Thursday, December 11, 2008

Red Velvet Fruit Cake

The fiery red color of this cake was the reason I got fixated on making it from the time I saw it on one of the websites where it was made for Daring Baker's Challenge. I do not remember the website. I then saw it on TV , where it was made by Paula Deen. It was a long time back. But every time, I would forget or keep it for a later time. This time I saw this recipe on Joyofbaking which is my favourite site when it comes to Baking. The author at Joyofbaking explains why this cake is also called Devil's Food cake : "A Red Velvet Cake is really a Devil's Food Cake that has red food coloring added to it. John Mariani tells us in his book "The Dictionary of American Food and Drink" that the name 'Devil's Food Cake' is so called "because it is supposedly so rich and delicious that it must, to a moralist, be somewhat sinful."

I made up my mind and decided that its high time I made this cake. I followed the exact recipe, except for the addition of fruit peel mix to the cake batter and a different recipe for the Frosting. The color of the cake amazed me and the final appearance of the cake , especially after cutting the slice was even more amazing! Of course, my tiny bottle of red color got over after I opened it for the first time after I purchased it, as the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of red color. I used the "safe to use color" brand of food color.

The completed cake was moist. Since I added the rum soaked fruits, the cake was tasting better the next day and the next. If you plan to frost and decorate, the cake needs to be consumed within 2 -3 days of preparing. If you are planning to just make a bright red fruit cake :) , you might want to leave the cake covered in plastic on your kitchen counter top for 5 days, as the taste will increase day by day :)
The amount of cake was a lot, so I found it the perfect time to share it with my neighbours in the apartment :) . You may visit Joyofbaking website for the original recipe

Here goes my version of the recipe:

Ingredients:
----------------------

For the Red Velvet Fruit Cake:

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (If you don't have cake flour, follow this link which gives an easy way for substituting cake flour )

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons Cocoa powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar

Rum soaked fruit peels (the original recipe doesn't call for Fruit peels, but I had a lot of these fruit peels left, hence I decided to use it up. Its optional though)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

1 teaspoon baking soda

Sweetened dessicated Coconut for topping

For the Coconut- Cream Cheese frosting:

1 packet (8 oz) (227 grams) (1-8 ounce) Cream cheese at room temperature

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup sweetened dessicated coconut

Method:

For the Red Velvet Fruit Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour two same size round cake pans (I used the aluminium foil pie pans (Hefty brand) and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper (grease the parchment paper too). Set aside.

In a mixing bowl sift together flour (half of the flour), baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.

Beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes)(I used my hand, you may use a electric mixer, hand mixer). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Mix the buttermilk with the red food coloring. Using your hand, or with the mixer on low speed, Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

Combine the rest half of the flour with the fruit peels, toss them lightly until well coated (This helps the even distribution of the fruit peels in the cake batter) and mix it with the cake batter.

The next 2 steps requires some fastness:

1) In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

2) Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon.

Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Then invert the cake and place each cake in a different plate and cover the cake with plastic and refrigerate at least for 2 hours. This is to help frost the cake layers better when it is cool. I frosted the cakes the next day.




For the Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

Beat the butter and Cream Cheese until well combines and soft. Then add the sugar and combine well until fluffy. Add the coconut. Mix well.





Assembling the cake:

First cut each cake layer further into two horizontally, with a knife. Now you will have 4 cake layers.




In a serving plate, place parchment paper to cover the top of the plate. This is to ensure a clean appearance of the cake in the serving plate without the mess of the frosting as the parchment paper can be removed once the cake is frosted and decorated.

Then place one cake of the cake layer, top of the cake facing down, on the serving plate. Frost the cake's top surface with the frosting. Then add another cake layer in the same way on top of frosted cake and continue frosting this cake (meanwhile lightly frost the sides of the cake too with the excess frosting on the top)


Repeat the above process for the rest of the layers until all the layers are frosted and stacked. Frost the sides of the cake if they are not properly frosted.








Cover the cake with sweetened coconut.






This makes a 4 layer cake.

Slice and serve.
Wish you all a Merry Christmas in advance and Happy holidays !!

I am sending this to:


JZ's Santa's Holiday Challenge Event





My Kitchen Treasures's Homemade Christmas Gift Event











Purva Daawat's Christmas Feast Event













Maninas's Eating with the seasons: December event

I am also sending this to (Food In Color)FIC-WHITE event started by Sunshinemom of ToungueTicklers and hosted by Yummy Food .

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Naan

Before going into the details of this post, let me proudly display my Trophy from Recipe Marathon :) hosted by the wonderful DK of Culinary Bazaar. She went ahead and made a nice video called: An Ode to RM # 2 Runners

It was a wonderful event with so many Runners and as a result a big collection of recipes :) We all had a lot of fun running together and I look forward to do it again sometime.


Back to the recipe, I decided to finally try my hand at this famous Indian bread. I followed the recipe of Petrina Varma Sarkar's in About.com and I must say it turned out pretty well :) I served it with Mushroom masala. I am quoting her recipe here:

Ingredients:
---------------------
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 6 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 3 tablespoons yoghurt
  • 3 teaspoons onion seeds (optional)

Method:
------------

Add the dry yeast and sugar to the warm water and stir till the yeast is dissolved. Cover and leave aside for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to froth. Keep it aside. Mix the flour and salt to taste and sift through a very fine sieve. Put it into a large mixing bowl and now add the yeast mixture, 3 tablespoons of ghee and all the yoghurt.

Mix all this into a soft dough. Once mixed, flour a clean, flat surface and knead the dough till it is smooth and stretchy (elastic). Grease a large bowl with a few drops of cooking oil and put the dough in it. Cover and allow to rest for about 90 minutes or till the dough doubles in volume.
Punch the dough down and knead again for 10 minutes. Equally divide the dough and roll to form 8 round balls. Lightly flour the same surface on which you kneaded the dough and roll out each ball until you have a circle, 7-8 inches in diameter (1/2 "thick).

Gently pull on one edge of the circle to form the Naan into a tear-drop shape ( I did not get this step right, mine was amoebic in shape :) . Do not pull too hard or you may tear the Naan. Instead of rolling the dough out (with a rolling pin) you can also pat it into a circle with your hands (I was doing this too). Preheat your oven 200 C/ 400 F or Gas Mark 6.

Lay a piece of aluminium foil in an oven tray (to cover) and grease it lightly with a few drops of cooking oil. Place as many Naans as will fit without touching each other, on the tray. Brush each Naan with some ghee and sprinkle a pinch of onion seeds all over its surface. Put the tray into the oven and cook till the Naan begins to puff out and get lightly brown. Flip the Naan and repeat. Remove from oven and serve hot .

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pyaaz bhari Kachori (Kachori with Onion filling)


This is my entry for Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine's :

RCI-Awadhi Cuisine event of December month hosted by Siri of Siri's Corner

When Kachori comes to my mind, I will always remember the first and last time I had this snack. It was in my college hostel. I remember that this snack was served as a tea-time snack when we hungrily gobbled whatever was served. The tastedidn't matter at all especially after a tiring day in college. The first time I got to have kachori, I thought it would taste like samosa with a potato filling, until I tasted the filling. It was a different filling with moong dal and other spices which I don't remember now. But what would always remain in my memories would be the distinctive taste of the Fennel seed/powder which I felt was dominating the other flavors. When Siri announced the Awadhi cuisine event, I went through the links she gave in her blog. I was surprised to see so many dishes, which I had already cooked in the past, never realizing that itsAwadhi :) Maybe its because India is a country where you have such a lot of variety of cuisines , where each one is influenced one way or other by another cuisine. I got this recipe from Manjula's Kitchen (which I slightly modified by adding some extra ingredients to the filling)

Here is how I made Pyaaz bhari Kachori (Kachori with Onion filling):

Ingredients:



For the filling
---------------
Onion: 2 medium
Green chillies minced: 3-4 nos
Curry leaves: 4-5 sprigs of leaves chopped fine
1/4 cup : Yellow moong dal
1 teaspoon: Ground fennel seeds
1 teaspoon : Ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon : Red chilly powder/flakes
1/4 teaspoon : Ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon: Mango powder
Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon salt /to taste
21 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons water

Oil for deep frying


For the dough
----------------------
1 cup All Purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup chilled water

Method:

To make dough:

Mix all the ingredients for the dough and make a nice smooth dough. Cover with a wet paper towel and set aside.


To make filling:

Chop the onions finely. Make a fine powder of the moong dal. In a pan, add 2 tablespoons of oil and all the ingredients for the filling except water. Roast them on a medium flame until all raw smell goes off. Then switch off the flame and add 2 tablespoons water. Mix it well and set aside.
Wait for the mixture to cool .



To make Kachoris:
-----------------------
Meanwhile heat oil for deep frying in a deep bottom vessel like a Kadhai. Make small balls out the dough, and flatten each ball with the palm of your hand as you would to make stuffed parathas (leaving the center thicker than the edges). Then add a ball of the filling to the center of the dough, gather all the ends of the dough to the top and seal the ends by pinching the gathered ends together.



Similarly prepare all the balls. Then flatten each ball with the seam side up.



Make sure the filling doesn't come out (I was not very successful at this step, but will improve the next time I make these :) . Also make sure to distribute the filing evenly. Flatten the balls 3 inches circle .






Place about 3-4 of these in the hot oil. It will take some time for the Kachoris to come to the surface and puff up a little. Turn them over and fry both sides.









The Kachoris are done when they are a light brown color. Serve them with Tamarind chutney. An instant , most simple Tamarind chutney which I made in a hurry was to mix thick tamarind pulp with honey.


Hope you too will enjoy these when you make it :-)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

RM2-Day 30- Maida Halwa

This is a recipe I got from Easycrafts's Simple Indian Food- An Easy Cooking Blog.

It was so easy and it came out good. This being the last post for Recipe Marathon, I am thrilled I made it till here (yeah I missed a day, but I guess, 29 days of posting is not bad huh :)
It was a fun adventurous ride and I enjoyed the part of cooking and posting everyday :) I am motivated to keep blogging frequently because of this event , I must say :). It doesn't seem that tough to keep up with the Marathon , now that I look at it. I am glad I made a whole lot of new blog buddies too , yes that's one of the exciting part of running a Recipe Marathon :) . I am sure I would love to take part in another Marathon, not immediately though :)

Congrats to all of you fellow Marathoners in completing this race :) I thoroughly enjoyed running along with you people , it was fun to see so many recipes everyday !

Last Day Recipe Marathon 2 - Day30:

  1. DK
  2. Siri
  3. Srivalli
  4. Ranji
  5. PJ
  6. Curry Leaf
  7. Priya
  8. Bhawana
  9. Raaji
  10. Ruchii
  11. Anu
  12. Kamala
  13. Medha
  14. Divya Kudua
  15. Rekha
  16. Divya M
  17. Lakshmi
  18. Raaga
  19. Lakshmi Venkatesh
  20. Sripriya
  21. Viji
  22. Kamalika
  23. Pavani
  24. Karuna
  25. Roochi

Saturday, November 29, 2008

RM2-Day29-Vegetable Omelette

I made this as I was lazy to make anything else today after a tiring Black Friday :) . I had a good time yesterday , though I was mostly window shopping. Today we had a late Breakfast.
We had a lot of eggs in the refrigerator. I decided to make a frittata, but then decided to make a simple vegetable omelet. What simpler way of having breakfast on a lazy weekend. I read in some blog that back in Kerala, fast food stalls make omelet with sunny side up.
I remember having those a long time back when I was a kid. But I don't quiet remember whether it was sunny side up (as a kid, who cares as long as you get to eat it :) . I decided to try it today and it was so tasty. I cut up mushrooms, shallots, green chillies.
Sauteed them in a well greased pan (if you using non-stick, much better) , on high flame. Then I beat 4 eggs. I added 3 teaspoons all purpose flour, 1/4 cup milk, and a little salt n pepper and beat again. Poured it on the pan on medium-low flame. Spread some freshly grated cheese and allowed it to cook in this flame until eggs stop flowing. Then carefully transfer the Omelet to a serving plate. There, you have it, vegetable omelet.

I am curious to know whats cooking in other marathoners blog:

1)DK 2) Srivalli 3) Ranji 4)PJ 5)Medha 6)Priya 7)Bhawna 8)Raaji 9)Ruchii 10)Anu 11)Kamala 12)Curry Leaves13)Divya Kudua 14)Rekha 15)Divya M 16)Lakshmi 17)Raaga 18)LakshmiVenkatesh 19) Sripriya 20)Viji 21)Kamalika 22)Pavani 23)Karuna 24)Roochi

Friday, November 28, 2008

RM2-Day 28- Egg Biriyani

I made this for Thanksgiving. I am in a bit of hurry , hence I am just posting a condensed recipe here. I will post the detailed recipe very soon. So for now I am posting the photos along with a brief recipe. Here goes the recipe:

I used 1 cup of rice (I used the Himalayan Basmati rice from BJ's) for two people. I boiled two eggs. I sauteed, various spices in 3 tablespoons olive oil. I added various veggies, including capsicum, mushrooms, onions, garlic, ginger, coriander leaves, mint leaves, and curry leaves (yes i added these leaves together with these veggies whilesauteing).
Then I checked for salt and added the rice and the boiled eggs too. I added enough water (2.5 cups) and kept it on a high flame. When the water boils, I lowered the flame to low and allowed to cook for 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Then I added caramelised onions as a garnish and served it with Roasted Chicken.
This is also my entry for Rice Mela hosted by Srivalli

RM2- Day 28: mmmm, I can smell something yummy cooking in my fellow Marathoner's blog :

1) Siri, 2) Srivalli, 3) Ranji, 4)PJ, 5) Curry Leaf, 6) Medha,
7) Priya, 8) Bhawna, 9) Raaji, 10) Ruchii, 11) Anu, 12) Kamala,
13)DK, 14) Divya Kudua, 15) Rekha, 16) Divya M, 17)Lakshmi,
18)Raaga , 19) Lakshmi Venkatesh , 20) Sripriya, 21) Viji,
22) Kamalika, 23)Pavani,>,24)Karuna,25)Roochi

Thursday, November 27, 2008

RM2- Day 27- Thanksgiving Roasted Chicken


Happy Thanksgiving to all my dear Readers and Friends ! On this occassion I would like to thank each and everyone of my readers who kept up my spirits with their inspirational comments. I would also take this opportunity to thank my Family, especially my husband Vijay who has been a constant source of encouragement. My late father and God for everything.
This is mine and V's first time trying to roast a whole chicken. I was actually inspired by Ina Garten who demonstrated how to roast a whole chicken. Her show has always fascinated me. We decided to choose chicken as it was just the two of us at home and Turkey would have been too much on the table :) And this being our first time celebrating Thanksgiving, we decided to keep it simple :) .
Roasting a whole chicken was not as difficult as I imagined. We had purchased 2 whole chickens from BJ's. Today morning, V kept it in the refrigerator for thawing. I was in full enthusiasm in the morning to start the Thanksgiving cooking:) . After a cup of refreshing coffee made by V, I entered my Kitchen :) .
The chicken was taking a long time to thaw, hence I put the plastic covered chicken in a vessel with warm water. After it was completly thawed, I removed it from the cover and washed it in cold water. I cleaned it completly and wiped it dry. Then I generously marinated it outside and inside with salt , pepper and any other spices I could find in the kitchen. I cut the butter in small cubes (around 2 tablespoons) and put it inside the chicken. Then I rubbed the chicken with olive oil outside and inside. Its important to generously season and grease inside and outside the chicken if you need a good flavor.
I cut small slits in some parts of the chicken. Then I also seasoned it with the Tandoori paste. I stuffed a variety of vegetables (shallots, green chilli, lemon juice (or cut lemon), mushroom, coriander leaves, curry leaves, sliced onion) inside the chicken. Tied the legs of the chicken as shown in the picture with a thin piece of cloth (usually a twine is used for this purpose, but we didnt have any, hence it was V's idea :) and it worked very well).
Placed the chicken, breast side up, inside the oven , 375 degrees F. Roasted it for 1 hour, 10 minutes. To check the chicken for doneness, cut the hardest muscle part of the chicken (mainly around the thighs). If the juices flow clear, it means the chicken is ready.
For extra safety, I decided to broil the chicken for 10 minutes. For that, I removed the cloth tying the legs, and kept it in the oven, which I turned to broil setting.

The color of the chicken was too good. Me and V were so excited. V carved the chicken after it was done. I had made Egg Biriyani and we had a nice heavy lunch :) I must say it was quiet tiring, but, its a nice way to celebrate the essence of Thanksgiving:) I look forward to doing it every year :)

RM2-Day 27- I cant wait to see what my fellow marathoners have made :


1) Siri, 2) Srivalli, 3) Ranji, 4)PJ, 5) Curry Leaf, 6) Medha,
7) Priya, 8) Bhawna, 9) Raaji, 10) Ruchii, 11) Anu, 12) Kamala,
13)DK, 14) Divya Kudua, 15) Rekha, 16) Divya M, 17)Lakshmi,
18)Raaga , 19) Lakshmi Venkatesh , 20) Sripriya, 21) Viji,
22) Kamalika, 23)Pavani,>,24)Karuna,25)Roochi

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

RM2- Day 26- Pink Rava Laddoo

I was in the mood to make some sweet today as V was working from home and he has a sweet tooth :) . I found this a good chance to try out one of the easiest Indian sweets: Rava Laddoo. Its a very common festive sweet in India. I had tried it a very long time back (maybe when we were just married and I remember that the shape didn't hold well that time.
Hence I decided to improve that part. I also wanted a different color for the Laddoo than the authentic white. Hence I added a pinch of color.
I did not have any raisins or cashews, so I decided to add chopped candied cherries which are now available in the markets due to the approaching holiday season. The taste was really good.
I had also used melted butter instead of ghee as I didn't have ghee. I followed Srivalli 's recipe for making Rava Laddoo. I forgot to add grated coconut and I guess that's why, while making balls for the Laddoo, I had to sprinkle a little bit water to hold the shape.

V and me and enjoyed it lots and I will be making this often when it comes to sweets:)

RM2: Day 26...Still rocking and running with full swing :) ...Check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked:


1) Siri, 2) Srivalli, 3) Ranji, 4)PJ, 5) Curry Leaf, 6) Medha,
7) Priya, 8) Bhawna, 9) Raaji, 10) Ruchii, 11) Anu, 12) Kamala,
13)DK, 14) Divya Kudua, 15) Rekha, 16) Divya M, 17)Lakshmi,
18)Raaga , 19) Lakshmi Venkatesh , 20) Sripriya, 21) Viji,
22) Kamalika, 23)Pavani,>,24)Karuna,25)Roochi

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

RM2- Day 25- Kuch Khatta Kuch Meetta Malai Kofta :)

I was tempted to try making Malai Kofta after a recent Potluck at a friend's place. I was impressed with the Malai Kofta made by one of the ladies. Malai Koftas are deep fried or baked Vegetable /Meat dumplings in a thick creamy sauce. Its the first time I tried Malai Kofta today and I am glad to say it came out really good :) I didn't have the usual Cream, so I decided to substitute it with Cream of Coconut (I named it Cream of Coconut because it looked like cream when the Canned Coconut milk solidified when I refrigerated it.
Khatta means "Tangy" and Meetta means "Sweet" , and the ingredients I used for giving it these tastes are a combination of Tomato paste and diced Pineapple. I was anxious initially if the taste of coconut milk would be appropriate forMalai Kofta, but I was craving for this dish and hence decided to go along with the ingredients I had. I didn't want to use just plain milk. This is how I made it:

Ingredients:

For the Kofta
============

2 cups mixed vegetables: I used peas, carrots, beans, cauliflower, spinach
1 medium potato cooked and mashed
Ginger garlic paste- 1 T
Minced green chillies
2 T Besan (Chickpea flour)
Bread crumbs: 1/2 cup
1/2 cup grated Cheese (I used Gouda Cheese, as that's what I had as cheese in my refrigerator)
Salt and Pepper
Oil for deep frying

For the gravy
===========

1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1/2 cup tomato puree
Onion powder (you may use sliced onions and caramelise it before adding the tomato puree to the pan)
Mashed Garlic and minced ginger-1/4 cup together
Fennel seed powder : 1/2 teaspoon
Asafoetida: a pinch
Coriander powder, Cumin powder: 1/ 2 tspn each
Green chilly slit in middle: 4 nos
Garam masala, Coriander leaves (chopped), Pudina leaves (chopped): for garnish
Water: 1 cup
Curry leaves - 3-4


Method:

For making Kofta
=============
Cook the vegetables partially. Drain the water and wipe them dry as much as you can. Chop them very finely (I used my chopper). Add all the other ingredients and mix them well. Form small balls (size of key lime) and deep fry them in oil and drain them on paper towels.

Note: Koftas are added to the gravy only just before serving as they tend to break if soaked early.


For making Gravy:
============
In a flat pan on high heat, add 3 tablespoons oil and when its hot, reduce to medium and add all the spice powder (except Garam Masala). Add the green chillies, Curry leaves, Ginger, Garlic and saute until the raw smell goes off. Add the thickly diluted tomato puree and increase the flame and wait until the mixture starts to boil. Add the Lima beans (optional). Reduce the flame to medium and add little water, just enough to cover the Lima beans. Let the Beans cook. After it is cooked, reduce flame to medium-low and add thickly diluted coconut milk. Stir and add salt. Then increase flame a little and let the mixture heat up and then lower it . Then add Pineapple pieces and stir well. Add little water if the gravy becomes too thick. Keep flame at medium-low and cover the pan . Let the mixture cook for 3-4 minutes (lower the flame if the gravy reduces.Switch off flame and spread the garnishes.


Add the Koftas and serve immediately with Roti, Naan, or even plain rice. I served mine with Lemon Rice :) . It had the subtle taste of Coconut milk accompanied by a tangy taste of Tomato and sweetness of Pineapple. The Koftas when mixed with gravy gave a richness to the dish.

RM2- Day 25 - Check what my buddies are up to in their kitchen:

1) Siri, 2) Srivalli, 3) Ranji, 4)PJ, 5) Curry Leaf, 6) Medha,
7) Priya, 8) Bhawna, 9) Raaji, 10) Ruchii, 11) Anu, 12) Kamala,
13)DK, 14) Divya Kudua, 15) Rekha, 16) Divya M, 17)Lakshmi,
18)Raaga , 19) Lakshmi Venkatesh , 20) Sripriya, 21) Viji,
22) Kamalika, 23)Pavani,>,24)Karuna,25)Roochi

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