Mar 30, 2011

Blueberry chocolate bars - Low fat

        I have been really addicted to the brownies. People visiting Creative saga know that it has been raining cakes , cakes and more cakes for the past few days. Okay,this recipe has been in my drafts for quite sometime. But when I made the castle cake, I was quite eager to post that , so this one had to wait. This one is healthy and a lowfat chocolate  bar where I replaced egg with flax seeds meal and the fats with applesauce. I had a few blueberries , so decided to add them as well. They were delicious and I had quite a few pieces without that so called guilty feeling.
blueberry chocolate bars

Atta/wholewheat flour-1 cup
Brown sugar- 3/4 cup
Flaxseeds meal- 2tbsp in 6tbsp water
Cocoa powder- 2tsp
Baking powder- 1tsp
Fresh blueberries- 1/2 cup
blueberry chocolate bars
     For the homemade applesauce- Chop two cooking apples. Add them to a pan along with a cup of water and a cinnamon stick.Allow it to cook for around 15 to 20 minutes. Cool and blend it to a puree.
    Stir the flax seed meal in water to a slimy thick fluid.
    Now combine all the ingredients (except the berries) to form a uniform batter. Pour the batter to a prepare well greased cake tin. Place the blueberries on the top of the batter. Bake in a preheated oven at 180c for around 20-25 minutes. Insert a skewer to check whether the cake is done.
     Cool and slice them to squares.
This one is my entry to Divya's Brownie event.
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Mar 27, 2011

Castle cake - Kid's easy birthday cake

       So here comes the actual much awaited birthday cake. As I am a novice in cake decorating, I wanted a simple and easy cake and something which will make my kid happy too!! I found a variety of castle cakes in the internet and that looked easy as I was able to decide how to create a shape of my own.
       I made 2 recipes of the basic vanilla cake which yielded- 1.One 9"square and 6"inch round
 2. One 8"inch round and a few cup cakes and a loaf(which I did not use in this cake).
castle cake
      I placed the 8"round cake on the square and then the 6" round over it after crumb coating each of them seperately. I then frosted chocolate buttercream icing over the whole cake. Next I piped door and windows with the pink colour .Then piped some chocolate buttercream icing all over to create the brick like effect. I then placed some cupcakes on the sides with the chocolate icing on it. Just an hour or two before the party, I placed the icecream cones on the cupcakes and on the top and decorated them with M&Ms.
castle cake
Buttercream icing recipe-
Icing sugar- 3cups
Butter- 1 cup
Cocoa powder- 3tbsp
Vanilla essence- 1tsp

      Mix everything together to form a thick paste. Store in refrigerator till use. Allow it to come to room temperature a few minutes before using it so that it will be easy to apply.
      I also bought a readymade chocolate frosting jar of betty crocker's . I mixed it and my chocolate buttercream icing and applied it over the cake. And used only the homemade chocolate frosting to pipe the bricks of the castle.
    For the pink colour, I did not add the cocoa powder and used a few drops of rose pink colour instead.
I am sending this to crazy for cakes event hosted in priya's blog.
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Mar 25, 2011

Vanilla cake - Birthday cake recipe

          I was looking for a good cake recipe which I wanted to make for my son's birthday. I had shortlisted a few of them and finally decided upon this one. It was easy to put together unlike some recipes where the egg whites had to be whipped seperately . I don't mind doing that, but as it was going to be huge cake, I wanted it to be less messy. Then I wanted the cake to be sturdy, so that it didn't cause problems during frosting. The ingredients involved were also easily available and did not involve anything that I had never used. Also the cake does not require a syrup basting to stay moist.
          This recipe yields two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake.I have also given the ingredient's measurement in grams making it easy.

Recipe courtesy- Smitten kitchen
Vanilla cake
Cake flour- 4 cups +2tbsp(1 cup is around 100 gms)
Baking powder-2tsp
Baking soda-1 1/2tsp
Butter- 2 sticks= 1 cup=225gms
Sugar- 2 cups(1 cup= 225 gms)
Vanilla extract/essence- 2tsp
Eggs- 4 large ones
Buttermilk-2 cups(1 cup=235ml)
Vanilla cake
     Prepare the cake tin by lining a parchment paper on it. Grease on the sides and the paper if required(some paper are pre greased). Preheat the oven to 180c.
     Sift flour, baking powder,baking soda in a medium sized bowl. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar till fluffy. Add the vanilla essence. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Then beat in the buttermilk and mix. The mixture looks curdled at this point. It is okay. Now fold in the flour mixture in 3 batches and mix to form a uniform batter. Pour the batter in the prepared tin. Bake the cake at 180c for 40 minutes. Check whether the cake is done by inserting a skewer in the center of the cake.
Vanilla cake
      My next post will be on the actual birthday cake. Do hop in to see my attempt on kid's birthday cake.
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Mar 23, 2011

Eggless Dried figs cake

          This is another healthy cake I made for my kid for his evening snack few days ago. I have been trying out egg substitutes and here I have used flax seeds for the first time and really worked well. Flax seeds has lot of nutritional benefits including a lot of fiber. You can see more about it here. The dried figs imparts a natural sweetness to the cake including a nice crunchy texture. Using atta has always been appealing to me. And I added oats too. So how much more healthier can it get? The cake was really very good and delicious. 
Eggless dried figs cake
Atta/Whole wheat flour- 1 cup
Oats- 1 cup
Baking powder-2tsp
Baking soda-1/2 tsp
Flax seeds meal- 2tbsp+6tbsp water(see notes)
Yogurt- 1/4 cup
Oil- 1/4 cup
Dried figs- 12-15 numbers
Jaggery syrup- 1 cup(See notes)
Chocolate chips- a handful

Notes- 1. Combine the flax seeds meal and water and stir continously till it becomes a thick slimy fluid.
2. Jaggery syrup I used was a left over after making some Indian sweets. You can add powdered jaggery (1/2 or 1/4 cup) or even brown sugar instead.
Eggless dried figs cake
   Place the dried figs in hot water for around 30 minutes and then blend it to a smooth puree. In a small bowl, mix atta, oats, baking powder and baking soda.Now combine the jaggery syrup,yogurt ,flax seeds mixture and oil in a large bowl and mix it thoroughly.Add the dried figs puree. Mix well. Now tip in the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips into the batter. Bake at 180c for 40 minutes or till the cake is done. Test by inserting a skewer in the center of the cake to see if the cake is done. Cool and invert the cake in the plate. Slice and serve.

    I am sending this to Srivalli' kids delight event guest hosted by Priya as this is a eggless, sugarless and a butterless recipe.
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Mar 21, 2011

Pictures with grains- elephant- kid's school project

        My son had to do a collage work using different grains on the picture they had provided in school. Hence I got an opportunity to do some craft, especially this one after posting about something similar few days back. It does require lots of patience. But my usually impatient kiddo found this quite interesting and helped me in arranging the grains and sat with me doing it for atleast an hour. I think I should engage him in more of such activities in future. How about you?
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Mar 20, 2011

Brown rice adai

      Adai is a kind of dosa or pancake made with rice and lentils. I have already posted a recipe for adai here. I usually add a variety of lentils to this though traditionally only three kind of lentils is used in the adai. Here I have replaced the white rice with brown rice and also tried adding black eyed beans to it. Though there is no significant difference to the taste. Adai tastes delicious anyway. And it gives an immense satisfaction of using healthy ingredients like brown rice and highly proteinecious pulses.
brown rice adai
Brown rice- 1 cup
Channa dal/kadalai parappu- 1/2cup
Tuvar dal/tuvaram parappu- 1/2cup
Green mung/pacchai payar- 1/2 cup
Black eyed beans/chawli- 1/2cup
Dried red chillies- 7-8 numbers
Curry leaves-  few
Asafoetida/hing- pinch
Salt to taste

     Soak the brown rice and lentils for 4-5 hours. Then grind it to a paste along with the dried red chilllies with the help of a grinder or mixer adding water as necessary.Tear the curry leaves and add it to the batter along with the hing and salt. Mix everything well together.
     Fermentation is not required,if not using immediately, store the batter in the refrigerator.
    Add little water so that the batter is of a pouring consistency. Heat a dosa tava/girdle. Pour a ladle of batter on it. Flatten it to a thick circle with the base of the ladle. Add oil on the sides. When the bottom is cooked, flip and cook on the other side also.
     Serve immediately with milagai podi, avial or  tastes great even with some butter or jaggery.

(Black eyed beans is also known as  chawli ,lobhia, cow peas,Allasandalla, karamani)
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Mar 17, 2011

Beetroot chocolate brownies

      At one point of time, I had stopped baking or rather restricted cakes to only certain occasions, But when I learnt about substituting with low fat and healthy ingredients, I no longer feel too guilty about this especially when it comes to my kid. And I feel that homemade ones are much better than the store bought ones. Using atta or whole wheat flour in another thing I have become quite comfortable with.
       I was quite eager to bake brownies with beetroot when I saw in DK and Madhuram's place few days ago. So my recipe is kind of inspired from both of them. We enjoyed this one and particularly loved its deep red colour. Quite a brownie fan I am now, I have baked a lot of them and will be posting them soon. So keep coming and you will just fall in love with them just like me!!
beetroot chocolate brownies
Beetroot-2 cups of puree(see notes)
Egg- 1
Butter or margarine-1/4 cup
Olive oil-1/4 cup
Brown sugar-1 1/2cup
Atta/whole wheat flour- 3/4 cup
Oats- 1/2 cup
Baking powder- 2tsp
Cocoa powder-3tbsp
Chocolate chips- handful
 Notes- For the beetroot puree- Peel and chopp 2 beetroots.Then pressure cook them till they turn very soft. Then blend it in a blender to a puree.

beetroot chocolate brownies

  Beat the butter ,olive oil and sugar till it turns creamy. Add in the egg and mix thoroughly. Next add the beetroot puree and mix well. Mix the dry ingredients together(atta,oats,baking powder,cocoa powder). Add this flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix well with a spatula. Now fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter in a prepared greased tin.Bake this in a preheated oven at 180c for 25 to 30 minutes .Check if the cake is done by inserting a skewer in the center. Allow it to cool in the pan. Slice into bars or squares.
          This one is my entry to Divya brownies event.
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Mar 16, 2011

An attempt on paper quilling

       I was really fascinated by this art when I saw this on several blogs. I finally got the quilling tools during my trip to India last year. But never managed to do anything for sometime. Today, I had to do a collage for my son's  school project and suddenly felt like doing some craft. So I went ahead with this one. This is my very first attempt. I have seen beautiful ones in many other blogs and hope to do like that with more practice. I had fun doing this one.
paper quilling
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Mar 15, 2011

Mochai kottai kuzhambu , hyacinth/field beans gravy

     There are some food items which I have got introduced to only after coming to Singapore. For example, vazhai thandu (banana stem) or the banana blossom. Then the mochai kottai or popularly known as val in the north was never made at my mother's place. So when I got this beans recently (as I make it a point to include different beans lentils or pulses daily in our diet) , I browsed many blogs to see it being used in gravies. Aracha vitta sambar , where the spices are dry roasted and ground and added to  the gravy to make it very flavorful has been my favourite. So I used the same method to make this one. It was really delicious and tasted great with rice and papads.
mochaikottai kuzhambu
Mochai kottai / hyacinth beans/field beans/val - 1 cup
Onions- 1 sliced
Tomato-1 chopped
Curry leaves- few leaves
Coriander leaves- chopped
Salt to taste
Jaggery- a small piece

Dry roast and grind to paste-
Channa dal-1tbsp
Udid dal-1/2tbsp
Dried red chillies-10 numbers
Coriander seeds-1tbsp
Grated coconut-1tbsp
Tamarind- a small lemon sized lump

Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Fenugreek seeds-10 numbers
Hing/asafoetida- 1tsp
Gingelly oil-1tbsp

    Soak the mochaikottai/beans for around 2 hours and pressure cook it till it turns soft.
   Dry roast the channa dal , udid dal,coriander seeds,dried red chillies and coconut till it turns a golden brown.Place the tamarind in this and allow it to cool. Then grind it to a fine paste adding a few drops of water while grinding.
    Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds along with the hing and curry leaves. Now add the sliced onion and tomatoes. Saute till the tomatoes get cooked. Add the cooked beans along with salt. Also add the ground paste.Mix everything well together. Add a glass of water and cook well till the kuzhambu /gravy thickens. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve this with hot steamed rice.
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Mar 11, 2011

Apple Blondies with brown sugar frosting

        I have made brownies before. But when I made this one , I just fell in love with the chewy,fudgy texture and the bitter taste of the chocolate brownies. I browsed a lot of recipes for bars and brownies, bookmarked them, even made a few and waiting to bake more of them.What next, I went to the local library and borrowed a few books on brownies. So this was a recipe from one of those books . Well ok, for people who are not aware, blondies are very similar to brownies. The texture of blondies is just fudgy and chewy like those of brownies. While brownies uses chocolates , this one uses brown sugar for the taste. Thats the only difference. So this was a delicious one and I just made minor differences, which I have mentioned in the recipe.So do try and enjoy them with the frosting .
 Recipe source- Bars and squares by Jill snider

apple blondies with brown sugar frosting
Butter-2/3 cup softened)
Packed brown sugar- 2 cups(I used 11/2 cups)
Eggs-2( I used small sized eggs)
Vanilla essence-1tsp
Atta/whole wheat flour-2 cups(All purpose flour used in original recipe)
Baking powder-2tsp
Chopped peeled Apples-1cup
Chopped walnuts-3/4cup
( The batter was a way too thick, so I added a few drops of milk. The actual batter is supposed to be thick, but mine was too thick that I could not even fold in the apples and walnuts.So add only if necessary)

Brown sugar frosting-
Packed brown sugar-1 cup
Milk or cream-1/4 cup
Confectioner's sugar-2cups( I powdered the granulated sugar in a coffee blender)

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter,brown sugar,eggs,vanilla until thick and smooth(about 3 minutes).Combine flour and baking powder and add it to the butter mixture.Mix until blended. Stir in the apples and walnuts , mixing well.Spread evenly in a prepared pan.
  Bake in a preheated oven until set and golden,25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in a pan.
 Brown sugar frosting-In a small saucepan over low heat ,melt buttre.Stir in brown sugar and milk.Bring mixture just to a boil and then remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.Stir in the powdered sugar ,mixing untuil smooth.Spread evenly on the bar. Let stand until frosting is firm enough to cut.Cut into bars or squares.
apple blondies with brown sugar frosting
      Co-incidently, Divya has announced an brownie event, So am sending this and eggless oats brownies for her event.
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Mar 9, 2011

Masoor dal biryani

        I started using whole masoor (red lentil) only recently after having it at a friend 's place. It is known to have high iron content and hence helps in builiding haemoglobin levels in the body.  I used to make normal dal and have it with rice until I saw this recipe in Tarla dalal's book of dal and lentils. The recipe is very interesting compared to the other biryani recipes. And the addition of unusual ingredients makes it even more interesting. We just loved it. Try it to believe it as I always say!!

Recipe courtesy- Tarla Dalal's dals and pulses cookbook

masoor dal biryani
For the masala masoor
Saboot Masoor(whole red lentils)- 1/2 cup (soaked for 1-2 hours)
Garlic red chilli paste-3tbsp(I used green chillies)
Potato cubes-1/2cup
Tomatoes-3/4cup chopped
Apricots(jardalu)-2 soaked and finely chopped(I used dried figs)
Salt to taste

Basmati rice- 21/2 cups
Oil for greasing

For the Masala masoor-
Clean,wash and soak the masoor in enough water atleast 1 to2 hours. Drain the masoor. Keep aside.          Heat the oil in a pressure cooker,add the onions and saute till they turn brown in colour,while stirring continuously.
Add the red chilli garlic paste and saute for a few more seconds ,while stirring continuously.
Add the potatoes,tomatoes,apricots or dried figs,raisins, masoor,salt and 1 1/4 cups of water and pressure cook for 1 whistle.
Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid.
If it is watery,simmer till little moisture evaporates and the mixture becomes semi dry.Keep aside.

How to proceed-
Divide the rice into 3 equal portions and the masala masoor into 2 equal portions keep aside.
Spread one portion of the rice in an even layer in a greased glass baking dish.
Spread one portion of the masala masoor over it.
Spread the remaining rice over the masala masoor in an even layer.Repeat the steps 2 and 3 to make one more layer.
Cover with an aluminium foil and bake in  a pre heated oven at 200c for 10 minutes or microwave for 2 minutes.
Ensure you do not use aluminium foil while microwaving .Use a microwave safe lid instead.
Turn upside down on a large serving plate, just before serving, Serve hot garnished with coriander.
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Mar 7, 2011

Upside down orange cake

       Baking a cake with oranges after the chinese new year has become a routine. The oranges available at that time is so sweet and delicious . So this time it was upside down orange cake. I saw a recipe in some magazine when I was in India and since then it was in my mind to try out the cake. Well, I had not noted down the recipe and hence reffered several blogs for the recipe and then formulated a recipe taking down the tip from the blogs and with the ingredients I had at hand. The cake was simply delicious. I loved the colour the orange paste imparted to the cake and a citrusy flavour too. Try adding some orange zest too for the extra flavour in case you try this one.
upside down orange cake
Self raising flour-2 cups
Brown sugar- 1cup +1/4cup
Firm Oranges-2 numbers
Orange paste-3tbsp
Butter- 3tbsp+1tbsp
Milk-1/4 cup
upside down orange cake
      Preheat the oven to 180c. Peel (deseed) and slice the oranges into circles.Melt 1tbsp of butter. Pour the melted butter into the cake tin(8") and allow it to spread throughout the base of the pan by rotating the pan. Now sprinkle 1/4 cup of brown sugar on the top of melted butter.Place the orange slices over it covering the pan.
       Now combine rest of the butter and a cup of brown sugar.Add the eggs one at a time and beat to a uniform mixture.Now add the milk and mix well.Fold in the flour gradually mixing well with a spatula. Add the orange paste and mix well. (you can add orange zest as well for the extra flavour). Pour the batter on the prepared cake tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes till the cake is done.
       Cool and invert the cake on a plate. Slice and serve.

Update on orange paste -
As some of you wanted to know about the orange paste, I thought of updating my post with the info I have. I got this small bottle from a minimart/a small coffee shop quite  accidently mistaking it for orange food colour to be used in Indian sweets. But I realised that only after coming home. Basically it is a thick fluid containing water, colour , flavour,stabiliser and some preservatives. This one is ideal for cakes, dough, muffins, bread and other confectionary products. It has a typical citrusy smell and flavour and gave a mild orange colour when added to the batter.I am sure you will find them in all the supermarkets.
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Mar 4, 2011

Bread crumbs burfi/fudge recipe

     As I had mentioned here about a packet of bread crumbs lying in my pantry for a long time and then using it in my nut sponge cake. I had still some remaining and I was looking for a way to use it up. It was then I saw a recipe in this blog quite accidently actually when I was looking for something else, but am glad I found it. I made them immediately and it was quite delicious. There are amazing ways to use up the bread crumbs , isn't it? The bread crumbs imparted a slight crunch to the fudge, that is what I loved about them the most.
Recipe courtesy- Hamaree rasoi

bread crumbs burfi
Bread crumbs- 1 cup
Grated coconut- 1 cup
Semolina- 1/2 cup
Ghee- 2tbsp
Raisins - a handful(you can use almonds and cashews too)
Milk- 1tbsp
Sugar-1/2 cup( I use fine granulated sugar)
Cardamom powder- 1tsp

  Heat the ghee in a pan. Add the raisins and remove from flame and keep them aside. In the same pan, Add the bread crumbs,grated coconut and semolina and roast for 2 minutes. Now add the sugar followed by cardamom powder. Cook till the sugar dissolves and a thick mass of the mixture forms. Add the milk. Mix well. Place this mixture on a well greased (grease with ghee) plate. Level the mixture with a knife or a spatula.Cut them into squares or diamonds. Store them in air tight containers. Its is better to consume this in 48 hours.
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Mar 2, 2011

Eggless oaty brownies

       I spent an entire afternoon browsing through Sunitha's blog . I really like her amazing baking creations. The cakes are so wonderful and absolutely love the fact that she uses only atta (whole wheat flour) in all her bakes. I have bookmarked so many recipes and soon will be posting some of them in near future. Eggless oats brownies was one of them. They were so yummylicious and my son ( a picky eater ) could not just stop eating them. Thank you Sunita!!After this one , I have become a crazy brownie fan. I am just looking for more and more brownie recipes  and baking them too.Well thats another story. So heres the recipe for today.
Recipe courtesy- Sunita of sunita's world
chocolate oats brownies
Atta/whole wheat flour- 1 1/2 cup
Oats- 3/4 cup
Cocoa powder- 2tbsp
Baking powder-1tsp
Dark chocolate- 150gm
Brown sugar- 4tbsp
Milk-2 cups
Oil- 5tbsp
chocolate oats brownies
 Preheat the oven to 180c.Combine the flour, oats, cocoa powder,baking powder in a bowl. Whisk the oil, milk and sugar in another bowl. Make a well in center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid mixture and mix it well. Fold the melted chocolate in the batter. Pour the batter in a greased and floured cake pan. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake at 180c for around 25 minutes. Cool in the pan. Slice and serve with cream if your prefer.

Today happens to be my dad' birthday too. So this post along with the yummy brownies are for him. Happy birthday pa!!!
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