Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Poori and pork (tikka) masala

The weather has been brilliant the past couple of days and its (almost) like summer is round the corner. I saw the first few daffodils outside my apartment today and almost jumped up in joy. Even if its not bright and sunny, the temperature sure is in double digits and the winds are bearable. Anything to not go out in layers of clothing is a big relief for me. That said, I'm pretty bummed I couldn't wear my uber cool Coccinelle gloves enough.

So on one of those really good weather days, I was in a mood to cook. Like really, painstakingly make things from scratch. These kinda moods pass by soon, so before it did I became proactive and decided to make poori's. Now, people who know me, know my phobia about kneading, rolling and deep frying. I was willing to forego all that and made a tremendous attempt to make round-like poori's. The optimism was too good to be true, so after the first few, it was back to shapeless ones. But I decided it was high time I jotted down a poori recipe for days like these, where I didn't have to exhaust myself doing google searches for exact water measurements etc.
To go with it, my initial plan was to make the usual potato masala. But that's what I'd do on a lazy day. It was a proactive day instead and so I made pork tikka masala. Now, its not one of those authentic tikka masala recipes, but kinda nice and easy in comparison. Its a slow cooker recipe and I didn't have the time for that and hence used the ever helpful pressure cooker for the same. I'm sure taste-wise, the slow cooker version would have been better, but it served my purpose and tasted great with hot poori's.

Poori (Indian fried bread)- recipe adapted from here (makes 12 medium sized ones)
Chapati flour (atta)- 1 1/2 cups
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Oil- 1 tbsp + enough for deep frying
Warm water- 1/2 cup
In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt.
Rub in the oil as evenly as possible.
Add the warm water bit by bit and bring the flour together.
Knead for a couple of minutes till the dough becomes pliable.
Brush some oil on it, cover with a wet towel and let it rest for about half an hour (or 10 minutes)
When ready to roll, heat enough oil in a pan. Keep the fire on medium heat and wait for it to reach the right temperature.
Knead the dough once more and make 12 golf-ball size balls out of it.
Roll out each ball into a disc, not as thin as a chapati, and keep ready.
Pint a tiny piece of dough and drop into the oil. If its the right temperature, it would immediately float to the top.
Slowly slide in one rolled out disc. When it floats to the top, lightly press it with a ladle, allowing it to puff up.
Roll over and fry the other side similarly.
When it becomes golden brown, take it off the oil, let it drip out the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat the same with the remaining dough.

Pork (tikka) masala- recipe adapted from here
Pork shoulder/ leg (with or without fat)- 1 kg (diced into medium pieces)
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Cumin powder- 1 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 tsp
Chilli powder- 1 tsp
Garam masala- 1/2 tbsp
Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp, roughly chopped
Oil- 2 tbsp
Water- 1/2 cup
Salt- to taste

Onions- 2 large
Garlic- 8 cloves
Ginger- 2 inch piece, peeled, roughed sliced
Plain yoghurt- 1/2 cup
Chilli powder- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Make a paste out of the all the ingredients listed under the marinade section.
Place the diced pork into a large bowl and pour half of the marinade over it. Reserve the other half.
Mix well, cover and leave aside for at least 30 minutes.
When ready to cook, place the marinated pork and water in a pressure cooker and cook till the pork is tender, still holding its shape, about 15 minutes.
Once the pressure subsides, open the lid and if there is a significant amount of water, place it back on medium-high heat and allow most of the liquid to evaporate.
Once that's done, heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan and add the reserved half of onion paste.
Cook till it turns a light brown, about 10 to 12 minutes on medium heat.
Stir in the cooked pork along with all the masala/gravy and cook on high for a couple of minutes, stirring well.
Then, reduce flame to medium and add turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli powder and stir fry till the meat turns darker in colour.
Once you see the oil releasing the sides, sprinkle garam masala, give a final stir and take it off the flame.
Keep covered, and just before serving, sprinkle coriander leaves.

Notes: This is not a spicy preparation, add one green chilli along with the powders, if you want it spicier.
I didn't dry out the pork too much as I wanted it to be a semi-gravy-like consistency for the poori's
You can cook the pork in the pressure cooker for up to 24 hours in advance and do the last bit before you serve.
You can also freeze the dish once completely cooled. Just leave it out at room temperature to thaw and maybe sauté it in a little oil before serving.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

French onion soup

First of all, thanks a bunch to all of you who wrote in with all those words of consolation. It felt good to know I'm not alone in the whole Vday-bday saga. You girls rock. Hugs :)

The husband came back on Friday afternoon with a bad fever and it was like having a baby at home. I panic when anyone other than me fall sick and this was no different. Ro goes a bit overboard and acts like a whiny kid being all 'I'm so cold,' and 'touch and see if I have fever (every 5 mins) and has been on the couch snuggled up under the throw watching telly all day. Every evening I ask him, 'are you going to work tomo,' to which he says 'are you crazy.' So its been lunch and dinner non stop for the past 4 days and it has driven me a bit crazy because I haven't done my usual quota of articles. He claims his appetite has gone for a toss and this morning the fever subsided and turned into a cough and cold. Perfect time for soup I thought and decided on the French onion soup which I've seen in so many restaurants and has been curious about. Scouted around for a recipe and decided on Finla's descriptive one with minor changes.
I am actually jinxed when it comes to soups. I am not crazy about soups and I seldom get them right when I make from scratch. Whenever we crave soup, we go for the canned ones, jazz it up with leek and such and enjoy it hot. I must also add that I am not a fan of the clear soups and prefer the creamy ones (cream of mushroom, chicken and celery topping the list) any day.

That is why I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this soup. I must admit, its not an easy soup to make and takes an awful lot of time. The procedure is pretty straightforward but its all about timing (you cant just leave it to simmer on stove top and watch Gossip Girl in the meantime. I did it and had to face consequences). But the end result is rather rewarding, I assure you. You push past the cheesy bread, dip into the slightly sweet onion soup, and its bliss. Not exaggerating here, but it was delicious on a cold winter evening. I of course paired it with some dry white wine and wished I'd made some more to freeze and keep for a rainy day. Since my soup disasters have been plenty, I was not sure about making a huge quantity and I'm now kicking myself for not doing so. There's always a next time (or is there?).
Recipe adapted from here (serves 2)
Butter- 10 gms
Oil- 1 /2 tbsp
White onions- 2 large, thinly sliced (julienned)
Garlic- 3 pods, chopped fine
Fresh thyme- 1/2 tsp (chopped) (dried is fine as well)
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Balsamic vinegar- 1 tsp
Plain flour- 2 tsp
Beef stock- 500 ml
Dry white wine- 3 tbsp
Sat and pepper- to taste

Ciabatta slices- 10 to 12
Grated cheese- 1/2 cup (I used a mix of sharp Cheddar, Gouda and Emmental)
Garlic powder- 1 tsp
Olive oil- 2 tbsp
Place a large stainless steel sauce pan over medium heat and melt the butter along with the oil
When it starts to sizzle add the chopped onions, garlic and some salt (to draw moisture out) and stir around for a while till the oil and butter coats them well.
After about 10 minutes, reduce heat to super low, add the chopped thyme and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes or till the onions wilt and turn a light brown (very imp.) in colour. Keep stirring in between to prevent the onion from sticking to the bottom. Caramelising the onions on low heat is the trick towards getting the perfect onion soup. You technically do this over a period of 3 hours (but as we all know, that long for the onions to caramelise is just not worth the effort, especially for a sick husband whose taste buds are all screwed up anyway).
Once you attain the light brown colour, add the sugar, crank up the heat to medium and let it turn darker. This could take about 8 to 10 minutes.
Follow up with vinegar and cook for a further 6 to 7 minutes till the colour completely changes to dark brown. Don't forget to keep stirring in between.
Get the stock ready at this point. Heat it up if using pre-made stock, or if using stock cubes, add boiling water to about 1 beef bouillon cube, dissolve and keep ready.
You can also pre heat the grill at this point.
Add the flour and cook for about a minute.
In goes the beef stock and white wine, stir well.
Do a taste check and season with enough salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.
Transfer to soup bowls.
For the croutons, in a small bowl mix together the olive oil and garlic powder.
Arrange the ciabatta slices on a baking tray lined with foil paper and liberally brush the olive oil-garlic mix on both sides.
Place under a grill for exactly a minute.
Take it out, flip to the other side and chuck it back under the grill for one more minute (I managed to burn mine, so watch it like a hawk).

There are two ways to do this: Transfer the soup into oven safe bowls, top with toasted bread slices and generously scatter the cheese on top. Place under the grill till the cheese melts and then have it hot.
The other way to do this is to add the cheese to the toasted slices, chuck them back under the grill till the cheese melts (about 2 mins) and then top the soup with the cheesy slices.
Notes: Don't use the red onions, they will be incredibly sweet.
Replace white wine with Cognac which is better any day
Traditionally a French baguette is used to top the soup, but I'm far from traditional and hence the ciabatta :)
Use 2 minced garlic cloves instead of garlic powder for the bread slices
Be extremely careful while caramelising the onions, as one bad move (could scorch) and your soup could taste bitter.
I followed the second method while assembling simply because my soup bowls were not oven safe.
You should be able to crush the onion easily between two fingers and you can be sure that the consistency is right.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Double chocolate layer cake filled and frosted with chocolate ganache

(Super long whiny post alert...proceed at your own risk, and please I'm sooo over the hate-comments-by anonymous-lurkers' stage, so spare them)
Is everyone over and done with the whole Valentines day drama? After an overdose of mushy stuff on FB, posts on blogs and movies on telly, I for one am done with it. You can also say its sour grapes because my husband didn't even wish me on V day. The fact that we are not really in talking terms worked for both of us because he doesn't believe in birthdays, V days and anniversaries and I believe in them too much that I am annoyed if I'm not made to feel special on all these days. But strangely enough he remembers the day we met, the day we got engaged etc. etc. which I think is cute, but who cares about dates...show some love instead (or a Tiffany's ring would make me a happy (but shallow) woman)

Today is my birthday and it went on like just another day in my boring life. The husband wished me for the heck of it and even bought me something, not because he wanted to but because I'd eat his head about it for the rest of his life, if he didn't show any gesture like that. I blame my parents and friends (and maybe my ex-boyfriends) for this. My mom threw me beautiful birthday parties when I was small and in my teenage years it was treats at restaurants and slumber parties at home. In college it was nights out with the friends and parties at clubs and gifts and flowers. And then, I got married- to someone who thinks all this is overrated-  and it abruptly stopped. Forget V day and anniversaries, (its just another damn day to prove you are stuck with the same guy..oh how I envy you single women), but birthdays are very special to me and I somehow expect something from the ONE person who fills my world. And because that one person doesn't care about the day enough, I end up brooding over my life so far and how I miss home and friends so so so much. I have cried on every birthday of mine for the past 6 years and I don't see that changing. So yesterday, I went and watched a romantic drama that made me cry from beginning to end (DON'T watch The Vow, its a waste of money), and today, I watched a horror movie (like being alone in the house wasn't enough) and made through the 95 minutes with my eyes closed, trying hard to not snap at the frikkin giggling girls sitting behind me. I then came back home, curled up on my sofa and did some more brooding (and fantasised about having a whirlwind of an affair with Mc steamy).
So since I'm not gonna be getting any cake today, I decided to post a chocolate cake recipe here. It's a cake I baked for Ro (yes I still go out of my way to make his birthday fun..call me nuts) a week back , when I'd invited some friends over. As you already know, I hate chocolate and anything to do with it. Chocolate cake tops the list of things I don't like and the fact that I've had a couple of disastrous results doesn't make it any better. Since Ro doesn't care what the end result of anything with chocolate is, I started off making this cake thinking its just going to be average. Boy was I wrong. I must admit that I've never wanted to taste a cake this much in my life. The moment it came out of the oven, I knew I'd like it. Unfortunately, I had to wait for one more day to cut it and taste it which was just too much to handle. But living with a husband who spends an hour (minimum) in the bathroom kinda takes your patience level a notch higher, so pat on the back for me. 

Its a super simple cake to put together and you can make a magnificent 2-layer (9 inch) cake with the said amount. If I'd tried to do the baking and filling and frosting all on the same day, I probably would have gone mad, which is why I decided to bake the cakes a day earlier and fill and frost the next day. It all worked out perfect and I was super proud of my organising skills :). I was a bit apprehensive as to how it would be when sliced into and held my breath when Ro cut into it, but everyone liked it and I didn't mind a piece myself. Ro, however, doused it with some whiskey and said it tasted even better. I don't like whiskey too much, but a bit of brandy would have probably been good. Just warning you, its not one of those super sweet cakes :)
Recipe for the cake adapted from here
Plain flour- 1 3/4 cups
Granulated sugar- 2 cups
Unsweetened cocoa powder- 3/4 cups (I used Dutch processed Green & Blacks)
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Baking soda- 2 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp (kosher, table or sea salt)
Buttermilk- 1 cup
Flavourless vegetable oil- 1/2 cup
Eggs- 2, large
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Freshly brewed espresso coffee- 1 cup

For the ganache 
Plain chocolate- 200 gms + enough for grating
Double cream- 200 ml
Caster sugar- 2 tbsp (optional)
Whisk together the first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. You can either do this using your wire whisk or if you have a free standing mixer, use the paddle attachment and on low speed combine all the dry ingredients together.
In another bowl mix together the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla extract till they all come together.
Add this to the dry ingredients and beat on low till well incorporated. 
With the beater still on low, slowly feed in the coffee and then bring up the speed to medium and beat until fully incorporated
Butter and line 2 9" pans and pour the batter into each. The best way to get more or less even size cakes are to weigh the batter in each tin. I usually do this, but this time I measured approx. 3 cups of batter for each  tin and got cakes of the same size.
Place the tins in the centre rack of an oven preheated at 176C and bake for 35 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean.
Take them out of the oven and leave aside to cool for about 15-20 minutes, after which you can turn it onto a wire rack and wait for it to cool completely.

While that's taken care of, make the ganache.
Chop the chocolate as finely as possible and place in a  heat proof bowl.
Bring the double cream to a boil in a sauce pan, over medium heat.
Take it off the flame and immediately pour over the chocolate.
Let it stand for a couple of minutes after which you can gently start stirring using a whisk or wooden spoon (without incorporating any air into the ganache) till you get a smooth glossy chocolate mix.
Add the caster sugar and gently stir until melted. Keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes for it to slightly harden. Not too much though.
OK so you can basically use the ganache in three different ways- Fill the cake with whichever icing you prefer, put on the other layer, place the cake on a cooling rack and just pour the ganache on top, enabling it to drop off the sides as evenly as possible. Messy, but good shiny, glazed topping would be the end result.
Second would be to whip it up like how you do a normal whipped cream frosting. Bring the ganache to room temperature and whip on high for 2 minutes or so. This could work for cupcakes.
Third, would be to let the ganache harden a wee bit and then use it like how you would do for a butter cream icing, for more thicker frosting and piping designs...which is what I did.
Place the cake on a stand/plate in which you are going to serve.
Generously douse a layer of ganache on top, evening it out with a palette knife, as much as possible.
Place the second cake on top and do a crumb coating by doing up the entire cake in a thin layer of ganache. Try and smooth it out as much as possible. If you ask me, this is the hardest part of frosting a cake.
Keep aside to set for a while and then do the final coating...go ballistic with the remaining ganache and coat the entire cake..again, try and smoothen it out as much as possible.
Decorate with chocolate balls, wafers, chocolate shavings or just grate some chocolate on top and place it in the fridge.
Two hours before serving, bring it back to room temperature and slice using a knife dipped in hot water so you get a neat slice.
Enjoy with some vanilla ice cream or on its own.
Notes: Please use the best possible cocoa available. Dutch processed would be ideal.
One cake had a dome, so I had to slice a bit of the top using a serrated knife.
As I mentioned before, I'd baked the cakes the previous night and once they had cooled down completely, I wrapped them in cling film and stored in the oven at room temperature. They didn't dry out and was as moist as it should be.
Plain chocolate is different from dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Dark choc. would make this more bitter, but if you prefer that, go ahead with the option.
The espresso coffee can be replaced with instant fresh coffee. I put 2 tbsp of instant espresso powder into a cup of boiling water and used that.
I didn't bake both the cakes together because I only have one pan. I also have ready made cake liners (like massive cupcake liners) which I use religiously. So once cake 1 was done, I waited for 5 minutes, and moved it on to a cooling rack (with the cake liner). Placed cake liner 2 into the same cake pan, filled with batter and baked for the exact same time. Took it out and cooled as usual. This is probably not the best way to go about baking 2 cakes, but they both turned out gorgeous.

Linking this to the chocolatelove bloghop event over at Junia's 

Friday, 10 February 2012

Mutton red curry

I am not that much of a mutton fan. The closest I've come to liking it is in a biryani, that too if its got loads of masala and such. In my initial cooking days (like about 4 years back), the only thing I could cook with was chicken breasts. I detested the whole idea of cleaning a chicken and couldn't handle the blood and gore that came with it. Boneless breasts were comparatively easy to dissect and that was thrown into every curry possible. Now the story is different. I actually cant stand chicken breasts which I think are so tasteless and prefers the thigh fillets any day. But the cleaning bit puts me off even now, although it has tremendously improved :)

So anyway, coming back to mutton. I soon got bored with chicken and beef and so one day I picked up some lamb steaks to experiment with. Used a hard core Indian marinade, grilled it and it was horrible. I mean the smell was really bad and somehow it never clicked for either of us. We both avoided eating lamb altogether...
...until a year back when Ro suddenly realised he didn't mind the lamb you get here. So Ro has been happily eating lamb in restaurants and such, whereas I cringe at the very idea. That also probably explains why this is my first ever mutton recipe on the blog. I still don't know the difference between lamb, goat, mutton and baby lamb. I was under the impression that goat was the closest to mutton we get back in India, but boy was I wrong. Ro convinced me to pick up some 'curry goat' as its called from a butcher and I did thinking it would not be bad. Sadly, it had that same weird smell and such and came loaded with fat, that Ro spent a good half hour removing it off the pieces. So till I figure out a good cut/type of goat meat, this is going to be the only recipe around.

That said, the mutton curry was good, or so Ro said. I refused to touch it, except for the gravy which tasted brilliant (honest opinion). So if the mutton is right, then the curry would be perfect is what I think. I am thinking it would be great with beef as well. Next time I suppose. The recipe has been adapted from the book Flavours of the Spice Coast by Mrs. K M Mathew, the book I picked up from Kottayam, much to Ro's and my mother-in-laws despair (saying it had basic recipes and why spend Rs. 600). I on the other hand love the book. Its got pictures (very imp.) and all the mallu things I don't know to make. I hope I try at least a handful of stuff out of the book to compensate for the money I spent on it :)
Mutton- 1/2 kg, with bone
Onion- 1 cup, finely chopped + enough to garnish
Tomatoes- 3, chopped
Water- 1 cup
Oil- 1 tbsp
Salt- to taste

To grind
Kashmiri chilli powder- 2 1 /2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- a little less than 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/4 tsp
Ginger- 1 tsp, grated and sliced
Garlic- 5 cloves, peeled
White vinegar- 2 tsp
Wash and clean the mutton and slice into medium size pieces. 
Grind together all the ingredients under the 'to grind' section and then add the vinegar to make a paste.
Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the chopped onions. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
Throw in the tomatoes and cook till they become mushy.
Add the ground paste and on low heat cook till the oil starts resurfacing.
At this point add the meat and salt and stir well, making sure the masala coats the mutton well enough.
Pour in the water, bring to a boil and close the lid.
Once you see the steam coming, put the weight on and cook for about 4 whistles or till the meat is cooked well. I guess this depends on the type of meat used.
Open the lid once all the pressure is released and if there is lots of water remaining, bring to a simmer and cook till the gravy thickens.
Garnish with some julienned onions and serve hot with rice, roti or puttu
Notes: I used the pressure cooker because that was just easier. If you dont have one, then cover the vessel and cook till the meat is completely done (checking regularly and adding water if required) and then open the lid and simmer till the gravy thickens.
Replace Kashmiri chilli with the spicy one if you prefer it hot. This is a pretty mild curry otherwise.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Spend Vouchers, Get Rewards!

Before we moved to London, about 3 years back, we were in this University town called Nottingham and I absolutely loved the initial year we spent there. Needless to say, after you get a taste of London, you do not want to settle anywhere else. The husband dove into work soon after, leaving me to roam around the city centre aimlessly day in and out. I figured out the way to the mall the very next day and lucky for me, found an apartment a stones throw away. Sooner or later I knew I had to settle down and start cooking and on one of my mall exploration trips i walked into this massive grocery store Tesco. I spotted a cheesecake the moment I walked in and it was love at first sight. OK I'm exaggerating, but seriously, I can count on my hands how many times I have not walked in there in the 1 year we were in Nottingham. I must also add that we lived on the ready meals Tesco had to offer that entire year. They were so so good, even now I spot a Tesco express (a smaller version) somewhere and pick up a cheesy lasagna or bake to reminisce those good ol days. I really have Tesco to thank for the yummy meals we used to devour into.
The best part about shopping regularly at Tesco is their Clubcard. Its a completely free service wherein you can keep collecting points on almost anything you buy from Tesco, both in-store and online, and these points over time get converted into vouchers. For every 150 points collected, you get a voucher worth GBP 1.50 and, if that's not enough, you also get coupons that give you discounts and extra point options which you can redeem when you shop with Tesco. The more points you collect, the more vouchers and benefits you get back. Sounds good? Wait till you hear the rest.
These vouchers that you keep getting along with your Clubcard statements can be used in a number of ways. Some of the options are, spending them on groceries at Tesco stores and online, at their gas filling stations, Tesco direct, Tesco opticians, Mobile phones, Travel insurance and so on. All you need to do is present the voucher when you check out and the relevant value will be deducted from the shopping list. We used to thoroughly make use of  both the discount coupons as well as the Clubcard vouchers, and even now whenever I shop at Tesco, I scan my Clubcard (a permanent extension to my key chain) in the hope of getting all these perks.
But wait, it just keeps getting better. If you dont want to use your vouchers on Tesco, you can spend them on Clubcard Rewards. For every 5 pound Clubcard voucher you hold, you can get up to 20 pounds in Clubcard Rewards. So you can use them on anything- from days out with the family to a romantic dinner for two, club memberships, a holiday for the family, flight tickets, car rentals, books, cinema tickets- really, the options are endless. I myself have used it on various occassions, like restaurants and even entry tickets to amusement parks. keep a constant look out for new deals as Tesco keeps changing them on and off. Also, if you find something great, then dont think twice, just grab it immediately as vouchers may be limited for some services.
Applying for a Clubcard is also pretty straightforward. All you need to do is register online, by post or by phone, and your card will be home in a couple of days, after which you can keep swiping it each time you shop with Tesco and immediately reap benefits. For more details, log on to the Clubcard page which ill provide you with all the desired information.
This is Tesco's way of saying thank you, so why not accept it with a smiling face and open arms :)
Viral video by ebuzzing

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Hot chocolate fudge cake

Wow I think I hit a nerve with my previous post epiphanies. All those who wrote in with their opinions, good for you. I completely salute all you ladies out there who can get a frosting to stay as frosting and substitute ingredients with what's available, in India. But I love my convenience way too much than baking or cooking to oversee it, so I am gonna stick to what I said. 

Since that's out of the way, I shall get down to discussing my favourite subject, the weather. It finally feels like winter in London. Temperatures have gone down to 0 and although there is still no sign of snow, it does get a bit frosty in the mornings. I have always dreaded February (not just because I turn a year older), its the coldest, dreariest month, I feel. 

But the good thing is, I have discovered the benefits of drinking green tea. I mean I have tried it a couple of times in restaurants, but never really liked it, because, lets face, it has absolutely no taste. But then Twinings (the really popular tea brand) came out with their new Green Tea varieties like lemon, ginger, mint etc. and now I'm hooked. I was always a sucker for anything with lemon in it and oh to sip on it in this cold is absolutely soothing. Of course, the benefits like losing weight, reduced risk of heart disease, delaying signs of ageing (ooooh I like that one) are all added advantages, and if sipping on some delicious flavours of green tea is going to help me, why fight it right? So without wasting time, head on over to the Twinings Tea Shop and buy green tea to keep you going this winter.
Coming to the recipe, this ones from my mother-in-law. For a chocolate hater like me, this pudding-like cake did wonders. And by that I mean, I could manage to eat a cup full, that's it. Mamma made it last year when we were in India for her chocolate obsessed son, but guess who enjoyed it more?- the daughter-in-law. The thing is, I enjoyed it way too much to not touch it for one whole year. I binge eat anything I like and then end up hating it with a vengeance. This recipe was jotted down and brought back with the hope of making it to my blog in 2011, but the thought of all that gooey chocolate put me off. Its only today that I had this craving for something warm (trust me, a brioche bread pudding topped the list), and since the ingredients for this chocolate fudge cake was readily available, I went ahead with it.

The technique and recipe is much different from the usual fudge cake and the outcome, absolutely marvellous. The batter layer rises to the top forming a cakey layer and then you dig into it to get the gooey topping which sinks to the bottom. You can either make it in a single casserole dish or in individual ramekins or mugs/cups and be more concerned about how it looks than tastes (like me). I had picked up a lot of prop for the blog from India and now I have this block when it comes to styling and photography. After 1 week there is some sun out here and I ended up with unattractive pictures. So till I get the photography mojo back, you will have to do with bleak, non-creative pictures. Enjoy!
For the cake:
Flour- 1 cup
Baking powder- 2 tsp
Granulated sugar- 2/3rd cup
Cocoa powder- 2 tbsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Milk- 1/2 cup
Oil- 2 tbsp

For the topping
Dark brown sugar- 1 cup
Cocoa powder- 1/4 cup
Boiling water- 1 3/4 cup
Whisk together all the dry ingredients for the cake in a large mixing bowl.
In another smaller bowl, stir together the vanilla, milk, and oil.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well to combine. No traces of flour should be seen. I did this with a wire whisk. Beater is unnecessary.
Grease the dish you are using and pour the batter into it. If using individual ramekins/ cups, then fill each of it till about half full. Keep aside. 
Pre-heat the oven to 200C
Prepare the topping by mixing together the brown sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl.
Sprinkle this mixture over the cake batter as evenly as possible.
Then using the back of a spoon, slowly pour the boiling water over the batter. Do the same with all the ramekins till they are about 3/4th full.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150C and place the bowls inside.
Bake for 30 minutes. Do not over do it.
Take them out, keep aside to cool for a while and either dig in, or once they are completely cool, refrigerate for further use.
Notes: I halved the recipe and got 4 mugs of pudding
The topping procedure mentioned above sounded a bit complicated to me and so mamma gave me an alternative. After you mix the brown sugar and cocoa powder, add a tbsp of hot water to it and mix it till you get a paste-like consistency. Into this add the boiling water slowly using the back of a spoon and mix it all in, Finally, use this mix to then pour on top of the cake batter. That way everything is evenly mixed and you have more control over how much to add in each ramekin.
Since brown sugar is not readily available in Kerala, mamma substitutes it with 3/4th cup of sharkara paani (jaggery syrup) or a cup of jaggery. If using the syrup, make sure you use 2 cups of boiling water instead on 1 3/4.
Add an oz of rum or brandy to the topping and it would be yummm.