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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,

Signs off!!!

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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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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Channa Biryani / Chickpea Biryani

Did you know that my facebook id got hacked? Like really. Yes it actually got hacked and it was one hell of a day for me when I had to reply to all the messages asking if it really was me, changing my privacy settings to make it all the more private and breaking my head over how it actually happened. So let me warn you that if you are connected with me via FB and you get a second friend request from me, then DONOT accept or give your personal information at any cost. And many thanks to all my dear friends who stood by me and who felt sorry for me and who helped me in blocking that *!&*T@$%&.

Moving on to the recipe, its been a long time that I have posted a biryani recipe here or to be more specific a vegetarian biryani recipe. I like to take a break from chicken biryanis at times. And when I seek that break and something different I make this channa biryani most of the time. Completely nutritious and tummy filling this is best served with some raitha. I had to make something non-veg for the huss and so made some chicken liver fry for the side. Recipe for the same coming soon.


~*What U Need*~
Serves - 2

Basmati Rice - 1 1/4 cup
Water - 1 3/4 cups
Onions - 2, chopped
Tomato - 1, chopped
Green chilli - 1
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Channa/Chickpea - 1 1/2 cup, ur choice, soaked overnight

Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Biryani masala - 1 tsp, optional
Curd - 1/4 cup
Cinnamon - 1"
Cloves - 2
Cardamom - 2

Coriander leaves - a handful, chopped
Mint leaves - a handful, chopped
Salt, oil

How I Made it:
Clean and soak the rice. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and fry. Throw in the onions and when brown add the slit green chilli, ginger garlic paste and saute till raw smell leaves. Add the tomatoes and fry well. Add the spice powders and when oil starts to separate, add the curd and mix well. Add the chickpeas and saute for 2 mins. Add chopped coriander and mint leaves and then water and rice. Stir well without breaking the rice. Cover and cook for 2 whistles. After the pressure has completely released, uncover and fluff with fork.

Serve hot with raitha or any side dish of choice...


So thats it Folks...
With Love,

Signs off!!!

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Remember the Supernatural brownies that I sent for my brother when my parents left for CA, I made these double chocolate chip cookies as part of the hamper too. When I asked my brother if he had any preference on the cookies, all he said was that he needed loads of chocolate chips. So I made these double chocolate chip cookies ~ soft, chewy, crunchy, totally addictive and a truck load of chocolate chips with every bite.



Adapted from here
Prep time: 20 mins; Cook time: 20 mins; Makes: 30 cookies

~*What U Need*~
Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup
Granulated sugar - 3/4 cup
Brown sugar - 1/2 cup, packed
Egg - 1, room temperature
Vanilla extract - 3/4 tsp
Unbleached all purpose flour - 1 1/2 cups
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Dark & white chocolate chips - 1 1/2 cups

How I Made it:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat well. Blend in the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips, drop by tablespoon onto parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Serve with love!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

Signs off!!!

Interested!!! Click to read more...
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