Do check out my new blog "Claire's Party Supplies". From now on all party supplies and current offers and discounts will be featured here.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Homemade Burgers with Fries - Made from Scratch

Yes, you heard that right. Every element of these burgers was homemade, made from scratch, right from the burger buns, to the meat patties and even the mayonnaise. I know a lot of you must be wondering whether I'm crazy. But try it out, seriously, its not that difficult. It just needs a little bit of planning

Now don't get me wrong, we love the ready made stuff too. But the satisfaction of making your very own version, tops most of those ready ones. Also, not surprisingly, these turned out really tasty. Heck, they were tastier than a lot of the burgers that we've eaten from many different places. I think the only burgers that can top these are the ones that we had at BLT's and Al's Diner in Hong Kong. I used to think that the best burgers in Mumbai could be found at Hearsh's or Candies in Bandra, but I now beg to differ. Though the burgers from both these places are good, I'd rather have the home made ones whenever possible. To sum things up, this was a wonderful treat. With a little planning you'll enjoy the flavors and you'll save a few bucks while you're at it.

Over the past few months, whenever I pass by most eateries, fast food places or restaurants and am considering stopping there, I realize that a lot of my favorite stuff can be made at home, which turns out tastier and more economical. So really, I think I've ruined eating out for myself. (Well, except when we are at Candies. That place, I think, has some really wonderful food.) Do you find this happening to you? It'd be nice to know I wasn't alone and possibly crazy, thinking like this. :)

Anyway, back to the burgers. Just yesterday I posted the recipe for these delicious Burger Buns.


In the past I've also posted an easy recipe for Homemade Mayonnaise. This can be made earlier, if you like, and refrigerated till you're ready to assemble the burgers.

For the Burger Patties - 
Yields 6


1/2 kg beef mince (ground beef)
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 green chillies, chopped fine
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1" ginger, chopped fine
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black peppercorns, to taste
Oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients together till they're well distributed.

Shape into patties.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Carefully place the patties on the pan and cook through as desired. We like out beef well done. So we let it sear on high heat for a few seconds to lock in the juices and then cook on a medium flame till done.


To assemble the burgers - 


Slice the burger buns in half.

Spread some mayonnaise on the bottom half.

Place the beef patty on in.

Top with a slice of onion, a slice of tomato and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add a leaf of lettuce. Cover the the top half of the bun. Obviously, you can pick and choose the stuff that goes into your burger but this is what I used. Other interesting options are pickles, sauteed onions, maybe some crispy bacon etc.


Enjoy!!!

P.S. Don't be fooled by the size, this fills you up fast. The burgers that we buy here are seldom filling so we made a third burger which my husband and I figured we'd split in half. It was a task for both of us. I guess thats what you get with wholesome food. You know exactly whats in it, it tastes great and satisfies those crazy hunger pangs. We had these bad boys with some homemade fries.




Homemade Fries




2 potatoes, peeled and cut and kept in salted water.

Pat dry and deep fry till done.

Drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Serve with some ketchup if you'd like. We prefer ours without it.


This recipe is linked to -
What's Cooking Thursdays
Full Plate Thursday
Thrilling Thursday
Its a Keeper Thursday
Made From Scratch

Easter goodies #1 - Easter Nest Cupcakes with Marzipan Eggs

I've decided to take you through a few of the treats that I've made for Easter in the past. Some of them were made to order. The others, for friends and family. I hope you enjoy them!!!

This is a very short post on my version of Easter Cupcakes. Last Easter, I made a ton of marzipan chicks, eggs, bonnets etc. to order. When I was done with those, I decided that I needed a change from all that. So I turned to my favorite Chocolate cake recipe - its a Nigella Lawson recipe, my no-fail, go-to recipe for a great chocolate cake. I made some chocolate cupcakes topped it with Chocolate frosting and placed 3 marzipan eggs on the top. I like how they turned out. The only thing I will do differently when I make them next, is reduce the size of the eggs a little.


I've added one of my favorite marzipan recipes. Click here to view it.

This post is linked to -
Sweets for a Saturday
Muffin Monday
Crafty Soiree
The Homespun Bake Shop
Meals on Monday
Easter Party

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Homemade Burger Buns - My first attempt at yeasted bread!

When I first started this blog, I assumed I would use it to share things that I made often and was good at. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that it would become so much more. This blog has given me the push in so many ways. Its made me revisit my collection of recipes and helped me discover some lost wonders amongst them. It has also encouraged me to try out things I've never done before and post it. I love all the little discoveries I've made along the way. Which brings me to todays post - my very first attempt at yeasted bread. My husband and I have always enjoyed a good burger. That however seems to have become increasingly difficult to find. So one weekend, we decided to whip up some burgers at home. So far, no biggie. While we were thinking of what kind of meat to have in our burgers, I decided that it would be really cool if we could bake our own burger buns as well. Trust me, a year ago I would've never thought that. Anyway after a little bit of scouting on the internet, I decided to go with a recipe I found on the King Arthur Flour website.

It was fairly easy to make. The only catch here is the waiting. You need to make this a little ahead of when you will be needing it. The buns turned out really tasty. However, they didn't turn out as light as I expected them to. I used Active Dry Yeast instead of the Instant Yeast the original recipe calls for, which later, upon troubleshooting I discovered is okay to do, provided to add more yeast than the original Instant yeast quantities called for. When I make them next, I will try that out and see if it works better. But the loaves turned out really hearty and so much more flavorful than the store bought ones. I also wanted to try out two different washes. The ones in the center, the plain ones, those had a melted butter wash going for them. The sesame topped buns had the egg wash. I like the glaze that the egg wash added to the finished product. I'm definitely going to keep making my own burger buns at home. Do you have a no fail burger bun recipe? I'd love to give it a try.


Homemade Burger Buns
Recipe by: King Arthur Flour
Yield: 8 buns

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 to 1 cup luke warm water
1 tbsp instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1 large egg

Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth soft dough. (If you are using Active Dry yeast instead, let it sit in the warm water and sugar for about 5-10 minutes till it gets bubbly and frothy and then add it to the other dry ingredients).

Cover the dough and let it rise till it has doubled in size, about an hour.

Gently deflate the dough. Divide into 8 portions. Shape the buns and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Cover and let it rise for about another hour, till nice and puffy.


If desired, brush buns with melted butter. Or brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water), and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake the buns for about 12-15 minutes in an oven thats been preheated to 180ºC till golden.

Cool on a rack.

Enjoy your own homemade burger buns.

Stay tuned for tomorrows post to see what I did with these.


This recipe has been linked to -
Recipes I Can't Wait to Try
Whats on the Menu Wednesday
Works for me Wednesday
Real Food Wednesday
Delicious Dishes
Let's Break Bread Together

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chickpea Salad

Whenever, I boil dried beans of any sort, I make sure I cook a little more than I need. I love eating a few plain, nice and warm, just after they've cooked. Sometimes, I keep some aside to add to a salad. It just adds another dimension to the salad. This is exactly what I do when I boil dried chickpeas. If you want to know how its done, check this post. I simply love the colors.




Chickpea Salad


1/2 cup boiled chickpeas
1 onion, chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Salt, to taste
Crushed black peppercorns, to taste
A squirt of lime juice
Balsamic vinegar, to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Check for salt and sourness.

Keep chilled till you're ready to serve.


This recipe is linked to -
Delectable Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday
A Little Birdie Told Me
Hearth and Soul
Tuesdays at the Table
Tasty Tuesday
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Mangia Mondays

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chole (Garbanzo beans curry)

This is another popular dish in India. There are many recipes you will find to make this curry. This is a simple recipe and one of my favorites. This curry is usually paired with Baturas or Pooris but goes very well with chapatis (whole wheat Indian flatbread) as well. It also goes well with plain boiled rice. I will have posts up on baturas, pooris and chapatis. Stay tuned. This is a thick gravy, also called a chana masala because of this very reason.


Chole (Garbanzo beans curry)


100 gms. dried kabuli channa (Garbanzo beans)
2 kashmiri chillies (dried red chillies)
3 onions, peeled and cubed
2 green chillies (or to taste)
1" ginger, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly cubed
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. red chilly powder
1 tsp. garam masala powder
1 t 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water.

Rinse out with fresh water the next day and pressure cook with 2 kashmiri chillies and about 1 tsp. salt. Cook for about 15 minutes after the 1st whistle.
If you aren't using a pressure cooker, simply cook till tender. Reserve the stock.

In a blender, blitz the onions, chillies, ginger and garlic till you get a smooth paste.

Heat the oil in a pot/vessel and tip in the onion paste. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn't burn.

While this is cooking off, tip the tomatoes in the blender and puree. Keep aside.

When the onion paste has thickened, add the turmeric powder, chilly powder and garam masala powder and stir till well mixed with the onion paste.

Add the tomato puree, stir well and let it cook off on a medium flame till you see a little of the oil at the sides of the masala paste. It should take a couple of minutes.

Add the cooked beans and stir gently. Let it cook in the masala for a couple of minutes.

Add some of the water in which the beans were cooked to the pot till you get the desired consistency. Let it thicken a little.

Check for salt. Adjust if needed.

Sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves and gently mix through.

Serve hot!

**Check back for the next post which will show you another interesting use of boiled garbanzo beans.**


This recipe is linked to -
Not Baaad
Meatless Mondays
Just Another Meatless Monday
My Meatless Mondays
Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent
The Blog Entourage
Mouthwatering Monday

Friday, March 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Nutella Sandwich - An instant chocolate fix!

Just the other day big time hunger pangs caught me by surprise. And what I was doing at the time wasn't helping either. Any guesses? Yes, I was looking through some wonderful food blogs with the most amazing pictures. That just made things worse. I needed something, anything, quickly. While I was browsing, I came across a post for a peanut butter nutella sandwich. I love peanut butter. Sometimes, I have a plain peanut butter sandwich, other times, I indulge in a peanut butter and jam one. I also love the flavor of nutella, but i find it a tad too sweet. I really don't remember which blog I had stumbled upon (Note to self: Next time make a note of such blogs not just the recipes they offer), but I must admit, I just couldn't see these 2 individually wonderful yummy things coming together. But by that time I was so hungry and since there wasn't any cooking or major prep work involved, I decided to try it out. My dear friends, I was astonished. This was an awesome sandwich. I skimped on the Nutella because of the sweetness, but the flavor was all there. What worked even better, was that the saltiness of the peanut butter was helping to cut through the sweetness of the Nutella. All in all, a great instant chocolate fix. You'll be smiling for a while after you've had it. Will I make this sandwich again? Not too often, but hell yeah!



Peanut Butter Nutella Sandwich

2 slices of bread
Crunchy Peanut Butter
Nutella

Spread some peanut butter on one slice and Nutella on the other. Put the slices together, sit back and relish it. Let the goodies do their thing!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spicy Goa Sausage Chilly Fry

I don't know how many of you have had the opportunity to try out Goa sausages or Chorizo sausages. I love them. I've heard that flavor wise the Portuguese chouriço sausages are very similar, the Goan ones are supposedly a spicier variant. You can read more about the different types available here. In Goa its very easy to source the locally homemade sausage links which are sold in the local markets. In Mumbai, its not that easy. But we do get some packaged, branded variants like the popular Joao's or Costa's. My favorite brand is Barry & Jules. It has less fat but is a lot spicier than the others. The sausage is so flavorful that it needs no more spices or herbs. This chilly fry is a simple preparation but is packed with flavor and spice. So you can omit the additional chilly. Enjoy this with some soft hearty white bread. In Goa, its eaten with pao, a local Goan bread.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do :)


Spicy Goa Sausage Chilly Fry


1/3 packet Goa sausages, taken out of casing and chopped
1/2 tbsp. oil
2 onions, chopped
1/2" ginger
4 curry leaves
2 green chillies, chopped in to 3-4 pieces
1 tomato, chopped
1 large or 2 small potatoes, cubed


Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion, curry leaves and chillies and sauté till the onions have softened. Add the finger and sauté till the onions have browned. 


Add the tomatoes and continue cooking till they have softened.


Add the sausage meat and let it fry a little and release its flavors. Once the aroma has released, tip in the potatoes. Stir fry for a couple of minutes. 


Add a splash of water, not too much, cover and cook till the potatoes are done. 


Serve hot with bread.




This recipe is linked to - 
Whats on the Menu Wednesday
Delicious Dishes
Recipes I Can't Wait to Try

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Homemade Nachos with a bunch of stuff - All made from scratch

UPDATE: I've found an easier recipe for homemade tortilla chips. Check it out here.

I've always wanted to try making nachos at home and yes, from scratch. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about this amazing plate of Nachos that I had while I was in Goa for a few days. I knew that if I wanted it like that, I'd have to make it myself. The only thing I had a recipe guide me with was the corn tortillas for the homemade tortilla chips, which I took from Nita Mehta's "Multi-cuisine Cookbook". I didn't spend time looking for recipes for the rest of the stuff, but just threw a few things together from memory.  It really was quite funny, me, roaming in circles in my kitchen, trying to remember what was on the plate and what the flavors were and then checking to see if I had what was needed to put together a plate of Nachos. Crazy visual, anyway back to food.

Being my first attempt, I was very pleased with the way it turned out, the textures and flavors were nice. However, when I make this next, I'm definitely going to up the cheese. I think I will look around on the internet for a few ideas to pretty this up. I'd be glad if I could get a little input from you wonderful bloggers out there. I know a lot of you have made Nachos at home and have some tricks up your sleeves. I'd love to hear from you. For those of you who haven't tried making these before, I suggest you do it, soon, if you love Mexican food that is, and only if you want to be able to dish out some yummy stuff right out of your kitchen. Here's my humble take on it - 


Nachos - 

For the homemade tortilla chips - 
(Makes 10-12)
1 1/2 cups corn meal 
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
Warm water, to knead the dough
Oil, for deep frying

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Knead it into a dough using enough warm water to make it a pliable dough.

Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for an hour.

Divide the dough into portions. Roll out to form a thin disc. 

Heat a griddle. Place the rolled tortilla on the griddle and let it cook for about a minute on a medium flame.

Turn over and cook the other side till a few brown specs start appearing. Don't let them crisp up.

When the tortillas are ready, cut into 8 wedges each and deep fry in hot oil.

Drain on some kitchen paper.


For the Pico de Gallo - 

1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1-2 green chillies, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Salt, to taste
Lime juice, to taste

Toss all the veggies in a bowl. Add the salt and lime juice. Toss well. Check for seasoning.


For the assembly -  

I didn't want to switch the oven on for this, so I just used the stove top and improvised.

Place the tortilla chips on a griddle. Grate some cheese over it. You can use whatever variant of cheese you enjoy, or have at hand. Don't skimp on the cheese if you want some really deliciously cheesy nachos. 

Carefully tip the nachos with the cheesy top on a plate, trying not to disturb the layer of cheese on top.

Serve up with sides of your choice. I served it with some sour cream and some pico de gallo.

You can also serve it with some guacamole and salsa if you'd like.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Salads at the Barbecue Party #4 - Cucumber Salad with Dill Yogurt

This is the last of the salads that I had made for the barbecue party. Now this doesn't mean that there won't be more salad recipes and posts, because there will. With the summer heat and humidity already upon us, I am going to switch from warm hearty meals to some cool, fresh and soothing salads. Stay tuned.

This cucumber salad is very simple to make and the dill leaves add a lovely flavor to the yogurt. I used a little cream to add the creamy factor to this salad, so feel free to either leave it out completely or vary the quantities to your liking. Salads are very forgiving. You don't have to stick to quantities and at times, even an ingredient list. So, go ahead, put your spin on it, and let me know how it worked out for you.



Cucumber Salad With Dill Yogurt

2 fresh cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1/2 tub natural, unflavored yogurt (we get tubs of 400g)
1/4 cup fresh cream
1-2 tbsp. Mayonnaise (optional)
Salt, to taste
A few dill leaves


Beat the yogurt, mayonnaise and cream together and add salt to taste.


Tip in the sliced cucumbers and the dill leaves.


Mix and serve.




This recipe is linked to - 
Not Baaad
Meatless Monday
Mouthwatering Mondays
Just Another Meatless Monday
Meatless Mondays
Made by you Monday

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Strawberry Lassi (Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie)

One really popular drink especially during the hot summers in India is a Lassi. A lassi is nothing but fresh yogurt sweetened to your liking and top with a dollop of cream. I like mine without the cream. Its refreshing and healthy. Restaurants here serve two varieties a sweet and a salty lassi. I've never tried the salty variant, I don't think I'd like it.

Summer seems to have found its ways here a little to early. Its as hot as it would typically be during the peak of summer in the month of May. I can only imagine what May will be like. What better way to cope with the crazy heat than a delicious, cool, fruity lassi. Surprisingly the only fruity yogurt we can find here is processed and honestly, doesn't even taste like yogurt anymore. I'd picked up a whole bunch of strawberries on our last trip to Panchgani and decided to add a few to the lassi. The result was delicious, refreshing and as REAL as real food gets without any funny stuff (read preservatives etc.) added to it and its so simple to make. I used fresh strawberries since they were in season but I'm pretty sure frozen berries will do just fine as well. You can opt to use a sweetener of your choice or if you prefer you can leave it out altogether.


Strawberry Lassi
(Serves 2)

1 tub natural unflavored yogurt (We get it in 400g tubs)
A few fresh stawberries (I used about 8-10 strawberries)
2 spoons superfine sugar (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz till is well incorporated.

Serve.


This recipe is linked to -
This Week's Cravings
Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent
Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweets for a Saturday


summer coolers event saffronstreaks


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crunchy Bombay Duck Fillets

UPDATE: Just wanted to let you guys know that Bombay Ducks are actually a type of fish and not meat. They are called Bombil in Hindi and Marathi. You can get more information here.

As a child, I hated fish, or so they thought. My mum and nana would try everything they could think of to try and get me to eat fish. Of course, I wasn't a stubborn child except where eating fish was concerned so they had their work cut out for them. Eventually they realized that the reason I wouldn't eat fish was that I was okay with eating fish but what I actually hated having to debone the cooked fish before eating. Ironically I didn't mind eating fried sardines and fried karli (silver barfish), the boniest of the varieties available here, go figure! So my loving grandma would patiently sit and debone the fish on my plate, which I would very willingly eat up. Oh, the memories.

Anyway, moving on to the current day scenario, I love fish. And one of my current day favorites are crunchy (fresh) bombay duck fillets. The best part is, my husband, Ashley, is a genius at filleting these guys. Lucky me!!! Nothing could be simpler that making this dish. You really should try this. I want you to enjoy something this delicious. This is not so much a recipe, but simple pointers to making the fillets. Please adjust flavors to your liking


Crunchy Bombay Duck Fillets


Bombay ducks, cleaned and filleted
Turmeric powder
Red chilly powder
Salt, to taste
Lime juice to taste
Apple cider vinegar, to taste
Besan (chickpea flour)
Bread crumbs, to coat
Oil, for frying

Wash the fish and pat dry. Lay the fillets out flat on a plate.

Sprinkle the salt, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, lime juice and apple cider vinegar over the fish. Gently, turn over to make sure that both sides are seasoned. Its hard to give you quantities for the spices, since everyone has different preferences. I make sure that there is a little sprinkling of the spices on all the fish on both sides. Handle lightly as this is a delicate fish.

Sprinkle some chickpea flour over the fish on both sides till lightly coated. You can add a few drops of water to help you with this. The chickpea flour will help the fish stay together so please don't omit it. Since this is a delicate fish, leaving it out will result in the fish breaking up while you try to move it around in the pan. You don't want a thick layer or a chickpea batter coat, just a light sprinkling to bind it.

Keep aside for about 15 minutes.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan.

Dredge the fillets in breadcrumbs to coat them well. This will give you a crunchy fillet.

Shallow fry on a medium flame. Do not move the fish around in the pan, till a crust has formed on the bottom. Moving it to early will break the fish up. Once the bottom side has formed a nice brown crust, turn over and cook on the other side till done.

Serve hot.



This recipe has been linked to -
Delectable Tuesday
Whats Cooking Thursday
Full Plate Thursday
Fun with Food Friday


My favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just the other day, I was in the mood for a good cookie. When I said good cookie, what I meant was a good home baked cookie. I had a few packets of store bought cookies in the kitchen, but that just wasn't doing it for me. I couldn't bear the thought of eating even one of those. Thats really strange, since I've never had this happen to me before. So I guess from now on, I'll be baking more cookies than picking them up from the store. I figure its also healthier, since they will be baked from scratch and I'll know exactly what I'm eating.

I happened to be browsing a very interesting site. I love the recipe collection and I know for sure that I'll be trying out more than a few. Anyhow, they happened to have a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I decided to give it a go. Turns out I think I've found the recipe for my favorite chocolate chip cookie. The earlier recipe I had tried paled in comparison to the result I got with this one. The cookie turned out just right and (can you believe it) not too sweet. I halved the recipe and got about 25 cookies. Whats your go-to Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe?


Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from: Our Best Bites
Yield: 48-50 cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup good quality margarine
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
12 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 170ºC

Cream all the butter, margarine, sugars, eggs and vanilla well.

Sift in the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well.

Add the chocolate chips and stir to distribute them well throughout the batter.

Spoon them onto a cookie sheet using a spoon or an ice cream scoop.

Bake at 170ºC for about 10-12 minutes till they are lightly browned.

Enjoy!!!


This recipe is linked to -
Tasty Tuesdays
Whats on the Menu Wednesdays
Whats Cooking Thursday


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Salads at the Barbecue Party #3 - Cole Slaw

This is a simple side dish that you can throw together in a very short time if you have a food processor. If not, it takes a few minutes more, but I think its well worth the effort. I hand chop the veggies, and its really not that bad. I love a good slaw. You can serve it as a salad, stick it between 2 slices of bread for a simple sandwich or use it as an add on in a burger.

This is not so much a recipe as a few ingredients thrown together, so feel free to adjust the quantities to suit your liking, or whatever you have available in the fridge. :) 

Since I was making this for the barbecue party, I jazzed it up by adding some pine nuts. Feel free to leave it out or switch it for pumkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts etc.


Cole Slaw

Cabbage, finely sliced
Carrot, julienned 
Lemon juice, to taste
Salt, to taste
Crushed pepper, to taste
Pine nuts (optional)

Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl. 

Check  for seasoning and adjust if needed. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

How to make your own Mayonnaise

A lot of sources tell you that making mayonnaise at home can be a very daunting process. And so many of us, not wanting to waste precious time and ingredients simply buy the stuff that comes in a jar from the store. Now don't get me wrong, I don't condone the store bought stuff. As a matter of fact, we always bought ours from the store till a few years ago, when my husband and I decided to try making some at home one weekend. What brought this one, you ask? Well, honestly, till date, we haven't been able to figure that out but I'm really glad that we tried it out. The outcome - we never bought mayo from a store again.

Its a very simple process, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If we can do it, so can you. I did a little bit of reading before we tried it out and a lot of sources tell you to keep a 1:1 ratio. ie. 1 egg to 1 cup oil. Thats the basic. I suggest you tweak the flavor to your liking.

We made a double batch of this mayonnaise for the barbecue party and used it for both, the cole slaw and the cucumber salad. Both recipes to follow.





Homemade Mayonnaise
1 egg
1 cup oil
1 tsp. mustard
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
A few drops of lime juice or vinegar

Put the egg, mustard, a pinch of salt and a little sugar into a blender.

Blitz for a few seconds to get it started.

Keeping the blender running, carefully and slowly add the oil in a stream through the top of the jar (the opening through which you can add liquids). Make sure that you add the oil slowly.

Once it starts thickening, stop the blender, taste adjust seasoning, add the lime juice or vinegar and blitz again for a couple of seconds.

NOTE: If you find that after thickening, the mayo looks like it has sort of split, don't worry. This simply means you've added a little too much oil. Simply add another egg to it and blitz again. You may need a little more oil but add gradually only till it thickens.

While the 1:1 ratio works most of the time, its success also depends on the size of the egg. So start of with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of oil. If you've reached the desired consistency, you can stop adding the oil. If you need more of it, feel free to do so.

Transfer to a clean and dry glass jar and refrigerate. I use this in salads, sandwiches, and other dressings as well.

I hope you try making your own mayonnaise at home.If you do, I'd love to hear how it worked for you.


This recipe is linked to -
Not Baaad
Meatless Mondays
Mouthwatering Mondays
Just Another Meatless Monday
My Meatless Mondays

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This post is a relatively exciting one for me. In my part of the world, some baking ingredients, tools and bakeware that many of you find in every possible store around you, is practically impossible to find. So whenever I go shopping, I keep my eyes peeled for something I've not seen before. Imagine my joy a few days ago when I was on one such grocery shopping trip and I spotted a bundt pan, a silicon one. I wasn't going to be fussy about how it was not the likes of a typical Nordicware pan, so I quickly grabbed one. Yay! my very first bundt pan. I had recently seen a post on a cream cheese pound cake and I knew that was what I was going to bake in this one. Now shocking as it may sound to many of you, I must admit I've never baked a pound cake before. I can't figure out why. So yes, for me it was another first, my very first pound cake. I also baked some burger buns that day. Yeasted bread, another first for me - I will post about that later. Getting back to the cake, I was a little concerned at first, when I found there was no baking powder listed in the ingredients for this cake. I crossed my fingers and followed the recipe closely. I ended up with one of the most delicious cakes I've ever tasted. It was moist and light and tasted heavenly. This recipe is definitely a keeper.


Cream Cheese Pound Cake
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

Preheat the oven to 165ºC.

Cream the butter and cream cheese till it is silky.

Add the sugar and beat well till fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Add the vanilla and beat well. At this point you may want to scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix well.

Add the flour and gently fold it in until it is just incorporated. Do not beat the flour. 

Bake at 165ºC for an hour. (The original recipe said 1 hour and 20 minutes but mine was done in a hour.)




This recipe is linked to - 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bombay Street Food Special #2 - Bhajiyas (Vegetable Fritters)

For the second edition of the Bombay Street Food Special, I've chosen Bhajiyas. These are nothing but vegetable fritters. My mum used to make this for us as an after school snack and we always enjoyed it piping hot with some spicy tomato sauce. Today I'm going to share with you not one, but two, yes two types of bhajiyas and based on these, there's a whole range of vegetables you can use to increase the variety. Have this with a piping hot cup of tea, there's nothing better than this on a rainy day.

This one's for all the potato lovers out there.


Aloo Bhajiyas (Potato Fritters)


2 potatoes, peeled and sliced and kept aside in salted water (Take some water in a bowl, drop in about 1/2 tsp. salt and stir.) till you're ready to fry.
Oil, for deep frying


For the batter - 
1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
Salt, to taste
A pinch of turmeric powder
A pinch or two of red chilli powder
1/4 tsp. ajwain (carom seeds)
Water

Mix all the dry ingredients together and gradually add the water, a little bit at a time, till you get it to a dripping batter. It shouldn't be too thin, it should coat the back of a spoon. (If its too thick, add a little water, if its too runny, add some more besan). Ensure you are left with a lump free batter.

Heat oil for deep frying.

When the oil is hot, pick up the potato slices from the salted water and drain off any excess water, dip well in batter till its coated and carefully drop it into the oil.

Fry on both sides till it gets a nice golden brown on a medium flame. Drain on some kitchen paper.

Serve hot with some spicy tomato ketchup.

If you have any excess batter, you can either slice up some more potatoes and make some more of these delicious fritters or you can use it for the next kind of fritters. You'll see how in just a bit.

In the same manner, you can make fritters using cauliflower florets or spinach leaves (dip whole spinach leaves into the batter) instead of the potatoes and the same batter.


Kanda Bhajiyas (Spicy Onion Fritters)





2 onions, sliced
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
Salt, to taste
A pinch of turmeric powder
A pinch or two of red chilli powder
1/4 tsp. ajwain (carom seeds)
Water 
Oil, for deep frying

Mix all the ingredients except the water in a bowl. 

Add water a little at a time to form a medium consistency batter. It shouldn't be too thick or too thin. 

Heat the oil. Carefully, using a spoon, place spoonfuls of the batter into the oil. Leave to cook, untouched for a few seconds. Then turn them around to ensure even cooking on all sides using a medium flame. 

Once they've turned a nice brown, drain on some kitchen paper. Serve hot.

Make sure you don't burn them, or you'll be left with bitter-ish fritters.

Serve hot with some tomato ketchup.

You can also add some grated lauki (bottle gourd) to the mix and make some lauki bhajiyas. If using grated lauki or bottle gourd, peel and grate it in advance. Sprinkle some salt and keep aside for about half an hour. Squeeze out all the water from the grated vegetable and add it to the mix.

So there you go, using these two methods, you can make atleast five different types of fritters, using a variety of vegetables.

Go on then, give it a try and tell me what you think of it!


These recipes have been linked to - 


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bean and Spinach Bake

This is a baked dish that I really enjoy. I've been making it for about 4 years now, though I don't make it very often. I'll bet you're wondering why. Let me start by telling you that this is one tasty concoction, however, my husband isn't fond of baked beans. He isn't a very picky eater and he's had to sample some of my not so good creations as well, and I must say he does that without complaining. But his opinion of whatever I make means the world to me. And to make up for it, I try and keep his not so favorite stuff to a minimum. So if I'm having folks over for dinner or I'm cooking a bunch of other stuff as well, thats when I sneak this one in. This is a recipe from Nita Mehta's Continental Cooking for the Indian Kitchen.  


Bean and Spinach Bake
Serves 8

200 gms mushrooms, sliced
100 gms baby corn, cut into 1/4" thick round slices
3 tbsp. butter
4-5 cups spinach leaves, finely chopped
1 cup tinned baked bins
1/2 tsp. red chilli flakes
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
4 tbsp. bread crumbs
50 gms mozzarella cheese

For the sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. cornflour (Sometimes, I use all purpose flour and it works just fine)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3-4 flakes garlic, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Crushed black peppercorns, to taste

In a pan, add 1 tbsp. butter and cook the spinach till all the water dries out.

Stir fry for a couple of minutes, till it appears fried. 

Add bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. The bread crumbs prevent the spinach from turning runny.

Transfer to a shallow baking dish.

Layer the baked beans over it.

In the same pan used to cook the spinach, heat 2 tbsp. butter. 

Add the mushrooms and baby corn and sauté for 5-7 minutes till it starts getting brown spots. 

Add red chilli flakes, salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange this over the baked beans.

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together in the same pan used to cook the veggies and cook stirring till it thickens and begins coating the back of the spoon. 

Pour the sauce over the baby corn and mushrooms. 

Grate cheese on top. 

Bake at 200ºC for 15 minutes.




This recipe is linked to - 
Tasty Tuesdays
Tasty Tuesday
What's on the Menu Wednesday 
Real Food Wednesday

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Salads at the Barbecue Party #2 - Simple Tuna Salad

Here's another easy peasy salad that can be thrown together in minutes. You don't even need to make a dressing. But I must say this is delicious tossed in some mayonnaise. Since I was looking for fresh sides to go with all the meat at the barbecue party, I skipped the mayonnaise. Its also healthier without the mayo and equally tasty. But don't take my word for it. Try it out yourself and let me know what twist you put on it. What I love about these kind of salads is their versatility. Sometimes, I also add olives, lettuce, cucumber, pickles and some bell peppers to the salad. Really, you can add whatever you'd like in your salad and leave out whatever you don't fancy. 





Simple Tuna Salad


1 small can of tuna flakes
3 large onions, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Sour lime juice, to taste

Toss all the ingredients in a bowl.

Check for salt and sourness and adjust accordingly. It’s always better to start with a small amount of salt and lime juice. You can always add more after tasting, but if it’s too salty or too sour,  there’s not much you can do, except add more veggies and fish to the bowl.

Also, most canned tuna is also salted. So taste the salad before you add any salt to it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Aloo Parathas - Whole Wheat Flatbread with a savory potato stuffing

There are many variants of the paratha that are made across the country. All sorts of veggies can be used for the stuffing. I hope to share some of the others with you soon. Today, I'm going to share with you one of our absolute favorites. This takes a little time and effort so I usually make these parathas when my husband has the day off and we don't have to rush anywhere early in the day. A lot of folks serve this with plain curds and a spicy pickle. Personally, we find curds a little too tart for breakfast and pickle isn't really our breakfast thingie. We like to have it plain and with a dollop of butter on top. Ooh yummy! The thought of it makes my mouth water. The recipe is very simple. I do hope you give it a try. Let me know what you think of it.


Aloo Parathas


For the dough - 
3 cups wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Water

Mix the flour and the salt well.

Bind with a little water at a time to form a soft pliable dough. The dough should not be sticky.

If you find the dough sticky, add some more whole wheat flour. If the dough is too dry and difficult to knead, add a little water.

Knead well, roll into a ball, cover with a damp cloth and keep aside while you make the filling.


For the filling - 
3 potatoes, boiled
1-2 onions, finely chopped
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
2 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 tsp. cumin powder
1/4 tsp. amchur (dry mango) powder (optional)
Salt, to taste (Make sure the mix is sufficiently salted)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed. Adjust seasoning, if needed.

Shape into balls about the size of a ping pong ball and keep aside.


To assemble - 
Shape the dough into balls a little bigger than the ones made for the filling.

Roll the dough into 4" disc on a lightly floured surface, making sure it doesn't stick to the work area. Don't flip the dough over while rolling.

Place the disc in the palm of your add, add a few drops of clarified butter / ghee on the side facing you and spread it out on the disc.

Place a ball of the filling in the centre and bring the sides of the dough together and press to seal the edges. Roll between your palms to form a ball again, without pressing. (The layer of dough around the filling shouldn't be too thin or else the filling will come out and burn while roasting).

Roll this out to a disc on a floured surface. Don't roll too thin.

Place this on a well heated tawa / griddle and roast for a while moving it around till light brown spots appear on one side. Turn over and cook on the other side till light brown spots appear on the other side as well.

To finish off, spoon a few drops of clarified butter on the paratha and spread. Flip over and repeat this on  the other side letting it roast for a few seconds after you add the clarified butter to the side.

Serve hot with butter and a mug of hot coffee.

You can leave out the clarified butter if you want an even healthier version, but it does wonders for the taste.

If you have any dough or filling left over, simply refrigerate and use the next day.

You can also make a plain paratha by simply rolling out the dough and roasting it without the filling. This can be served with your favorite jam or cheese or scrambled eggs or an omelette or anything else you'd fancy.


This recipe is linked to -
Meatless Mondays @ Midnight Maniac
Mouthwatering Mondays @ A Southern Fairytale
Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent
What's Cooking Wednesday
Just Another Meatless Monday
My Meatless Monday

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Vanilla Custard In Guava Cups

This is a fairly simple dessert that my mum used to surprise us with every once in a while. I still have fond memories of coming home to be greeted to some of this. As a child, I think this was one of my favorite desserts. It is so simple to make, yet tastes divine. I used some Brown & Polson Vanilla Custard, but I've always wanted to try making my own custard. I'll probably do that the next time I make this. I can't believe I haven't made this on my own before. This dessert is served refrigerated, so its lovely for the summer months when you need to take an edge off the heat. I consider this one a healthy dessert and I'm sure you'll agree once you've taken a look at the list of ingredients.


Vanilla Custard in Guava Cups


For the Vanilla Custard -
1/2 litre milk
2 tbps custard powder
3-4 tbsp. sugar, superfine or to taste

Mix the custard powder and the sugar with the cold milk.

Place on a medium flame, stirring continuously till it has thickened.

Cool and refrigerate.


For the Guava Cups - 
3 guavas, ripe but firm and not bruised (Use as many guavas as you would need to serve the number of people for the meal. You can serve half a guava to a person.)
1 1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
5 cloves

Wash and cut the guavas in half. Cut off the brown parts near where the stem would've been.

In a large vessel, place the guavas cut side up.

Pour enough water to reach a little over the top of the guavas and add the sugar.

Bring to a boil and continue cooking till the seed portion of the guavas start popping out of the flesh.

At this point, you can pick out the guavas using a slotted spoon, cool the stewing liquid and place the guavas back in it and refrigerate till you're ready to serve.

I picked out the guavas and let the sugar syrup continue boiling till it had thickened a little.

The stewed guavas are delicious even by themselves.


For Assembly - 
When you're ready to serve, scoop out the guava seeds and discard. Place the guava on the serving plate/bowl.

Spoon out the chilled custard into the guava cup. I always like a little extra custard for me.

Enjoy!

This recipe is linked to -
Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent
Fun with Food Fridays
Sweets for a Saturday


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Salads at the Barbecue Party #1 - Easy Corn Salsa

I know, I know, it's been over a fortnight since the barbecue party and I still haven't posted a lot of the recipes. I'm sorry about that. It's just been really busy around here and that coupled with a little weekend getaway and a couple of projects I'm working on (more on that later), left me wondering where the days went. Before I get absorbed in the days chores, I've decided to start putting up the other recipes one at a time. I also want to mention that these recipes make quite a bit, so please adjust the quantities to suit your requirements.


Easy Corn Salsa

1 cup corn kernels, boiled
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
Salt, to taste
Sour lime juice, to taste
Crushed black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. Chopped fresh coriander leaves

To boil, the corn kernels, I put it in a pan with a little water and a pinch of salt. Don’t add too much water. Once it comes to a boil, I simmer it for a minute or 2 on a low flame. I like it to have a little bit of crunch. But you can boil it to suit your liking.

In a bowl, tip in all the vegetables.

Add the salt, lime juice and pepper to taste.

Add the chopped coriander leaves.

Toss again. Cover and refrigerate till you’re ready to serve.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Crumb fried prawns

Whenever I pick up fresh prawns from the market, I always reserve a few to crumb fry. There's hardly any prep involved and prawns cook really fast. So this is ideal for a weeknight as well. They turn out nice and tender and the crumb coat gives it a nice crunch. Really, nothing could be simpler. You should try this, you really should. Serve this alongside a nice fresh salad and some crusty bread and you're good to go. This is not so much a recipe but some guidelines that you can use to create this sea food delight. Feel free to tweak it to suit your taste.


Crumb Fried Prawns


15 prawns, shelled and de-veined (Simply adjust the number of prawns based on the number of people you need to serve)
Salt, to taste
Juice of about 1/4 of a sour lime (A dash of apple cider vinegar can be used instead of the lime or a combination of the two. The apple cider vinegar adds a nice flavor to any sea food.)
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. chilly powder
A bowl of bread crumbs, to coat
1-2 tbsp. oil, for frying

Sprinkle the salt, lime juice, turmeric powder and chilly powder over the cleaned prawns. Toss the prawns well in this marinade.Set aside for atleast 15 minutes. (If you are in a hurry then  minutes will do, but if it sits in the marinade a little longer, the prawns are well flavored.)

After resting the prawns in the marinade, dredge the prawns in the bread crumbs, making sure that each prawn is well coated with the bread crumbs.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Fry the prawns on a medium flame, adding more oil if needed.

Watch the pan closely and don't allow the prawns to burn. Drain the prawns well and serve with a wedge of lime. (The lime wedge is optional.) All the little crumb pieces that fall away are really delicious too. I never throw them away. I simply add them to the serving plate.

Remember, all the measures of the ingredients need to be adjusted to taste. So have fun and let me know how  it goes!



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Floral Fondant Anniversary Cakes

Over the weekend, I got a call for an order of a couple of anniversary cakes. This client was very easy to work with. She wanted something floral on a white background, she was also okay with me using fresh flowers if I was short on time. It was very short notice since she needed the cakes for Monday evening so I had to stick with something simple yet pretty to look at. Since she was so understanding of the short notice, I decided to go all out and do simple sugar flowers for her anyway. Well, that meant a super busy day and a late (**yawn**) night. But I must say I was pleased with the outcome. Never had I imagined that such simple blossoms could lift a cake from being plain to something pretty. And the best part is, she loved them. Client delight (not just client satisfaction) is what makes it all worth it.

Everything was made from scratch. The base was a rich, dark fruit cake, covered with a layer of homemade marzipan and homemade fondant. The flowers were made of fondant.

I was free to use any colors I wanted. So for the first cake, I opted for some bright spring - summer colors.


Here's a view of the side of the cake -


For the second cake, I went with pink. One can never go wrong with pink.


Here's what the sides looked like -


These cakes are linked to -
Rook No.17
Thrilling Thursdays @ Paisley Passions
Crazy for Cakes @ Now Serving

Crazy for Cakes 3