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Monday, July 28, 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake Icecream

Be it summer or winter icecreams are always welcome at home. Pappu loves 'iceseem' to the core. And whenever he wants a scoop he goes to the refrigerator and says "kadaa thora iceseem kudu". Thats open the door and give me icecream in our native language. Thats how much he loves his icecream. Well, I am no less. Now coming to this flavor, I love icecream, hubby loves cheesecake and pappu loves strawberries. So combining the three into an icecream for the season sounded just right.

To say that I am totally in love with this icecream is an understatement. I am mad about the flavor pairing. I steal a scoop whenever I pass by the refrigerator and I steal from the kid's share too. The icecream is creamy, slightly tangy and the itsy bitsy white chocolate graham crackers adds to the texture... 

~*What U Need*~
Strawberries - 8 oz, hulled, sliced
Cream cheese - 5 oz
Heavy Cream - 1 cup
Lemon juice - 1/2 tbsp
Sugar - 1/2 cup

Strawberries - 2 oz, Hulled And Finley Diced
Sugar - 1 tsp
Honey Graham crackers - 3 sheets
White chocolate - 1/4 cup
Heavy cream - 1 tsp

How I Made it:
In a blender, puree the strawberries, cream cheese, cream, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Pour into a stainless bowl and place in the freezer. After 1 hour, take the container out and whisk to break all the ice crystals. Repeat this for every half an hour till the icecream is frozen.

For the mix-ins:
In a small bowl combine the strawberries and sugar, mix well and place in the refrigerator. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler with the cream. Cover the graham crackers with melted chocolate and place in the freezer. Once completely frozen, chop into pieces. Before the final cycle of whisking the icecream add the strawberry and graham cracker pieces. Freeze till completely frozen...


Scoop and serve!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Basbousa / Namoura | A Middle Eastern Delicacy

This months Home Baker's challenge was held by Nupur of UK Rasoi and she selected a variety of Arabian delicacies. When I went through the recipes, I was instantly hooked to the Basbousa. In fact I have been hooked with this sweet for quite some time. I have never tried it but something about this dessert felt so rich and heavenly. I am not sure whether it is the use of dessicated coconut or the combination of almond extract and rosewater but something about this dessert seemed to touch the right spot. And just as I believed this dish is heavenly in every bite. It is best served slightly warm so feel free to zap it into the microwave for few seconds.



~*What U need*~
Fine semolina - 1/2 + 1/8 cup
All purpose flour - 1/4 cup
Shredded coconut - 3/4 cup(I used homemade, check notes)
Milk - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 6 tbsp
Egg - 1/2 of an egg
Almond extract - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Butter - 4 tbsp

Blanched almonds - 16
For the sugar syrup:
Water - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Rose water - 1/2 tbsp

How I Made it:
First prepare the sugar syrup. This is because the syrup should be completely cool when pouring onto the cake. Bring the water, sugar & lemon juice to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 6 mins. Add the rosewater and simmer for another 3-4 mins. Transfer the syrup into a measuring jug and let it cool down. Lets make the cake. Mix together the semolina, flour, coconut, sugar & baking powder. Melt the butter, add the milk, egg and almond extract and mix till combined. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Prepare the pan with butter. Transfer the mixture into the baking pan. Place the blanched almonds on the top. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 20 mins. With a buttered knife cut into pieces. Bake for another 20 mins. Once baked, retrace the cuts made with a knife. Pour the syrup over the warm Basbousa.

** My notes:
** To blanch almonds, soak the almonds in warm water for 10 mins and then peel the skin. Pat dry the almonds and use as needed.
** To make fresh dessicated coconut at home, dry roast freshly grated coconut in very low heat for 6-8 mins or till there is no water remaining when touched. Allow to cool and then blend in a coffee grinder with 1 tbsp of sugar till fine.

Serve warm!!!


So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Black Forest Cake | The Perfect One

For June's Cooking secretly challenge, I was paired with Sathya from Appetite treats, a gorgeous blog filled with awesome recipes and awesome picture. This time I was challenged with one my favorite ingredients ever ~ "Chocolate". I thought about brownies, pots de creme and even chocolate macaroons. Well, you know me and my laziness and finally ended up with merging the challenge and my huss's birthday cake. And it was chocolate all the way.

We are not big fans of buttercream and so I mostly stick to whipped cream frosting when I bake for friends and family. Also its been a long time since we had a blackforest cake, the last one being pappu's first birthday cake. After I moved to the US, I have been experimenting with other flavors and the all time classic remained untouched.

Ever since I made fondant toppers for pappu's second birthday themed cakes, the huss has been asking me to do a simple fondant topper for his forthcoming birthday cakes too. He is a big fan of race bikes, Valentino Rossi being his idol. I knew what had to go as the fondant topper, only that I had very little fondant at hand and I didn't want to make a big batch just for the sake of his cake. So instead of making a standing bike, I made this flat kinda topper. The huss totally loved it.


Prep time: 40 mins; Cooking time: 30 to 35 minus; Serves - 10-12

~*What U Need*~
For the cake:
All purpose flour - 1 3/4 cup
Cocoa powder - 3/4 cup
Baking powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1 tso
Eggs - 2, room temperature
Whole milk - 1 cup, room temp
Vegetable oil - 1/2 cup
Freshly brewed coffee - 1 cup, boiling

Cherry pie filling - 1 can

For the whipped cream:
Heavy cream - 2 cups, chilled
Icing sugar - 1/2 cup
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp

How I Made it:
Preheat the oven 350F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile boil the coffee. Stir in boiling coffee. Divide batter between the two prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until thin knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Reserve 8 cherries from the can for decorating. Pour the filling onto a sieve and separate the cherries and juice. To make the whipped cream, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream until ready to use. Once the cakes are cool, using a serrated knife, cut each cake into two. Place one layer on a serving platter. Using a pastry brush brush some cherry syrup on the cake. Top with about ½ to ¾ cup whipped cream, spread cherries on top of this. Repeat with remaining layers. After placing the final layer, use the remaining cream to decorate as desired. I made a chocolate lace border with some melted chocolate.


Serve chilled!!!


So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chicken Kothu Parotta

One thing that I miss the most about Chennai is the food. Be it our simple bakery-style puffs or our newly evolved shawarmas or our authentic chettinadu cuisine everything about Chennai smells good when it comes to food. I am totally missing the hot food that we get in Namma chennai. The only option that we have here is making them at home. Be it parottas or biryanis or a simple comforting sambar saadam, all has to be done at home. Last week we had this sudden craving for kothu parottas, like the ones you get from the roadsides back in Chennai, filled with eggs and chicken. I tried replicating it at home and it was a big hit with the huss.


~*What U Need*~
Parottas - 5, shredded
Onion - 1, large, chopped
Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
Eggs - 2
Cooked Chicken - 3/4 cup
Fennel or saunf seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Green chilli - 2, chopped
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Chicken curry powder - 1 tsp
Oil, salt

How I Made it:
Shred the parotta finely. Heat oil in a kadai, add the fennel seeds and allow to brown. Add onions and saute. Add the green chilli and curry leaves and fry till onions turn soft. Add the tomatoes and saute till oil separates. Move this to the side of the pan and scramble the eggs at high heat. Once scrambled, mix the egg with the onion mixture. Next add the shredded chilli chicken pieces and mix well. Add the spice powders and some water and mix till you get a masala. Set the flame to high, add the parotta pieces and keep folding till the parotta is coated with the masala and the mixture dries a bit. Remove from flame.

Serve hot with onion raitha!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Fruit Trifle | Leftover recipes

I like putting together dishes from leftovers. You never know what would be the end product. You add whatever your heart tells with the mouth leading you in every step. This trifle happened just like that. I had some cake slices and about a cup of cool whip and that made me come up with this trifle. Pappu went totally gaga over the trifle when I took it for our after-dessert. He loves "staaawberry" and every bit of staaawberry on the trifle had to be his. The trifle tastes best when chilled overnight.


~*What U Need*~
Leftover cake - 1 cup
Strawberries - 1/2 cup
Nectarine - 1
Sugar - 2 + 2 tbsp
Cook whip - 1 cup

How I made it:
Slice the strawberries and nectarines. Add the sugar to each and mix well. Refrigerate for 30 mins. To layer the dessert, arrange the cake slices, spoon the strawberries followed by the whipped cream. Layer the next set of cake slices. This time spoon over the nectarines. Repeat and finally spoon over the fruits.

Serve chilled!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Friday, July 11, 2014

4th of July Granita | Berry & Yogurt Granitas

I had never thought of making a 4th of July dessert. But all the desserts out there had always got me hooked to the screen. So when the people from Raise.com asked me to write a blog on fourth of July desserts, I got into thinking. I wanted to make it colorful but healthy at the same time. The berries of the season came to the rescue. Raspberries and blueberries made the colors of the flag and a simple yogurt granita or Indian lassi inspired granita made for the white layer.

Raise is a new platform where you can buy gift cards to your favorite brands at a discounted price and sell your unused gift cards for cash! From Wal-Mart to Kroger, they have gift cards to meet all of your party needs. They have created a holiday inspired blog post called, “4th of July Fun,” featuring some favorite festive 4th of July recipes!


~*What U Need*~
For the raspberry granita:
Raspberries - 1 cup
Water - 2-3 tbsp
Honey - 2 tbsp

How I Made it:
Clean and pat dry the raspberries. In a blender, blend raspberries, water and honey until smooth. Pass through a sieve to remove seeds. Pour into an aluminium loaf pan or a plastic airtight box. Freeze for 1 hour. Scrape with a fork, you will get flakes of ice. Return to freezer. Repeat the process every 30 mins. When there is no remaining blocks of ice, u are good to go.

For the blueberry granita:
Blueberries - 1 cup
Water - 2-3 tbsp
Honey - 2 tbsp

How I Made it:
Clean and pat dry the blueberries. In a blender, blend blueberries, water and honey until smooth. Pass through a sieve. Pour into an aluminium loaf pan or a plastic airtight box. Freeze for 1 hour. Scrape with a fork, you will get flakes of ice. Return to freezer. Repeat the process every 30 mins. When there is no remaining blocks of ice, u are good to go.

For the yogurt granita:
Greek Yogurt - 1 cup
Water - 2-3 tbsp
Honey - 2 tbsp

How I Made it:
In a blender, blend yogurt, water and honey until smooth. Pour into an aluminium loaf pan or a plastic airtight box. Freeze for 1 hour. Scrape with a fork, you will get flakes of ice. Return to freezer. Repeat the process every 30 mins. When there is no remaining blocks of ice, u are good to go.

To serve layer the granita in shot glasses as shown in pic and serve immediately. Healthy granitas are ready.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Almond cookies

Like I said before, I am still searching for recipes that incorporates nuts in some form so that my son who is a fussy eater can have his regular intake of nuts. And one such thing that I came up was this almond maaladdoos which was well received by everyone. This time I tried to make some cookies with only ground almonds. I didnt use almond flour cos then I should have made some french macarons. All I did was grind some almonds with the confectioner's sugar, sieve it once and then fold it into the whipped egg whites. The result was some crunchy and yummy almond cookies.

~*What U Need*~
Egg whites - 2
Confectioner's sugar - 1 cup
Ground almonds - 3/4 cup
Granulated sugar - 1/4 cup

How I Made it:
Pulse confectioners’ sugar and ground almonds in a food processor until combined. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add granulated sugar by tablespoon. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time till the sides turn brown. Let cookies cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Serve with love!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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