Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Going for a short vacation, back on 4th sept!

Hey guys, I will be on a short vacation. Me and hubby going for a vacation to Montana tomorrow to visit the Glacier National Park. Will be back on 4th Sept. And yes,ofcourse will let tell you how the visit was :) ....Take Care :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Here comes Onam !!

Onam is here finally :) and honestly siting in this hotel room in Maryland, I miss being in Boston (so you can imagine, how much I miss being in my native, Kerala), where I could have atleast prepared a mini Ona Sadya ! Today all that me and hubby is gonna do is go and watch a Mohanlal Show here in Maryland. Thats gonna be my Onam. Moreover, this time, our Onam is quiet not well, with my dad passing away ....

However, this cant stop me from reviving my good ol memories of Onam. Let me tell you what I used to do for Onam. Onam Festival falls during the Malayali month of Chingam (Aug - Sep) and marks the homecoming of legendary King Mahabali.


A reference form the above link:
The Legend : Story goes that during the reign of mighty asura (demon) king, Mahabali, Kerala witnessed its golden era. Every body in the state was happy and prosperous and king was highly regarded by his subjects. Apart from all his virtues, Mahabali had one shortcoming. He was egoistic. This weakness in Mahabali's character was utilized by Gods to bring an end to his reign as they felt challenged by Mahabali's growing popularity. However, for all the good deed done by Mahabali, God granted him a boon that he could annually visit his people with whom he was so attached.

It is this visit of Mahabali that is celebrated as Onam every year. People make all efforts to celebrate the festival in a grand way and impress upon their dear King that they are happy and wish him well.

Infact its not that one just celebrates on the day of Onam. Its like a season to celebrate Onam. People start preparing for Onam one month back. Its like the Holiday season . A time to get-together with family, friends and have a good time sharing happiness. Children just enjoy like anything as they get their most looked forward Onam Holidays (school-pootal) Thats what is referred to holidays becoz of the holiday season, be it Onam , or Christmas or the Summer Holidays. Usually its like 10 days. I remember this because it used to bring so much joy to me and my brother after our Ona-Pareeksha (the mid-term exam in school just before the Onam holidays start):)

My family, being Konkani, we usually just took part in the celebrations , by going to the Onam fair, ...infact we used to get-together with our relatives at our native place in Aleppey. That used to be fun, coz I used to have a great time with my cousins, all of us playing, chatting, sometimes even gossipping:)) . I had actually wanted to celebrate onam the traditional way my malayali neighbors did. So, once even I tried my hand in putting a floral decoration in front of our house:) It was fun and though it took me several hours to make a simple design, it was worth the effort of celebrating the actual Onam.

Going back to school after the 10 days was the saddest day of all:)) , but it used to be fun when it lasted, and people always had so many things to share and we were often asked by the teacher to narrate to the class, about "How I celebrated Onam" :)
Such sweet memories, hard to forget !

I miss being in Kerala with my family!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Got an award!

I just received a news which really made my day , and that was from Seena of Simple and Deliciuos who has passed on the "Rocking Girl Blogger" award . Thanks a lot Seena:)



“The Rocking Girl Blogger Award” is for blogger’s ,who are girls or women, who blog and who Rock!!.”

I would like to pass on this to Maria of Maria's Menu , Ginger and Garlic and Writing at the Kitchen Table who all have a really nice blog going on, with a variety of dishes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Eggless Chochlate Cake







I wanted to make a simple eggless chochlate cake from such a long time. Though I had posted a eggless recipe using tofu before, I was not completly satisfied and I was not so fond of tofu. So I was finding a way to make eggless cake and ice creams. What I was exactly searching for was for the rising agent in the eggless cakes, coz most of the eggless cake recipes I came across did not have a rising agent, I had tried some and it was so dense and did not rise at all. I then came across this particular site and several others too which had good information, I made the cake as per the recipe and made a few changes (like adding lemon extract), and I made it in a single cake pan coz I didnt have two ...and it tasted great and looked great too. I added a nice frosting too and overall cake got a good review among my close relations who got to taste it. The rising agent was the chemical reaction between the baking soda and buttermilk. I also substituted the applesauce mentioned in the recipe with the lemon extract. Though I think it was not necessary as the buttermilk itself is sufficient for the cake to rise. The cake is quiet dry though, but adding the frosting and applesauce helps to add moisture. So here is the recipe:
Ingredients:
        
  •  1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk or soured milk
  • 3 tbsp applesauce (optional . helps adding extra moisturiser to the cake due to the absence of the egg)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Frosting
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Method:
  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Sift the dry ingredients
  • Mix together the wet ingredients
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients slowly, stirring and combining well to avoid lumps. I use a wooden spoon to combine.
  • Transfer contents to a well greased pan.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Do not open the oven door in between as it may affect the cake to stop rising.
  • Wait for 5 minutes after switching off the oven before transfering it to cool outside the oven
  • When it is cooled tranfer it to a refrigerator until cake is completly cooled before adding the frosting
For making frosting:
Combine all ingredients on medium heat and stir until the mixture becomes the consistensy of very gooey and quiet thick.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Eggless Ice Cream




I finally made my own ice cream :) I weanted to make it form long time. And this time I searched a lot on internet about making ice cream without the Ice cream maker machine. The commong thing I found is if you are not using an ice cream maker, you need to just keep beating the mixture every hour or so. It came out well. I made it using my homemade sweetened condensed milk, the recipe for which I will post along with this recipe. It was really easy to make.
Ingredients:

For sweetened condensed milk:
I got this recipe from Paula Deen's recipe on food network:

1/3 cup boiling water
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup powdered milk

Using an electric mixer or blender, blend together water, butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add powdered milk and blend until thick. Store in refrigerator for upto one week.
For ice cream:
Sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla essence
Method:

  • Add sugar to the sweetened condensed milk and bring it to a boil until sugar dissolves, lower the heat and then stir until it becomes thicker.
  • Remove from heat. Add milk and vanilla essence and whipping cream.
  • Beat the mixture until everything is perfecly blended. (Beat for say, 2 minutes).
  • Transfer contents to a metal container and freeze. Beat again after an hour and freeze again.
  • Every half hour beat again for a a minute for two and half hours (2.5 hours)
  • Then freeze overnight.
  • Your ice cream is ready to eat with a dollop of whipped cream if you like , or even chochlate syrup:)

Stuffed Bell Pepper (Stuffed Capscicum)

"Eat Me " screams the pepper The cheese topping all melted while cooking
Mr and Mrs Pepper :)


All cooked to be eaten :)




Ready to get cooked



Putting the pepper lid back





Finally topping with cheese



Filling the stuffing


After cleaning the Bell Pepper

I have always wanted to make Stuffed Veg (or Non-Veg) dishes. Somehow I either used to forget or didnt have the ingredients. This time I had some bell peppers handy and I was getting bored of using them in rice dishes and other gravy dishes. This time my memory and ingredients were at the same place at the same time hehe . Hence I decided to make stuffed Bell pepper. You can also use Brinjal in place of Bell Pepper.

Ingredients:

Bell Pepper or Capscicum - 2 nos
Parmesan cheese: 4 tablespoons

Stuffing:
------

Oil for sauting
Garlic and Ginger grated : 2 tablespoons
Curry leaves sliced into very thin pieces
Green chili minced : 2 teaspoon (according to your taste)
Tomato cut finely : one tomato
Onion cut into very small pieces: 1 large onion
Spices: Cinnamon powder , Garam Masala
Lima beans (you can add other veggies too) : 1 cup
Salt
Cooked Rice : 2 cups

Method:


  1. Cut the top of the bell pepper very carefully. Dont discard it as its to be used as the lid while cooking the bell pepper. Scrape and clean the inside of the peppers carefully. You can cut these into very small pieces and dd it to the stuffing mix later.

  2. Keep the bell peppers aside. In another vessel, heat oil and saute the stuffing mix in the order shown by stirring after each ingredient is added.

  3. Add the shredded Parmessan cheese at the bottom of the bell pepper. Then add the stuffing till the brim. Spread cheese at the top and cover with the top of the bell pepper which was cut earlier. Place all the peppers in a cooker and steam until peppers turn soft and pale and the stuffing is cooked. It might take around 20 minutes or less. You can also cook it in a preheated oven at 350 F for 30 minutes. Serve it hot with raita .

Mooli Paratha



The first time I had mooli paratha was the frozen version available in Indian store in our area. I liked the taste of this paratha and wanted to make these for a long time. The thought of the failed versions of stuffed aloo paratha I had made was the discouraging factor which was preventing me from trying to make these parathas. Actually one of my cousin's words got me started. She told me that mooli parathas are easier to make than aloo paratha. Its a fail-proof (wow a new word ;) paratha . I found the paratha easier indeed to make. And the taste is really good. The main thing I did was to use the water that was squeezed out of the grated mooli(white radish) to knead the chappathi dough. That added flavor to the paratha. I suggest you to use the white radish instead of any other types of radish as the other varieties (mainly the pink color variety) imparts a sour taste of their outer skins. I got some of these tips from Saffron Hut

Ingredients:

Grated Radish - 1 cup
Salt - a teaspoon

For the paratha:
Wheat Flour - 2 1/2 cups
salt
Water (or I suggest you to use the water extracted from the grated radish, after mixing it with salt and keeping it for 10 minutes) - 1 cup

Method:

Point to note: Grated radish imparts a strong smell which may be not so good before it is cooked, when kept uncovered. So make sure you close the container with the grated radish with a good lid.

  1. Mix salt , water, and the wheat flour to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for a long time , gives a good work out for your hands :) and makes the paratha soft. Then cover it with a damp cloth and keep it for 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile you can prepare some side dish to serve along with the Mooli Paratha such as Palak Paneer , or a non-vegetarian side dish like Chilli Chicken, Pepper Chicken, Kozhi Thoran or plain curd

  3. After 30 minutes, make balls (size of a medium sized egg) . Flatten it on a floured board. Flatten it to the size slightly smaller than that of a saucer used in cup and saucer. Stuff a small amount to start with (if ur a beginner in making parathas), and gather the edges of the dough to the top of the filling and seal the edges roughly using your fingers to press the edges. Generously apply flour on both sides of the dough containing the filling. Start flattening the side which doesnt have the sealed edges gathered up. Alternatively flatten the other side too, and in between make sure you apply flour on the paratha. Point to note is to be careful not to press a lot while flattening the paratha. Heat a pan and place the paratha and let each side brown by alternativly flippuing each side after 1 minute at a medium fire 2 times. When both sides are lightly browned, apply a little (1/2 teaspoon) oil (or butter) and flip the paratha. Reduce fire after applying oil as there are chances that the paratha will get burned with oil and high fire.
  4. Best served when hot

Lemon Glazed Cake





I love the name of this cake, dont know why, maybe mainly because of the words "Lemon Glazed" which has always made me wondering how these would taste. And let me tell you they taste really yummy (that is if you like the taste of the lemon mixed with cake feeling). My husband was hogging at these whenever he could get his hands on the fridge:) ....I actually got inspiration to make these from Maria's blog . However, I followed a different recipe as I did not have the lemon rind mentioned in her blog. But whatsoever, I keep visiting her site just to look at her version of this cake:) . The recipe I followed was from Ina Gartens book "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" . It came out perfectly good:)

Ingredients:

1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup lemon extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used just plain salt)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used lemon extract)
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the glaze
2 cups confectioners' sugar (I just powdered the granulated sugar I had)
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used same amount of oranje juice I had as I ran out of lemon extract. This infact gave a very nice touch to the flavor of the cake)

Method:


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

  2. Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I did not use this, I mixed it with hands), for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and the 1/3 cup lemon extract.

  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour the batter evenly on a greased baking pan, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

  4. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves and makes a syrup. When the cake is done, let cool for 10 minutes, using a fork prick all over the cake (this is for preparing the cake to absorb all of the glaze going to be poured over the cake) then invert onto a rack set over a tray, and spoon the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

  5. For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the top of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Simple Milk Shake



Well, this one I made when I felt like having milk shake after a long gap. I was really thirsty and wanted something more than just water and I had my blender all ready to blend for me right in front of my eyes :) ...so I decided to mix whatever I felt was edible at that time:) This is my entry for the Montly Mingle event of Liquid Dreams hosted by Meetha of "Whats for lunch honey"

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup milk powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons whipped cream
Method:

Blend everything in the blender. Serve with whipped topping.

Turkish Delight








I am sure most of you must have seen the movie or read the book "Chronicles of Narnia"...well if you havent, I suggest you do it, because its a very nice movie . There is a mention of "Turkish delight" which is a candy that the White Witch used to lure the second youngest kid, Edmund for getting details about his siblings. I was really curious about this candy, mainly because of its name and also because of the way Edmund's face would go all innocent when he asked for it :) ....I found this simple recipe for making this sweet from this site below:


Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
4 cups sugar
4 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/4 cups cornstarch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar (I used lemon extract instead of cream of tartar as I did not have it)
1 1/2 tablespoons rosewater red food coloring (optional)
1 cup confectioners sugar

Method:
  1. Oil a 9-inch square pan. Line with plastic wrap and oil the plastic wrap.

  2. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, 1 1/2 cups of the water, and the lemon juice. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, without stirring, until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage (240°F on a candy thermometer). Remove the pan from the heat.

  3. In a second large heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together 1 cup cornstarch and the cream of tartar. Gradually stir in the remaining 3 cups of water until no lumps remain. Stir constantly, until the mixture boils and is a thick, gluey paste.

  4. Slowly pour the hot sugar, water, and lemon juice syrup into the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often to prevent sticking, for about 1 hour, or until the mixture has become a pale golden color.

  5. Stir in the rosewater and tint as desired with food coloring. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Cool to room temperature and let stand, uncovered, overnight to set.

  6. Sift the confectioners sugar and the remaining 1/4 cup cornstarch onto a large cutting board. Turn the Turkish delight out and cut into 1-inch squares with an oiled knife. Roll pieces in the sugar mixture to coat well. Store in an airtight container with sheets of waxed paper, dusted with the sugar mixture, separating every layer.

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