26 Dec 2010

Daring bakers challenge Dec 2010 - Stollen

After lot of thinking, I finally finished my second daring bakers challenge. I was thinking whether to do this month's challenge or not, because there was already lot of baking that was going on here at home. Mostly for the Christmas gifts :)
(I really hope that they enjoyed it .......)

Two days back I finished baking the stollen late after we had finished eating dinner. I made it eggless, shaped it in the traditional shape and I made only 1/6 th of the original recipe....yes I did scale down all the ingredients !

I wasnt so happy about the result, the bread was eatable, a bit dry and it looked like I should have shaped it into a loaf.

So below are the ingredients that I used to make the stollen,

All purpose flour - 130 gms
Luke warm water - 10 ml + 30 ml
Active dry yeast - 4 gms
Milk - 40 ml
Mascarpone cheese - 25 gms (I used this in place of butter)
Raw cane sugar (brown sugar) - 20 gms
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/8 tsp
Orange zest - 2 pinches
Vanilla extract - 2/3 tsp
Mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds & cashewnuts) - 35 gms
Cranberries, dry - 10 gms
Kirsch wasser (cherry liqueur) - 1/2 tbsp

Method :

1. Sprinkle the yeast over the luke warm water and let it stand for 5 mins and then stir to dissolve the yeast.

2. Soak the cranberries in the kirsch wasser, keep aside.

3. Heat the milk and 30 ml water in a pan, and stir in the mascarpone cheese to dissolve in it. Once all the mascarpone dissolves remove the pan from heat and let the temperature of the mixture reduce to luke warm.

4. Mix in flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon powder and orange zest in a big bowl.

5. Mix in the vanilla extract and dissolved yeast into the milk-water-mascarpone cheese mixture, mix well.

6. Mix in the above liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix into a soft dough. It should not be sticky. Knead the dough for 6-8 mins, till the nuts or cranberries fall off the dough.

7. Apply oil to the dough and let it rest for 2 hours in a bowl covered with moist cloth or cling film.

8. Punch the dough down and the roll it into a rectangle and then start rolling from one side and make a wreath by joining the ends. Make cuts using a pair of scissors.

9. Let this dough rest for another 2 hours loosely covered with plastic wrap.

10. Preheat the oven at 180°C and bake for 12 minutes and then turn the tray 180 degrees and bake it for another 15 minutes till done.

Thanks for visiting my blog :)

25 Dec 2010

Cumin Macarons - Raspberry rosewater cardamom chocolate ganache

Cheers !!!! to all the people who never give up in spite of facing several failures :)

This is so apt for someone trying to make macarons :P

One day, I found these "glamorous" looking photos of a dessert on one of the food blogs, it was neither a cookie nor a cake. Something so different, that tempted me to give it a try (to make it !).

I say glamorous because, it looks so attractive with the colour combinations of the shell and the filling / ganache. It tempts you to just come and have a little bite...... I will melt away in you mouth it says.....hehe

The more and more I read about it, the more I was lured to making it. I have made it for 3 times till now. The first time I made it I had not read so much, I did not realise that I had to age the egg whites (very stupid of me indeed !!!!). I used the fresh ones and even thought the taste was fine, they were flat and it had a shell but the bottom were like spread and basically flat big feet !

My husband and myself had named it flop-a-rons :P (to get rid of the disappointment and have some fun).

I then did read quite a lot about macarons and how to prepare them from different blogs and websites. It was so very helpful to me. There is a whole lot of people out there making macarons and posting it every month at the mactweets. The blog was started by Jamie and Deeba. They come up with different themes every month for the macarons.

Here is my partially successful 3rd attempt at preparing macarons. I came up with my own proportions. With these proportions, it is not necessary for the macarons to dry for more than 10 mins it looked like. More than that and the macarons had big flat feet.

This is what I used,

Egg whites - from 2 large eggs, aged for 5 days in the refrigerator and 24 hours at room temperature - 76 gms
Almonds, peeled - 110 gms
Powdered sugar - 170 gms
Granulated sugar - 30 gms

1. Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl, till thick & frothy.

2. Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture turns into a thick glossy meringue (like a shaving foam).

3. Pulse together the powdered sugar and almonds. Sift thr powder to remove any lumps.

4. Fold in the powdered ingredients into the meringue in three parts. Fold till the mixture flattens after falling and till it flows back in thick ribbons.

5. Pipe out the macarons on the baking sheets and leave them to dry for around 15 - 20 mins till the top does not stick to your finger.

6. Preheat the oven at 140 degrees C and bake the macarons for 10 - 15 mins depending on their size.

Raspberry rosewater cardamom chocolate ganache

Looks like too many things in a one ganache, but I had an idea how it might taste at the end. It did taste like that (I knew that I will not exactly prefer having so many things in one ganache, But hey unless you try out how does one learn !)

You need,

White chocolate - 100 gms
Dark chocolate (80% cocoa) - 60 gms
Raspberries - 150 gms
(I know I used too much, the amount used can be reduced if you are daring to try this recipe :P )
Powdered sugar - 2 tbsps
Cardamom, powdered - 2
Rose water - 1 tbsp
Heavy cream (35% fat) - 5 tbsps
Sea salt - a pinch

1. In a pan pour the cream and heat it till you start seeing the vapours at this stage switch off the heat and add the cardamom powder. Stir well.

2. Remove the pan of the heat and add the chocolate, raspberries, powdered sugar and sea salt. Stir all  well, let the mixture cool. Refrigerate it overnight and use it the next day.

We did like the taste of the complete sandwiched macarons.

I still am on the quest to preparing the perfect macarons, Wish me Good Luck !

Thanks for visiting my bog :)

23 Dec 2010

Pizza - Baked aubergine and onion pizza

Pizza .......hmmm I have made it from scratch for like 3 times in my life. This time the pizza came out well ...yaay !!!!  ahem ..... excuse me, just got a bit excited.
Bread is a bit tricky to make. Baking is new to me, I will not say completely but it is. I wanted to prepare pizza exactly for 2 persons and voila !..I had it,
- I scaled down all the ingredients
- Changed the steps of baking, because I do not have a pizza stone and the pizza was not quite having the taste.
and I did get a decent pizza. Finally !!!!

I did everything by hand, no machine !
Basic pizza dough - For 2 pizzas(thin crust) - 27 x 18 cm

All purpose flour - 200 gms plus dusting
Salt - 1/3 plus 1/4 tsp (we will use it together, easier for measurement)
Active dry yeast - 1/3 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Water, chilled - 140 ml
Sugar - 1 tsp

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together and then pour in the oil-water mixture and combine to a sticky dough.

2. Knead till the dough is smooth, it leaves the sides and sticks only to the bottom of the bowl. The resulting dough should be springy, elastic and sticky.

3. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts with oiled hands and pat it into 1/2 inch thick discs. Place the dough in a plate or bowl and cover the dish with a plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 2 hours.

4. Prepare the cake form or brownie form (this is what I used) oil it and flour it lightly, just like you would prepare for a cake.

5. Take one of the discs and place it at the center of the brownie form and start flattening the disc from the middle and slowly fill the mould uniformly with a thin layer of the pizza dough. Dont worry if it tears just try to combine it with the thicker part of the spread pizza dough and correct it.

6. After flattening the pizza dough, poke it with a fork all over, helps the crust not bubble up all over.

7. Preheat the oven at 260°C for 45 minutes before baking.

8. Mine is a 23 lt oven with air circulation. So I baked the pizza in the following way,

- 4 minutes lowest rack
- 4 minutes last but one rack
- 20 minutes with the topping in the last but one rack

Pizza sauce - for 4 pizzas (27 x 18 cm)

Tomatoes, ripe and red, chopped - 400 gms
Red onion, finely chopped - 130 gms (2 medium sized)
Garlic, finely chopped - 20 gms (5 cloves)
Cinnamon stick - 1.5 inch
Bay leaf - 1
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Mint leaves - 10
Water - 1/2 cup
Pepper powder (coarse) - 1/4 tsp
Chilli flakes - 1/2 tsp

1. Heat oil in a pan, add the cinnamon, bay leaf and garlic fry till you start seeing few specks of golden brown garlic pieces.

2. Now, add the onions and fry till they are transluscent. At this stage add the tomatoes, mint leaves, salt, pepper powder, chilli flakes. Close the pan and cook till the tomatoes get mashed by the back of the spatula. Now, add the water and simmer the sauce on slow heat till you achieve the spreadable pizza sauce consistency, this takes around 15 - 20 minutes.

Baked Aubergine

Aubergine - 400 gms (1 big)
Olive oil - 2 tbsps
Sea salt - 3 pinches
Pepper powder (coarse) - 1/3 tsp
Italian dried herb mix - 1/4 tsp

1. Preheat the oven at 220°C.

2. Cut the aubergine into 1/2 inch thick roundels, drizzle the oil, sprinkle the sea salt, pepper powder and Italian dried herb mix and mix well to coat all the roundels.

3. Place each of the discs on a baking tray covered with aluminium foil. Bake for 13-16 minutes till they turn a deep golden colour.

Assembling the pizza for final baking,

1. Spread the required amount of sauce on the partially cooked pizza base, sprinkle  some cheese (I used only mozzarella) over the sauce and then place the baked aubergine discs and then sprinkle the thinly sliced onions and finally sprinkle some black olives and some more of the cheese.

2. Bake for 20 minutes at the last but one rack.

Thanks for visiting my blog :)

Colocasia fry - sembu poriyal - arbi fry

This is a continuation of the last blog (Daring cooks challenge). This is one of those very simple tasty dishes.

This is what we need,

Colocasia / arbi / sembu - 300 gms
dry coconut - 1/8 cup
shelled, peeled and dry roasted peanuts - 1/4 cup
green chillies - 2 (dont get scared ..... they were not at all spicy, I could just eat them directly !!)
onion, medium size, finely chopped - 1
garlic - 1 big clove, finely grated or even paste will be good (I was lazy :P)
Cumin seeds - 1/3 tsp
Corriander powder - 1/3 tsp
oil - 1 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste


1. Cook the colocasia, peel it, slice in into roundels and let them dry. Dont try to use them immediately because the dish will become slimy.

2. Coarse grind the peanuts and dry coconut.

3. Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin, garlic and slit green chillies; fry for 10 seconds. Add in the onions and fry till the onions are well cooked.

4. Add the corriander powder and mix. Then add the colocasia mix well, add the ground peanut-coconut mixture. Mix well to coat each of the roundels.

5. Sprinkle the required amount of salt mix well and serve hot.

This dish goes well with rotis and rasam rice.

Thanks for visiting my blog :)

14 Dec 2010

The Daring cooks - poach to perfection !

This is my first daring cooks challenge and this is a very quick post.

I made the simple poached egg using the recipe given here .
I served it for dinner with herbed garlic-dal rasam (South Indian soup) and colocasia fry.

Here is how it looked,

Thanks for visiting my blog :)

5 Dec 2010

Chocolate Pot au creme with mixed berries (melange de baies)

It is snowing, freezing and raining and...... it looks like mother nature is a bit confused......... :P

The temperatures are ranging anything between -4 to 2°C here. The wind is chilly, but not quite like last year. I have become so lazy because of all this and I don't even feel like stepping out of the house. Winter is one season that makes every person feel lazy, tired (hey, I am becoming downright lazy now a days ! too bad.....)

Enough of that lazy talk :P.... I have been dreaming food ! (now that is something different ........I mean not so normal in my life). Even though I admit that I am a big time foodie, that is not something I have ever dreamt about, I mean different sorts of combinations just whizzing away like crazy in your head. And you looking for opportunities to test them. Well, I am still in the process of testing those combinations.

While all this was going on, there were two egg yolks chilling out in the refrigerator. Now I had to do something with them and what a matter of coincidence....... Fanny from Food beam had just posted her recipe of pot au creme de chocolat. Now, I had to try that recipe !

The recipe required heavy cream and milk, I had only low fat cream. I was thinking let me try out and see whether it works. It was good. There is something about baking that has fascinated me since I was a child. I had always wanted to own an oven in which I could bake different sorts of dishes, be it sweet or savoury. Here it my first try and my own recipe for pot au creme, It makes 2 portions.

Cream 25% - 160 ml
Egg yolks from 2 large eggs - 2 (37 gms)
Powdered sugar - 1 tbsp (10gms)
Mixed berries (I used the frozen ones) - 40 gms
Bitter sweet chocolate, finely chopped - 65 gms (can be reduced according to taste)

This is the procedure that I followed,
1. Preheat the oven at 150°C and simultaneously also heat some water in a vessel/pan up to when the water starts simmering. Make the two ramekins ready by placing 20 gms of mixed berries in each of it.

2. Pour the cream in a pan and whisk the egg yolk with the powdered sugar in bowl.

3. When the cream starts steaming, remove from heat. Now, slowly increase the temperature of the egg and sugar mixture by adding the hto cream in parts and then mixing everything in. (you do not want to scramble of the egg yolks, take care !)

4. Now add in the chocolate and mix nicely to dissolve it in the mixture.

5. Place the ramekins in a deep oven proof dish and pour the simmering water upto halfway outside the ramekins. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake at 150°C for 30 minutes.

6. After removing from the oven, allow the ramekins to cool completely before refrigerating them atleast for 3-4 hours or overnight before serving them.

Thanks for visiting my blog :)