As if I didn’t have enough on my plate…

…I go and add some more.

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Nutella cupcakes for two, rustled up in minutes, which is very, very scary. The temptation to make this often is difficult to resist:) The frosting was a little too much for the two of us. I would be halving it next time. Actually, the next time I’m just going to slather nutella on the cupcakes instead:)

PS: Decoration by daughter, she had a field day. Putting all the decoration I has on the cupcakes.

How a Vada Pav turned into Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bites

Some things happen unplanned. I had been browsing when I chanced upon this recipe for baked vada pav. Now vada pavs and me have a long history.

A funny history given that I have never eaten one. I’ve had the aloo bonda that is the stuffing. But never the complete vada pav. I’ve seen in plenty of places here, it have never ended up picking it up. Probably, because the thought of eating completely fried things suddenly invokes that health conscious me. Who, by the way disappears very quickly when I chance upon fried things like chips or murrukus. The fact remains that I’ve always found a reason to not try it out. It was too early in that airport cafe, or I did not want to pile on more weight just before a sea-side trip, or it did not look filling enough for lunch. You know, the works.

And yet, it has never stopped me from craving for it. So when I saw this recipe, I had to try it. It seemed perfect. So I took the basic bread roll recipe from here and started off. I had planned to make a small batch, but scaling down ingredients seemed more tricky than making the whole bread. So I set off. It was late by the time the bread was ready to go into the oven. I made two sample vada pavs and popped the rest of the dough into the refrigerator.

The vada pavs turned out well. My domestic help loved it too. I did not take any pictures though. I still had loads of dough. My initial plan was to make more vada pavs, but somehow, the plan changed. I did not feel too excited about making loads of vada-pavs.

I had made this cinnamon-sugar pull apart bread when Swaram came over. I had some pictures somewhere, but I feel too lazy to go dig them up. It was a trial and did not turn out exactly how I wanted it to. So I wanted to give it another shot.

By the time I could carve out time to get down to it, it was already late. Feeling rather lazy(I can see laziness becoming a theme for me these days), I decided to try something easier. Instead of rolling out the dough, I made little balls, rolled it in a light brown sugar and cinnamon mixture and placed it in a loaf pan. Like this. I dotted it with some butter – just because.

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Popped it into the oven, when it had risen to double, it took about 20 minutes. And this is how it turned out. Soft fluffy bites of bread covered in a light coating of cinnamon sugar. Yum! And tasted just perfect for our tastes. Not too sweet, and perfect with that cup of coffee 🙂
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This is the way we bake a cake, bake a cake, bake a cake …

..on a cold and frosty Tuesday afternoon…

The best part of blogging is blog-hopping and coming across some wonderful blogs. Yesterday, reading R’s Mom’s post mentioning cakes, had me drooling, and longing to bake.

I haven’t been baking as much as I used to, so just needed a push. R’s Mom mentioned Seema, and I hopped over to hers, only to end up spending half a day drooling over her delicious recipes. Some of her Bengali recipes reminded me of my childhood spent in the houses of my Bengali friends.

After a lot of drooling, and sighing, I came across this zebra cake. I have always loved marble and zebra cakes. I remember eating marble cakes a long, long time ago, and wondering how they manage to assemble the cake with the two colours! One of the first cakes I tried out successfully was a marble cake. Since then I have tried a variety of recipes for marble/zebra cakes. One of my personal favourites was one made with oil instead of butter, but I managed to misplace the recipe. Rather, I don’t remember which website I had consulted to make the cake. So when I came across Seema’s zebra cake with oil, I just had to try it.

Given that I had spent the best part of the day, drooling at recipes, so I had just about enough time to whip up the batter, and get it to the oven, assuming everything went as per schedule. Just as I was measuring out the oil, it dawned on me that I was out of sunflower oil. Oil is one of the sparingly used commodities at my place, so I had forgotten to buy a new bottle. Thankfully I had some olive oil, and added that along with the sunflower oil, sending up a prayer that it would turn out fine, despite my experimentation. Finally the cake batter was in the oven, I had more than an hour on my hands before I had to pick up daughter from school. So I got busy sorting out the rest of the house – which, as usual was a complete mess. At the end of the 40 mins in the oven, as per the recipe, my cake was still wobbly and certainly not cooked. I kept checking every 10 minutes, until the time that I absolutely had to leave to pick up daughter. One part of the cake was done, the other one was not! My oven had really let me down. There was nothing I could possibly do apart from switching off the oven, and leaving the cake in there – and hope, against hope.

It was an hour and a half by the time we got back(daughter had an after-school activity). I opened the oven, full of trepidation. The house was smelling wonderful, but that is hardly any indication of the state of the cake! The cake was cooked! Now I just had to wait until the cake cooled completely to cut it and check it properly.

See how the cake looks all lopsided 😦 All thanks to the uneven heating of the oven. 

Much to my surprise, it tasted and looked quite good inside! Certainly not the prettiest cake or anything, but the stripes were not too bad. Every zebra has unique stripes, they say, mine certainly were unique:) Check these out! Not too bad, don’t you think, after everything that went wrong?

Come join me for tea..

and help yourself to some banana bread 🙂

Don’t worry – it is a low fat one and I am so delighted with it that I have even had a slice for breakfast 🙂 I am normally, never modify cake recipes unless others who have made the cake suggest modifications. This time, however, I took a chance and experiemented. You see, I was keeping away from baking after all the holiday weight I had put on. Yesterday however, in order to keep Poohi entertained, I made a rather rash promise that we would bake a cake – and she ensured that I did not break my promise- try as I might. So if I had to bake, I decided to bake something low-fat and guilt-free( or atleast less guilty).  And here is the recipe in case any of you are interested. I got the recipe from here, but made the following modifications.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large over-ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon flour gently into measuring cups and level with a knife. Stir flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Put aside. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat at low speed with a mixer until well blended. Add one egg at a time and blend well after each one. Add in mashed banana, yogurt and vanilla extract, beat until blended. Add flour mixture and blend until just moist. Do not over-mix. Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). Remove from pan after 10 minutes or so and cool on a wire rack.

Onam wishes and dishes

Onam is here, it’s tomorrow! And a lot of us have been waiting for it..

One of the things I enjoy about not working is the fact that I get to celebrate festivals better.  The first time I made a Onasadya was last year – before that, the day would come and go. The last time I actually celebrated Onam was when I was at home with parents, a long long time ago.. Those days, I was not particularly fond of the sadya. I was more fond of north indian cuisine. When I got married to a non mallu, funnily, he turned out more fond of the sadya that I was. But over the years – probably, thanks to the fact that I hardly get to eat it, I have been craving mallu food.

Last year, I did make the sadya and had a friend over for lunch and we had planned to enjoy Onam – but daughter had other plans. She managed to fall and hurt herself and I managed to spend the afternoon in the accident and emergency in the Hospital and my poor friend did not even get to have lunch 😦 This year, hopefully, it will be different, good different hopefully. I also plan to make the pookalam, the flower carpet, welcoming Mavelli home, which I hope daughter enjoys too.

Today, some of us planned to have a virtual Ona sadya – to make some of you drool 🙂 So here are my contributions… Avial and Pal Payasam. Please hop over to Deeps’ for more info and more yummy recipes!

Avial

Avial is a sort of mixed vegetables. And it has been a favourite of mine since years.

Ingredients

Mixed vegetables  – 2 cups.

Vegetables like carrots, yam, raw mango, green beans, drumsticks, snake gourd sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces – something like french fries.

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

grated coconut – 1/2 cup

Green chillies – 2 (I use 2 as the chillies I get here are super spicy – please use according to taste)

Cumin seeds  – 1 tsp

Curry leaves – 2 sprigs

Oil – 1 tbsp

Curd – 2 tbsp

Method

Heat the oil in a thick bottomed dish.

Add turmeric and cook the washed and chopped vegetables  on a low flame until they are cooked.

While the vegetables are getting cooked, grind coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies and curd into a smooth paste.

Once the vegetables are done, add salt and the coconut paste and coconut paste and the curry leaves. Cook until any excess water is evaporated.

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And now for the dessert.

Pal Payasam

Ingredients
Milk 1 litre. (Full Cream Milk)
Sugar 100 gms
Water 1 cup (120ml)
Rice 4 tablespoon (I use Basmati rice)

Garnishing
1. Elaichi 3 powdered – I am not too fond of the taste of elaichi – so I normally avoid it.
2. Cashewnuts and raisins – as per taste

Method

Use thick bottomed pressure cooker with vent.
1. Boil Milk – adding water .
2. Add the washed and cleaned rice in boiling milk.
3. Keep the pressure on and cook on low flame for 35 to 40 minutes. (no whistle required).
4. After the pressure has cooled down open the cooker.
Mix thoroughly, boil for 5 minutes in medium flame.
5. Now add the Sugar and cook for another 10 minutes.
6. Garnish with the dry fruits

Slurp up!

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Here’s wishing all of you a very happy Onam. Onaashamsakal!