Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Eggless Strawberry Cake- Using fresh strawberries

We are here, year end, new year's eve!!! After the month of July, i feel the time-fairy works at double speed and zooooms towards December. While shopping for groceries last week, we came across some fresh strawberries. They were so fresh, i could feel them dancing and calling my name, telling me to take them home :). We bought 2 crates, gifted one to a friend in our apartment wishing them Merry Christmas. 
The berries were so sweet, not even a trace of Sourness. Oh, how i loved it. i can feel the same sweetness and aroma even now. I regret not buying another crate and freeze it. 
Now, after eating few, i wanted to make a fresh cake using them. I remembered bookmarking our very own BM queen's strawberry cake. Immediately made the recipe. I divided the cake batter into one big square pan and a small muffin cup for taste-check. The moment i unmoulded  the muffin and served my kids, i knew it is a hit. They first didn't know it is a strawberry cake, even after me adding food color, i couldn;t get a vibrant pink color :(. My elder one doesn't like strawberry at all, he just gobbled it up and asked me what is that sweet smell in the cake. We even at the scraps from the big cake, while i cut them for frosting, they were just circling me like a bee around a flower. Loved it totally, the frosting let me down here, it didn't whip well, no idea where i went wrong. But the cake as such is a super hit and keeper recipe and i m going to bake it again as long as i get fresh strawberries this season. 
Inspired from Vaishali's
1 and 3/4 cup Wheat flour (i used chapathi atta)
1/4 cup All purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
15 nos strawberries
1 can of condensed milk
2-3 drops of red food color (i used 2 drops of gel color)
1/2 cup oil
For frosting
10 nos strawberries
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup caster sugar
  • Wash and remove the green stem of the berries. Take them in a blender. Blend to a smooth puree. If needed strain the puree, i didn't do it.
  • To the strawberry puree, add condensed milk and blend smooth again. Add oil to this puree and blend once more to get a smooth liquid. Add gel color to this, mix well. Keep aside.
  • Sift all purpose flour, wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda together 3 times. Sifting is important, that makes the flour light and airy.
  • To this sifted flour, add the liquid and mix with a spatula. Mix slowly in one direction. you don't want to whisk it brisk and make it dense. Mix slowly until the flour is well incorporated well with the liquid.
  • Grease a baking pan, with oil. Pour the batter until 2/3 of the pan,Tap well. Preheat the oven to 180C and bake the cake for about 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Take the cake out of the oven, let it cook for 5 minutes. Invert the cake out on a wire-rack let it cool completely. 
For frosting
  • Puree the strawberry. Whip the whipping cream and sugar until soft and fluffy. Add the puree little and whip the cream to get stiff peaks. Keep refrigerated until use. 
  • To frost the cake: Trim the edges and crusty top. Take care while trimming, trim light, if liberal, you might end up with only pastries :).
  • If going to fill the cake, cut it into two halves. Sandwich the two halves with whipped strawberry cream, Roughly crumb coat the cake first. Let it sit for 10 minutes in the fridge. 
  • Frost well with the cream again. Use a spatula and finish it neatly. Arrange some fresh cut strawberries on top. Cut and serve.
  • I made some mistake while whipping the cream and didn't get stiff peaks. I just refrigerated the cream for an hour, then too it didn't stiff up, so i used it as such, just poured it on top before served. 
This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2015 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Whole Wheat savory buns/Khara buns/Masala Buns

This is one super easy bread and also a tasty one. Amazingly soft and fluffy even on the 3rd day. I have used my Kartoffelbrot bread recipe as the base, changed it to wheat flour and added yummy masala and baked it for our evening snack. The whole house smelled amazing, while the bun were baking. All the sharp noses at home started asking, what is cooking ma??? I kept the suspense, and served these buns with our evening tea. They just vanished, in a click.
Thank God, I saved some for my hubby and served it yesterday for his dinner as side to warm soup. The buns remained deliciously soft and paired so well with the soup too. This is definitely a keeper recipe and is going to be a regular in our house. 
These buns need no extra skill to bake them soft, the secret behind the softness is the potato. So, now you know, to get a soft and fluffy wheat bread, just throw in some potatoes and see the magic work. Do try and let me know how you liked the recipe.

1 & 1/4 cup Wheat flour (i used chapathi atta)
1 medium sized potato (about 8-10  1- inch cubes), cooked and mashed well.
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp olive oil to brush the buns
1 tsp water to brush the buns
2 tbsp white sesame seeds 
For the Masala
2 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 nos green chilies, finely chopped
handful of fresh corinader leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped fine.
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

  • Prepare the masala first.  In a pan, add oil, crackle cumin. Add green chilies and saute till they sizzle. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent.
  • Add coriander and chili powder and salt. Let this be on the stove for 2 more minutes. Add coriander and mint leaves, give it a good stir. Take it off the stove.Let it cool completely before using it in the bread.
Prepare the dough
  • Take flour, yeast, salt together in a wide bowl.  To this add the mashed potato add warm water. Start kneading it to a soft dough.
  • It quickly comes to a soft dough. Add the masala to this dough and knead well into a smooth and soft dough.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it well with a kitchen towel/cling wrap. Let it rest for an hour or until it doubles up in volume. 
  • Once the dough rises well, take it out of the bowl. Punch down the extra air. Knead the dough for a minute. Divide the dough into 8-10 portion. I divided it into 10 portions. 
  • Roll each portion of the dough into a ball, by cupping it in your palm and rolling it on the kneading surface.
  • Place the balls on a greased baking tray. Cover them and let it rise for another 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C. Brush the buns with olive oil once. Again brush them with water/milk and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
  • Bake the buns for 28-30 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Remove from the oven, let it cool for 10 minutes. Serve it warm along with a bowl of soup for dinner or as such for a evening snack with your favorite cuppa.
  • Refrigerate the leftovers tightly wrapped in a plastic wrap or aluminium foil. Just before serving, reheat them in a microwave for 30 seconds and serve warm. The buns will stay good for 2-3 days in the fridge. 
This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2015 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New Year Party Menu Ideas

December is a month for parties, don't you agree??? Christmas, New year , Winter holidays, so many things to celebrate in this month. 
2015 has been good year for me. Its been good in all fronts, except for few health set backs. I would say that too in a way made us more inclined towards healthy living. So no hard feelings!!
On the worldly front, there were millions of people who underwent lot of hardships, kids who suffered a lot. I pray sincerely from the bottom of my heart to Almighty, none suffer such hardships. May all heal well and let there be peace and well-being in all front. 
Celebrating the end of a year and welcoming another brand new one, you never know what lies in store for you, so let us have an open mind and Welcome 2016 with our arms wide open. 
Now What is  a party without food?? Here is some Menu ideas from my Kitchen to yours. I have given maximum choices under each category, so you can have a wide variety to chose from. 

Here you go


Condiments/Spreads for the Breads


Sides for Roti


Rice Varieties

Have a Wonderful Party and a Great New Year 2016

Friday, December 25, 2015

Honey Roasted Apricots- served with yogurt and crushed almonds

Last week when we went for grocery shopping, i saw fresh fresh apricots in the market. Couldn't stop myself, so i got a small bag of them. I love the feel of apricots, soft, squishy, like a fuzzy balll!!! Like me, my lil one too loved the touch of this small mighty fruit. Giggling, he said "It feels silly ma" and kept rolling it on his cheeks. 
He is one adventurous fellow, he loves to taste new food and fresh fruits. He tasted those apricots, but some were a bit sour for his taste, so he made weird faces and didn't want to try them anymore. 
I used to make fresh apricot preserve for our toasts, so, i wanted to try a new recipe with these fruits. While googling, i came across this recipe and loved the way it was served. Tried it immediately, since it was such an easy recipe to make. The sourness of the fruit, mixed with honey and lemon and creaminess of hung curd and crunch of roasted almonds took this fruit to another level. 

Inspired from here
10 nos Apricots
2 tbsp honey
half a juice of lemon
few pinches of sea salt
1/4 cup hung curd for serving or sweetened yogurt/shrikhand
1 tbsp finely chopped mint/coriander for garnish
2 tbsp roughly crushed roasted almonds for garnish
  • Wash the apricots well with water.  Cut them into half and remove the stone. Grease a baking tray with little butter and arrange the apricot halves in a baking tray, with cut side up. 
  • In a small bowl, mix honey, lemon juice and sea salt together. Drizzle this mix on the apricot halves. Preheat the oven to 180C. Bake the apricots for 20-25 minutes or until the top starts to brown a bit. 
  • Carefully turn the apricot halves to the other side and bake for another 10-15 minutes. When the skin looks crumpled then they are ready to be devoured. 
  • Remove the apricots from the oven, turn them again and  let it come to manage-able heat. 
  • Now to serve, scoop a melon-baller sized hung curd place it on the roasted apricot half, garnish with mint/coriander leaves and roasted almonds. 
Sending these rolls to Kids Delight - Finger food,an event by Srivalli and happening here in my kitchen
This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2015 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Irish Barmbeck -Speckled Bread -Irish Halloween Fruit Bread

Barmbrack, also called Barnbrack or often shortened to brack,is a yeasted bread with added sultanas and raisins.They are usually sold in flattened rounds, it is often served toasted with butter along with a cup of tea in the afternoon. The dough is sweeter than sandwich bread, but not as rich as cake, and the sultanas and raisins add flavour and texture to the final product. In Ireland it is sometimes called Bairín Breac, and the term is also used as two words in its more common version. This may be from the Irish word bairín - a loaf - and breac - speckled (due to the raisins in it), hence it means a speckled loaf. 
Barmbrack is the centre of an Irish Halloween custom, that involves baking with small trinkets in the loaf. So, when the bread is cut and served and you get any of the trinket, that would tell your fortune.  In the barmbrack were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence) and a ring. Each item, when received in the slice, was supposed to carry a meaning to the person concerned: the pea, the person would not marry that year; the stick, would have an unhappy marriage or continually be in disputes; the cloth or rag, would have bad luck or be poor; the coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be wed within the year.
This is again a bread from +Aparna's We Knead to Bake group. Glad i baked this atleast for Christmas. We loved the bread warm with butter and kids enjoyed it with a generous slather of nutella. 
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup sultanas
2 tbsp chopped apricots
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups strong, hot black tea
3 cups Wheat flour (I used chapathi atta)
1 cup All-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
2/3 cup Jaggery/Cane Sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 pinches of cardamom powder
1 pinch of clove powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
1 tbsp chiaseeds (instead of 1 egg)
1/2 cup warm milk
2 tbsp milk + 1 tbsp oil mixed together to brush on top of the bread

  • Put the dried fruit into a bowl. Cover them with the hot tea and leave overnight or for at least 3 to 4 hours so they plump up. Once they have plumped up, drain the liquid and reserve it to be used later. The liquid when measured was about 1/2 cup for me. Make sure you measure this, since you will be topping up with milk to make it 1 cup.
  • To this liquid, add the chia seeds, if using and let it rest until used.  Also set the fruit aside. Make sure the fruit has drained well, otherwise it will make the dough wet when you add it later.
  • I kneaded the dough by hand,it can also be kneaded by machine. In a large bowl, take together both the flours, add yeast, jaggery, spice powder. Mix them together with a whisk.
  • Now add warm milk to the tea mixture and make it 1 cup. Add this “milk + tea” mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl and knead into a just-sticky-to-touch and elastic dough, adding a little more flour if necessary. I needed a 1/4 cup more of milk to knead the dough. It might be due the flour ratio used. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and flatten it out. Sprinkle the drained fruit over this and fold in half and fold once again. Then gently knead the dough so the fruit is evenly mixed with the dough.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place the dough in a well greased bowl. Turn it to coat it well with oil and then let it rise, covered, until it has doubled in volume (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours).
  • Gently knead the risen dough and shape it into a loaf. i baked it as a single loaf and used my 10 x 5 pan. If baking into 2 loaves, divide amd shape accordingly.
  • Let the shaped breads rise for another 45 minutes to an hour. Brush the top of the bread with milk +oil mixture and bake at 180C (350F) for about 35 to 45 minutes until the breads are golden brown and done. Cool the breads on a wire rack.  Cut into thick slices and serve with butter.
This is part of the Bake-a-thon 2015 

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