Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake 

The merry bells are ringing. The cold is making my bones rattle. It’s a time of festivities and holidays and celebrations and Christmas.

My dry fruits have been soaking for a long time and I can’t wait any longer. Christmas is around the corner and I just have to make my Christmas cake.

The Christmas cake started out as a humble pudding which was eaten after a whole day’s fast, also known as the Vigil. To improve upon the oatmeal pudding variations were made by adding honey, spices, dry fruits etc and replacing the oatmeal with flour. Later eggs and butter were added to give it a richer texture. From porridge to boiled fruitcake to the Christmas Cake..its been an interesting journey.


450 gm currants
175 gm sultanas
175 gm raisins
50 gm glacé cherries, chopped
50 gm candied orange peel

The first thing to do is to soak all these in rum for at least 20 days. The longer the rum soaks the tastier the dry fruits become.

The list of ingredients may discourage you a bit because currants and sultanas are not easily available. Same is the case with me. Do not worry. Improvise. The key thing to remember is that the total weight of dry fruits must remain the same. The total weight her is 900 gms. I used 450 gm kishmish( easily available) and replaced the sultanas and raisins with a mix of tutti fruit, almonds, cashews and walnuts. Candied peels are easy to make. I will upload the recipe next time. J  

On with the list of ingredients

225 gm flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
225 gm soft brown sugar
225 gm butter
4 large eggs
1 tsp ground mixed spice

Now what is this??? Simple! It’s a mix of 6 spices. Mix together 1 tbsp cinnamon powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp nutmeg powder, ½ tsp dry ginger powder (sonth), ¼ tsp cloves powder and ¼ tsp allspice powder (easily available, and if not then omit it altogether)

1 dessertspoon black treacle(??????)

Treacle is a byproduct of the sugar making process. It is made from the syrup that remains after the sugar is refined. It is used both as a sweetener and as a condiment. You can make a homemade version of the black treacle.
Mix together 1 cup sugar and 2-3 tbsp water. Put it on medium heat till sugar dissolves and starts to turn dark brown. It will start giving off a slight burnt smell.

Turn off the heat. Slowly add ¼ cup water, mix well and put back on medium heat and cook till nicely blended. Now cool it completely.

You can start on your cake once these ingredients are ready.

Preheat the oven at 140 degree Celsius.

Whip together butter and sugar. 

Beat together all the eggs in a separate bowl. Now add the eggs to the butter mix 1 tbsp at a time mixing well after each addition. Do not get impatient and add the eggs in large quantities otherwise the batter will curdle.

Sieve together flour and mixed spices. Fold into the batter.

Add the rum soaked dry fruits and black treacle.

Bake at 140 degrees for about 2 hours.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Carrot Cake

Carrot cake

This is for my figure conscious friends who would rather avoid chocolates. I personally believe that nothing tastes as good as chocolates. Dark chocolate has its own benefits. It is good for your heart, your brain, is rich in anti oxidants, vitamins and minerals…but I digress..
This recipe is my ode to chilly winters and luscious red carrots. One of the best vegetables, it can makes an excellent ingredient for sweet dishes. The recipe of this carrot cake is fairly simple and the result is simply awesome..:)

225 gm soft brown sugar
225 gm self raising flour
225 gm freshly grated carrot
3 eggs
150 ml vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon powder

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Whisk together sugar, eggs and oil. 

Sieve together flour and cinnamon powder. Fold the flour into the egg mixture.

 Add the grated carrots.

 Bake for about 40 minutes at 175 degrees. 

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Banana Cake


Kids hate fruits! At least mine does! I hate to see the fruits going waste. The best way to make the kids eat fruits is to hide them in cakes and pies. I successfully finished off my apples..YAAAYY!!

Now I am stuck with these overripe bananas. Once they get those black spots my son refuses to touch them. I fail to make him understand that with those black spots the bananas are even more nutritious. SIGHH!!

I love this recipe because the bananas make the cake super moist and super tasty.


2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
Few walnuts crushed
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 eggs
½ cup curd

Preheat oven at 180 degree Celsius.
Sieve together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat together butter and sugar till pale and frothy.

Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. 

Add the mashed bananas and walnut. 

Mix well. Fold in the flour.

Then add the beaten curd. 

Bake in a greased cake tin for abut 30-40 minutes.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Burnt Butter Cupcakes

Burnt butter cupcakes

150 gm butter
125 gm flour
2 tsp baking powder
125 gm brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 190 degree C.First step is to burn the butter. Put the butter on medium heat. 

After it melts start stirring as the butter boils.

 Once it turns a golden brown color take it off the heat. Strain the butter as there will be sediments at the bottom. This is basically clarified butter.

Keep it aside till it starts to harden up a little.

Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar and butter.

Add the eggs and the milk to make a batter of dropping consistency.

Put them in cupcake moulds and bake for about 15 minutes. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Almond Choco Chips Biscotti

Almond choco chips biscotti

I got bored of those same old biscuits and cookies. So, I decided to try out these biscottis. They are thin, brittle and crunchy biscuits which are double baked to give them that extra crunch. They are not as crumbly or flaky as the biscuits we ordinarily have. Dip them in tea or coffee and enjoyyyy.....


3/4 cup  blanched almonds
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon baking powder
 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup choco chips

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Toast almonds for 8-10 minutes and then chop them coarsely.
Beat the sugar and eggs until thick, pale, and fluffy. Add the vanilla essence. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add to the egg mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the chopped almonds and chocolate.

Roll the dough on a well floured surface and shape into a log. 

Bake for about 25 minutes or until firm to the touch. 

Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 165 degrees C. Cut the log into diagonal slices. . .

Bake the slices for about 8-10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Dhaba Style Rogan Josh

Dhaba Style Rogan Josh

If someone told me to drop everything this instant and do the one thing I love the most I would pack up my bags, top up my car and just drive. There is something about the open road that fascinates me. Family trips around the country side is our most favorite thing. There is not much to be said about Indian roads but that discomfort aside it is an amazing experience.

And of course the food!!! We have traveled in our car all over Rajasthan, Gujrat, Punjab, Meghalaya, Sikkim...we have been to Moreh, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Cherrapunji on four wheels and have sampled some of the best meals available on roadside. One meal that I will always remember is in a little hamlet in Manipur. We were hungry yet wary of what kind of food might be available. There was only one run down dhaba and we had no other choice. But the food I had there was awesome and that was not just because we were so ravenous. It was simple homely grub and nothing that I could identify. There were lots of green leafy vegetables, local veggies and local rice. And I realized that it is not the ambiance that counts, not the liveried waiters, not the Michelin stars, not the food matters when you cook from your heart!

One thing I have not yet been able to understand is why does the food in a langar taste so yum? Why are we unable to replicate the taste of dhaba food in our kitchens? Is it is the earthiness , the sweat, dust and grime, the charcoal fire, the slow cooking on a tandoor???

This is a typical rogan josh recipe, however I have cooked it in the traditional way..not on a cooker but slow simmering on a charcoal tandoor. And it has made all the difference to the taste.


800 gm mutton, cubed
300 ml yogurt

Whole spices
2 black cardamoms
8 green cardamoms
5 cloves
2 tsp cumin seeds
cinnamon stick
10 Kashmiri red chillies
2 bay leaves

Spice mix

1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp fennel seeds, powdered
1/2 tsp black pepper powder

2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp green chilly paste

Fire up the tandoor.

Grind the whole spices in a mortar pestle to get a rough powder.

Heat some oil and fry the mutton pieces till well browned.

Add the ginger garlic paste and the whole spice powder and fry for about 10 minutes.

Add the Spice mix and continue frying. Add salt according to taste. Add the yogurt and wait till it starts simmering.

Then cover and cook for about 40 minutes.

Banana Walnut Choco Chip Cake

Though I bake everyday, it has been ages since I posted anything new on my blog. Last year saw lots of changes ...