Friday, August 31, 2012

Dates Ball- A Guest Post

Hi friends..
Priya of Cook like Priya is one of the friends I got to meet through baking group..She is a lovely gal with a cute space where she has a variety of recipes.. When Priya contacted me for the guest post in her space as she is totally busy with her shifting...I agreed to help her...Since this is the first guest post in her space I thought of making a sweet...A simple and healthy preparation to indulge in..
Do visit her space for the delicious recipe...

Here is a recipe card visit Priya's space for the other one...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Photography exercise-Just one ingredient.

This time, a photo post for a difference..:)
This post is just about clicks...Hmmm my effort at learning to click...Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen has Started a photography exercise to improve photographs by clicking, learning and telling your opinion. Its the forth series now. Though I have been thinking of participating from first exercise, it never happened..Anyway from this time I decided to join them and help myself to improve.

Here are a few snaps with single ingredient. Your comments and criticisms are invited...;)

So first I started off with turmeric powder...
Camera: D3100, 55-200mm
on ground near the patio window..Clicked from right..A black board on the left side and behind..Camera on hand
Time: ~ 1.30 pm

Manual mode | f/5 |  1/60s | ISO- 400 |  150mm |

Camera: D3100, 55-200mm
On ground near patio window, Clicked right above, No tripod
Around 1.30 pm
Manual mode| f/4.2| 1/60s| ISO-200| 82mm

Kale leaves:
Camera: D3100, 55-200mm
On ground, Near patio window, White board on left and back, shot from right with tripod
Around: 1.30 pm
Manual mode|f/5| 1/30s|ISO-200| 135mm

Camera: D3100, 55-200mm
On ground, Near patio window
Around:1.30 pm
Manual mode, f/5, 1/50s, ISO-400, 135mm

Camera:D3100, Lens 18-55mm
On table set near patio window, Clicked from right, Black board on left , right and back. Camera on hand.Directly out of camera(No post processing)
Time around 1.30 pm
Manual mode, f/5.6,1/20 s, ISO-200 , 48mm

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mango Lemonade

Summer is coming to an end with slight cold breeze at nights...No longer would the heat of sun be enjoyed here with cold and refreshing drinks.....Sooner the days will be short and nights long...With strong winds that will strip the tree off its beautiful leaves leaving behind shadows of its existence..So before all this starts I need to put some more drinks that I have tried this summer..Got this drink recipe from a recipe card while shopping..

Mango -1(1 small mango-I used champagne mangoes)
Lemon juice-1/4 cup
Sugar-1/4cup/to taste(add according to the sweetness required)
Water-2 cups

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat 1 glass water and dissolve sugar in it.Let cool.
2. Blend mango, lemon juice and 1/2 cup water to smooth liquid. Strain and mix it with the sugar mixture.Add more water if needed.Chill and serve.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Kale chips

If you are addicted to chips...then give a try to this....

Kale Leaves-4 to 5 stems
Olive oil-1 tsp
Sea salt to taste
Chili flakes to taste

Method of Preparation:
1. Wash the kale leaves and dry them thoroughly.Remove the thick veins and tear the leaves to bite sized pieces.
2. Drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle salt and chili flakes as needed.
3. Mix well and place on the baking sheet without crowding and overlaping them.
4. Place this into a pre-heated oven to 375 F. Bake for 15 minutes(turning the sides in between) or till brown(not burned) at the edges.
5. Serve as a snack or as side.

1. Adding more olive oil will result in greasy kale chips.Just add enough to coat the leaves sightly.
2. Season according to your taste.
3. Be sure to remove thick veins from leaves.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Quinoa Salad

Salad has become a kind of regular stuff here these days...YYYY...Just to make sure that I eat all other stuffs(read as yummy stuffs that are buddies with waist line..) Less.. Now dont ask me if its working...;)
So here is a simple salad...quick to make and delicious...Everyone in blogging world is familiar with Quinoa...For those who are not...I think this person will help you understand more than me...So here is the simple salad..

Ya I made that rosemary chili flavored olive oil...

Quinoa-1/2 cup
Water to cook quinoa-1 cup.
Green Peas/Sweet peas-1/4 cup(cooked till soft)
Carrots-1 medium sized
Green chili-1 (de-seeded and sliced)
Onion-1/2 of big one
Cucumber-1/2 of medium
Lime juice-2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Olive oil-1/2 to 1 tsp(I used chili and rosemary flavored oil)
Pepper freshly crushed to taste.

Method of Preparation:
1. Cook quino with required water and pinch of salt for 15 min or until you see a thread like stuff from the quino. Then drain the remaining water and keep aside to cool. Or you can cook quino(the above given amount) with just 1 cup water till the water is completely evaporated and quino is cooked.
2. Cook the sweet pea/green peas with required water and pinch of salt till soft and set aside to cool.
3. Cut all the veggies to small pieces and keep aside.
4. Mix all the above stuffs together in a large bowl and sprinkle salt and pepper powder.Drizzle the lemon juice, olive oil and mix well.Adjust salt, lemon juice,pepper as required. Serve

1. While cooking quino you can add a few drops of olive oil to it.
2. Adding salt while cooking quino keeps it fluffy.
3. You can drizzle plain olive oil along with lemon juice in the dressing or you can just leave it altogether.
4. I have added a pinch of salt while cooking peas and quino so add salt at the end accordingly.
How my son helps me to photograph...oh he just woke up from sleep..He thought that when I was looking through camera eye piece I dint see him putting hand into the seed...and he was enjoying doing that..

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat: Chocolate Almond Cake

One fine evening I got a mail...Hey are you interested in baking? Would you love to join a baking group? The first thing that went through my mind was...No way..I won't get time to do this..Wont be able to post stuffs on time...I took a whole evening to think about it...Then finally decided..never have participated in anything properly...Never hosted an event and never been a part of any group...So finally replied my friend yes with a tons of questions.. and thus I am now for the first time a part of the group called Baking Partners:A Baking Group started by Swathi.
This is the first post made by the group which is a tribute to Julia Child on her 100th birthday.We baked Julia's Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocolat which is Chocolate Almond Cake.

Ingredients for  8 inch pan:
semi-sweet chocolate - 4 ounce/4 squares/113.4 grams
Rum or coffee - 2  tbsp
Butter - ¼  lb./1 stick/ 113g(softened)
Granulated sugar- 2/3 cup / 134g
Eggs- 3 nos ( Yolks and White Separated)
Pinch of salt
Granulated sugar- 1tbsp
Pulverized  (ground) almonds- 1/3 cup/ 65g
Almond extract-½ tsp
Cake flour- ½ cup/ 57g  (scooped and leveled, turned into a sifter)
**Substitute for cake flour: While measuring the cake flour, add 1 tablespoon of corn flour/corn starch and then fill the rest.

Chocolate Icing:
Semisweet baking chocolate- 2 ounces (2 squares)/ 56.7 g
Rum or coffee-2 tbsp
Unsalted butter-5 to 6 tbsp(soft)

Method of Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350F/ 180 C.Butter and flour the cake pan/ use a butter paper/parchment paper in the base of the cake.
2. Mix the chocolate and rum/coffee. Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water, let melt while you proceed with the recipe.
3. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
4. Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture. Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
5. Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed (make sure it should have peaks not deflate ones).
6. With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the ground almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir in one-fourth ( ¼) of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third  (1/3rd) of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one-third  ( 1/3rd) of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.
7.  Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for 25minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged  into that area comes out clean; the centre should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle  comes out oily and gently set in center and tooth pick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 20-25minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes.
8. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan(if using flour and butter to dust pan), and reverse cake on the rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two (about 2 hours); it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.
9. To serve, use the chocolate-butter icing recipe below, and then press a design of almonds over the icing.

 How to make Icing:
1. A bowl filled with a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them and set aside.
2. Place the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover, and set in a larger pan of almost simmering water.
3. Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth.
4. Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time.
5.Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife.

cake slice immediately after applying icing..

1.Use an 8 inch pan for the above measurements.
2. I used coffee extract(1 and 1/2 tbsp) in place of rum.You can use freshly brewed coffee.
3.The cake is on the lower side for sweetness and is having a bitter taste.Increase sugar to almost 1/4 cup(approx.)
4. I used raw almonds and pulverized it.You can toast, blanch, pulverize the almonds.
5. Use good quality chocolates.I used ghirardelli semi sweet chocolates.
6. Cake took about 18-19 mins to bake for me,so keep a close watch on it.
7. The chocolate measurement here assumes that the chocolate squares are 1 ounce each.Before using check how much each chocolate square weighs.
8.Cake has a strong taste of chocolate and coffee.Basically a chocolate lovers cake.
9. I used APF and cornstarch instead of cake flour.
10. I used Almond flakes to decorate it.
Cake slice the next day..Icing set properly.

Done By:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fruit Salad

Do you believe in Good time and Bad time..hmmm I can hear some Yes and some Noooo...For me it was a Nooo until now...but boy was I wrong there...
These days Time has made me believe that its not "only Time" but its "Good time" and "Bad time"...and I am pretty sure that its bad time running for me.
Oh it all started 2 weeks back...A Wednesday night..My dear husband thought that it was perfect time to clean the not so problamatic drain with a he took the unopened chemical and started to open the package...Poor me who was sitting on the couch...head buried in the laptop..took a glance thinking what on earth are you doing?...felt bad for he doing it alone and went to help...ok we pulled the chemical package with both hands..and thud and ahhhhh...that 3 liter bottle fell on my leg...Finally hus kept the bottle and was near me who was half scolding and half crying..and yes its not yet used..:)
Next day
Cooking got over pretty fast...thought about making a salad..Went to chop cucumbers..Started off with knife..then realized about taking pics and posting in thought a mandolin was perfect for this task(perfect shape for perfect picture)...started off and to my surprise sliced a part of thumb.. For a second felt that blood from whole body would drain...Anyways that din't happen..was left with a wounded thumb and loads of medicines and pain..
Finally today...
The thumb looks fine...kind of dried with slight pain..started off with my cooking...and tada next event...yup..Its a burn this time...Was frying some snack and oil burst to face...Got some decent marks and yes pain too...hopefully will remain for a year or two.:( Now how on earth will I not believe in "Bad Time"...
Hey today's recipe has nothing to do with time...Though it is something for which you really dont need any time...

Strawberry-3 nos
Watermelon-15 to 20 pieces(cubed)
Grapes-10 nos
Pineapple-5 to 6 pieces
Orange-1/2 piece(juiced)
Basil-5 to 6 leaves
Honey(if needed)

Method of Preparation:
1. Cut the fruits as needed
2. Drizzle honey if needed
3. Mix the orange juice basil and rosemary with fruits and serve.Feel free to use any fruits.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spiced Buttermilk/Sambharam

The simple and effective drink for summer.Spiced buttermilk is a famous drink during the summer seasons in Kerala. Earlier days sambharam was the first drink offered to guests who visited during summer seasons in order to cool their body and to refresh them.Even now people prefer them over other drinks.Slightly tangy, bit hot by chilies and ginger and flavorful with curry leaves they still are my all time faves during summer and not to mention the easiness to put together...

Yogurt- 1cup
Water- 2 to 3 cup
Curry leaves-5 to 8 leaves
Green chilies- 2 no
Ginger- 1/2 inch piece
Salt to taste

Method of Preparation:
1. Blend the yogurt with little water and mix with salt and remaining water to form thin liquid.
2. Chop all other things and crush them using a motor and pestle(or hand/ pulse in a blender).
3. Add the crushed ingredients to the yogurt and mix well and keep aside for 5 mins for flavors to infuse.
4. Chill and drink.

1. Mint, coriander, small piece of onion, Lime leaves, cumin a pinch can be added to flavor this.
2. You can add yogurt and water in a jar with a tight lid and shake vigorously to mix them instead of using a blender.



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