December 30, 2013

Black Forest Cupcakes

A year passed away in a wink. And another is just standing in the doorstep to get welcomed with an open arm with lots of dreams and pending jobs to fulfill which remained untouched or unsuccessful this year. This year has seen many ups and downs, face offs and at the same time showered me with some precious friends without whom now life can't even think of breathing. This post is dedicated to that friendship, truly to those friends who are so near to my heart, my OXYGEN.......
And at the same time wish you all Happy New year 2014....
Ingredients:
(Yields 11 to 12 medium size cupcakes)
Flour- 1 cup
Eggs - 2
Butter - 100gm (I used Amul)
Icing Sugar- 1 cup
Cocoa Powder - 2tbspns
Milk - 1/2 cup (more or less)
Baking Power - 1 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/4 tsp
Mixed fruit Jam - 1 tbspn
Chopped Cherries - 4- 5
Cherries to decorate - 11-12
Whipped Cream - 1/2 cup
Water - 2tbspns
Method:

  1. Add Flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder and sieve nicely at least from 4-5 times.
  2. Beat the butter and the sugar in a smooth paste. Add egg one at time and  beat nicely. Add the flour mixture and fold nicely altogether. Slowly add the milk. When you will lift the spatula the batter will drop in a thick string.
  3. Pre- heat the oven to 200 degree C for 6-8 mnts. (I baked it in to OTG).
  4. Take a muffin pan and line the cupcake liners. Pour the batter in to each cups.
  5. Bake for 25-30 mnts at 180 Degree C or until a toothpick pricked comes out clean.
  6. Take them out and shift the cupcake into a cooling rack and cool.
  7. Take a piping bag and pour the whipped cream in to the piping bag with a tip/nozzel inserted.
  8. Dissolve the jam in the water.
  9. Take the cupcakes and cut the top with the knife like a plus. Slowly soak the top with the jam paste and then top with chopped cherries.
  10. Pipe the cream on the top of each cupcake and the decorate it with cherry and chopped chocolates or chocolate rice.
I made these Black forest cakes long back. Hope you will like them.
Sending this to the KFB Baking Palooza 2013 Event:
https://www.facebook.com/kolkatafoodbloggers?ref=hl

December 25, 2013

Pinwheel Cookies

Thanks to my daughter that this year to celebrate Christmas I was able to fulfill my dream of making Pinwheel cookies which were pending for so many years into my do to list. Lil K wanted this year to treat Santa with the Pinwheel cookies which she had seen in the picture and loved it. Christmas brings us joy and also a welcoming music to embrace a brand new year. So the whole month of December we pass with a joy of merriment and in a mood of celebration.  The streets, the homes all get lighten up and brighten up with the Christmas decors. The Christmas trees get ornamented from shopping Malls to Home. The kids wait since a long time and cross their fingers to open up their eyes with a bright morning of the day of Christmas to check how many gifts Santa has showered them. This expectation and the ritual have not been changed a bit. From my childhood to my daughters era Santa is welcomed with the Milk and cookies and a list of gifts that is wanted from him. Fest of Christmas brings joy at each individual’s heart which is now widely celebrated all over the world with a gala celebration. Let us now move to the recipe of Pinwheel Cookies.
{Recipe adapted from HERE. I have halved the measurement and it yields to 11-12 cookies}
Ingredients
Butter : 100gm (I have taken 1 tbspoon from it to use it later)
Sugar : 1/2 cup
Egg yolk : 1
Vanilla Essence: 2 tspns
Milk : 2 tbspn ( keep handy for more too)
Flour: 1 & 1/2 cup
Baking Powder : 1/2 tbspn

3 tbspns cocoa powder mixed with 1 tbspn melted butter and 1 tbspn milk..
Method:
  1. First make the cocoa powder mixture. Melt 1 tbspn butter in 1 tbspn milk for a few seconds in the microwave.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and mix well and reserve.
  3. Sift the flour together with the baking powder.
  4. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add egg yolk  beat well.
  6. Add vanilla, then 2 tablespoons milk beating until well mixed.
  7. At low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and mix well. Then increase speed to medium and beat until the dough leaves the side of the bowl. Use your hand and knead in to a nice dough.
  8. Divide the dough. Remove about ¾ of the dough and set aside. That portion will be the vanilla dough.
  9. To the  other dough add the chocolate mixture and knead nicely. This forms the chocolate dough.
  10. On a sheet of waxed paper, roll vanilla dough into a rectangle . Repeat with the chocolate dough in the same manner in to another wax paper.
  11. Flip rolled chocolate dough onto vanilla dough and peel off waxed paper. Lightly press the surface with a rolling pin to adhere both the vanilla and chocolate dough.
  12. With the short end facing you, roll the dough tightly into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator.
  13. After about 30 minutes take the logs out of the refrigerator and roll on the counter to retain the circular shape and prevent one side from flattening.
  14. Wrap tightly again in plastic wrap, place in freezer-safe container and freeze for about an hour or store in freezer and bake as needed.
  15. When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 160 decree C.
  16. Thaw cookie log just slightly and slice to about ¼ thickness with a sharp knife.
  17. Place cookie slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  18. Remove cookies from pan and place in cooling rack to cool and then serve.
Note:
Before you slice the cookies putting it in the freezer for at least one hour is a must. Otherwise the the design of the cookies will not come out neat. Please see my cookies. I was in hurry, so I have kept it only 15 mnts in the freezer and got specks of chocolates on the white part.

Sending this to the "Baking Palooza 2013" by Kolkata Food Bloggers:
Kolkata Food Bloggers



December 20, 2013

Egg less Orange and Chocolate Marble Bundt Cake topped with Caramel Sauce

That day when Sayantani of A Homemaker's Diary posted the picture of her Egg less Orange and Chocolate Marble Bundt Cake in a food group, everyone drooled over the picture like anything. I was not able to sleep properly that night as in intervals the sight of the sumptuous cake popping up in front of my eyes. The next day was my SIL's birthday and got a very good reason to hit the cake without wasting any more time. And no need to say when it came out it became so tasty that I myself finished a good big portion of it.  
Before I move to the recipe I would also like to tell my readers that we Kolkata Food Bloggers are having the "Baking Palooza2013" event on our page. So don't miss to visit to get some awesome recipes on baking goodies. Now off to the recipe.
Ingredients:
For the cake:
Flour - 2 cups
Baking Powder - 2 tsps (2 pinches less)
Baking Soda- 1/2 tsp (1 pinch less)
Butter- 100gm (I used Amul)
White oil- 1/2 cup
Condense Milk- 1 can (I used Milkmaid)
Drinking Soda- 1/2 cup (More or less)
Orange Juice out of 2 large oranges
Cocoa Powder - 2 tbsps
Sweet Orange Flavour- 1/2 tsp (Optional)

For the caramel Sauce:
Amul cream- 1 small tetra pack
Brown Sugar- 1/2 cup

Butter- 2 tbsp
Method:
First make the Sauce:
  1. Heat a pan and melt the butter. Add the sugar and stir till it melts. Add the cream and continuously keep on stirring. Let it change the colour and the consistency thickens. Take it off the flame and reserve.

Let’s make the cake:
  1. Sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda altogether 3 to four times.
  2. In a separate pan beat the butter nicely. Add the condense milk, Orange juice and the oil. Beat nicely. I didn't use an electric hand beater. A normal hand beater works great here.
  3. Now add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and the soda too. Fold gently altogether in a nice batter. The consistence should not be runny but fall in drops. If you think the batter should me more soft add soda more.
  4. Now separate the batter in to two halves.
  5. Take one portion and add cocoa powder and mix nicely so that it gets incorporate in the whole mixture.
  6. Pre- heat your for 8mnts at 200 Degree C. (I baked it in an OTG)
  7. Take a Bundt pan. Grease it nicely with oil and dust with flour.
  8. Pour the two halves haphazardly on each half's side and top but be careful don't mix the two portions.
  9. Now tap the pan in a smooth surface to level the batter.
  10. Take a knife or a skewer and in a round motion insert it in the batter and bring it out. Do it in the whole area so that it should create a swirl texture of white and dark colour when it will get cut.
  11. Bake it for 40-45 mnts or until the knife inserted comes out clean at 180 Degree C.
  12. Bring it out of the oven and cool it. Take it off the pan and then Pour the caramel sauce over the cake and serve.

Sending this to the ongoing baking event by Kolkata Food Bloggers:




December 18, 2013

My Second Guest Post - Food Photography

My joy knew no bound when I was approached by Huma to write a guest post for her blog. But when I heard the subject my heart shrank down.  I was requested to write a post on Food Photography. Food Photography is not my cup of tea, as I hardly know anything technically about this field.  But yes, I love clicking and experimenting and I have improved a lot if I compare them with my earlier Food Photographs. So when I shared my confusion with Huma, she said that she loved the way I click and why didn't I share my Food Photography experience with the readers. So I gained some confidence and wrote my experience on Food Photography. So please visit Huma's blog Geza-e Shiriin to READ MORE.
Do not forget to surf her blog for some awesome mouthwatering recipes.

December 4, 2013

Brownie Bottomed Cheesecake topped with Chocolate Ganach

Cheesecake is one of the most common desserts at my home that my lil one every week demands for. In spite of the exorbitant price of Cream Cheese (the Philadelphia one) I have to indulge in it for my daughter's taste sake. I have so many bookmarked recipes in my folder which offer Cheese cake made out of cottage cheese/ ricotta cheese/ hung card etc, but I am yet to try those. Here somehow the mind got blocked with the assurance that nothing can beat the taste of Philadelphia cream cheese (the only trusted brand available in Kolkata) and the Cheesecake made out of it. This time I had some guests at home and the next day was the last Kolkata Food Blogger's Table meet of this year. So decided to make this dessert on which I got hooked from the new Cook Book gifted by my hubby. I made this in a jiffy along with all the listed dishes that was planned to feast the guests. And no need to say all were too contented after having each dish starting from the starter to the dessert. After coming from the USA I hardly have guest at my home. Most of the time we visit all but don't get much time to invite some and feed rather we take them to the restaurants to save time and energy too. Ah, yes life has become so mechanical here. And that I don't like at all. Due to my work load, the household activities and attending the lil one gobble up all my free times to indulge in this merriment to entertain guest and cook some delicious meal for them. I use to enjoy this so much in my US stay. In every alternate week we used to have party at home and flood of tasty foods. Ah gone were those days. After a long time again I tasted that pleasure to have banquet at home.
The recipe I have followed was from my newly owned copy of The Cookie and Biscuit Bible. In this book over 400 delicious, easy-to-make recipes for brownies, bars, muffins and crackers, showed step-by-step in over 1300 glorious photographs. I have adapted the recipe from the Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie and as usual gave some touch of my own. But when S of A Homemaker's Diary and a KFBian tasted this said the name should be appropriate if we title it Brownie Bottomed Cheesecake topped with Chocolate Ganach. I was so happy when I took some of these pieces for the KFBians at the KFB meet all devoured it and made me so happy. So the name it got Brownie Bottomed Cheesecake topped with Chocolate Ganach…..Should we now proceed to the recipe:
Recipe partially adapted from: The Cookie and Biscuit Bible 
Ingredients:
(I have used a square 6 X 6 baking tin pan)
For the Brownie Base:
Semi Sweet Chocolate: 100gm
Butter: 100gm (I used Amul )
Castor Sugar: 3/4 cup
Eggs: 2
Flour: 1/2 cup 
For the Cheese Cake:
(In the recipe only one block of cream cheese has been used. But I have increased it at 2.)
 Cream Cheese: 2  blocks - each one of 8 oz ( I used Philadelphia)
Eggs: 3
Powdered Sugar: 1 & 1/2 cups
Vanilla essence : 1 tsp 
For the Ganach:
Cream: 200gm (I used Amul tetra Pack)
Grated Dark Chocolate : 1 cup

Note: Everything should be in the room temperature.
Method:
1. First line the baking pan with Aluminum foil nicely. Best trick is to first turn the baking pan upside down. Then take the impression of the pan with foil so that when you will take it out it will itself look like a square container. Then fit that structure in the pan which will get fit easily.
2. Make the cheese cake mixture first. Cream the cream cheese and sugar nicely. Add the essence. Beat. Add the eggs one at a time and then beat in to  smooth batter. Reserve.
3. Then make the brownie base. Melt the butter and the chocolate in a microwave or in a double boiler. When the chocolate gets melted take it off the heat and stir the sugar in it nicely. Let it get cool for a while then add the eggs one at a time and beat nicely. Add flour and fold gently.
4. Pre- heat the oven at 160 degree C. I usually pre- heat my Convection oven or OTG at 200 degree C for 5-8mnts and the at the time of baking put the desired temperature and start baking.
5. Take the baking pan. Pour the brownie mixture first. Then slowly pour the Cream cheese mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 mnts (More or less, pls keep on checking until a knife or toothpick pricked comes out clean) at 160 degree C.
6. Take it out of the heat and cool it.
7. Make the Ganach. Heat a pan and pour the cream. When the cream will become warm add the chocolate. Keep on stirring on a low heat until the chocolate melts and mixes in the cream nicely. Let the sauce make semi thick and then pour it on the cheese cake as a top layer. You cake keep little bit cream aside to make some Latte Art on the top.
8. For best result refrigerate overnight and then serve.

December 1, 2013

Product Review: Just Eat - Order Online

‘One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to EATING.’
Why I agreed to review this site - The question may arise mainly when I will share that this service is not provided in Kolkata. Then Why? Ok.. May be this will not help my friends/ readers who reside in Kolkata but to all my friends/ readers who are residing all over India. I only convinced my mind to do this review after getting the positive feedback about this site from my friends and family who live in Mumbai and Pune. They are too satisfied with the services provided by Just Eat.  A hope also clanged in my mind that very soon may Kolkata also will be blessed with this India's largest online food ordering portal and table reservation website.

The punch line of Just Eat may give one the idea how it exactly works - "One Click and You Can JUST EAT" .. A few years back also it was beyond our imagination that while sitting at home with one click we can have a full fat meal at our dinner table without wasting much energy or time. Yes now we are living to that era where the advanced technology has made our lifestyle so easy that time management sounds like a boon when we have such kind of online service providers. 

How it will work:
Here’s what all you can be assured of if you decide to order from JustEat:

·  Choice, choice and more choice: 
  Yes, it can be Mughlai today, Chinese tomorrow and Mexican the next day, with a few pastries thrown in for your dessert. Such is the choice available in India’s largest online food ordering portal. For instance, if you’re looking to OrderFood Online in Delhi, you’ll have close to a thousand restaurants to choose from!

·   Order today, for next weekend’s dinner: 
   Have a circle of close friends coming over to dinner next weekend and every person has a different choice of cuisine? No issues, and neither is there a need to plan elaborately in advance. Just log on and place an advance order with JustEat, specifying the date and time you want the delivery boy to come knocking at your door. It’ll take hardly two minutes for the entire process (provided you don’t lose your way in the maze of over 3 lakh dishes to choose from…!)

·   Attractive discounts on online payments: 
   More often than not, there is some or the other big discount going on with the online payment restaurants listed with JustEat.in. A whopping 30% off on your favourite Chicken Manchurian sure enhances the taste of the dish, doesn't it?!
·         
   Constant updates once you sign up: 
   You’ll sure get to know what is the hottest deal available once you sign up with these guys, they’ll keep you posted so that you don’t miss out on anything.


As if this was not enough, there are also online food ordering apps to choose from, which work as smoothly as the website itself. 

Let’s look at it this way: you live in Mumbai and want to get Home Delivery in Mumbai, while driving back home from office. You decide not to cook for the day and wish to just throw off your shoes once you reach home, and relax. It’s here that the apps will be super-convenient for you and you’ll get your favourite food right on time.

Just Eat being India's largest online food ordering portal and table reservation website, has headquartered in Bangalore and with branches in Delhi, Mumbai, plus a host of smaller cities and expanding rapidly. Thier reliable one-click ordering system has greatly simplified the entire process of ordering food online. With over 2500 restaurants, 52 cuisines and 3 lakh dishes to choose from,that have made their mark as the most preferred way to beat hunger, with over 3.5 lakh registered users spanning all across India. Plus, they have recently launched their new online food ordering apps on Android, iPhone and Windows 8 platforms, complete with the option of online payment for food orders placed online through the app (www.justeat.in/mobile). Their parent company is headquartered in the UK, with a presence in 12 other countries apart from India. 
True, that. And especially when you don’t have to cook, it’s like the icing on the cake. Otherwise what happens is you generally tend to spend a majority of the time between meals preparing for the next meal itself – half the time cooking, and the other half trying to make up your mind on what to cook! As I mentioned in my last post itself, my target always is to spend the least time possible in the kitchen.
Imagine you had all this time to yourself, to do what you like, but still got to eat your favourite fare. Finding it hard to believe? Just go visit JUST EAT and then let me know if it’s possible or not to order your food online in a jiffy.
Order food ‘online’ – therein lies the key. Be it the latest designer apparel, your favourite chick-lit novel or even that wall clock you've put up in your living room – everything is available online today. And now of course, food as well.

(Picture Courtesy: JustEat.in)