Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Daring Baker Again- Seedy Raincoast Crisps and more!

Crackles and Crunches...
A cup of hot java to dunk it into...
Loads of seeds...
Zero Fat!!
And Totally less Sweet!
The Daring Bakers Challenge after two months...
Totally difficult to do while you are shifting houses...
That was one thing I missed...every time I checked out the stuff to be made for that month...
At last , now,I'll be faithful to my cause celebre...
Bake Pretty Stuff and Eat Pretty Stuff...
I love crisp crackers...especially stuff you can dunk into coffee or tea...
And with this months challenge, I loved the fact that the only added fat was the fat /oil used to grease the baking pan...
All the fat in the nuts and seeds is great fat!
So that will do!




































So beautifully crisp that thecrackers stood up like a house of cards...
Lace like and delicate...
I' m proud of my prowess!
And to beat the sadness of not being part of teh daring bakers , I made savoury Onion and sesame seed crackers.
How is that for a double whammy!
Rustic and simple and Spicy and Yummy ....Yummy...
OK that is the next post...



This months inspiration is from Sarah...

Ta-da!!!!!

Blog checking lines: Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie was our February 

2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to use our creativity in making 

our own Crisp Flatbreads and Crackers! Smile

for the

Daring Baker Again- Seedy Raincoast Crisps and more...

you need

1 cup flour
1 tsp  baking soda-bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter milk(I added 1 tsp vinegar to 1 cup milk)
1/8 cup packed brown sugar-I used gur ki shakker
1/8 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins
1/ 4cup chopped pecans-I didn't use any...walnuts were an option ,but I decided against
1/4 roasted pumpkin seeds-I used watermelon seeds
1/8 cup ground flax seeds
1/8 cup roasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp fresh rosemary-I used dried rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F...and grease a loaf pan lightly-8 inches by 4 inches...
I started just before dinner that day, as the crisps had to be baked as a loaf and then cooled and sliced and re baked...
So one day was not possible...
These are the watermelon seeds roasting-also called MAGAJ.
A little heat and they begin to pop and smell heavenly...
done!
Do the sesame seeds too...
Into a bowl all the seeds and stuff...
And the popped seeds...
And lastly the butter milk mixed in...
Mix and pour into the tin...
Done in about 40 minutes...needed no poking as the sides gave way...so I knew it was cooked.
10 minutes later, turned out of the pan...
I wrapped this in a kitchen towel and in the bread box and left it to cool overnight...
Next day...
Filigree thin slices-2mm maybe 3 mm thick...
On two cookie sheets...the best investment made for my Morphy Richards oven...
Baked at 150C or 300F for 15 minutes on each side...
I managed to burn a few..
So you need to be careful...
But the crunch and the aroma of the seeds and rosemary baking was awesome...



Along with a cup of coffee...
Caramelised Raisins...
Crisp seeds...
Yumm!
I'm crunching through these raincoast crackers (hmm why raincoast??) carefully...my root canal treatment has left the right side of my face a little numb...
After two lidocaine injections...just opening my mouth is a pain...thank god these crisps are slim!
Slim...
The prospects of them staying in the jar for too long...
Slim...
Dreams...

Back sooner than you think...

Take the chance and try out for 5 free Tandoor Chef coupons  ,wont you???

So what are you baking today???








Monday, February 25, 2013

Pan Seared Fungi-Mushrooms David Rocco Style

Roald Dahl and Pan Seared Fungi...
Err...Mushrooms...
Got it off David Rocco again...
Hot Chef and Hot Fungi...
Great Combo!
Only he did not have button mushrooms...
And green walls...
New house and a wee bit of enthusiasm for painting walls...
Only this wall became too green...
Hubby dear literally shields his eyes when he passes from here to the bed room-I have to admit this wall does cast an eerie glow...but WTH...till I get the creative bug again this wall stays so green-its either that or hubby dear needs to pick up a paint brush-don't quite see that happening real soon...
So the Mushrooms were to please his palette.
Something Hot for the Hot (headed ) man!

























An extra hot pan, a little bit of salt and pepper and these babies are done.
They taste of firmness and flambe'ed olive oil.
And Garlic...
Loads of it!
Super easy...will go well with bread and a bake or with dal and roti...or lie just as pleasantly on a pizza.
I also tried to clean them differently this time. Plain washing with water makes the mushrooms watery and limp...so I tried to wash them with flour/maida and found that they indeed absorbed less water.
Read on...

for the 

Pan Seared  Fungi-Mushrooms David Rocco Style...

you need

200 gms/1 pack button mushrooms-whatever is easily available
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour-to wash and clean the mushrooms-optional

My maid is back from her 6th day off this month-respite to my dish pan hands which were itching to do something extra, and my dentist just scheduled me for a root canal treatment...
Maybe he should have scheduled a psyche consult-Too much Grey's Anatomy???
I actually scrubbed each mushroom with a little flour to remove the dirt and fuzz...

Seriously??
Yes, seriously!
Each one-Ok there were only maybe 20 small ones...
That I then rinsed with water, drained and cut..
Fortunately this time the fungi was no worse for wear...
The mushrooms absorbed less water!

I placed the long handled pan on high heat while I chopped the garlic and mushrooms...
Just basically let the pan smoke.
I wanted the sear...
Collected all the stuff and got ready to cook.Need to work super fast now...
The oil in...
The garlic sizzling with all its might...

The mushrooms in..a third at a time- did not want to reduce the temperature of the pan too soon..

Toss ...
Spices in..
Toss 

A little bit of flambe here...that the camera did not catch...
Not one mushroom on the counter top..I toss well...Thank you!
Sprinkle the salt just before the flame is turned off...
And ready to serve...
With the minimal of gravy...
And Roald Dahl was keeping me company..
I like!
Sanity is the most treasured thing when sweet child is preparing for his end of term exams...
He has taught himself to twist a pencil -and fast-in two fingers in the last two weeks a la Boris Grishenko
 from Golden eye...
Ahh!!!!!!!!
Coming up...
The promise of Nuts and Zero Fat and absolutely low sugar...
What a crackling deal!!!
In the mean while ...comment for the 5 free  Tandoor Chef  coupons- Free Frozen Food!!


Come on...

So what are you baking today???



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Carrot Halwa -Gajar Halwa/Gajerela in a Jiffy and a Tried and tested Short Cut

Carrots are devine... You get a dozen for a dime, It's maaaa-gic! -Bugs Bunny

So what's up, Doc?
Yes ,I know I am dithering...
I have something and more coming up...
That seems to be the promise in every post...
But then in the words of my fave...Bugs Bunny-"Don't take life too seriously ,You'll never get out alive."
Obvious ,isn't it?
Only Bugs Bunny could put it so eloquently!
Carrots...
Any which ways!
I prefer Gajar ka Halwa/Gajerela.
Carrot Halwa...
A mushy ,sweet carrot pudding made with tons of love and milk and milk fats...



The best thing that you can eat on a cold winter day...
Hot or cold, with or without the mandatory tea or coffee...
Along with almonds and cashews and raisins or just plain...
The sweetness of the carrots drenched in cooked and coagulated milk ...
Awesome!
A single spoonful is never enough.
The only problem is that this is a labour and time intensive pudding or halwa.
Me?
I am certainly not a labour intensive person.
I love my food processor to bits ,and absolutely adore my maid.Her absence gives me dish pan hands that no amount of moisturiser or Moo Udder Cream seems to restore.
So this had to be quick!
And it was, what generally takes 5-6 hours of  patient stirring took me less than one...and the result...WOW!

for the 

Carrot Halwa -Gajar Halwa/Gajerela in a Jiffy and a Tried and tested Short Cut...

you need

2 1/2 kg carrots
1 tin -400 mils condensed milk-sweetened
3 tbsp Desi ghee-clarified butter
6 tbsp milk powder
handful of raisins, blanched sliced almonds-optional

Peeled,topped and tailed, I passed the carrots through the food processor grater...done in five minutes...
Cooker  full of carrots.
How is that for quick?
Two whistles on full,steam let out through the vent before the pressure was released later...
I told you this was quick!
A lot of liquid to dry out...cook this on high heat if you are standing there itself.
If you have the time and the patience, you can simmer gently to reduce the carrot juices slowly...
About 15 minutes later, one tin of milkmaid poured lovingly in....
Truth be told...we had had quite a few spoons full of the condensed milk ...yum yum yum!
It was only 3/4 full...actually...
Cooked on a medium flame now...
Cooked till the water is almost dried out...when you tilt the pan , the liquid should not be too ready to leave the safety of  the carrots...
Time for the short cut!
Khoya!
Something only north Indians understand.
Well,what with adulteration and all...
Home made Khoya is needed.
Ghee/Clarified butter or BUERRE NOISETTE(berr no -i-set)!
Yes, that is a fancy,cordon blue name for ghee...
Ghee and milk powder make Khoya-secret sweet mum divulged a long time ago...
Mix well-like so and add...
Add in and cook maybe five to ten more minutes on slow...
Done...see no liquid seeping out.
The Halwa is coked.
Ready to taste.
I added raisins when I added the milk maid, you can fry them in ghee and also add fried almonds and fried cashew...your call...
My cavities do not allow for too many nuts so I avoid.
I love the carrots soft and mushy without any nutty interference!
A spoon full of magic...
A spoon full of yumminess!
A spoon full of Desi carrot halwa or gajerela or gajar ka halwa...
Super Fast!
The short cut to khoya works any way you need it to...Cooked or uncooked.
So next time make khoya at home instead of buying it from dubious sources.
Bunny will be proud to see what I did to his magic carrots...

You will so be in carrot heaven after this...

So What are you baking today???




Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Easiest Brownies Ever and a Comeback

Chocolate: luscious, lumpy. loads of love...... 
Bad Photography and and a happy day!
A birthday and chocolate!
Happiness!



Somethings are better left to the nose and the olfactory senses...
Butter and chocolate and vanilla ...
The first time in the new house...
Should that be like a  a ritual ???
The first time is always special...
Any which ways...
Is special!
This day the chocolate was as a way to satisfy some cravings...
And we had no chocolate!
So cocoa!
Get rid of the smell of turpentine...
I've just painted one wall green...
I love the hues of that colour...Hubby dear is more the white and bright kinds, he professes his deep and passionate love for white walls , all my lamps will be lit, casting beautiful shadows on ever body who is trying to hide something or the other-but hubby dear will still switch on the over head tube and strobe lights...
I've tried in vain to explain to him many, many times that less light hides imperfections...
But he says-" Life is like the brownies that you keep baking...
Tastier if cracked and brown on top!!!
And you need to see it like  that!"
(But WTH! He has to go to work some time...so we paint-green and gold!)
In the words of Sanskriti Sawhney-The cracked top and brown brownies were Yummilicious!
In honour of Sanskriti Sawhney...on her second birthday!
May god bless you and may your many shenanigans bring smiles to every body's faces!!!



for the 

The Easiest Brownies Ever and a Comeback...

you need

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup plain flour 
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts-optional-I obviously skipped.

Once you decide to let the lackadaisical attitude and its lazy bum rest in the quilt...turn on the oven to 175C/350F.Once the oven is heating...there is no way you'll want to stay away from it.
The best way to start...
Sieve the dry stuff on a sheet of paper- saves the cleaning up!
Twice...
That's the butter, a wee bit melted and a wee bit of vanilla essence into it added erroneously -before its time...
Add in the sugar and try to whip it with all the force possible ...
Yes the electric beater was still in the cartons...packed!
One egg at a time, all 4 in...one by one whipped in well, and now the remaining vanilla essence...
And now, the flour and cocoa and baking powder and salt mix...
Lightly folded in...
A square tin, lined with parchment paper..My brownies have a history of not coming out totally from the dish...I love them gooey, you see...
Its almost as if the still gooey ,partially uncooked batter is a bit afraid of debuting ...coming of age!
Coming of age is such a problem with all- no body wants to let go of youth!
Neither do I.
I know the batter still looks a little grainy, the sugar isn't all dissolved in...I don't bother with that , the heat of the oven brings the sugar to its knees...always!
The batter on the spoon and some more was licked off raw...the rest we spread and popped into the oven...
Waiting for the magic smells for about 50 minutes.
50 minutes and many pokes in the  tummy- the brownie had been poked atleast 5 times to see if it was done-sweet child could not wait..
Sliced and snowed upon with icing sugar...
A toast to the little angel who does not want to go to "Kool" (school)and who is scared of Baby Sitting and likes her new teacher "Miss Sharon"...
Happy To you -Birthday!
Live a long , happy and stress free, chocolate and cup cake filled life!


Bad lights yet...
And bad photographs...
But that does not take away from these EASY brownies...
Brownies never taste so good without semi sweet chocolate...but we hardly missed the silkiness and the moistness in these decadent bites out of chocolate heaven!

























So easy , my little baker girls and boys can make them...
Try them out ...you'll love theses!!
A promise to be more regular with blogging and baking...now that the spring is in the air...and the fumes of paint are in my house!

So what are you baking today???


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Palak Paneer a la Tandoor Chef and my first Giveaway!

Palak Paneer.
Tandoor Chef.
Synonymous?
Yes!
Sweet Sister and most of her friends think so.
Well ,this is the first give away on baketitude.
Give away of 5 gift coupons from the makers of the Delicious foods at Tandoor Chef!
These coupons can get you free Palak Paneer to dunk your hot Naans or Tandoori Rotis into.
However , you need to be a resident of the United States of America to avail the giveaway.
So , if you do live in the US of A, all you have to do is like Tandoor Chef on facebook, like baketitude on facebook-see the link on the right panel,post a comment on this blog post and comment on the tandoor chef face book page,saying that  you like Tandoor Chef.
Yes , you have to do all 4 things to get the 5 coupons from Tandoor Chef!
Spinach-Palak Paneer-This is my favourite green vegetable...easy to make , glamorous enough  to serve to a dinner party and wholesome and healthy enough to be a complete meal.
Popeye ...
and his favourite food...

Palak Paneer...

Its a wondrously silky concoction that just melts in your mouth? It helps that the dish is made of a puree and soft, very soft fresh cottage cheese-paneer.
It is tempered with sweet spices that are wonderful for your metabolism and your constitution. Full of vitamins and fibre, this is the promise of a good, hearty, healthy meal. I need to make this from scratch or depend on a few good brands or takeaways but those of you who can, can just take Tandoor Chef off the shelf, onto your table and into your plate.
Hot!
If you are making it from scratch-this is my way. Make it the best way...
My way!

for the 

Palak Paneer and my first ever Give Away...

You need

1 bunch fresh spinach leaves-(about 500 Gms you can also use frozen spinach –
Just get 1 cup puree)
½ cup finely diced onion
3/4 cup blanched and peeled chopped tomatoes
1 tsp ginger paste 
1 tsp garlic paste(I pound the ginger and garlic together)
3 tsp mustard oil or any neutral vegetable oil
2-3 dried red chillies-optional
1 tsp coriander seeds -lightly crushed
2 tsp fresh cream/heavy cream
1 tsp each Salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder
200 Gms fresh Paneer /cottage cheese or plain tofu cup into cubes
for the tadka or tempering-optional
2-3 red chillies
1/2 tsp clarified butter/desi ghee


First off, if you are using fresh spinach, break and keep the leaves and wash them well.Place them in a heavy based sauce pan, after shaking off most of the water, and cover with a lid. 
Place on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. The leaves will wilt and shed their moisture and cook partially. Turn off the heat and leave till the leaves cool.

Now squeeze out the excess liquid to get a ball of the soft spinach leaves. Puree or process these without any extra liquid. If you do need some liquid, use ¼ cup of cold milk. The spinach liquid can be used to make your breads or roti dough-excess water will mean a longer cooking time that totally ruins the delicate taste of spinach.
I throw it away without any guilt...there is always some other way to get the vitamins in.

You can either deep fry the cubed cottage cheese /tofu of lightly fry them on a non stick pan with a few drops of oil or just leave it soft and white.

If you do fry them, be sure to pour some hot water over them to keep them soft while the dish is cooked. Like so...

Heat a wok or a non stick kadai-I used a wide mouth pan.
Add the oil. Next to go in are the coriander seeds and the red chillies. You can throw the chilli seeds if you are worried about the heat, but honestly, this dish is mellow and comforting and the chillies will only raise your metabolic levels. So be a dear and add them whole. 

To the sizzling spices add the onions.
Lightly sauté and wait till they turn translucent –pink. 

Now is a good time to add the ginger and garlic pastes. Fry them out on low heat and add the salt-start with ½ tsp. add more, if you think so later.

Now dump in the tomatoes. A can of chopped tomatoes will be good enough, if you don’t want to go fresh...I hate tomato peels in my Palak Paneer-so I blanch and peel. As fresh puree takes too long to cook, I prefer to dice and cook.

When they look soft,Add in the turmeric, coriander powder and the red chili powder. And stir together.


Once the tomatoes almost disappear and the Masala(cooked onion tomato mix in oil ) looks cooked, with the oil separated add in the spinach puree.

A quick stir and covered cooking, and we are ready for the Paneer.

Taste now, to check for the salt and chillies. Add in half the cream or fresh malai-if you don’t have cream, no worries...just add a dab of butter.

Ready to go...
And a quick tadka or tempering...

Just heat a wee bit of ghee or oil in the smallest pan you have and pop the dried red chillies in...Pour the oil and chillies over the Palak Paneer and Serve with Naans or roti...

Enjoy this as a main dish or a side...whatever...Palak Paneer is yummy.
Be sure to claim your 5 coupons from Tandoor Chef. 
The give away closes on the 28th February 2013.
The winner will be announced on baketitude's face book page.
In the mean while check out other recipes from the Tandoor Chef Kitchen here.

Coming up, the easiest ever Chocolate Brownies...
In a bit.


So what are you baking today???




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