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Friday, October 24, 2014

Almond wreath

I should have been born in Paris or somewhere in Italy cos I love pasta and breads and petit fours and gelato. I could eat bread and sandwiches 24/7 and never crave Indian food. I could bake breads all day long and never go weak on the knees. I could smell the aroma of freshly baked bread for all eternity and still want to bake more. That is how much I love the art of baking. There is something about baking that calms your nerves. That contentment you get when you see the loaf rise as you peep through the oven door is boundless.

It was the same feeling with this bread too. Me and the huss love the Almond ring danish from Trader Joe's. The mild almond flavor that runs through every bite is heaven in a plate. Well I am not a danish specialist and that much butter usually intimidates me. So I thought of incorporating just the flavor in our daily bread. The almond flavor is just right and you get it in every bite. Its not as rich as the store bought one but its something for nothing.

~*What U Need*~
Whole milk - 6 tbsp, warm
Instant yeast - 3/4 tsp
Water - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 1/2 tbsp
Egg - 1/2 of an egg
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Unbleached all purpose flour - 2 cups
Melted butter - 2 tbsp

For the filling
Almonds - 1/4 cup
Egg - remaining half
Almond extract - 1/8 - 1/4 tsp
Sugar - 4 tbsp

Butter - 2 tbsp

How I Made it:
Warm milk and water to 115F. Remove from heat and add the yeast and sugar. Mix and set aside for 10 mins. The mixture should have frothed. Take the flour in the bowl of your electric mixer and add the yeast water. egg and salt. Mix till everything is moistened, add the butter and knead with the dough hook for 5-8 mins. The dough should be smooth, but tacky. Oil the mixer bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in the bowl for 1 hour.

Mix the filling ingredients and set aside. Once the dough has doubled in size, take it on a floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle.

Gently spread a thin layer of the filling over the dough, grate butter on top leaving the dough bare around the edges. Now starting on one of the long edges, roll the dough into a long cylinder. Use a large knife to cut the dough down the middle, length wise, and open it up to expose the layers inside. Then alternate crossing the pieces over each other to create a braid. Shape into a ring and move on to a parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 F and allow the bread wreath to rise for 45 minutes. Bake for 22-30 minutes, until brown and crispy on top. Cool completely.

Serve with some milk.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chettinad Chicken Masala

Belated Diwali wishes to all my readers. I am really sorry for not sharing any sweets or savories for this Diwali. I was a bit held up last week but in a good way. I was asked to bake the birthday cake for a lil one. The theme was Cars and the cake that the birthday boy chose was Lightning mcqueen. He wanted a 3D version of the cake and since it was my first time I was skeptical to take up the task. But then the huss encouraged me all the way and yeah I made it. A two tiered Lightning mcqueen cake covered with fondant and decorated with fondant accents. The cake was a big hit and everyone ~ of all the kids totally loved the cake.

Coming to this recipe, Diwali is never complete without a biryani and chicken side dish for us. And so I thought of sharing this delicious and spicy chettinad chicken masala for the day. Chettinad cuisine mostly use pearl onions in the cooking and thats what gives this dish its signature taste. I have used both pearl onions or regular onions to make this dish and both taste awesome but the former always triumphs. And here's the recipe.

~*What U Need*~
Onion - 1, large, finely chopped/small onions - 10-12
Tomato - 1, chopped
Garlic - 3, chopped

To marinate the chicken:
Chicken - 1 lb
Red chilli powder - 1 tso
Chicken curry powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Yogurt - 2 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp

To Grind:
Onion - 1, medium, chopped/small onions - 10
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Green chilli - 1
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tbsp

To grind:
Coconut - 3 tbsp
Cashews - 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp

For tempering:
Oil - 3 tbsp
Fennel seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Cardamom - 2
Bay leaf - 1 small
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp, chopped - to garnish

How I Made it:
Wash the chicken and mix it with all the ingredients under to marinate. Set aside for 30 mins. Grind the ingredients under to grind separately. Heat oil in a pan, when it gets heated add the ingredients under tempering and fry it. Ad chopped onions, garlic and saute until onion turn light golden brown. Add the finely chopped tomatoes and saute till soft and mushy. Add the ground onion paste and saute for 2-3 mins. Add marinated chicken and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Cook till 3/4 th done. Season with salt. Add the ground coconut paste and saute till the raw smell goes off and the chicken is cooked. Add the coriander leaves and remove from flame.

Serve with rice/dosa!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Mango Kulfi | Easy Sweet Recipes

I love kulfis. To describe them simple, kulfis are frozen rabris which is nothing but reduced sweetened milk. Kulfis remind me of my maternity days because I had a very big craving for these beauties when I was pregnant and the small kulfi stall in our office canteen was always my savior. They sold the best kulfis and I used to have one every week. I made these kulfis last week when those memories hit me. I had some canned mango pulp on hand and it found its way into the milk mixture to make these amazing mango kulfis.

~*What U need*~
Evaporated milk - 1 can
Whole milk - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp
Mango pulp - 1/2 cup, I used sweetened so skipped the 2 tbsp sugar
Almonds, Cashews - 1/4 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp

How I Made it:
In a wide pan, add the evaporated milk and whole milk and bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame and simmer for 6-7 mins. Add sugar and boil for 2-3 mins. Reduce the flame to low and add the mango pulp. Stir till dissolved. Add ground almonds and cashews and mix slowly for 5-6 mins. Add cardamom and remove from flame. Cool and pour into moulds. Refrigerate overnight till set.

Serve cool!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Butter Chicken | Side dishes for Parottas/Rotis

As everyone out there is blogging about sweets and savories for Diwali, I donot have even one in my kitty and I am in no mood to make one. That doesn't mean that I will not be preparing anything for the festival, I have some ideas but I am gonna get into it next week only. Diwali is never complete for us without a non-veg three course meal but this Diwali I am planning something new and this Butter Chicken is definitely in the menu. Its rich, creamy and totally addictive and pairs perfectly with parottas and naans.

~*What U Need*~
For the chicken:
Chicken - 1/4 lb, with bone
Yogurt - 1/4 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt, pepper

For the sauce:
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Tomato puree - 3/4 cup
Water - 1/4 cup
Cream - 1/8 cup
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Butter- 2 tbsp
Salt and Pepper to taste
Kasurimethi leaves - 1/4 tsp
Cilantro - 1 tbsp

How I Made it:
In a bowl, mix together the chicken with the marination ingredients and set aside for 30 mins or overnight. Preheat oven to 475 degrees, place the chicken on a baking sheet lined with foil paper and bake it in the oven for 10 minutes, turn the broiler on high and broil till the chicken is charred and then remove from the oven. In a large pan, heat the oil and butter and allow the butter to melt.

Add the cumin seeds and allow them to cook for about 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook till soft, add the ginger garlic paste and cook till raw smell goes off. Add tomato puree and cook for 3-5 mins. Add the garam masala, coriander powder and chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add the chicken, add some water and cover with a lid and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and fenugreek leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste, add in the cilantro and reduce the heat to low and allow to cook gently for a few minutes.

Serve over some jeera rice or parottas or rotis!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Cheesy Spinach Mushroom Quiche

I love trying new dishes at home. Its mainly because one ~ I can customize it to our liking, second ~ I can make it as rich or as skinny as I need and third ~ simply because I love trying new dishes at home. This quiche has been in my to-do list for sometime now. Well that list is a long and ever growing one and I would need another lifetime to strike out every single bookmarked recipe from it. And by making this cheesy quiche I am one down.

Talking about this quiche, it is loaded with carbs, rich in every bite and a sure getaway from your regular meal. Its heavy and even a single slice would be heavy on the tummy. But its nice and an occasional getaway from your daily meal plans would never hurt. Next let me talk about the cheese blend. I have used mozzarella, sharp cheddar and aged parmesan cheese here. You can either use a blend or you can use a single cheese type. But I love the flavor that each cheese gives and hence used a mix here.

~*What U Need*~
For the filling:
Frozen spinach - 1 box, 10 oz
Mushrooms - 8 oz, sliced
Garlic powder - 1/4 tsp
Large eggs - 4
Whole milk - 1 cup
Parmesan cheese - 1/3 cup, grated
Shredded cheese - 1 cup, mix of mozzarella and cheddar
salt & pepper, to taste

For the crust:
Butter - 1/2 cup, cold, diced
All purpose flour - 1 1/4 cups
Salt - to taste
Ice water - 2 -4 tbsp

How I Made it:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
To make the crust, combine flour and salt in food processor. Pulse once to mix. Add butter and process until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of water and pulse, a few times. Add water by tsp pulsing it after every addition till the dough forms a ball.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Press the dough into a disk and refrigerate for 30 mins covering it with cling wrap. In a skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms, sprinkle the garlic, salt and pepper and saute on medium high heat for 7-8 mins or till the mushrooms release all the moisture and there is no water in the skillet.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and parmesan cheese until combined. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

After the 30 mins, roll to about 1/4" thickness. Place in pie plate and press to fit. Blind bake for 8 mins.

Thaw the spinach. Squeeze the water out of the spinach using a cheesecloth. After the pie crust is pre-baked, remove from the oven and spread spinach on top. Add the cooked mushrooms and shredded cheeses. Pour the egg mixture on top. Bake the quiche until it is golden brown on top and the center is no longer wobbly around 45mins - 1 hr. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Serve warm!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Banana & Pecan Bread

Well, everything went fine over the weekend. Pappu is over the moon happy that he started school and looks forward to it every morning. We had a short vacation trip to Door county to enjoy fall colors and thanks be it the weather went from good to great over the weekend. So yeah, I am happy, happy that I could get some time off cooking, happy that my baby is not a cry baby when it comes to school and happy that we took some time off from regular life. Coming to this bread recipe, I made this one to be packed for our travel. The room that we booked had a kitchenette and so I packed this banana bread for the sudden hunger pangs. Moreover Pappu likes to munch on home baked goodies and having this bread on hand ensured that he had something to eat during our stay.

~*What U Need*~
All purpose flour - 1 cup
Whole wheat flour - 3/4 cup
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Almond milk - 1/2 cup
Chopped pecans - 1/2 cup
Egg - 1
Mashed bananas - 1 1/2 cups
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
Brown sugar - 1/2 cup
Granulated sugar - 1/2 cup
Butter - 5 tbsp
Salt - a pinch

How I Made it:
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Beat butter and sugars till light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat till combined. Add the mashed bananas and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and soda. Alternately add the flour mixture milk to the butter, ending with flour mixture. Pour into the greased pan and top with chopped pecans and bake for 60-70 mins. Cool and slice.

Serve with some butter and milk!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Amrakhand / Aam Shrikhand / Mango Shrikhand

Well, pappu starts school tomorrow and we are a tad bit busy buying school supplies, lunch totes and fall jackets. Right now we are in search of a dinosaur face painted lunch tote which is really hard to find and which is driving us crazy. The little dino is so particular on that. With everything that is happening in our lives, I thought that it was time to celebrate life with something sweet. I had some canned kesar mango pulp on hand and this thick and luscious shrikhand is what happened.

~*What U Need*~
Hung Curd - 1/2 cup
Fresh mango - 1 / mango pulp - 1 cup
Sugar - 4 tbsp
Chiroli nuts/nuts of choice - 1 tbsp

How I Made it:
Cut the mango to slices and blend till smooth along with sugar without adding water. Hang the curd in a muslin cloth overnight and discard the whey water(..or if you are like me you can use this water to knead chapathi dough). Alternatively if you have access to greek yogurt use the same. Take the yogurt in a bowl. Whisk till smooth and light. Stir in the mango pulp till blended.

Chill and serve topped with nuts of choice. Tastes best when cool.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

Signs off!!!

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