Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Herb and Cheese Pull-apart Bread

A post after a short break..When this year started I had thought that I would post in some rhythm, now that was just a thought not a resolution and I am happy that it was a thought else I would have had to add one more broken resolution to my list...:) Now I cant take the whole may be the weather too which doesn't allow me to wake up from bed or from couch or wherever I am seated...Oh come on! weather is not having an effect only on me...The Sun who is supposed to wake us up or who is supposed to bring light is resting the whole day..making day look more like night..Now don't you think the sun has to do its job even if humans don't ???? That is enough of reasons to support me from missing in action..:)..Hey BTW thanks to all food groups I am there because of whom I post at least 2 or 3 times a month...:)

This bread was made a year back just now got the privilege to be here..It is from here..I had prepared this for a party and was enjoyed by everyone..A delicious one with flavors from herbs and cheese...

Active dry yeast- 2 tsp
Luke warm water-1 1/3 cups
Extra-virgin olive oil-2 tbsp
Salt-2 tsp
All purpose flour-3 1/2 cups
Butter-1/4 cup(melted)
Red Chilli Flakes-1 tsp
Italian Seasoning-1 tbsp
Garlic-2 cloves(minced)
Parmesan cheese-1/4 cup (grated)

Method of preparation:
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the yeast and water. Let sit 5 minutes until yeast is foamy. Mix in the olive oil, salt, and flour.
2.Mix the flour and then knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is soft and elastic, 7-10 minutes.
3. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.
4. Allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until dough is doubled in size.
5. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, Italian seasoning, and minced garlic. Set aside.
6. Punch down the dough. Tear off small pieces of dough, coat in the butter mixture, and place in the bottom of a bundt pan. Repeat this process until you have one layer of dough balls.
7. Sprinkle some of the Parmesan cheese. Continue layering the dough balls and cheese until you have 3 layers.
8. Cover the pan with a clean towel and allow to sit until dough has doubled in size, 20-30 minutes.
9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bread is golden brown.Serve hot.

1. Any herb and cheese can be used.
2. I made the above recipe in 2 small bundt pans and about 8 rolls. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We knead to bake #1: Baingan Bharta Pull apart bread

Baking breads is not something I do on a regular basis and if I do so,  it always ended up with white or garlic rolls. Then I saw Aparna starting  a group known as We Knead To Bake where in she was checking with people who was interested to bake one bread every month thereby 12 breads for the year. That sounded interesting and I was sure that I would get to do many other varieties other than the white and garlic ones. I sent her a mail and she added me to the group and sent me the recipe for this month. When I opened it I realized that very recently I did a herb bread which is still to be published. So this time I went a little wild and wanted to try something different. That was when we had a dinner at Mediterranean and had baba Ganoush. Now that made me think that I would try that as a filling, but then that would be too tangy for our taste. Then came the idea of using eggplant in the Indian way known as Baingan bharta where the eggplant is smoked on fire and then mashed and mixed with other spices. Now I had to make it dry in order to not end with a soggy bread. so have made some variations resulting in a delicious spread on bread.As for the bread this is very soft and delicious one and using milk to knead it adds to the deliciousness.

For the dough:
Milk-1/2 cup(warm)
Sugar-1 tsp
Active Dry Yeast-2 tsp
All Purpose flour-23/4 to 3 cups
Salt-1 tsp
Butter-25gms(soft at room temperature)
Garlic paste-3/4 tsp
Milk-3/4 cup(a couple of tbsp more to brush over the bread)

For stuffing/spread Baingan bharta(smoked mashed Eggplant) :
Eggplant-1 big(smoked)
Onion-1 medium(cut to small pieces)
Tomato-1 small(cut to small pieces)
Butter-2 tsp
Cloves-2 nos
Coriander seeds-1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds-1/2 tsp
Garlic clove-2 nos
Ginger garlic paste-3/4 tsp
Chili powder/chili flakes-1 tsp
Garam masala-1/4 tsp
Salt for taste
Amchur-1/4 tsp
Nutmeg-1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves-2 tbsp(chopped fine)
Melted Butter-15 gms

Method of preparation:
1. Wash the eggplant and wipe the water away. Apply a little oil on surface and roast the eggplant by turning around on flame till the skin becomes dark and the eggplant turns mushy. Keep aside to cool and remove the peel leaving some on.
2. Now heat butter in a wok and fry cloves, cumin,coriander seeds in it. Add onion, garlic,garlic paste and cook till it turns golden brown.
3. Add tomatoes to this and cook them till it turns mushy. Now add the spice powders and mix well. Add salt to taste and then cool the mixture.
4. Once cooled grind it coarsely along with eggplant.
5. Turn it down to a bowl and if you feel it has too much of liquid or is too moist, heat it again till it turns dry. Garnish with coriander leaves. Let it cool before using on bread.

Method of Preparation:
1. In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast rises.
2. Put 2 3/4 cup of flour, salt, softened butter, and garlic paste in a bowl and mix.
3. Then add the yeast mixture and the 3/4 cup of milk and knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable dough which is not sticky. Add a little extra flour if your dough is sticking.
4. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until almost double in volume.
5. Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a larger square that is about 12" by 12".
6.  Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter. Evenly spread the bhaingan bartha filing.
7. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect. Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips.You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater.
8.  Using a pastry scraper or a sharp knife, cut straight down through the stack dividing it into 6 equal pieces (6 square stacks).
9. Grease and lightly flour a 9" by 5" loaf tin. Butter and lightly flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Layer the square slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin
10. Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf.
11. Bake the dough at 350F for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown. This recipe bakes one 9" by 5" loaf.

1. Baingan bharta has to be dry to avoid a soggy bread.
2. Before applying the mixture on bread see that its completely cooled.
3. In order to reduce moisture I have decreased the amount of tomato and added amchur.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Carrot Orange Soup

Soup is perfect choice for these cold windy days...Here is a lovely combination of carrots and orange to warm up..

Baby carrots-3 cups
Orange-1 medium sized
Yogurt-2 tsp(beaten)
Bay leaves-2 nos
Cloves-4 nos
Garlic-1 no
Ginger-11/2 tsp(minced)
Onion-3 tbsp(small pieces)
Butter-1 tsp
Red Chili flakes-1/4 tsp
Salt & pepper to taste

Method of preparation:
1. Pressure cook carrots with  water, bay leaves and cloves for one whistle.Let cool
2. Grind to soft texture and then add the water used to cook carrots about 1 cup and set aside.
3. Heat the butter and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Fry till the raw smell goes. See that you don't brown the garlic.
4. Add the carrot puree along with salt and chili flakes and cook till it starts to boil.
5. Reduce heat and add the freshly squeezed orange juice and mix well. Just heat it for a minute or two.
6. Add pepper powder and turn off the heat. stir the yogurt into it and mix well.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and a dollop of yogurt.Serve with bread.

1. Do not boil after adding orange juice.I used oranges that were sweet and tart.
2. Use yogurt that is not much tart else add less or you will have a very tangy soup.
3. You can cook carrots in any way till it is tender.
4. Use vegetable stock if you have instead of water.
5. While grinding the carrots grind it coarsely so that you have few pieces to bite.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

White velvet Cake with Whipped Vanilla blue Ombre frosting

Finally The B'day Cake of my hubby is here...I have been wanting to post this in the first week of jan but due to some or the other work it got postponed..Anyways better late  than never..
Usually I bake the cake the day before his b'day when he is at office so that he never knows it and we cut it at night 12..This time b'day came on monday which meant I had to bake the cake on friday to cut on sunday night and keep it. Now that was tough to hide a cake for 2 days when hubby was at home throughout..So i was in a dilema whether to bake or not. Finally at around 3 on friday evening I decided to bake a cake. Now I had to find one. So after searching I loved the ombre cake. Again I knew that hubby wont like many colors in the the layers need not be colored so I went with a vanilla cake. Initially I thought of baking basic vanilla cake then when I looked into The Cake bible I saw the white cake and went with it. Baked 2 layers on friday evening and kept them covered in fridge. Now  baking on sat and sunday was I changed the plan of cutting the(my) cake on sunday night. Had arranged for a cake with hubby's friends and cut that at 12..
Now monday after he left to office I baked other two cakes and frosted it. The cake recipe is from The Cake Bible- Rose Levy Beranbaum.

White Velvet Butter Cake
Large egg whites- of 41/2 eggs(135gms)
Milk-1 cup(242gms)
Vanilla-2 1/4 tsp(9 gms)
Cake Flour-3 cups(300 gms)(Sifted)
Sugar-11/2 cups(300 gms)
Baking Powder-1 tbsp+1 tsp(19.5 gms)
Salt-3/4 tsp(5 gms)
Unsalted Butter-12 tbsp(`170 gms)(must be softened)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9" cake pans and set aside.
2. In a bowl lightly  combine the egg white,1/4 cup milk and vanilla.
3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix on low speed for 30 sec to blend.
4. Add butter and remaining milk to the dry mixture and mix on low speed to moisten the dry mixture.Increase the speed to high and beat for 11/2 minutes.
5. Scrape the sides and add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating inbetween for 20 sec. after each addition to incorporate the ingredients.Scrape the sides.
6. Scrape the batter into prepared pans and smooth the surface using a spatula.
7. Bake for 25 to 30 mins or till a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and cake springs back when -pressed lightly in center.
8. Let cake cool in pan 10 mins and then on wire racks.

1. Ingredients should be at room temperature.
2. Cake flour can be replaced with  1 cup minus 2 tbsp All purpose Flour to which add 2 tbsp corn flour and sift 3 times so that the flour gets mixed and aerated properly.
3. When the cake is inverted to wire racks to cool, its best to re-invert with the top facing up to avoid splitting.
4. I used a hand mixer to make the cake if its a stand mixer instead of high use medium speed.
5. I measured the ingredients in grams.

Frosting recipe is from sweetapolita
Whipped Vanilla Frosting
Unsalted butter-3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (375 grams)(softened and cut into cubes)
confectioner's sugar- 3 cups sifted (475 g)  (icing, powdered sugar)
Milk- 3 tablespoons (45 ml)
Vanilla extract- 2 tsp
Salt- pinch

1. In the bowl  whip butter till it becomes very pale & creamy(approx. for 10 minutes on high speed ).
2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on medium speed for 1 minute, then on high speed for 6 to 7 minutes till frosting is very light, creamy and fluffy.

Assembling the cake:
1. If your cake has dome on top cut and level it.
2. Keep one cake on the base and apply a scoop of frosting on top of it. Spread it evenly on whole cake and then place the second cake on top of it. Continue the process for the four cakes and then apply scoops of frosting on top and sides of the cake to form the crumb coat. After that keep the cake in refrigerator for 30 mins to set.
3. Now divide the remaining frosting into 3 bowls and add a drop of blue to one bowl and two drops to another bowl. Keep one frosting as white. Now mix the colors well and evenly.
4.Attach a 1m open star tip to a pipping bag and fill the bag with the white cream first and then start to decorate wtih rose from sides to center. Now to do rose keep the star tip in the center and with equal pressure lift the tip and move outside. Continue this on top.
5. Then fill the bag with the next light color and start pipping the frosting from the sides in a line. At this point hold the pipping bag perpendicular to your cake. You can do that for two lines and then use the dark color at bottom and continue with the roses.
6. Sometimes there will be little gap between the roses and you can see the crumb coat, then using the same color frosting draw a line in the same direction as rose or just put small stars. At the end those small stuffs wont be visible.
7. If you happen to do some mistake while making the rose then you can scrape it and do it again.
8. The colors should be from base dark to lighter shades of same color. You can use any color of your choice.
9. Refrigerate the cake for some time so the frosting is set. Keep the cake outside for about 15 to 30 minutes before serving.

1. My husband is not very much interested of having colored cake layers so I went with a white cake. You can add ombre effect there by adding blue color in dark to light tone in layers.In that case try to match the frosting colors to that.
2. The above measurement for cakes makes 2 9" cakes.
3. To frost the whole cake(4 layered) I used twice the above measured frosting.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sun Dried Tomato and Onion Tart-Baking Partners

This time we the Baking Partners decided to bake pies. As always I was waiting for the beautiful day to bake one that the flu visited us through my son..Poor baby he was very badly hit by it and the flu has caught all of us with severe headache, fever and cough ..With all this around I was not in a position to bake and enjoy anything..When I could finally get some relief yesterday decided to bake this tart..There is another reason too..when I had decided to join this group my main idea was to bake things other than cakes and this time I wanted to do it..I went with this easy tart suggested by Samantha of Samantha Menzies from here. It was very easy to put together and required very less effort and was equally delicious.

 Thawed puff pastry sheets-2 nos (9 by 9 inches)
Olive oil-2 tbsp
Onions-3 cups (thinly sliced)
Thyme- 4-6 sprigs
Salt to taste
Dijon mustard-1½ tablespoons
Heavy cream-1½ tablespoons
Gruyere-1 cup grated
Sun-dried tomatoes- ½ cup (roughly chopped)

Method of Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place sheets of puff pastry on a baking tray. Prick surface with a fork, leaving a ½-inch border untouched. Bake until  lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
3. Meanwhile, prepare onions. Set a  pan over medium heat. Heat oil and add onions, thyme and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions turn golden, about 15 minutes. Season with salt.
4. In a small bowl, mix mustard with cream. Once pastry is slightly cool, return it to baking tray and spread mustard-cream sauce over top, leaving ½-inch border untouched.
5. Scatter half of cheese over sauce and top with onions. Add remaining cheese and tomatoes over top.
6. Return trays to oven and bake until cheese melts and browns in spots, about 15 minutes.

1. Even after pricking the puff sheets they puff up while baking so do prick them after taking out.
2. I replaced thyme with dried Oregano & fresh parsley leaves
3. Instead of Gruyere I used Emmental Swiss Cheese.
4. I halved the recipe.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ada/ila ada

When  Sreevalli of Ammaji Recipes asked me for a guest post some time back,  I was totally hooked up with multiple jobs.. but before i could tell a list of tasks in front of me she told that I can chose a later date, for which I accepted..I totally left it there and was moving around when around the corner I remembered about the guest post. Now cooking was fine but clicking it was very difficult..Finally when I saw a little sunshine I went with this simple but a traditional recipe of Kerala.
 Ada is a sweet delicacy from Kerala.These are steamed  rice pockets filled with sweet coconut filling.  It is know as ela ada because of the way it is made. Usually plantain leafs are used to cook them, but due to the unavailability of them here I have experimented with parchment paper and its a success. They are enjoyed as snack/sweet during evenings with tea as well as can act as breakfast if you have a sweet tooth in the morning.

 Hop over to her space to see how this simple delicacy is prepared....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mocha Cupcakes

2012 was a beautiful year with happiness,sorrows, fights, love and lots of memories to hold with while continuing the journey to 2013. When I was a kid I always thought that the year went the way how you started it..As the age went on I was thinking that its the resolution that you make that makes the year beautiful and then now I feel that life will go have to decide the right and wrong..Whatever the case,  you will feel all the emotions in these 12 like it or not..So this time I dint plan anything just thought of going with the flow..:)
Hope everyone around has a good start and your life goes as sweet and soft like this cake which is from here..

All-purpose flour-1 nd 1/3 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder-1/3 cup
Baking powder-1 tsp
Baking soda- 1/2 tsp
Salt-1/4 tsp
Whole milk-1/2 cup
Strong brewed coffee-1/2 cup
Espresso powder-1 nd 1/2 tsp
Vanilla extract-1 tsp
Unsalted butter-1/2 cup(at room temperature)
Granulated sugar-1/2 cup
Light brown sugar-1/2 cup
Egg-1 no (at room temperature)

Method of Preparation:
1. Mix the espresso powder into the brewed coffee until dissolved; set aside to cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
3. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
5. Then add egg and beat until combined.
6. In a cup, combine the milk, brewed coffee mixture and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee mixture, ending with the flour mixture.
7. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 liners. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting cupcakes.

Espresso Buttercream Frosting(enough for 12 cupcakes)

Unsalted butter-1 cup(at room temperature)
Powdered sugar-2 nd 1/2 cups
Vanilla extract-1 nd 1/2 tsp
Espresso powder-3/4 tsp
Cocoa powder- to dust

Method of Preparation:
1. Mix the espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside.
2. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl.
3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more.
4. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two.
5.  Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary.



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