Nanaimo Bars



After a successful run with the Lemon bars, I wanted to try my hands on yet another kind of bar/squares. That’s when I discovered Nanaimo bars. They are basically 3 layers of goodness beginning with a layer of cocoa, egg, butter, coconut, digestive biscuit crumbs and nuts, followed by a buttery custard filling and topped with melted chocolate. Originally from Canada, these little treats will give you quite the sugar rush. This is sure to satisfy the sweetest of the sweet tooth. Personally, I’d go easy on the sugar next time around.
Ingredients:
Bottom layer:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup shredded coconut
2 cups digestive biscuit crumbs
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts
Middle layer:
1/4 cup butter
4 tb sp milk/cream
2 tb sp custard powder (vanilla)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup icing sugar (original recipe calls for 2)
Top layer:
2/3 cup cooking chocolate
1 tb sp butter
Method
:
Bottom layer:
Bring together cocoa, butter and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Add beaten egg very slowly and carefully not letting it scramble. Cook for a few minutes till the mixture is thick. Take it off heat. Add the biscuit crumbs, coconut and nuts. Mix well and press into the bottom of prepared pan (8 inch). Refrigerate for an hour or until set well.

Middle layer:
Whisk butter (with a fork) well, till fluffy. Add the custard powder and vanilla. Add milk/cream. Add the sugar and mix well. Spread it on the prepared bottom layer. If it is too thick to spread, add more milk. Let it set for another hour or so.
Top layer
:
Using a double boiler melt butter and chocolate and pour over the set mixture. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour more.
Let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting them into squares. Use a very sharp knife to avoid the chocolate layer cracking.

Nanaimo bars ready to be served.
Damn! They’re good.

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Potato Leek Soup


Soup served cold…always interested me. A simple light soup with a zing of a herb and a soft creamy taste to add a rich comfort food taste. Thats all I wanted. Palla suggested a potato leek soup, hence when we were at Gourmet, picked up two sticks of leeks along with some kale, fennel and thyme too (oki unnecessary information). So here is how :
Ingredients:
Two big bada boom sized potatoes, boiled with salt and then mashed with a spoon.
Two sticks of leek, finely chopped
6 pods of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbl spoons of fresh cream
salt and pepper to taste
Process:
I guess the ingredients themselves speak for the dish as to how easy it is going to be to cook it. To a hot pan, add a little Olive oil and let the pan heat up. Now throw in the garlic pieces and saute them for about a minute, add the leeks to it and let them turn light green in color. Make sure that none of these ingredients turn golden brown. Now are the mash potatoes and after a good stir and a little of water and mix all the 3 ingredients well. Lid it for about 5 mins.
Now I chose to whisk it once with an electric blender and form an even…err…soup. Add the dash of cream with salt and Pepper.
Enjoy 🙂

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Basil Chicken


Well, there were left over Basil leaves from the margherita pizza so decided come up with something quick and different. As for me, coming up with new dishes is more like a challenge we put on ourselves 🙂 and my inspiration is to cook such stuff would be to be able to put something on the table with the least bit of ingredients involving the least cooking time! So here it is :
Ingredients:
250 gms of Boneless chicken
4 tbl spoons of olive oil
2 tbl spoons of regular italian seasonings
One Basil leaf for each piece of chicken
4 tbl spoons of honey
Process:
Marinate the meat with the Itaian Seasonings and 2 tbl spoons of oilive oil with a pinch of salt. Keep aside for 20 mins.
Now to a hot pan add 2 tbl spoons of olive oil and grill the chicken on the pan till they turn into that golden brown that we love. Now stick a basil leaf on every chicken piece and delicately glaze it with honey with the help of a cooking brush. Let it cook for 1-2 mins. Season with salt and pepper….and…well enjoy them with some mustard sauce.

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‘Khapa’ …a chicken preparation from the Garo Hills



This was a learning during my visit to Assam a year ago. It is primarily a dish cooked in the Garo Hills in the North Eastern part of our country. My aunt follows the instructions to the tee to cook this dish. But believe you me, I couldn’t possibly get myself to cook it the same way. You will know why…keep reading on.

Ingredients:

250 gms chicken

200 gms of Green Chilli

2 large pinch of cooking soda with salt to taste

Process:

Grind the entire bunch of green chillies to get a smooth paste, add the chicken and then keep aside for about 20 mins. (Well the deal is that you are supposed use the same quantity of green chilli as that of Chicken! so yea..I couldn’t follow the instructions to the tee). Now in a hot wok, throw in the green chilli paste with the boneless chicken. Do not add any water or oil, hence you got to make sure that you are going to lid the preparation and wait around for the pieces to have been cooked evenly. Now add the large pinch of cooking soda into the wok and let it cook for a min or two.

Yes, you are done…I mean…cooking…serve it with plain boiled white rice 🙂

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Choco Christmas


Holiday season was in the air, and for me thats just incomplete if I havent snuggled up and watch two movies back to back, read a book and enjoyed a gooood chocolate comfort dish. Well, so our very own cool Pallavi comes up with a chocolate pudding which just melted in the mouth. I garnished it the top with a tiny christmas tree planted comfortably in the white cream flower from the oreo cookies.
Thanks Pallavi.

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Quiche


Well there are times, when I dont end up placing an order for anything else but different kinds of Quiches. Pallavi decides to get all the quiches home and prepapre them in diffrent measurements and with varied fillings. What an end to a hard day when I see a chicken cup quiche smiling at me 🙂

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Veggies in White Sauce

The white sauce we’re referring to is béchamel but with cheese. So I guess that makes it cheese sauce? I’m going with cheese sauce. We had some left over veggies and I guess this was the quickest way to use them, well, maybe tossing them into your eggs and make an omlette could have been an option. Hmm..there’s an idea. So this sauce, is pretty basic. Flour, milk, cheese, butter, salt and pepper. But what’s crucial is measurement. You get either one wrong and it can turn into either a flour paste or just cheesy milk (gross). Don’t sweat about measuring spoons and cups. Use the regular spoons to measure and not go by presumption.
Ingredients:
2 cups steamed mixed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, potato, peas)
Sauce:
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or any processed cheese)
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Method:
Arrange the steamed vegetables in desired serving bowl.
In a non-stick saucepan, heat the butter. When it begins to foam add flour and mix immediately. Let it cook for 3 minutes. Now add 2 tbsp of the milk and mix well. Add the rest of the milk and keep whisking to eliminate any lumps (if there are a few, let them be. You can strain it later). Add the cheese and whisk some more. Season with salt and pepper. Let this cook for another 5 minutes or till the sauce has thickened. If you want a more running sauce add more milk. If you need it to be thicker add more flour. Tip this hot sauce on to the vegetables and serve immediately.
Makes for a good dinner by itself or can be served on the side.
Bon appétit!
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Lemon Bars

Most of my baking recipes come from my favorite Joy of Baking. They work best for me. This time I happened to see a particular recipe for ‘lemon bars’. As I read though the recipe I realized these were pretty easy to make and I absolutely love anything lemony. I had to try this out. So I did, and I can say this rather confidently that it was a hit. I made them for a friend’s baby shower (lot of women to be pleased there!).

It has a crumbly buttery shortbread base topped with smooth, sweet and lemony goodness. Perfect for ones with or without a sweet tooth. Well, I’ll be damned if I said I didn’t have one!

Ingredients for shortbread crust:
½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
¼ cup icing sugar
1 cup flour
A pinch of salt

Ingredients for the lemon filling:
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp flour

Method:
Preheat your oven to 180C, grease and line an 8 inch baking pan with butter paper at the bottom.
Shortbread crust: Beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt. Combine till it all comes together. Press this into the baking pan and bake for 20 minutes. Let it cool while you get on with the lemon filing.

Lemon filling:
Whisk the sugar and eggs till smooth and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Fold in the flour. Pour this onto the cooled shortbread crust and bake for 30 minutes or till the filling has set. Let it completely cool down (please). Now cut them into bars and I’d suggest a generous dusting of icing sugar. Make it look like it snowed.

Serve whenever however!

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Chocolate Mousse

I don’t think any self respecting chocoholic would deny him/herself of this ridiculously decadent chocolate dessert ever! I liked the one I made, although I’d want to give it another shot sometime with some really good quality chocolate. Here it is…thanks to www.joyofbaking.com
Ingredients:
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chopped
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large eggs separated
Squirt of lemon juice
3 tbsp sugar divided
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup heavy/whipping cream
Method:
Using double-boiler method (stainless steel bowl over simmering pot of water) melt the chocolate and butter. Keep aside to cool. Whisk in the 2 egg yolks. Keep aside while you whip the egg whites and cream. In another bowl whip the egg whites and lemon juice till they form soft peaks. Add the sugar and whisk some more, till they form stiff peaks. Keep aside. Now add the remaining sugar to the cream and whisk till it is stiff. Now add 2 tbsp of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining. Now fold in the whipped cream. Transfer to individual serving bowls and chill in refrigerator for at least 4-5 hours. Serve chilled with grated dark/white chocolate (forgot we had white chocolate used dark instead).
Close your eyes and lick your bowl 😉

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