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...


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)


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.


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:


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


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 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:


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


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".

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Eggless Savoury Jeera (Cumin) Cookies

(Adapted from Jeera Biscuits: Recipe Junction and Eggless Jeera Cookies:Peanuts on the Road)

In the ongoing event on KFB: Know Your Blogger, I came across a wonderful recipe of savoury cookies. These cookies were savoury cookies with a flavour of jeera (cumin). Indrani, my fellow KFBian had posted this wonderful recipe in her blog. Check out her original recipe here.

Then another fellow KFBian Anwesha, posted an eggless version of this recipe. This clinched the deal for me! I was looking for an eggless recipe for my Saturday evening tea time.

So here it is!

The recipe is:


All purpose flour/ Maida: 1 cup
Whole-wheat flour/ Atta: 1 cup
Powdered sugar : 1/2 cup 
Vegetable/soyabean Oil : 1/4 cup
Butter: 1/4 cup
Cumin seed: 2 tblsp.
Salt: 1 tsp.
Baking powder : 1 and a half tsp.
Water or milk(in room temperature) to knead the dough 


1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degree C or 375 degree F.
2. In a bowl, take both the flours, salt, powdered sugar, jeera (cumin seeds) and baking powder. Mix well.
3. Add butter, oil, and enough milk/water to knead the dough.
4. Knead the dough till it all comes together. Do not over-knead the dough. Just make sure that there are no lumps.
5. Now roll into lemon size balls.

6. Now flatten the balls with your hands. Make sure you flatten the cookies well. This will make the cookies more crisp. Press the sides of the cookies with a fork. Decorate with some jeera or cumin seeds.
7. Place an aluminium foil on a baking tray with some grease with some oil. Dust lightly with some dry flour.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 180 degrees C.
9. Cool to room temperature and serve with steaming mugs of tea.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Road Trip and Lemon Flavoured Pound Cake

(Adapted from Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake: Recipe Junction)

This weekend we went for a road trip to my cousin's wedding in a nearby town. It's really been ages since we went on a road trip. Hubby generally stocks up on lots of fruit, biscuits, and juice when we take up a trip. But this time, he requested me for a cake. As if I need an excuse to bake something!!!

I baked a light and airy Lemon flavoured Pound Cake from my blogger friend Indrani's blog. Indrani is one person who I esteem not only as a talented food blogger but also as a wonderful human being. A loving wife and doting mom to her three fabulous children, she is a bundle of positive energy and good cheer. Once when she wanted to bake bread, she no qualms about picking up the phone and asking me for tips...though we have never met in person. That's, straight-forward, and down-to-earth. This time too, when I was having jitters about which recipe to pick, she asked to make whichever my children would like. I feel very close to her. Be sure to visit her blog for a wide variety of recipes.

You can view Indrani's recipe here.

The Pound Cake is basically an English/British recipe where a "pound" (nearly 250 grams) of each ingredients is required. So that would be a pound of eggs, a pound of flour, and a pound of butter. However, you can go by the measures given in this recipe. You will get a golden-brown beauty of a cake.

Here is the recipe:


APF(all-purpose flour) : 3 and 1/2 cups
Butter : 1 and 1/2 cups (softened, in room temperature)
White sugar : 2 and 1/2 cups(powdered)
Eggs : 4
Salt : 1/2 tsp.
Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp.
Buttermilk : 1 cup (mix 1/3 cup curd with 2/3 cup water)
Lemon Juice : 1 tblsp.
Lemon zest : 1 tblsp.


1. First, beat the butter and sugar till the mixture is soft and fluffy. You can use a electric mixer to do this. I did it using my hands.

2.Next, add the eggs one by one. You should add one egg, beat some more and then add the next egg.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Now add half of this dry mixture to the butter-sugar mix. Add half cup of buttermilk.

4. Now add the rest of the flour and half cup of buttermilk. Mix this till the mixture is even and there are no lumps. If the batter appears thicker than a normal cake batter, dont worry. Pound cake batter is thick!!

5. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. I also added half teaspoon of lemon extract (optional).

6. Pour this batter into a cake tin of your choice. Make sure you grease the cake tin. I used a aluminum loaf tin that I lined with butter paper and greased with oil,

7. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C for ten minutes. Now bake this cake for 50 minutes at this temperature.

8. Take the cake out of the oven. Let it cool to ten minutes.

9. Slice and enjoy with a hot cup of tea.

I am sending this recipe to the ongoing event on KFB "Know Your Blogger: Week 4".

Friday, December 5, 2014

Butter Naan @ Home

(Adapted from Garlic Naan Recipe: Veg Recipes of India)

My little S is not much of a rice person. Unlike typical Bengalis, she loves anything that is related to rotis. So she is always clamoring for roti, paratha, kulcha, pita bread, bread....etc etc. This is too much for a bhaat-maach loving Bong like me. But what can I do? Once a mother...etc etc.

Last month, we were lunching at Aminia restaurant, where S fell in love with soft, spongy Butter Naans. Since then she has been pestering me to make them at home. Last Sunday, I decided to plunge right in and try making the Naans at home.

Naan is a type of Indian flatbread that is flat but also leavened. There are ways to achieve this leavening process without yeast too. But since I am great friends with yeast, why not give it a try?

I referred to a very nice and easy recipe that I got from my friend Dassana's blog. You can find her recipe here.

Here is how I made it.


1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups all purpose flour (APF)/maida 
2 tsp sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast or 1 and a half teaspoon active dry yeast
1.5 or 2 tsp lemon juice or 3 to 4 tsp yogurt
4 tbsp oil or butter
¾ cup lukewarm water... add more if required
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic (optional)
1 tsp nigella seeds/kalonji
1 to 1.5 tsp salt or as required
extra oil or ghee for frying or smearing on the naan (optional)


1. Take 3/4th cup luke warm water and dissolve the sugar in it. Now add yeast to the water. Keep undisturbed in a warm dry place for 10 minutes.
2. Now take the W.W flour (Atta) and mix with the APF. Add salt, lemon juice, and butter. Rub the butter nicely into the flour till the flour resembles breadcrumbs. Now add the water containing yeast to the flour and start kneading with your hands. Add more lukewarm water depending on the stickiness of the flour.
3. The dough should be soft and pliable, yet firm and should spring back if touched.

4. Cover the dough with a moist cloth and keep in a warm place for nearly one and a half to two hours. The dough will double up in size.
5. Make medium-sized balls of the dough and keep aside for a further 20 minutes.

6. On a board take some Nigella seeds. Press each ball on the nigella seeds and then roll out into a chapati of moderate thickness. Optionally, you can also add crushed garlic and celery to this mixture and add it to the dough balls.

7. Heat a tava or frying pan. Place each Naan on the hot tava and roast till each side is evenly browned.

8. Next, you can add oil directly in the tava and fry it like a paratha. But I roasted it further on the open flame like a roti/phulka.

Oven recipe:

If you want to bake the Naan in an oven, pre-heat the oven at 300 degrees C for 20 minutes. The maximum temperature in my oven is 250 degrees so I use that temperature. Next, place the rolled Naan on a greased tray in the pre-heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes using both the filaments on middle rack.

9. Smear the Naans with a dollop of butter and serve it with any side-dish. We had it with chicken curry and some mixed vegetable curry.

Yummy on a winter evening!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Akoori: A Parsi Delicacy

(Adapted from Akoori: Let's Talk Food)

The winters are here in last! Soft, sunshiny days melt into deliciously chilly nights. You just want to snuggle into the warm quilt and sip a warm cuppa coffee while watching your favourite movie.

No bitterly cold, raw mornings when you would hardly want to venture out of your home. The winters in Kolkata are associated with many exhibitions and fairs so you can make it a picnic with your family on every weekend. For me, I love Kolkata winters because of the Puli Pitha, that get made on Poush Sankranti. And of course, the eternal favourite Book Fair that is held at the end of January.

Winter is also the time when you can eat with good cheer. In summers, we hardly feel like eating. Just cool salads or daal soup is what the system craves for. In monsoons, my appetite goes for a toss. But winters...aah! Just bring it on.

Every weekend I get a new list of food requests from my family!!!

This week on KFB, Know Your Blogger - Week 3, the star of the week was Priyadarshini Chatterjeee. 

Priyadarshini has a varied number of recipes on her blog. She excels in all kinds of fusion recipes. Do have a look at her blog here. I am a big fan of her writing style which is easy and conversational. Her food photography is par excellence.

I selected an egg dish called Akoori. Akoori is the Parsi style scrambled eggs. I served this dish with home-made butter naans. Super hit!

You can read the original recipe here.

Here is how I made it:


Eggs: 4
Milk: 1/4th cup
Turmeric powder: a pinch
Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
Onions: 1/4 cup (chopped fine)
Tomatoes: 4 tbsp (chopped fine)
Coriander leaves: 1/4th cup (chopped fine)
Green chillies: 2 (chopped)
Grated ginger: 1 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste


1. First break four eggs in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, and milk. Whisk till the mixture is frothy.

2. Now chop the onions, tomatoes, and green chillies. Gather all the ingredients together.

3. Heat oil in a pan. Add the chopped green chillies and ginger, Fry for a few seconds and then add the onions. Once the onions turn pinkish, add the tomatoes, chopped coriander leaves, and the cumin powder. you can also add red-chilli powder. When the tomatoes turn mushy, add the egg mixture. Add more salt if required.

4. Fry and scramble the eggs. You can keep the dish soft and creamy. I stir-fried it some more.

5. Garnish with some more coriander leaves and serve hot.

I am sending this recipe to the ongoing event on KFB, "Know Your Blogger - Week 3".