Friday, May 27, 2016

Carrot Cake

This recipe I have tried a number of times.  I feel James Martin recipes are fail-proof.  I have made the cake with the icing, and without.  With whole meal SRF and all purpose SRF.  With and without the nuts.  It is totally up to you. If you do put the icing, chill the cake, it tastes even better.

Ingredients -
Orange juice and zest  - 1 orange
Sultanas - 50 g
Sunflower oil + extra for greasing - 150 ml
Eggs - 2
Brown sugar - 140 g
Self raising flour - 170 g
Ground cinnamon powder - 2 tsp
Mixed spice powder - 2 tsp
Soda bi carb - 1 tsp
Carrots , coarsely grated - 140 g
Nuts ( optional - walnut) - 50 g

Icing -
Soft cheese - 200 g
Butter - 50 g
Icing sugar, sifted - 85 g
Cinnamon - pinch

This step - try doing it the night before - I never have - put the orange zest and juice in bowl with the sultanas.  Or stir in the zest, juice, sultana together and microwave for a minute and keep for a few minutes to soak.

Grease and line the base of a loaf tin ( 2lb tin)
Whisk the oil and eggs

Heat the oven to 180 C or 160C fan.

Mix the sugar, flour, mixed spice and cinnamon powder, soda bicarb in a large mixing bowl
Add the sultanas soaked in the juice and zest, grated carrot, nuts and oil-egg mixture into the dry ingredients.
Thoroughly mix with wooden spoon.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour or till skewer comes clean.
If you find the top of the cake beginning to brown too quickly, loosely cover with foil
Cool the cake in the tin.

Once cool, remove from tin.

Icing - with electric whisk, beat soft cheese, butter, icing sugar and cinnamon till smooth.  Spread over the top of the cake.  Decorate with walnut halves.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


These are absolutely delicious. Quite like the ones we had when young.  This particular recipe, however, calls for the use of black treacle.  Not very easily available in India and I am considering experimenting with jaggery molasses.  When I do I will add it to the notes.  The end dough may seem too soft and not easy to handle. If required take a couple of spoons and place on tray for baking :-) The biscuits can be chewy or if kept a little longer in the oven it will acquire a nice crunchy texture.  Either way they are delicious.  And ideal with a hot cup of tea.  Recipe sourced from here

Ingredients - Makes 36 

Butter - 165 g
Caster sugar - 200 g ( can reduce this a bit if you do not like them too sweet)
Egg -1
Black treacle - 85 g *
Plain flour - 250 g
Ground ginger - 1 tbsp ( increase if you like it more 'gingery' )
Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp ( decrease a little, it can mask the flavour of the ginger)
Bicarbonate of soda - 2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp

Caster sugar - for rolling the dough

Preheat oven 180C ( reduceto 160 C if with fan)
In a bowl cream together butter and 200 g sugar till smooth.
Beat in the egg and treacle until blended
Combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, soda bicarb, salt
Stir in the treacle mixture to form a dough
Roll dough into 2.5cm balls and roll in remaining sugar
Place onto ungreased trays

Bake for 8-10 minutes if you want chewy biscuits and longer for crunchy ones
Allow biscuits to cool in the baking tray for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely

Note -
Black treacle is sticky.  A tip - warm a spoon over a flame and put into the tin.  The treacle will slip off easily.

The final dough is quite soft and may require some help in making balls.  Use two spoons, pick and place on tray.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Gozleme - Turkish flat bread

when Spill the Spices posted a picture of the Gozleme on facebook I had to go over to her blog for the recipe.  While she used the traditional spinach and feta stuffing, I opted for a desi filling with Indian masala, more because I wanted to make the gozleme the same day and did not want to postpone it for lack of any ingredient.  And this is all about the bread and not the filling.  If you want the recipe for the spinach stuffing, hop over to her blog .   For step by step pictures of the procedure, do check out Ozlem's Turkish Table

I did think the gozleme was a cross between a bread and a kulcha.  The filling is of course upto you.  Only ensure that it is dry otherwise it can result in a soggy product. Best served hot.  This recipe uses yeast, but you can substitute with self raising flour or it has been even made without leavening agents, in which case the dough needs to be kept overnight before use.

Ingredients: ( yields 5-6 nos)

Plain flour - 3 cups
Yeast - dry, active - 7 g
Olive oil - 3 tbsp
Yoghurt - 2 tbsp
Salt - pinch
Water - 260 ml ( warm)

Use 150 ml of the water, warm, add the yeast to it and keep for about 10 minutes till the mixture is bubbly and frothy.

Sift flour into a bowl
Make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture
Add the salt, yoghurt and olive oil
Form a dough by bringing it together.  Add the remaining warm water till it forms a soft dough.
Knead thoroughly
Divide into 5-6 portions.  Make them into round balls.  Keep on a floured surface, cover with damp towel and keep for 30 minutes or till doubled in size.

Meanwhile prepare the filling
I have made a filling of potato, carrot, spring onions and peas with Indian spices

when the dough has doubled in size take each round ball, place on a floured surface and roll out , dusting more flour if necessary, till you get a thin rectangular sheet.

Fold the left and right sides of the sheet lengthwise, till they meet in the middle.
Place the filling in the middle generously -2-21/2 tbsp
Fold the top and bottom layer over the filling
The filling should be covered and edges should be pressed together to seal well.
Repeat for the other balls

Brush one side with olive oil
Place the oiled side of a well heated griddle or non stick pan
Keep for 2-3 minutes till well browned
Meanwhile oil the top portion.  Flip over.  Keep for another 2 minutes till the side is browned.

Brush both sides of the cooked gozleme with oil.  This helps keep it moist.

Cut in halves or quarters.
It is generally consumed with tea.  
You can experiment with the accompaniment.  We had it with sauces.

Monday, February 15, 2016


A thick classic Italian soup - toss in whatever vegetable is in season or whatever is leftover in the refrigerator, add broken bits of pasta or rice, beans, tomatoes (if you wish since it is not really the part of the original recipe), water or stock.... whatever... and you can be sure you will land up with a delicious concoction that does not cost much, but makes a hearty meal.

Ingredients: ( recipe can be tweaked to suit individual tastes) - Serves 4

Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion  -1
Carrots - 2 chop
Celery sticks - 3 chopped
Garlic cloves - 2 finely chopped
Tomato -1 large - chopped ( optional)
1 can of 400 g chopped tomatoes
Water/ stock of your choice ( I added vegetable) - 1.2 litres
Cannelini beans ( I added chickpea) - 400 g  - already cooked
Dried pasta - broken - sphaghetti/ macaroni - 100 g
Cabbage - shredded finely - a fistful
Salt and Pepper
Other herbs ( optional) - I added Italian herb seasonning
Basil leaves - few
Parmesan Cheese - garnish.

Take a deep saucepan with a lid
Heat the olive oil, add the onions, carrots, celery.  Season with little salt and pepper.  Cook a while , stirring till the vegetables soften a bit.
Add the garlic, fry a minute
Stir in tomato and cook for another 3-4 minutes
Add the chopped tomatoes and stock.  Cover with lid, bring to boil slowly
Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
Add the pasta and beans and cook till pasta is al dente
Add cabbage , cook another two minutes.
If soup is too thick, add some hot water
Season with salt and pepper
Put in some torn basil leaves.  Garnish with grated parmesan cheese.

Vegetables and Pasta should be al dente
Add whatever vegetables are available
Tomato is optional.  Some do not add it at all
Rice may be added instead of dried pasta
Broken pasta is generally added.
Potato can be added
Shredded spinach is another option
And non vegetarians can add shredded meat of their choice.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Orange Cake with Cream Cheese frosting

Another recipe from James Martin.  The chef uses a lot of local ingredients and the particular episode of Home Comfort that we were watching, he visits a neighbouring rapeseed farm and then proceeds to make the orange cake with the rapeseed oil.  A and I were watching the show and the minute he sliced through this dense,yummy moist cake, we felt we had to try it.  Sure enough the next day, all the ingredients were laid out on the kitchen table and I had no choice but to make it.  And I was glad I did.  The home made candied orange peel adds the finishing touch to the cake and it adds a great flavour.

I suppose one can substitute rapeseed oil with any other refined oil.

Butter - for greasing
Oranges - 5 nos ( large) - try ensuring that they are sweet
Rapeseed oil - 100 ml
Eggs - 4 nos
Caster sugar - 450 g
Self raising flour - 125 g
Almond flour - 125 g
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Cream cheese - 150 g
Crème fraîche - 150 g ( I used a bit of sour cream)
Icing sugar - 25 g

Topping - ( optional - I did not use)
Walnut halves and basil cress

Oven temperature - 170C or 150C fan

Lightly grease a 9" cake tin with butter
Zest three oranges into a large mixing bowl.  Keep aside
Remove the pith from the zested oranges. Roughly chop the flesh, discarding any seeds.  Place in a bowl and blend well with rapeseed oil till smooth and well combined.  Keep aside.

Into the bowl with the orange zest add the eggs and 250 g sugar.  Using an electric whisk, whisk the mixture till pale, thick and creamy and leaves a trail when the whisk is lifted from the mixture.
Sift the flour, almond flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.
Carefully fold in half of the puréed orange mixture into the egg mixture
Followed by the flour mixture.  And then the remaining puréed orange mixture

Pour in the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown and risen. Check with skewer in the centre of the cake. It should come out clean. If not, cook a further 5 minutes and check again.

As the cake is baking, prepare the frosting.
Whisk the cream cheese, crème fraîche and icing sugar together till smooth and thick. Chill in the fridge till needed.
Peel the remaining two oranges with a vegetable peeler, then julienne the zest finely.
Pour 150 ml cold water into a saucepan, stir in remaining sugar.  Add the julienned orange peel, bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat till mixture is simmering.  Simmer for 8-10 mins to make a light syrup
Strain the syrup. You will only need the peel.  The syrup can be used for a orange drizzle cake or any cake, it will add a delightful orangey flavour 
Dredge the peel with caster sugar on a plate till coated.

Remove cake from oven when done, set aside to cool slightly in the tin and then on a rack till cooled completely
Now, spread the cream cheese frosting over the top and decorate with the candied orange zest and if you wish the nuts and cress. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bedmi Puri - With added split black lentils and spices

It is definitely more work than making the usual puri , but absolutely worth it.  It has spices that are freshly ground and that does add a great flavour to the puri.  The recipe has been sourced from Archana's Kitchen. Serve them hot with your favourite aloo curry.


Split black lentil or urad dal soaked for 5-6 hours - 1 cup
Whole wheat flour - 21/2 cup
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Ginger grated - 1 tsp
Fennel powder - 2 1/2 tsp
Red chilies - 3 nos
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Amchoor powder - 1 tsp
Green chilies - crushed - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp + More for frying
Salt to taste

Dry roast red chilies, coriander and cumin seeds till they give out the lovely aroma. Do not burn.

Cool and grind to coarse powder.  Keep aside.

Drain soaked urad dal, and blend to a coarse paste without using water. Or very little water if absolutely necessary.

Transfer to a bowl
Add the ground powder, amchoor, oil, ginger and salt.

Now gradually add wheat flour and knead the dough, adding water as and when required to make a smooth but firm dough.
Cover and rest for half hour.

Knead once again.  Make small balls.  Roll into puris and fry in hot oil on a medium flame until golden brown.

Serve with aloo curry.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mini Panetonne

A panetonne is a sweet bread from Milan that is generally made for Christmas.  It has a long drawn proofing, contains lots of dry fruits and orange zest.  It has a cylindrical base and a well risen dome shaped top.  I would not have given a thought to making it considering the process involved and also I did not have the panettone tin. But I watched James Martin in Home Comforts at Christmas, making a mini version in a muffin tin and I thought, why not?  Well here are the results.... pretty good if I should say so.. and also taking into account that I did not have a bread mixer and worked at the dough manually.  Recipe adapted from BBC Food


Butter - 75 gms softened, plus extra for greasing
Candied peel - 50 gms
Dried fruits - 200 gms ( or raisins and sultanas)
Rum - 2 tbsp - you may substitute with orange juice
All spice - 1/2 tsp
Strong white bread flour- 425 gms and extra for dusting
Caster sugar - 60 gms *
Salt - 1 tsp
Fresh yeast - 18 gms ( I used 7 gms of active dry yeast)
Tepid water - 160 ml
Eggs - 2 nos and 1 for egg wash
Orange zest - 1 orange

* I would have liked a little more sugar - depending on the sweetness of the dried fruits - do consider adding another 20-30 gms more

Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with butter
In a bowl mix the candied peel, dried fruit with the rum.  Combine and keep aside.
To another bowl, add flour, sugar, salt.  Use food mixer if you have.  Makes the job so much easier.
Whisk the yeast with a little water in a separate bowl.  Then add it to the flour.
Add the remaining water and the whole egg and beat/knead till it comes together as a dough.

Beat in the butter a little at a time
Add the orange zest.  Continue to beat/knead for 4-5 minutes till the dough is smooth.
Keep it aside covered in a bowl to prove for about an hour or till it has doubled in size.

Knock back the dough.
Sprinkle over the rum-dried fruit mixture and knead the fruit into the dough either in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface.
The dough will be very sticky
Roll into a ball.  Cut 12 equal sized pieces/
Roll each piece into a ball on a lightly floured surface and place one into a muffin hole.
Cover tin with cling film and keep aside for 45 minutes till risen.

Preheat oven to 190 C / 170 C fan
Brush top of risen panettone with the egg wash.  Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes or till golden brown.
Remove from tin and cool on wire rack

Slice.  Enjoy with butter/cream or whatever.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Buttermilk Fruit Cake - Eggless

If you haven't steeped the fruits but want to make a christmas-y  cake, this is just the recipe for you.  You need two bowls one for the dry ingredients and another for the wet ones.  Not too much work for a good tasting cake.  This one is a great recipe and a cake that can be baked even if it is not the festive season.  Recipe from Joy of Cooking. 

Ingredients -  ( Serves 6-8 - 8" cake tin)

All purpose flour - 200 gms
Pitted dates - 90 gms
Granulated sugar - 130 gms
Salt - 1/4 tsp
All spice - 1 tsp
Freshly  grated nutmeg - 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Buttermilk - 240 ml
Unsalted butter ( melted) - 113 gms
Raisins, sultanas, mixed peel - 195 gms
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp

Prepare the cake tin - grease and line it with parchment paper - a 9x5 loaf tin can also be used
To prevent the dates from getting mushy, put flour on a cutting board and cut the dates in it.
Place the flour, date mixture in a bowl.
Add sugar, salt, spices and baking soda.
Stir well to combine all ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 165 C.  I used 150 fan.

In the second bowl whisk buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla essence.
Stir the buttermilk mixture and the rest of the dried fruits into the dried ingredients in the first bowl.
Mix well.
Pour into prepared tin.  Smooth the top with a spatula or a back of a spoon.
Place in oven.  For 50-55 mins or till golden brown and pulling away from the sides.  Test with toothpick.

Remove from oven. Place on wire rack to cool for 10 mins.  Then remove from tin.

Can be had warm.  Can also store it for a few days.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Blueberry Friand

I watched a contestant making a friand in a masterchef episode.  I hadn't heard of friands before.  Besides the lady made it in less than half hour.  That caught my interest.  I later read that friands are mini cakes originally from France, but now popular in Australia and New Zealand.  These have very little flour content and can in fact be made gluten free.  The main ingredients are ground almonds, icing sugar, egg whites - which make the friand light and airy and the almond flour makes it chewy and moist.  They can be made with varied fruits like plums, peaches, cherries.  I adapted the recipe from BBC foods  The reviews were good, and most had cut down the amount of butter to half.  I did too.  

Try them.  They are chewy, light and delicious and very simple to make

Ingredients: ( 6- 9 friands depending on the tin)

Unsalted butter - 60 gms + extra for greasing
Icing sugar - 125 gms + extra for dusting
Plain flour - 25 gms
Ground almond - 85 gms
Egg whites - 3 nos
Lemon rind - 1 nos
Blueberries - 85 gms

Preheat oven to 180C fan / 200C conventional
Grease six friand or muffin tins.  ( I used muffin tins and I got 9 friands)
Melt butter.  Allow to cool.

Sift icing sugar and flour into a bowl.  Add the almond flour and mix well with fingers.

Whisk egg whites in another bowl till light and foamy.  They do not have to be stiff like meringues.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, tip in egg whites, lemon rind, and lightly stir in butter.  You will have a soft batter.

Fill in muffin tin with a large serving spoon - 2/3 full.
Sprinkle blueberries over each cake and bake for 15-20 mins till firm and golden brown.

Cool in tin for 5 minutes.  Turn out. Dust with icing sugar.

Note - You can make ground almond flour at home also.  Blanch almonds, remove the peel.  Dry them and grind fine. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Black Eyed Peas Stew - A vegetarian twist to a Goan/Portugese Feijoada

It is thought that every Portugese colony has their local version of Feijoada.  The original is a bean/meat stew.  feijão in Portugese is beans.  This is a spicy, tangy dish with black eyed peas, but it can be substituted with any other bean.  I saw it on Archana's kitchen and just loved the look of it.  And I was not disappointed.  It makes the use of tomato, tamarind and lime, that can add to the tanginess, and one is best advised to check before you add the lime as the finishing touch.


Black eyed peas - About 100g
Onions - 2 large - sliced
Garlic - 4 large pods - finely chopped
Ginger - 1" - chopped
Tomato - 2 nos - of which a fine purée is extracted 
Coconut milk - 200 ml
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder - to taste
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Jaggery powder - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp
Lime juice - to taste
Oil -  2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Wash, cook black eyed peas.  Make sure they are soft but not mashed.
Make a purée of tomatoes by quartering them and put in blender without water if you wish to make it fresh.  I used a readymade store bought one.

Take a pan.  Heat oil. Add the sliced onions. Sauté till they just begin to brown. Add the ginger and garlic.  Saute for a few more minutes

Add the powders - red chili, turmeric, coriander, cumin. Sauté.

Now, the tomato purée and continue cooking till the mixture is well blended.

Add the cooked black eyed peas.  Mix well.  Add the salt.

Follow this with coconut milk.  Add little water if required to bring it to the required consistency.


Add grated jaggery and tamaring paste.  Simmer for another five minutes.

Taste and check for salt, tanginess and spice and adjust accordingly.

Add a dash of lime juice and garnish with coriander leaves.  

Enjoy ! 


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