Friday, December 31, 2010

Memories the Essence of Life ~ Best of 2010!

It is that moment in the year when you sit back to think of what has passed by through the year. I was keen not to forget to announce this event and many got back saying how wonderful it is to do this recap. I agree, when you look back you see all these twelve months passing by in front of you in a visage.

When I read back on what I wrote for 2009, I seem to be struck at that point. But let me now talk about things that didn't happen. It is going to happen, but let me talk about things that did happen and left a mark on my memory.


I wanted to do a similar one on a personal level not connected to food as this year was remarkable in many other ways too. I could do one in this year in passing. I was so moved doing it as it touched on some important things that happened. Every year you are bound to see good and bad, it is said you learn from your mistakes, cherish your happiness. Don't dwell on the bad things, you are not going to get anything out of it. That has always been my policy and I am not going to change it now.

On the food blogging front, I have posted about 82 recipes, some classics and some new. And yes this year has been good in many Food related fronts, including being part of this blogging community.

January saw me hosting my favorite recap of MLLA event. I started and ended Year 2009 with this event. I am happy to have good friends like Susan.

February saw me Basic dishes. I did a diet Program

In March I met bloggers from Chennai through IndiBloggers and was awarded Best Culinary Post - Avant Garde Bloggies Awards for Gulab Jamun. Then of course it was the festival occasion of Ugadi.

April celebrated 3 years of blogging and I had Thanda Mela on the occasion.

May saw me preparing some traditional breakfasts for my sils. And I also released a Kindle version of my e-Book.

June saw me getting more involved into Microwave Cooking, where I announced of 365 days of Microwave Cooking.

July saw me posting on How to make Rasam in 5 minutes which by the way seems to be the most asked question. What followed in this month were a series of Microwave dishes.

August saw One Million Visits to the blog and some yummy treats to celebrate too.

September celebrated Vinayaka Chavithi special, while Ganesh is the remover of bad doings, it seems very fitting.

October had me flying to SFO to attend the BlogHer Food 10 conference. I was a panel speaker on Food Diplomats and Cuisine Ambassadors. It was a trip of a lifetime, very memorable for a Food blogger to meet and represent India on an international level.

November celebrated Deepavali.

December saw me celebrating Terra Madre Day getting back to Baking and of course meeting my blogger friends.

Indian Cooking Challenge members grew and we did many interesting challenges

Each and every post lingers leaving a lasting impression in mind. I so look forward to the year that is coming and hoping to blog more.

A very happy new year to all my readers who take time to read my blog and get me going. If there is anything that you feel should be done in the coming year, leave a comment will try to target it.

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eggless Butterless Rum Fruit Cake 2 | Christmas Fruit Cake

As I told you in my previous Christmas Fruit Cake, it was like eternal search for an eggless version. Whether it was on Facebook or Twitter or even Buzz, all I was interested in was to search for a version that I can bake this time.

Then I happened to see Monika talking about Christmas Cakes and I had to ask her if it was eggless. She then pointed me to Nandita who just blogged about two versions of Christmas cake, one which happens to be eggless. Reading that I realized it had Rum and had to get my share of rum. Everybody were very interested that I was soaking the fruits in Rum and whoever knew of this wanted a piece of cake to taste.

Since I made the other fruit cake first, I left the fruits soaking for 4 days. Finally got around making it on Monday. I baked a full pan, plus two small foil tins to take to office. Then a smaller tin in which I have been soaking it with more rum. Yet to get it tasting for the feel and taste of rum soaked fruit cake.



 Fruits used in the cake
Soaked in Rum for 4 days
Loaf tin used for baking, greased and dusted before pouring the batter.

Just out of the oven.
Resting for 10 minutes.
Cutting into bite size pieces.

Baked in small foil tins for carry away/ gifts.
Further soaking in rum for 3 days.


Eggless Butterless Rum Fruit Cake
Adapted from Nandita
Preparation Time - 15- 20 minutes
Baking Time - 30 - 35 minutes at 175 degree C and 25 - 30 at 155 degree C
Resting Time - 15 mins



Recipe for making Eggless Christmas Fruit Cake

To prepare this cake you first got to soak the fruits few days before the actual baking. Normally some have the habit of soaking for weeks together. But I had only 4 days of soaking and it was fine. Else you can follow the cooking in sugar process that I did for the other recipe.

Then you will have to make the caramel ahead of baking, so that it is also ready before starting the baking.

Prepare in advance
Though it is recommended to use 3 cups of mixed dried fruits, I did about a cup and a half. I didn't use the cinnamon powder in the fruit soak. But used it directly.

Fruits to be used
Cashew nuts, Walnuts, Black and Golden raisins, Currants, apricot, tutti fruitti, citrus peels soaked in 1 cup rum.
Chop all the nuts and fruits into small pieces before soaking.

One batch caramel required to make this recipe.

To replace the eggs, I have also used the potatoes as the previous one.

How to make caramel

Take a thick bottomed pan, add 1/2 cup sugar. On a low heat, let it melt. When it starts melting, keep stirring until it turns dark brown in colour. Heat 3/4 cup of water and keep on the side. When the sugar reaches that golden colour, remove from fire and add the hot water carefully. It will start cracking and bursting out. Mix well to get a smooth caramel syrup. Allow it to cool

Prepare the potatoes

Pressure cook 3 medium potatoes to get 1 cup of finely mashed potatoes. Keep it aside.

Ingredients Needed:

All purpose flour / Maida - 3 cups
Baking powder 2 tsp
Baking soda ½ tsp
Instant coffee powder 1-2 tsp

Mashed potatoes - 1 cup

Curds / Yogurt - 1 cup (plus keep 1/2 cup yogurt if batter too thick, though I didn't use)
Oil - 1/2 cup
Fine Sugar - 1 cup
Caramel made using 1/2 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Cloves powder - 1/2 tsp
Nutmeg powder - 1/2 tsp
vanilla extract - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Grease one 8”x 4" long tin and dust with flour. I used three small foil tins for gifting away smaller cakes. Baking time will be less in case you are using smaller foil tins.

Preheat oven at 175 C.

In a large bowl, whisk well the oil, yogurt, mashed potato, sugar, caramel, spices and vanilla.

In another large bowl, sieve the flour, soda, baking powder and instant coffee powder.

To the wet ingredients, add the dry ingredients in batches, folding well to incorporate.

Once the batter is ready, add the soaked fruits and little liquor. Mix well and pour into the greased tin.

Refrigerate the rest of the batter until you use.

Bake for 30 minutes at 175 C and another 15-25 minutes at 150 C covered by foil.

Test the center of the cake if it is done. Cool for 15 minutes in pan. Remove along with paper onto a cooling rack.

I served without soaking with rum



To one tin, poke holes with a skewer or toothpick and pour two tablespoons of rum or any other liquor. Once cooled, cover well with parchment paper and keep in a tin. Repeat the rum-soak every other day for a week or so (optional)

Notes
Let the cake sit overnight before slicing.
The remaining batter refrigerated until use.
Please check the temperature setting in your oven, it can vary. The basic principle being since this is a dense fruit cake made using oil, cooking this for longer time in low temperature gets it done.

The cake was little dense, read it later that it may be because of using oil. Would appreciate how to get that crumbly effect in a caked made with oil

Sending this to Priyanka's Its time to Jingle again  and Champa's Bake off Event

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eggless Fruit Cake 1 | Eggless Christmas Cake | Step By Step Recipe

Baking a plum cake for Christmas has always been on my wish list for a long time. Not that I never bake, when I used to be in college, it was an everyday affair to keep baking something or the other. But baking an eggless plum cake was out of question. I always thought a fruit cake needs those eggs to make it done or even rich. Well with little learning on the subject and being part of a community that shares so much, I have finally baked an eggless Fruit cake that I could eat.

It happens every year and this year too it was no different. I always end up reading on so many plum cakes and other Christmas goodies, but never ever make them. But this year I was determined. Many bloggers had started talking about fruit cake and I would be seen asking them if they know an eggless version. So much so that I think I bugged many of them for an eggless Plum cake recipe.


After reading at length on how one can replace the usage of eggs, I even bookmarked quite a few fruit cakes. Hearing so much about the much raved recipe from Raaga, I soaked the fruits and nuts in rum, hoping to get this one done. Yes it is still soaking. Meanwhile I was pointed to Anushruti's lovely eggless fruit cakes. I was so touched and inspired that I kept reading on. It was past 12 am and I would have seriously ventured into making it if not for Athamma, who woke up just then. She was disturbed with the rattling I was making to get things ready.

I couldn't sleep much and woke up early again and the first thing I did was to bake this cake. It came out so beautiful and I was impatient to taste it. But I had to rest it for some hours and got back tasting it finally in the evening. Everybody simply loved it. This is surely a keeper recipe.



The measurement given below is only halve of the original recipe. I didn't have maple syrup/dates syrup, so used Mixed fruit jam.

If noticed I mentioned version 1, yes version 2 is also ready. You can only imagine the joy I had baking another version. For a cake deprived person this is surely stepping into heaven!


I was able to take all the steps while couldn't for the second one. 


 Chop all the dry fruits and buts that you are doing to use.

 Melt demerara sugar and then add the dry fruits, cook till done.

Spice powders used, cloves, cinnamon and Nutneg


Mix potatoes, baking powder, baking soda to the flour. Combine everything well.

 Then mix the sugar fruit mix to the flour.

Add 2 tsps of Mixed fruit Jam finally.

 Pour this mix into greased baking tins.


Eggless Fruit Cake

Preparation Time - 10 mins
Baking Time - 180 degree for 15 - 18 mins

Ingredients Needed:

For the dry ingredients :

All purpose flour / Maida - 1 cup
Baking powder - 3/4 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Spice powder (Clove, Cinnamon, Nutmeg) - 1/2 tsp*

For the Fruit Mix

Black and Golden Raisins, Cranberries, Cashews, Walnuts, Currants, Tutti fruity, Apricot,- 1 cup
Brown Sugar/ Demerara Sugar - 1/2 cup
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Butter -  3/4 tbsp
Water - 3/4 cup
Mixed Fruit Jam - 2 tsps

For mixing the cake batter:

Curds/ Yogurts - 3tsp
Milk as required if the batter gets thick
Potatoes - 1/2 cup

Method to prepare:

The Fruit Mix

In a thick bottom pan, take sugar add water and bring to boil. Once it melts, add all the chopped fruits and nuts. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 mins. If the water evaporates completely go ahead add little
more to make it liquid. Once the syrup is cooled, add the soda.

The Potatoes:

Pressure Cook the potatoes and mash after removing the skin. I microwave it as usual but I think pressure cooking it makes more soft and has water content. Keep this aside.

The dry ingredients:

Shift the flour along with the baking powder, soda and spice powder.

The baking tin

Grease the baking tin with butter and dust it well. Pre-heat the oven at 185 degree C

Getting the batter ready:

In a bowl, take the flour and add the mashed potatoes. Mix well.

Then add the yogurt, whisk well.

Next add the fruit mix and combine everything together.

If it is not in dropping consistency, add some milk as required.

Pour into the greased tins and bake at 185 degrees C for 15 mins. Check at 11th minute for doneness by inserting a toothpick or sharp knife. If it comes out clean, it means done. 

It gets done by 14th minute. if you want your cake to be little more brown, bake for couple of minutes but keep an eye and not let it burnt.

*For making the Spice powder (Clove, Cinnamon, Nutmeg). roast the spices separately and grind them in those small mixer jars. Since I had Cinnamon and Nutmeg, I had to grind only cloves.

The first batch got over within minutes and I made another one very soon. It was fun enjoying the holidays with these fruit cakes, though my kids didn't eat as they don't eat fruits in cakes. They wanted those chocolate muffins again.

Do try these if you want to enjoy eggless fruit cakes.

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Microwave Carrot Corn Coriander Muffin | Step By Step Recipes | Savory Muffin

With the holidays setting in for the kids, I am sure we are going to have our hands full for the whole of next week. Though Konda's holidays started off earlier this week, boys had their school and were most reluctant to leave after their non stop playing that three of them get down to. This also means that I got to plan for to make for them during their holidays.

Last evening when I got back home after work, Chinnu came running to tell me something very important. He was looking so eager and enthu to say that his sister told him that Christmas Thatha will come soon to give them gifts. When I asked him how he knows and why should that happen. He replied with a surety that it is going to happen. Now I have a task of making sure that happens.

And yes I have been planning to make a fruit cake this year. Though I haven't soaked any fruit, I am bent on trying out an eggless one, so I have been eternally in search of one that will fit my bill, which is easy to make! I have finalized on quite a few, got to narrow it down to the final one. Wish me luck, though I have baked many flavors, fruit cake I have never attempted. What is Christmas without a fruit cake tell me? This is what hubby dear says, though we normally buy it, this year I am keen on baking it myself.


Coming back to these savory muffins, when Mons alerted again on the Microwave Savory Snacks for this month, I thought I ought to do something. Well that something finally clubbed with my latest obsession which being muffins and here you read on the savory muffins.

Like a chain reaction that reminded me of Laks and her days of obsession with muffins. When she had posted her savory muffins, all I did was drooling virtually dreaming when I will be baking those cute little ones, myself. Yes I remembered those days and I knew I had to make those. I naturally assumed she had done in microwave mode, only to see she had baked. Well when there is a need, you got to address it right. So I ended baking this in both modes.

I adapted her recipe and included few more that I had on hand. These fresh corn kernels were lying around in the fridge for a while. Amma had got them a week back and everyday Athamma would look at it and then me with a look. I safely avoid her looks and carry on with my work. I finally had to do something, at least not to waste those kernels. So I had to put them into these for another twist in the taste, if you know what I mean.

These make a great breakfast, I am not a sweet person for breakfast. So these work out best.

Step by Step to make Savory Muffin with Carrot, Corn and Coriander!


Add the grated carrot to the flour,
Puree the tomato.
Add to the flour along with the baking powder, baking soda.

Wash and add the Corn kernels

Now goes the pepper powder.

Mix and then add the finely chopped coriander and olive oil

Mix everything together.

Pour into the greased silicone muffin tray

The above muffins are baked in Microwave mode


These are baked in convectional mode at 185 degree C

Carrot Corn Coriander Muffin

All Purpose Flour / Maida – 1 cup
Carrots, grated – 3/4 cup
Corn Kernels - 1 cup
Fresh Coriander, finely chopped - 1/2 cup
Pepper powder – 1 tsp
Baking Powder – 1 tsp
Cooking Soda – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Curds / Yogurt – 1 tbsp
Tomatoes puree – 1/2 cup
Milk – 3/4 cup
Olive Oil - 1 tbsp

Preparation:

If using Microwave mode, grease or line the silicone Muffin tray.

If using convectional baking mode, grease or line your muffin baking tray. Pre-Heat the oven at 185 degree C.

Method to prepare:

Grate the Carrots, add to the flour along with baking powder, cooking soda, salt, pepper.

Add in the tomato puree, corns and milk. combine everything well. then add the coriander leaves, curds.

Finally add the olive oil.

Microwave Mode:

Pour a spoon of batter into the silicone cups.

Microwave for 3 minutes. Allow it to cool before removing.

Convectional Baking:


Pour the batter into the non stick muffin tray.

Bake for 18 minutes at 185 degree C. Then allow it to cool down over the rack.



These tasted great next day for breakfast with just a touch of sauce. But these work out well as a quick snack for kids for evening.

Sending this to Monika, who is hosting the Microwave Easy Cooking themed on Savory Snacks. 

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting | Microwave Convection Recipes | Step By Step Recipe

It was a lazy Sunday which was extremely chill, on top I was on high having met fellow bloggers and then a passion that was rekindled again. I meant after eating those yummy muffins that Divya gave us, I am sure anybody will be. For lunch I made a  new variety of mutton curry and fry though on hind sight find it funny that I actually didn't click pictures of them.

Evening when Konda said she bored, that just gave me a perfect reason to rush out to kitchen to make some more muffins. Well no reasons but then you don't really need a reason right! She was all excited that I promised she can do it all. We proceeded with whatever we had on hand. I didn't have a banana to bake those Banana Muffin again. Though I had half a tin of condensed milk still. I didn't have a soda. I decided I was just going to add whatever I have on hand and pray it will get done well.


Meanwhile the boys realized that their sister was not around and came to check on us. Guess what I had the whole family in my small hole that I call a kitchen. It was a chaos with all three of them wanting to do something. Well finally I managed to get the boys stand on the side, while Konda mixed in the batter. They were so impatient and when it started smelling great, I could see Konda getting so excited. I also wanted to make some frosting as I had bought a piping bag from SFO. Can you believe the nozzles wouldn't actually go through the opening or was I wrong?

Anyway I made both these Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes in Convectional mode and Microwave mode. Microwave Cupcakes were so so easy, will post on that in the following post.

I am so happy to say it came out very well. I can vouch because kids eat 2 of them right away and hubby dear said it was good, which is very rare for him to say on a cake! I was even more happy knowing that I don't have to look out for condensed milk or a cola as my Eggless Black Forest Cake requires!

If you see that frosting is not so professional, you can say we were in a hurry!..The muffins were still hot when Konda piped in the chocolate frosting and they melted right away!

How to make an Eggless Cupcake in step by step!

Shift the flour along with baking powder, cooking soda and cocoa powder.

Then add the icing sugar to the flour.

Meanwhile melt the butter in a thick bottom pan. Allow it to cool.

Once you are done mixing the dry ingredients, mix it to the butter.

Make sure you mix everything without any lumps forming.

Next goes the milk, actually you can add this ahead too, but can wait to check if the flour gets to thick.

Mix everything well together.

Scoop down a spoon of this batter into the lined muffin trays.

Pre-heat the oven at 185*C and then bake this for 15 mins. This is at 13 mins stage.

Allow it to rest or bake for another 2 mins if you still find it very soft.

Remove and allow it to cool.

How to make Chocolate Frosting

This is the piping bag that I got to the do the job! But I was upset with so much that get left behind..

Take the butter in a bowl, start creaming it with a spoon.

Then add the cocoa powder and continue creaming together without lumps.

Then add the icing sugar to the butter and cream again.

It should look something like this. You can cream further if your arms don't ache, just keep creaming. Better if you do it with a beater but then you don't get any excerise right!

Scoop the icing into the piping bag and freeze for 10 minutes. Once the cupcakes are cooled down, pipe on the top.

If you don't wait as we didn't, you will have the melted icing on top like this. Anyway it tasted awesome.



Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Yields - 18 Mini muffins
Preparation Time : 10 mins
Baking Time 15 mins
Temperature : 185* C

Ingredients Needed:

For Eggless Chocolate Muffin

All Purpose Flour / Maida - 1 cup
Cocoa powder - 3 tsp
Icing Sugar - 3/4 cup
Butter - 50 gms
Milk - 1 cup (sweetened)
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Cooking Soda a pinch
Cooking Oil - 2 -3 tsp

For Chocolate Frosting:

Butter - 50 gms
Icing sugar - 1/2 cup
Cocoa powder - 1 & 1/2 tsp

Things Needed:
Piping bag
Mini Muffin Tray

Method to prepare:

The Eggless Cupcake:

In a thick bottom pan take the butter and melt it. Keep it aside to cool down.

Meanwhile shift together the flour, baking powder, cooking soda, cocoa powder, icing sugar.

Once the butter is cooled, add in the flour slowly and mix well. It tends to get thick so you can add the milk at this stage

I added the oil at this stage too. Pre heat the oven at 185* C and line the muffins with liners.

The batter will be of pouring consistency. Once the oven is ready, pour a spoonful of batter into the cups and bake it at 180*C for 15 mins.

Don't open until it has completed at least 13 minutes. Check with a tooth pick or sharp knife by inserting in the middle to see if it is done.

I kept it back for another 2 mins. but you can allow it to cool down on the rack.

For making the frosting

Take the butter in a bowl, cream it well by using a spoon, beat it well till it starts becoming fluffy.

Add the cocoa powder and icing sugar, continue doing it for about 10 mins or till your hands ache!


Scoop it down the piping bag and freeze for 10 minutes if required.

Once the muffins are cooled, decorate the top.

It was very moist and crumbly.


Notes:
  • If you want to bake it without the liners, grease the muffin tray with butter.
  • This recipe doesn't required to be careful, this was manhandled by a 9 year old and still came out very well. Just make sure the batter doesn't lump on you, you will then end up breaking the lumps.
  • Wait for the muffins to cool down, else the frosting will melt away. The milk I used was sweetened as it was kept for milkshake. So increase the sugar by tasting the sweetness of the batter. 
  • Increase the sweetness in the batter if you are not planning to make the frosting.

All the three were eagerly waiting for the muffins to be done. Chinnu wanted the icing and all of them gobbled 1 each right away, went on the second but managed to eat off the frosting and managed to bite more. Konda said she liked the Banana Muffins better. I think she said that because these didn't have those chocolate chips that I refused to part with. I know by tomorrow nothing will remain.
I thoroughly enjoyed these and I can see my diet plans going out for a toss. With the frosting it was divine!

Well I confess, because of these chocolate delights I ended up announcing a Chocolate feast for the Kid's Delight! It's on till the 15th of January do send in your favorites.

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...