling
250 grams khoya / mawa (dried milk)
½ + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
¼ cup desiccated coconut
¼ cup chopped raw pistachios
¼ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup chopped almonds
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Flour paste
Mix 1 tablespoon of all- purpose flour in 1 tablespoon of water to form a thick paste.
Ganache
100 Gms dark chocolate
4 tablespoons low fat cream
Method
Whisk together all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder. Rub in ghee. Add cold water and knead soft dough. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 15 minutes.
Take khoya in a thick bottom steel wok. Roast on low flame stirring continuously till it becomes lump free and begins to turn pink. Let it cool.
Add sugar and desiccated coconut. Mix well. Add cocoa powder. Mix well. Add nuts.
Preheat oven to 210 degrees C.
To make gujiyas, take small balls of dough and roll out small thin chapattis. Do not dust with flour.  Cut it into a round with a bowl. This gives uniformly sized gujiyas. Put 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons of filling and apply the flour paste on half part of the rolled dough.  Fold one side of the round over the other and seal the edges. Cut the edges with a fluted gujiya cutter or twist the edges to seal.
Arrange them on the baking tray. Brush the top with some ghee. Bake till the top turns golden. It will take about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn and bake the other side. Remove from the baking dish and spread on the wire rack to cool.
To prepare ganache, take chocolate and cream in a very thick bottom vessel. Gently simmer over low heat stirring constantly till the chocolate melts. Stir briskly. Let it cool. Dip half gujiya in ganache and sprinkle some finely chopped pistachios.




Monday, 14 March 2016

Classic British Marmalade Cake



It is early morning and the room resounds with the bird songs. Automatically, and with great precision my hand reaches the bedside table and dismisses the alarm. Post alarm, the sleep is always the sweetest, sound, deep and very soothing.  The alarm goes again. It is a Sunday, but it doesn’t irk. We have to get going early for a day outing that has been planned.
In no time, the kids are busy packing food, water fruits and other paraphernalia for the trip. We are going to a nearby village and since the days are hot, we decided on early morning trip till the time the Sun is tolerable.


Countryside is beautiful. As we walk on a muddy track, a baby monkey looks at us curiously and hides in the branches. 


A group of buffaloes and some cows are chewing cud in unison and letting out “moos” every now and then. Kids click their tongue to get their attention but they pay no heed.


Some chicks and hens are foraging in the fields. Our kids rush towards them and in no time, they are comfortable with each other. Kids should be made to interact with animals. It makes them humane, loving and sensitive.


Back home, we are expecting some guests for tea. A cake has been prepared and waits to be dressed. Marmalade and butter are whisked and warmed. Shiny glaze is poured over the cake. Soon, over tea and animated conversation, the cake is relished by all.



Misty winter evenings and a hot cuppa with a slice of very orangy and moist Marmalade cake makes the day!

Classic British Marmalade Cake

Ingredients
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoons salt
1 stick (½ cup) butter
¾ cup caster sugar
3 teaspoons finely chopped candied orange and lemon peel or
2 teaspoon grated lime zest and ½ teaspoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup marmalade
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
 Glaze
½ tablespoons butter
1/3 cup marmalade
Preparation
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line one 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together first three ingredients.
In a deep bowl, beat butter and sugar till pale and fluffy. Add candied peels or zest. Beat. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well till the mixture becomes uniform. Now add marmalade and orange juice.
Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients till well combined. Do not over mix.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Level the top. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or till the cake shrinks from the sides and turns golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool in the rack.
For glaze, take marmalade in a thick bottom vessel and melt over low heat. Add butter and whisk until smooth. Pour warm glaze over the cake and spread evenly. Slice and serve when cold.





Thursday, 3 March 2016

Cezerye - Turkish Dessert (Vegan)



We try our best not to miss the early morning heaven. One such morning, while sipping strong ginger tea in our very large mugs, we watched a dove couple chasing each other from branch to branch and tree to tree. The female alighted on the graound and started pecking  while the male puffed up its body and went round and round dancing for its partner while cooing continuously. His spontaneity and enthusiasm was a pleasure to watch.

  A group of Oriental White eye settled on the profusely flowering Bignonia Venusta vine, flitting from bunch to bunch for nectar.



This is the bonus of living in the countryside.


We refilled our mugs, savouring early morning cool, oxygen rich breeze made richer by bird songs that seem to be coming from all around in myriad tones and pitches, sonorous to the ears and soothing to senses.

Whoosh went the pressure cooker whistle informing that the carrots were done. Carrots are being steamed for making Cezerye.


Cezerye is a delicious melt in the mouth Turkish dessert. It is difficult to believe that it is absolutely fat-free and yet so delectable. 




The name is derived from the word "cezer", which means "carrot" in Arabic. It is healthy, light and delicious sweet.


Cezerye
Ingredients
6-7 medium size carrots
1 ¼ to ½ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
¼ cup pistachios, chopped
Method
Peel and wash carrots. Cut them into medium size pieces. Pressure cook.
Drain water and puree the carrots.
Transfer pureed carrots into a heavy bottom steel wok. Add sugar.
Cook on medium flame, stirring continuously till most of the water evaporates and mixture becomes thick and dry. It needs continuous stirring or else it will start burning at the bottom as it thickens.
Add lemon juice, vanilla essence and powdered cinnamon.
Cook for another 5 to 6 minutes stirring continuously.
Add 1 cup desiccated coconut and chopped pistachios. Stir well. Turn off the heat.
Let mixture cool. When it is warm and easy to handle, make walnut size balls.
Roll in ¼ cup coconut. Keep in refrigerator.



Monday, 15 February 2016

Custard Apple Cake



One morning, it was not yet light; thin fog prevailed and, a cacophony of birds in the kitchen garden shattered the early morning tranquility. Some squirrels too  joined the bandwagon and the commotion reached a crescendo, prompting us to ferret out the reason. Birds were hovering atop wood apple tree. Our Dog too  was letting out occasional barks. Amidst all the din and clamour, we spotted a cat on the higher branches of the tree. Presumably, the dog chased the cat, and, the harried creature took refuge in the tree, much to the dislike of the birds who always regard cats with suspicion. The dog was chained till the cat came down and the drama ended happily with peace returning.
A custard apple tree in our garden is laden with fruit. First prerogative is of the birds who love pecking the ripe fruits. We pluck later. This year the bumper harvest was shared between the birds, our neighbours and us. Some fruits were enjoyed plain, while two were used in a cake.


It was an experiment that was undertaken reluctantly but was a success.



 The cake has a unique flavour and sweetness of custard apples.


 Crumb is super soft and moist, and a little grittiness gives it a great texture. Must try cake for those who love to experiment and want to bake something different and new



Custard Apple Cake
Ingredients
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch baking soda
1 pinch salt
2 free range eggs
1 stick (1/2 cup butter)
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup warm milk
2 large ripe custard apples
Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line one 8 inch round cake pan.
Remove pulp from the custard apples. Mash pulp with hands. Remove seeds.
Whisk together first four ingredients.
Beat egg whites till frothy.
Beat butter and sugar till light and creamy. Add yolks.
Add custard apple pulp and vanilla essence. Add egg white. Stir well to get a uniform mixture.
Now add flour mix in three shifts. Every time you add flour, add warm milk. Stir till you get a lump free batter.
Pour batter in the prepared tin. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes till the top turns brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the pan. Cool in the rack. Slice next day.




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