Monday, May 23, 2011

100th POST & A Giveaway!

Dear All,

I am currently visiting my mom and do not have any pics or lovely recipes for you... BUT please, please leave me a COMMENT if my BLOG has touched you in any way - made you a laugh, cry or think about food or made you relate to any of the posts in any way!

I am always complaining about how I want to be showered by some COMMENT love... and I will send you a small package :)!

And pics and recipes will be up soon :)!!!

Lots of Love,
Ruchi.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chocolate Chunk & Walnut Cookies - a very easy one bowl cookie



Notice, how all my recipes call for "1 Bowl" nowadays. With the temperature hitting 44C in Delhi all I can think of, are ways to stay as far away from the kitchen as possible. I even know people who have air-conditioning in their kitchens 'coz most mom's ending up spending a huge part of their day in the kitchen!

Anywhooo, I wanted to do something quick and with oats, maybe a little bit more nutty - what is your favorite combo for cookies?

I have been hooked onto Ootmeal cookies since I studied in the US. I remember all and any event always had huge cookie platters laid out and Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies were just always available to snack on around college. That is when I discovered S'mores... but more on that later.

I got up from a bad dream of having missed some Comp. Sci paper...

It's a blessing how food seems to solve all problems in my life.

Bad Dream = Nice Big Cookie with my Coffee Milk Shake. Big Ouch-y / Boo Boo to the toddler = A l'il bit of Chocolate love. Bad day at work for the hub = YUM-O Grilled Chicken legs for dinner.


Does food manage to solve all your problems too? Then these cookies are a must bake - for the borken heart, for the bad job interview, for the extra 10 minutes on the treadmill, for the toddler who has been naughty - this cookie can bring an instant smile to anyone's face.


Ingredients:
11/2 Cup all purpose flour
3 cups oats
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter


Add-ons
1/2 cup walnuts - toasted
1/2 cup chocolate chunks from your favorite chocolate
1/2 cup peanut butter


Method:
Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one by one and cream till light and fluffy. Add vanilla essence. Now take a rubber spatula and mix in the flour first and then the oats, slowly.


I did 2 versions - and divided the dough into half in 2 bowls. To one bowl I added chocolate chunks and walnuts (quartered or smaller). And to one bowl I added peanut butter.


 I scooped 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie and baked them in a pre-heated oven at 179 degrees for 10 minutes. You remove them while they look slightly soft to get chewy cookies and cook them for another 2 minutes if you want them crisp.


This is my 99th post... so excited and am hoping to arrange some kind of give-away on the 100th post! 

Wordless Wednesday: Treats that I take orders on...

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Secret Recipe Club - Perfect MANGO Pound Cake


I found a really great blog and a great pound cake recipe thanks to Amanda's Cookin who is a hosting a fabulous event called The Secret Recipe Club. You are allotted a blog once a month and you can choose to make anything from it in "Secret". Then on a given day and time all the bloggers from The Secret Recipe Club put up a blog post that reveals the recipe and blogger they have blogged about. Since, it is not revealed till the particular day - it is all a big secret till the big D-day and everyone is looking forward to seeing who blogged about whom and which of their recipes were featured!

The blog I was given is Once A Month Mom - a great concept blog that talks about cooking once a month in bulk and freezing food so that you can provide your family, especially your kids, fresh food to eat - it helps you to save money and eat more healthily. They have a a whole lot of ideas going on there so you must go on and have a peep.

Now, they were a lot of wonderful recipes out there but the one that caught my eye was of a Perfect Pound Cake... and how could I make it perfect by adding my own inputs to it - was a very last minute Mango-ey twist in the tale.

When I read the recipe one night I thought I had hit jackpot and I had all the ingredients to put it together but realized I was missing condensed milk - one of it's important ingredient and then a few nail biting moments followed to a very gorgeous, moist and flavorful Mango Pound Cake.

Kelly @ OAMM got this recipe from Jun-Blog and the beautiful pound cake was served with luscious strawberries...



So lets look at the ingredients...everything that you'd usually be stocked in on - my changes are added in italics
Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter - reduced the quantity to 1/2 salted butter & 1/4 canola oil
11/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4tsp baking powder - I think I only added 1/2 tsp
1/4 tsp cinnamon - omitted
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt - omitted
3/4 cup organic condensed milk - substituted with 3/4 cup fresh mango puree sweetened with a couple of tablespoons of sugar since my mangoes weren't too sweet
3 large eggs

Method:
If you want the original recipe you can follow it here

My recipe is a bit different
I whisked the butter and then added the sugar and vanilla and beat it with an electric beater. I added the eggs to this and whisked till everything was creamy.
I added the all purpose flour and mixed it together with a whisk till it just came together. I then added the mango puree with a very light hand. I wanted to create swirls and do a two toned cake but my cake batter and mango were almost a similar golden-orange hue.
I baked it in a pre-heated oven an 179C for 50 minutes and I didn't turn it out of the pan immediately after it came out of the oven so the whole cake seemed to sink a bit.

I had a couple of tablespoons of mango puree remaining so I added some icing sugar in it and created a glaze for the cake. It was lapped up before I could chop up some fresh mangoes to serve it with.

Few observations:

It tasted better after it cooled down and have been refrigerated. It was as moist and didn't dry out. It was not too sweet and if you want to make it really really sweet - I would increase the sugar from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup. I would also leave out 1 egg and bake this with 2 eggs 'coz I found the taste slightly egg-y but no-one else seemed to complain!



Sunday, May 15, 2011

Go to Breakfast - Rava Uttapam - Savory Pancake



This is the easiest breakfast I've ever made, it is my son's absolute favorite since he was a 1 year old and now it's my hubby's favorite too. Anytime, I am out of breakfast ideas in the morning or I didn't feed the family a good dinner or I need to see a bright cheery smile on their face 'coz they have had a bad night - I just put this one together!

It never requires planning in my kitchen 'coz it requires only TWO Ingredients - yeah, you got that right!
Rava - Cream of Wheat or Semolina flour & Ordinary Yogurt - I think you can make this with all rice flour too but I haven't tried it. For my international users, when I lived in the US, I used to buy some groceries online at Patel Brothers - but I don't know if they ship to the UK.

Perfect for bachelors and for a meal you want to put together when you are alone and don't want to cook something elaborate.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Rava - Cream of Wheat
1/2 cup ordinary yogurt - any kind - it just shouldn't be sweet
1-2 teaspoons oil - optional
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 onion & tomato finely chopped - optional
finely chopped coriander for garnishing - optional


Method:
Mix the rava and yogurt together to form a batter. It should have the consistency of pancake batter - so add a couple of tablespoons of water to this to make the batter easily spreadable. Add the salt and the oil. Mix and let rest for 20 mins on the counter.

You can use this immediately but I've noticed - letting it sit makes it taste better.

Heat a skillet you use for making pancakes or dosas. Pour a ladlefull of batter and spread a bit. Add the chopped onions, tomatoes and coriander. You can also sprinkle some sort of spice at this time - I sprinkle some finely ground paprika or sambhar powder. Add 1-2 teaspoons of oil around the edges for cooking.

Let it cook for a couple of minutes on one side and then flip. All in all, this takes longer to cook than a pancake but if you're cooking it for more than 10 minutes you're going to get a burnt pancake!
Cook for another couple of minutes, till the batter looks set.

This is a very forgiving recipe, it tastes great even without all the veggies - just plain or with a little grated cheese.

Garnish with coriander (or without) and enjoy!

Tips:
I've started adding oil to the batter as I noticed it slips of the skillet easily and is very moist.
You can add some chopped capsicum, grated carrots and grated cheese to this too while cooking.
If you're making this for the first time, it may not come of the skillet easily but just wipe the skillet with a wet cloth and try it again...

Just realized I wanted to send it as an entry to Breakfast Mela hosted by the very talented Srivalli at Cooking 4 All Seasons so re-posting it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

When God Created Mothers by Erma Bombeck

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of “overtime” when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”
And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order?
  • She has to be completely washable, but not plastic;
  • Have 180 movable parts... all replaceable;
  • Run on black coffee and leftovers;
  • Have a lap that disappears when she stands up;
  • A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair;
  • And six pairs of hands.”
The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands... no way.”
“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord. “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”
“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.

I was reading a fellow food blogger's page and came across this link she shared... a must read:
The following column was her Mother’s Day column for May 12, 1974. Read complete article here

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Namak Paare (Mathri) / Crispy Savory Bites

Though I am a North Indian, I am born and brought up in Mumbai, a very cosmopolitan city, still has a staple of typical Gujrati and Maharashtrian snacks that we savor during tea-time - chivda (sauted flattened rice with peanuts) , bhel (puffed rice), idlis, dhoklas. These are very different from what North Indians like to snack on - it's usually fried fare like samosas, fried savories like pakodas, namak paare, mathri's etc

This is something my son was introduced to after we came to Delhi and though he hasn't take a big fancy to it, we make it occasionally for a lunch box treat. It's mighty yummy and full of oil and deep fried so you may want to stay away from it if you're on a diet of some sort and cook it only for the kids. It's like a very crispy savory cookie.

I am giving you a rough recipe for this 'coz everything that likes to be fried, I like to keep away from. I give my cook (yeah, I have someone to help me with my kitchen chores) some basic instructions and he whips them up from me. My MIL makes some yummy ones too - she makes them round. These are more bite sized so they can be packed as a snack.

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour / rava
2-3 tablespoons oil
1/4 tsp carrom seeds
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup water

Method:

Mix all the dry ingredients. Make a well in it and pour the oil or ghee (please do not try this with butter) and mix it all together with your hands. Now, add water to this mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time to bring the dough together into a stiff dough. Use a rolling pin and take 1/2 of the dough and roll it out as thin as you can - about 1/4 inch into a round. Then cut it length and breadth wise into strips to make these tiny sized pieces and pour into hot oil and fry for a couple of mins each side till nice and browned. Remove onto a tissue paper and when absolutely cooled store in an air tight box.

These are very rough instructions and not detailed at all but email me and I can answer all your queries on this.

This is a pic of a plateful of namak paare's sitting on my son's favorite chair waiting for him to attack!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Banana Walnut Bread with Chocolate Chips - healthy party treats for kids!




When I first started making banana bread with a hint of chocolate in the flour I had a firm admirer in my son and would be baking it every other week but he soon decided that he doesn't like bananas. So he gave up eating banana bread and used to tell me "Mom, that cake has bananas..."

Now, he's been in school one month and they're having a party. I wanted to make them a healthy yet delicious snack and nowadays children seem to be all about chocolate. All day I sound like, "Mr. No", because that's what I keep saying to him. No eating chocolate, No cuddling the rabbit, No racing towards a moving with your cycle... by the end of the day I'm thinking maybe I can't keep pace with 2.5 year old. So this, bread, which tastes more like cake is a "Yes, eat as much chocolate cake" as you like kinda bread. It's really soft and light and  airy and ONE BOWL kinda cake bread.

NOTES, before you start baking
So, I got the recipe from www.epicurious.com and the recipe is so simple but I have adapted it to suit my needs. I read a lot of the comments and people spoke about how the chocolate chips were too much - so I reduced those and the walnuts because I had to send it to class party of 2 year olds. I also layered it in just two go's and not 3 times the way they have mentioned it and didn't use an electric beater for anything - just beat it all up in a bowl. There was also a comment about how it had overflowed so I reduced the baking soda in my bread  and you will find the adapted recipe below. Regular sugar was subbed by brown sugar but you can use any sugar and increase it 2 cups if you want because the cake was made less sweet keeping sugar-high kids in mind. I made two loaves so half the recipe when you try it!

Ingredients:
21/2 cups all purpose flour (I made it with 2 cups flour and 1 cup millet flour and the result was just as yum
                                      but a bit denser)
1/2 cup Hershey's chocolate powder
1/2 canola oil and 1/2 cup butter
3 long bananas mashed
2 tsp vanilla essence
3 large eggs (for one loaf you can use 1 egg and if you seem to have less liquid in your bread, add a dash of                        milk)
1/4 cups toasted walnuts/ loaf cut into small pieces
1/4 cup small chocolate chips/loaf
2tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
2 X 3/4 cup brown sugar

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 175C. Line and prepare two loaf tins.

Mash the bananas really well and add the vanilla essence to them. Add the softened butter and oil mixture to this and really beat well. Add the brown sugar and beat till dissolved. Add the eggs and beat till fluffy.

Now add the flour in 3 parts and mix so it just all comes together. Do not over mix or you have a pretty hard bread.

Now, into each of the two loaves put 1/4 of the batter each. Top with toasted walnuts and chocolate chips. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup of batter each.  Now mix together using a knife and then I leveled the batter a bit and decorated it with toasted almonds before baking. I also made a round cake out of the same batter for the home - the pictures of which came out better. I put the two loaves in a tray and covered with pretty paper to take to school and forgot to take a picture of them before... so bare with the grainy looking picture please. The bread was cake like and very light and melted into the mouth!

The bread took about 55 minutes to bake unlike the 1 hour and 5 minutes mentioned in the original recipe.I also loosely covered the loaves with foil in the last 10 minutes to make sure it didn't over brown or burn on the top since I had to send it to school.

Happy Baking - just in time for the summer vacation in India! Kids are perfect helpers. Just measure out everything and keep it in bowls... and let your little helpers mash the bananas and beat it all together - am sure the bread / cake would be tastier!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Award Ever!!!!

I wanted to thank Reva from kaarasaaram.com for the lovely event she hosted and the appreciation it got my way! I have never won an award at my blog and am super duper excited!!!! YAY!!!!


I am really looking forward to receiving my cookbooks :D!!!!
    

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Simple (One Bowl) Chocolate Cake

It is 40C in Delhi and we are literally melting in the sweltering heat... regular fare for us includes rice, lentils, veggies or indian bread (roti) and all I feel like doing is sipping on tons of Leomande or Tang and maybe nibble on some loaf cakes in the evening with Cold Coffee.

In times like this I do not feel like entering my kitchen and standing next to the pre-heated oven...

This definitely calls for a one bowl chocolate cake recipe with some whole wheat flour, yogurt and ground almonds... (makes you feel less guilty about missing that workout!)

I am still in the process of perfecting the recipe...

Anyone, have a healthy wholesome chocolate loaf cake recipe please leave a comment... till then why don't I leave you with a picture!


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