Monday, August 27, 2012

award


An award ..
An award...
Such a beautiful gift to lift my sagging spirits...
Just when  life seems so mundane...a lovely pink blurb with a pinker heart arrived in my virtual mailbox !!
Thank the Internet gods for expanding my horizons..
And introducing me into food blogging!
And then the connect...a small pat on the back by a fellow blogger!
She gave me the sunshine award ...and made my day again...when I really needed it .
Mary from Cardamom Bliss is ever so benevolent.
She sent me a Liebster award(German for sweet-that I am...though those who can not bear my acerbic wit would beg to differ).
Thank You for the honour Mary!
Once I accept the award...
I must start with 11 things about myself.
Here goes.
  1. 1.   I talk to myself...that's why blogging helps. Any one else would have started otherwise...but I love the shock factor.If it were, possible I would be chatting on the phone 24*7, hubby dear protests at the phone bills , so I refrain.I love soppy romantic books that have a happy ending. I have been known to cry while reading a Mills and Boon in the loo.(This counts as one thing about myself too!).I read cook books and watch food network to de stress. I love the glass of hot water, it helps me face the world every morning.And at night, I love Chocolate Shots, happiness guaranteed!I love chatting/playing with my son...and then he starts wrestling...I hate watching TV serials where the women are forever having extra marital relation ships and scheming against one and all(as if life isn't complicated enough already).I love nail art .I love the smell of an old book ....that is more than eleven.


  1. 2.  What was the first dish you ever made? A cup of tea...with enough tea leaves to make at least 11 cups. My Chacha(dad's younger brother) will vouch for that.

                   3.   Who taught you how to cook it?My mum...

          4.   What was your favourite food as a child? Chicken Drumsticks.

          5.   What was your least favourite? All the greens.

          6.  Have you ever fantasized about creating a certain flavour combination?                  Yes...many times.

          7.     If you have, what is that flavour combination?Orange and milk

          8.      Are there any common flavour combinations you can’t stand?not particularly

          9.      What’s your favourite dish to cook now?Mutton

          10.        What’s your favourite dish to eat?Rajma Chawal(Red Kidney Beans and Rice)

          11.        When you go into a restaurant, what do you usually order?Dal Makhani 

          12.      What did you cook today? Pithore (Curry from Rajasthan)


I would like to give the award to Annie from Annie Eats. She is such a wonderfully brave woman,after reading all that she has gone through, every thing I face seems minuscule in comparison.

Susan from farm girl fare. I love the fact that she and her former husband traded all to move to a farm in Missouri and made a wonderful life.Farm Girl Fare. Love her breads. Absolutely!

Marjorie Morin from Canada,a neurophysisist in training ,with a love for chocolate at  Sugar for the brain.

Ganga from A life time of cooking for her simple and beautiful food.

Coz from Coz She likes To Eat all the lovely pics and the food I will probably never taste...

Julia Parsons at A slice of Cherry Pie for the gobsmackingly yummy Brit food.

Marina from Foodie Delights for her simple and down to earth Indian food...

I'd like to give this to Mary of Cardamom Bliss for her love of Indian Food..but she just got it..

Just a few rules that you can also copy and paste...
Rule 1: Post 11 things about yourself
Rule 2: Answer the tagger's questions
Rule 3: Tag and pass the awards to 11 other bloggers
Rule 4: Create 11 questions for the bloggers to answer
Rule 5: Go to bloggers page and inform them about the awards
Rule 6: No tagging back

And the awardees...are requested to pass on the award to 11 more people and answer my questions.

  1. Say 11 things about yourself.
  2. What is the thing you'd like to eat when you cant sleep?
  3. What is the first thing you reach for when you're hungry?
  4. What is the first thing you eat/drink in the morning?
  5. Which is your favourite cuisine?
  6. What is the first you order when you eat out?
  7. What flavours are you not willing to taste?
  8. Who taught you how to cook?

There were supposed to be more blogs and questions...but this last month has been so so busy , that my mind refuses to function beyond no 8. So...that is why this post has taken a week!
My mind is suddenly reticent...not revealing its innermost thoughts to the blogger template!
Well, that happens!

Coming up..the rocking Cinnamon Rolls, and the To die For Chocolate Brownies...
And the same question...

So what are you baking today???


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Missi Roti-Whole Wheat Chapati with Gram Flour

Sunday mornings ,hot tandoori and missi roti ...
With chilled yogurt and green chutney and pickles.
With 50 pages and supplements of the newspaper..boy ,what fun!!!
Its really wonderful when you don't have any responsibility on your shoulders, and you are warm in the belief that all will be looked after.
That's what life should be like!
always...

Now, thrice a day one faces the biggest question of them all!
What will you eat!
If only we were like Vampires...Vegetarians..we could have survived on the blood of animals...I would not need to ask "What should I make for breakfast/lunch/dinner?"(nine times out of ten..the response is WHATEVER!!)
But no..life is so difficult,we are always faced with the problem of making decisions.
And then I saw this post by Mary from Cardamom Bliss...the lowly Chapati accorded such a haloed status!
I decided to make my life even more miserable...which chapati will it be?
A plain chapati or a Missi Roti??

For once ,I did not wait for the response and went ahead with the missi roti...(with an additional few plain chapatis for the fuss makers)...after all The hand that rocks the cradle and all that blah!!
For those who want to have a peek at what wiki thinks a chapati should be like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapati.
I started making chapatis when I was maybe 15...and my attempts were...bad,to be a little kind. They could rival the images on the pages of any atlas...with physical features et al. But they are right when they say that practice makes perfect, now ,making a chapati is almost an art...just a flick of the wrist and its rolled.
But what most people do not realise is ,the secret lies in the dough itself.
The magic is all in the elasticity and pliability of the dough.All about letting the gluten do its work!
Missi Roti is a staple from North India, high in protein and fibre ,filling and good enough to be a meal in itself.
The gram flour makes the roti a little dry, but a little yogurt or butter makes it smooth and easy to go down.
And the added punch of the onions and the coriander and the green chillies makes it a more powerful add on to your diet. And ,oh, if you are on a calorie control diet ,this is perfect.
The fibre and protein in the gram flour keep you full, green chillies and coriander give you the Vita c and of course the anti oxidant powers of onion and ginger...
And for me, a trip home..to mums soft rotis...this is the way she makes them,perfect.
Makes you feel warm and mushy all over.
Happiness guaranteed!

for the

Missi Roti-Whole Wheat Chapati with Gram Flour...

you need

2 cups  besan/gram flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 onion finely diced
1 tsp finely diced fresh ginger
a couple of green chillies chopped fine(deseeded if you don't want the heat)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mustard oil/neutral veg oil/Extra Virgin Olive oil(yes EVOO works well too!)
a little chopped coriander
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
A little ghee to grease the tawa/griddle (can skip if you are using a non stick pan)

Start with the coriander seeds .Clean and pick and then lightly pound them. You need them to just split for the flavour to be released. Place the flours and the salt and turmeric with the seeds in a kneading bowl.
Do all your chopping on the board...makes for a pretty picture.
Plonk it all over the flours .
Remove all your rings and dig in to the mix...you will need cold water to knead this.
The dough should be a little stiff...or it will be difficult to roll out.
Let it rest covered till you gather all you need .Set the griddle on the stove, bring out the whole wheat flour and lay a paper below your chakla(the round white marble thing)...or clean your work top.
My flour for rolling the chapatis sits in my faithful Tupperware...which refuses to retire even with age. One should get age defying lessons from them, honestly!
A golf ball sized amount of dough in your hands, rolled to perfection between your palms..
The dough should not stick to your hands...
now ,lightly flatten it and plop it into the dry flour to liberally coat it.
And now ever so lightly, keeping this dough ball moving (with the help of the flour) roll it out as thin as you can.Generally, you stop rolling when the onion resists...
Yes...the bragging about the perfect chapatis...but then this is gram flour. It has issues with elasticity and cohesiveness. You'll never get a perfect round with besan/gram flour.
Your griddle/tawa should be hot by now. You'll know its hot enough when you drop a few drops of water and they dance ...(I got this tip from Mary, a Canadian...and I have been making chapatis all my life)
OK, roti on, keep an eye while you do the process again.
Flip the roti over when the top begins to become opaque and change colour.
Half cooked.
And flipped, just a wee bit of ghee to add to the glamour..the glisten and the shine.
Flip again.
A little more cooking and you are done.
Just wipe your pan with a damp cloth and start again.
A woman's work is never done.
And serve ...this black lemon bit happens to be my pride  and joy,Seven years old  and counting.
With my mum's best wishes...thank you Uma Gupta.
Enjoy them warm...they act as tortillas when cold too...that is another post ...
Sunday morning calls...
The vampires are calling for their supply of blood.
Today it is ...Yakhni pulao.
served for you soon...if the Internet gods are compliant!

So what are you baking today???



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Best Ever Waffles-My first time, homemade in Ranchi!

The blog post title is quite misleading...but there is always a first time.
Whatever you may be thinking ,I am blogging about the first time I made waffles!!!
Waffles!!
Very American!
Very difficult to get hold of...especially in a place like Ranchi.
I have the parents to thank for this new addition to my already overflowing kitchen cabinet.Ever since I started blogging, they have become mighty magnanimous...In the middle of the after noon I get calls(when they go shopping).Do you want cupcake liners???What print would you like on the bottles???What seasoning ???Wow!!!
The only thing I'd like to say apart from "Thank god for such wonderful parents"... is ,I only wonder...What took me so long???
But better late, right??
The waffle iron is the latest addition to my Morphy Richards grill and toast machine, and I am super happy!
Waffles have always been a breakfast thing at a breakfast bar...and at McDonald's, and I have never had them with the maple syrup or the berries. Pure , unadulterated butter is the thing to  wash them down with. That, and some Chocolate Sauce.
Over the beautiful golden ridges...and the holes to trap the butter and the chocolate sauce. Heaven!
That was many many moons  ago. With the entire family in Holiday mood, its just not worth the effort to venture out and drive 5 kms for breakfast. So we have not indulged in waffles for a very many many years.
Sweet child had a  friend over for a sleep over...they certainly over slept...
The boys were up gossiping and trading gaming secrets till late...they must have got hungry at some point of time.I saw the remnants of Maggi Noodles in the morning-which they coolly revealed that they had eaten at 3:30 am-and I thought I had fed them enough!!!
OK.Waffles.
I found this recipe in my old diary.It was supposed to be the recipe for the Best Ever Waffles,(noted from a TV show)...but somewhere time must have taken a toll on the ink.
That I realised , only after I tasted the first...Waffles should be sweeter!
So the second batch was sweeter and nicer...and by that time the sun was shining ,so was the butter.
Sadly,that is certainly not the scene with India at the moment...India is not shining- too many things going wrong in this country of ours.
The minute  you bring up issues like corruption and riots ...the air just gets so heavy!
Back to food and feeling better.
And feel better indeed. If you don't have a waffle Iron,.or generous parents...don't fret.
Use this batter for pancakes. Just flip them over. I heard Nigella Lawson say that...while she made griddle pancakes...That -she said,works well too.

for the

Best Ever Waffles- My first time,Home made...in Ranchi!

you need


11/3 cup plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2cup melted butter
4 tbsp sugar(I used 1 tbsp in the first batch)
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs separated
1 3/4 cup cold milk.
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Turn on the Waffle Iron to heat.
Yeah...and the heat!
Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Whip the egg whites with the lemon juice till you get glossy white stiff-ish peaks.
Now,pour the egg yolks and the melted butter(I used half butter and half refined oil-I don't want to be accused of pouring cholesterol into young blood.) into the dry stuff.
Whisk and blend in the cold milk.
Now , fold in the egg whites.
By now the waffle iron should be HOT!
A brush of oil/ butter will save you a lot of cleaning up later.
One ladle full of the batter for one waffle...
And an agonising wait.
And they are ready!
Ta DA..
The boys were in fit state to be photographed..so the waffles doused in butter will have to do.
Beautifully crisp and glossy on the outside ...
And soft and fluffy on the inside.
Sweet..only just so...and the kiss of butter.
By the time the photos were done...these waffles had pools of butter...sweet dog Romeo woke up from his dreams and came with a castigating look in his eyes..."Where's my share??"
Makes you want for more.
You can serve these with whipped cream and berries,or ice cream or honey or maple syrup or just wolf them down bare.
Happy Children are good children...
Here, in my house ...Tween rebellion seems to be brewing.Sweet Child is quite taciturn...preferring veiled innuendos...So I brought out a board on which we could just pen our positive thoughts and make the day a better one for all!
So I put a few of my favourite words...
"FAITH makes all things possible."
and after a few hours...
Wonder where he got his crass sense of humor from??

Does this count as baking??
Maybe..

So what are you baking today???


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Apple Pie and Custard ,Pastry Chef Alan Carter's Pie Crust

A big thank you to Mary Oxendale Spensely from Cardamom Bliss...
She sent me MINI MUFFIN PANS!!From Canada!!!

They reached me after 4 months , but they reached....
And I made Brownies which were wolfed down...
All these kids join me in thanking you Mary...
Now for todays news...
Apples are my favourite fruits...
Kashmiri,Delicious,Golden,Granny Smith, Washington...Apples...what ever..Bring it on!
And I'll eat them.
And in this season...when its wet and soggy and you have to cater for dinner and dessert in 45 minutes....probably the easiest and the most soul satisfying dessert.Warm and accompanied with a simple gooey custard that emanates the aroma of vanilla ...

We were treated to Apple Pie a few days ago...and short of making a pig of myself in front of my ever so dainty friends, I could not eat more than a small slice.Sadly...I hate the idea of not having had more!
This Apple Pie was compensation for that afternoon too.

Last night dinner was in honour of our friends Ashwini and Kanchan Bhartari  ,who are off to test new waters.Its been a wonderful association and we've had an awesome time together.
Just a simple dinner and dessert to help you with the deja vu...and Chocolate Shots go a long long way .
And take us a long way forward too.
And the kids, happy with second helpings...

And when I was packing up for the night,I found Sweet child smuggled a big slice of the still warm pie and custard in bed...blissfully munching away...and when I asked for a teeny bite...he refused...because it was too good to share...
So maybe you can try this...and curl up in peace and enjoy...
And maybe you can share with your mum...unlike sweet child.
I have archived some recipes from the Better Homes and Gardens.
And had saved "Life of Pie" ,an article dedicated to Californian Pastry Chef Alan Carter and had been looking to try the pies.
His pie crust looks wholesome and rustic while  the pie filling is gooey and inviting.
The apple filling is simple and desi...I used Jaggery/gur(I love the flavour of baked jaggery/gur)
And I followed his instructions, a slim crust is no good.
The opportunity presented itself yesterday. I am not one to let go of a challenge so easily.
I served this pie ,warm the oven with a simple custard made with Brown and Polson Custard Powder.
So ,dedicated to Californian Pastry Chef Alan Carter....

for the

Apple Pie with Custard...

you need

Alan's Pie Crust(loosely adapted)

2 cups flour
170 gms chilled butter(I used 100 gms Amul butter and 70 gms unsalted white butter-homemade)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp sour cream(I used craem from milk)
about a tbsp or more of icy cold water
A beaten egg(optional)

Shalini's Apple Pie Filling

1 kg tart apples(I used golden apples-from Himachal Pradesh)
juice of 1 lemon
100 gms jaggery/gur or brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp flour (an afetr thought- which held the apples together)
Raisins and walnuts to taste(I had neither in my pantry...and frankly missed neither)

Custard

300 mls Cold Milk
2 tbsp Brown &  Polson Custard Powder
2 tbsp sugar

I used my food Processor.
Popped the flour and the butter in cubes into the flour.

Added the sugar and the salt.
Pulse it all so that it looks like bread crumbs.

Add in the vinegar and the cream.One more pulse and an itty bitty spoon of water and an ITTY BITTY pulse and the pastry was done.
You just need to pinch the dough...if it comes together...its done.This amount is a little more than what you need for 1 pie,come one, either double it and freeze what you don't use ...or make this and double what you dont use.
What ever suits you!
You can also make mini pies...I thought , but no..the chicken was crying for attention from the stove top.

Pop out the dough into Cling film, bring together and bring it all together and pop the dough in too freeze.
In the mean while peel, core and chop the apples. I forgot to peel half the apples.
Juice the lemon...you don't want the apples to get brown spots before their time.
Grate the jaggery into the apples.

Add in the cinnamon powder.
Set aside to chill.
Turn the oven to 180C/350F and start your drill.
I tried to be like Nigella Lawson...gracefully peeling the cling film onto the counter..but no!
That is why ,she is the Domestic Goddess.
A large part of the dough...between two sheets of film.

Roll out about 1/4th inch thick...lift off the top layer of the film and place it dough side down into a loose bottomed tin.You can use a regular glass pie dish too...but I like to cut neat slices...that is a little difficult to do in a pie dish.

Carefully push down the dough into the tin , cut off the excess.Prick the bottom ...the pastry crust.

The two cling film sheets into the crust, I used Black Gram to fill my pie shell.

Baked for 20 minutes. Now the Black Gram filled Cling Film sheets out. An egg wash will be welcome, but if you want to, wash the pie with milk.

Back into the oven 10 minutes.
We here have low voltage...so take care and the pie is in the centre of the oven.

The apples looked watery, so the flour was my damage control.
Into the cut apples mix in the flour.That absorbs the liquid in the apples.

Pour the apples into the pie shell.
Mine were an unholy pile .
The remainder of the pastry dough.
Rolled out the same way, same thickness.
Placed on the apples. Tucked in, excess removed .
Slashes on the pie top....to let the steam escape.
Egg wash...or milk wash(whatever)
Back into the oven,same temperature.
It took 65 minutes for the pie to look like this...and the whole house was steeped of cinnamon and baking dough...and APPLES! Let your olfactory senses decide!!
Remove the pie from the tin and place on the plate.

Custard...that a baby can do too.
Place the milk to boil with the sugar, and mix the custard into a couple of tbsp of cold water .
When the milk boils, add the custard slurry to it and stir until it comes to a boil again. Taste for sugar...and you are ready to go.
Pour into a sauce boat and serve with the warm apple pie.
A slice...

Of Vanilla,
And Cinnamon,
And Butter,
And Apples,
And Happiness,


And love!

So what are you baking today???







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