Sunday, February 7, 2016

Orange Cake with Cream Cheese frosting

Another recipe from James Martin.  The chef uses a lot of local ingredients and the particular episode of Home Comfort that we were watching, he visits a neighbouring rapeseed farm and then proceeds to make the orange cake with the rapeseed oil.  A and I were watching the show and the minute he sliced through this dense,yummy moist cake, we felt we had to try it.  Sure enough the next day, all the ingredients were laid out on the kitchen table and I had no choice but to make it.  And I was glad I did.  The home made candied orange peel adds the finishing touch to the cake and it adds a great flavour.

I suppose one can substitute rapeseed oil with any other refined oil.

Butter - for greasing
Oranges - 5 nos ( large) - try ensuring that they are sweet
Rapeseed oil - 100 ml
Eggs - 4 nos
Caster sugar - 450 g
Self raising flour - 125 g
Almond flour - 125 g
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Cream cheese - 150 g
Crème fraîche - 150 g ( I used a bit of sour cream)
Icing sugar - 25 g

Topping - ( optional - I did not use)
Walnut halves and basil cress

Oven temperature - 170C or 150C fan

Lightly grease a 9" cake tin with butter
Zest three oranges into a large mixing bowl.  Keep aside
Remove the pith from the zested oranges. Roughly chop the flesh, discarding any seeds.  Place in a bowl and blend well with rapeseed oil till smooth and well combined.  Keep aside.

Into the bowl with the orange zest add the eggs and 250 g sugar.  Using an electric whisk, whisk the mixture till pale, thick and creamy and leaves a trail when the whisk is lifted from the mixture.
Sift the flour, almond flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.
Carefully fold in half of the puréed orange mixture into the egg mixture
Followed by the flour mixture.  And then the remaining puréed orange mixture

Pour in the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown and risen. Check with skewer in the centre of the cake. It should come out clean. If not, cook a further 5 minutes and check again.

As the cake is baking, prepare the frosting.
Whisk the cream cheese, crème fraîche and icing sugar together till smooth and thick. Chill in the fridge till needed.
Peel the remaining two oranges with a vegetable peeler, then julienne the zest finely.
Pour 150 ml cold water into a saucepan, stir in remaining sugar.  Add the julienned orange peel, bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat till mixture is simmering.  Simmer for 8-10 mins to make a light syrup
Strain the syrup. You will only need the peel.  The syrup can be used for a orange drizzle cake or any cake, it will add a delightful orangey flavour 
Dredge the peel with caster sugar on a plate till coated.

Remove cake from oven when done, set aside to cool slightly in the tin and then on a rack till cooled completely
Now, spread the cream cheese frosting over the top and decorate with the candied orange zest and if you wish the nuts and cress. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bedmi Puri - With added split black lentils and spices

It is definitely more work than making the usual puri , but absolutely worth it.  It has spices that are freshly ground and that does add a great flavour to the puri.  The recipe has been sourced from Archana's Kitchen. Serve them hot with your favourite aloo curry.


Split black lentil or urad dal soaked for 5-6 hours - 1 cup
Whole wheat flour - 21/2 cup
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Ginger grated - 1 tsp
Fennel powder - 2 1/2 tsp
Red chilies - 3 nos
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Amchoor powder - 1 tsp
Green chilies - crushed - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp + More for frying
Salt to taste

Dry roast red chilies, coriander and cumin seeds till they give out the lovely aroma. Do not burn.

Cool and grind to coarse powder.  Keep aside.

Drain soaked urad dal, and blend to a coarse paste without using water. Or very little water if absolutely necessary.

Transfer to a bowl
Add the ground powder, amchoor, oil, ginger and salt.

Now gradually add wheat flour and knead the dough, adding water as and when required to make a smooth but firm dough.
Cover and rest for half hour.

Knead once again.  Make small balls.  Roll into puris and fry in hot oil on a medium flame until golden brown.

Serve with aloo curry.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mini Panetonne

A panetonne is a sweet bread from Milan that is generally made for Christmas.  It has a long drawn proofing, contains lots of dry fruits and orange zest.  It has a cylindrical base and a well risen dome shaped top.  I would not have given a thought to making it considering the process involved and also I did not have the panettone tin. But I watched James Martin in Home Comforts at Christmas, making a mini version in a muffin tin and I thought, why not?  Well here are the results.... pretty good if I should say so.. and also taking into account that I did not have a bread mixer and worked at the dough manually.  Recipe adapted from BBC Food


Butter - 75 gms softened, plus extra for greasing
Candied peel - 50 gms
Dried fruits - 200 gms ( or raisins and sultanas)
Rum - 2 tbsp - you may substitute with orange juice
All spice - 1/2 tsp
Strong white bread flour- 425 gms and extra for dusting
Caster sugar - 60 gms *
Salt - 1 tsp
Fresh yeast - 18 gms ( I used 7 gms of active dry yeast)
Tepid water - 160 ml
Eggs - 2 nos and 1 for egg wash
Orange zest - 1 orange

* I would have liked a little more sugar - depending on the sweetness of the dried fruits - do consider adding another 20-30 gms more

Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with butter
In a bowl mix the candied peel, dried fruit with the rum.  Combine and keep aside.
To another bowl, add flour, sugar, salt.  Use food mixer if you have.  Makes the job so much easier.
Whisk the yeast with a little water in a separate bowl.  Then add it to the flour.
Add the remaining water and the whole egg and beat/knead till it comes together as a dough.

Beat in the butter a little at a time
Add the orange zest.  Continue to beat/knead for 4-5 minutes till the dough is smooth.
Keep it aside covered in a bowl to prove for about an hour or till it has doubled in size.

Knock back the dough.
Sprinkle over the rum-dried fruit mixture and knead the fruit into the dough either in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface.
The dough will be very sticky
Roll into a ball.  Cut 12 equal sized pieces/
Roll each piece into a ball on a lightly floured surface and place one into a muffin hole.
Cover tin with cling film and keep aside for 45 minutes till risen.

Preheat oven to 190 C / 170 C fan
Brush top of risen panettone with the egg wash.  Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes or till golden brown.
Remove from tin and cool on wire rack

Slice.  Enjoy with butter/cream or whatever.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Buttermilk Fruit Cake - Eggless

If you haven't steeped the fruits but want to make a christmas-y  cake, this is just the recipe for you.  You need two bowls one for the dry ingredients and another for the wet ones.  Not too much work for a good tasting cake.  This one is a great recipe and a cake that can be baked even if it is not the festive season.  Recipe from Joy of Cooking. 

Ingredients -  ( Serves 6-8 - 8" cake tin)

All purpose flour - 200 gms
Pitted dates - 90 gms
Granulated sugar - 130 gms
Salt - 1/4 tsp
All spice - 1 tsp
Freshly  grated nutmeg - 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Buttermilk - 240 ml
Unsalted butter ( melted) - 113 gms
Raisins, sultanas, mixed peel - 195 gms
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp

Prepare the cake tin - grease and line it with parchment paper - a 9x5 loaf tin can also be used
To prevent the dates from getting mushy, put flour on a cutting board and cut the dates in it.
Place the flour, date mixture in a bowl.
Add sugar, salt, spices and baking soda.
Stir well to combine all ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 165 C.  I used 150 fan.

In the second bowl whisk buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla essence.
Stir the buttermilk mixture and the rest of the dried fruits into the dried ingredients in the first bowl.
Mix well.
Pour into prepared tin.  Smooth the top with a spatula or a back of a spoon.
Place in oven.  For 50-55 mins or till golden brown and pulling away from the sides.  Test with toothpick.

Remove from oven. Place on wire rack to cool for 10 mins.  Then remove from tin.

Can be had warm.  Can also store it for a few days.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Blueberry Friand

I watched a contestant making a friand in a masterchef episode.  I hadn't heard of friands before.  Besides the lady made it in less than half hour.  That caught my interest.  I later read that friands are mini cakes originally from France, but now popular in Australia and New Zealand.  These have very little flour content and can in fact be made gluten free.  The main ingredients are ground almonds, icing sugar, egg whites - which make the friand light and airy and the almond flour makes it chewy and moist.  They can be made with varied fruits like plums, peaches, cherries.  I adapted the recipe from BBC foods  The reviews were good, and most had cut down the amount of butter to half.  I did too.  

Try them.  They are chewy, light and delicious and very simple to make

Ingredients: ( 6- 9 friands depending on the tin)

Unsalted butter - 60 gms + extra for greasing
Icing sugar - 125 gms + extra for dusting
Plain flour - 25 gms
Ground almond - 85 gms
Egg whites - 3 nos
Lemon rind - 1 nos
Blueberries - 85 gms

Preheat oven to 180C fan / 200C conventional
Grease six friand or muffin tins.  ( I used muffin tins and I got 9 friands)
Melt butter.  Allow to cool.

Sift icing sugar and flour into a bowl.  Add the almond flour and mix well with fingers.

Whisk egg whites in another bowl till light and foamy.  They do not have to be stiff like meringues.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, tip in egg whites, lemon rind, and lightly stir in butter.  You will have a soft batter.

Fill in muffin tin with a large serving spoon - 2/3 full.
Sprinkle blueberries over each cake and bake for 15-20 mins till firm and golden brown.

Cool in tin for 5 minutes.  Turn out. Dust with icing sugar.

Note - You can make ground almond flour at home also.  Blanch almonds, remove the peel.  Dry them and grind fine. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Black Eyed Peas Stew - A vegetarian twist to a Goan/Portugese Feijoada

It is thought that every Portugese colony has their local version of Feijoada.  The original is a bean/meat stew.  feijão in Portugese is beans.  This is a spicy, tangy dish with black eyed peas, but it can be substituted with any other bean.  I saw it on Archana's kitchen and just loved the look of it.  And I was not disappointed.  It makes the use of tomato, tamarind and lime, that can add to the tanginess, and one is best advised to check before you add the lime as the finishing touch.


Black eyed peas - About 100g
Onions - 2 large - sliced
Garlic - 4 large pods - finely chopped
Ginger - 1" - chopped
Tomato - 2 nos - of which a fine purée is extracted 
Coconut milk - 200 ml
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder - to taste
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Jaggery powder - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp
Lime juice - to taste
Oil -  2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Wash, cook black eyed peas.  Make sure they are soft but not mashed.
Make a purée of tomatoes by quartering them and put in blender without water if you wish to make it fresh.  I used a readymade store bought one.

Take a pan.  Heat oil. Add the sliced onions. Sauté till they just begin to brown. Add the ginger and garlic.  Saute for a few more minutes

Add the powders - red chili, turmeric, coriander, cumin. Sauté.

Now, the tomato purée and continue cooking till the mixture is well blended.

Add the cooked black eyed peas.  Mix well.  Add the salt.

Follow this with coconut milk.  Add little water if required to bring it to the required consistency.


Add grated jaggery and tamaring paste.  Simmer for another five minutes.

Taste and check for salt, tanginess and spice and adjust accordingly.

Add a dash of lime juice and garnish with coriander leaves.  

Enjoy ! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


I have made the whole masoor pulao earlier and I wondered if this recipe of Mujaddara from The big sweet tooth was any different.  It was.  Much simpler.  A one pot meal.  And one of those foods that you can cook in a short time.  A healthy version of the kichidi we make and a real comfort food.


1 cup of whole lentils - I used Masoor - red lentils
Rice - 1 1/2 cups
Water - 4 cups approximately
Oil - 2 tbsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Chili powder - to taste
Garlic cloves - 2 nos
Onion - 1 sliced , and another half for garnish
Coriander leaves for garnish
Salt to taste

Soak the lentils for about 20 mins.  Wash, drain.
Clean and soak the rice.
Heat oil in a saucepan.
Fry the powders - cumin and coriander - add the garlic.  Ensure they do not burn
Now the sliced onions.  Saute till soft.
Add the masoor.  And about two cups of water and salt.
Cook on medium flame till the lentil is cooked.  It should not get mashed.
Now add the drained rice to the lentils.
Add remaining water - let it be hot so that cooking is not slowed down
And a little more salt.
Bring to boil and simmer covered till water is used up and the rice is done.
Meanwhile the remaining onion is caramalised in oil and kept aside for garnish.

Fluff up the rice with a fork
Garnish with coriander leaves and the caramalised onions.

Serve with a spicy raitha.

Note -
I found many variations of this recipe.  Add vegetable broth while cooking for a more flavourful rice.
Some have added leeks instead of onion.
There are others with whole spices.

Add your twist and make this dish your own.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Cherry and Almond Cake

This is a lovely cake - simple to make/bake and very good to eat. It has been adapted from the BBC recipe.  

It is a lovely sponge cake with added texture and flavour of the ground almond flour.  If you do not have almond flour, blanch almonds, remove the outer peel and grind to a fine powder.  *If you want the cherries evenly distributed, wash the glaced cherries, drain dry and coat with flour and gently incorporate them into the batter.  I liked the taste of the glacéd  cherries and did not want to wash them.  Though I did coat them with flour most of them did settle to the bottom.  But the taste is just fine !


Butter ( softened) - 150 g
Caster Sugar - 200 g
Eggs - 4
Almond extract - 1/2 tsp
Self raising flour - 175 g
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Glacé cherries - 300 g ( I had just 100 g) - quarter them *
Ground Almonds - 85 g
Milk - 100 ml
Flaked almonds - 2 tbsp

Line a 8"/20 cms deep cake tin
Beat the eggs and sugar till light and fluffy
Add eggs one by one , continue to beat the  mixture
Now fold in the almond extract, almond flour, flour, baking powder
Followed by cherries and milk

Preheat the oven to 140C fan/160C

Pour mixture into the prepared tin.
Scatter the flaked almonds on top of cake
Put into oven. 
Bake for 1 hour/1 hour 15 mins still skewer comes out clean
Remove.  Cool in tin before serving

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mysore Pak

If you like the Srikrishna Mysore Pak but at the same time wish it did not ooze all that ghee, this is just the recipe for you.  Mysore Pak can never be low calorie, but this one is not as rich as the original... and yet match the taste to a great extent.  Source - Sharmis Passion 

Ingredients -  For about 12 pieces

Besan (Chick pea flour) - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Ghee - 1 cup ( 3/4  cup + 1/4 cup for stirring)
Water - 1/4 cup

Take a teaspoon of ghee in a wide deep pan ( preferably non stick ), and roast the ghee over a medium flame till the raw flavour disappears and you get a nice aroma.  Do not brown.

Sieve the flour to ensure there are no lumps.

Keep in a bowl and add 3/4 cup of ghee.  Mix well.  It will be a liquidy pouring consistency.  Keep aside.

Meanwhile grease a plate - do not take too wide a plate.  Or a tray.

In the pan ( use the same pan but ensure it is clean)-  on a medium flame, add the water and the sugar and bring it to a one string consistency.  This is important.  Keep checking syrup between finger and thumb to look for the single string.

At this stage add the besan-ghee mixture while stirring continuously.  You may reduce the flame a bit here.

Keep adding the balance 1/4 cup ghee at intervals.  Stir all the time.  At first the mixture might appear sticky, then it will slowly come together and leave the sides.  When this happens remove from heat and pour onto the greased plate.  A light tap will ensure an even spread of the mixture.

It will begin to set almost immediately.  While it is still warm, take a knife and scour the lines.   You can remove the pieces once cool.  And store in a clean tin.  Keeps well for about a week.

With festivals coming up, now is the time to make it.  Just ensure that the flour is roasted well, has no lumps, the single thread sugar consistency and removing the mixture as soon as it leaves the side and comes together.  And you cannot go wrong.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Papaya Coconut Muffins - Low Fat

The muffins were made by Kruttika, my daughter.  I would not have been as adventurous as her.  I only eat papaya as a fruit or use it to make a jam.  But would have had serious doubts about the flavour it would lend to a baked product.  The papaya she used was rather insipid, she said, and thought she could put it to better use. She made the muffins and said everyone at home enjoyed it !  They have a nice colour too.  She sent me pictures and the recipe that she sourced from Skinny Taste.  The original recipe states that you can substitute the papaya pulp with mango to get good results too.


Papaya purée - 1 cup
Whole wheat pastry flour - 2 cups *
Sugar - 1/2 cup **
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Coconut flakes - 1/2 cup
Egg - 1 large, beaten
Vanilla - 1/2 tsp
Melted butter - 2 tbsp

Preheat oven to 160 C
Take a large bowl and combine flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon and salt
Mix till well blended.
Add coconut.

In another bowl, blend the eggs, butter, vanilla and the papaya purée
Add to the flour mixture in the large bowl and stir till all ingredients are just blended.

Pour into prepared muffin tin/ or muffin cases and put into the oven. 
Bake for about 25 mins or till toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 mins before you remove.

* original recipe calls for pastry flour - but K used 1 cup whole wheat flour, I cup all purpose flour and a handful of oats.

** K also says if the papaya is as insipid as the one she used, one would have to increase the amount of sugar.  So taste the puree before you measure the sugar.


Related Posts with Thumbnails