Archive for the ‘Baked’ Category

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As a child, I would have never thought in my dreams that I would grow up and do any kind of baking. It was that science which would be better left untouched. I remember my mother used to bake simple no-frill cakes on special occasions and she used to literally force me to help her. I cant tell you how much I hated being helper to my mom in the kitchen especially while baking.Those days we didn’t have any hand mixer or blender at our house to mix the batter and we had to mix it with a simple spatula. That was a very hard job to do as my mom use to make cake with malai(If interested in malai you can read more here wiki) and mixing it in a smooth mixture was a tedious thing to do. I use to run away as soon as mom would start baking. Such was the fright!  And now I am here trying to bake my own breads and buns. I am surprised with the transformation since now I am trying to bake so many different things. There is always something to learn and I am certainly proud that I am ready to experiment or try new things. The fresh smell of baked goodies motivates me to try various things.

Coming back to the recipe I wanted to bake a burger bun since long. This multi grain burger bun and tofu patty makes a complete hearty and healthy meal. These buns are fresh and many  times better than the store bought buns as it is healthier due to use of multi grain flour and less sweeter. They taste so delicious that you can eat as-is without any patty or other toppings. Once you bake at home you will never look back to the store bought ‘unhealthy’ buns. The patty I made contains black bean and tofu which is not only healthy but also very yummy. You can enjoy the buns with any patty of your choice

Ingredients :-

For Whole Wheat/Multigrain  Buns :-

Whole Wheat/Multigrain Flour
1.5 Cups
All purpose flour
1.5 cups
Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon
Salt
1 teaspoon
Active yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon
Warm water
1.5 cups
Sugar
2 teaspoon
Olive/Vegetable Oil
3 tablespoon

For Black Bean and Tofu Patties :-

Black Beans, boiled and drained
1 Cup
Extra Firm Tofu
1 block
Green Bell Pepper/Capsicum, finely chopped
1/4 Cup
Onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup
Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon
Black Pepper Powder
1/2 teaspoon
Garam Masala Powder
1 teaspoon
Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup
Salt
to Taste
Oil, For frying
As needed

For Assembling the Burger :-

Multigrain Buns
8
Onion, Cut into roumdels
1 medium
Tomatoes, Cut into roundel
2 medium
Tomato Ketchup
As required
Mayonnaise
As required
Cheese Slices
As required
Avocado Slices
As required

 

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Method :-

For Whole Wheat/Multigrain  Buns :-

  • Warm the water in microwave. It should be lukewarm.
  • Take half cup of water in a bowl and add sugar and yeast to it. Mix it well and keep it aside until it starts frothing. It will take about 10 minutes.
  • In another big bowl take wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking soda and salt and mix it until well combined.
  • Add olive oil, yeast mixture to it and knead it well. In between you can add some warm water if the mixture seems dry.Make a smooth and soft dough.
  • Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover it with dampen tissue paper or kitchen towel in a warm place for about 1 and half hour. By that time dough should have risen to double size. If not keep it for half an hour more.
  • Punch the risen dough with your hands and knead it for 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 6-8 equal parts depending on how big you want.Shape them into smooth balls. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and brush it with olive oil.
  • Place the balls into greased tray  equal distance and keep them in warm place so that they can rise again in double size. This method is proofing. Don’t forget to cover the dough balls with dampen towel.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degree fahrenhite/ 180 degree Celsius  and bake the buns for about 25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
  • Take it out and keep the tray on wire rack. At first the buns will seem hard but they will turn soft as soon as they cool down. Enjoy it with your favorite patties or just like that.They taste so good on own.

For Black Bean and Tofu Patties :-

  • If using raw black beans soak them for about 2-3 hour and blanch them or cook in pressure cooker for 10 minutes.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan. When hot add chopped onion and green bell pepper. Saute it for about 2 minutes and take it out in a bowl and let it cool.
  • Add half of the tofu and boiled beans in food processor and process it for a coarse mixture.
  • In the bowl which you put sauteed vegetables add the tofu and black bean mixture. Also crumble the remaining tofu and add it in this mixture.
  • Add the garlic powder, garam masala powder, black pepper powder and salt to the mixture and combine it well. Refrigerate it for about half an hour.
  • Take out the mixture from freeze when you are ready to make patties. Add bread crumbs to the mixture. Divide the mixture in equal parts and shape them into patties
  • In a griddle add about 1 tablespoon of oil and place the patties into it when oil is hot.
  • Cook evenly on both sides and keep it aside

For Arranging the Burger :-

  • In the same pan in which you made patties add the onion roundels with some dash of salt and drizzle of oil and cook for 1 minute.
  • Cut the burger buns horizontally into half and toast them on the griddle.
  • In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise and tomato ketchup to form homogeneous mixture.
  • Put mayonnaise ketchup mixture in both part of toasted buns. Add tomato roundels and put a pinch of salt and peppercorns.
  • Place the patty on top of it and then add avocado slices. On top add the sauteed onion roundels and place the other half of toasted bun on top.
  • If you want to add cheese slices place it on top of patties. I didn’t want the cheese so I skipped it.

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Notes :-

  • Proofing is very important for the buns. Proofing means the final rise of dough before baking. So don’t skip it.
  • You can even brush the buns with melted butter to get shiny crust.
  • You can use canned beans instead of fresh if you are running out of time.
  • If patty doesn’t hold the shape you can roll them in bread crumbs before grilling.

 

 

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I wonder how simple things in life can bring so much peace to your inner self. It can be anything like your one cup of coffee or tea in the morning or one sweet gesture from a stranger. These simple little things makes your life so easy and uncomplicated. For me its my son’s sweet smile and his unconditional love. He makes my imperfect life so perfect. Same thing applies for food. You may drool over all the fancy items you see in the restaurant but when it comes to homemade food nothing can beat it. Not only its simple, healthy and nutritious but also its made with so much love. Today I am presenting you a dish which is very simple to make at home and is one of the world famous Indian dish which can be found in all or most of the Indian restaurants (Except vegetarian ones) – Tandoori Chicken or Tandoori Murgh. The dish tastes best when marinated overnight which enhances the flavor. In restaurants, its made in a Tandoor (bell shaped clay oven also used to make Naan and Roti) which is the traditional way of cooking this dish. This dish is deliciously spiced with super crisp skin to die for. Generally, in restaurants it gets its bright red color with artificial color which is not only unhealthy but also unnecessary so I skip it. The red chilli paste instead provides excellent color but it also increases spice level. The Kashmiri red chili powder or Paprika will keep the spice level low but also add rich color to the dish.
Ingredients :-

Chicken drumsticks  8 pieces
Red Chilli Paste 4 teaspoons
Ginger and garlic paste 3 tablespoons
Salt to taste
Chat Masala 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Tandoori Masala 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Oil 1 tablespoon
Hung Curd 3 tablespoons
Lemon juice 1 tablespoon

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Method:-

  • Preheat the oven at 400 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Mix everything except Drumsticks under ingredient list in a big bowl.
  • Wash the drumsticks properly and pat dry with kitchen towel or tissue paper.
  • Using a sharp knife make deep slashes in the drumsticks. This makes ensure that the marinade penetrate deep in the meat.
  • Toss the drumsticks with marinade well, cover and refrigerate it minimum for 4-5 hour or overnight. 
  • Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place an oven proof rack over top.
  • Arrange the marinated drumsticks on the rack keeping some distance in between.
  • Cook for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is well cooked.
  • Turn the oven switch to broiler and flash each side of chicken under the broiler for about 5 minutes until the skin is super crisp and bit charred.
  • Serve it hot as a starter or a side dish.

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Notes :-

  • As usual I like my Chicken dishes bit spicy but here you can adjust the chili paste according to your taste.
  • If you don’t have chilli paste you can use Kashmiri or paprika powder for color.

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While browsing through the food pictures from last year, I came across above picture and thought to post it on the blog. Its not one of the best pictures I clicked but I did not get time to bake this cake again for new pictures. There are too many dishes to experiment with and hence most of the times I am not able to re-create my old recipes. I love this cake for its sweet and tangy taste. The sweetness comes from blueberry and tangy taste comes from fresh squeezed orange juice. In the picture you can see how hastily I cut the cake before it cooled down. I am just like that – impatient. I couldn’t wait for the cake to cool down to have a good slice as I wanted to taste it so badly. That will be my advice and tip for any cake – make sure that the cake is not hot/warm and is cooled before cutting the slice from it. You will get the best slice of cake if kept in freeze for at least one hour.You can relish this cake with a cup of milk, coffee or tea. This cake can be a prefect gift to someone you love, someone special like mom as mother’s day is nearby. 

Ingredients :-

All purpose flour 1 and 1/2 cup minus 3 tablespoon
Blueberries 1 cup
Orange juice 1/2 cup
Orange zest 1 tablespoon
Sugar 1 cup
Baking powder 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Baking soda 1/2 teaspoon
Salt 1/2 teaspoon
Yogurt 1/2 cup
Cornstarch 3 tablespoon
Oil 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence 1 teaspoon

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Method :-

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Coat a 9×5 inch loaf pan well with non-stick cooking spray or butter. You can even line the bottom of pan with parchment paper.
  • Wash the blueberries and pat them dry with a kitchen towel. Add some all purpose flour to the blueberries once they are dry and give a good mix. Keep it aside.
  • Sieve the all purpose flour/maida along with cornstarch/cornflour twice to ensure the even mixing.
  • Mix yogurt and sugar in other bowl and add baking powder and baking soda and let it rest for 2-3 minutes so that mixture turns bubbly and frothy.
  • After the mixture turns frothy add oil, vanilla and orange juice to it. Mix well.
  • Add the flour mixture one tablespoon at a time to the wet mixture and mix well. Do not over mix.
  • In the end add the blueberries and orange zest and fold them gently.
  • Put the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool it on wire rack. Let it completely cool before slicing and serving.

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Notes :-

  • You can use orange flavored orange yogurt to enhance the taste
  • You can use cranberries instead of blueberries or mix of both as as both goes well with orange 
  • If you see the top browning too fast loosely cover the cake with aluminium foil.

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Continuing my commitment to post recipes regularly, I started to look at the pictures I took in the past to inspire me for the next post. It was then I stumbled across above picture and started writing this post. I love these buns aka paav aka dinner rolls especially the ones made in Mumbai. They are so fresh, soft, buttery and delicious. The paav forms a base of many popular street foods of Mumbai like Paav Bhaji, Vada Paav, Dabeli, Misal Paav, Masala Paav, etc. Being away from Mumbai since a long time and unavailability of good paav in our town, I decided to try making them. I was tired of using burger buns brought from the store since they do not taste that great with our street food. What’s so special about the laadi paav? It’s the pillow-like texture which you can eat all the time as it is. They are light yellowish brown in color. The overall effort put in to making laadi paav is little bit overwhelming and tedious but results are awesome. Now, I do not fear to make them at home and have stopped buying buns from the store.
Ingredients :-

All Purpose flour 3 cups
 Active Dry Yeast 1 packet
Salt 1 teaspoon
Sugar 2 tablespoon
Butter, room temperature 3 tablespoon 
Water, lukewarm 1 and 1/4 cup

 

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Method :-

  • Mix yeast and lukewarm water together along with sugar. Give it a stir and keep it aside until frothy.
  • Add salt and butter to the yeast and stir well.
  • Slowly add the flour one cup at a time to this mixture until well incorporated. 
  • The mixture will be slightly sticky but don’t worry. The stickiness will be removed while kneading.
  • Lightly dust your clean kitchen counter. Start kneading the sticky dough into the surface for about 10-15 minutes. This process needs lots of your muscle power as you need to knead the dough very well as kneading will help the gluten to develop in dough. It is ok to use some dry flour if needed while kneading ( approximately 2 tablespoon ).
  • Keep the dough into a large lightly greased bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap or damp cloth.
  • Keep it aside for one hour or until the dough is doubled.
  • After an hour knead the dough which would have doubled by size for 5-8 minutes. 
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll it into round shapes. Place the balls on greased baking tray leaving some space in between like about 1 inch.
  • Again cover the dough balls and let it double again. It will take about 45-60 minutes. The balls will get stick to each other.
  • Bake them in a preheated oven at 350 F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Cool them for half an hour before eating as they will feel hard when hot but will turn super soft once cold.
  • Enjoy it as Daabeli, with Pav Bhaji or just simple Maska Pav ( All Mumbai streetside dishes)

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Notes :-

  • You can make this buns/pavs with half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour or even with whole wheat flour. The whole wheat flour will be bit dense.
  • Remember to use good quality yeast. Also yeast reacts best with sugar along with lukewarm water. So water should not be cold or very hot. Lukewarm water has the best temperature for reaction of yeast.
  • Ladi Pav/Bun will stay fresh when stored in air tight container but its most delicious when eaten fresh. 

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Over the past couple years, I have started to bake more often primarily as the store brought cakes are little too sweet for my taste buds. I do like homemade cakes, though. I initially started baking using eggs but its a lot of work for me. Hence, I started to learn baking egg-less cakes. It does not require any special equipment, but there are certain ingredients which helps in making egg-less cakes awesome. The secret ingredient being Vinegar and baking soda, which makes the cake soft and spongy. When Vinegar reacts with baking soda it create air bubbles which result in light aerated cake. Although, I have not tried it but I have heard that you can make egg-less cake with Coca Cola. I will definitely try that too and let you know the outcome. In this cupcake recipe, one of the best thing is the combination of chocolate and raspberry. The cupcake turned out to be light & fluffy and raspberry mousse elevates the taste and brings it to a new level by bringing mild tartness and sweetness together. This is one of the best cupcakes you can try in spring and summer. I personally like to add fruit in cakes or any dessert as it brings lots of colors and freshness to it. This cupcake is very close to my heart as it was made for my cupcake, my little munchkin 5th month birthday celebration. So enjoy this delicious treat on any occasion with your family and friends. 

Ingredients :-

For Chocolate Cup Cakes :-

All Purpose flour 1 and 1/2 cups
Sugar 1 cup
Salt  1/2 teaspoon
Baking Soda 1 teaspoon
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 1/3 cup
Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon
Water 1 cup
Vinegar 1 tablespoon
Oil  1/2 cup

For Raspberry Mousse Frosting :-

Fresh Raspberries 6 oz
Corn Starch Powder 1 tablespoon
Sugar 3/4 Cup
Agar Agar Powder 1 and 1/2 tablespoon
Water 1/3 cup
Cream Cheese 2 1/2 teaspoon
Heavy Whipping Cream 1/2 cup

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Method :-

For Chocolate Cup Cakes :-

  • Preheat the oven for 350 degree Fahrenheit or 180 degree Celsius.
  • Sift all purpose flour and cocoa powder together at least 2 times along in a bowl to remove lumps if any. Sifting also helps in lightening the cake.
  • In the same bowl add sugar, baking soda and salt.
  • Line the muffins tray with cupcakes liner.
  • In other bowl mix all the wet ingredients – water, oil, vanilla extract and vinegar.
  • Combine the wet mixture with dry ones mixing with spatula. Using wire whisk beat the mixture till well incorporated.
  • The batter will not be very thick. Do not over mix it. 
  • Bake it for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Let them cool down completely before frosting otherwise frosting will melt. Its better to keep the cupcakes in freeze for one hour so that frosting can easily set into it. 

For Raspberry Mousse :-

  • For raspberry mousse first we need to start with raspberry jam.
  • In a pan soak the agar agar powder in hot water for about 10 minutes.
  • In a medium pan heat raspberry, sugar, salt and cornstarch on medium heat. Cook  until the mixture gets thickened, pressing the raspberries with spatula in between.
  • It will take about 6-8 minutes. Add the agar agar mixture and boil for one more minute.The mixture should be like a thick slurry in consistency.
  • Then press the raspberries through a strainer, discard the pulp and seeds and reserve the jam. Let it cool.
  • In a deep pan add the cream cheese and heavy whipping cream and with help of beater/hand mixer/stand mixer  beat it on high until soft peaks are formed.
  • Now fold the cooled down raspberry jam into whipped cream mixture gently and slowly. 
  • Refrigerate the mousse at least 6 hours to set it completely. So you can make the mousse one day ahead of the cupcakes to make it as frosting. You can even enjoy the mousse separately
  • Once the cupcakes are completely cool frost them with mousse as you want. You can pipe and decorate or just with help of knife spread it on top.
  • Garnish the cupcakes with fresh raspberries on the top and keep it in in freeze in air tight container.

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Note :-

  • While folding the cream and raspberry jam you have to do it very gently otherwise all the air created during whipping will be lost and mousse will not be light.
  • If you don’t get fresh raspberries you can make the mousse with frozen one too. You can also try the mousse with strawberry as strawberry and chocolate is a known world class combination.
  • This cupcake stays good for 4-5 days in refrigerator.
  • Make sure to use good quality cocoa powder for cupcakes as type of cocoa powder can affect the quality of final result.

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Ah! It’s been such a long time, since my last post was published 7 months ago. I have been consistently inconsistent in publishing recipes in 2015 (its typical me). We traveled a lot in 2015 and it was very difficult to keep up with posting recipes(Again one lame excuse). Last year I striked-off one item from my bucket list of visiting Switzerland. It was my dream since I was 10. The mesmerizing beauty and yummy food (especially cheese and milk) made this trip very awesome. Now coming back to my post, this is a very easy-peasy recipe. Once you make the pesto its very easy to assemble the sandwich.  I personally like basic pesto a lot since you can make endless dishes out of it. I hope and wish to write more dishes this year :). For basil pesto you can find here https://love2experiment.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/baked-pesto-pasta-muffins/

Ingredients :-
For Sandwich :-

Basil Pesto
1/2 cup
Bread Slices
8
Tomato, cut in roundels
1 small
Onion, cut in rings
1 small
Zucchini, cut in roundels
1 small
Eggplant, cut in roundels
1 small
Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
1/4 cup
Salt
to taste
Black Pepper Powder
to taste
Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon
Olive Oil
as required

For Roasted Baby Potatoes :-

Baby Potatoes 8-10
Cherry Tomatoes
4-5
Crushed black Peppercorns
1 teaspoon
Sea Salt
to taste
Olive oil
2 tablespoon
Basil Pesto
1/2 cup

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Method :-

For Sandwich :-

    • Marinate the zucchini and eggplant with salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and garlic powder.
    • Heat the grill pan and spread one teaspoon of oil uniformly.
    • Grill the zucchini and eggplant on both sides till they are 3/4th done.
    • Spread the pesto on each bread slices uniformly
    • Now arrange the grilled eggplant, zucchini, onion rings and tomato roundels uniformly on 4 bread slices.
    • Spread mozzarella cheese equally on the four bread slices
    • Cover it with rest of the four slices.
    • Spray oil on panini press/Sandwich maker and grill the sandwiched till well toasted and golden in color.
    • Enjoy it hot with ketchup.

For Roasted Baby Potatoes :-

    • Preheat oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit.
    • Marinate potatoes with sea salt, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, crushed peppercorns in a cake pan and mix well
    • Put the pan in preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.
    • Remove the cake pan from oven.
    • Add the basil pesto and cherry tomatoes to it and bake it again for 5 minutes
    • Transfer the mixture into serving platter and serve immediately

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Note :-

  • You can add red chili flakes for roasted potatoes if you want to make it spicy.
  • You can use any grilled vegetables as you like.
  • You can even parboil the potatoes and then give it a quick stir fry before adding pesto.
  • You can use potato instead of baby potatoes. Take four of them and cut it into wedges.
  • You can use any pesto other than basil. It can be homemade or ready made. But I guarantee once you try it on your own you will never turn towards the ready made ones.

 

 

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There are times when I feel so lazy to cook daily routine food and want to do something else to make things more exciting. That’s the time when baking comes to my rescue. Baking is an art new to me which I am acquiring slowly and steadily. I love baking be it cakes, muffins, bread etc. It brings me inner joy and pleasure and make me forget all the hassles of day-to-day life. These days I have been experimenting more of ‘egg less’ cakes as I am still learning it. Its fascinating and exciting to see that cakes can still be as moist and fluffy as they are with eggs. Most of my ‘egg less’ baking involves less butter and hence a guilt free delight. I dedicate this yummy muffin recipe to all blueberry lovers. I love blueberry in any form and what would be more appealing than a blueberry muffin or a cake. Its one of my favorite cake. You can even frost this muffins with blueberry mousse to make wonderful cupcakes. I will try for sure and will update my blog accordingly. Till then enjoy this!
Ingredients :-

All Purpose Flour
1 and 1/2 cup minus 3 tbsp
Fresh Blueberries
1 Cup
Cornstarch
3 tbsp
Plain Yogurt/Curd
1 cup
Oil
1/2 cup
Sugar 3/4 cup
Baking Powder 1 tsp
Baking Soda
1/2 tsp
Vanilla Essence
1 tsp

Method :-

    • Wash and dry  the blueberries with kitchen towel and sprinkle 1-2 tsp all purpose flour. Keep aside.
    • Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit/ 180 degree Celsius.
    • Line the muffin tray with muffin liners.
    • Sieve the all purpose flour and cornstarch together twice or thrice to ensure that they mix evenly. Keep it aside
    • Mix curd and sugar in big bowl well. Add the baking powder and baking soda and mix well. let it rest for 3-4 minutes.
    • Now you can see the mixture slightly frothy. Now mix oil and vanilla well to it.
    • Add the flour in batches and mix well so that no lumps remain.
    • Add the blueberries to the mixture and mix evenly.
    • Spoon 3/4th of the prepared muffin liner with batter.
    • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes clean.
    • Cool over on a wire rack.

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Note :-

  • Do not forget to sprinkle some All purpose flour on blueberries so that blueberries doesn’t sink to bottom.
  • Do not beat batter after adding blueberries.
  • Sieving is important part. Don’t miss that as it ensures the even mixing and remove lumps if any.

DSC_0581Sometimes I look for recipes which are fun as well as easy to make and one of the first things which comes to my mind is ‘Pasta’. Most of of the people like Pasta and there are so many variations of Pasta dishes made across the world. Macaroni and cheese is favorite amongst kids so I thought to give it a try by baking macaroni cheese pasta made in muffin pan with pesto and lots of veggies. This can be eaten as a snack, for lunch box or as a dinner. You can put veggies of your choice. The muffin pasta contains many layers and the aroma which comes out of this dish will surely remind you of  a pleasant SPRING day with fresh scent all over. In this recipe, I have mixed the boiled macaronis with homemade pesto. You can skip making pesto but, personally, I like (any type of) pesto such as Basil, Parsley, Cilantro Lime, Sun dried tomato, etc. I have made basil pesto but you can use any type of pesto or even pizza sauce. So what are you waiting for? Just try this recipe for your kids, family or friends. I am sure no one can eat just one and they will thank for trying this recipe. 

Ingredients :-

For Basil Pesto:-

Basil Leaves, Gently packed 2 cup
Garlic cloves, Roughly chopped 2  large
Walnut, Toasted and chopped 1/2 cup
Olive oil 1/3 cup 
Parmesan Cheese, Grated 1/2 cup
Salt 1/2 teaspoon
Black Pepper Powder 1/4 teaspoon
Lemon Juice 1 tablespoon

For Macaroni Muffins:-

Small Macaroni Pasta 1/2 cup
Basil Pesto 1/4 cup
Mozzarella Cheese, Grated 1/2 cup
Parmesan Cheese, Grated 2 tablespoon
Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup
 Olive Oil
3 tablespoon
Chopped Vegetables 1 cup or As needed
Oregano/Italian herb 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Chilli Flakes, Optional 1 teaspoon

Method :-

  • Place basil, olive oil, walnuts, garlic and salt in blender and blend it until mix well.
  • Add Parmesan cheese and blend until smooth. Keep it aside.
  • Preheat the oven at 375 degree Fahrenheit/ 190 degree Celsius.
  • Boil macaronis as per package instructions. I generally add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt in the water so that pasta doesn’t stick to each other.
  • Drain it and keep it aside for cooling.After it cools down mix it with pesto and mozzarella cheese.
  • Grease a muffin pan with olive oil and dust it generously with bread crumbs. Tap off the extra breadcrumbs if any.
  • Fill the muffin pan with macaroni cheese mixture till half of the muffin holder size.
  • Top it with vegetable of your choice. I used red and green bell peppers(capsicum), blanched spinach, blanched broccoli, onion and tomato
  • Top again with mozzarella. Then evenly add Parmesan on each muffin holders.
  • Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of cheese and drizzle some olive oil on top of it.
  • Bake it for 15-18 minutes or until golden crust is formed.
  • Cool down for few minutes and spoon out carefully.
  • Enjoy it with side of Tomato/any soup and bread sticks or Enjoy it alone.

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Notes :-

  • You can blanch the vegetables in the same water in which you have boiled the pasta
  • You can even use spaghetti or noodle for this dish.
  • Don’t forget to dust the pan with breadcrumbs as it will help in holding the shape and crusty texture. Otherwise muffins will become soggy due to the water released from vegetables. 

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Its more than one year since my last post and I simply cant believe how fast time flies. The year 2014 was so much busy as I delivered a cute baby boy who is now one year old. The whole year was really exciting, overwhelming and a roller coaster ride for me. But now as everything has started settling down I restarted to experiment with my love “the food”. All through this time, I did experiment new recipes, took pictures but unfortunately did not get enough time to write the blog. The little one was of course keeping me very busy all the time. I think all the mothers out there can understand what it means to be a MOM. Really Hats Off to all Mothers in this world! Its the most purest and dedicated job in this world. Now coming back to my recipe – I thought of sharing something I really enjoy these days – Baking. I used to make sure to celebrate monthly birthdays of my little one and tried different types of cup cakes on each occasion. Some of them were clicked and some of them were missed. Today I want to share Egg-less Black Forest Cake which I made for his 6th month and 1 year birthdays. I am in love with this cake as its super moist and very light. Black Forest Cake as famous in the US and as Black Forest Gateau in the UK is  a German dessert name Schwarzenegger Kirsch Iorte. It consist of several layers of chocolate cake with whipped cream and cherries in between each layers. Now enough of chatter lets get back to recipe.

Ingredients :-

For Egg less Chocolate Cake :-

All purpose flour 1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp for dusting
Granulated Sugar 1 cup
Cocoa Powder 1/3 cup
Baking Soda 1 teaspoon
Salt 1/2 teaspoon
Water 1 cup
Oil  1/2 cup
Pure Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon
Vinegar 1 tablespoon

For Cherry Filling :-

Dark red sweet pitted cherries 1 can
Sugar 1/3 cup
Corn Starch 3 tbsp
Lemon juice 1 tsp
Water 1 1/4 cup

For Sugar Syrup :-

Reserved Cherry Syrup 1 cup
Sugar 1/4 cup
Kirsch or Cherry Brandy 2 tbsp

For Whipped Cream :-

Heavy Whipping Cream 2 cup
Sugar 1 cup
Vanilla Essence 1 tsp
Chocolate Shavings, for decoration 1 cup

Method :-

For Chocolate Cake :-

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit or 180 degree Celsius.
  • Lightly grease a 9 inch pan with butter and dust it with all purpose flour.
  • Sift All purpose flour and cocoa powder in a wide bowl to remove the lumps.
  • To the same bowl add rest of the dry ingredients i.e sugar, baking soda and salt.
  • In another bowl mix all wet ingredients – water, oil, vanilla extract and vinegar.
  • Now gently fold the wet mixture into dry mixture in batches.
  • Mix it till well blended. Don’t over mix it.
  • Fill the pan with the mixture and bake it in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
  • Check the cake by inserting a toothpick in the center and if it comes clean take it out otherwise bake for few more minutes.
  • Let the pan cool for 10 minutes on wire rack.
  • Now remove cake from the pan and let it cool completely on wire rack.

For Cherry Filling :-

  • Drain cherries keeping the liquid reserved for making sugar syrup.
  • Add water to a small pan.
  • Add cherries along with sugar in the same pan and heat it till bubbles come out whisking occasionally 
  • Make slurry of cornstarch by adding 2 tbsp water in a separate bowl.
  • Add this cornstarch slurry to the pan and keep stirring till the cherry mixture thickens.
  • Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
  • Cool completely.

For Sugar Syrup :-

  • Place 1 cup of the reserved cherry syrup in a small saucepan, along with the sugar, and heat until sugar has dissolved.
  • Remove from heat, add 2 tablespoons Kirsch, and let it cool.

For Icing :-

  • In a bowl, add the cream and beat it using mixer/whisk until soft peaks. Now add in the sugar, vanilla essence and then whip until stiff peaks.
  • Peel the chocolate using a peeler to make the shavings. Then refrigerate until use.

For Assembling :-

  • Take the sponge cake and level the top. Now cut the cake into half using a big knife or serrated knife. Transfer the layers to two different plates.
  • Add sugar syrup on top of both the layers so that cake becomes fully moist
  • Place the bottom layer on inverted plate or turn table.
  •  Add cherry pie filling evenly on top. Reserved the rest of cherry filling if left for future use.
  • Add thick layer of whipping cream and spread it evenly on top of cherry filling.
  • Put the other layer of cake on top of whipped cream evenly.
  • Now take a big dollop of cream and place on top..Now spread the cream using a big knife or spatula.
  • After spreading the cream on top, spread some cream in sides using the big knife. You can still see the crumb and cake as icing is very thin. Smooth the icing as best as you can and let it dry. This is crumb coat icing. Put it in the freeze for about 30 minutes.The crumb coat needs to be dry to the touch before you put the final layer of icing on.
  • After the crumb coat dries out take a big dollop of cream for final icing and spread it on top as well as on sides using a big knife or cake spatula.
  • Add the remaining cream in piping bag and decorate the cake on top and sides.
  • Sprinkle chocolate swirls and curls in sides as well as in top..
  • Decorate the top with remaining cherries in the top.
  • Refrigerate minimum for 6 hr or more and Enjoy!

DSC_0071 Notes :-

  • You can use any type of tinned cherry for this cake. Just check out the tartness and accordingly adjust the sugar while making cherry filling.
  • Adding liqueur is optional and you can  avoid it. But the real taste comes with the Kirsch liqueur.
  • You can make the cake beforehand and keep it in fridge for a week. Just remember to wrap it with plastic foil so that it doesn’t get dry.
  • Similarly you can make the sugar syrup, cherry filling beforehand. The cooler the better.
  • Cake tastes best if kept refrigerated for overnight.
  • I have used Kirsch (a clear liquor distilled from tart cherries) for the cake but you can use other liquors too such as Rum.
  • Remember to add vinegar at last while adding all wet ingredients.
  • You can skip making cherry filling and instead add chopped cherries in between the layers.
  • For chocolate shavings and curls you can use store bought or can use homemade. Its very easy to make. I followed below link  http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/tip/making-chocolate-curls-and-shavings.html

Focaccia

Recently, I have started to experiment making dough and baking different kinds of bread. Generally recipes for making bread requires Electric Stand Mixer which is a big investment. The good news is that the dough can be made using hands which is comparable to the one created by a machine or food processor. Baking a bread needs lot of technique, practice and attention to small details. Focaccia is a flat oven baked Italian bread, not unlike a very thick crusted Pizza, which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients. You can also top it with vegetables, meat and/or cheese. Focaccia is one of the most popular and most ancient breads of Italy and is very easy to make. Its dough is similar in style and texture to that of pizza and consists of flour, oil, water, salt and yeast. It is typically rolled out or pressed by hand into a thick layer of dough and then baked in an oven.

Ingredients

For Focaccia :-

Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup
All purpose flour
1 1/2 cup
Warm Water
1 cup
Milk, warm
1/4 cup
Dry Yeast
1 package
Salt
2 teaspoon
Olive Oil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon
Onion, Thinly sliced
1 large
Tomato, cut into slices
1 medium
Mixed Italian Herbs
2 teaspoon
Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon
Parmesan Cheese, Grated
1/3 cup

For Roasted Potatoes :-

Potatoes, Cut into cubes
1 1/2 cup
Olive Oil
2 tablespoon
Dried Sweet Basil Leaves
1/4 teaspoon
Dried Oregano Leaves
1/2 teaspoon
Dried Parsley Leaves
1/2 teaspoon
Lemon
1 tablespoon
Crushed Red Chilli Peppers
as per taste
Salt
as per taste
Garlic, crushed
1

Method :-

For Focaccia :-

  • In a small bowl, stir together yeast, milk, and sugar. Let rest until yeast dissolves and bubbles form on top, about 10 minutes.
  • Take a medium vessel and add flour, olive oil, salt, Italian herbs and yeast mixture into it and knead it so that mixture binds well.
  • Now take the semi kneaded dough into well floured surface and knead it until dough is smooth. It will take about 5- 10 minutes.
  • Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Knock back the risen dough. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Sprinkle some flour and roll into round discs. Arrange them on a aluminum baking sheet placed in a baking tray and press with your finger tips to make small dents.
  •  Drizzle the dough with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Let rest until the dough becomes puffy, about 20 minutes.
  • Place the sliced onions and tomatoes equally in both of the rolled discs.
  • Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for fifteen to twenty minutes or till the breads gets cooked and turn light brown.
  • Eat them warm and fresh.

Focaccia1

For Italian Style Roasted Potatoes :-

  • In a medium bowl mix all the ingredients .
  • Add the potatoes to the bowl and mix it well so that all potatoes are covered.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with oil.
  • Bake on 450 degree for approx 15-20 minutes or until the edges of potatoes are browned.

Note :-

  • In cold days I put the dough covered with wet cloth under the sun to get the yeast activated.
  • I have used peeled potatoes but it taste best with skin.
  • You can also sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top of baked potatoes.

Focaccia and Roasted potato