Sunday, 31 January 2010

Under the Tuscan Sun (wishful thinking, that is)

Baguettes and Bruschettas sound so exotic, it makes me want to go to Tuscany, or vice versa rather :)
This is my first time with plain baguettes and i figured a lot of cool stuff can be whipped up in no time. They go well with soups or as a starter or a simple snack as for that matter. Its easy to prepare if you have all the ingredients and most of these, are stuff you'd have in your refrigerator.

Stuffed baguette

French baguette- one, half
Cheddar cheese- 4 tbs
Tomato puree- 1 tsp
Cream cheese- 100gms
Olives- 1/4 cup finely chopped
Pepper powder- to taste
Garlic- 2 pods, finely chopped

Slice off both the ends of the baguette and hollow it out carefully, leaving about half an inch of crust.
Mix the cream cheese and cheddar till nice and soft and add the rest of the ingredients. Check for salt and add if required.
Scoop and fill the baguette with the cheese mix. Wrap with a cling film and refrigerate for upto 2 hours.
Slice and serve with soups or as an appetiser.

I am sending this entry to the No Cook Event hosted by PJ of Seduce your tastebuds.

Notes: Add sun dried tomatoes, meats or any other cheese of your choice and make it more exciting
If you want you can heat it a wee bit just before you serve, but i prefer it cold.


With left-over baguette, use it as a Bruschetta and be creative with any topping of your choice. Here are a few options:

Pre-heat the grill and grill the bread for one minute, on either side, till they are crispy. Drizzle olive oil and top with mashed tomato and basil, feta cheese with garlic and chives, pancetta, season with freshly ground salt and pepper and drizzle some more olive oil on top and serve. Its brrrriiilliant!

Friday, 29 January 2010

'Brunch' ed Up, eh?

Oh don't you just love the whole idea of a brunch? Well, I do and i love going out to brunch rather than staying at home and making one. Especially after a night out on Saturday, you wake up late on Sunday and head out to a restaurant, have a 3 hour long brunch and if you have friends joining you, even better. So today was brunch day and for a change i decided to do it at home. Boy was it so much more easier and fun to have brunch than to have breakfast at 10 and then get prepared for lunch by the time you are done cleaning up after breakky.
We started off with a rather rich and heavy Frittata, washed it down with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice followed by buttermilk blueberry pancakes and a cuppa freshly brewed coffee. Yes, you guessed right..we were so full after that to even clean up and now i have a messy kitchen staring back at me. I thought id take a breather, come and blog about it and then get back to cleaning up (which basically means loading the dish washer) ;)

Bacon and Spinach Frittata
Frittata is an Italian omelet mixed with veggies, meats, cheese or rather anything of your choice and served open..and not folded. It is initially cooked on a hob top and finished off under a grill.

Bacon- 3 rashers, cooked and crumbled
Baby Spinach- 1 to 2 cups (depending on your taste. Ro didn't let me put more than a cup)
Garlic pods- 3, chopped fine
Spring onions- 3, chopped fine (both bulb and greens)
Garlic sausages- 3, cooked and chopped (optional)
Eggs- 4
Heavy cream- 30ml
Mature cheddar cheese- less than a 1/4 cup
Pepper powder- as required
Salt- to taste
Baking powder- a pinch (optional)

Clean the spinach leaves, drain and transfer them to a bowl and close with a lid. Cook in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Drain off the water and keep aside.
In a large frying pan, cook the bacon and sausages (if using) and preserve the oil.
If there is way too much oil, discard some and in the remaining, sautee the garlic and spring onions till light and fragrant.
Add the spinach, crumbled bacon and sausages. Season with some pepper powder and sautee for a few minutes. Check for salt and only then add, since the bacon and sausages will have some salt content in them.
Beat the eggs, cheddar cheese, cream, salt pepper and baking pwd in a bowl till light and fluffy.
Add this to the frying pan and mix well, without disturbing the ends too much. Try and distribute the filling evenly.
Cook on low fire for about 2 minutes and then cover and cook for a minute or two again. Transfer to a pre-heated grill for another 5 mins max..just to brown the top.
Cut into wedges and serve.

Notes: The garlic sausages were about to expire and so i added that too. The bacon would be good on its own or rather better, because somehow there was a conflict of flavours.
Whole milk can be used instead of heavy cream. I wanted to make sure we don't eat healthy today :)
Add mushrooms, carrots, peas or any veggie of your choice and make it an egg-etariandelight.
If you do not have an oven, you can just carefully turn the egg upside down to brown the top. Be careful shouldn't crack the beautiful round shape. Invert it on to a plate first and then insert that plate back into the frying pan to be double sure. Am i making sense?

Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes
This is my first time with buttermilk pancakes and i must say it does make a difference to the texture and a slight taste variation. Or am i imagining it, i don't know. I asked Ro and he said he cant remember eating pancakes made by me at all....but clarified that the Tesco one tastes a whole lot different (good different or bad different is a very time consuming argument, so i left it at that)....Thanks for that baby, i am so stupid i didn't know! DUH!

All purpose flour- 1 cup
Sugar- 4 tbsp ( optional)
Baking powder- 3/4 tsp
Baking Soda- 1/4 tsp
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Egg- 1
Buttermilk- 1 cup
Butter- 2 tbsp, melted and cooled slightly
Vanilla extract- 1/4 tsp
Fresh Blueberries- 100 gms

Mix all the dry ingredients (first 5) together and keep aside.
Whisk together the remaining, except the blueberries, and add to the dry ingredients. Stir until it is just blended and then add the blueberries. Give a final stir and keep aside for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Heat a non-stick skillet and pour in one ladle full of batter. After about 3 minutes, bubbles start appearing on top and at that time, flip and cook for another 2 minutes or till golden brown. Repeat till the entire batter is used up. I got about 10 medium size pancakes.
Drizzle some maple syrup, butter or even honey and serve with fresh blueberries on the side. Wanna die sooner? Add some whipped cream :0

Note: Buttermilk can be substituted with whole milk
I tried using an electric grill for the pancakes, but it was surprisingly taking too long and the bubbles were just not there...Hob top skillet is the best.
Use bananas, chocolate chips, strawberries in the place of blueberries, and I'm sure the result will be as 'fruitful' :)

Phew! that was awfully long, i think i'll get Ro to clean up ;)

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Another dal recipe spiced up with a Chicken fry

I am seriously obsessed with baking and cant wait to try out new recipes. But when it comes to the usual, normal, everyday cooking i cringe. I dread the cleaning, the cutting, the stirring and everything about it. I crib about it to Ro every night before we fall asleep and he is now fed up of trying to get me to enjoy it. To prove that its fun, he took over cooking for whole of last weekend and i just sat back and cribbed about life in general. If you don't know what I'm talking about, take a sneak peak at my other blog, and you'll know ;)

Dal Tadka
Now I'm back on my feet and have decided to make proper meals again (the not-enjoying cooking bit is still in tact). Since there was a sudden burst of cakes and bakes on the blog, i decided to post a dal recipe passed on by my best friend R. She was with me in India a couple of months back and made this dal with hot kulchas and they were so so tasty. She 's an amazing cook and made it look incredibly easy. So i bugged her on chat the other day and got the recipe. Unfortunately for me, the impatient one, it didn't taste as awesome as hers, but did taste different from the previous ones i have tried (Dal Fry, Spinach Dal and the Mallu Parippu Curry).

Moong Dal- 1 cup, cooked with water in a pressure cooker. Not mashed.
Dry red chillies- 4
Shallots- 2
Tomato- 2, chopped fine
Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pwd- a pinch
Salt- to taste
Coconut oil- 2 tbs
Coriander leaves- a handful
Cumin seeds- 1/4 tsp to temper

Grind dry red chillies and shallots to make a fine paste.
In a kadai, heat 1 tbs coconut oil and splutter mustard seeds. Add the ground chilli-shallot paste and cook till the raw smell goes.
Add tomatoes and cook till the water evaporates and the oil is visible. (Add green peas at this stage if you want)
Add turmeric, jeera pwd, salt and the cooked dal. Mix well. Add water at this stage if its too thick. Simmer on medium heat.
Add the coriander leaves, give it a final stir and take it off the heat.
Just before you serve, add a dash of cream, butter or ghee (optional)
I however did a tadka with the remaining oil and cumin seeds and avoided the cream/ butter bit.

Chicken Fry
I also tried out an easy chicken recipe from this blog and it turned out just great. I followed the recipe dot to dot, except instead of settling for a dry version, i masala-fied it with a lot of onion and curry leaves and one tomato. The pic however was taken before the masal-fied version since that was a complete after-thought.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Peach Upside-Down with a French-Yoghurt cake base

My previous experiment with an upside down cake was not too successful, but my husband convinced me to try it out once again, this time using canned fruit. I had sworn not to try it out ever again. This one, however, turned out perfectly well and tasted oh-so-good..a perfect way to celebrate our 4th Wedding Anniversary. This was my gift to Ro.
I have tried a completely different method this time and it worked out fine for me. The last recipe i followed, i somehow didn't like the cake base which was not moist enough and was dry and crumbly. So i decided to do my own version with the French-Yoghurt cake base and it came out just the way i liked it. Although Ro kept saying it was more pudding like, i am on a sugar-high just looking at it.

Packed Brown sugar- 1/2 cup (dark or light..i used dark)
Butter- 1/4 cup/ 4 tbsp
Peach slices- 1 can (about 400gms)

Place a saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter and sugar. Mix well and keep stirring till the mixture starts bubbling and caramelising a bit. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool a bit.
Butter a 9 inch round cake pan and once the mixture has cooled down a bit, pour into the pan and evenly arrange the peach slices (refer pic. below)

Base: French-Yoghurt cake
All purpose flour- 1 cup
Sugar- 1 cup
Eggs- 3
Baking powder- 2 tsp
Flavourless Oil- 1/2 cup
Vanilla extract- 1/4 tsp
Plain yoghurt- 1/2 cup
Salt- a pinch

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat to 175C.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric beater, whisk together the sugar, eggs, yoghurt and vanilla extract till they have blended well.
Still whisking, add the dry ingredients bit by bit, till they are all mixed well.
Pour the oil into the mixture and using a large rubber spatula fold in the oil. Do not mix vigorously.

Pour this batter on top of the peach slices and even it out.
Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Take it out of the oven and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto a serving place carefully.
Serve with cream.

Notes: If the sugar mix has hardened while you have set it aside to cool, place it back on the hob and lightly heat it.
I had some extra batter after filling the tin, which i used for small cup cakes. I got about 9 of those
After a while the sugar boils and might bubble up over the cake batter, but that's ok, it kinda adds a caramelised flavour to the whole cake. I loved it.
Take extra care while you invert the cake, as this is the trickiest part. It can all crumble down or get stuck to the bottom. I prefer to invert it as soon as its been taken out of the oven as it will still be a bit buttery at the bottom and the peach slices don't stick to the pan.

I am also sending this entry to a few blog events:
Contribute Your Recipes Event- Cakes & Cookies hosted by Indian Vegetarian Kitchen and

Cakes n Cookies hosted by Sara's Corner

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Wanna punish your husband when he's fought with you?

Then you've come to the right place...hahaha...(evil laugh)
Make this utterly delicious gooey, chewy double chocolate brownies, eat them in front of him and he'd come begging back to least for the brownies :)
It will also come in handy when you can blackmail him later, saying you shall NEVER make it again, if he behaves this way ;)
Without ranting and raving much, i shall move on to the recipe, adapted from the joy of bakingwebsite. This is a very simple recipe, but yields awesome results. Now isn't that what we all want? Better outcome with less work.

Cocoa powder- 1/2 cup
Butter- 1/2 cup
Sugar- 1 cup
Egg- 2
All purpose flour- 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp
Bitter sweet/ Dark chocolate, broken into small pieces- 1/4 cup
Walnuts, cut into small pieces- 1/4 cup
Salt- a pinch

Pre-heat the oven to 165C. Place a baking sheet into an 8 inch brownie tin.
Place a saucepan with water and bring to boil. Simmer, place another heat-resistant cooking vessel on top of it and melt the butter and cocoa powder. Mix well and keep aside.
Add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract and mix well.
Finally add the flour, salt, walnuts and the dark chocolate pieces. Make sure you don't mix them too vigorously.
Pour the batter into the brownie tin and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on a rack for a minimum of 30 minutes. Cut them into as many pieces as you like, store in an air tight container and munch on them whenever you want or even better, warm it for 5 seconds in a microwave and serve with ice cream.

Notes: I used dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa in it and the chocolate taste was just marvellous. We are huge fans of the bitter chocolate. But if that's not available, any milk chocolate will do..our very own Cadbury milk chocolate for example.
Walnuts are also optional. I liked the whole crunchy munchy feel.
I used self-raising flour, which worked just fine.
Make sure the brownie is cooled on a rack for as long as possible, as it is still a bit gooey when you take it out of the oven

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Spicy, garlicky potato wedges

I am on a recipe-trying spree...meaning trying out recipes from other blogs. Yeah, i know i have been doing so for a long time now, and its only getting better:)

There have been quite a few disasters as well. Like the other day i tried red velvet cakes and had to chuck it all because it tasted awful. I shall attempt it again when im in the mood.
It was such a cold day and Ro worked from home which meant constant nagging about lunch, tea, nibbles...and he claims i secretly enjoy showering him with all the attention.DUH!
Anyway, I was blog browsing and came across this awesome blog ...drooling, i decided to make something . Unfortunately the only ingredients available were for the Garlicky Baked Fries and i didnt think twice. Give me potatoes in any form any day and i'll be a very happy person. Carbs carbs, i know, but who cares when its so bloody awesome.
I made a few modifications here and there and the result was marvellous. I paired it with a chilli mayo dip and a shot of espresso and I couldnt have asked for more on the cold winter evening.
  • I used baby potatoes- 6 of them cut into wedges
  • I added 3 dry chillies, crushed, to the garlic and EVOO since i did not have cayenne pepper.
  • I also added a half tsp paprika.
The mayo dip is pretty easy as well. I use store bought garlic mayo (4tbsp), add chilli sauce or ketchup (1 tsp) and a few drops of water and mix well to get a smooth paste. Dip dip dip and chomp chomp chomp.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Ah, so thats how a thoran is made!

As you might have already guessed from the title, yesterday i learned how exactly to make an authentic mallu speciality- the thoran (vegetables of your choice with coconut). Till now i was making a mezhukupuratti (something entirely different), throwing in some coconut and calling it a thoran and wondered why it never turned out the sadya (feast) way. Ro used to shout at me asking why i am so stingy when it comes to putting coconut in my thoran and i used to retaliate saying, too much was not healthy. This time i went home, i saw my mom, mom-in-law using coconut oil lavishly and when questioned they said according to recent developments coconut oil was the apparently maintains cholesterol levels. Now that's news. So anyways, yesterday i decided to go veg. (basically i was lazy to go out and shop) and made a carrot and beans thoran and boy did it taste good. And its easy too. I followed Maria's recipe to the dot and it was perfect. Thanks Maria, i now know how different a thoran is from the mezhukupuratti. Ro thought it tasted different. 'Dude that's cos its the real thing.' He is so used to eating the shit i make, that if you give him the real thing he would say its horrible. Now i would say that's good training :)

Monday, 18 January 2010

Can we be more Brit-Dish?

We had the tastiest Brit-dish of all, Bangers and Mash, two days ago and yes, i made it at home. I'm so proud for being able to recreate the exact same thing we've been having at pubs and making a big deal of, when its actually one of the simplest things to make. The first week we were in UK, about 2 years ago, we were staying in a hotel and had to depend on the various restaurants for our daily meals. I wasn't complaining at all. There were so many options and it was indeed the best time to experiment. So on a Sunday afternoon we decided to have brunch at this pub that had advertised their Sunday fact almost all the pubs had advertised Sunday roasts and we were quite sure we wanted to try the roast that was apparently so popular. So i opted for the chicken roast with mash and veggies and Ro ordered the beef roast with chips. Huge quantities, but unbelievably tasteless and bland to the core. So we put in ketchup and mayo and all the sauces that were available and still it wasn't worth eating. We wasted the entire things and i have vowed never to try out the roasts at a pub ever again. The apple pie with custard was however yummy.
Pub food is very basic and its more or less the same everywhere. Unless its a 'Thai Food' Pub or a 'Mexican Food' pub, they usually have the same fare. I realised I'm actually not a big fan of the usual British fare after my bad experiences with the Sunday roasts, fish and chips and pies ( yes all of them). I usually stuck to burgers and I'm so sick of it now. Bangers and Mash are available only at selected places and once i tried it, i knew it was the best of them all. So I now make it a point to check the menu before i go in. Yes, fussy would be an under statement :)

Bangers (sausages): Beef/ chicken/ pork/ venison- 6 (I used beef)
Extra virgin olive oil- 1 tsp (or just enough to coat a non-stick pan to fry the sausages)

Onion- 1/2, sliced
Button mushrooms- 100gms, sliced
Leek (optional)- 1 (only the white part) (replace with spring onions or shallots)
Salt- as required
Pepper- 1 tsp
Oil- left over from frying the sausage as enough oil oozes out
Colmans sausage casserole sauce mix- 1 packet diluted in half a pint water (replace with chicken/beef stock)

Fry the bangers or even better grill them. Keep aside
In a saucepan heat some oil and sautee onions, mushrooms and leek till soft and fragrant. Add enough salt and pepper and continue. Add the Colmans mix and bring to boil. Add the bangers and simmer.

For the mashed potato. I followed the recipe from BBC. Instead of cream i added milk and cheddar cheese and it tasted just fine.

You can use any vegetable of your choice, I used green peas and carrots blanched and then tossed with a bit of butter and pepper.

Place a spoon full mashed potato in the centre of a plate, arrange the bangers on top and pour the gravy over. Enjoy with a mug of beer and its almost like you are in a British Pub.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

French Yogurt Cake with Lemon Marmalade glaze

I am on a baking spree and no ones complaining. Especially Ro who has something to munch on as soon as he gets back from work. Oh I'm dying to start a full time job where i don't have to sit at home and cook and eat what i cook and become fat in the process. This yogurt cake blew my mind away because it was so so soft and also because for the first time my cake came out well. the marmalade was an added advantage and since i had some batter left i decided to make kutti cuppy cakes too:)
I followed this recipe to the dot and boy am i happy i found this online. I am also happy that i get to link it to the other blog and don't have to type out the whole thing...hahaha. Instead here are a whole lotta pics to prove my cake turned out well.

PS: It looks a bit burnt, thanks to my husband who forgot to take it out of the oven when i had clearly instructed him to do so after 10 minutes. Instead he waited till i got out of my half hour bubble bath and now claims he loves the caramelised (read burnt) taste it brings out.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Cocktails at Browns

We had amazing cocktails at Brows Bar & Brasserie last night after a movie. I just had to pen this down before i forgot what it was like. I am a total sucker for cocktails and gin is my new found love. My dad is an ardent gin fan, my husband followed and now its me. I had mentioned Browns on my other blog...about the food...which is not out-of-this-world. There is not much of a variety when it comes to British food anyways! But what i had on New Years Eve..the Guinea Fowl with a coq au vin sauce was awesome. Ro's steak was just about average. So ya basically, food is average, but their selection of cocktails are gorgeous. Like i mentioned before I am in love with gin variations and so i opted for all gin cocktails except for the Cosmopolitan which is a personal favourite. It is so so Carrie Bradshaw-like..the drink i mean :)
Also, they had an offer on all their Signature we kinda went ahead and tried quite a few of them. I know i don't have UK readers, but I'm gonna go ahead and suggest a few. Ro's Mango & Passion Fruit Julep was full of crushed ice and whisky based (not a fan) whereas my Cucumber & Elderflower (I know!) was smooth..again gin based. Ro however thought it tasted like raita (exaggeration to the core) because there were cucumber slices muddled and topped with the cocktail mix. The Martini's however were mind blowing...both mine and Ro's. The Berry & Pomegranate Martini (very berrylicious, and yes i ordered that) and Ro's Apple & Lychee are totally crowd least for us it was! But it was the Grapefruit Cosmo that did the trick for me. I have had Cosmopolitans at a lot of places and i kinda judge a place by the quality of the Cosmo there..yeah weird! So ya, i think i like cocktails at Browns and they are very generous with the mix, unlike some other places (Adams Ribs in Picadilly Circus) where its diluted and not served cold (i could go on with my issues). Oh and Ro also had a very girly Brown Eyes Blue which was intriguing with the blue colour an all. He was embarrassed :)
Here are a few cocktails I tried at home. I don't have fancy stirrers and glasses so it doesn't look too tempting, but they turned out pretty good for a first timer like me....the preparation i mean. Hmm i should probably do a bar tending course ;)

Peach Fizz
Peach Schnapps-60ml
Caster sugar- 2 tsp
Lemon juice- 30ml
Orange Juice- 30ml
Soda water- a small can
Ice cubes- as desired
Shake with cubed ice and strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with soda water.

Champagne Cocktail (serves 2)
Gin- 100ml
Lemon juice- 25ml
Sugar- 2tsp
Any Champagne/Prosecco- to top
Shake well ice cubes, gin, lemon juice and sugar and pour into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne/ Prosecco and stir gently.

Fuzzy Naval (serves 2)
Peach Schnapps- 500ml
Orange juice- 100ml
Ice cubes- as required
Fill the glasses with ice cubes and pour the peach schnapps. Generously top it with orange juice and stir. You can also have a sugary or salty rim.

Sangria (serves 4)
Red wine- 1 cup
Rose wine- 2 cups
Orange juice- 1/2 cup
Gin/ Rum- 60ml (or even less)
Apple- 1, sliced into small cubes
Apricot- 3, "
(pears, oranges etc. etc. can be added)
Sugar- 3tbsp
Lime juice- 1/2 cup
Ice cubes- as required
Mix all this together in a punch bowl. Fill ice cubes in a tall glass and top with Sangria. Serves as a great party drink, especially in Summer.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Chicken Biryani...finally!

Did i mention its cold and snowing and unbelievably sluggish weather? Well its been that way for the past one week and boy i must say I'm enjoying it..well if i don't have to go outside that is! I even end up buying grocery online, can you beat that?
Woke up this morning, well noon rather, and was so totally in the mood for a biryani. The fact that i had almost everything for a full fledged chicken biriyani kinda surprised me. Ro wanted to make his usual one, which never never comes out well for some strange reason, and i decided i do not want to try that but something new instead. So he said i could search online for exactly 10 minutes within which time he said he would clean the chicken. Challenge undertaken, but nope not one easy recipe to be found (i wonder what my definition of an easy biryani would be like though, cos they are never easy!). My biryani's never never come out well in spite of trying out so many different types. Ro has the same question each time. 'er is that biryani sadam? No baby its not, its more like a you wanna sleep on the couch today?
So yeah, just when i was about to settle for our old boring recipe, i found this dum biryani recipeonline. Altered it a bit here and there to suit my laziness, but i still give full credit to he/she who posted it online. Here is my version.

Chicken- 800 gms (I know!!!! it sounds weird..i kinda only had so much left. 1 kg should be fine)
Onions- 2, thinly sliced
Tomatoes- 2, chopped
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tbsp
Oil- 2 tbs

For marinade:
Yogurt- 3/4 cup
Coriander leaves- a handful, chopped finely
Mint leaves- a handful, chopped finely
Chilli pwd- 2 tbsp (I used Kashmiri chilli pwd since we are not so brave)
Garam masala- 2 tbsp
Turmeric pwd- 1/4 tsp
Lime juice- 4 tbsp
Salt- as required

For the rice:
Rice- 2 cups, wash and soak in water for about 15 minutes
Cardamom- 4 pods
Cinnamon- 1 inch stick
Cloves- 3
Nutmeg- a pinch
Black Peppercorns-4
Cumin seeds- 3/4 tsp
Water- 3 cups
Oil- 1 tbsp
Ghee- 1tbs

While the water is kept to boil, heat the oil and ghee in another bigger container. Splutter the rest of the ingredients (spices) till nice and aromatic. To this add the rice (drained and dry by now) and roast for a few minutes, just enough to infuse the flavours. Pour the boiled water into this and cook the rice on low fire for about 5 mins (closed) or just when its about to boil again. Remove and drain the rice immediately. Keep aside. Make sure you don't over cook it.

Heat oil in a large container and add the onions. Once golden brown add the ginger garlic paste and mix well till the raw smell goes. The tomatoes go in next and needs to be cooked till the oil separates. At this point add the chicken marinade and mix well. Cook covered on medium flame. Open the lid and give it a stir once in a while. After about 3 to 4 mins, open the lid and cook on high flame for a further 4 mins or till some of the water from the chicken evaporates. Layer the rice on top of the chicken curry and cook covered for about 20 mins. When you are ready to serve, mix the chicken at the bottom with the rice gently and serve with raita, pickle and pappad.
Notes: We completely ignored the painstaking parts as we were hungry and somehow wanted it on our table. I'm sure it would have paid off well if we had some more patience. Maybe next time!
It got a wee bit burnt at the bottom, which i think is because our heat was a bit on the higher side. Damn the electric hobs!
I didn't do the 'dum' bit the way its supposed to be, but I'm incredibly impressed with the way it turned out.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Plum upside down cake

Why did i have the urge to make this cake? Well, we had guests over for a meal during the Christmas hols and since i was recovering from the long vacation i had just taken i decided to pick up dessert from sainsburys instead of painstakingly making one. I picked up a Plum upside down cake and man it was glorious. Loved it to the last bite and then went back and got more. The Christmas season was soon over and so was the cake. I needed some more and so decided to try it at home and that's it I'm done with trying it at home :)
The plums were a little tarty/sour and i wonder why..also, if at all i try it again, i think il go for the canned plums/peaches/pineapple.

For the topping
Ripe, firm red plums- 5, cut into 8 wedges each
Butter- 1 tbs
Brown sugar- 1/4 cup

For the cake
All purpose flour- 1 cup
White granulated sugar- 2/3 cup
Baking soda- 1/4 tsp
Baking powder- 3/4 tsp
Yogurt- 2/3 cup
Egg- 1 large
Salt- a pinch
Vanilla essence- 1 tsp
Nutmeg- a pinch (optional)
Cinnamon powder- 1/4 tsp (optional)

Preheat the oven to 175C, butter an 8 inch pan and keep ready.
Pit the plums and slice into 8 wedges each. In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar and all the plums to this sauce. Cook them until the sugar dissolves and the juices from the plums become syrupy.
Arrange them as below and spoon the rest of the syrup over the plums.
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking pwd, baking soda, the nutmeg, cinnamon pwd and salt.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and butter till light and fluffy. To this add the egg and milk, mix well. Pour in the flour mix bit by bit and combine well. Pour the batter over the plums and bake until a tooth pick comes out clean, about 50 to 55 mins.
Cool on a rack and after about an hour invert the cake onto a plate.

Notes: When you cook the plums make sure you don't over do it because they can actually come apart
Be extremely careful while turning the cake upside down, because, as you can see, mine hasn't come out that great..patience is a good thing to have while doing this :)
There was a distinct taste of cinnamon which i really didn't like and id suggest you avoid it unless you are a big fan of the flavour.

I am also thoroughly excited because Reflections has awarded me with my first ever blog award. Thank you so so much. I am not too sure how this is done but I'm anyway flaunting it here. Do tell me if I'm wrong. I am also not sure if i have to tag others..which i shan' i leave it to whoever follows it to feel free and grab the award. I tho am thoroughly pleased (huge grin).