Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy Birthday: Tutti Frutti Cake | Indian Plum Cake Recipe

 
Five years ago, an angel was born. Words can't express how much happiness and joy she brought into our lives.

She is Shriya, my niece.

Shriya, during her trip to Alaska. Image Credit
It feels like yesterday when she was so tiny that she barely fit into both of my hands. Now, she can talk non-stop, make you really think and many at times, stump you with questions which we barely can answer. One Curious George this kid has grown into. ;-)

Sadly, this year I am not with her to celebrate and squeal for her birthday. Hence, gifts were sent with loads of love & kisses from her uncle and aunt along with this Tutti Frutti Cake, which I am sure she would have totally loved.

So here I am celebrating Shriya's birthday virtually atleast , with all of you. 

Love you baby. 


This is such a splendid recipe for a moist cake with just few tablespoons of butter. I made two loaves (doubling the original recipe). One was for my family here in Hyderabad and other for office colleagues in Bangalore. All of them loved it and went for seconds. Just perfect for any occasion and anybody, especially for kids.

Enjoy!












{Recipe} Tutti Frutti Cake | Indian Plum Cake

Makes two loaves - one for round 9 inch cake pan and another for 9 inch loaf pan. This recipe can be easily halved for just one cake.

Adapted from Sharmi

Ingredients:

4 cups all purpose flour/maida
2.5 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup tutti fruitti pieces (these are chopped, candied fruit pieces)
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 cups milk
4 eggs, at room temparature
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder
6 tsp vanilla essence
few mixed nuts like cashews, walunts etc, to sprinkle on the top

Preparation:

1. Sieve flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix tutti frutti pieces with little flour and keep aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugar. Using at electric mixer or whisk, add one egg at a time and beat well until creamy. Add vanilla essence and milk. Mix well.

3. Add flour+baking powder+ baking soda mixuture one cup-at-a-time, mixing with spatula scraping through the edges each time. Fold in tutti frutti.

4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease the pan with butter and flour, tap to remove off excess.

5. Pour the batter in the pans and pat it on floor to ensure the batter is evenly distributed. Bake for 35-40 mins until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Once out of the oven, cool completely on a wire rack and then serve.






Just a few more days left to enter Quick Fix Indian Cookbook Giveaway. Try your luck today.. Last Date:  July 31st 2012.

[Update- August 7th 2012] - I made an eggless version of this cake for my little sister's and cousin brother's birthday by substituting 2 eggs with 200ml of sweetened condensed milk and reducing the sugar to 5 tbsp. Everybody loved the cake and were thrilled to know if was eggless, especially my aunts who are staunch vegetarians. Here is a pic from the celebrations. 




until next time,





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Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Baking: Recipe for Black and White Heart Cookies

 
Few days back I posted a Basic Vanilla Cookie Dough recipe and made some cut-out star cookies. Remember? and I also promised to share some easy ideas using the dough, which is so versatile to make countless number of variations. Today I am going to write about one such cookie recipe. All you need is a batch of basic cookie dough, some chocolate and butter. Voila! Black and White Heart Cookies are ready. It is as simple as that - a cookie recipe that can be made in a jiffy.

Store these in an air tight container and will stay fresh for at least 2-3 weeks. Given the fact how good these taste, I don't think these will last that long. ;-). 

Enjoy!


out of oven, cooled and ready to be dipped in the chocolate..

Roll the cookie dough. Cut. 

Bake for few minutes.

they taste good as-is..

adding a touch of chocolate to them..



{Recipe} Black and White Heart Cookies

Ingredients

1 batch of basic vanilla cookie dough (recipe already posted)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or pieces
4 tsp of butter (or shortening)

Preparation


1. Preheat oven to 190 C or 375 F.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a disc of 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies and line them up on a parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate the cookies (before baking) for 15-20 mins until firm.

3. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Keep an eye on the cookies after then 8-minute mark. Cool them on a wire wrack.

4. Meanwhile using a double boiler method, melt chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl. Dip one side of each cookie in melted chocolate. Return on to a wire rack and let stand at room temp until chocolate is firm.

Store these in an air tight container and they will stay good atleast for 2 weeks.





Enter and Win! - Share your favorite quick fix recipe for a chance to win a copy of Quick Fix Indian Cookbook by Ruta Kahate. Details are in this post. Giveaway ends on July 31st 2012.




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until next time,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Taste of Yellow: Caramelized Bananas with Toffee Sauce

 

“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”  ~ William W. Purkey

Each one of us has an ever-growing wishlist filled with dreams, with a hope that they will be fulfilled, become a reality some day. But, sooner or later we realize that some day is just an illusion. We need to first understand and learn to live today - to the fullest.

Barbara of Winos and Foodies had a wishlist too. To eat her 87th Birthday Cake. It was the year 2004 when she was diagnosed with cancer. She started her blog as a distraction and she has lighten up the blogging world with her ever inspiring, beautiful and personal blog posts. I knew her only through the "Taste of Yellow", a popular event which coincides with LiveStrong Day, created by cancer survivor Lance Armstrong's LiveStrong Foundation to raise awareness of cancer. With a heavy heart, I say - Barbara lost her long battle with cancer on June 29th 2012. 

My deep felt condolences to the family and May God rest her soul in peace.


In memory of Barbara, Meeta and Jeanne dedicated this month's Monthly Mingle to "A Taste of Yellow" - Bake or make something yellow. and I choose a super simple recipe - Caramelized Bananas with Toffee Sauce which can be put together in less than 15 minutes.

Caramelized Bananas with Toffee Sauce




{Recipe} Caramelized Bananas with Toffee Sauce

Adapted from Taste.com.au

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp butter
4 bananas, peeled, halved lengthways
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons thickened cream

Preparation

1. Melt butter in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add banana slices. Cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate. Cover with foil.

2. Add sugar to pan. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Add cream. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until combined. Place bananas on serving plates. Drizzle some toffee sauce.
Serve remaining sauce on the side.


messy is good!
Note: This toffee sauce is so versatile that it can be used as a topping on anything & everything - cakes, cookies, muffins, scones, oatmeal etc. 

Giveaway Announcement - Don't forget to share your quick fix recipe for a chance to win a copy of Quick Fix Indian Cookbook by Ruta Kahate. Details are in this post. Good luck.


Today is also a day when an ever-green superstar of Bollywood Rajesh Khanna died after a prolonged illness. Many timeless classics were picturized on him and he was almost every girl's fantasy in 1960's. He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man. R.I.P Rajesh Khanna.


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until next time,

Monday, July 16, 2012

Indian Tater Tots | Potato Bites Recipe and Quick Fix Indian Cookbook Giveaway


[Updated on October 29th 2012] This recipe was featured on Huffington Post under the article "Tater Tot Recipes, Because They're Good In Everything"  

New York Times ran an article last year - "Are Apps Making Cookbooks Obsolete?", which created quite a stir among foodies. In the article it is said -

"Cookbooks have long offered their own kind of enriched content, in the form of scribbles left in the margins by cooks who found they liked a little extra cinnamon, or a higher oven temperature."

..yes I own cookbooks for the same reason as I can scribble what I think about a certain recipe as I make it. Though I don't normally end up cooking from all the books I own, they have an old-school-charm to it. Only when one experiences it, they would know the warm feeling for cooking from a book rather from an app.


After 5 years of her first cookbook, Ruta Kahate (5 Spices 50 Dishes fame) brings us a new edition with about 125 easy indian recipes that can be made in 30 mins or less. It starts with a "Shortcut Shelf" which has recipes for read-to-use pastes/condiments that can be stored or refrigerated for later use. Drawing inspiration for Thai Red Curry and Green Curry pastes, she has Red Masala and Green Masala that can be made quite easily and these are handy to spruce up almost anything - from meat to veggies to sandwiches and even pastas.

Similarly there are some funky names for other categories as well such as "Brisk Breakfasts", "Mains in Minutes", "Curries in a hurry", "Swift Soups", "Zippy Snacks" etc. Some of the recipes are quite intriguing like "Tomato Water" and her "Maa's Sheera", but I have a feeling that an experienced cook will find these recipes quite basic.

When it comes to a cookbook, I love ogling at a photograph of the finished recipe as it gives a good idea on what to expect. Quick Fix Indian has a very small number of photographs, often just the ingreidients and not of the recipe featured which is a little disappointing for me, personally speaking.

Nevertheless, Ruta demystifies Indian food and makes sure there is something for everybody and every occasion in her book. It gives a modern twist to few of our classic recipes without compromising on taste. Do try to grab a copy today.


I bookmarked quite a few recipes from every section and since it was raining & quite gloomy in our neck of woods, I chose to make some Indian Tater Tots today - a quick snack with a cuppa of tea did work its wonders on me. :-)

Enjoy!


{Recipe} Indian Tater Tots | Potato Bites


Ingredients:

12 ounces (approx 4 medium-sized) potatoes, boiled
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 small green chillies, seeded, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
salt - to taste
1 large egg, whisked
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 cup canola oil
1-2 tablespoons all purpose flour/maida (my addition, optional)

Note: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour if the mixture is too sticky and cannot be rolled into balls. 



Preparation:

1. Peel the potatoes and mash well. Mix in onion, chillies and cilantro. Season to taste with salt. Stir in the whisked egg and the bread crumbs (and flour if using).

2. Form into small balls (as the original recipe). (or) sprinkle some bread crumbs on a plate or wax paper, roll potato mixture into a thin cylinder. Cut into small pieces with knife. (just like gnocchi).

Optional Step - Line the balls on (wax) paper and refrigerate for atleast an hour, until firm.

3. Heat oil in a skillet and shallow fry the tater tots until light golden brown. Drain excess oil on paper towels. For a healthier option, these can be very well be baked at 180 C or 350 F for 20-30 minutes, carefully flipping them in the middle.

4. Serve them immediately with ketchup or any chutney







How to enter Quick Fix Indian Cookbook giveaway

1. Leave a comment on this post with your favorite quick fix recipe  (indian or non-indian) - No need of links, just the name will do. Note: Quick fix recipe is something you make when you are darn hungry and short of time. 

2. Mention your location - US or India so that you are entered for the corresponding drawing.

To increase your chances in the random drawing, do one or more of the following and leave a comment once you did so. 

3. Follow Cooking With Siri on Facebook.


4. Follow me on Twitter. - @sirime

5. Subscribe to Cooking With Siri feed.

6. Tweet about this giveaway. Feel free to use the below text -
Share your favorite quick fix recipe for a chance to win Quick Fix Indian Cookbook giveaway on @sirime's blog. http://www.tinyurl.com/quickfixindiangiveaway

If you are already liked me on facebook, following on twitter or subscribed to RSS feed, just leave a comment letting me know and you are entered in the giveaway automatically! This giveaway is open for everybody, You don't have to be a blogger to win the cookbook.

The giveaway will end on July 31st 2012 and two winners randomly picked - one from US and another from India will be announced on August 1st 2012. . 


Good Luck Everybody!





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until next time,





Note: This is not a paid post. The giveaway for US residents is sponsored by the publisher and one for Indian residents is sponsored by me.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

{Recipe} Kerala style Arhar (Toor) Dal | Yellow Lentil Dal

 
I have a special relationship with dal. When I absolutely run out of ideas for our supper or when I am depressed/sad, I automatically go for a bowl of dal (preferably yellow) and rice. It makes me happy from deep within, soothes my soul. and puts back the smile of my face. :-)

But there are only so many I can make dal. Isn't it..and this is one such delicious way - kerala-style with coconut..

Enjoy!

Cooking lentils is one of the quickest way to pep up a dull, morose day!


Ready to be ground..

the paste that makes all the difference..

Ready and Served.


{Recipe} Kerala Style Arhar (Toor) Dal

Recipe source: Chef R. Chenthil Kumar of Zambar, Gurgaon

Ingredients:

1 cup toor/arhar dal (kandipappu), cleaned and washed
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp oil (for authentic kerala taste, use coconut oil)
salt - to taste

For the paste:

1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 green chillies
10-15 fresh curry leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

For tadka:

4 dried red chillies, whole
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp clarified butter/ghee
few curry leaves


Preparation:

1. Pressure cook or boil toor dal with turmeric and salt until mushy.

2. Make a fine paste of coconut, garlic, green chillies, fresh curry leaves and cumin. Keep aside.

3. In a pan heat oil. Make tempering with red chillies, mustard seeds and fresh curry leaves. Add the boiled dal to this and simmer for 2 minutes. Add a little water. Add the previously ground coconut paste and cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Allow it to simmer for some time for the flavours to blend. Check for seasoning and consistency. Top up with clarified butter.

Serve as a side dish for idli, dosa, steamed rice, roti or paratha.

For more recipe ideas cooking with legumes - Click here.

Sending this as entry to My Legume Love Affair # 49 guest hosted by Simona, original concept by Susan.

Kerala style Arhar (Toor) Dal

until next time,





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Monday, July 9, 2012

A trip to Goa and {Recipe} Basic Vanilla Cookie Dough + Cut-Out (Star) Cookies

 
Would you believe if I said we hardly vacationed anywhere since past few months. Blame it on work, health, or simply lack of opportunity and when we did get one to tag along with my sister & her husband, we just jumped on it. Hence this quick 2-day trip to Goa.

If you are a sun-soaking-beach-loving person or hate monsoons, then July/August is not the time to visit Goa. But if you are in for some sporadic rainfall, lush greenery and lovely breeze all around, then this is the right place at the right time. The experience would be completely different during summer season when the beaches, malls, flea markets are buzzing (read as crowded) with tourists. Now, Goa is a hidden gem - serene and quaint.

Here are some pictures from our trip.


a quaint corner of a cafe where we had our lunch

lush greenery all around --> That's Goa in monsoons.

the very famous Mangueshi Temple, Goa


enjoying the monsoons..
Once back home, the baking bug caught me during the weekend and quickly baked some cookies using Martha Stewart's Basic Vanilla Cookie Dough recipe which I bookmarked a very long time ago. This recipe is so versatile and can be used as base for countless varieties of cookies. Just a make a batch and then refrigerate or freeze. Cut a piece of cookie dough when you want to crave some and save the rest. How cool is that.

Today I made some Cut-Out cookies using the dough. Just roll, cut, sprinkle, bake and eat! :-)

Cut-Out (Star) Cookies. Any pretext to make these today is a valid excuse! :P

Butter + Sugar --> Creamed until pale & fluffy

Cookie Dough versatile enough to make various kinds of cookies. I will share a few in coming posts.

It's time to get creative and use this master dough to make any shape or colour of cookies, perfect for any occasion

Just out of the oven..

{Recipe}  Basic Vanilla Cookie Dough 

Adapted from Martha Stewart

~ Makes around 60 star cookies

Ingredients


3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar (or 1 3/4 cup of powdered sugar)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Note: If using salted butter, omit salt from the ingredients list. But, I personally prefer unsalted butter as the salted version has an after taste which is not-so-pleasant to the taste buds.


Preparation:

1. On a wax paper or in a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Keep aside.

2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. If using a whisk to cream then use powdered sugar for easy, smoother dough. Scrap with a spatula as you go. Beat in egg and vanilla on a low speed. Add flour 1/2 cup each time and beat until combined. If the dough is dry, then add few tablespoons of milk.

3. Divide into two portions and wrap each of the cookie dough ball in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for atleast an hour. The dough will stay good for 3 days when refrigerated. When kept frozen, the dough is good for 1-2 months. Cut out the needed amount of dough and thaw in the refrigerator overnight in case of frozen dough.

Making of Cut-Out (Star) Cookies

1. Preheat oven to 190 C or 375 F.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a disc of 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out cookies into desired shapes and line them up on a parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate the cookies (before baking) for 15-20 mins until firm.

3. Sprinkle some chocolate strands on the top and bake for 8-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Keep an eye on the cookies after then 8-minute mark. Cool them on a wire wrack.

Serve and save the rest in an air tight container which will stay fresh for at least a week.

Enjoy!

Since its the first recipe with this dough, I have kept it simple using chocolate strands as the topping.

*******************************

Who said food can't look good in monochrome? :-). Sending the below picture as an entry to Black and White Wednesdays 40 guested hosted by Anusha, original concept by Susan.



until next time,


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