Thursday, August 2, 2012

BIG MOVE - moving cities

Anyone who has moved with a toddler in tow and changed the poor kid's school thrice in 3 month would know what I was going through!

It has been a crazy time at my end and I still have no internet! I have moved a couple of cities in my 32 years on this earth but never has been a move so hectic and so chaotic yet I had all the support possible with my mom living a stone's throw away :)!

So, within India I moved from the Northern parts (Gurgaon) to Western India (Mumbai)! A move that I have longed to do for a very very long time... just didn't realize I would be doing it when my toddler just started big school in Delhi. And a couple of weeks into school we were headed to Mumbai for a break and then when we knew of the move he had to start his second school with a vacation of just 2 weeks... so that he can secure a seat in the chaotic world of schools!

AT last things are settled (not) - we have our place in order, the stuff has moved and am still trying to put things in their rightful place. The toddler has finally gotten admission in the school we wanted and is happily settled. We still need the internet so I can blog... and show you all some cool pics of the sea view from our new place and the things I have been baking in  humid humid Mumbai!!!!

Bear with me - we should have some blog posts coming up pretty soon (umm, two weeks tops I think :))!!!!


Monday, May 28, 2012

SRC - Spicy Chicken Fajitas!

Running late on the blog post for SRC - the summer is crazy - have been at my mom's - trouble with the internet then computer, than sick and clingy toddler and me suffering from allergies so all in all I have been unfair to my assignment even though I had a month to savor Sarah's blog with all her wonderful recipes... Fantastical Sharing of Recipes.

I bookmarked a lot of recipes... but made one and the recipe can be found here - http://fantasticalsharingofrecipes.blogspot.in/search?q=fajitas

I used shredded chicken that I had made earlier with Indian spices and an Indian flatbread made of wholewheat to make it kid friendly for my toddler... and he kinda gave it a go for a change!

Ingredients:
4 chicken legs boiled with cloves, bay leaf, whole black pepper, onion and salt
2 chicken legs shredded and sauteed with cooked tomato and onion puree coriander powder, paprika, salt and olive oil
more onions and pepper for lightly sauteed for fajitas
cheese (i used slices as my shredded cheeze waqs over)
Indian flat bread (roti) (recipe to be up soon)

Recipe:

For chicken: Take a pan with oil and add tomato and onion puree, saute till it leaves oil and add chicken and all spices - add a couple of tablespoons of water and cook till dry.
In another pan saute some onions and green pepper
Cook the Indian flatbread on a girdle - add all the toppings, top with some cheese and more spices as per required and fajitas are ready.

The original recipe called for beef but we only eat chicken and fish at home ... so I had to tweak the recipe around a bit! Sorry, do not have picasa to touch up my pictures... so please bare with the quality this time around!!!





Monday, April 30, 2012

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies: SRC

It's that time of the month again - SECRET RECIPE CLUB time - an initiative taken by Amanda from www.amandascookin.com! Sally's blog www.bewitchingkitchen.com has so many wonderful recipes - especially Bread & Brazilian ones - that it was a very tough choice for me to make. She seems to be a domestic goddess at bread making and I just can't do it. So I tried a no knead Foccacia (great, easy recipe) but I made it with regular flour and it turned out hard as rock. I decided bread making was just not for me.

Then at my son's insistence I ended up making her brown butter chocolate chip cookies that were simply delicious and a perfect snack to make my toddler smile when sneaked into his snack-box.

The week has been rather crazy with my boy and me trying to juggle the 40 minute commute to school one way  , I have been under the weather, the weekend was packed with errands so it was a great achievement for me to have the pictures, food and post ready yesterday!

But there had to be a catch! As my husband once told me I am the queen of last minute and can never get things done before time. Once I had to deliver an order and baked the cakes in advance leaving them on my dining table for cooling. My help moved them to the kitchen to cool and there were ants crawling over them when I got back home from running my errands and thinking all I had to do was frost them.

So, my toddler and I usually leave the house at 730am for school and I stay at my MIL's till noonish (who's house is 10 mins away from his school), which is when I head back to his school to pick him up. We come back eat lunch, play for bit and head back on our 40 minute commute. So today morning I was all packed and ready to leave - with all his things and my new SONY (http://www.sony.co.in/product/dsc-hx100v) to add the pics to my blog post and when I reached my MIL's I realized I hadn't got the cord to transfer the pictures to the laptop! You should definitely see the pictures when the post goes up but if you don't you'd know what happened!

Phew, so check out the recipe, tweaked a bit with ingredients I had on hand, and please check back for the pictures :)!

Ingredients

100 grams butter (heated to give it a tan color and cooled)
1 cup brown sugar (could have reduced to 3/4 cup)
1 cup chocolate chip cookies
11/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2  cup oats
1 egg

Recipe


Cream the cooled butter and sugar together. Add a egg and whip well. Add flour and baking soda and mix with a spatula till dough like. Add chocolate chips and mix well. I made about ten cookies with this (yes I have a tiny oven) and found them a bit sweet. So to the remaining mixture I added 1/2 cup of quick cooking oats or even 1/2 cup roughly chopped toasted almonds would have worked and baked the rest of the cookies with this dough.

Both turned out yum according to the husband and the baby - that had fun dunking them in milk and eating them.

An hour and half to go and I got my pics ready...





Saturday, April 21, 2012

(ONE BOWL) LINDT Peanut Butter Brownies & A simple summer salad

There are a few blogs that I just cannot get enough of... Joy the Baker, SmittenKitchen, Passionate About Baking... I try to read through them on at least a weekly basis and then potter around my kitchen to try and cook something to the best of my ability. Last week I tried a no knead Foccacia and it came out hard as rock... though I added the yeast, let it rise etc etc But life is all about inspiration and experimentation!



Not to get deterred I continue in my endeavors to get you simple tried and tested recipes that can be put together quickly. I know what mothers really want is that extra half hour to catch a nap yet not neglect their kids, all they want is another 20 mins weekly for a mani-pedi yet they want wholesome food on the table for their family, they want their girly night outs if they manage to arrange a great baby sitter but still feel guilty and keep checking their wrist for the time.. you get the drift.

In my 20's life was simple, Friday nights were usually spent checking out a latest pub on the scene, weekend champagne brunches or poolside parties are a thing of the past. At 30 we are usually seen with diaper bags in tow, kid friendly restaurants and socializing with families who have kids are our toddlers age is the new party scene! Most weekends I need to sleep in but am woken by my very energetic toddler at 6am... by the end of Sunday I am ready to give a time-out to anyone in sight.

When I read Deeba's post about one bowl brownies I was delighted! My 3 year old has been wanting me to bake something so he carry it in his lunch box to school. He started big boy school two weeks back and needs to be bribed to even get out of bed on a school day...


The one bowl brownies is great with the weather being super hot and me not wanting to stand anywhere near a hot oven or in the kitchen! I also had a bag of LINDT truffles from my SIL = perfect! They have a peanut butter flavor truffle that I know no-one wanted to try, so I subbed it for the chocolate mentioned in the recipe... and they were as decadent and fudgy as Deeba promised.

Do give it a try - it actually took only 40 minutes from start to finish as her recipe mentions!

Just to make myself feel better about indulging in the brownies I made a simple, fresh salad to go along with it. After missing gym for 10 days straight I couldn't afford a calorie laden meal. Put together with ingredients in my fridge it can be very easily adapted to your tastes and put together in a couple of minutes! I made it with broken wheat but it can be made with couscous or farro!


So here are the recipes...




One Bowl Brownies (recipe adapted from Passionate About Baking)
Ingredients
12 Lindt Peanut Butter Truffles + 50 grams of any milk chocolate
2 eggs
100 grams butter
40 ml oil
9 tablespoons all purpose flour
7-8 tablespoons granulated sugar

Recipe
Preheat oven to 200C. Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Wait for it to cool a bit. Add the oil and whisk. Add the two eggs and whisk. Add the sugar and whisk. Add the flour and fold it all together.

Put in a square baking tin for 25-30 mins at 180C. Leave to cool and cut into squares and serve!


Simple Summer Salad


Ingredients
1/2 cup broken wheat put in boiling water and cooked as per instructions
1 onion thinly sliced
1 tomato thinly sliced
1 red pepper roasted
Seasoning - paprika, salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil
1 fried egg

Recipe
Cook the broken wheat, couscous or farro and put in the fridge to cool.

Caramelize the onions with a little bit of olive oil and sugar. Remove from pan. Saute tomatoes in pan and remove. Roast pepper on gas or in oven, remove skin and thinly slice 9 I would have used a green pepper for contrast but didn't have any). Also some parsley would have been lovely but I was all out of it!!!!

Fry the egg so that the yellow is uncooked. For the dressing, shake a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, paprika, salt, pepper and Italian herbs in a bottle.

Get your broken wheat out and add the vegetables and toss with dressing. Add the fried egg to the top or on the side or leave it out if you're not a fan... and your beautiful summer salad is ready but I did miss my parsley a lot.








Monday, March 26, 2012

Cinnamon Biscuit Rolls: SRC

Do you love holidays? Who doesn't (No brainer)? Do you love them more, when you have to vacations them "compulsarily" - I am sure you're thinking what can compell you to go on vacation? Last December, when I found out that a school friend of mine (known her since 6th grade) and a cousin of mine are getting married within a week of each other I was a bit worried. How will my 3year old shuttle to two different cities and back home in-between (so 3 climatic changes), party and do late nights, play all day long, attend school in between and think we are SANE parents! But, he seemed to cope better than us.





Between, wedding celebrations (very, very elaborate in India with over 3 functions at least per wedding) all the dress changing, eating great food, site-seeing, fun n' sun(at the beach wedding) you can imagine 2011 has been really going well :)! I celebrated my birthday in between and my husband surprised me by booking us at the very luxurious Leela Palace, Udaipur (pictures above, also one of the destinations we had to go for the wedding ). I hope 2011 keeps my friends and family in happy space....

And then it was SRC time! My "secret" blog was Angel Food's Kitchen. She has lovely recipes, weekly menus ideas and lots of handy everyday recipes for mom's. I loved her egg salad sandwich recipe, which was polished off within minutes of making and then I tried her Easy No Rise Cinnamon Rolls - the recipe of which can be found here.

SRC is the brainchild of Amanda Formaro and she had done a wonderful job of building it from strength to strength - we have 4 groups of food bloggers that get assigned blogs secretly and have to choose a recipe from the blog and all of them reveal their posts together group-wise at a particular date and time - come try it!

 My rolls turned out a bit biscuit like since there was no yeast and no rise time in it... my hubby wasn't very happy with the texture (because he didn't have them warm out of the oven) but my son and I loved them with some melted chocolate on them straight out of the oven!

So this is a great recipe to try when you want some cinnamon-y goodness within 30 minutes, yes, they come together really quickly - so maybe for a quick tea party or dessert after party that you are going to serve straight out of the oven - these are the ones to try.




From my pictures you will see I rolled mine too thick 'coz I messed up my ratios a bit, so you can follow the original recipe. I would roll this as thin as possible so my rolls aren't too big. Also, I brushed the rolls with milk before baking but I would brush them with melted butter instead - just makes them crunchier and browner.

So here goes the recipe, which I have adapted a bit:

Dough:
21/2 cups of all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used very scant)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk

Filling:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
melted butter - a couple of tablespoons

Recipe:
Sift the dry ingredients. Add the butter and rub till they are rubbed in like pastry. Now add the wet ingredients and mix well. Knead the dough on a floured surface about 10-15 times till it comes together. Had to chill the dough for ten minutes before I rolled it as it was a very hot and humid day that I made it and I would flour my surface a lot more!

After rolling it as thinly possible, spread melted butter and spread well with sugar mixture.Then roll carefully into a sausage roll and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Put in a square dish, spread some more melted butter on the top and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for about 20 minutes. I think it could be done in 15 also... so please watch it!

I used some good Lindt Chocolate, melted it and my son and I enjoyed it smeared with this. You can also make a mixture of icing sugar and water / milk and spread it over this while warm. Enjoy as warm as possible!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Article Published in Times of India, Gurgaon edition

Dear friends,

I do baking classes for kids and have been doing them for about 3 years now. I started from the house and now do it in playschools and schools... Teaching kids is fun and therapeutic! Do please try and get a hold on the article!


Friday, February 17, 2012

What's been keeping me away, you ask - CAKES

This is what I have been working on for the last few weeks... and I feel like I am partial to Strawberries but just because I find the combination of Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry and Mascarpone sinful and irrestible!






Saturday, January 21, 2012

Simple Chocolate Sponge for the Lunch Box





Are you a mother with toddlers - one or two? Do you sometimes go half way through the day wondering where the day has gone? Or that it's already time to prepare dinner and your kid wants a snack?

Have you had those day when your child has kept you up at night, you're not wide awake but breakfast has to be made, the hubby is almost leaving for work, the child is clinging in your lap and bawling (he has to be dressed and sent to playschool), you haven't even brushed but you're dying to pop something into your mouth to jump start your day - maybe a scone or double chocolate chip cookie or waffle!

This is the kind of cake that is super comforting and can be totally eaten for breakfast to give you a bit of caffeine kick. This is a kid friendly version I made for my son's friend's Birthday...

But I usually add some ground almonds for health, a little bit of buckwheat flour for depth, olive oil for moisture and a little coffee for a caffeine kick....

It's a great cake to share with girlfriends on a gloomy day sipping on a latte, or while catching up on a book and waiting for the baby to wake up from the nap, great energy booster after a fight with the spouse... ALL in ALL a great way to LIFT SPIRITS in the Winter.

So promise me that you will bake this up your way and enjoy it before this dreary winter ends...

The version I made was

Ingredients
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
8 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Procedure:

Beat the oil and sugar till creamy. Add eggs and vanilla essence and beat till mousse like. Now add all the dry ingredients in 3 parts.

Put into a parchment lined 8 inch baking tin for 25 minutes at 170C.

I used some chocolate chips 7 oil melted in the microwave to stick on the M&M's onto the cake as frosting is not allowed in their playschool.

I am sending this as an entry to Srav's Culinary Concepts for a Chocolate Fest that she is hosting. She has some great recipes and a blog totally worth checking out!





Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy New Year 2012




Dearest Readers,

I have not posted in ages! The good news is that I am going to try and post something every other day to make up for my absence...

Last year, I lost 4 very special people in my family and they will be missed, remembered and cherished - especially my Nani (grandmom) - who I miss terribly! Though the year ended on a high note with my brother tying the knot with his long term girlfriend... and my son and I had a month full of fun. I know all the 4 people who aren't alongside us today would have blessed the couple and wouldn't have wanted the celebration to be postponed.

My son and I took full advantage of the wedding and moved to Mumbai for a month and celebrated with amongst friends and family a big fat Indian wedding - full of food, laughter, fun and dancing!

Just before leaving, I baked my husband a happy birthday and belated anniversary cake 'coz we were going to spend our first anniversary apart!!!!

The cake is a simple chocolate sponge and the filling is mascarpone, icing sugar, whipped cream and strawberry puree. My hubby loved the cake but did feel that we should have used only whipped cream for the outside frosting as the cake was heavy.. so we had to eat small pieces at a time :)!

Ingredients for the chocolate sponge (taken from Nieglla's Buttermilk Sponge) :

I made 2 of these sponges

11/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup brown sugar
75 grams butter / 30ml canola oil
100ml buttermilk (milk + curd / vinegar / lime juice)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 vanilla bean

I have started adding a bit of oil to all my cakes and brownies as it makes them more fudgy and moist.

Procedure:

Beat the butter, oil and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time and beat further till the mixture becomes mousse like. Add the vanilla bean.

Now mix all the dry ingredients together. And alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 3-4 times.

Spread into an 8 inch parchment lined baking tin. I tap the tin a couple of times to get an even cake and it's easier to frost.

Frosting:

For the icing I had to use strawberry crush as there weren't any fresh strawberries and mixed it with 250grams mascarpone cheese and about 1/2 cup icing sugar and low fat (Amul) cream. Had to use a bit of gelatine as a stabilizer - I whipped them all together and left them in the fridge to chill for a bit.

I doused the cake with a bit of a chocolate ganache and then let it cool. Then added part of the frosting and sandwiched the two cakes together.

Frosted the top and decorated with swirls of chocolate ganache.

Also, please email me at rbhatnag@gmail.com if any of you know how to add borders in Picasa 3... it has me a bit stumped!

Hope this year brings you all a lot of joy, laughter and happiness! Also, do try and do a good deed a week... so you can spread the joy that you are getting to other people too :) - that is my New Year resolution! What's yours????

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