“We have so much, too much, that we can buy, yet the basic labor of doing, the making with our own hands, is what enlivens us and makes us feel human." Dan Lepard

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Stained Glass Cookies


It is Sunday. Post breakfast, kids are excited as we are about bake some stained glass cookies. Candies were purchased a day before. Younger segregated the candies according to colour and crushed them in a steel mortar and pestle. Older of the two helped in preparing the dough. Kids enjoyed their designated task and soon the cookies were ready to be put together.


Kids love to participate in baking. They learn and develop an interest in baking.



We loved to assemble the cookies, filling the center with crushed candies. The candies melted and filled up the center to give a stained glass effect.



Stained glass cookies are beautiful and flavourful. 


They fill up your home with heavenly aroma when baking. 


You may use them to decorate your Christmas tree.



Stained Glass Cookies
Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 100 gms (1 stick, ½ cup) butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Hard boiled sweets of different flavours

Instructions
  1. Whisk together all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder in a deep bowl. Keep aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar till creamy and light. Add egg. Beat well. Mixture should be smooth.
  3. Add honey and vanilla extract. Stir well.
  4. Add flour mixture and keep stirring till everything comes together. Use hands to form a soft and smooth dough.
  5. Press dough to a circle and wrap in a cling film. Keep it in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
  6. In the meantime, cut a parchment sheet to fit into your baking tray.
  7. Segregate candies according to colours/flavours.
  8. Crush the candies of the same colour and keep in separate bowls.
  9. Remove dough from the refrigerator. Cut into two. Keep one-half back into the refrigerator.
  10. Take one piece between two parchment sheets and roll with a rolling pin. Roll to get a sheet of about  1/4th-inch thickness.
  11. Use a cookie cutter to cut the shape of your choice.
  12. Take another cutter (small size), or a cap of a bottle to cut a circle in the center.
  13. Transfer the cut cookies carefully to the baking tray placing at least ½ inch apart. If the cookies are too soft to handle, put them in the refrigerator until they are firm and easy to handle.
  14. Fill the center with a ½ teaspoon or of more crushed candy. Fill enough crushed candy so that it fills up the cavity.
  15. If you intend to use the cookies for decorating the Christmas tree, poke a hole at the top.
  16. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 10 to 12 minutes.
  17. Turn off the heat as soon as the edges of the cookies begin to turn brown.  Remove from the oven and remove the sheet from the tray very carefully. Place on the wire rack to cool. Remove when cool.
  18. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.
  19. Store in an airtight container.

My Tips
  • Roll dough between parchment sheets only otherwise it will be very messy.
  • Whenever dough becomes too soft and sticky, put it in the refrigerator.
  • You may put a whole candy in the center of the cookie. It melts and fills up the center. However, if the candies are of the big size, crushing them is a better idea.
  • Watch out after 10 minutes of baking. Turn off the heat as soon as the edges begin to brown.
 

Monday, 19 December 2016

Easy Fruit Cake



The month of December entails festivities, celebrations and lots of baking to commemorate the two. A box with candied orange peels was saved for December. Some golden raisins and black currants too were kept in a corner of the pantry awaiting special baking.

This weekend, we all got together to make our fruit loaf. Walnuts were shelled, almonds blanched and halved, peels chopped fine, dates and figs measured and sliced. It was fun. Amidst animated conversation, busy hands worked with dexterity and soon, a flavourful and rich cake was rising in the oven. It filled up the nook and crannies of our home with a heavenly aroma.


Baking a fruit cake around Christmas is a ritual we love. This is a no-fuss fruit cake that requires simple ingredients and is incredibly delicious. It is full of fruit bits and walnuts.



Easy Fruit Cake | Easy Fruit Loaf
Ingredients
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup (100gms) butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sour cream*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped walnut kernels
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup currants
  • ¾ cup chopped dates
  • ¼ cup chopped figs
  • ¼ cup candied orange peels
  • ¼ cup glace  cherries
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour to toss the dry fruits
  • Handful of almonds blanched and halved (for decoration)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C. Line one 9x5 inch loaf pan with greased parchment paper. Extend parchment sheet along the sides like handles. It will help to bring the cake out of the pan easily.
  2. Mix flour and salt well. Keep aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugar until light and pale. Add egg. Beat till well incorporated.
  4. Take sour cream in a bowl. Add baking soda. It will begin to bubble. Keep for about 10 minutes.
  5. Take all the dry fruits and walnuts in a bowl. Add flour and toss well. This will prevent the dry fruits from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
  6. Add sour cream mix to butter-sugar-egg mix. Mix well.
  7. Now add flour in three shifts mixing well after each addition.
  8. Fold in dry fruits and walnuts. The batter will be thick and not runny.
  9. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Level with the back of the spoon.
  10. Decorate the top with blanched almonds.
  11. Bake for 1 hour 50 minutes to 2 hours. The top should turn brown and should be firm to touch. Cover with a foil if the top browns too soon.

* To prepare sour cream, bring 1 cup cream to a boil. Leave it to cool. When warm, add 1 tablespoon curd (whisk it smooth). Mix well. Leave to set .overnight, or, for 6-7 hours. Use.

My Tip: You may also add dry fruits of your choice. You may also brush the top and sides liberally with brandy and wrap in cling film. Repeat next four days. Enjoy the boozy cake.


Sunday, 18 December 2016

Ragi Flax and Sesame Laddu



Come winter and every household in the hills start preparation for the weather that is sometimes inclement, unfriendly and harsh. Stocking eatables and making food that keeps one warm is common yet important. This is also the time when the fresh harvest of millets has been crushed and the flour is used in a variety of ways. The fresh lot of jaggery also reaches the market. And a very traditional recipe that is made in the hills during winters is Ragi flax and sesame Laddu. Finger millets are locally called Ragi and madua.
Last, when we went to the hills, it was late autumn. Radha Devi, who cultivated a small patch around her home in the hills gave us some Ragi flour that was crushed in the water mill. We made Ragi Laddu that turned out delicious. Ginger powder gives a nice warming aroma.


 Ragi, sesame, and flax are rich in calcium. Sesame seeds are a very good source of copper. Flax seeds are very good for the heart as they contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acids. This is a power packed Laddu made with all the ingredients sourced locally. It has a good shelf life too.
During winters you’re likely to be offered Ragi Laddu with steaming hot ginger tea in a pahari home. This is a traditional recipe made with seasonal ingredients mostly home grown and homemade. Laddus are delicious and nourishing. They are energizing and keep you warm in winters. Ragi laddus are made and enjoyed throughout the winters in the hills.



Ragi Flax and Sesame Laddu

Ingredients

  • 1 cup ragi flour (finger millets flour)
  • ½   cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup peanuts
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ¼ cup flaxseeds
  • 2 ¼ cups crumbled or grated jaggery
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons dry ginger powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ghee (preferably made from cow's milk)

Instructions

  1. Take ragi flour in a thick bottom wok. Dry roast it till it begins to change colour and a sweet aroma emanates.
  2. Roast sesame seeds till they puff up, begin to change colour and crackle. Stir continuously while roasting.
  3. Roast peanuts till they crackle and become golden brown. Stir continuously while roasting.
  4. Roast flaxseeds till they crackle and begin to change colour. Stir continuously while roasting.
  5. Let the roasted ingredients come to room temperature.
  6. Grind sesame seeds, peanuts, and flaxseeds to a fine powder. Grind almonds to a fine powder.
  7. Take Ragi flour and powdered nuts and seeds in a large, wide-mouthed pan.
  8. Add crumbled jaggery and ginger powder. Mix well. Add ghee.
  9. Take the mixture in a grinder and blitz for 1 to 2 minutes, two times. It should become warm, sticky and easily shapeable.
  10. Take mixture in your hand, press and shape to get walnut size laddu.
  11. Store in an airtight container.
My Tip: If the mixture is not coming together, increase the quantity of jaggery. Use winter jaggery only. It is soft and pliable. Do not use jaggery powder. You may use 1/2 cup peanuts if you do not have almonds.


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Kugelhopf #BreadBakers


Today was a cold morn. As we peeped out of the window, silhouettes of arms folded and overclothed morning walkers or those out on routine chores emerged out of gray sheets of the first fog of the season. Had it not been for the kids’ school, first love would have been to snuggle up in the cozy quilts for some more time. As the day progressed, The Sun braved the fog and peeped out much to the relief of all those shuddering and shivering.


Colours of the flowers shone bright and beautiful.



We spotted a long-tailed Shrike in Marigold plants sitting atop flowers either sunning itself or presumably hunting for its prey.


The day turned out to warm and beautiful. We decided on baking a Kugelhopf. Holiday spirit is catching up and everyone is pining for a nuts and fruit-studded sweet bread.


Rum, raisins, butter and zest all landed up in the counter. Busy hands and constant chatter went hand in hand and a sweet fragrant dough was placed gently in the pan  to rise. The yeast too, braved the cold and the sweet dough finally rose albeit taking a lot of time. Patience was well rewarded. We loved Kugelhopf.


Part bread, part cake, Kugelhopf is one of the most popular Austrian desserts, and a classic for afternoon teas and Sunday breakfasts, at home or in Vienna’s Coffeehouses.
According to James Beard, this recipe was supposedly one that Marie Antoinette took with her from Austria to France, where it became a treasured staple of Alsatian cuisine. Serve it as you would a coffee cake; it is delicious with butter and honey, toast it or serve with fresh fruits and a dollop of whipped cream.


Kugelhopf
Sponge
  • ¼ cup warm milk
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Dough
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ½ tablespoon rum
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup toasted almonds
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Syrup
  • Boil ¼ cup water and sugar till sugar dissolves. Add 1 teaspoon orange blossom water.

Method
  1. Stir all the ingredients of sponge in a deep bowl. Cover with a cling film and keep for 20-25 minutes till the mixture bubbles.
  2. Soak raisins in rum. Keep aside.
  3. Whisk together flour and salt.
  4. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  5. Add egg yolk. Mix. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  6. Add the sponge to this mixture. Beat till the mixture becomes uniform and smooth.
  7. Drain the raisins. Add rum to the mixture and mix well.
  8. Add flour and keep mixing. Initially, it will be a shaggy dough, but will soon become smooth and elastic.
  9. Add raisins and chopped almonds.
  10. Transfer dough to a buttered bowl and turn around so that it is coated with butter. Cover and keep in a warm place till it becomes puffy, about 30 minutes.
  11. Butter a medium size Bundt pan. Scatter sliced almonds evenly over the inside of pan. Scrape the dough into bundt pan. Spread it evenly and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave it to rise until double.
  12. During the last 10 minutes of proofing, preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Bake Kugelhopf for 40 -45 minutes until well risen and golden. 
  13. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan.
  14. Liberally brush Kugelhopf with syrup. 
  15. Cool completely before serving.


Linking  this recipe to #BreadBakers
BreadBakers
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
Our host this month was Stacy who blogs at www.foodlustpeoplelove.com. The theme this month was sweet breads. Thank You Stacy for being the host this month.
This is a list of sweet breads that we baked-

American-Style Panettone from Passion Kneaded
Apple Cinnamon Rolls from Sizzling Tastebuds
Beehive Bread from Sara's Tasty Buds
Candied Fruit Sweet Rolls from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
Chestnut Roll Wreath from Food Above Gold
Chocolate Cherry Brioche Buns from Baking Sense
Chocolate Swirl Babka from Cook's Hideout
Cranberry Orange Breakfast Braid from Kylee Cooks
Cranberry Sweet Rolls from Food Lust People Love
Cranberry, Pistachio, and White Chocolate Panettone from A Baker's House

Estonian Kringle from I Camp in my Kitchen
Finnish Nissua Bread from Gayathri's Cook Spot
Fruit & Nut Sourdough from What Smells So Good?
Ginger Orange Stollen from Spiceroots
Holiday Wreath with Sweet Nut Filling from Hostess At Heart
Indian Inspired Holiday Wreath from Herbivore Cucina
Julekake from A Shaggy Dough Story
Kugelhopf from Ambrosia
Marzipan Stollen from Palatable Pastime
St. Lucia Buns from Karen's Kitchen Stories
Stollen Bread from Sneha's Recipe 
Sweet Milk Dinner Rolls from A Day in the Life on the Far

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL 
to [email protected].







Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Chestnut Walnut Brownies (Gluten Free)



It was this summer that  we saw the walnuts growing in the hills. It was a huge tree laden with walnuts.


 The trunk had a massive hole. We peeped in. It was cold and dark… a bit eerie and scary. We wondered who lived there.



There were a lot of bayberry trees laden with ripe red juicy berries. We plucked to our heart’s content and sat under the walnut tree to enjoy the sweet fruits.


 All around the hilltop,  there  were Hisalu( Rubus ellipticus ) trees laden with golden juicy fruits. We feasted on the local berries and quenched thirst from a nearby spring.


It was autumn when another trip to the hills happened. The walnuts were now ripe   and had arrived in the market. Fresh walnuts are sweet and milky. There were chestnuts too. We purchased the local produce and the same weekend tried experimenting with chestnuts in baking.


A batch of Chestnut Walnut Brownies was baked.


Chestnut Walnut Brownies have the freshness and earthiness of the hills. These are gooey, chocolaty, divine and gluten free. Walnuts add great crunch and taste.


Chestnut Walnut Brownies
Ingredients
  • 15 – 20 chestnuts
  • 250 g dark chocolate
  • 100g butter
  • ¾ cup sugar powdered
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
  1. Take chestnuts in a pressure cooker. Add water just enough to cover the chestnuts. Cook for two whistles. 
  2. When cold, remove the nuts and puree in a blender to get a creamy paste. Measure ½ cup.
  3. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Grease and line the bottom of one 7x7 inch cake pan with parchment paper extending over the sides like handles.
  4. Melt butter on low flame. Add chocolate. Turn off the heat. Stir until chocolate melts.
  5. Add sugar. Leave to cool.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition.
  7. Add Chestnut puree. Stir to mix well.
  8. Add vanilla extract.
  9. Fold in walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan.
  10. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or till the top is firm to touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the oven after 10 minutes. Remove from the pan by gently pulling up the parchment sheet.
  12. Slice when cold.







Monday, 21 November 2016

Melon Pan



The weekend was relaxing, slow paced and languid on choice. As we sat out sipping first tea, the Sun was already up. Delicious warmth of the Sun, nippy air, a million bird songs, aroma of autumnal blooms was like a lullaby. There being no compulsion to scurry in the kitchen packing tiffins and running around to be in time, we stayed out in the Sun in cheerful unconsciousness not bothering to keep a track of the time.


A rustle of the leaves and some movement around our fish pond caught attention. We saw a Crow Pheasant. Perhaps it was attracted by the water but a little reluctant to enter the pond. We placed a bird bath close to the pond or our guest.


After a planned brunch, we gathered in our kitchen and soon there were animated conversations amidst the clink and clank of the pots and pans. We decided on baking Melon Pans. Kids wanted to have fun shaping some like turtles.  There was a lot of mess but great fun too, and,  the tray finally entered the oven.


Melon Pan is a classic Japanese sweet bread covered with a thin layer of crisp cookie crust with grid line pattern on top. Melon pans are made from an enriched dough.


You’ll love to bite into the crisp cover with soft sweet buns inside.


Melon Pan

Ingredients

Main Dough
  1. 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  2. ¼ cup cake flour*
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 3 tablespoons fine sugar
  5. 1 ¼ teaspoons dry instant yeast
  6. 1 large egg beaten
  7. 3 ½ tablespoon warm milk
  8. ¼ cup warm water
  9. 2 ½ tablespoons butter cut into cubes

Cookie Dough
  1. 4 tablespoons butter
  2. ½ cup fine sugar or powdered sugar
  3. 1 large egg beaten
  4. 1 ½ cup and 2 tablespoons cake flour*
  5. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  7. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar for topping
  8. And also, some chocolate chips

Instructions
Main Dough
  • Whisk together first five ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Now add beaten egg, warm milk and 3 ½ tablespoon warm water.
  • Use a spatula to gently mix the ingredients together until well combined.
  • Dough will be wet and sticky and a bit messy. You may use your hands to bring it together. In case if the dough is dry, you may add more water.
  • Once it comes together as a loose ball, transfer it to the counter dusted with flour.
  • Knead dough by pushing it forward with the heels of your hand and then pulling it back with fingers.
  • Stretch the dough, fold the top half of the dough in half back toward you. Stretch and repeat.
  • Repeat this process for about 5 minutes. This will develop gluten strands. The dough will become more and more manageable and supple. If dough is sticky, dust your hands with flour and knead.
  • After 5 to 8 minutes, once dough becomes smooth and elastic, stretch into a rectangle. Put cubes of butter and roll up the dough. Begin to knead by stretching and pulling.
  • Your hands and work surface will become greasy and messy initially but with time, dough will keep absorbing butter and become manageable.
  • Bang the dough on work surface and roll it away from you. Repeat. Push out with the heels of your palm and pull it back. After 5 to 6 minutes, you’ll get smooth silky dough.
  • Shape the dough into a ball by pulling from the sides to the bottom and pinching them together.
  • Place in a greased bowl and cover with a cling film. Keep in a warm place for 1 ½ hour.
  • While the dough is rising, work on the cookie dough

Cookie Dough
  • Beat together butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and beat till well mixed.
  • Whisk together flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
  • Add to the wet mixture. Mix till dough comes together.
  • Collect the dough and make into a ball. Keep in the refrigerator.
  • After 50 minutes when the dough becomes hard, cut into 10 equal pieces.
  • Take 3 pieces and keep the rest in the refrigerator. Crumble the three pieces and add cocoa powder. Knead till you get a uniform colour. Put it back in the refrigerator.

Shaping Main Dough
  • Transfer the risen dough onto the counter, press the dough and deflate.
  •  Fold in in thirds and repeat.
  • Shape it into a ball. With a sharp knife divide into half and make five equal pieces of both the halves. You get 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball by stretching and folding the sides.
  •  Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. 
  • Cover with a wet kitchen towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Shaping Melon Pans
  • While the dough balls are resting, take out cookie dough pieces on the floured counter. Shape into balls and roll out into small circles of about 10 cm one by one.
  • Take dough pieces. Deflate and fold in thirds. Shape into balls by stretching and folding.
  • Take cookie circle in your hand, place dough ball with seam side up and wrap around cookie circle. Repeat for all the pieces. 
  • Dip the melon pans into a bowl with sugar. Dust off extra sugar and make three cuts each side with a knife.
  • If you want to shape some like turtles, pinch out 4 small pieces of dough for face, two flippers and a tail. Shape the pieces. Prepare a paste with 1 teaspoon of all-purpose flour and water to get a glue like consistency. Dip them into this paste and attach them.
  • Place on the baking tray, seam side down. Cover with a cling film and keep in warm place to rise for about 50 minutes. In the last 10 minutes, preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. The tops should begin to brown. 
  • Rotate bread pieces for even browning. Use choco chips for eyes for turtle shaped bread
  • Cool in the rack. Store in an airtight container.

*If you do not have cake flour, you can make it at home,

Take 1 cup all-purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons flour. Add 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Mix well.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Honey Beet Bread #BreadBakers



When God was creating seasons, he became partial to Autumn and bestowed it with boundless beauty, great warmth, and immense grandeur. By creating Autumn, God infused beauty in our lives. Beauty is a source of great happiness and bliss.

Majority of our time is being spent in the lap of nature that is so welcoming and soothing. Our curry leaf plant is full of fat caterpillars waiting for nature’s magic wand to convert them into beautiful butterflies. 


Some more caterpillars are being nourished by brinjal plants and we don’t mind the leaves being chomped but definitely wonder at the patterns carved so perfectly.


Peacock tree keeps attracting butterflies. A garden lizard is hiding on the top branches of the same tree and sunning itself while keeping an eye on them calmly.


The Yellow trumpet flowers bloom profusely inviting bees in great numbers. There is constant hum as we stand under the tree and the mild fragrance of the blooms intoxicates our senses.


My daughter while watering the plants discovered a small pumpkin hiding in the tall grass.


 We decided to make pumpkin soup for the cold evening and Honey Beet bread to go with it.


The bread has the autumnal feel to it. It turns out tasty, beety and beautiful, speckled with shreds of beets. If you love beets, you'll definitely love this bread.


Honey Beet Bread
Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup grated raw beets
  • 2 ¼ teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • I tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons oil (any vegetable oil)
Instructions

  1. Whisk together first two ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Squeeze out the juice from grated beets. Add grated beets to flour mix.
  3. Add honey to water and mix well. Add yeast and cover for 10 minutes. Yeast  should begin to foam. Add butter.
  4. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and knead dough. Keep adding warm milk while kneading to get a very soft and supple dough.
  5. Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Turn around dough so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and keep in a dry and warm place to rise for 1 hour or until double.
  6. Punch dough and knead for another 4 -5 minutes. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer dough to a floured counter. Roll it out into a rectangle not bigger than the width of the pan you are using. Roll the dough towards you, tightly. Pinch seams to seal. Place it in a greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan with the seam side down.
  8. Cover with a kitchen cloth and leave it to rise for 1 hour or till it crests above the rim of the pan.
  9. During the last 10 minutes of rising, preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  10. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or till it turns golden from the top and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, cover with a foil.
  11. Remove from the pan after 10 minutes. Cool in the rack.
  12. Slice next day.

    #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
    Our host this month is Karen Kerr who  blogs at - http://www.karenskitchenstories.com/ I admire her baking skills.Thank you, Karen for the interesting theme and for hosting the event.  She chose root vegetables as the theme this month. Follow our Pinterest board right here.Links are also updated each month on this home page.
    This is what we baked this month.........


  • Beetroot Bread from Sara's Tasty Buds
  • Caramelized Onion Cheddar Bread from Hezzi-D's Cooks and Books
  • Caramelized Onion Gouda Casatiello from Hostess at Heart
  • Carrot Spiced and Teff Bread from kidsandchic
  • Garlic Cheese Bombs from Sizzling Tastebuds
  • Ginger Sweet Rolls from Passion Kneaded
  • Honey Beet Bread from Ambrosia
  • Korean Onion Bread from Gayathri's Cook Spot
  • Potato Dinner Rolls from Cook's Hideout
  • Pull Apart Onion Bread from A Day in the Life on the Farm
  • Rustic Parsnip Bread from Food Lust People Love
  • Sourdough Onion Pockets from Karen's Kitchen Stories
  • Sweet Potato Bread from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
  • Colocasia Root (Taro Root) Flatbread from Mayuri's Jikoni
  • Garlic and Herb Wreath Bread from Herbivore Cucina
  • Stuffed Aloo Parathas from Sneha's Recipes
  • Parsnip, Asiago, and Sage Bread from A Shaggy Dough Story
  • BreadBakers




    Friday, 28 October 2016

    Sheer Pira - Afghani Milk Fudge




    Festivals give a great reason for a little indulgence. One can get a little brave and not think of calories while making sweets at home. Home- made is healthy, home- made is happy. We’ve always had a tradition of making sweets at home during festivities. The atmosphere at home would be charged and  spirits high. Amongst high decibels of non-stop  chatter, delicacies would be prepared and it would be a complete team work. Keeping the same beautiful trend going, we made a delicious Afghani sweet – Sheer Pira.


    Sheer Pira is a melt in the mouth, juicy and delicious milk fudge.  It is easy to prepare and is a very  healthy dessert. It has a great texture and robust flavours of rose water and cardamom that make it delectable.   It is chewy and a very addictive sweet. It is low on calories.



    Sheer Pira – Afghani Milk Fudge
    Ingredients
    1 ½ cups milk powder
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup water
    1 tablespoons rose water
    1 teaspoon cardamom powder
    ½ cup walnuts
    ½ cup almonds
    ¼ cup shelled raw pistachios
    2 teaspoons butter
    Method
    Powder walnuts and almonds in a food processor.
    In a deep bowl, take milk powder, powdered walnuts, almonds, and cardamom. Stir to mix well.
    Powder pistachios coarsely.
    Take a plate and grease it generously with butter.
    In a steel wok, take water. Add sugar. Bring it to a boil.
    Keep stirring and let the syrup come to a rolling boil.
    Take a drop in a plate and test it between index finger and thumb for one string consistency.
    Turn off the heat. Add rose water. Stir.
    Add milk powder,   powdered nuts and cardamom. Stir to mix well so that the mixture becomes smooth and shiny.
    Empty the mixture into the greased plate. Tilt the plate so that it spread uniformly.
    Dust with powdered pistachios. Press with your hands so that pistachios set into the mixture.
    Keep in a dry place for 45 minutes to 1 hour till cold.
    With a sharp knife cut squares.
    Keep is a container.


    Wednesday, 26 October 2016

    Onion Cheese Bread


    A trip to the hills happened last weekend. Unplanned trips are always thrilling and exciting and specially if it to the hills. Excitedly we packed a few clothes, not forgetting the woollens. Autumn is the best time in the hills. The sky is cloudless, afternoons   warm, mornings and evenings nippy. Excitement is to stop by some forest and have food, walk in the narrow tracks, watch the birds and chase butterflies. Communion with nature always brings peace and happiness.


    We stopped midway to stretch out our jammed limbs and loved the rustle of the wind as it passed through massive pine trees.


    A day before we started our journey, two loaves of Onion Cheese Bread were baked. Sometimes, finding simple food of your choice in the hills is not easy. With kids who feel hungry at the most unexpected hours, it is best to carry bread. One can eat it with cheese spread or butter, dip in the tea or milk and even have with some veggie.


    Next day, we trekked on a narrow trail flanked by pine trees. The cobbled path was mossy, slippery and damp as monsoons stayed and overstayed this year. Having spotted a meadow, we sat down to get our breath back. 


    Some children playing in their courtyard in a house nearby smiled at us. Soon we were all perched on the flattish rocks warmed by the Sun, munching homemade bread sandwiches which we shared with the village kids. Their cherubic smiles won our heart. 
     

    Onion Cheese Bread
    Biga
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    ¼ cup lukewarm water
    ¼ cup water at room temperature
    ¼ teaspoon yeast (instant dry yeast)
    Mix yeast and warm water and let stand until creamy,   about 10 ten minutes.
    Add remaining water to yeast mixture. Add half cup flour. Stir with a spoon until well combined. Add remaining flour and stir for 3 to 4 minutes until  sticky dough forms.
    Transfer to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise at cool room temperature for 6 -24 hours or until the starter is triple its volume. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
    Bread
    ¾ cup biga
    ½ cup warm milk
    ½ cup warm water
    2 tablespoons honey
    2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
    4 ½ cups all- purpose flour
    2 teaspoon salt
    2 cups grated cheddar cheese
    1 ½ cups minced onion
    Method
    In a bowl, mix milk and ¼ cup water. Stir in honey. Add yeast. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes, until frothy.
    In another large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cheese and onions.
    To knead dough, break up biga and add to yeast mixture. Stir until fairly mixed.
    Add dry ingredients slowly and keep stirring. When you’ve added all the dry ingredients, transfer shaggy dough to the floured counter. Knead for about 6 to 8 minutes. If the dough feels dry, add more water.
    Minced onions make dough moist. Adjust water quantity accordingly.
    Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and leave to rise for 1 hour or until double.
    Scrape the dough into floured counter. Punch the dough and divide into two equal pieces.
    Roll out each piece into one 8 inch x 10-inch rectangle and then roll up into a log. Pinch seams to seal. Shape the logs like baguettes (long and narrow at the edges)
    Place the logs on a greased baking tray. Cover with a kitchen cloth and leave to rise or 45 minutes or until puffy.
    Sprinkle flour on the surface and give three diagonal cuts quickly with a sharp knife.
    Bake in preheated oven at 220 degrees C for about 25 minutes or until the top turns a golden brown.
    Cool in the rack. Slice when cold.






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