Friday, 28 August 2015

Cocoa-Nana Bread

Cocoa-Nana Bread
Recipe source : Dorie Greenspan

This is an awesome cake. Since it is baked in a loaf tin you can call it a bread. The nomenclature doesn’t really matter because this is a super awesome dark as sin chocolaty cake.

 It is literally dark as sin, black as charcoal, midnight black!! You get the idea. In fact it was so dark in color that I had difficulty clicking a good picture. Honestly speaking the pictures do not do justice to the cake. It is tight yet crumbly. The top is cracked and creviced. The bread is soft and delicious.


2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
100 gms butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
¾ cup buttermilk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line and grease a 9” loaf tin.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Beat the butter till soft. Add the two sugars and beat again. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. 
Mix in the mashed bananas. 
Fold in the dry ingredients in three batches. 
Add the buttermilk till it is well incorporated. 
Now add the chopped chocolate.  
Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes. Cover the top with a foil and bake another 40 minutes. Total baking time is 70-75 minutes. Check with a toothpick to see if the cake is done. 

Chana murmura

Chana murmura

Do you know what I miss most living on the roof of the world? At 12, 000 feet I really miss pani puri, vada pav, aloo tikka and all those tangy, savoury street food that we get so easily down below. 
Here if you feel like having these things you make them at home from scratch. Nothing wrong with that but it cant be impromptu. We have to plan and prepare at least a day prior. And that takes out the fun from the whole exercise. It becomes a chore and not a spontaneous desire.

No use belly aching!! So what we do is that we plan theme parties based around these kinds of food. It makes it a fun event. After all you must look for happiness in the smallest of things. 

Speaking of small things I was really missing chana murmura. I simply love the lemony and spicy version made by the road side vendors. In Delhi it is a common sight to see these men carrying a big basket slung from their necks with loads of chana murmura, tomaotes, onions, green chillies, lemon, chat masala and what not. They whip up this delectably chatpata concoction in seconds. merely thinking about it is making me salivate!! So when you don’t get these chana murmura fellows in your neighbourhood you make them at home.


2 cups kala chana, soaked overnight

Soak the chana overnight. Pressure cook them with some salt. Once they are cooked drain the water and cool. Now take each chana and press down with the flat end of a knife. Once all the chana are flattened dry them out in the sun. your chana murmura is ready. 

Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream
Recipe source: bbcgoodfood

I was in the mood of making some very fancy looking cake with whatever ingredients I had at hand. Fresh fruits gateaux have long been on my list but lack of fresh kiwis, strawberries, cranberries etc have been a deterrent. 

What I do have is lots of chocolate compound. So it had to be a chocolate based cake.  I have used this chiffon cake with salted caramel recipe from bbcgoodfood. I had seen this chocolate crown decoration on youtube once and decided to give it a go.

The cake turned out to be a beauty. I couldn’t stop clicking pictures. The main discussion was whether the chocolate decoration was a crown or a jungle!!And I really had no heart to cut and eat it. But then that is what cakes are for. To be eaten and enjoyed!!


For the chiffon cake

125 ml oil
7 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla essence
375 gm castor sugar
300 gm flour
1 tsp soda bicarb/baking soda
50 gm cocoa powder
200 ml water

For the salted caramel

250 gm brown sugar
150 ml double cream
½ tsp salt

For frosting

200 ml whipping cream

For the chocolate crown

250 gm cooking chocolate

Line and grease two 9” cake tins.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, oil, sugar, essence and 200 ml water. Add the cocoa powder and blend well.
Sift together the flour and baking soda. Fold into the liquid batter.
Whisk the egg whites till soft peaks form. Gently fold into the batter. 

Be careful not to beat the air pockets out.
Divide the batter into two tins and bake for 1 hour. 

if required you can put a foil on top of the cake after about 40 minutes to prevent the top from burning.
Once the cakes are baked take them out and cool them.

Make the salted caramel. Mix together the cream, salt and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Switch off flame after few minutes and cool the caramel. Whip the whipping cream and caramel to stiff peaks.

Slice the cakes into two halves. Spread the whip cream on the cake layers and stack them up. 

Spread the frosting all over the cake and smoothen. 

Keep in the fridge till you prepare the chocolate crown.

Chop the cooking chocolate and melt in a double boiler. Whisk it well till it has a glossy shine. 
Pour into a disposable piping bag. 
Take a piece of parchment paper and measure it around the circumference of the cake. Be sure to have an exact measurement. There should be no overlap. 

The length of the paper should be exactly as the circumference of the cake. You can adjust the height of the paper as per your wish. Here I have kept it quite tall! 

Spread the paper on a flat surface. Snip off the end of the piping bag and start drizzling the melted chocolate on the paper in a random manner. Make 2-3 layers of these squiggles.

 Leave it for a few minutes. The chocolate will start to harden. Gently lift the paper and wrap it around the cake.

 The chocolate side should be towards the cake. Gently press the paper to the cake so that the chocolate sticks to the cream. Leave the paper till the chocolate hardens completely. Now carefully peel away the paper leaving the chocolate crown behind. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015



I find pasta very interesting. 

First of all there are so many of them : long pasta, ribbon cut pasta, irregular pasta, stuffed pasta, and so on and so forth. Then there are sub varieties also : Anelloni, Bucatini, Capellini, Fusilli, Ziti, Fettuccine, Lasagna, Linguine, Tagliatelle, etc. and just imagine in older days all these used to be made by hand.

Lasagna is something which I love to make. It is simple and easy. And you can experiment with the fillings. 

Here I am layering the lasagna sheets with chicken mince and spinach. You can layer them with mixed vegetables, corn, broccoli, even crushed soya granules. The white sauce is cheesy and the red sauce has the acidity of tomatoes. The contrast between these two are not only a feast for the eyes but also for the taste buds.

Lasagne sheets

For the chicken mince stuffing

150 gms chicken mince
4 garlic pods, chopped
100 gm tomato puree
Salt to taste
Chopped green coriander

For the spinach layer

1 bunch baby spinach, chopped fine
2 garlic pods, chopped
Salt to taste

For the béchamel sauce

4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
1 onion, sliced
2 cups milk (you might need to add more if the mixture becomes too thick)

½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp black pepper powder
Salt to taste
Pinch of nutmeg powder

First of all prepare the fillings.

Start with the chicken filling. Put a pressure cooker on gas. Add some olive oil. Saute the chopped garlic. Add the chicken mince and cook well on high heat. 
Add the tomato puree and salt and cook till the puree is almost dry. Close the lid of the cooker and give one whistle. After the pressure drops open the lid and check the mice. If it is too liquidy then dry it a little.

For the spinach layer you have to simply lightly saute the spinach. Heat some oil in a pan. Add the chopped garlic, spinach and salt to taste. Saute on high heat till the spinach leaves wilt. Make sure the mixture is dry.

After the fillings are ready you can start on the lasagne sheets and the béchamel sauce.

For the béchamel sauce infuse the milk with onion, bay leaves and cloves. Put them all to boil. After one boil turn off the gas and let it sit for 1 hour. Strain the milk.
Heat a pan and add the butter. 
Sprinkle the flour and mix well. Slowly add the milk and keep stirring so that no lumps remain. Make a smooth emulsion. Take off the heat. Sprinkle salt, nutmeg powder, oregano, black pepper powder and cheese.

Put a pan of water to boil. As it starts boiling add the lasagne sheets 2 at a time and boil till they are semi-soft. Keep aside.

Now you have to simply layer all these ingredients.
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
Take a baking dish. Spread a layer of chicken mince. 

Now arrange a layer of lasagne sheets. Spread another layer of mince and then a layer of spinach. 

Arrange a second layer of lasagne. 

Spread some more mince on top. Then spread a layer of béchamel sauce. 

Sprinkle some grated cheese on top. 

Bake for 20-30 minutes.


Feather Cake

Feather Cake

I love the name!! Feather Cake!!
The very name made me visualize a cake as soft and fluffy as feather, as delicate as the name suggests. And I was not disappointed. There is no baking powder or baking soda in the recipe and I was wondering how can a cake be as light as feather without the help of any rising agent. The magic is the stiffly beaten egg whites. They are what makes the cake rise.
The cake, when it was baked, was a beautiful sight to behold. The outer crust was golden and inside it was white and spongy. You could actually see the air pockets that made the cake so feathery. Amazzinnngg!!


1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup cold water
½ tsp vanilla essence
6 eggs, white and yolk separated
¾ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

Beat the yolks till thick. 
Add cold water and beat some more. 
Now gradually add the sugar beating well after each addition. Add the essence. 
Now fold in the flour adding 2-3 tbsp at a time. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar till stiff. Fold gently into batter. If you beat at this stage the egg whites will lose their shape. 
Bake in a bundt cake tin for 55-60 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 ...