Dutch apple cake

This is a light non-fussy kind of cake. It will remind you of a sponge cake but the ingredients are totally different. Perfect with a cup of tea in the evenings when your friends come over.

Ingredients:
2 eggs

3/4 cup caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup butter

5 tblspn milk
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 cooking apple(green apple), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Method:

Using an electric whisk, whisk the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until the mixture is thick.I went for manual whisking as I don’t have an electric whisk in my kitchen. What you could do is, put the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the blender with the juicer blades on. Give it a few runs for about 2 minutes. Pour it all out into a big bowl and whisk it by hand now. Don’t worry if it still looks thin. It will thicken. Melt the butter in a saucepan with the milk, then pour onto the eggs, whisking all the time. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and fold carefully into the batter so that there are no lumps of flour. Pour the mixture into the greased baking tin and smooth the surface. Arrange the apple slices over the batter. Or you could even pour half the batter then place a few of the apple slices, pour the remaining batter and top it with the rest of the apple slices. Sprinkle over a tablespoon of sugar and bake in the oven for 30-35 mins in 180-200C. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. Cut into squares and serve warm.
Very humble looking yet very comforting.

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Pancakes

My favourite breakfast will always include American pancakes. Light, fluffy and super-delicious! They’re very easy to whip up and will make your friends and family think you’ve slaved in the kitchen for at least a few hours.


Yields 6 pancakes

Ingredients:
1 cup flour (maida)

1 cup milk

1 egg (whites separated)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

3 tblsp sugar

1 tblsp oil

1 tsp cinnamon powder (optional)

a pinch of salt

1 tbsp icing sugar (optional)

2 tbsp honey (optional)


Method:

Combine all the dry ingredients together.

Add the egg yolk to the milk along with the vanilla and oil.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites till they are frothy.

Now mix well the milk and egg yolk to the dry ingredients.

Tip in the frothy egg whites and fold it into the batter. Do not whisk.

Pour a ladleful of batter on a hot pan. If you do use a non-stick pan you dont have to use butter or oil to grease it.

Let it cook for about a min, or till you see small bubbles on the sides.

Now flip the pancake to see the nice golden brown colour on the cooked side, so the other side cooks as well. That should take another 40 secs to a minute.

Take it off the pan. Serve warm.

Serving suggestions:

Top the pancakes with honey, or even better – maple syrup with a dusting of icing sugar. In the picture given you can see the pancakes have company. You could do the same to make it a complete breakfast or brunch. Scrambled eggs, chicken sausages and a cupcake! That’s what we went with. What a start to a great day 🙂

 

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Egg pizza it seems…


Well, I basically have no name for this omelette look alike! We ended up making this omelette clone when we basically wanted to have a heavy breakfast and were bored of the usual scrambles and and bull eyes. The simple trick is to beat the eggs (3 nos) till they are slightly fluffy. When the pan is hot, pour in the beaten eggs. To it add oregano, tiny cubes of cheese and chopped coriander and salt to taste. Now here is the trick for it to become a pizza look alike…do not stir it or attempt to turn it, just cover it with a lid. This will make it fluffy and cook the top as well.


let it look for about 6 mins …slice’em up….enjoy!!
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Baigan Bharta…

This would be my treatment to one of the very common traditional Indian household dishes. We wanted a vegetarian meal for the dinner and there you go, some roasted eggplant, tossed in scrambled eggs. Here is what you need:
4 small brinjals
2 small onions
3 large pods of garlic
1 large green chilli
Smear some mustard oil on the brinjals and place then directly on your stove. Do not fork holes on the skin and let it roast evenly on all sides. When you notice that they have deflated slightly, you know they have been cooked to perfection. Now immerse them in a bowl of water, as they cool gently peel out the thin epidermis and mash the naked bulbs with a fork. Keep aside.
Now heat 2 tbl spoons of mustard oil and fry the chopped onions, garlic and chilli (you might wanna take in the aroma here). Add the mashed brinjals to it and let the flavours meet. Now break one egg into it and scramble it up…add salt to taste. Now saute it for about a min.
Serving suggestions:
You could sprinkle some freshly chopped corriander. Its flavour with the roast brinjal’s is just something that lingers in your palate. I just added those tiny pods of onion!
Tastes Perfect with white rice or chappati. ‘Mast Khao!’
Also, even if you avoid the egg content to suit ur needs…it tastes great!!…This one is for you Dimps!
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Banana Raisin Cake


This time around my insipration turned out to be the 2 over ripe bananas sitting lazy on my dining table.They were on their death bed and my mother would have put them to rest by dumping them in the garbage bag.I just wanted them to attain nirvana…and I believe they did.I would like to believe this is one of my better creations.If I may say so myself, the most moist and delicious cake I have ever baked.You will need:

1/2 cup soft unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar (caster/regular/icing)

2 over ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup raisins

2 eggs- separate whites and yolk

1 cup flour

1 1/2 tspn baking powder

1 tspn baking soda

1 tspn cinnamon powder

a pinch of salt

Method:

Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. I personally prefer caster or icing sugar. Let’s make life easy. Add the egg yolks. Mix well. Add the cinnamon powder. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites till they turn frothy. To the butter and sugar mixture add the mashed bananas and mix well.Combine the dry ingredients well (flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt)Add the dry mix into the wet mixture spoon by spoon.Mix well till all the ingredients are combined well. Trust me this is a good right arm work out! Tip in the frothy egg whites and gently folding them into the creamy mixture. Don’t mix too much, else the cake will fall flat.Now we don’t want that do we? Add the raisins. Here you can get a little creative by using any kind of dry fruits. From walnuts to cashews and dates to almonds.Anything.Now grease your baking tin with butter (I know!)
Pre heat your oven and bake for 45 mins at 180C Do the usual tooth pick/fork test to see if its done.

Take it out, let it cool.

Take a bite and thank me 😉
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Appetizers in Siaa…

Siaa, in Hyderabad is one of the best places for dinner. A contemporary and cool place over looking the city lights definitely lets a serene atmosphere for some cocktails with friends. Well, I happen to visit Siaa on an afternoon for ‘Salsa’ reasons. The lunch buffet was classy and a good conglomeration of cuisines. I am a total appetizers person and for me that was the best part. What impressed me the most is the presentation of the food and certainly, the choice of the dishes. Theprawn cocktail had the perfect peppery zing to the continental tomato ‘shorba’, served in cute little cocktail glasses. My favourite was the smoked cheese with walnuts. The after taste on your palate makes you crave for some more of that I say! Another prawn item on the appetizer menu was the sea food salad, where the squids and prawns were generously soaked with the thousand island like dips. The smoked peppers and corn are the vegetarians’ delight…cooked to perfection. I still cannot figure out how they could mince the meat so flawlessly, they make an awesome bite! the assorted treats were irresistible…tiny tiramisu and mousse treats just brightened the end of your meal. As for the main course, they lay the best of the choices from the Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisine. Will concentrate more on the main course the next time…I just couldn’t get enough of the appetizers that afternoon!

PS: need to try some look ‘alikes’ in our kitchen, what say Pallavi?
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Thai Express

After undivided love for Chinese cuisine, I tried the Japanese cuisine…started with the sushi and loved it. The next oriental adventure was Thai. ‘Thai Express’ is the newest of the chains and yes it is in Hyderabad 🙂
Vibrant yet subtle interiors and a very interesting menu; speaking of which, I think we can take a leaf out of the Thai Express’s menu about it being so well organized with relevant pictures of the dishes neatly numbered corresponding to the aunthentically nomenclatured dishes. Boy! you really wanna ‘read’ & ‘see’ your dish before place an order you havent tried yet 🙂 The must-eat are the soft shell crabs which is under the ‘street food section’. They serve it with a tiny portion of green ‘chutney’ and four amazing dips to go with it. For the main course I tried and loved the ‘phad thai gai‘which is the authentic rice noodles with chicken. Sprinkle the ground peanuts and red chilli flakes & throw in a few tespoons of those sauces. If this is your first thai cuisine experience, then your palate is bound to discover some cool new flavours. The watermelon slush was perfect for the hot afternoon setting! You could try the same ‘phad thai‘ with ‘talay‘ ie with sea food. Sigh, gonna try out the red, yellow and green gravies soon!
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Mushroom and Spinach Quiche

Ok, last evening I walked all the 7 km there was to get to Spar(soooper!market).Little did I know I was working up an appetite too. I strolled around and took one quick scan at the fresh vegetables and the diary section. Thats when it dawned upon me that I love quiche and why haven’t I tried making it yet. So there I was scampering around the dairy and veggie sections, thinking on my feet and trying to come up with a recipe for quiche myself..partly myself atleast.So here we go..
For 2 small quiches:
For the pastry (crust)
1 cup flour(maida)
1/2 cup of unsalted butter straight from the freezer cut into small pieces
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 cup cold water
into your flour add the small pieces of cold butter and mix with a forkand not your hands.This is just to make sure the butter doesnt melt.Then slowly start adding the cold water, spoon by spoon.Begin to use your hands nowand start kneading. You need to basically form a dough not too soft, nottoo stiff.Your water quantity could change accordingly.Once the dough is done, use a thin cotton or muslin cloth or cling foilto cover it and keep aside in the fridge for about an hour.After which take it out, roll it with your rolling pin and use any small sized mould suitable forfor a quiche.Or, if you have just one used to bake cakes, that would do as wellPre-heat your oven and place the mould inside with the dough rolled and placedinside. Bake for about 10 mins on med heat. Set aside.
Filling:

1 tbspn butter
half a big onion finely chopped
10 medium sized mushrooms
2 fists full of spinach (i dont know how else to measure!)
1 egg
1 tblspn fresh cream
1 tblspn maida
1 cup grated cheddar cheese(you can also use the cheese cubes available anywhere)
salt and pepper for seasoning
Heat butter, add onions, saute them till they’re transparent. Tip in the mushrooms. Let them cook for 5-7 mins. Add the cream and maida.Some salt and pepper. Keep aside.Blanch the spinach in just one spoon of water, drain any excess water. Keep aside to dry.Later chop into small pieces.In a separate bowl whisk one egg white till frothy. Add the yolk and give it a stir.Add the mushroom and onion mixture. Also add the dry chopped spinach and the cheese.Give it a good mix.Pour this into the baked crust. Pop it back into the oven and let it bake over med heat(or as per your oven’s settings for baking) for 15-20 min.Do check after 15 mins by sticking a fork into it.As always, if it comes out cleanyou’re done.Serve warm. Perfect for brunch or even late coffee in the evenings.


Bon appetite!!
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Good old Sponge cake with Chocolate frosting



Just the other day I was going through my mother’s old diary of recipes.1993 mind you. That’s when I tumbled upon the Sponge cake recipe. I thought I’d add a little twist to it by making a chocolate frosting to go with it. Common, who’d say no to chocolate. So let’s get on with it.
250 gm maida
250 gm sugar
200 gm unsalted butter
6 eggs
1 tspn baking powder
1 tblspn vanilla essence

Process:
Separate the egg whites and the yolks. Beat the egg whites to an almost stiff frothy consistency. Beat the yolks separately and fold it into the whites.
In a separate bowl mix the butter (soft) and sugar till it turns a little fluffy. Add the egg mix into it and fold gently. Don’t panic (like I did) if it looks like they don’t blend well together.
Now sift the maida and baking powder and add it to the wet mixture slowly folding it in little by little. What I did was, use a small sieve and added a heaped spoon of maida at a time and folded it into the wet mix. Then you’ll see how after adding the flour the batter slowly takes shape and all the ingredients blend into one harmonious body.
Now add the vanilla essence.

Baking:
Grease a big square piece of aluminium foil with some butter. Place it in your baking tin.
Pour in half of the batter and pop it into your pre-heated oven for 40 mins when in medium heat. Do check the cake after the first half hour just to be safe. Pierce a tooth pick or just a fork deep into the cake in the center. If it comes out clean, great! you’re done then.

Wait, it gets better..

Frosting:
Butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder.
Blend in these ingredients to a thick consistency. Let the cake completely cool down and only then slather it with the chocolate frosting you just made.

Enjoy! 🙂
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Grilled Chicken With Mushroom Sauce


To begin with, all you need is boneless chicken (thigh/breast cut fillet like), mushrooms (2 packets), a cup of vegetable stock, 2 tbl spoons of cornflour, 1/2 a cup of red wine, 2 tbl spoons of ground pepper, dash of vinegar and soya sauce, 5-6 pods of garlic, olive oil and butter.


Chicken prep:
Marinate the chicken in salt and vinegar for 20 mins.

Cooking:
In a medium non-stick sauce pan, heat some olive oil. Place the chicken fillet gently one at a time and sear it on each side till it browns. That should take approximately 4 mins per side, or till whenever you are convinced it is done. Take it off the pan and keep it separately.

Mushroom sauce:
In a slightly wider pan, heat a generous dollop of butter (take in the aroma :),
add a spoon of oil to avoid the butter from burning. Add the mashed pods of garlic, sauté it for a min, add all the sliced mushrooms, give it a good steer and shut the lid to let it cook for about 10 mins on medium heat…(psst..do take a look every now and then!) Now splash in some red wine and soya sauce. Let it cook again for another 5 mins. Now add the corn flour and vegetable stock. Let it further cook till it thickens to a brown sauce. Oh yeah..add salt and pepper!

Serving Suggestions:
Place the chicken on your favourite dish and pour the mushroom sauce over it. You could serve it against mashed potatoes, garlic bread, steamed veggies (our fav) or even a bed of rice! Goes perfectly with Red Wine or Virgin Mojito! (keep checking this space for a quick recipe of the later)
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