Monday, January 26, 2015

Lemon Tarts @ Home: Ume's Blog

(Adapted from: Lemon Tart: Ume's Kitchen)

This week, the blogger of the week is Urmi. Urmi is a pretty mom of the cutest daughter ever. She has a blog full of beautiful baked and non-baked recipes. Check out her blog here. She also bakes professionally. Her cake decorating skills are amazing. I am dreaming of making the Marzipan cake that she has posted,

When I was poring over Urmi's blog, I decided to make the delicate lemon tarts. I have made jam tarts and savoury pies before, but have never attempted the lemon tarts before. So now, was a good time to try. 

The process of making lemon tarts has two essential parts. Making the pastry base and making the lemon curd filling. You can check out the original recipe from Urmi's blog here. For making the shortcrust pastry base, I also referred to Tarla Dalal's recipe for the pastry base here.

Check out the lovely tarts here.



Here is how I made it:

Ingredients:


For the short crust pastry base:

Maida/APF: 1 cup
Buttter: 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar: 2 tblsp
Baking powder: 1/4th teaspoon
Cold water: 1-2 tblsp

For the lemon curd:

Juice of large lemon 
Lemon zest (Grated):1 tsp
Sugar (caster/powder):½ cup
Egg:2 pcs
Butter:4 tbsp. (40 gm. approx.)
Whipped cream (alternately Amul fresh cream):4 tbsp
Lemon yellow colour:few drops

Process:

To make the short-crust pastry:

1. In a pan take APF/ maida and add salt, powdered sugar, and baking powder. Add butter to the flour and mix with hands till the flour resembles bread-crumbs.
2. Now add the chilled water and knead the flour till it comes together as a ball. Don't add too much water. For 1 cup of flour, I used only 1 tablespoon chilled water. Knead into a firm, smooth dough.

3. Cover this dough in cling film and keep in the freezer for 10 minutes.
4. Take this dough out of the freezer and divide into 14 small balls.
5. Roll into small rotis and place into greased ramekins.Prick the pastry base with a fork.

6. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Bake the tart shells for 10 minutes, till the edges start browning.
7. Keep aside to cool.

For the lemon curd filling:

1. Beat the eggs well. In a pan, place hot water to boil. On top of this pan with boiling water place another non-stick pan. This is known as the double-boiler method.
2. In the non-stick pan, take the lemon zest, sugar and butter. On a low flame, stir the sugar and butter till the sugar has melted,
3. Now add the beaten eggs slowly and keep stirring. As you keep stirring, the mixture will thicken. Finally add the lemon juice and a few drops of edible yellow color.

4. Keep aside to cool. Once the mixture has cooled down, add the whipped cream. I did not have whipped cream, so I used Amul Fresh cream.
5. The lemon curd mixture is now ready. Add the lemon curd mix to the tart shell carefully with a spoon. Alternatively, you can pipe the filling using a piping bag.

6. Decorate with tutti-fruiti. Keep the tarts in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up.

Voila! The lemon tarts are ready. Enjoy with your loved ones.


I am sending this recipe to the ongoing event on KFB called "Know Your Blogger".

Robibarer Maangsher Jhol (The Sunday Mutton Curry)

This time Poush Sankranti went by and I was....not able to make anything. The scenario at the office was so chaotic that I just did not get any time at all.

This extended weekend came as a breather and the hubby-man proposed that I should cook something delicious and typically Bengali. So what better than the Robibarer Maangsher jhol.

This maangsher jhol evokes memories of my childhood. In those days, Sunday breakfast was always luchi torkari and the star attraction of lunch had to be the quintessential mutton curry. My mom use to cook it lovingly and while it was being cooked our house would be filled with the fragrance of this aromatic jhol. Me and my grand-dad used to watch an episode of Star Trek and wait with bated breath for the call for lunch.

This mutton curry with steaming hot rice and a slice of lime was pure heaven.....mmmmm! After this sumptuous lunch the elders would retire for the cursory post-lunch nap and I would curl up with a story book. As years went by, this lovely mutton jhol was banished from our house because my grandma stopped eating mutton and so did my Dad because of cholesterol problems. Though my mom used to whip up a lovely chicken curry instead...but Maangsher jhol is Maangsher jhol as every Bengali knows.

My hubby-man, however, relishes mutton no end. After having the mutton curry with rice, he loves to have a bowl-ful of just the "jhol"! So post-marriage, I took all the pains to learn to cook mutton. And whip up a mean koshano maangsher jhol! 


Don't be judgemental by the reddish colour of this jhol. Though the original recipe calls for a paste of green chillies but I opted out of it because my seven-year-old was supposed to have it. This beautiful color of the jhol is due to the presence of tomatoes and the fact that the masala has been stir-fried for a long time. In Bengali, this is known as "koshano". This stir-frying technique takes a good part of an hour but brings out the true flavour of the mutton and lends this lovely reddish-brown color.

Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

(Recipe for four people)
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Mutton: 450 grams (Cut into cubes)
Onions: 2 (chopped into long slices)
Onion paste: 3 tablespoon
Tomatoes: 2 (cut into pieces)
Ginger-garlic paste: 2 teaspoons
Green chilli paste: 1 teaspoon (optional)
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder: 1/4th teaspoon
Curd/yoghurt: 1/4 th cup
Mustard oil: 3 tablespoon
Potatoes: 3 big (peeled and cut into half)
Sugar: 1/2 teaspoon
Salt: to taste

For tempering:
Bay leaf: 1
Whole garam masala (two cloves, two green elaichis, a stick of cardamom): ground to dry powder


Process:


1. First you need to do the preparation. Chop the onions, tomatoes and potatoes. Next, heat mustard oil in a wok and fry the potatoes till they have reddish brown specks on them. Drain and keep aside. In a big bowl, take the mutton pieces, curd, onion paste, ginger-garlic paste, salt and 2 teaspoon of mustard oil. You can also add a teaspoon of green chilli paste to this marinade (optional). Mix well and keep the meat marinated for 1 and half hours.

2. Now, heat mustard oil in a pan (about 3 tablespoons) and add the powdered whole garam masala and bay leaf and sugar. Add the chopped onions and fry till the onions turn pink. Now add the chopped tomatoes and fry some more. Add turmeric powder and chilli powder. Add the meat along with the marinade and the fried potatoes. Fry and mix the masala with the meat.
3. Keep a pan of hot water ready because you need to use it for stir-frying the masala. 
4. Now add 2 ladle-full of hot water to the meat in the wok and stir-fry. Cover and keep to simmer over medium heat.
5. After 2-3 minutes, remove the cover and check the meat. The masala will stick to the bottom of the pan. Don't panic. Add two more ladles of hot water to the meat and fry some more.

6. Repeat this process of stir-frying and adding hot water till the meat takes on a dark-brown colour. This will take the better part of an hour so be patient. Your aromatic meat will be worth the effort.

7. Once the meat turns dark-brown, remove the wok from the flame. Pour the entire contents into a pressure cooker and pour enough hot water to cover the meat. Attach the cover of the pressure cooker and let the steam build to one whistle. (After adding the hot water in the pressure cooker, add more salt to taste, if desired.)
8. After one whistle, lower the flame to simmer. Let the meat be on simmer for next 20 minutes.
9. Turn off the gas and let the steam escape on its own.
10. Open the pressure cooker. Your steaming hot, aromatic mutton curry is ready. Pour the entire contents into a large bowl and garnish with a teaspoon of ghee.

Serve hot with steamed white rice. Here is the beauty!




Monday, January 19, 2015

Milk Bread from Manjari's Blog

(Adapted from Milk Bread: For the Love of Food)


This week on the "Know Your Blogger" week, the spotlight is on Manjari. Manjari is the first KFBian I have met in person. We met at one of the restaurant inauguration events. The first time I saw her, I was bowled over by her beauty and her long flowing tresses. In my mind, she is forever "Rapunzel" because I am yet to see such long, beautiful hair being maintained by a person as young as she. Once, I started reading her blog, I was equally smitten by the range of her expertise. She excels in all kinds of international cuisines and her cakes, pies, and desserts are simply...to die for!

While scanning her blog, I was flummoxed to say the least. I had no clue which recipe I should re-create. Finally, I decided to make the delicate Milk Bread that she has posted.

This Milk Bread is so soft....so soft that you want to have it right away without toasting. Its a super hit with small and BIG kids alike! Just check the beautiful bread I made using her recipe.




You can find Manjari's recipe here. I also referred to Dan Lepard's recipe of Milk Bread.


Here is how I made it:

Ingredients:

All purpose flour/ Maida: 3 cups
Sugar/ Honey: 2 tablespoons
Butter: 3 and a half tablespoons
Instant yeast: 2 teaspoon
Salt: 2 teaspoon
Milk: 1 cup
Water: 1/2 cup

Process:

1. Boil the milk and let it come to warm temperature. Add lukewarm water to the milk. Add honey and instant yeast. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes in a warm place.
2. In a separate vessel, add APF, salt and butter. Rub in the butter using your hands.


3. Now add the milk mixture to the flour and knead using hand/ mixer till the dough comes together as a ball.
4. Sprinkle some dry flour on a work table and place the dough ball on it. Knead using hands for 10 minutes till the dough is smooth and springs back on touch.
5. Keep covered in a deep-dish in a warm place for one hour. The dough will rise to double its size.
6. Now softly press the dough to release the air trapped inside. Divide the dough into two sections.

7. I made one dough ball into a regular log shape and the other one into a brioche shape stuffed with some chicken mince. To learn how to make the brioche shape refer here.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C for 10 minutes.
9. Make some cuts over the surface of the regular loaf with a knife. Brush both the loafs with milk. Place the two loafs into the pre-heated oven.
10. Take the brioche out after 20 minutes and brush with milk/butter.
11. Take the loaf out of the oven after 45 minutes. Brush with milk/butter. Wait for the loaves to cool to room temperature before slicing.

You will get a pillowy soft bread that is simply yum! I cannot thank Manjari enough for this wonderful recipe. I am sending this recipe to the ongoing event on KFB called "Know Your Blogger".


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Coconut Cake: Comfort Food on a Cold Wintry Night

(Adapted from 1234 Coconut Cake: Simple Indian Recipes)


Lots going on at my end...so I have been missing in action all this while. Fist my Dad was hospitalized on the 31st of Dec. Next my little one fell ill. To top it all, I had crazy work pressure at the office.

Today life seemed a little bit normal than ever so decided to get back to my first love...baking. Baked this real easy-peasy and wonderful coconut cake. The hubby man had got some packaged grated coconut from the market so decided to bake this one.





Here is the original recipe. You can find it here.

This is how I made it.

Ingredients:

All Purpose Flour(Maida) - 2.5 cups of maida and 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
Butter - 1 cup (at room temperature)
Sugar - 2 cups
Eggs - 4 (yellow and whites seperated)
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Milk/Coconut Milk - 1 cup 


Process:

1 Beat the butter till it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix well.
2. Now beat the egg white till stiff peaks form. Add to the butter mixture.
3. Now add the egg yolks, milk, and vanilla extract.
4. In a separate vessel, add the APF, salt and baking soda. Mix well and slowly add to the wet mixture.
5. Once the mixture is uniformly mixed, grease a baking pan and pour the batter till the pan is half-filled.

6. Pre-heat oven for 10 minutes at 180 degrees C. Place the cake pan in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.
7. Take the cake out of the oven, prick with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is made.
8. Garnish with some castor sugar and shredded coconut on top.
9. Enjoy with a hot cuppa!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Fruitcake

(Adapted from Light Fruitcake: Joy of Baking)


Christmas day also happens to be my father-in-law's birthday. This year he stepped into his 80th year.

An ex-Army man, he has a never-say-die spirit. After surviving a paralyzing stroke 10 years back, he has been confined mostly to his room. But on his birthday every year, it is his demand that his children should be there with him on his special day and his birthday cake should be baked by me. One year, we got cake from outside and he was really sulking all day!!! So, however busy or tired I am, I always forward to baking for this lion-heart man who does not let illness or old-age dampen his birthday spirits.

This year I had planned to make the authentic Christmas Fruitcake for him. This cake is full of candied fruits and nuts. It is really a spicy cake because you will get the whiff of cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Here are the lovely cakes.




This recipe also calls for use of almond powder, meaning the dry powder of almonds. Since, almond powder is not available near my place, I chopped dry almonds and ground it dry in my food processor. This cake takes some preparation time, so plan well ahead.

I got this wonderful recipe from the Joy of Baking website. You can find the original recipe here.

I tweaked it a little bit to suit my requirements. So, here we go...

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (120 grams) candied mixed peel (I used a mix of tutti fruiti and chopped cashew nuts)
1/2 cup (100 grams) candied red or green cherries (cut into quarters)
1/3 cup (40 grams) dark raisins
1/2 cup (113 grams) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract ( I skipped this ingredient!)
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) ground almonds (almond meal/flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
Zest of one small lemon (outer skin)
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk (whole or reduced fat)

Process:

1. The first step is to chop the almonds and the cashew nuts if you use it.



2. Next, dry grind the chopped almonds in a coffee grinder/mixer. While grinding the almonds, I also added half a teaspoon each of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves for a wonderful spicy aroma.


3. Take two tablespoons of sugar in a pan. Add one teaspoon of butter and heat the pan. Once the sugar starts browning, add 1/4 cup water and 1/3rd cup tutti-fruit (and cashew nuts). Once the syrup becomes thick and coats the fruit pieces, take off the flame and keep aside to cool.

4. Next, take the flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt in a deep bottom dish. Add all the remaining fruits and nuts to this dry mixture and mix well. All fruit pieces should be coated with the flour.

5. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar till creamy. Add eggs one by one and beat well. Now add half the dry mixture with milk and mix.

6. Add the remaining flour and mix the batter. Add the candied fruits with the sugar syrup and vanilla essence.
7. Mix the batter well. Don't worry if the batter is thick. If batter is too thick and you cannot move your spatula in it, add two tablespoons of milk.

8. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree C for 10 minutes. Grease a baking tin of your choice and line with butter paper. This aids the de-molding of the cake. If you dont have butter papaer, simply grease the tin.

9. Pour the batter in the tin and place in the middle rack of the oven. If you are making one big loaf cake with this batter, you need to bake at 180 degree C for 60 minutes. I baked two small cakes that were done in 45 minutes.

10. If the top crust is browning fast, cover with foil.

11. After the cake is baked, remove from oven. A toothpick inserted in the cake should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack till you can touch the cake.

12. De-mold and cut the cake. You can eat this cake on the same day. This cake stores very well for a week and you can freeze it for a month.

Enjoyyyy!




I am sending this recipe for the ongoing event on Kolkata food Bloggers, "Christmas Recipes".


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Eggless Chocolate Cookies for the Christmassy Spirit

(Adapted from Chocolate Chip Cookies: Tarla Dalal)

As Christmas draws nearer, I feel like abandoning all care to the winds..and bake, bake, bake away to glory. Alas! work does not always permit me to do all my dream baking.

But when the Kolkata Food Bloggers put up an event for Christmas, I just jumped right in and baked something on a tiring week night.

Since, there were not too many ingredients at hand, I wanted something simple. And the best I could come up with was chocolate cookies. I did not have any eggs at hand so of course they had to be eggless. I got a very good recipe from Tarla Dalal's website for chocolate chip cookies. I tweaked it some more and came up with this versatile and easy recipe.

This recipe yields around 15 cookies. They are crunchy, munchy and super-yummy. My little S ate 9 of them!!


Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

APF/Maida: 1 cup
Powdered sugar: 3/4th cup
Cocoa powder (unsweetened): 2 tablespoons
Butter: 1/3rd cup or 60 grams (softened at room temperature)
Vanilla essence: 1/2 teaspoon
Baking power: 1/2 teaspoon
Milk: 2-3 tablespoon

Process:

1. Beat the butter and sugar till they are creamy. You can use the hand mixer to do this.

2. In a separate bowl add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder.

3. Add the butter sugar mix to the flour. Add milk and knead into a dough.
4. Roll the dough into lemon sized balls.
5. Press into flat cookie shape with your hands. Don't apply too much pressure or else the cookie will crack.

6. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree C for 1 minutes. Spread butter paper on a baking tray and grease with oil. Place the cookies on this greased tray.
7. Bake the cookies for 25 minutes.
8. The cookies will turn brownish on the under-side. Cool to room temperature.
9. Munch away with your evening cuppa.


I am sending this recipe to the event on Kolkata Food Bloggers,


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Burger @ Home

(Adapted from Chicken Burger: Guilt Free)

This week on the Know Your Blogger on KFB, the star of the week is Pritha Chakrabarty. I know Pritha only on blogosphere and I am yet to interact with her personally. When I browsed through  her blog, I was hit by a blast! The blog really has a vast variety of national and international recipes. Being such a young person and a journalist by profession, I was truly impressed with the variety of her culinary knowledge. There is everything on her blog....from cakes to pies....to chicken dishes, Thai food ....what not!!!!

I tried to attempt one of the cakes but dared not try the frosting... I'm really pathetic at making cake icing. Anyway, I finally found the recipe of Chicken Burger....and voila! This was the one for me.



Chicken Burger is a family favourite...thanks to Mc Donalds and KFC. While I was a teenager, I have tried making aloo-patty burger at home.

But this Chicken Burger recipe was superb. It was simple, and flavourful. Thank you Pritha for such a wonderful recipe. You have penned down so comprehensively that all I had to do was follow your recipe to the tee. Thumbs up!

You can find Pritha's original recipe here.

I have made the burger buns at home but you can use store-bought ones as well. I have used the burger buns recipe from the Fabulous Baker Brothers website.


This is a detailed post, so gear up. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the burger buns:

All purpose flour: 3 cups
Instant yeast: 1 and a half teaspoon.
Milk: 3/4th cup
Water: 1/2 cup
Oil: 1/4th cup
Sugar: 3 tablespoons
Salt: 1 teaspoon
One egg yolk: for egg wash (optional)
White sesame seeds: 1 teaspoon

For the meat patty:

Chicken keema: 200 Grams
Tomato (cut into rings): 2
Onion (cut into rings): 2
Cheese: 4 Slices
Hot and sweet sauce: 4 Tablespoons
Mustard/Kasundi: 2 Tablespoons
Ginger-garlic paste: 2 teaspoons
Lemon juice: 1 tablespoon
Salt to Taste
Pepper: 1 Teaspoon
Egg white: 1
Bread Crumbs: 1 Cup
Vegetable Oil: 3 Tablespoon

Process:

For the burger buns:

1. Take lukewarm milk and water add sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on this mixture and keep undisturbed for 10 minutes.
2. Take flour, salt, and oil in a vessel. Add the yeast mixture and start kneading the dough. Add more lukewarm water if the dough is too dry and some loose flour if it is too sticky.
3. Knead for 10 minutes till you get a soft, pliable dough that springs back on being pressed.


4. Cover with an kitchen towel and keep in a warm place for 1 hour. After one hour the dough will double in size.

5. Roll into medium-sized balls, nearly the size of an orange. Grease a baking tray and place the balls on this tray. Let these balls rest for 20 minutes in a warm place.
6. Now mix egg yolk with 1.4 cup water to make egg wash. Brush the buns lightly with this egg mixture. Sprinkle some white sesame seeds on top.

7. Pre-heat oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees C. Place the baking tray in the medium rack of the oven. Bake for ten minutes. If you want the top with a golden-brown crust grill for 5 minutes at same temperature. Take the buns out of the oven.

8. Brush with some butter and let cool to room temperature.


For the meat patties:

1. Marinate the chicken keema (mince) with salt, lemon juice, pepper, and ginger-garlic paste. Mix well and keep in airtight container in the fridge.
2. Next morning, take the chicken keema out of the fridge. Heat some oil in a pan. Shape the chicken keema to patty/tikki shape with your hands. I also added a fistful of rice flour to the chicken mince mix.
3. Dip each patty in egg white, roll in a bed of bread crumbs and shallow fry.
4. Fry till both sides are golden brown.
5. Vegetarian friends can use the same recipe using soya keema/mince. 

Assembling the burger:

1. Gather all the ingredients of the burger together,


2. Slice the burger buns in half and toast lightly on a tava.
3. Spread butter on both sides of the bun.
4. To assemble the bun, smear inner part of the bun with some hot and sweet sauce. Place a ring of onion and tomato on top of it. Now place the meat patty on top of this and place a slice of cheese. I also smeared some Kasundi (mustard) on top. Now cover with the top piece of the bun.
5. Serve with some tomato ketchup. Enjoy a lovely brunch with your family.

I am sending this recipe to the ongoing event on Kolkata Food Bloggers, "Know Your Blogger".