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October 30, 2009


mini apple pies.JPG

It's getting colder with each passing day, Winter's upon us after the sveltering summer heat, our food choices are greatly influenced by the weather and these days I find myself cooking up more soups, stews and ...warm apple pie!...and of course lovin every minute and bite of it!!.

Apples are in abundance here and the availability of so much good local produce is enough for me to dream up the best way to enjoy them, I made these pies in miniature form so each could have their individual pie with clotted cream or Ice cream as they wished.The shortcrust pastry is the easiest you can come across and very good to work with, I chanced upon the recipe at BBCgoodfood.com and it can be found here.

I baked the individual pastry cases in a muffin pan, so that I could have six at one go, the texture of the pastry is very tender, buttery and flaky, the filling is sweet apples doused in a buttery cinnamon syrup, the end result is truly warming, very decadent and rich, with a wonderful sticky crunch to it that comes with the addition of raisins and nuts.To make these mini apple pies you require-

  • Shortcrust pastry- 1 recipe, (can be found here alongwith video pictorial).

  • Apples-3

  • Sugar-1/2 cup

  • Butter-1 large knob

  • Nuts-1/4 cup

  • Raisins-1/4 cup

  • Cinnamon-1/4 tsp

  • Preserve of choice-2 tbsp (preferably peach)

Assemble shortcrust pastry first acc. to recipe, roll out into small rounds that fit into a muffin tray, make six of these and press down carefully into pan like in the below pic, dip a fork in flour and press down edges to give a neat look, bake till slightly golden, don't forget to reserve some dough for trimmings on top, keep aside.


To prepare filling-Peel and core apples, dice.In a heavy bottom sauce pan combine all the ingredients for the filling except preserve and add 1/2 cup water, cook on slow flame till apples are tender, about 15 minutes, and there's only a little thick sugar syrup left, keep aside.To assemble, brush the insides of all pastry cases with preserve this is required to prevent pastry from getting soggy, spoon in prepared filling and roll out reserved dough into strips, place in lattice shape on top, brush with egg wash and bake till golden at 180 C, in a pre heated oven, Serve warm dusted with castor sugar and more ground cinnamon.

mini apple pies1.JPG

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October 27, 2009

Tuberoses (rajnigandha)


My favorite flowers..your's too?

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October 21, 2009


crispy chaklis.JPG

Never thought that I could make these at home! They look just so perfect, and that crackly texture, oh my!, but I am so glad I did...they turned out soooo perfect I could HARDLY BELIEVE IT, will be making them all the time now for sure, they are the perfect accompaniment for my evening cuppa :)

  • Rice flour-1 cup

  • All purpose flour-1 cup

  • Ghee/clarified butter-2 tbsp

  • Urad dal-2 tbsp

  • Cumin seeds (zeera)-1/2 tsp

  • Fenugreek seeds (methre)-1/2 tsp

  • Asafoetida( hing)-a pinch

  • Sesame seeds (safed til)-1 tsp

  • Red chilli powder-1/2 tsp

  • Salt to taste

  • Refined oil for frying

Dry roast the dal, cumin and fenugreek seeds, cumin and asafoetida, cool and grind finely in a coffee grinder.Combine the rice flour and refined flour, rub in the ghee till it resembles coarse breadcrumbs, add the ground mixture alongwith salt and with the help of water knead into a soft, smooth dough(this takes about 10 minutes), oil the insides of a chakli press and take small portions of the dough to roll out into circular shapes using star disc, slip these into medium hot oil and fry carefully till golden, drain and serve, or store in airtight container, will keep for several weeks.



These are very good with tea or coffee, I am having some right now with some hot ginger tea, and really they DO NOT last long in my house as they are very addictive :)

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Diwali has come and gone but the memories linger on...I made some free hand rangoli at the entrance of my home, pics of which I absolutely must share with you all...

diwali rangoli.JPG

diwali rangoli1.JPG

as darkness falls...

diwali rangoli3.JPG

diwali rangoli2.JPG

another one which I had posted earlier too...

rangoli on diwali.jpg


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October 17, 2009


rangoli on diwali.jpg



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October 15, 2009



I have gorged on sweets the entire week as Diwali is just two days away, and gift exchange fever has started in earnest, all well wishers have been visiting my home, so it always helps to have some good homemade snacks ready, like this date fall cake I baked earlier assuming that everyone else has also stuffed themselves with sweets to the point taht even they can't have a gulab jamun more!:), I am craving something saltish and am sure so are you, let's make this awesome gujrati classic!!

Before I START let me tell you that the recipe below is by far the most fool proof, tried and tested recipe with amazing results, my ma-in-law who hails from Gujarat itself has been making dhokla with the exact same recipe for close to 50 yrs, and friends and family specially request for it all the time, yes during Diwali it is a must have on the menu, as some family members come just to eat the dhokla made by her, and use Diwali as an excuse!!

  • Gramflour (besan)-1 cup

  • Semolina (suji)-1/2 cup

  • Sour curd-1/2 cup

  • Ginger-1' piece

  • Garlic-5 clove

  • Green chilli-2

  • Soda-bi-carb-a pinch

  • Eno fruit salt-5 gms/1 satchet

  • Turmeric-1/4 tsp

  • Salt to taste

  • for tempering-Curry leaves-a few

  • Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp

  • Green chillis (deseeded and sliced)-2

  • Oil-1 tbsp

  • Asafoetida (hing)- a pinch

  • Sugar-1 tsp

  • dash of lemon juice

Combine gramflour and semolina together in a large bowl, add the curd and enough water to form into a thick, pancake like batter.In a coffee grinder, add ginger+garlic+green chillies, grind with as little water as possible, add to the gramflour mixture, add salt and turmeric powder, lastly add the soda and mix well.On the other hand keep a large vessel filled with water on the stove, heat till boiling, place a perforated tray on top.Take a thali/tray and grease it well, put on top of the perforated tray with the water simmering below, keep another large plate ready to cover the thali tightly, thus steaming the dhokla thali effectively.Just before pouring batter into thali, beat in the eno fruit salt, do not keep batter after this, it should be steamed immediately.Cover and steam for 20 minutes.Cool and cut into squares before tempering.


To prepare the tempering(tadka)-Heat oil, add all the other ingredients till seeds crackle, turn off flame, add 2 tbsp water, relight stove and cook for 1 minute till syrupy, pour on top of dhokla, let the dholka soak in the syrup, serve.



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October 12, 2009


citrusy date fall cake1.JPG

The weather's changed, from really hot summer's to cooler October, you can feel a slight nip in the air, and naturally one tends to gravitate towards more warming foods, with the festive season around the corner, there is also a tendency to indulge, so here's just the cake for you- warming fall indulgence, with a lovely crumb, just like you get at the bakery shop and little nuggets of sweet dates, crisp almonds, and golden raisins, this recipe sure is a keeper!.To make this lovely cake you need-

  • Butter-100 gms

  • Sugar-1 cup powdered

  • Eggs-2

  • Flour-1 cup

  • Baking powder-1 tsp

  • Orange extract- few drops

  • Dates-1 cup, chopped (200gms)

  • Candied fruit-1/2 cup

  • Almonds- a handful, sliced

  • Raisins-a handful

ingredients for cake.JPG

Cream butter and sugar well till light, add the eggs one at a time, mix well and keep aside.Sieve flour and baking powder together, add the chopped dates, fruit, raisins and almonds into the flour.Lightly fold in the flour into the beaten creamy mixture, add the extract and mix lightly, spoon into a well greased and lined loaf tin.Smooth top.Bake at 150C for about an hour or till a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

citrusy date fall cake.JPG

This cake is oh-so-perfect for high tea so it is off to Aparna for this month's "Monthly mingle"- High tea treats, brainchild of the lovely Meeta.


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October 11, 2009


lotus stem.JPG

Lotus stem/root also known as kamal kakdi or bhay makes for a delectable curry or side dish, today I made it punjabi style today but I also love it the kashmiri way, in a yakhni or as nadru churma/monje, you see it is called nadru in kashmiri :), any thing you call it, it is so exquisitely beautiful with a earthy flavor that sort of soaks up whatever you put it in.Fresh stems are crisp and crunchy and have a snap to them, here's how you can prepare a delicious curry with it:

lotus stem1.JPG

There are no hard and fast rules in preparing this kind of a curry, just play along with what you have!.Take about four stems and scrape the top just like you would scrape radishes or carrots, remove top and bottom woody part, now slice somewhat diagonally into longish discs, as you will be able to see that they have a lot of mud sticking to them because they grow in muddy waters, so with a jet spray remove as much dirt as is visible, those who do not have a jet spray tap, wash them well in plenty of running water, as an extra precaution to avoid any grit getting into the curry, I boiled them for 15 minutes, till a fork inserted into one of the discs slips in softly.drain and keep aside.

Mince one large onion with 4-5 cloves garlic and a 1 inch piece ginger, fry in 2 tbsp oil till brown, while onions are browning, heat some more oil in a pan and fry the lotus stem discs till lightly colored, drain and keep aside.Add 1 large pureed tomato to the browned onions along with 1 finely chopped green chilli, 1 tsp garam masala and salt, cook till masala leaves oil, add the fried discs, cook for another 15-20 minutes, adjust seasoning, serve hot with chapatis/basmati rice.ENJOY!

lotus stem curry.JPG

As Diwali is right round the corner, my garden in full of lovely marigolds grown specially for the Diwali pooja :)


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October 9, 2009


soft milky bread.JPG

The aroma of freshly baked bread bottled and sprinkled on this blog for you all to savour, could anything be better? BAKE IT, LIFT IT, BROWN IT, SPREAD IT, LOVE IT...That's the story of this pretty loaf for all you precious people, who honour me by reading through my posts...

  • Plain flour-250gms

  • Milk-1/2 cup

  • Curd-2 tbsp

  • Yeast-2 tsp

  • Sugar-1 tsp

  • Salt-1/2 tsp

  • Egg-1

  • Butter-2 tbsp

Combine milk, curd ,butter, sugar and heat till warm to the touch, add in the yeast and leave for 15 minutes till frothy, Add the butter, salt , 1/2 of the egg (reserving half for the egg wash) and the flour, combine well to form a ball of dough, add more flour if neccessary, knead to a smooth elastic dough, oil a bowl and leave dough to rise for 1 hour till double in bulk.




Punch down and form into loaf shape, gently smooth down into a loaf pan, leave for proofing for about 1 hour more, the dough will now rise to top of pan, brush top with egg wash and sprinkle some sesame seeds, bake at 200C for 1/2 an hour, slice when cool.

soft milky bread2.JPG

Did I tell you how I enjoyed a slice- simply by spreading some golden butter and fruit preserve as soon as the bread was out of the oven, loved it with both the butter and jam seeping through and dripping all over...ha heaven!

Soft, milky bread is off to lovely Susan for her weekly showcase of yeasted goods-yeastspotting.

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October 3, 2009


peanut butter cooies

Easy, easy, easy that is what I was chanting when I made these, I read the recipe somewhere, can't for the life of me remember where, but they stuck me as well, pretty convenient and with just 5 ingredients, the cookies were whirling all around my head, I wondered how they would turn out to be, cookies without flour??Can you believe it?? Get ready for some delicious magic!!...

Combine half cup peanut butter with half cup powdered sugar and half a beaten egg, mix well, I added a splash of vanilla and as a last minute indulgence a fistful of chocolate chips, shaped them into balls and baked at 200C for 20 minutes....that's it!


Ha! didn't I say magic!! No complicated steps, nothing to memorise, no butter, no flour in the fridge?.. don't worry impress your guests with these crunchy nibbles...

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