Saturday, 29 June 2013

Dimply Plum Cake



Dimply Plum cake was there in my “must bake” list since long. But I had to wait for summer fruits to arrive to go ahead with it. Last week when we spotted a villager selling stone fruits from his orchard in the hills, I was thrilled. There were so many cakes and jams that had to be made with stone fruits. Plum has a short shelf life especially when you buy them ripe, so first came Plum Jam. Some ripe red plums were purposely reserved for this pretty cake.

This is a wonderful cake. Orange zest lends a lovely flavour to it. The cake becomes moist and very flavourful when had the next day. However the plums need to be really sweet to be used in this recipe. This cake can also be made with apricots or cherries.
Here goes the recipe-

Dimply Plum Cake
Adapted from  Smitten kitchen
Ingredients
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup canola oil (any neutral oil will do)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla essence
¼ teaspoon salt
Zest of an orange
8 ripe sweet plums halved and pitted
Method
Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Grease and line an 8 inch square cake tin. Dust the sides with flour, tap out the excess flour.
Whisk all purpose flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.
Cream butter and sugar till smooth and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add oil, vanilla essence and zest. Mix well.
Add dry ingredients. Mix till the dry ingredients are just incorporated.
Empty the batter into the cake tin and smoothen the top.
Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter. Four pieces sit comfortably in a line in the batter.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes till the top turns brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake for 15 minutes in the pan. Run a knife around the sides and remove from the cake tin.
Transfer to the rack and cool right side up.
Once cool, dust with powdered sugar.




Thursday, 27 June 2013

Sesame Peanut Jaggery Balls (Til Mungphali Laddu)


Sudden change in the weather ushered in by incessant rainfall has plummeted the temperature. With the Sun not having peeped out of the thick clouds since days, it is cold and clammy. Biscuits are turning soggy; mould is showing its presence on every moist surface and eatables are spoiling faster than usual. Our garden has also become a zoologist’s fancy. Strange creepy crawlies are popping out of ground. Mating calls of the frogs echo everywhere and crickets also add to the cacophony.
Pantry needs to be inspected frequently to salvage eatables from spoiling lest they end up in the dustbin. During one such cleaning spree I came across sesame seeds in a jar. The seeds looked robust and had to be used before the mould attacked them. I made sesame peanut laddus. Here goes the recipe-

Sesame Peanut Jaggery Balls ( Til Mungpahali laddu)
Ingredients
1 ½ cups white sesame seeds
½ cup roasted and coarsely ground peanuts
1 cup crumbled jaggery
½ cup water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Method
Roast sesame seeds on low flame stirring constantly.
As soon as the seeds begin to change colour and a sweet aroma emanates, turn off the heat.
Roast peanuts till light brown. Rub off the skin. Grind them coarsely.
Take crumbled jaggery in a thick bottomed wok. Add water and let it cook on medium heat.
When it becomes thick and syrupy, reduce the heat and cook till the syrup attains two string consistency.
Add roasted sesame seeds and roasted peanuts. Mix well. Let the mixture cool.
When the mixture cools but is still warm, apply oil in your palms and take a spoonful of the mixture. Tightly press the mixture and make small balls. 
When cold, store in an air tight container.
                                                                     
Sending Sesame Peanut Jaggery Balls to  Vegan Thursdays conceptualized by Priya 





Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Plum Jam - (Without Pectin and with skin)


Mid-June to June end is the time when the stone fruits ripen in the hills and reach the market. Ramgarh, Hartola, Nathuakhan, and Mukteshwar are the fruit belts of Kumaon. We get lovely big size peaches, apricots and juicy plums in abundance. This is the time when tourist season is also at its peak. Villagers erect makeshift stalls around their orchards and sell stone fruits. Tourists love to buy freshly plucked fruits right from the orchard. However, this year early monsoons marred the season. A lot of fruit could not be plucked and did not reach the market.


Last week on our way back from work, we saw a fruit stall on the roadside with plums, apricots, and mangoes. We ended up buying a lot of plums and apricots. The desire to make Plum Jam got a very good reason to go ahead. We ate to our heart’s content, made jam and also made Dimply Plum Cake, a recipe that had been waiting to see the light of the day.



I made plum jam in two batches. The first bottle was made in sheer excitement, the second session was to use the plums left after eating and making a cake. This is my father’s recipe. He used to pressure cook the plums and then proceed to make jam.


Last year I made PeachJam with the peaches we got to pluck ourselves from an orchard.
It is deeply satisfying to have a little bit of summer stored in the jars. And the jam is greatly relished when it is had in some other season when these fruits are not available. And greater pleasure is also in gifting homemade jam to your loved ones.

Plum Jam

Ingredients


  • Ripe plums 250 grams
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice
(Quantity of sugar and lemon juice depends on the quantity of fruit)

Method


  1. Wash the plums and wipe them dry.
  2. Put them in the steel pressure cooker. Add water just enough to submerge the fruits to the one-fourth level.
  3. Turn off the heat after one whistle. Let the pulp cool a bit.
  4. Remove seeds.
  5. Measure the pulp. Transfer the pulp to a steel wok.
  6. Add one cup of sugar for every one cup of fruit pulp.
  7. If the plums are very tart, more sugar may be added.
  8. Add juice of half a lemon for every cup of the fruit pulp.
  9. Cook on medium flame stirring constantly.
  10. Keep a steel plate in the freezer to test the jam.
  11. When the jam reduces in quantity almost by half and becomes thick, reduce the heat. Cook on low flame and stir constantly.
  12. When the jam bubbles and attains jam like consistency and falls from the ladle in lumps, turn off the heat.
  13. Put some jam in the plate kept in the freezer. Return the plate back to the freezer.  After a few minutes, nudge with your finger. If it wrinkles, it is done. Else, cook further
  14. In the meantime, sterilize the bottles. Place the washed and dried bottles with the lids in the oven. Set the temperature to 100 degrees and set the timer to 10 minutes. Remove the bottles and their lids from the oven.
  15. Fill the jam in the sterilized bottles while the jam is hot.
My Notes: Add more sugar if the plums are tart. If the quantity of water while pressure cooking the plums gets more, it does not make much of a difference. Only that you will have to cook the jam longer to get the desired consistency.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Wacky Chocolate Cake (Egg less)


Following the Father’s Day celebration from the previous post, this is the cake my daughter chose to bake for father’s day. It is a simple and easy egg less cake with the ingredients generally there in the pantry. It is called Wacky or Crazy cake because it is “mix in the pan” type of cake. Ingredients can be mixed together in the cake pan and baked. However I have made it the conventional way and frosted it with ganache.

Serve it plain frosted with ganache or serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, either way it tastes great!

Following the Father’s Day celebration from the previous post, this is the cake my daughter chose to bake for father’s day. It’s a simple and easy egg less cake with the ingredients generally there in the pantry. It is called Wacky or Crazy cake because it is “mix in the pan” type of cake. Ingredients can be mixed together in the cake pan and baked. However I have made it the conventional way and frosted it with ganache.
Serve it plain frosted with ganache or serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, either way it tastes great!
Wacky Chocolate Cake
Adapted from here
Ingredients
Cake
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4  cup cocoa powder
75 gms (1/3 cup) butter
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Ganache
100gms dark chocolate
4 tablespoons low fat cream
Method
Cake
Pre heat oven at 180 degrees C. Grease and line an 8 inch round cake tin.
Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, mix melted butter, water, vanilla essence and vinegar.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until well blended.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, keep in the wire rack to cool.
Method
Ganache
Heat the chocolate and cream in a very heavy bottom pan on low flame. Stir constantly till the chocolate melts. Take off the heat and stir briskly till it becomes smooth and shiny. It will thicken as it cools.
Pour Ganache evenly on cake.








Thursday, 20 June 2013

Candied Peanuts (Vegan recipe)


 The beginning of this week was  really interesting. Our kitchen was buzzing with cooking and baking. Occasion was Father’s Day. My lil daughter is growing up. She now keeps a track of all these   occasions and celebrates them with gusto. This year for the first time Father’s Day was celebrated in our home. I was involved with my plan for my father and she was confused and irritated at not being able to finalize on the cake recipe for her father. The complexity of our plan was aggravated by the fact that all cooking and baking had to be done when our fathers were not around. We were left with just a few hours during the daytime and the erratic power supply due to excessive rain added to the woes. Arguments and contradictions finally led to some kind of consensus and the two recipes were finalized. She wanted me to bake a WackyChocolate Cake.

My frantic search for something special for my dad reminded me of a lovely recipe by David Lebovitz that I had bookmarked some time ago. It turned out to be very apt for the occasion. My father loves chikkis. Every winter he makes peanut chikki(peanut brittle), sesame chikki and coconut chikki. Even after marriage when I moved out of my home, my box of peanut chikki reached me year after year without fail. How I relished the chikki and my father’s love for me. I had to make this to reciprocate my love for him.
The appeal of this recipe lies in its simplicity and great taste.
A big Thank You David Lebovitz for making my day so special!


CANDIED PEANUTS
Ingredients
1 cup raw peanuts without skin (slightly roast the nuts to rub off the skin)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Method
Take peanuts in a heavy bottom steel wok.
Add sugar and water. Cook over medium flame stirring frequently. After some time, water dries up leaving a sugar coating. Keep stirring. It dries up further and mixture becomes dry and sandy.
Lower the heat. Sugar begins to caramelize at the bottom. Keep stirring and coating the nuts with caramel. Remove the wok from the flame from time to time to avoid burning of the caramel. Keep tilting the wok and keep stirring so the nuts get coated with caramel evenly.
Turn off the heat, sprinkle salt and cinnamon. Stir to mix evenly.
Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool. Break the clumps if any. Store in an airtight container.

Click here to read the health benefits of Peanuts.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

Whole Wheat and Maize Bread

There are a lot of NGOs in the hills that are doing a magnificent work in encouraging local farmers in the interior of the hills to grow the crops by the old conventional methods. The NGOs are buying their produce and marketing them. This gives the farmers their due and saves them from the rigmarole of selling their produce by physically getting their harvest to the mandi. Last week we bought water mill crushed Maize flour from the hills. The gritty texture of the flour makes it excellent for breads and biscuits.
Yesterday I made Whole Wheat and Maize Bread. I got back to my recipe of Multi grain bread and substituted some ingredients with a half cup of maize flour and prepared whole wheat sponge. The loaf was mildly sweet and soft. We had it for dinner with steamed vegetables and a slice with home made CherryPreserve in the end.
Loaves before rising

Loaves after rising. Ready to be baked.



WHOLE WHEAT AND MAIZE BREAD
Ingredients ( makes two loaves)
Whole Wheat sponge
1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour (atta)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sugar (we love our loaf a little sweet. Sugar can be omitted)
1 ¼ cup water
Dough
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup maize flour (coarser the better)
2 ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons milk powder
2 tablespoons canola oil (any neutral oil will do)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water (depending on requirement while kneading)
Method
In a deep bowl, prepare the sponge by mixing wheat flour, honey, sugar and water. Mix well, cover and keep aside.
Sift together all purpose flour, maize flour and salt. Add oil, milk powder and yeast. Mix well.
Add whole wheat sponge and knead the dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes till smooth and soft. Add more water if the dough feels tight or dry.
Grease a bowl and keep the dough in it. Cover with a damp towel and keep it for 45 minutes to rise.
Remove from the bowl and knead for another 5 minutes.
Grease two loaf tins. (7.5 inches x 3.5 inches)
Divide the dough into two equal parts. Make four oblong rolls from each part. Place the rolls in the loaf tins. Cover and leave to rise for another 1 hour or till the rolls are doubled.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees C for 30 to 35 minutes.
Remover from the loaf tins after 5 minutes. Cool in the rack.

Sending Whole Wheat Maize Bread for Yeast Spotting




and  My Bowl of Snack 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

ROCK CAKES

An unexpected but a very welcome spell of rains in the last week lifted the spirits and magically transformed the dry parched landscape to a verdant green with all variety of vegetation showing up in every inch of the Earth. Rain is an elixir, a magical potion. It infuses a new life in plants, creatures and humans alike. With rain lilies popping out merrily and football lilies rising from their slumber albeit early, the nature resembles a canvass splashed with myriad colour. All the woes inflicted by the unforgiving summer heat have been washed away.
Mildly sweet and delicious!

Mild drizzle, cool breeze and a lovely book with wonderful recipes had to result in something delicious, comforting with a cup of piping hot strong milky coffee that we’ve begun to enjoy lately and the obvious choice was Rock Cakes with cinnamon, almonds and figs.  



ROCK CAKES

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
90 gm butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
½ cup milk
¾ cup chopped figs 
¼ cup chopped almonds
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Method
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease a baking tray
Sift all purpose flour, cinnamon, baking powder, sugar and salt.
Rub in butter.
Add figs and almond. Add milk and egg. Stir to mix evenly. Do not over mix.
Drop rounded tablespoons of mixture about 5cm apart onto trays. Sprinkle with extra sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes or till rock cakes turn golden from top. Cool on rack.

My Notes- figs in the recipe can also be replaced by raisins or cranberries.

Sending this recipe to Jagruti's event - My Bowl of Snacks

Monday, 10 June 2013

MADEIRA CAKE


 “Cooking (and eating) for us is truly a stress buster and a common platform that unites our family. The inspiration, teaching and example is best witnessed in our parents who selflessly and passionately make outstanding meals day in and day out”. 
This is the belief of Amrita and Vishal, a husband-wife team who share a common passion for cooking. While Amrita loves baking and trying out desserts, Vishal loves to learn and experiment with savoury dishes. Their love for good food, cooking, learning and sharing had to find an outlet and Sweet 'n' Savoury  was created in March 2012.
Amrita and Vishal celebrated the first anniversary of their amazing blog. And I was one of the three prize winners. I was overjoyed to receive my prize which is a wonderful book Old Fashioned Favourites by The Australian Women’s Weekly.
This is after years that I’ve won a prize. I felt like a kid in school winning a prize. Extremely ecstatic, cheerful, blissful, exultant, on cloud nine, on top of the world…….
My coveted prize!


This is the first recipe that I’ve made from this book. Many more are on the way! 

Madeira cake is a fine-textured plain cake, similar to a creamed sponge cake, made with fat, butter, and flour and served without filling or icing

   
MADEIRA CAKE
Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar, powdered
3 eggs
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
Method
Pre heat oven to 160 degrees C. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt.
Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one by one till the mixture turns pale. Add grated lemon rind.
Stir in sifted flour.
Spread the batter into pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove cake from oven; sprinkle mixed peels and almond slivers evenly. Return to oven; Bake for 40 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the pan after 5 minutes, slice when cold.


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Semolina Loaf (Vegan)

  

I had to make this to believe that Semolina could actually be used to make a super soft deliciously yeasty loaf. When I saw this loaf in  Flyod Mann’s site, I was a bit apprehensive to try it out. I thought that the grainy texture of Semolina would not give pliable dough. But step by step as I proceeded, I discovered that semolina is a wonderful medium to work with. All my apprehensions were swept away.


The dough was soft and as good as the dough obtained from flour. It rose beautifully and baked well. It was delicious. The slices were wonderful in taste and needed no butter, jam or honey which are otherwise the accompaniments with my home made bread.


I made Semolina loaf three times. First time, I thought perhaps it was a lucky coincidence or perchance that everything went fine and hence the amazing outcome. Sometimes it so happens that the first attempt of a recipe gives fantastic results. However succeeding attempts are not as good. Assuming it to be this kind of a case, I baked Semolina Loaf twice again. Each time it was equally good and we loved it.
You can find the original recipe here


Semolina Loaf

Ingredients


  • 1 ¾ cup semolina
  • ¾ cup water (quantity of water can vary depending on requirement while kneading)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon instant yeast
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions


  1. Whisk together semolina, yeast and salt. Add olive oil.
  2. Add sugar to warm water.
  3. Add water to semolina mix.
  4. Knead for 10 to 12 minutes. Initially the dough feels dry and grainy but by the end of kneading, it becomes smooth and elastic.
  5. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Cover with a cling film and let it rise for 1 ½ hours.
  6. Remove from the bowl and knead for another 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangle no wider than the loaf tin that you are using. Roll the dough towards you, tightly. Pinch seams to seal. Place the roll in the greased loaf tin with the seam side down. Cover and keep it to rise for 1 ½ hours.
  8. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes or till the loaf turns golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
  9. Remove from the loaf tin, cool and slice.


This is a Vegan Recipe

Veganism is a philosophy and lifestyle. Most common reasons for becoming a vegan are spiritual concerns, ethical commitments or concerns for the environment. Proper and planned vegan diets satisfy all nutritional needs and are easy on the system. Being simple and nourishing, vegan diets keeps many modern day diseases at bay.

Sending semolina loaf for YEAST SPOTTING



Tuesday, 4 June 2013

BUTTERMILK CLUSTER (FAT FREE)


My husband had to go to Pondicherry for a project. We could not have missed this wonderful opportunity to visit the Pondicherry again. Pondicherry’s quaint lanes and by-lanes never fail to charm. The beautiful French architectures, the lovely view of the Bay of Bengal with the mighty waves lashing on the shores, nightlife in the Goubert lane, garden restaurants and terrace restaurants with must try multi cuisine menus are the visitor’s delight. There is an air of spirituality and tranquility about Pondicherry that attracts people from all over the world. It was a lovely break!

Lotus 
Message at the entry of the garden in the Park Guest House worth pondering over.
Kids enjoying the sea side...
A green frog in the lotus pond.

Having settled after coming back, I made Buttermilk Cluster. Being a self taught baker, I am always on lookout for learning the right know how of baking breads and thus honing my skills. Some of the sites have been tremendously helpful and enriching. I attribute much of my baking skills to them.
Floyd Mann inspires me a lot. He has not received any formal training in baking. He just experiments  baking at home. And the assortment of breads that he has baked is unbelievable.
The recipe of Buttermilk cluster comes from his site. I have made some changes. I have halved the ingredients and added whole wheat flour.
I made two rounds of Buttermilk Clusters. This is a fantastic recipe as it does not use oil/fat at all. Oil has been used to grease the baking tin and to shape the rolls. And believe me, you don't miss the oil/ fat at all
In a round 8 inch cake tin
And in 7x7 inch cake tin
Soft and fluffy!

BUTTERMILK CLUSTER
Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
½ tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons white sesame seeds
Method
Mix all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt and yeast.
Mix honey in buttermilk.
Add this to the flour mixture. Knead.
Knead for 6 to 8 minutes. The dough should be smooth and soft.
Oil a bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover it. Keep it for 1 hour or till double in size.
Knead the dough again for 5 minutes.
Oil a rectangular or a round baking tin.
Oil your palms and make oblong rolls of the dough. Place the oblong rolls in the baking tin keeping some distance between them.
Cover with a cling film and place in a warm place for 1 hour.
Gently coat the top of the rolls with milk wash (1 tablespoon milk and 1 teaspoon sugar) and sprinkle sesame seeds.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees C for 25 minutes or till the top turns brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove from the baking tin after 5 minutes.

Sending Buttermilk Cluster for Yeastspotting

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