Thursday, July 30, 2009

Carrot cake , a sweet and simple bake..

As if all the baking I had already done wasn't enough I also decided to take on Sweet and Simple bakes challenge this month..
As the name suggests though, the recipes are pretty straightforward and this one was particularly something that I had wanted to try since long..I've always relished the idea of a carrot cake but never really given it a go...

Here's my go, adapted from this Basic Recipe to exclude eggs, availability and measures :

2 cups APF
3/4 cup sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 cups grated carrots
4 tbsp shortening (I used unsalted butter)
1/2 cup or so milk
3/4 cup walnuts ,chopped
a handful of raisins.

Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly. Cut the shortening in. Add the carrots and mix well. Pour milk to form a batter. Fold in chopped nuts.Heat oven at 375F and bake for 30-40 mins. I added some slivered almonds on the top after baking for 15 mins to avoid the cream cheese frosting much as I love my cream cheese :)

The cake was a hit, very soft and moist and nutty. I was skeptical about adding the raisins but those gave a nice sweet/sour tang to the cake...definitely a keeper !

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fresh from the oven - Focaccia

Im still eyes burn ..I can barely keep myself awake past 8..I dont know if its the 3-hr time difference or all that walking we did..but am I glad I had tried my challenges before going on my vacation..

This month around on Fresh from the Oven we had to try any kind of Focaccia...I made a whole grain Focaccia which was adapted from some recipes Ive seen around..I did vary it to make those Focaccinni's we find in the Trader Joe's here..those shapes are very convenient to make a lunch sub..

And if I werent so fogged I would tell you the recipe too...but right now Im just gonna be happy I could post the pic...hope you will be too...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Im back !!! and just in time

for Daring Bakers Challenge entry !
This time around : The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She choseChocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Being ultra-busy this month with a week long vacation and some other stuff happening I just tried one of them , the Milano cookies and they came out pretty good , though a bit plumpy :))

Next time around Im going to make them a more thinner and more brownier...but for a first try they werent so bad :)
Check out my fellow Daring Bakers for some more cookie goodness..

Im so tired I could crash on the as its 27th already somewhere Im posting this now...and bidding y'all G'nite !!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Encapsulation and Bolu Kodhel..

Since I came back from India this time, where dudhi aka bottle-gourd is all the rage...(Who woulda thunk that the obscure lauki would be so in-thing ! Apparently , its very good for your heart..) Im trying to find different ways of incorporating bottle-gourd - dudhi in my cooking..
DH hates it and Im not a big apart from the ocassional dudhi-ke-parathe and a kofta here and there I havn't much played with it...tried the juice thing for a while but DH's face when handed me that encouraged to look out for more ways to encapsulate it ;)

Till now , Ive tried it with Chickpeas, also in the Veg Tagine and that's been pretty good...its like tofu in the veggies - as it takes the taste of the spices and seasoning its treated with...pretty versatile that way..and can hide well among mixed vegetables ;)

When I saw this RCI announcement, I had to say it had me flummoxed...I have no idea what Manglorean food tastes like..what are the characteristics ??
Following some helpful links I came across this simple but different recipe for Dudhi and bingo !
2-3 cups dudhi cut in squares
1 tbsp jaggery
1 tbsp tamarind paste
salt to taste
1 tbsp sambar powder

Cook dudhi cubes in water , jaggery nd tamarind paste with salt to taste. Let it cook for 20 mins or so.
Add sambar powder and let cook for another 10 mins.

Tempering : Heat a tbsp of oil, add mustard seeds, 1-2 dry red chillies, curry leaves and add to the curry.
I tried it this weekend and just had with some rice this evening and I have to tell you - if DH noticed its his "favorite" veggie , he didnt even mention it ;)) and he - not a lover of sweet in his food too !! This simple curry is a delicious combination of sweet, sour and hot all together !! You should all try sometimes...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quick nd Pretty

Stats :
  • Inspired by Soma, not Roma
  • Looks pretty
  • Tastes pretty good
  • Caveat Lector - didnt think baking added whole lot of value to it, stove top on a nice skillet should work too.
A good friday night movie accompaniment though !

Monday, July 6, 2009

Yay ! I did it - A.W.E.D- Switzerland !!

Ive been excited since I saw the announcement here - Experiments,Emotions,Experiences with food: A.W.E.D- Switzerland ..
Switzerland...a faraway dream land...snowy peaks...cheeses...chocolates..all things glorious !!

And since actual journey to Swiss seems far-fetched in these recession times, I could atleast do a culinary journey there..I searched for some good vegetarian recipes and though lot of cakes and cookies enticed me , I zeroed in on this one - Aelplermagronen (the Alpine Farmer's Macaroni with Applesauce) .. a pasta with potatoes and cheese...what's not to like ??

I did gather my ingredients over the weekend, a baby swiss cheese (gruyere is quite expensive , and I wasnt sure if I
would like it ) , pasta (Orecchiette instead of conventional macaroni) and thought I would make it for a quick lunch box some evening...Sunday eve , after cooking up all my potatoes I realized that its 5th and tomorrow is the last date for my swiss trial !! So much for advance planning ;(

So today eve, I had to do a quick stop to get some potatoes and put everything together - (makes for 2 people)

4 medium sized potatoes (cut in halves and microwaved till cooked but firm(6-8 mins)
1 medium sized onion , cut thinly
2 garlic pods , minced
some milk to caramelize (instead of cream)
2 cups Pasta, cooked as directed
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
1 tbsp butter

In a large frying pan heat the butter and saute the onions until a light brown. Moisten with milk, add the garlic and bring to boil. Stir in the (cooked) pasta, slice the potatoes and stir into pan. Reheat. Stir in the grated cheese.
Season with salt and pepper. Grate cheese on top as desired.
This came out to be a very full-bodied , rich but not-overly so pasta. I tried it with the prescribed combination ,i.e applesauce and though it provides a nice sweet touch to the base pasta, a sweet pasta didnt really appeal .. I can imagine it better with some veggies added in ...

There ! So I added some saute-ed mushrooms and sprinkled red pepper to make a nice lunch for DH :

I know, last minute.. but at least I didn't miss the train to the Alps :)