Sunday, January 18, 2015

An Eggless Brunch with Italian Open Faced Sandwich

A new bistro opened in town. And its a beautiful breakfast place. But it's vegetarian menu is limited. And I was craving brunch - not just any brunch - an eggless fusion brunch. So here is my best take - it has potatoes and bread, fruit and juice, cake and coffee. Hope you make it soon...

I have already posted the Date and Walnut cake. And I am posting the Italian Sandwich below. The other recipes will be coming soon. 

Items:

Peas and Potato Cutlets
Italian Open faced Sandwich
Almond Granola
Date and Walnut Cake, Eggless
Fruit - Papaya, Apple and Pears
Fresh Juice - Sweet lime and Pineapple
Coffee

Italian Open faced Sandwich:

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon flour
1 + 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, cut in long strips
1/2 red pepper, cut in julienne's
1/2 green pepper, cut in julienne's
1/2 cup corn
3-4 mushrooms, sliced (optional)
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
6 slices bread
1/4 - 1/2 cup grated cheese
Black pepper
Salt

In a frying pan, heat the half tablespoon of butter and saute all the vegetables (onions, peppers, corn and mushrooms) for 3-4 minutes on medium flame. You can saute more if you like softer vegetables. Add salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Keep aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining butter and add garlic. Add the flour and saute well. Next add the tomatoes and continue to saute for 3-4 minutes till some of the moisture from the tomatoes is cooked out. Add the milk while whisking continuously. Bring to a boil and add salt and pepper. Cook till it reaches a thick sauce like consistency and then add the sauteed vegetables in it.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Cut the edges of the bread , and cut into triangles. Spread the vegetable and sauce mix on the bread and top with some cheese. Bake for 5-7 minutes till the cheese melts. Serve hot or warm!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Til Laddoo & Til Chikki (Sesame and Jaggery Balls and Brittle)

Til Laddoos and Chikki are not just recipes for me. These are a tradition and a very fond memory of growing up. My mother used to make (and still does) these every Sankranti for us. The fragrance would envelope the house and eating the warm chikkis and laddoos was out if the world. I have made just sesame ones but you can make peanut (sing / mungphali), gram (dalia), rice crispy (kurmura) ones with the same procedure as well. The quantity below makes about 15 laddoos or 30 pieces of Chikki.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sesame seeds (250 grams)
1 1/4 cups jaggery, chopped in small pieces
1 teaspoon ghee + 1/2 teaspoon for greasing 

In a thick bottomed wok roast the sesame seeds, while stirring constantly, till they start popping. Remove from vessel and keep aside.
In the same wok, add the ghee and when it melts add the jaggery. Heat the jaggery till it's just melted. Stir while you do this. Now add the roasted sesame seeds and mix with the jaggery. Keep the heat on low. Work quickly while you do this. When it has completely mixed, take it off the heat. 

To make laddoos: 

Let the mixture cool for a minute. Now rub a drop of ghee on your palms and fingers and grab a ball of the mix and shape into a ball. The mixture will be very hot, so work carefully. The ghee prevents the jaggery from sticking to your palms and fingers. Work quickly to form the laddoos. If the mixture cools and you are unable to form laddoos, heat the mixture to make it more workable. Try to reheat as less as possible, as the heat make the laddoos hard. 

To make Chikki: 

Invert a large steel thali or a cookie sheet and grease with ghee. Take a rolling pin and rub it with ghee as well. 
Take the hot mixture and put in onto the greased thali. Roll quickly to form a large sheet, 2-3 mm thick. Shape the sides with hand if they break away. While still hot, cut into squares, diamonds or any shapes you want. Let it cool on the thali itself. When cooled, using a flat spatula, scrape it off the thali and enjoy! 

Notes: 

Use of thick bottomed wok is necessary as it will prevent burning and sticking of ingredients. Wok makes it easier to stir.

Chop the jaggery into small even sized pieces or they will not melt evenly.

The above recipe makes a softer type of laddoo and Chikki. If you want a harder, more crispier type, heat the jaggery for a minute more after it has melted, till it reaches a darker colour. 

Do not use organic jaggery. It will not form Laddoos or Chikki 

Store in an air tight container for 15 days



Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Traditional Christmas Fruit Cake

I had posted about the fruit mix a few days ago and here is the Fruit Cake. Fragrant with spices, studded choc-a-bloc with fruits and soaking with rum... 

The magic starts from when you soak the fruit mix. This along with the spices make you feel like it's Christmas... Try it in June and it will have you singing carols! 

It's a great cake for a New Years party too... That way you can drink and eat your Rum...

Ingredients:

250 grams All purpose flour (2 cups)
250 grams Butter (1 cup + 2 table spoons)
200 grams brown sugar (1 cup tightly packed)
4 large eggs (5 if the eggs are small)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground mix spices (1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp each cloves, dry ginger and nutmeg)
Blanched almonds and glazed cherries for decorating (optional)

Prepping the Cake Pan:

Since the cake is cooked on low heat for a longer duration, we wrap the pan in 3 layers of parchment / butter paper. Cut 3 rounds for the bottom of the pan.
Cut a three fold strip of paper to go around the sides of the cake pan which is atleast 5 inches tall. Fold the bottom 1 inch. Make cuts along this piece. Apply some butter and secure this on the bottom of the baking pan. Put the three paper rounds on top of this and make sure it stays in place using butter. There should be sufficient and secure overlap so that the batter does not touch the pan. Staple the top of the paper so that it stays in place. 

Baking the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C

In a bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar together till pale and fluffy. Continue beating while adding one egg at a time. Stop when all the eggs are incorporated. Do not over beat. Mix in the vanilla. 

In another bowl sift together the flour and the baking powder. Mix in the ground spices. 

Fold in the flour, half a cup at a time, into the egg mixture using cut and fold method. 

Take the soaked fruits and fold into the cake batter along with the rum. Or the leftover rum can be used to brush and soak the cake later. 

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Decorate the top of the cake with blanched almonds and glazed cherries. Cover the top of the cake (on top of the butter paper) with foil to prevent the top from burning. 

Cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours 35 minutes till a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean with a few crumbs. Cook for 15-20 minutes more if the skewer comes out wet. 

Cool the cake. While it is warm makes holes on the top with a skewer and slowly pour about two tablespoons more rum into it. 

Maturing and Storage:

Cool the cake completely before turning out of the pan. Remove the butter paper carefully from sides and bottom. If you baked the cake early (Stir up Sunday, the Sunday before Advent is the traditional day to bake the cake), you can feed two tablespoons of rum every fortnight till Christmas, except for the last week. Wrap it securely in cling film. If wrapped tightly, stored in an airtight container and in a cool place, the cake can last 3 months (I haven't tried it, if you do, let me know). 

If you are not maturing it, it will last a upto 6 months in the freezer. 

Notes:

The butter should be completely soft to make it fluffy. This is necessary for proper aeration in the cake

If the batter is too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of water or orange juice in it. 

The quantity of rum makes it pack a punch. If you prefer a less boozy cake, you can reduce the amount of rum in the fruit soaking mix

You can make it a completely non-alcoholic cake by soaking fruits in orange juice

This proportion makes a large cake. Your friends will love you for sharing it with them but if you want you can easily halve the recipe with the same results

This recipe is adapted from Taste.com.au

*To make the cake tomorrow 

Use 250 grams each of raisins and sultanas and soak them in a cup of rum overnight
Put 100 grams walnuts in a bag / tea towel and mash with a rolling pin for smaller pieces. Add to the soaking fruits. Bake the rest of the cake as directed.

Enjoy! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Whole Wheat Tutti Frutti Muffins

While the fruits were soaking for a Rum soaked Christmas Fruitcake, the kiddo could not be forgotten. These yummy tutti frutti mini muffins are soft, spongy and speckled with bursts of color. And they are a breeze to make.

Ingredients:

1 cup Whole wheat flour + 1 tablespoon Whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup powdered sugar
75 grams butter (I used salted)
1/4 teaspoon Salt (If using unsalted butter)
8-10 drops Vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup tutti-frutti
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a mini muffin tin with wrappers.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Keep aside. In another bowl, coat the tutti-frutti and raisins with flour. Keep aside.

In a deep bowl, take the butter and sugar. Beat / whisk them together till well incorporated. Add the eggs and continue to whisk. Add the vanilla and whisk till creamy. Add half the milk and half of the flour while continuing to whisk. Mix in all the milk and flour. Whisk till it is all a creamy batter. Fold in the fruits gently.

Bake for 10-12 minutes till a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack for cooling.

Enjoy!



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