Thursday, October 23, 2014

Brittania Nut & Raisin Romance - A Product Review

Sometime back I got a mail from Britannia, asking whether I would be interested in reviewing their latest offering - Nut & Raisins Cake. Well, I couldn't refuse, simply because I adore anything and everything that says "cake", and, of course, my kids are a huge fan of Britannia products! Another reason was that accepting to do the review would mean getting back to blogging and pay the richly deserved attention my blog merits! 

Cutting a long story short, the cake was delivered and promptly eaten and the need to post about it was forgotten. But then today, while flipping through the channels, I saw the ad for the cake and immediately remembered my promise to review the cake. And so here it is...

Browsing through pinterest the other day, I came across a quote that said,

"Fabulous is health, happiness, home and cake ". 

Well to me it sums up life beautifully. My earlier posts are an indication of my love for cakes and my son gets this 'genetically biased towards cake' syndrome from me! So the cake had to be reviewed.



How does it look ?

When a package screams Nuts & Raisins Romance, it literally sings paeans to eternal romanticists like me. So when the package arrived all dolled up in a shimmery brown & gold with cute lil doodles adding a quirky charm; it was a 'wow' moment indeed. I loved the nice packaging of the cake which was encased in a thin plastic case. The cake itself looked hot in dark brown and a pleasant nutty aroma wafting through it, spelt romance. The package clearly mentions the ingredients along with the nutrition information/100 gms and other mandatory details.



How does it taste?

The blurb on the package promises a rich & delightful shower of almonds and raisins whilst the orange peel in it suggests a burst of citrusy freshness. I loved the fact that every bite of the cake gave a surge of raisins & almond. However, my taste buds did complain of dryness in every bite. Whilst it cannot be denied that artificial flavours are required to prolong its shelf life, it did play havoc with the moistness and the taste. 

The cake was a nice tea-time companion.

What does it cost?

Priced moderately at INR 50/- the cake is a rich addition to the variety in snacking. 

Serving Suggestions:-

Indulge in it as such or pair it with your evening cuppa. It also acts as a wonderful recess snacks for your kids.

Thumbs up to :-
  • On-the-go snack
  • Mass appeal to kids & adults
  • Good idea for entertaining guests
  • Can serve as an ideal product in gift baskets
Final Word:-

All those moments of what to eat at 4 P.M that hits my kids regularly was driven away by a generous slice of the cake.


Note:-

It contains eggs, so it might be a deterrent to Vegans, Vegetarians and anyone who does not eat egg. My hubby also felt a strong taste of the egg in the cake and didn't enjoy it very well.

Thank you Britannia for sending me the cake for the review. The views expressed here are completely my own. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Happy Deepavali to all" - enjoy Thenkuzhal - A Savoury Snack

Whenever I think about the festival of lights, I look back with great fondness and remember those days when the festivities was synonymous with hogging! Yes - eating as if there was no tomorrow. Deepavali or Diwali, "the festival of lights", was a great excuse to raid my mom's overflowing pantry and my partner in crime, aka my lil sis was a great ally. I remember my mom would start making all the yummy savouries and sweets a good fortnight in advance and the pantry would groan with those utterly scrumptious goodies waiting to be hogged and we woulds do just that! We were never satisfied with the eating curfew that was imposed and rightly so; those were the days when even an over-flowing plate meant a half-satisfied belly and a thoroughly dissatisfied mind! So attacking the larder it was! My sis & me would invent all those impossible-to-detect codes, to signal that mom was sleeping or that she was awake or in the battlefield (kitchen). Thereafter we would do those snack-vanishing acts with immense pride and joy! Ah! those days; now when I see my son slowly creeping into the kitchen and tiptoeing his way to the pantry to plunder the loot, I feel life has come back full circle!



Diwali is such a joy to behold - a home decorated with lovely diyas placed all over.The festivities signifying the victory of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. 


                          (Source:here)

On Diwali nights, after a puja invoking the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, the joyous and rather sonorous affair of bursting crackers follow. Between all of them is the constant flipping of channels to catch in the latest flick or whatever and then of course snacking!

Talking of snacks, this festive season I am with my in-laws to celebrate. Though it is a rather muted affair with hubby's aunt passing away some time back, there is no shortage of activities in the kitchen and hence there are snacks galore. My mother-in-law made this rather ubiquitous "thenkuzhal" and I had to blog about it and break my absence from the blogdom with this crunchy snack. I call the snack ubiquitous coz it is a must in every household and because of its easy breezy preparation. Made with rice flour and paired with either urad dal flour / moong dal flour or coconut milk, the snack is versatile in nature and can be easily made into delightful variations. It needs the press/murukku naazhi as we call it along with the mold/thenkuzhal acchu. My mother-in-law has this rustic looking wooden/copper based press that I really liked.



Making the snack needs all of a half-hour time at your disposal. Once the flour is ready and mixed, they can be dumped into the greased press and made into thenkuzhal.



Fried gram or roasted chana or the pottukadalai (பொட்டுக்கடலை) is grounded in to a powder to give this variation of thenkuzhal a unique taste.



What's in it :-
  • Rice Flour - 1 cup
  • Fried Gram Flour - 1/4 cup (Instructions follow)
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 to 2 tsp
  • Til Seeds (Black/White) - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Asafoetida - a generous pinch or two
  • Hot Oil / Ghee / Dalda - 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Water - as required

Here's How :-

Lightly roast the fried gram in a tava and blend it to a fine powder. In a big mixing bowl add all the ingredients and gently rub them to form a damp mix. Then slowly add water as required and knead it into a medium dough (neither too hard nor too soft).

In the meanwhile, heat oil in a kadai for deep frying. Now fill the dough in the press and squeeze it directly onto the kadai in a circular motion. This does need you to be a pro in the kitchen what with tackling the bubbling oil et al. Do take care that the steam dosen't hit your hands when squeezing the dough.

Another easier way is to squeeze the dough in a circular motion on top of an inverted plate or a ladle and then sliding it carefully into the hot oil.




Deep fry both sides till there are minimal bubbles. Take it out and let it cool. Now store this in an air tight container and enjoy the deliciousness!


Chef Notes :---

• Keep the dough covered to ensure it stays moist if you are making a huge quantity/batch. 

My mother-in-law used rice flour that was ground freshly from the mill. You can us store bought flour too.

Using dalda enhances the taste according to my mother-in-law.

Other than hot oil/ghee you can add butter too.

You can grease the inner of the press before dunking the dough. It ensures easy whisking down of the dough. Ensure that the pan is not crowded while frying and top-up the oil if required.




E.N.J.O.Y ! Wishing all my readers a sparkling Deepavali !

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Chocolate Baileys Mud Cake

"Chocolate doesn't ask silly questions; chocolate understands"

Chocolates works wonders whenever I am down & out. Soothing frayed nerves, it instantly send across shots of joy and happiness throughout. My fridge is packed with a variety of them and they are my 3 am buddy, late night pal and a comfortable shoulder to cry bite on. Many researches have shown evidence of what a healthy amount of chocolates can do to your system--- reducing the risk of heart disease, improving brain power et al. Not that I need any scientific evidence for digging in to it; but, do you know that chocolates contain Serotonin - a mood lifting hormone found naturally in the human brain. No wonder, they are great mood elevators... 


That brings me to my another love - cakes! My previous post and so many of my other posts would vouch my love for the cakes; if the cakes are chocolaty then surely it is a ticket to heaven and back! The unopened Irish cream bottle in my pantry was begging me to use it for quite some time. And while eyeing a few recipes in the net I came across a mud cake recipe all glammed up with the Irish Whiskey. And yeah, the kitchen hummed a tipsy tune....


This chocolate mud cake with Irish Cream is truly a killer recipe. And my work-mates will vouch for it. 


The recipe from Citrus and Candy has been tweaked a little to accommodate the ingredients my pantry had. This cake boasts chocolates with a liberal splash of the Irish liqueur making it jazzier.


The bailey ganache to top the cake added to the pep. I used fresh cream for the ganche. The quantity of the liqueur in the ganache is as mentioned in the recipe but like the original recipe says you can make a boozier version of it sans cream or you can totally skip the whiskey and make it a chocolaty ganache!


In the midst of all these, I had to prevent my chocolates and the cake mix to be hunted down by a tiny predator! Look who's prowling!!!!




What's in it :-

For the cake
  • Unsalted butter - 150 grams
  • Dark chocolate - 100 grams (chopped)
  • Caster sugar - 200 grams
  • Cocoa powder - 50 grams (sifted)
  • Bailey's Irish Cream  - 180 ml
  • Plain flour - 170 grams
  • Baking powder - 1.5 tsp
  • Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Eggs - 3 (room temperature)
For the Chocolate Baileys Ganache
  • Good quality dark chocolate - 200 grams (finely chopped)
  • Cream - 100 ml (I used Amul Fresh Cream)
  • Baileys Irish Cream - 100 ml
  • Salt - a pinch
  • Unsalted butter - 1 tbsp (softened to room temperature)

Here's How :- 
Cake

Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line a cake tin.

In a pan over low heat, add the butter, chocolate, sugar, cocoa powder and Baileys. When chocolate and butter has melted, whisk together to combine till the mix is free of any lumps. Remove from heat and leave it to cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and set aside.

Add the eggs to the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Gently fold in the sifted flour mix until free of lumps. Scrape into cake tin then bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Do not over bake. And it is ok if the top of the cake is a little cracked as the top will be trimmed to accommodate the ganache.



Remove from oven and let it cool for some time before demoulding. Once the cake cools down completely trim the top of the cake to pour the ganache all over.

For the ganache:-

Bring the cream, Baileys and the salt to a simmer in a pan. Pour over the chocolate and sit for a minute. Gently stir to combine then beat in the butter. Set aside at room temperature and cool until it is thick enough to spread over your cooled cake. I refrigerated the ganache for some time as I felt that it was a little runny. To keep the ganache smooth gently stir the ganache occasionally.



E.N.J.O.Y !

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chocolate Orange Marble Loaf - for those teatime cravings

'I eat cake because it is somebody's birthday somewhere'

Came across this cheeky quote in pinterest today and couldn't stop grinning about it. This quote must have taken shape because of people like me who just fancy eating a cake or a pastry almost every day. When it's not the local bakeries that gets my attention, then the baking paraphernalia of yours truly, a modest collection to hoot teases me aplenty. Whatever be the reason, there is something magical about baking cakes and then devouring it with gusto like there is no tomorrow. Pretty much what happened with this Chocolate Orange marble loaf. 



I am not going to wax eloquent about how the marbled loaf was perfectly achieved and how the cake looked a stunner. The light and dark streaks in the cake was decent and nothing that speaks of a professional touch. But then the taste and texture of the cake was a rocking success. So much that I have already made the cake twice this month and yes both times the delectable loaf was polished off with gay abandon. Cocoa + Orange is indeed a match made in heaven. They pair off excellently well and add a depth to the flavour and taste.

Besides the mood while making the loaf was a mix of earthy humour. I set out making the cake around noon and by the time the loaf was out hubby dearest had come home for lunch.

Hubby : Divine smell, you baking?
Me : Yeah, a marbled loaf. It has an equal mix of sugar,flour and margarine, but then it also has the rind of an orange and a teeny-weeny portion of orange juice.
Hubby : {eyes rolling]. Look what's in my hand. April's Readers Digest with the cover story being 'GET SLIM'
Me : {putting on a mock offense} You spoil-sport !
Hubby : Let's eat in haste and repent in leisure
Me : Nodding vigorously

And so began the feasting of the cake....


Well jokes apart, I had eyed this recipe from BBC Good Food sometime back and fell in love with the very rustic looking loaf peeping out from the picture. And when I set out making the loaf my pantry was missing butter, but then the margarine more than did the job. I substituted equal amount of margarine as mentioned in the recipe. The orange rind in it added to the pep.The recipe calls for self-raising flour. While I generally follow Nigella's method for the same, this time around I added salt and reduced the amount of baking powder :-


For Self raising flour :-


  1. Plain Flour - 150 grams
  2. Baking powder - 1 tsp
  3. Salt - 1/4 tsp

Add 1 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt for each 150 grams of plain flour. Combine and sift them  together into a bowl before using to make sure the baking powder is thoroughly distributed. Your self raising flour is ready. Measure the quantity of flour as required for the recipe and store the rest in an airtight container. Do not make a lot of self raising flour in advance as the raising agent may shed its property over time.

Now for the recipe adapted from BBC Good Food


What's in the loaf :- (Prep Time : 20 mins; Baking Time : - 55 mins)
  • Margarine - 225 grams (@ room temperature) + plus extra for greasing
  • Caster sugar - 225 grams
  • Self raising flour - 225 grams
  • Eggs - 4 (beaten)
  • Milk - 2 tbsp
  • Cocoa powder - 3 tbsp (sifted)
  • Orange zest of 1 medium sized orange
  • Orange juice - 1 tbsp
Here's How :-

Heat oven to 160 C. Grease and line the base of a loaf tin with baking parchment. Beat the margarine, sugar, eggs and flour together in a large bowl with an electric whisk or in a food processor until lump free. Split the mixture into two bowls. Beat the milk, followed by the cocoa powder into one. Beat the orange juice and zest into the other.



Spoon alternate dollops of the mixture into the cake tin, then use a skewer to create a marble pattern by dragging it through the mixture in swirls. Don’t over mix and smooth the surface if necessary. Bake the cake for 45 - 55 mins until golden and risen and a skewer poked in comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin to cool and cut out slices. 



You can also drizzle some chocolate sauce over the loaf if you so prefer. It is a perfect accompaniment for tea time or for those anytime cravings.

Enjoy !

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Garlicky Brown Rice

My daughter's exams are on and I am one harried mom. Nah, she ain't a 10th or 12th grader - Far from it. But I have slowly realised that even the 5th grade exams are nothing short of a nightmare. Makes me wonder if I went through the same grind back in school. Gotta ask my mom about that! On a random note, I have been completely MIA vis-a-vis my blog. Blame it on my lethargy or a hectic work schedule, my blog's attention deprived. To set that right I am back with a no brainer of a recipe. This rice is a simple but heavenly affair when paired with a gravy that's hot and exciting. Remember the Thai Green Curry dished out by hubby dearest? Well that had to go with something fresh and earthy.  



While on a trip to the super market a few months back, my 'stay healthy' alias went all berserk. Packets of brown rice, millet and soy granules were grabbed off the aisles like no tomorrow and has been languishing ever since. Save for this sporadic recipe, my health bug seems to have scooted off. It reminds me to put more health into my Sunday menu. Coming back to the brown rice,  I was pleasantly surprised that the rice was well received by family. This rice is power packed with nutrients and beats the white rice hands on. I pressure cooked the rice giving it 2 whistles. The rice came cooked just right - fluffy and not mushy



The recipe can be tweaked to suit your palate. You can add whole spices or your choice of veggies too !



What's in it :-
  • Brown Rice - 1 cup
  • Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Garlic - 15 pods - sliced
  • Green Pepper - 1 sliced
  • Mint leaves - a small bunch (chopped)
  • Soy Sauce - A dash - for the flavour
  • Pepper powder - 2 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste

Here's How:-

Cook the brown rice as per instructions in the pack. In a separate kadai, add olive oil and as it warms up, tip in the sliced garlic and saute till the raw smell goes. Add the mint leaves and give it a good swirl. Add the soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Finally add the cooked rice and mix well. Serve hot with your choice of gravy or other accompaniments. I served it with Thai Green Curry.

E.N.J.O.Y !

Monday, March 3, 2014

' Shake & Sip' - Paper Boat Drinks {A product review}

These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours and not to reach any destination – Rabindranath Tagore

Paper boats invokes happy memories of the days of the yore when tearing papers and folding them in to submission yielded joy unsurpassed. Those were the days when playing actually meant stepping out of the house and having unabashed fun. And when it used to rain, it was like a cherry on the ice cream. Out came the papers and our nimble hands would make dainty boats that would then set out on its remarkable though short journey in puddles of glory. Aaah; such happy memories....

I had almost forgotten the joy of such small things and a few days back, when I saw my daughter teach her little brother how to make a paper boat it was nostalgia galore. No, the rain god did not make an appearance, rather it was 'how to kill time' moments that had enveloped its gloomy pall on my daughter. Making paper boats became a good pastime and guess where her boats sailed - On the bathroom floor some pretty messy looking puddles sprouted and her boats sailed rather proudly :D



I had already seen pouches of 'Paper Boat' beverages on the shelf of our local mall. The flavours of Kokum & Kala Khatta had my attention. And my palate had a whiff of Kokum. Around the same time the team behind Paper Boat asked me If I was interested in reviewing the product and my answer was an instant yes! So the courier containing the following beverages arrived in a pretty looking jute bag :-
  • Jamun Kala Khatta
  • Jaljeera
  • Aamras
  • Aam panna






























The very first beverage we tasted was Jamun Kala Khatta 



Kala Khatta - a flashback to my younger days, Delhi a sweltering cauldron during the torrid summer months, slurping gorgeous ice golas. The flavour that I particularly loved was the spicy kala khatta. Interestingly I had always thought that that jamuns were blackberries. My ignorance was given a brisk thwack by a roadside juice vendor in Mumbai a few years back.  While sipping in to the tasty jamun drink I had in my all knowing glances commented that they were blackberries; to my surprise the vendor simply said 'madam, they are jamuns and not blackberries; both the fruits belong to different families'



Coming back to this drink, the beverage tingled our senses and was immediately liked by all. Hubby felt that the beverage could do with a stronger hit of the jamuns but nevertheless it was a roaring thumbs-up! This drink existed as early as 100 AD and was called as Raga - music for the taste buds. A winner alright!

Jal Jeera



This quintessential beverage is one of my favorite drinks. The best thing about this drink is that it can be served as an appetiser or as a heavy duty after meal drink. An instant party pleaser, this cumin infused drink was a total knock-out. The taste buds sang a lilting tune and hummed a satating rhythm. The family felt that it was a little too strong. Could have been a tad milder.

Aam Panna - a Heat Buster


The scorching summers we experience gets a major boot with the Aam Panna. A staple in my kitchen during those long dry months, I quite looked forward to how this would taste in a packed avatar. Quite surprisingly, the drink despite having added flavours tasted quite home-made. 

Aamras



The name spells silky surge of the pulpy mango. Mango undoubtedly rules our hearts and is a delight all along.
Kokum



This beverage was not part of the package from the Paper Boat team. But I had wanted to taste it because kokum despite having a wealth of health benefits is an acquired taste. And inspite of my earlier trysts with kokum my heart doled an average tune while hubby liked this one.
Looks & Cost :-



The drinks come in attractive looking pouches.  Weighing about 250 ml, each pouch is priced at INR 30/-

Thumbs-up to:-
  • Anytime & anywhere - just shake & sip
  • Highly appealing beverages that are sure to quench the scorching throats
  • Aesthetically packed 
  • Promises real drinks with no junk
  • Drinks & Memories - I surely had a few nostalgic moments
Serving Suggestion:-

Shake well and serve chilled. I used salt rimmed glasses to give the drinks an added shot of pep and zip. I served Jaljeera with a lemon wedge and Aam panna was given a shot in the arm with a good sprig of mint.

Final Word:-

The website of the paper boat team oozes oodles of passion and attitude and it reflects on their products too. The 4 variants we tasted contained added flavours (as mentioned in the packages) due to which we can't call them 100% authentic. However kokum was clean of the extra flavours. Is it economical ? - prices could be a little less to reach the mass market, but for me, well on those heat scorched days when all one can think is just lazing around with a drink in hand, getting busy in kitchen would be the last thing on mind. Yes, on those days, the drink would be a welcome and refreshing change.

Touching our hearts with heady Indian drinks I am looking forward to them launching an umbrella of other drinks native to other parts of India.

Thank you Team Paper Boat for sending me the beverages for review. The views expressed here are strictly my own

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hubby's Thai Green Curry with a twist

Recently a good friend of ours, spouse in tow, dropped in unexpectedly and stayed on for dinner. We caught up over a lot of things and the time just slipped by. It was when the clock turned a little over 7 PM did I realize that we had not yet decided about dinner. While we dilly-dallied as to where we could head over, my gallant hubby volunteered to dish out something funky. Of-course I had to be his sous-chef; the 'chef' had to have his mise-en-place and I scurried around getting things up and running. My kitchen slowly started singing to the lilting Thai tunes with a twist. 



The guests hummed a satiated melody and went back home singing paeans about my hubby's skills. I preened and trilled as if my very own limited (ahem) culinary prowess had been accorded heavy appreciation :D



The veggies and fruits in the fridge found a place in the dish and added the zing!



The pics I have clicked does no justice to how it tasted. I served the gravy/curry with Garlicky Brown Rice, which btw was my humble effort. And no, there were no great praises heaved on the rice but then it was collectively agreed that the combo was a smashing hit :). I will put up the recipe for the rice some time soon!

{Serves: 4, Prep Time: 20 mins, Cooking Time: 15 mins}

What's in it :- 
  • Olive Oil - 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Dried Fenugreek Leaves - 1 tsp
  • Black Cumin Seeds (shahi jeera) - 1 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Roasted peanuts - 1 medium cup (roughly crushed)
  • Milk - 1 1/2  cups
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Tomato - 1 large (cubed)
  • Green Peas - a fistful
  • Brinjal - 1 large (cubed)
  • Cauliflower - small (small florets)
  • Onion - 1 large (cubed)
  • Green Curry Paste - 2 to 3 tbsp {I used store bought}
  • Apple - 1 medium (cubed)
  • Orange - 1 medium (peeled and cubed)
  • Sweet Lime - medium (peeled and cubed)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch




Here's How:-

In a kadai, add oil and as it warms up, add the dried fenugreek leaves, cumin, shahi jeera and fennel seeds. Once they crackle, add the milk and water and bring it to a boil. Dunk the cubed onions, cauliflower, green peas, brinjal and tomatoes. Let the vegetables cook. Then add the green curry paste and let the whole mix simmer for a while. Add sugar and salt to taste and finally dunk the fruits. Let it simmer till it thickens and then take it off flame. Now add the crushed peanuts and mix well. Serve hot with Garlicky brown rice.



E.N.J.O.Y

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hello 2014 and Rustic Chocolate Almond Cookies

I often make resolutions and see them ditched half-way. My hubby jokes that my making resolutions is like the pins on a bowling alley - waiting for a slight nudge to fall all over the places. Around the same time last year I made a list; a 4-point something which I called a Get Better List. Happy to say that I ended up achieving 1 of the 4 (spending less time online). It was possible not because of any conscious drive on my part, rather my getting back to work made a woeful dent on my online time. So this year again, I am back to making a get better list with the same points of 2013 and a little more. However, I would love to spread a little more happiness, share some more sunshine in my own little way. And that's something that does not need a resolution at the beginning of the year :) 

What immense joy kids find in small things. It need not be anything fancy or new ; a little something is enough to put a spring in their steps. My bundle of joy often teaches me the joy of little things.The other day he found so much happiness with a cloth bag. For a whole 30 minutes he was so much amused by letting himself in and out of the humble bag. I have never seen him more joyful in recent times . I wish that such innocence and happiness never leaves us


On a relevant note,the Coco cola jingle is doing the rounds yet again and its feel good melody is currently playing in my mind, on a loop ! What better note to welcome 2014 than the foot tapping and meaningful lyrics of the song. Come let's hum along cheerfully  ~


"Ummeed wali Dhoop
Sunshine waali Asha
Rone ke wajah kam hai
Hasne ke bahane jyada
Tho kulkar kushi lutao
Yeh kya hai aadha-aadha"

Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.
(Oprah Winfrey) 

The festive spirit of the season came knocking my kitchen too. I made a plum cake for the Christmas and baked a couple of different cookies too.


One of them was the rustic and earthy choco-almond cookies from Roxana's space. I must say that the cookies were so delightfully tasty. My son who is otherwise not fond of the nutty almonds, could not get enough of the cookies



The rich nuttiness of the cookies is from the almond flour in the cookies. The almond meal gives the cookies a whole lot of texture and substance.



I never knew making almond flour was so easy. Blanching almonds is the first step which simply involves boiling almonds for 2 minutes. Now take them off heat, drain the water and simply rub off the skin using your hand. Let the almonds dry completely before putting them in a processor to grind it to a flour. Almonds are blanched to give it a better taste. Store unused flour in a cool place.



What's in it :-

  • Butter - 125 grams
  • Sugar - 100 to 120 grams (1/2 cup)
  • Egg white - 1
  • Vanilla extract - few drops
  • Finely chopped almonds - 1 cup
  • Cocoa powder - 40 grams (1/2 cup)
  • Almond flour - 150 grams (1 1/4 cup) {see above}
  • Salt - a pinch

Here's How:-

First tip in the butter and sugar and cream it until light and fluffy. Now add the egg white and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl mix the chopped almonds, cocoa powder,almond flour and salt. Add them to the wet ingredients and mix well.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and let it cool in the fridge overnight or for a couple of hours. The dough I made stayed in the fridge overnight.



When the dough is chilled heat the oven to 160 C/ 325 F. Pinch small quantity of dough and shape it and place them on greased baking tray. Continue for the rest of the dough.

Bake in preheated oven for about 15-17 minutes. You can decorate the cookies or simply enjoy them the way it is.



E.N.J.O.Y

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Garlic, Ginger & Onion pakodas - When back to back movies is the plan

Think of a holiday and think of lounging on the couch with a good book, munching something and also mindlessly surfing the idiot box. If you are a movie buff like my hubby then you can be assured of a good stock of nice movies on DVD to enjoy. Precisely what we did the last weekend. Hubby and me decided to spend a good part of the sunday evening doing nothing but just huddling together and watching a movie or two. What good are watching movies without anything to snack on. Having that in mind hubby donned the apron and dished my favourite snack - the sizzling garlic,ginger & onion pakodas. 


I have to tell you what we ended up watching - 'The Internship' and yet another ok Tamil flick. Vince and Owen were so charming in the cool comedy film. We were thoroughly entertained. Adding to the magic was the yummy pakodas. Hubby dished out the pakodas and also waited patiently till I finished clicking the pics. 



The recipe is no rocket science - a breezy pantry-friendly munchie that is deep fried. It is ok to indulge in such snacks every once in a while and I say the weighing scales be damned ! 



Ingredients:-

  • Onion, Ginger,garlic {equal quantities of each} - 1 cup each (julienned)
  • Green Chilies - 1/4 cup (sliced)
  • Gram Flour(Chickpea Flour/Besan) - 1 1/2 cup
  • Rice Flour - 1/2 cup
  • Salt- to taste
  • Red Chilli  Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Water - if required
  • Oil - for deep frying

Here's How :-

Tip in the julienned onion,garlic,ginger and the green chillies in to a wide bowl. Add the flours along with the spices mentioned and mix well. Add salt to taste. Now sprinkle water if required to bind. In the meanwhile heat oil in a thick bottomed kadai. Sprinkle the mixture into the oil and fry till golden brown. Serve hot with a hot cuppa.


Enjoy !