Cinnamon Rolls


What could be sweeter than the scent of cinnamon? I’ll tell you, Cinnamon Rolls baking in the oven. That’s exactly what filled my home the other day, Cinnamon Rolls in the oven, chill evening with light showers. A hot cup of coffee, and troubles could take a hike. If only the Cinnamon Rolls didn’t take so long, they’d be a regular affair I’d be happy to indulge in for sure. This was my first time baking them. Not perfect, but still good I’d say. A touch more cinnamon and 5 minutes less baking time would have been just right.

Ingredients:

Dough

4 ½ cups sifted flour

14 gm. wet yeast

1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup sugar

½ salt

3 eggs

Filling:

¾ cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 – 1 ½ tb sp cinnamon powder

½ cup cold butter (cut into pieces)

½ cup raisins

Method:

Tip the flour and salt on your kitchen’s clean platform. Heat the milk and the sugar till the sugar dissolves, take it off the heat and add the butter. Take ¼ cup of this mixture to mix in the yeast till it has completely dissolved. Now tip the yeast mix into the flour. Begin mixing in while slowly adding the milk, butter and sugar mixture. Now add the eggs one at a time. This will turn into one sticky mess. Don’t sweat. Now knead the dough till it all comes together well and becomes smooth and is no more sticky. Make a ball of this dough and let it rest in a warm place covered for about 2 hours. The dough will rise in double or more. After 2 hours, knock the dough back and knead gently, just a few times. Let it sit for 10 minutes. In the meantime, mix all the ingredients for the filling. Add the butter and mix till it looks like crumbs. Roll the dough to about a 12 inch square. Spread the filling evenly and toss the raisins. Now roll the dough into a log. Make sure it’s tight. Now cut the log into rolls and place them on butter paper lined baking tray. Cover this with a cloth and let them rest for another hour till they rise again. You can give it an egg or cream wash before popping them into the oven as well. Bake at 190C in a pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes. Don’t let them brown too much (like mine). Enjoy your home filled with the wonderful aroma of sweet cinnamon goodness. Get them out of the oven and let them cool a while. Eat them warm with a cup of tea or coffee. Small joys of life. It’s midnight and I’m getting myself one now 😉

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Zesty Lemon Cake

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So I’m alone at work and it’s almost time to get home. I suddenly crave for something sweet and something tangy. Figured I could bake something myself since it’s been God knows how long since I’ve fallen off the baking wagon. Hopped on to my favorite baking recipes’ website, Joy of Baking. Lemon Bars came to mind but, but I let it pass. Next best thing, Lemon Cake; a spongy, buttery, tangy and delicious lemon cake. Fills your home with a zesty lemony aroma, you can’t help but feel lifted instantly.

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Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 cup butter at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

¼ cup lemon juice

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Zest of 2 lemons

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt (if you're using salted butter, then omit the extra salt here)
Method:

First whisk the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Use a balloon whisk for this or an electric whisk to make life easy. 

Now add the eggs, one at a time, whisking continuously. 

Add the zest, lemon juice and vanilla at this point. 

Tip in the flour, salt and baking powder and bring together all ingredients to form a thick batter. 

Pour it into a 9 inch greased baking tin, or a non-stick one like I did. 

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 30 minutes or till done (do the toothpick test). 

Let it cool completely before slicing it up.

For a sugar glaze, simply add 1 tbsp of lemon juice to 1 cup of icing sugar, add more lemon juice or water to make it runnier and pour it over the cake.

For a cream cheese frosting, add 3 tbsp powdered sugar to 1/2 cup cream cheese and whisk till fluffy. Add a dash of fresh cream to loosen it up. Frost on cake.

Summer on a plate is what this is.
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Minced Prawn with Fennel

This one is a result of experimentation! I would request you to assure yourself about the flavors and texture before trying 🙂 I stumbled upon one of the episodes of Masterchef, where Chef Wan was creating his own Kerabu. I could afford to gather only a few of the ingredients here, so I thought of creating my own interpretation of the ingredients.

Ingredients:
300 gms medium sized prawns (cleaned)
2 bunches of fennel (you could substitute the same with spinach)
1 red chilli
2 teaspoons of red chilli flakes
3 pods of garlic
5 table spoons of Thai Seasonings
2 tablespoons of paprika
3 tablespoons of coconut milk
olive oil
salt to taste
lemon lemon zest

Method:
Marinate the de-veined prawns with paprika, 3 table spoons of Thai Seasoning, a pinch of salt and some olive oil for about 15 mins.
Boil the fennel leaves and strain. Now mince it to a fine paste with garlic and red chilli.

In a hot pan, add some olive oil and lightly fry the marinated prawns. When they are slightly cooked on both the sides, mince them to a thick paste.

In a hot wok, gently fry the minced prawns and pour in the minced fennel. Lid it for about 2 mins. When the mixture is boiling keep adding the seasonings per the level of heat that you prefer. You could add the lemon zest and the coconut milk.

Serving Suggestions:
The Kerabu is basically a salad with a unique dressing. Feel free to serve the minced prawn in a bed of fennel and stripes of raw papaya with some dash of lime, cekur (which is rarely available here). Crispy spinach could be interesting as well.
Have fun!

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Zuchini Aubergine Bake



This one’s for my vegetarian friends. I came to realize we have been so engrossed in meats and finding different ways of cooking them, the poor vegetables took a vacation from our lives. Sometimes it just takes a few vegetables and herbs to make a lovely meal for the evening. That’s what I did, of course with a heavy heart 😉
As usual the supermarket had far too many people for my liking, but I somehow managed fill my basket with vegetables like zucchini, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, aubergine and some fresh herbs like tarragon and oregano. I also picked a rustic looking loaf of sourdough bread.

Ingredients: (all vegetables to be cut into bite size pieces)
1 cup zucchini
1 cup bell peppers
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup aubergine
1 cup tomatoes
1 cup mash potato
½ cup chopped onions
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped oregano
1 tsp finely chopped tarragon
½ cup cheese
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Butter for cooking

Method:
Sauté the garlic in some butter till fragrant and slowly starts to change color. Tip in the onions and sauté till transparent. Now add the zucchini and aubergine and let it cook. When it’s cooked half way, tip in the tomatoes, bell peppers and mushrooms. Let it cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add the herbs now. You can add some dried herbs if you’d like as well. Once all the vegetables are cooked through tip it all into a baking dish. Top it with the mash potatoes, spreading it across the dish. Top this with cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or till the top turns nice and brown.
This smells really beautiful, with the herbs, butter and the different vegetables. I tore up some sourdough loaf to go with this vegetable bake and made a wonderful meal out of it. Who knew vegetables could taste this good with such few ingredients!

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Sunday Soul Sante











What a Sunday. What a Sante. This was a new age ‘Mela’ or as in Kannada ‘Sante’. Sprawl across. Tripura Vasini in Palace Grounds, Sunday Soul Sante had it all, or at least what we needed. Music. Food. Shopping. We spent a good half a day in there and it almost transported us to the Anjuna Flea Market in Goa. Colorful stalls of jewelry, bags, paintings, hand crafted shoes, quirky artifacts, books, decorative lights, tarot card reader, cupcakes, brownies, hats, you name it you see it! It was a photographer’s Disneyland.

There was a stage set up for the music concert and fashion show which was such a crowd pleaser. There was one band in particular that we thought took coolness to another level, Live Banned. Quirky and funny, the band was quite talented as well. There were other bands too but we were getting a little hungry and headed to the food court. Established restaurants like Pepper Café, Sukh Sagar and Counter Culture had their stalls there and had people lining up for a taste of their food. We tried out some Pandi Curry (Pork Curry) with buns from a stall called Pig Out. Rs 120 a plate and absolutely worth every dime. We also tried Grilled Lamb Chops and Grilled Butter Garlic Chicken. Delicious meat, grilled to juicy perfection! From the Pepper Café stall we opted for our all-time favorite Beetroot Hummus (!!) with Butter Garlic Pita. Fantastic as usual. Our Sante ended after being stuck in the rain for about an hour – totally worth it J



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Au Bon Pain



Ever wondered where can we find one of those Cafes with a beautiful display of perfectly lined baked goodies? Au Bon Pain is the answer. Au Bon Pain is an American bakery-café chain. They have 11 outlets in Bangalore and are looking to open many more. Good for us! The one newly opened was at the Koramangala Sony World junction. One couldn’t miss its happy yellow exterior with a Bagel Sandwich poster staring at you. Casual yet comfortable are the apt adjectives to describe Au Bon Pain’s seating arrangement. Beautiful pictures of the café around the world adorn the walls as you walk up the stairs to the floor above. This is a self-service café, pick up a tray, use the tongs provided to pick up whatever you’ve been eyeing, take it to the cash counter, pay up and grab a seat to enjoy your meal. The service at Au Bon Pain is definitely noteworthy. It is obvious they take special interest in making sure the customer is comfortable and has no hassle in getting his order right. There will always be someone at any given time, however busy the café maybe, to attend to you with a smile on their face.

Right in the middle of the café they have a soup station with the Soups of the Day with an assortment of breads and breadsticks one can buy for the soup. The chiller kiosk was lined with Aerated Drinks and other Canned/Bottled Juices, Desserts like Cake, Mousse, Fruit Bowls, Musili, Cold Salads and Cream Cheese.

The Bakery section was a treat, lined with all sorts of baked goodness. From Bagels to Cookies, from Brownies to Cinnamon Rolls they had it all. We picked the Cinnamon Roll, Pineapple and Black Currant Danish, Walnut Brownie and the Chocolate Chip Muffin. The Cinnamon Roll was soft, moist, rolled with cinnamon powder and bits and slapped with sugar icing. It was a sweet surprise melting away in my mouth. They could have toned down the cinnamon a notch since it was almost overpowering. Texture wise though, it was spot on. The Danish again, the texture and the sweetness was just right topped with the right amount of the fruit preserve, making it a perfect accompaniment with a cup of coffee. The Walnut Brownie, to be honest is definitely better than what we’d get at most cafes. Then again it wasn’t as memorable as the other baked goodies. It could have been a little more moist. Then came the Chocolate Chip Muffin. Although I did find it dense and on the heavier side, it would sure be a hit with chocolate lovers since they get pretty generous with the chocolate. The Chocolate Chip Cookie I found to be true to its form, moist, chewy, fresh and delicious. It had quite the ‘home-made’ feeling to it. That’s exactly how a cookie should be.

They also serve a good variety of beverages. We took to liking their Coffee Blast, which was a cold coffee with crushed ice.; smooth, creamy and delicious. They also serve Iced Teas, Slushes and a variety of Hot Coffees.

With the number of outlets opening at every other corner of the city Au Bon Pain is sure to stay and serve the city with more of their delicious food. Be sure to visit one of their many outlets in the city and you are sure to be a loyal.

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