27 Feb 2011

Daring bakers Feb 2011 : Vanilla Blanc battu panna cotta (vegetarian) with passion fruit gelee and Five cereal florentines

Quite a simple baking challenge but a tricky panna cotta challenge !

This month's daring baker's challenge was hosted by Mallory of asofainthekitchen. After much thinking, I tried to give it a go. Since I am trying to avoid baking (regularly) as all that is showing of on the waistline !!!!! I tried making a really low fat vegetarian version of panna cotta (a trial which did not work so well as in the texture) and I also reduced the amount of butter and sugar in the florentines.

So here is a quick post on the ridiculously low fat panna cotta and perfectly sweet and lacy five cereal florentines.

Vanilla Blanc battu panna cotta (vegetarian)

Milk (2.5 % fat) - 250 gms
Blanc battu (0.2 % fat) - 200 gms
Agar agar powder - 8 gms
Sugar - 50 gms
Vanilla sugar - 20 gms

1. In a pan pour in the milk, the sugar both varieties and the agar agar powder. Stir well till there are no lumps.

2. On Low heat bring this mixture to a boil and let it boil for 2 mins.

3. Take of the heat, let it cool to room temperature. Keep stirring in between. When cool add in the blanc battu (I mixed it into the hot milk mixture and it split, let me just hope that it still tastes good.... ). Mix well. Pour into two (or more) serving glasses / ramekins / moulds. Let it cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating it.

Passion fruit gelée
Passion fruits - 2
Sugar - 1 tsp
Water - 1 tbsp
Agar agar powder - 1/3 tsp

1. Dissolve the sugar into the scraped out passion fruit pulp.

2. In a pan dissolve the agar agar powder in the water and heat it for 10 - 15 secs. Remove from heat.

3. Immediately pour in the fruits mixture into the pan and stir well to combine.

4. Pour this mixture over the already firming up panna cotta. Let this also cool to room temperature and then refrigerate till you serve.

Five cereal florentines

Butter - 25 gms
Rolled five cereal mix - 40 gms
Raw cane sugar - 40 gms
Molases - 10 gms
Plain flour - 20 gms
Vanilla extract - 1/4 tsp
Milk - 15 gms
Salt - a tiny pinch

1. Preheat the oven at 190 deg C.

2. Melt the butter in a pan, once the butter has melted tip in rest of the ingredients and mix to combine.

3. Line a baking tray with baking paper, using a spoon drop on the prepared tray 8 equal discs of the mixture. Flatten it a bit. Bake for 8-10 mins at 190 deg C.

4. Allow the florentines to cool before you try to handle them.

This recipe makes 8 big florentines (unsandwiched). They were just sweet enough.

I did this at the real last minute and posted it......phew !!!!! (I had fun, was really not much of the usual pressure you have while baking a new dish). Thanks for having hosted a cool challenge Mallory  :)

Thanks for visiting my blog :)

14 Feb 2011

Daring cooks Feb 2011 : Cold soba salad and tempura

WOW..........yumm !!

We really liked the combinations. I found it very easy to make and I made a vegan version of tempura which came out well and tasted as good.

I will definitely make this again !

I thank Lisa for challenging us with this Noodle dish from Japan. I simply loved this challenge. The best and the most enjoyable part of the challenge was eating it :P

I just followed the recipe given here, scaled it down and made it vegan (egg free) and vegetarian for us. I also did not find any soba noodles, so I used the regular noodles that is easily available in the Asian food section here.

Some pics (taken in a real hurry !!) of our Japanese lunch.

Thanks for visiting my blog :)

8 Feb 2011

Mushroom biriyani, onion raita and couscous halwa

It is quite sometime since I blogged :)

Yesterday I got hands on some very fresh white button mushrooms here and I prepared a lightly spiced rice using them as the main ingredient.

No one can beat mom in preparing mushroom biriyani. The taste is simply WOW !........Whenever she prepares this dish, the whole house retains the utterly mouth watering aromas of the spiced basmati rice. I have tried this dish several times, to my delight only today was it tasting a little like the one mom used to prepare. Do not get discouraged by me saying this, I had an ingredient missing !!!! It was Garam masala powder. This powdered spice mix enhances the flavour of a dish immensely and caution has to be taken to not add too much of this spice powder to a dish.

I had recently bought a pack of couscous. I prepared it with some veggies, just like the Indian vegetable upma. I had cooked the couscous separately before adding it to the veggies. As soon as the couscous was cooked, I had a taste of it and at that moment I immediately developed a strong liking for it. The taste was very familiar to my taste buds I felt and was thinking what all I can do with it. Today I tried a very popular sweet dish, Rava kesari. But instead of semolina I made it with couscous. It tasted nice. Simple and sweet :)

I had quickly noted down what I had done when I was taking my lunch. So here is what I did and you will need the ingredients given below to try out my recipes !

Mushroom Biriyani

To be (pressure) cooked with 2 cups of water separately

White button mushrooms - 250 gms - each quatered
Red onion, big - 1 - finely chopped
Ginger - 1"x1" piece - finely chopped
Garlic, big cloves - 5 - finely chopped
Cloves - 2
Cardamom - 1
Cinnamon - 2"x1" piece
Star anise - 1/2
Salt - 1/2 tsp

Other ingredients

Basmati rice - 1 cup
Red onion, big - 1 - thinly sliced
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 1/2 tsp
Mint leaves, small - 15
Cinnamon - 1"x0.5" piece
Cloves - 4
Shah jeera - a pinch
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp
Ghee / Clarified butter - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp

I assume that as told the ingredients to be separately cooked are cooked and kept ready. The cooked mushroom and spice mixture must be strained and separated from the water. Reserve this stock for adding later.

1. Heat the oil and ghee in a thick bottomed vessel / pan. Add in the whole spices and asafoetida, fry for 10 secs. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for almost a minute.

2. Add the sliced onions and fry till they are transluscent. Now add the chopped mint leaves to it and fry for a minute.

3. Now add the cooked mushroom spice mixture and rice, mix well. Add in the reserved stock (I used 1 1/2 cups of stock for 1 cup rice). Add salt, bring it to a boil and then reduce the flame and cook it on low heat till done or else, if you have electric stove like me you can pressure cook the rice mixture by transferring it to a container that can be put inside the cooker and cooked (There lot of ways to cook the rice). Sprinkle some chopped corriander leaves and serve.

Serve hot with raita or kuruma.

This recipe serves 4 persons with one another maincourse dish (like roti and a dry sabji). For 2 people it might get a bit monotonus.

Onion raita

Red onion, small - 1 - finely chopped
Corriander - 3 sprigs - chopped
Curd / Yoghurt - 3/4 cup
Water - 1/4 cup (I added water since the curd was too thick)
salt - 1/3 tsp (always taste before adding)

1. In a bowl mix in all the ingredients and serve as an accompaniment with spiced rice or parathas.

Couscous halwa

Couscous - 1/2 cup
Raw cane sugar or any other sugar - 3/8 cup (the raw cane sugar is not the Indian jaggery)
Milk - 3/8 cup
Water - 1/4 cup
Almonds - 4 - chopped
Cashews - 4 -broken
Dry grapes (kismis) - 10
Ghee / Clarified butter - 1 tsp
Cardamom - 3 pods - powdered
Salt - a pinch

1. Heat a pan with ghee, fry the cahews till golden and the dry grapes till they puff up. Immediately add the couscous and fry for 2 minutes.

2. Add the sugar, salt, chopped almonds, milk, water and powdered cardamom. Mix well. Bring to boil and close with the lid and cook till done.

Serve the couscous halwa warm or cold.

Some glimpses of my today's lunch :)

Thanks for visiting my blog :)