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January 28, 2010


"Biscotti", what a lovely name!, and I thought I could never make them, they *sounded* way too exotic, but all thanks to Vera I have a jar sitting on the table, all crisp, nutty and sweet and I just love them!
I took some to work and the reaction was unbelievable, everyone said that they tasted just like the one's you would get at the bakery, I was so happy and proud.This will definitely be my favorite baked goodie for all times :).
I decided to make a small quantity first with the ingredients I had, and then once I had got the hang of it, bake larger quantities, I also sliced one log diagonally and one into straight slices, which resulted in smaller biscotti.
To make these you require (adapted from here)-
(makes 8 large ones and about 20 small bite size one's)

  • Sugar-1/2 cup
  • Butter(salted)-60 gms
  • All purpose flour-1 and 1/4 cup
  • Baking powder-3/4 tsp
  • Orange flower water/Orange flavor- a few drops
  • Pure vanilla essence-1/2 tsp
  • Almonds-a handful
  • Raisins-a handful
  • Egg-1
  • Zest of 1 orange.
Method- Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F and line a baking sheet with foil/parchment,take granulated sugar in a large bowl and sprinkle rind on top, rub to moisten and leave for few minutes, beat in softened butter till light and fluffy.Add egg and essence and beat well for a few minutes.Sieve flour and baking powder together and add to the egg mixture, it will come together to form a soft, sticky dough, add almonds and raisins.Flour your work surface and halve the dough, shape into two logs, 10 inches long and about 1 inch thick, shape with dampened hands and flatten a bit, gently place on baking sheet at least three inches apart and bake for 25 minutes, cool for 10 minutes then with a very sharp knife slice diagonallyand bake again for 15 minutes, transfer to wire rack and cool completely.Store in an airtight container.Enjoy over hot cups of coffee

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January 20, 2010


Ever since I started cooking myself, the appeal of buying/ordering food from the market has been vastly reduced, I see so many things like pastries, burgers, pizzas, fastfood and want to buy them, but hey wait!I can make all of this myself, and you bet it will be fresher, tastier, healthier and at a fraction of the cost!
So yesterday evening I saw this roadside vendor making tikkis and was tempted to have them, but on second thoughts, What oil is he using?, Are his hands clean?Is the way of making hygienic?, so I skipped buying them from the roadside vendor came home and prepared them fresh and piping hot instead and boy! was I glad, the entire family loved them and asked for second and third helpings!I was really satisfied that I had opted for something fresh and home made instead of the junk they serve outside.
Here's how I made these delicious, crispy crust tikkis which are such a popular roadside snack here in India, I have on purpose abstained from adding any cornstarch/flour, and just let the tikkis be in their purest form :).You too will love them once you start making them yourself and I promise you will never eat/buy from the market.To make these you require-
  • Potatoes-6 large
  • Onion-1 large, finely chopped
  • Green chilli-1 large, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Green coriander- a handful, chopped
  • Salt and red chilli powder to taste
  • Garam masala-1 tsp
  • Tender, fresh ginger-1/2 tsp finely chopped
  • Oil for shallow frying.
Method-Boil potatoes in the pressure cooker(give 3-4 whistles), peel and mash thoroughly with a fork whilst hot.Combine all the other ingredients and mash up well, let the mixture cool.Shape into tikkis/cutlets and fry in hot oil on medium heat till crisp and golden.Serve piping hot with tomato ketchup.

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A friend at work is getting married and had requested an eggless cake recipe, since she is a vegetarian and so is her husband, I have almost never tried eggless cakes but now, on request wanted to try out one, another reason why I was keen on baking an eggless cake was that even my in-laws do not take eggs so now with an eggless cake version even they could sample my baking.
I wanted a classic, rustic yet elegant taste which goes down well with Tea so decided to stick with walnuts and Vanilla, as these are always,always loved in a cake by young and old alike, I added raisins as an afterthought!The cake took me by surprise, it came out of the oven, well risen and golden, and soft, really soft...on slicing I was pleased at the velvety texture, really I never knew that an eggless batter would yield such fantastic results.

It might come as an odd thing to you that I used a bit of vinegar in this cake, worry not, you cannot taste or smell it, and yes it is important since there will be a chemical reaction between the soda and vinegar, that in the absence of eggs makes the cake rise and gives it such a amazing texture.
To make 1 medium loaf cake you require-
  • Butter(salted)-100gms
  • Sugar(powdered-1 cup
  • All purpose flour-1 cup
  • Baking powder-3 tsp
  • Baking soda-1/2 tsp
  • Vanilla essence-2 tsp
  • Curd/Yogurt-2 tbsp
  • Milk-1/2 cup(lukewarm)
  • Vinegar-2 tsp
  • Walnuts and raisins- a handful
Method-Soften butter, beat in the sugar till fluffy, add the curd, milk, vanilla and vinegar and combine well.Sieve flour with baking powder, soda and keep aside.Preheat oven to 200C , grease and line a loaf tin, quickly fold in the flour and nuts into the wet ingredients and immediately, scrape batter into the pan, do not keep batter but bake immediately.Bake for about 40 minutes, or till a skewer inserted comes out clean, cool and slice, preferably cool overnight.

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January 17, 2010


It has been a really bad Winter, ever since it's onset I have been sick either with cold,cough or tummy upset.I dislike this cold weather and wish for warm, sunny days, sunlight seems to be so elusive and my body pines for it.
I feel really fit and active during Summer's but Winter's, I find totally debilitating.I also find myself dreading any kind of work at all, it's cold in the kitchen too!, so cooking for pleasure has also taken a backseat, only a quick essential meal is manageable.A few days back, on a lovely sunny morning I thought of making this pickle, since all the vegetables are in full season, I have loved this pickle since childhood, especially the one my naani used to make.It is sweet and sour, tangy and delicious, I love it on it's own with a parantha!

To make this pickle you require-
Cauliflower-1/2 kg
Turnips-1/2 kg
Carrots-1/2 kg
Mustard powder-2 tbsp
Vinegar-1/2 cup
Jaggery/gur/Sugar-250 gms
Mustard oil-1cup
Ginger paste-3 large tbsp
Garlic paste-3 large tbsp
Salt and red chilli powder to taste

Method-Wash and peel carrots, turnips and cauliflower, Cut carrots and turnips into longish pieces, separate cauliflower into florets.Dry in the sun for 2 days, or if the weather is cloudy, drain on paper towels and dry indoors for 2 days.Heat mustard oil in a heavy kadhai till smoking, let cool a bit.Fry ginger and garlic till golden, add vinegar, jaggery and rest of the spices.Add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes, toss well, cool and bottle into clean and dry bottles.Keep in the sun for 2-3 days, your pickle is ready!Keep stored in the refrigerator, it will last several months.

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January 1, 2010




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