Apr 28, 2011

Chocolate bundt cake

          It has been  busy and tiring  for us for the last two weeks .We all feel sick one after the another and still recovering. Then we also have some guests. But then there had been no proper cooking or rather , it had just become a formal affair though I really wanted to cook some delicacies. Okay, by the end of three weeks, I had been dying to bake a cake as the kids among our guests will like it and several cake recipes came to my mind.
          I had bought a bundt pan sometime ago after seeing it being used in several blogs which said that some cakes are baked at it best in  a bundt pan.  I have bookmarked a couple of recipes and had even bookmarked cinnamon chocolate cake at  food Librarian.And when I saw it on Cakes and more the other day, I knew that this was it. I baked it yesterday and it came out really well. I loved the texture of the cake. We found the cake delicious.
chocolate bundt cake
All purpose flour- 2 cups
Sugar- 2 cups
Salt- a pinch
Butter unsalted-1/2cup
Water-1 cup
Oil-1/2 cup
Cocoa powder- 1/4cup+1tbsp(I used hersheys)
Instant coffee granules- 1tbsp
Buttermilk- 1/2 cup  (See notes)
Eggs-3 numbers (2 in the original recipe)
Vanilla essence- 1tsp

1)For the buttermilk, I added a teaspoon of white vinegar in half cup of milk at room temperature and left it for 10 minutes. I then used the curdled milk.
2) The eggs I used were small , so I felt the need of adding some more judging the consistency of batter. But I guess 2 is enough.

chocolate bundt cake
           Grease the bundt pan with butter generously and sprinkle flour all over it properly. Add the butter,water,oil and cocoa powder in a medium sized saucepan. Bring it to a boil. Add the coffee granules and mix well.
            Combine the flour,sugar and salt. Pour the chocolate mixture into it. Now add in the buttermilk along with baking soda.
            Lightly beat the eggs and add it to the mixture along with the essence. Combine well together. Pour batter in the prepared pan. Bake at 180c for 30-35 minutes till a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake well in the pan itself for a couple of hours. Invert it on a plate.Slice and serve.

Apr 26, 2011

Onion kulcha

      When we were kids, I remember buying readymade kulcha (something like pizza base) from a nearby supermarket quite frequently. It just had to be cooked on a hot tava and was then served with some exotic and tasty side dish of our choice preferably paneer which was our hot favourite at that time and continues to be even now,but channa is a great authentic combo.
      I made this few weeks ago and it was so delicious and made a very filling lunch too.

onion kulcha
Maida/Apf- 1-1/2 cup
Atta/whole wheat flour- 1-1/2 cup
Baking powder-1/2tsp
Baking soda- A pinch
Sugar- 1tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil-1/4 cup
Ghee- 1tbsp +As required to rub on the kulchas while cooking

Method- Mix all the ingredients(add the wet ingredients in the dry ingredients) except the oil. Knead to a dough. Finally add the oil to make a smooth elastic dough.

Onion-1 finely chopped
Coriander- finely chopped
Grated cheddar cheese- 1/4 cup
   Mix all the ingredients in a a bowl. Also add finely slit green chillies,salt and red chilly powder if you wish.

onion kulcha
How to proceed-
    Pinch a small portion of the dough. Roll it into a circle. Make a small ball of the filling and place it on the center of the circle. Seal the ends and form a ball again. Now roll it with a rolling pin to a thick circle. Heat a girdle or tava. Place this circle on it. Cook on both sides till you see small brown spots appear on them. Apply some ghee on them .
        Serve them hot with a side dish. Chole is best side dish for this. But I served them with some paneer butter masala. 

Apr 20, 2011

Yellow Zucchinii thuvayal/chutney

        I love chutneys or thuvayals (as called in tamil) and regular readers know I have posted a quite a few of them here. I have not seen zucchini quite often in singapore , but am quite tempted to use them in my cooking and even baking when I see them in several blogs. So I never miss a chance when I find them in the supermarket rarely and am looking forward to use them in  chocolate cake, a recipe I saw recently in some blog.
     So this time, I made a chutney with this and it tasted really good with chapatis.
zucchini thuvayal/chutney
Yellow Zucchini-1 chopped
Garlic-1 clove
Onion-1 chopped
Dried red chillies- 7 numbers
Grated coconut- 1/2 cup
Channa dal- 1tbsp
Tuvar dal- 1tbsp
Tamarind- a small piece.
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Gingelly oil-1tsp

           Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds,channa dal and tuvar dal followed by dried red chillies.Then add the garlic and chopped onion. Saute till the onion turns slightly brown.Now add the zucchini and along with salt and cook till it turns soft.Add the grated coconut and saute for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from flame. Place the tamarind in the mixture and allow it to cool. Then grind the mixture to a smooth paste adding a few drops of water.

Apr 17, 2011

Capsicum and olive pizza- stove top method

        I saw this(stove top) method of making pizza in Sanjeev kapoor's cookery show long time back. I find this quite simple, quick and less messy too. My son loves pizza and I make this quite frequently with the available toppings. This time , I used capsicum and olives. Also this is a stove top version or a no bake version ,hence useful for people who do not own a convectional oven. Next time, I will be posting another recipe which is a much quicker version. So keep visiting!!
capsicum olive pizza
For the base
Wheat flour-1-1/2cup
All purpose flour- 1-1/2cup
Yeast- 1tbsp
Salt -1tsp
Water-3/4 cup
Olive oil- 1tsp

Green capsicum- 1 chopped fine(use red or yellow varieties if you have them)(cook for 2 minutes in microwave,it should be soft yet crisp )
Olives- 10-12 number drained from the liquid
Onions- 1 chopped in rings or sliced
Cheese- 1 cup(grated-use cheddar or mozarella or combination of both.)
Tomato sauce- 1/2 cup or use pizza sauce.(make at home or store bought.)

       Add the yeast in warm water and leave it for 10 minutes to froth. Then add the salt,sugar along with the flour.Combine well to form a smooth, elastic,pliable dough using olive oil to prevent the stickiness of the dough.. Cover the bowl with a plastic film or a kitchen towel. Allow it to rise and double in volume. It takes around 2-1/2 to 3 hours. After it has risen, punch the dough and knead it on a floured surface by folding it 4-5 times.
         Keep your topping ingredients ready. Heat a tava or girdle. Keep the flame low.Pinch a small portion (size of a lemon)of the dough. Roll it into a thick circle (thickness of paratha).Place this on another girdle. Now apply the pizza sauce on the base. Spread some cheese on it. Now place the onion rings,cooked capsicum and olives keeping some space between each other. Spread some more cheese on this.Place this girdle on the other hot girdle. Place a lid on this. Let the flame be low as the base may burn in high flame. Cook till the cheese melts completely. Check whether the base is done. It should have some cooked brown spots on the bottom. This usually takes around 10 minutes.
        Let it cool for sometime. Cut into triangular wedges with a pizza cutter and serve warm.

Apr 14, 2011

Brown rice payasam

Happy Tamil new year to all the readers of Creative Saga. All the very best wishes for a very happy and prosperous year!!!
         When I started  replacing white rice with brown rice , my hubby asked me to try payasam with it. He said some temples in Kerala offer brown rice payasam as prasadam(offering or neivedyam) and it tastes quite delicious. It was in my mind for sometime and I tried this recently during a religious get together. Everyone loved it a lot. It actually tasted even better than the usual paal payasam because of the nutty taste of the brown rice.You can reduce the quantity of sugar and add condensed milk for a richer taste.
brown rice payasam
Brown rice- 3/4cup (I used brown basmati, but short grains can be used)
Milk- 1litre(boiled) (I used full fat milk)
Sugar- 1 1/2 cup(Adjust according to your taste)
Nuts- 1/2 cup( I used chopped cashews,almonds,pistachios and raisins)

   Soak the brown rice in water for around 2 hours. Cook it in a pressure cooker till it becomes soft (but still has a nutty flavour). Now heat the ghee in a pan. Add the nuts and saute till they turn a light brown. Remove them from pan and keep them aside. Now add the cooked brown rice in the same pan. Add the sugar and mix well with the rice. Now add the boiled milk. Mix well and keep stirring till the quantity of milk reduces to 3/4th and the pudding thickens. Add the nuts and mix well. Serve warm or chilled. I personally prefer when it is slightly chilled.
           The payasam thickens more with time. So add more milk to it if you feel before serving.
brown rice payasam
I am sending this to Priya who is hosting "sweets with rice event".

Apr 12, 2011

Hershey's "perfectly chocolate" chocolate cake

          I just adore chocolate cakes and have bookmarked a couple of recipes from various sites waiting for some opportunity to try them out.I  bought the Hershey's cocoa powder a couple of months ago.This recipe was printed on the box and it sounded really awesome.I went ahead with the recipe and we all loved it. I just realised after making this one and this cake recently,that my son is also fond of chocolate cakes. So I am sure to come up with more chocolate cake recipes.You can leave a comment about your most favourite chocolate cake and a link to its recipe.I would love to try them sometime.
perfectly chocolate cake
Sugar- 2 cups
All purpose flour- 1-3/4cup
Hershey's Cocoa-3/4cup
Baking powder- 1-1/2tsp
Baking soda-1-1/2tsp
Salt-1tsp(I did not add)
Milk-1 cup
Vegetable oil- 1/2cup
Vanilla extract-2tsp
Boiling water- 1 cup
perfectly chocolate cake
      Heat oven to 180c. Grease and flour two 9-n round baking pans. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.Add eggs,milk,oil and vanilla:beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water(batter will be thin).Pour into pans. Bake 30-35minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.Cool for 10 minutes.Remove from pans on a wire rack.

Updated picture- made it again for a friend's birthday

      Hershey's "perfectly chocolate "chocolate frosting is recommended for the frosting. But I have used Betty crocker's ready to use chocolate frosting and  pink buttercream icing which was remaining after using it on the castle cake and chocolate celebration cake.

Apr 10, 2011

Pumpkin soup or shorba

         I have generally seen  recipes where the pumpkin is roasted and then pureed to the soup along with the appropriate spices. It tastes nice. But I found a different recipe here. It sounded quite different along with the Indian spices and a tangy juice. I decided to try it and it tasted really good and different. Try it sometime if you are bored of the similar flavoured usual soups. I am sure you will love it.
Pumpkin- 1 cup chopped into small pieces
Orange juice-1 cup
Vegetable stock or water-2cups
Ginger- 1 small pieced chopped
Salt to taste
White pepper powder-1tsp
Cinnamon-1small stick
Bay leaves- 1 small piece
Turmeric powde-1tsp
Red chilly powder-1tsp
Olive oil-1tsp

     Add the juice and one glass of water or stock along with pumpkin pieces,cinnamon and bay leaves.Add salt and pepper. Allow it to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes till the liquid evaporates and the pumpkin pieces are cooked thoroughly. Now puree this mixture with a hand blender or a mixer.
      Heat oil in a pan. Return the puree to the pan. Add the remaining glass of water or stock. Add turmeric powder and red chilly powder. Allow it to boil for another 5 minutes.Garnish with finely chopped coriander.
      Serve warm with some bread.

Do check out what my marathon buddies have cooked today-
Diabetes Diet/Management: Srivalli,Champa,Harini,PJ
Kid Friendly Recipes: Kalyani,Shylaja,Veena
Seven Days of Soup:Usha, Sowmya
30 Minutes Meals: PriyaSuresh 
Seven days of Cakes:  Anusha

Apr 9, 2011

Tomato Soup

       Tomato soup was the first and only soup( of course after rasam) that I have tasted during my early childhood.We used to love this soup along with some warm toasted bread. We later got introduced to other fancy soups. But this still continues to be my favourite among all the other soups. And now I have seen, though I try to feed different varieties of soups to my kid, he loves only the mildly tangy tomato soup with the cream and croutons. The good old tomato soup!!!
tomato soup
Tomatoes- 2 big ones
Ginger garlic paste- 1tsp
Olive oil-1tsp
Salt to taste
White pepper powder-1tsp
Corn flour-1tsp

    Boil the tomatoes in water for around 10 minutes till it turns very soft. Place it on a sieve and using your fingers or a spoon, squeeze out the pulp into a vessel. Discard the seeds and skin.
     Heat oil in  a pan. Add ginger garlic paste. Now add the pulp along with a glass of water. Add salt and pepper and allow it to boil for 5 minutes. Now dissolve the corn flour in little water.Add this to the boiling soup and stir till it thickens.
     You can add some cream before serving. Serve warm along with some toasted bread.

Apr 8, 2011

Raagi/finger millet soup

     Raagi or finger millet is the best natural source of iron and hence good for building haemoglobin. I was also advised by the doctor to take raagi as it is a very rich and readily available source of iron. I used to take a porridge made of raagi,milk and sugar almost everyday and got quite bored of the taste. But then I now occasionally enjoy this quick soup with or without the vegetables. You can also just omit the vegetables, add yogurt to the cooked raagi soup for a different taste.
Source- Adige mane ruchi(with some changes)
raagi soup
Raagi/finger millet flour- 2tsp
Salt to taste
Carrots- 1 chopped(You can use other vegetables too.)

    Boil the clean  chopped carrots in one glass of water till it turns soft. Add a glass of water in raagi flour gradually and ensure that there are no lumps in it(it should be a dilute mixture as it thickens on heating). Add salt. Mix well. Add this diluted raagi mixture to the cooked carrots (along with the stock). Stir till it thickens a little. Serve warm.

Apr 7, 2011

Wheat berry and lentil clear soup

          When my grandmom made the popular tirunelveli halwa for creative saga during my trip to India, she also gave me a bag of wheat berries asking me to try making it again when I go back to Singapore. But unfortunately that never happened. The bag was lying in a corner of my freezer begging to be used. So now when the blogging marathon is happening, the idea of making soup with it struck me as I am trying to use unusual and new ingredients for the soup to make the event  more meaningful and interesting.I browsed the net to see if I find any recipes with this and enjoyed the fact that many have tried pairing wheat berries with lentil, of course different kind of lentil and beans. So I thought of adding vegetables too to make it into a complete meal.
wheat berry lentil soup
Wheat berries/godhumai/gehu- 1/2 cup
Mung dal- (yellow)- 1tbsp
Ginger garlic paste-1tsp
Mixed vegetables- 1/2 cup(I used broccoli and carrots)chopped
Salt to taste
White pepper- 1tsp
Olive oil-1tsp

     Soak the wheat berries in water for around 24 hours. Drain the water and wash it well. Cook this along with the mung dal in pressure cooker till the wheat is soft.
      Chop and wash the vegetables. Boil them in water(2 glasses) till it gets cooked. Reserve the water.
   Heat oil in a pan. Add the ginger garlic paste. Saute and add the cooked vegetables followed by the cooked wheat berries and lentil. Add the salt and pepper. Mix well. Now add the reserved stock water. Allow it to boil for another two minutes.
      Serve warm.
Do check out what my marathon buddies have cooked today-
Diabetes Diet/Management: Srivalli,Champa,Harini,PJ
Kid Friendly Recipes: Kalyani,Shylaja,Veena
Seven Days of Soup:Usha, Sowmya
30 Minutes Meals: PriyaSuresh 
Seven days of Cakes:  Anusha

Apr 6, 2011

Leek and carrot soup

      The traditional leek and potato soup is a popular recipe with the leeks. But as I had just paired potato and watercress here, I decided to go for a different combination. Thus this soup with leek and carrots. I actually loved the slight pungent smell of leeks when cooking and I knew the soup was going to be spicy and delicious and certainly healthy with the carrots. I loved the addition of white pepper for the mild heat. On the whole , we loved the simple and hearty soup.
leek and carrot soup
Leeks- 3 large sliced
Ginger garlic paste-1tsp
Carrots- 2 chopped into thin pices
Potato- 1 chopped into pieces
Salt to taste
White pepper- 2tsp or more if you want it more hot.
Olive oil- 1tsp

     Heat oil in  pan. Add the ginger garlic paste followed by the chopped leeks and saute till they turn soft. next add the chopped carrots and potato and cook them till soft. Cool and blend it to a puree. Return the puree back to the pan. Add 2-3 cups of water with salt and white pepper. Mix well and bring it to a boil. Serve hot with some bread.

Do check out what my marathon buddies have cooked today-
Diabetes Diet/Management: Srivalli,Champa,Harini,PJ
Kid Friendly Recipes: Kalyani,Shylaja,Veena
Seven Days of Soup:Usha, Sowmya
30 Minutes Meals: PriyaSuresh 
Seven days of Cakes:  Anusha

Apr 5, 2011

Kollu rasam / Horsegram soup

        Kollu or horsegram is another new inclusion in our diet. I have heard that this gram helps you to reduce weight and also in elimination of bad cholesterol.The outer portion of the gram is very hard and therefore it needs to be soaked for more than eight hours and then pressure cooked. This can be used to make various numbers of healthy dishes.You can even powder this and have a spoon of this in combination with cumin seeds powder to enjoy more health benefits. I will surely come up with more recipes with this wonder gram. Till then enjoy the rasam or soup which is my second entry for the marathon.
kollu rasam/horsegram soup
Horsegram/Kollu- 1/4 cup
Rasam powder- 2tsp
Tamarind pulp- 2tsp
Tomato- 1 chopped
Ginger- 1" chopped
Garlic- 1 clove
Dried red chillies- 3-4 nos
Turmeric powder- 1tsp
Sat to taste
Asafoetida- a pinch
Curry leaves- few leaves
Coriander leaves- For garnish

    Soak the kollu/horsegram overnight in water. Drain and wash with water. Pressure cook till it turns soft. Grind the tomato, red chilies,ginger and garic(along with a teaspoon of cooked horsegram) to a paste.As I make rasam in eeya chembu(special utensil for making rasam), I mix everything together. So add the cooked gram, ground paste, tamarind pulp, curry leaves, turmeric powder, rasam powder ,salt and asafoetida. Mix well. Boil this mixture till it bubbles for around 10 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.
   Serve hot with rice or just have as it it. Very soothing for sore throats.

 Do check out what my marathon buddies have cooked today-
Diabetes Diet/Management: Srivalli,Champa,Harini,PJ
Kid Friendly Recipes: Kalyani,Shylaja,Veena
Seven Days of Soup:Usha, Sowmya
30 Minutes Meals: PriyaSuresh 
Seven days of Cakes:  Anusha

Apr 4, 2011

Watercress and potato soup

        I participated in the february marathon held by Srivalli and somehow missed it last month.But I made sure to be there this time.I selected "seven days of soups" because soups has been something very rare in my kitchen and my blog. I do make it, but not too frequently.I will probably blame the hot and humid climate of Singapore which does not tempts you to eat soups.
       This leafy vegetable (watercress) made its entry to my kitchen only a few months ago just like many other greens. Its not always possible to find palak/spinach in the nearby shops here. So I have tried using the other greens which closely resemble palak or keerai for Indian dishes like palak paneer or even keerai masiyal with satisfactory results. I got this watercress recently and after browsing the net , realised the nutritional importance of this green. The first time, I made parathas with it and it tasted something like methi parathas. Then after looking for more recipes with watercress , I found in maximum sites, it being used in soups in combination with potatoes. I went ahead with my usual recipe I use for soups and we all loved it. Potatoes imparts a proper thickness to the soup. It was quite filling and it made quite a balanced meal.
watercress potato soup
Watercress- 1 big bunch
Potato- I chopped(with or without skin, I did not peel the skin)
Onion-1 chopped
Garlic- 1 clove chopped
water or vegetable stock- 3 cups
Dry ginger powder- 1tsp(use fresh ginger instead)
Salt to taste
Olive oil-1tsp
Whole pepper- 5 to 6
Cumin seeds powder- 1tsp

     Remove the watercress leaves from the stalk. Wash it thoroughly. Chop it fine. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the garlic and onion (fresh ginger if adding).Saute it till the onion turns translucent. Add the chopped potato and cook till soft adding a few drops of water. Now add the chopped watercress leaves. Saute till it wilts. Add the salt, dry ginger powder, whole peppercorns(or ground pepper) and cumin seed powder.Mix well. Allow it to cool and blend it to a paste. Put the paste back to the pan along with three glasses of water and boil for around 10 minutes. Serve warm with some bread.

So would you like to see what my marathon buddies have cooked today?
Diabetes Diet/Management: Srivalli,Champa,Harini,PJ
Kid Friendly Recipes: Kalyani,Shylaja,Veena
Seven Days of Soup:Usha, Sowmya
30 Minutes Meals: PriyaSuresh 
Seven days of Cakes:  Anusha

Apr 3, 2011

Chocolate celebration cake!!!!

          Congratulations to the Indian team for the fantastic win and bringing back the glory after a period of 28 years!!!!  The match was really worth watching and the team deserved the wonderful win. Every Indian is proud of you. I made this chocolate cake for celebrating this proud victory.
           I found a recipe of ginger chocolate cake in  a brownie book(forgot the name) I got from the library. I modified the recipe by omitting the ginger completely and converting it to a complete chocolate cake. I was planning to frost the cake, but the cake was quite crumbly and I found it too difficult to frost. Maybe I made quite a haste to decorate it. But I would suggest to cool the cake completely and slice it and have it without the frosting or you could have with some sweetened whipped cream or ice cream. In case you wish to frost this cake, then try placing it in the refrigerator overnight before frosting it. Anyway the cake tastes delicious and am sure you will love it.
chocolate celebration cake
All purpose flour- 1 cup- 100gm
Baking powder-2tsp
Baking soda- 1tsp
Cocoa powder(Hersheys)- 2tbsp
Brown sugar-3/4cup
Granulated sugar- 3/4 cup
Butter -2tbsp
Semi sweet chocolate square- 1 square- 1oz
Hot water-1cup(can dissolve 1tsp of instant coffee granules in it if you prefer)

          Line a 8"inch round cake tin with parchment paper. Combine the all purpose flour,baking powder , baking soda and cocoa powder.Melt butter in a pan.Add the chocolate square in it.Stir to blend. Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar , egg and a oil. Whisk well. Add the butter chocolate mixture. Mix until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture.Mix well. Now add the hot water(with coffee powder if adding).Mix to a fairly thin batter.Pour the batter in a prepared cake tin. Bake at 180c for 35 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
      Cool the cake completely and invert on a plate.Slice and serve.

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