Saturday, November 18, 2017

Jelleye Anar/Pomegranate Jelly with white chocolate ganache, No Gelatin Recipe

Pomegranates, a fruit that is so pretty on the inside, tough on the outside, a little effort to score it open, it offers edible ruby reds,  very Philosophical right!!! Every part of the fruit, right from the arils to its pith, is used for medicinal purposes. This ruby studded fruit is another fall season gift to this world. 
Pomegranate also has lot of fun facts in connection with mythology. It is believed to be a fruit from the paradise, and it is also believed that the fruit is a fertility enhancer and women of child bearing age should eat this fruit in abundance. This is because the fruit is full of healthy folates/folic acid that is much needed for a pregnant women. 
When i decided on the theme Fall fruit desserts for this BM, i knew i will making this jelly. This recipe is from the book Pomegrantes & roses by Ariana Bundy.  I was lucky enough to borrow this book from my blogger buddy Huma Kalim of Gheza-e-shiriin. I love her blog name, it is so royal to pronounce na!
She is such a down-to-earth person, she has the habit of collecting regional specific cuisines. I loved this cook book by Ariana Bundy, and it identified me and my taste of cookbooks. I love cookbooks that weaves a story around the recipe, not just a page that has ingredients and procedure! What  a realization!!
Thanks to huma for the book! I have so many recipes marked in that, happy i could do atleast one now.
Pomegranate jelly,a simple to make dessert. All you need is pomo juice and agar-agar/gelatin leaves. Since this is a vegetarian blog, i have used agar-agar powder for the jelly.
To make it more rich and royal, i have topped the jelly with  white chocolate ganache garnished with some pomo pearls. The ganache adds a great texture and richness to the otherwise simple jelly. 

Ingredients (Fills 9 medium muffin moulds)
500 ml Pomegrante juice, Fresh homemade or storebought
2 tbsp of jaggery syrup/honey/sugar
1 tsp agar agar powder
silicon muffin moulds for setting the jelly

White chocolate ganache
100 grams white chocolate, i used lindt
2 tbsp whipping cream
  • Take the juice in a saucepan and heat it. Remove 2 tbsp of juice from the sauce pan to a small ball, dissolve the agar-agar powder in that juice.
  • When the juice in the saucepan, starts to boil, reduce the flame to simmer and add the agar-agar dissolved juice to it and whisk it well to combine.
  • Let it sit on the stove for another 10 minutes in a simmer flame. Take it off the stove. Arrange the silicon muffin moulds in a muffin pan. Slowly fill the muffin moulds till 3/4 with the pomegrante juice. Refrigerate until set, atleast a minimum of 3-4 hours. 
  • You can add some fresh pomo pearls in each of the muffin mould for some texture, since my kids might not like it,i skipped that idea.
To Make white chocolate ganache.
  • Take white chocolate in a bowl, chop it into pieces. Heat cream in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then mix it well with a spatuala.
  • Let the ganache sit for 10 minutes before use.

To serve the jelly with ganache
  • Remove the jelly on to a serving plate. Since it is set in a silicon mould, it was very easy to transfer it to a serving plate. Just loosen the sides of the mould,invert it on a plate.
  • Pipe a blob of ganache on top of the jelly, garnish it with fresh pomegranate pearls and rose petals and serve immediately.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Eggless Whole Wheat Chunky Apple Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

When we think about fall fruits, the first fruit that pops in my head is apples. Yes, now they are available all throughout the year, but web says in northern hemisphere fall is when they are harvested. 
There are numerous desserts that we can come up with this bright red fruit.  i have quite a few apple desserts here
Now this pretty cake too adds up to that list. Chunky apple cake filled with cinnamon buttercream frosting. First i thought of keeping the cake plain, with just a dust of icing sugar. But then, I had some leftover buttercream frosting didn;t want to waste it, so filled and frosted and piped some roses and tulips using the russian nozzles.
This is one of the best cakes i have made this date. The recipe is same as that of my Vanilla sponge cake, i have used curd here instead of buttermilk and thinned it down with water. The cake turned out super soft and fluffy. I have added apple chunks to the batter and also to the top of the cake. One of the reason i frosted it is to hide this, or else my lil one wouldn't have liked it. They don;t like anything peeping from their cakes.
I wanted to fill the cake with some apple compote to give it more of apple pie taste, but then again, i wasn;t sure whether the kids would love it. If making for adults, i would definitely recommend that compote filling inbetween the cake layers. Go ahead and bake this cinnamony apple cake, with frosting or not ,you would enjoy it anyway!

1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of oil
1/2 cup of curd, @ room temperature
3/4 cup of water
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp candied ginger
1 medium sized Royal gala apple
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

For the buttercream frosting
300 grams unsalted butter
6 cups of icing sugar
1 - 2 tsp milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
few sugar pearls for garnish

Food Colors
yellow gel color
green gel color
Red gel color
blue gel color
Purple color = red + blue
  • Grease 2 4 inch cake pans and lay it with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Wash the apple, peel it, core it and chop it into small chunks. Add lemon juice to it and toss, this well prevent the apples from getting brown.
  • In a large bowl, take together wheat flour, baking soda , bking powder  and cinnamon powder, whisk them together. This ensures even mixing of all the dry ingredients.
  • Now add half the apple chunk to this flour mix and toss well. Now add sugar to this and whisk well.
  • In a measuring jug, take the curd, add water to it and mix well to combine. To that mixture add oil and mix.
  • Now add this liquid to the dry ingredients in two batches. Using a spatula, combine it together. While mixing, use the spatula to mix in one direction only. Be gentle, while mixing. Adding liquid in batches will help in proper mixing then dumping everything and mixing at a time.
  • Divide the prepared batter into two pans. Now divide the leftover apple chunks and spread it on top of the cake. Bake it in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of th cake comes out clean.
  • Once done, remove the cake onto a cooling rack. Let it cool down for 5 minutes, then run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to release the cake. Slowly invert it onto the wire rack and let it cool completely before frosting.
Buttercream frosting
  • Take butter in a wide bowl, using an electric beater, beat it until light and fluffy. Now add 1 cup of  icing sugar at a time and whisk again. 
  • Once all 4 cups are added, add cinnamon powder and milk to it and whisk. The buttercream should be airy, and smooth.Once done, divide it in 3 bowls. add colors to each bowl and mix with a spatula. 
  • I have use yellow buttercream to fill and frost the cake. And red and purple color for the flowers and little green for the leaves. I have used russian nozzles to pipe roses and tulips on top. 
To Frost & Fill the cake
  • Mix 3  tbsp of icing sugar with 1/4 cup of warm water and keep ready.
  • Take a round cake board, add a blob of buttercream  to the center and place one round cake in the middle. This blob makes sure, that the cake stays put on the board without sliding.
  • Spread half of the sugar solution on top of the sponge, this keeps the cake soft. Add a thick layer of yellow frosting on top. Spread it to cover the entire cake surface, do not forget the edges.
  • Now stack the second cake on top of this with its bottom facing the top. Spread the sugar solution on top of the cake.
  • Now add a thick layer of yellow buttercream on top and crumb coat the sides with yellow buttercream. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 10 minutes for the crumb coat to set.
  • Once set, add thick layers of yellow buttercream on top and using a offset spatuala smoothen it to set. 
  • Again refrigerate the cake for 10 minutes before adding any extra details. Russian nozzles are pretty easy and cool to use. They do make lovely flowers with little effort. If you are artistically handicapped like me, then these nozzles do help a lot. 
  • For piping the roses, use the rose nozzle, fit it in a disposable piping bag, fill the bag with red buttercream.
  • Pipe a little base first, without removing your hand, pipe, twist and remove for a perfect rose. Same way for tulips, pipe a little base, pipe and remove. I saw some yoututbe videos before perfecting the technique. I would suggest the same for others too. Once done, let the cake rest for few minutes in the fridge then cut,slice and enjoy. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Beetroot Rasam- Beets and Lentil Soup, Southindian Soup

Rasam, an integral part of south-indian meal! I can eat without sambar, but rasam is a must, in my daily lunch menu. Even my kids too prefer rasam over sambar any day. The pleasure of eating hot hot rasam mamu (rice),  is something unexplainable, you have to experience that joy! 
Since it is part of our daily meal, we had room for lot of creativity and so we have varieties of rasam to make. Some of our favorites are 
I have an affinity towards beets, i love to include it more in my diet. These days i have trained myself to even drink raw beets juice. I know for many cooked beets is a put off, even my own SIL love to eat raw beets, but she hates beets curry, as she feels it is too sweet for her palate. If you are like her, you should try this  Beets lassi or Beets thogayal, a spicer version of Beets.
Ok, now coming to the rasam, it is again one of our favorite, especially my lil ones! He loves this rasam and calls it Blood rasam, yeah i know a bit scary, right! He will ask for second servings on the days  i make this rasam.  The recipe is very simple, all you need to do is soak some jeera and dal before hand, rest is all done is 20 minutes. Yes a simple meal ready in 30 minutes, pair it with some potato curry, you will have a fab meal ready in no time!!
You can also drink this rasam just like soup, with coming winter months, this would be a lovely combo of veggies and lentil, pair it with some bread to make a complete meal.

100 grams beets, chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tsp toor dal/tuvar dal/split pigeon peas
2 nos large plump tomatoes or 3 medium ripened tomatoes
2-3 pods of garlic, i used indian garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
1 green chili
a strand of curryleaves
1.5 tsp of homemade rasam powder
1 tsp salt or to taste
coriander leaves for garnish
1 tsp ghee/oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 round red chili, optional(crushed)
a pinch of asafoetida
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 peppercorns crushed
  • Soak cumin seeds and tuvar dal in 1/4 cup of water for 20 minutes. Sometimes i do it morning itself around 7:30 am and make the rasam around 11 am. But the minimum time for it to soak is 20 minutes.
  • Wash, peel and cube the beets. Take it in a microwave safe bowl, add water to immerse the beets well. Microwave it for 10-12 minutes @ high for it cook. The beets must be fork tender. This can be done on stove-top also.  Do not discard the beets water.
  • Let the cooked beets cool completely. Now take the cooked beets with the water, along with the soaked cumin and tuvar dal with the water, add chopped tomatoes, garlic, ginger, green chili, curry leaves and 1/2 cup of water. Blend them well with a stick blender or using a mixer jar. The liquid should be quite smooth.
  • Now take this blended liquid in a sauce pan, keep it in on the stove. Add rasam powder, turmeric powder and salt to this and mix well.
  • Let this cook in a medium flame, once it starts to boil, let it be on the stove for 10 minutes for the raw smell of the rasam powder to evaporate. Add another 1 cup  of water to this. If you feel the rasam is too thick, add another 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water to it.
  • Let this simmer in a slow flame for the rasam to froth well on top. Garnsih it with fresh coriander leaves and remove it from the flame.
  • Heat a small tadka pan with ghee, once it is hot, splutter mustard seeds, add cumin, hing and curshed peppercorns, crushed red chili, pour this sizzling tadka over the rasam. Serve rasam hot/warm with rice and vegetable curry/appalam

Saturday, November 11, 2017

14 Vegetarian Caribbean Dishes - Tried and tested, simple must try dishes

Caribbean, islands surrouning the caribbean sea, a land with scenic beaches, lovely food and great history.  The regions food reflects it diversity, and fusion of many cultures and yet has its own special style. Me and few of  my blogger buddies tried to explore this rich cuisine last month and here is a small collection we enjoyed.
Here is the roundup of caribbean dishes from Mayuri Patel+Usha Rao+Chef Mireille+Priya Suresh and yours truly me.

  • Doubles : soft, fluffy bread stuffed with chickpeas gravy and chutney. This looks so yum, i could eat it straight from the screen
  • Butter flaps : Puffy rolls, filled with butter, call it the croissant of the carribbean.
  • Jamaican Toto- coconut cake, rich cake made with fresh coconut and coconut milk.

  • Green Seasonning, a must in carribbean cooking, all purpose seasoning and marinade that goes into everything from curry to rice
  • Carribbean Corn soup, a chunky soup with corn and dumplings, hearty soup for the coming winter months
  • Bojo - Gluten-free cassava cake! a dense cake that makes a lovely company with some tea/coffee

  • Pholourie is a spicy deep fried yellow split peas fritters. crispy outside and fluffy inside, yumm snack for your evenings!
  • Carribbean Rice & peas, simple, yet flavorful rice, makes a great lunch with meat or veggies. Usha, has paired it with Jamaican Jerk chicken, yet another delicacy of the carribbean

  • Aruban pan bati is a salted crepe, simple pancake that can be served with number of condiments.
  • Bokit, a fried bread sandwich, a simple bread even for the person who doesn't like to bake! 
  • Trinidad Aloo Pie, needless to say, a filling bread with favorite potatoes, a scrumptious lunch!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Anjeer Burfi - No Sugar Dessert

It felt as if the year started only yesterday and here we are end of October, celebrating the Festival of Lights. After navrathri, Diwali is the second festival close to my heart.  It brings loads of nostalgic memories, to an extent that I sometimes feel terribly Chennai-sick 😞
Keeping aside the discussion whether you need crackers now or not for celebrations, but growing up Diwali = bursting crackers! Appa was in railways and he had this cracker fund, we get loads of crackers,  stainless steel utensils and some sweets too. Prepping the crackers for Diwali itself was a fun activity for us. Appa will divide the crackers amongst 3 of us, where my brother gets the lion share of atoms and hydrogen bombs.
My otherwise lazy brother, would get up at 3 am in the morning, take a head bath and run outside hurriedly,  to burst the first cracker of the day! Life was fun! I don’t remember much of the pollution talk, people were responsible, we clean up the area after we burst crackers, the street association helpers(exnora)  come and clear out the garbage to keep it ready for next day! 
But now,  all I do is clean the house, deck it fine with Diyas ! It sure looks serene, but I still miss that sensible fun we had. Anyways, no point in lamenting about what we don’t have, let us enjoy what we have in hand.

Though I took up week 3 theme as Diwali for our regular BM, I couldn’t post it on time because of the medications I m taking for ear infection, it is making me so drowsy, forcing me to shut my eyes and sleep all the time!  Hopefully I will feel better from this week as the course ends in another 2 days.
Coming to the recipe, I wanted to make sugarless or No sugar  sweets for the festival. So started with  Anjeer burfi, my favorite  from puranmal. I love the taste and crunch of the Anjeer seeds along with roasted nuts , it is one power packed dessert to enjoy anytime. Also It is quite to easy to make, takes less than 20 minutes. A great treat for festivities and also a healthy snack anytime.
12-14 no’s dried figs/Anjeer
12-14 now dates, seeds removed
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup pistachios
4 no’s caradamom 
3 Tbsp ghee
  • Soak figs in water for 15-20 minutes, drain and grind it to a paste along with  dates and cardamom.
  • Keep a plate greased with ghee or laid with parchement ready by your side.
  • Remove the ground paste to a clean plate. Chop all the nuts into big pieces.
  • In a deep pan, add 1 tbsp ofnghee and toast all the nuts until they turn crunchy. Remove the nuts to another clean plate .

  • In the same pan, add the remaining ghee, and add the figs andndates paste and sauté until it turns into a Mushy dough.
  • Now add th roasted nuts to this and mix well. Let this be on the stove for another w2 minutes, keep stirring while it is on the stove as it might get stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • Now remove the figs and nuts paste to the parchment laid plate and using flatten it neatly. Do not make it too thin or too thick. It should be an inch thick.
  • While it is still warm, make marks for slicing into squares and let  it cool completely and rest well to get perfect squares. Remove and store it in an air tight container and enjoy it guilt free.

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