Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Simple Thai Green Curry Noodles

Now this is a very simple recipe where I have used pad Thai rice noodles- not to make pad thai but with green curry paste.I have heard about the wonderful Thai green curry made with Green Curry Paste.There are several versions and variations as per taste and heat/spiciness.I was wondering whether the same paste can be combined with noodles instead of serving green curry as a side.So I made a simple green curry paste referencing here and then made a sauce out of it by adding coconut milk and then added pad thai noodles to it.The result was comforting and filling,though not spicy hot.


Pad Thai Noodles: 1/2 pkt (Serves 3 big bowls)
Coconut Milk: 1 cup+/-
Salt: as per taste

Green Curry Paste:
Red Onion: 1 small
Galangal /fresh ginger: 1- 2 inch piece
Coriander Leaves: 1/4 cup( leaves and stalks) chopped
Green Chillies/Thai Serrano Chillies:
Lemon Grass: 1 stalk -discard the green part and chop up the white lower part
Lime:1 whole: juice + zest (Can add another as per taste)
Coriander:simply powdered : 1 tsp
Cumin: simply powdered: 1 tsp
Soy sauce: 1 tsp
Vegetable Oil: 1 tbsp

Optional Additions
Beans Sprouts
Tofu pieces
Veggies of your choice: I used chopped carrots only
Soy sauce:1-2 tbsp


Keep all the paste ingredients in the blender/processor and mix to obtain green curry paste.The above estimate gives almost 1/4 cup of paste which can be stored in a clean sterilized jar in the fridge.

Update on 01/01/2009:I found I have a pic of the paste.so I am adding it.Sorry I could not do earlier.

Soak the thai noodles in warm water for atleast 20-30 minutes. I actually boiled water with little salt ,removed it from heat,cooled it a bit and then soaked noodles for 20-30 minutes.Thai noodles are not supposed to be boiled. If in a hurry it can be soaked in very hot water for 15 minutes.Normally it can be upto 1 hour when the noodles become transparent,flexible and chewy/aldente.Rinse with cold water and keep aside.

While the noodles are cooked,chop the veggies into bite sized pieces.I used carrots as I thought the colour would be contrasting nd added beans sprout and tofu as well as green curry has these and I thought it would look authentic.If using canned bean sprouts,drain and rinse them.Marinate the tofu in a mix of soy sauce,little salt and optionally little green paste for atleast 20 minutes.I actually avoided the paste,but found that some tofu pieces were not that "curry-tasting".Hence my suggestion of using paste in the marinade.

Heat little oil in a thick bottommed pan.Add 2-3 tbsp of the curry paste and saute for 1-2 minutes until the raw smell disappears and the colour just starts to change.You can saute a few more minutes if you like,just make sure that it is not burnt.I sauteed only till it started to turn a pale green.Add the chopped veggies,marinated tofu(drained if too much soy sauce is used for marinade) and little salt.Make sure the veggies and tofu get coated with the paste and saute for just 1-2 minutes and then add coconut milk -I used medium thick coco milk made from powder.Feel free to use your choice.Stir well and bring to a boil.Reduce the heat and let it simmer till the veggies get cooked.

Now if you are adding quick cooking veggies like peas and also bean sprouts,you can add it after the coconut milk addition.Only thing is whether you add milk first or not,the veggies should be cooked and seasoned with the curry paste.

Once the veggies are cooked for a few minutes,add the noodles and mix gently till it is coated with sauce/gravy.Add more coconut milk and salt if needed and cook for a few more minutes till everything gets blended and the sauce is reduced or thickened as per taste or choiceContinue cooking if you prefer it as dry or stop when saucy gravy is obtained.I served it a bit dry.Check taste.Garnish with coriander/lime zest if interested.Serve warm.

I found that the dish is comforting but not that spicy as I have come across.So increase the amount of paste as per taste and also amount of veggies and thickness of coco milk.It was like a lemony pasta(pad thai noodles resemble linguini pasta) with a cilantro pesto (green curry paste is like cilantro pesto).Those who like the pasta with pesto will surely like this as well.

I was actually not sure whether I should jump into Thai cuisine,as I have heard that even veg dishes used fish sauce and paste had shrimp.But this turned out to be good and a big comforting bowl is on the way to DK where she is staring at Thailand with the AWED.

The dish can be made with any noodles/pasta of your choice and would make a different yet comforting main course for a party.Thai noodles are gluten -free /rice noodles.So the heaviness of the normal pasta will not be there.So a party plate goes to Purva where she is hosting an elegant Christmas Feast.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Simple Chocolate Pudding

This time,the "Book Club" chose "Anne of Green Gables" by L M Montgomery as the "Chosen Book" for December.It is a wonderful book that introduces us to the world of Anne -an orphan,adopted by middle aged Cuthbert siblings and how she grows up to be wonderful teacher.Well, the book is full of Anne's Antics -how her imagination runs wild and how she forgets simple things,like emptying milk in the basket of yarn balls,and dreaming up dying of disease while trying to save her friend etc.

The book is full of dishes to be made if left to imagination like Anne.Well there is even an Anne inspired cookbook by the author's grand daughter Kate.But for me,it seems Anne has rubbed off on too much.I wanted to make so many things at the same time,that laziness got better of me .So at the nth moment I decided to make a simple chocolate pudding from here which no one can go wrong-except obviously me.The pudding was tasty though I feel it lacks professional touch-maybe what Anne says -"The stars in the courses fight against me" stands true for me.But Anne thanks to you,I enjoyed the tasty pudding.


Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: 2-3 tbsp
Cornstarch: 4 tbsp
White Sugar: 1/2 cup +
Salt: a pinch

Milk:2 and 3/4 cups

Unsalted Butter: 1 -2 tbsp
Vanilla Extract: 1 tsp

In a small saucepan,mix together all the dry ingredients of cornstarch,cocoa,sugar and salt.Stir in milk and then place over medium-low heat on gasstove.Mix well so that the cornstarch and sugar dissolves well.Bring to a just-boiling point(scalding) slowly and then allow it to cook stirring continuously for about 5 minutes or until the mix thickens and gets coated to the back of a spoon.Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla.Stir in so that the butter is melted and well blended.Pour the mix into serving bowls and then let it attain room temperature and then chill it in the fridge covered with a plastic wrap such that the wrap touches the top of the pudding.This prevents the skin like formation on the top of the pudding.You can also serve the pudding warm by reheating or at room tempreature.

I actually chilled it for around 1 hour and then kept it outside and then served it at room temperature.The mistake for me was I sort of allowed it to cook a bit too much even after the spoon got coated,so it started to form lumps,but I removed it immediately and then continued stirring with a whisk so that it looked 'normal',thankfully it worked(oops,I hope so).I also added a pinch of cinnamon and clove (powdered) to it.You can see specks of clove if you look carefully.This is completely optional though.

It looked and tasted 'normal like a pudding' and it is very quick to make -under 20 minutes it was ready except for chilling,that is.Now this tasty and simple Chocolate Pudding is for Anne from me-its quick and easy for you to make as well.Lets see what others come up with:

Aparna: BakingPowder Biscuits
Simran:Chocolate Layer Cake

Lets wait for Bhags,Siri,Dee,Srimathi, SunshineMom and Rachel and check out their goodies for imaginative Anne

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Fassoulatha/Fassolada is a simple Greek Soup with white beans and vegetables .It is also known as "national food of Greeks".The basic ingredients are onion,carrots and celery and white beans.A version with black eyed beans is known as "Fassoulatha Mavromatika".I obtained a simple Fassoulatha recipe from here. It is a comforting soup and I made it with no changes at all.

White Beans: 1/2 cup pre-soaked and cooked in pressure cooker.
Onion: 1 big
Carrot: 1 large
Celery Stalk: 1 big along with the leaves if any
Tomato: 1 medium,peeled and mashed OR 1/2 tbsp tomato paste

Spices as per taste
Chilli Powder/Cayenne Pepper


Finely chop the onion,carrot and celery.If using tomatoes,dip it in boiling water for a minute and then in a bowl of ice water and then peel off the skin and mash/paste it.Cook the pre-soaked beans in a pressure cooker or in a Dutch oven for 1.5 hours.I used a cooker.

Heat oil in a soup pot,Add the chopped onions,carrot and celery and saute for a few minutes.Add water,the cooked beans along with the cooked water if any,tomato paste,salt and the spices.Simmer till the vegetables are tender for about 15-20 minutes.Check for taste and adjust the spices and salt.

Serve with bread or anyother accompaniments.

I served it as such and it was a wholesome meal.I love trying out various soups and the ones with beans are always filling and comforting.The above estimate yields about 2-3 big bowls.

A warm bowl of fassoulatha is on its ways to Suganya of TastyPalettes where she is celebrating the Legume Love Affair -VI edition,an even started by Susan.

Another bowl warms Trupti's Winter Treat event along with my Cheesy Vegetable soup.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cheesy Vegetable Soup

This is actually a very simple soup that is supposed to be consumed by Dutch Farmers.I got the recipe from here.This is a very very easy vegetable soup and the way it is served is also very innovative.I only substituted the Gouda cheese in the recipe with Swiss cheese.

Potato: 2 big :peeled and chopped
Cauliflower: 1 cup +/- trimmed into florets
Carrot: 1 big peeled and chopped
Onion: 1 big chopped
Vegetable broth: store bought or homemade: 2 cups+
Butter:2-4 tbsp
Salt & Pepper: as per taste

Crusty French/Italian Bread(Sliced)
Gouda Cheese : Sliced (I used Shredded Swiss cheese blend)


Chop the vegies into bite sized pieces.Melt butter in a heavy bottomed soup pot or pressure cooker and add the vegetables and onion and saute until the onion is browned.Add little salt and pepper and the veg broth(I made broth from here).Bring to boil and then let it simmer for 20 minutes until the veggies are tender for about 30 minutes or if using pressure cooker cover and cook till 2-3 whistles.Check and adjust the salt and pepper.Now the soup is ready to be served.

Preheat the broiler of the oven.Ladle the soup in oven proof bowl,top it with a sliced bread piece,cover the bread with cheese sliced/shredded.Broil the big soup bowl or individual soup bowls for around 2 minutes in the centre rack of the oven or atleast 6 inches from the heat till the cheese melts.Serve.

Now you can do the warming/broiling in the microwave also.I tried both and except for pre-heating time ,broil time is almost same.In the microwave start with 30 seconds +.

The soup is very prefect for winter and very easy to make.No other spices apart from salt & pepper are added.The flavour of the soup comes from the broth,which is a must here.The thickness and consistency can be adjusted by varying the amount of broth.The amount of veggies can be varied as per taste and availability.The above estimate is for 2-3 big servings.

The soup is comforting and obviously healthy.This is my entry to Truptis Winter Treat Event

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Festive Julekage

Julekage (yoo-leh-key-yeh) is a Scandinavian Christmas Bread particularly popular in Denmark and Norway and 'julekage' means 'Yule(Christmas) Bread'.It is a rich and sweet bread filled with spices-mostly cardamom,raisins,candied fruits and nuts.It can also be frosted like a cake due to its richness and to enliven the festive season.I found a simple recipe for Julekage from here and with little adjustments made a very sweet bread and enjoyed it.

All Purpose Flour: 3-3 3/4 cups
Slivered/Chopped Almonds: 1/3 cup
Candied Fruits: 2/3 cup +/-
Raisins: 1/4 cup+
Cardamom Powder: 1 tsp+
Lemon zest:1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1/4 cup
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Active Dry Yeast: 1 pkt or 1/4 ounce
Warm water: 1/4
Little warm Milk: 3/4cup
Unsalted Butter: 4 tbsp or 1/4 cup softened
Tofu : blend to a paste with water: 4 tbsp or 1/4 cup OR 1 single egg

Dissolve yeast in warm water and mix well.Add other wet ingredients-milk,butter,egg/tofu and mix.Add the dry ingredients of 2 cups of flour,sugar,salt,raisins,almonds,candied fruits,cardamom powder,lemon zest and mix well.Add the rest of the flour little by little and work with hands to form a smooth dough.Do not add more flour to it once you feel it is easy to handle.The recipe mentioned 3.25 cups but I added a little less than that.It can also go upto to 3.45 cups as per the recipe.

I used candied cranberries -made from here and store brought candied cherries.The recipe called for milk only whereas I added a bit warm milk.Also I added tofu pasted with water to replace the single egg.Now while blending with other wet ingredients and especially softened butter,it gave a curdled texture/look ,but I continued with it to obtain a very good dough.Some recipe for julekage use melted butter,though this recipe which I used goes for softened butter.Softened/creamed butter when mixed with tofu paste makes it look curdled,but does not affect the end result at all.Also you can vary the quantities of nuts,raisins and candied fruits as per taste and also add other spices of cinnamon,nutmeg etc.I only added 1 tsp of cardamom. The dough looks like....

Once the dough is formed and is manageable,turn it into a floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.Place it in a greased/oiled bowl,and turn it once so that it gets coated as well and let it rest covered with a plastic wrap in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it is doubled in volume.Then dough is ready when you touch it and the indentation remains -it does not spring back. The dough after doubling is...

(To be honest I took the pic after giving it a small punch-then only I remembered :D)

Punch down the dough and then shape it.You can go for a round shape as specified by the recipe.For easyness,I divided the dough into 3 parts and shaped each into a ball and then placed it in a greased/lined baking sheet and also brush the top with melted butter(I did not).

Let the dough rise again on the baking sheet,loosely covered with a plastic wrap and in a warm area for 45 minutes-1 hr and then bake it in a pre-heated oven at 350F for 35-45 minutes(Mine took 32-35 minutes only) and let it cool completely for 1 hour before frosting(optional),slicing and serving.I first baked two of three dough balls -they came out tasty but not perfect round.So I gave a 1/4 inch cut/cross on top the third and it came out almost perfectly.


Powdered Sugar: 1/2 cup
Milk: 3/4 tbsp

Mix these and drizzle over the loaf.

I glazed only 1 bread loaf/ball.

The bread was a little denser with a normal-bread-like crust as expected and chewy interiors.I believe the bread can be shaped into a braid as well.

It is a simple bread recipe or a normal bread recipe that has been spiced up with cardamom and enriched with butter and tofu/eggs and the cardamom aroma while baking makes it perfect for Christmas or anyother festival.

This simple yet festive Julekage is also going to spice up Annarasa's Kitchen where she is celebrating the festive season with BBD#15: Festive Breads,an event started by Zorra and also to Susan for Yeastspotting

Update on Dec 20,2008: The cake like Julekage is also on its way to Purva's Christmas Feast Event as a lovely dessert.Thanks Purva for accepting.

A simple sweet and spicy bread for any occasion is Julekage and I very much enjoyed this bread with or without icing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Ratatouille is a French vegetable/vegetarian stew dish that originated from Nice.'Rata' is a slang for 'chunky stew' and 'touiller' means 'to toss or stir.' 'Ratatouille Nicoise' is the original name of the dish(Thanks Cham for reminding me).Basically it contains zucchini or courgettes, eggplants,bell peppers,onions and garlic.There are several versions of making it ,though basically it is a stew served with bread,couscous or anyother main dish.Different chefs have different approaches to it as well.Julia Child insists on layering approach-separately saute the ingredients in the pan and then layer along with sauce made of tomato,onions,garlic and bell pepper and bake for a few minutes in the oven.

For a long time I had this idea for preparing this dish especially after seeing the 'Ratatouille' Movie-well if a mouse can prepare it,why can't we.? This time I got the chance to prepare it when I was paired with Veronicay of LaRecette du Jour for Taste&Create by Nicole.She is a wonderful chef with many authentic Italian & French dishes and also gives nice explanations to each post.Ratatouille is a wonderful dish which she had prepared from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Beck,Bertholle and Julia Child.The recipe is excellent though I adjusted to save time and as per taste.


Purple Eggplants: 1
Zucchini: 1
Red Bell Pepper: 1
Onion: 1 big
Garlic: 2 cloves crushed/minced
Tomato: 3-4 big ripe and fleshy

Fresh Parsley

Peel and chop the eggplants into bite sized cubes.Also chop the zucchini-no need to peel the zucchini.Add salt to these cubes and let them sit in a colander for atleast 15minutes or even half an hour till all the bitterness if there is removed from them.This also helps them cook faster and absorb only little oil.Chop the onions finely and crush/mince the garlic.Chop the bell pepper also into small pieces.Its better if the zucchini and eggplant are cut in the same size.Also peel and chop the tomatoes.To peel the tomatoes,dip them for a minute in boiling water and then take them and dip them for a minute in ice cold water.This loosens the skin and brings forth the juicy interior.Chop the peeled tomatoes and keep aside

Heat olive oil in a large pan and add the squeezed eggplant cubes and stirfry them till brown on both sides.Remove and keep aside.Then to the same pan,add the zucchini cubes and stirfry till brown on both sides.Remove and keep aside.You can add more oil as and when needed and also stirfry these in batches.

To the same pan,add more olive oil,and stifry onions,chopped bell pepper till the onions are transparent.Then stir in crushed/minced garlic and season with salt and pepper.I also added a pinch of oregano as well.This is completely optional.Mix and spread these in a single layer and then spread the chopped,peeled tomatoes over these.Cover and cook for a few minutes till the juice comes out.If too much juice is there,then you can remove the cover and boil fast so as to reduce the juice or if too little juice,add little water to obtain your choice of gravy consistency.I used 3 large tomatoes and did not add water as I liked a thick gravy.

Now comes the layering part.In a casserole dish place half of the tomato -onion-bell pepper sauce mixture,top this with eggplant cubes as the second layer.Top the eggplant layer with a zucchini cubes.Top it with the rest of the tomato mix,sprinkle with fresh parsley and bake in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes at 350F. You can also add parsley in between layers as well,if you like it.
Ladle/Spoon into bowls and serve warm with your choice of main course.

The stew or rather chunky stew was wonderful and I even enjoyed it as such without any main course.Its comforting and filling.Thanks Veronicay,for this wonderful recipe.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Choco Chip Cookies

This is a simple cookie that has the kids favourites-peanut butter and chocolate chips with the healthy addition of oats .I found this recipe here and tried it out with simple adjustments.

All Purpose flour: 1 cup
Old fashioned/Rolled Oats: 1 cup
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
Baking Powder:1/2 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Unsalted Butter: 1 stick softened
Peanut Butter: 1/2 cup room temperature
Brown Sugar: 1/2 cup
White Sugar: 1/2 cup

Flax seeds: 1 tbsp ground with 3 tbsp water to replace a single egg.
Vanilla Extract: 1 tsp

Chocolate chips/raisins/cherry halves: 2-3 handfuls / 1 cup or more


In a small bowl,mix together flour,oats,baking powder,baking soda and salt.Preheat oven to 375F.Line a baking sheet with foil and keep it ready.

In another big bowl,cream together both the butters and sugars so that you obtain a creamy brown mix.To this add vanilla extract and flax seed paste /1 single egg.Blend well.Add the flour mix in batches and blend well after each addition to obtain a smooth soft and little bit sticky dough.Now fold in chocolate chips into the dough using hands.

Drop scoopfuls/tablespoon/teaspoonfuls of dough into the baking sheet kept read ,2 inches apart.Ungreased baking sheet also works well as the dough can be a bit oily,with both the butters in it,but cleaningwise it is easier if you line the baking sheet.

Bake for 7-10 minutes,depending on size you have made.The recipe said a baking time of 10-12 minutes,but mine were ready within 8 minutes.So test the time by placing only 2-3 cookies in the first batch.

Also you can get creative with this cookies.Once the dough is formed,you can add in butterscotch chips,raisins etc instead of choc chips.Also instead of folding in these,you can sprinkle/place the chips/raisins on the top of each cookie on the baking sheet.I have used cherries in some of these-simply topped the cookie with a cherry half.Only thing is baking time may be more by 1 minute or so.So start checking from the 7th minute onwards and pull out once the edges are slightly browned-you may feel that they are uncooked,but they are done and will turn crunchier once outside the oven.

Also once you pull the cookies out of the oven,let them cool on the baking sheet itself for not more than 2 minutes.Gently take them and place them on a plate/wire rack where they can cool completely.If you allow them to sit too much on the sheet,it may be difficult to remove them from the sheet and may break them.

You can frost the cookies with your choice of icing or serve as such.With little imagination,you can not only get a healthy combo of dry fruits and nuts and also perfect looking cookies.They taste better the next day as well.Store the cookies in an air tight container.Or if dough is remaining,freeze the dough for upto 2 months tightly covered in a plastic wrap.

A warm batch of healthy and chewy oatmeal cookies are on the way to Vandana's where she has a yummy event for novice Bakers. They are also on way to Sharmi of Neivedyam for her cookie baking event

Update on Dec 16th 2008,These cookies are also on way to Purvas Christmas Feast.

The warm cookies fresh from the oven are also going to Madhuram where she has accepted these to be included in the flax seed meal round up.

Thanks Purva & Thanks Madhuram.I am very much honoured that these cookies are accepted in the esteemed events.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cauliflower Gratin

Gratin is a French casserole type French side Dish which is covered with Bechamel sauce and topped with buttered Breadcrumbs or grated cheese and baked or broiled and has a golden crust.The word literally means crust.I have wanted to cook a gratin before and found a wonderful recipe here at Food Network.Bechamel or white sauce is base for all other sauces in French Cuisine and is prepared by adding hot milk to the flour -melted butter mix.Once you make this sauce,rest is very easy.You can use any other vegetable or combo of veggies or even leftovers to make a gratin dish.I used cauliflower and few pieces of fennel stems to make this gratin.

Cauliflower: 1 small head of cauliflower
Anise/Fennel stem (optional):few cut pieces

All Purpose Flour: 1-2 tbsp
Unsalted Butter: 2 tbsp
Hot Milk: 1 cup +
Parmesan Cheese: 1/4 cup+/- as per choice
Gruyere cheese: 1/4 cup+/- as per choice

Spices:as per taste
Red Chilli Flakes (optional)

Gruyere or any Swiss Cheese : 1/2 cup+/-

Additional(optional) Ingredients:
Butter: Unsalted & Melted : 2 tbsp

Chop cauliflower into bitesized pieces and parboil in salted water.Drain and Keep aside.I had a big fennel/anise stem of which I added few cut pieces, just to see what happens.I added these as such,but if using potatoes or similar veggies,it is better to parboil chopped pieces of these along with cauliflower.

In a small sauce pan,melt butter.Keep the heat to medium-low while doing this.As soon as it is melted,add flour to it and keep on stirring with a fork/whisk/wooden spoon till it blends.Then add hot milk and continute whisking till it reaches a boil.Boil this milk stirring/whisking continuously for 1 minute or so until it thickens into a creamy sauce.Take off the heat.

Add the spices and salt to the sauce and whisk well.Add freshly grated parmesan cheese and gruyere cheese and whisk well.I used swiss cheese blend.Check for salt and adjust as per taste.You can add as much spices as per taste,though the riginal recipe has only nutmeg and pepper.I am a spicy person and so added my "secret ingredient" of red chilli flakes.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce into a baking dish,top this with cauliflower and other veggies if using.It looks like..

and then spread the rest of the sauce over the caulifower as evenly as possible.

Prepare the crust by mixing fresh dry breadcrumbs and gruyere/swiss cheese. Spread the crust mix evenly over the sauce-cauliflower layers.Top this with melted unsalted butter and then sprinkle salt and pepper.I thought the dish had already too much butter and so avoided the spreading with melted butter.I simply added little salt and pepper over the breadcrumbs.

It looks like....

Bake on a preheated oven at 375F for 25-30 minutes or until the top is browned.Serve as a side dish with rice,pasta or bread.

I must add that mine did not look browned at all.May be due to my cranky oven or may be bcoz I avoided the melted butter or I do not know.I tried an additional 15 minutes ,but still it did not look that brown.But the taste was excellent,that I can assure you.I even wrapped it in a roti and enjoyed it.

On a Joyous Note:

I have been showered with awards from fellow bloggers past month.I am very honoured to accept these wonderful gifts from wonderful and esteemed blogger friends and will be displaying them on the blog as soon as possible.I would like to acknowledge the latest heartfelt awards through this post:
The lovely trophy for Recipe Marathon from DK of CulinaryBazaar

And the Best Blogger Friends Award from Hema of AdlaksTiny World where she is celebrating the completion of 100 posts in her blog.

I have also been tagged by Usha of VegInspirations for the worthy cause of BreadLine Africa.Thanks Usha,its an honour as its for a worthy cause.I have already done the tag and you can find it here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

CloverLeaf Rolls

CloverLeaf Rolls are very simple and attractive dinner/breakfast rolls made during festive occasions like Christmas, or St Patricks Day in Ireland,or festive family-dinner, Thanksgiving, communion etc.Actually they can be had anytime or everday.The shape is that of cloverleaf with three sections and it is supposed to represent the Holy Trinity and sometimes these may have tiny crosses marked on these rolls.

These can be made of any dough,though traditionally brioche(French Bread) dough which has eggs is used and is baked in muffin tins and it can be enhanced as per taste and palette.I used a simple recipe from here and modified it.


All Purpose Flour: 2 .25 cups + if needed
Salt: 1 tsp
Active Dry Yeast: 1/2 tbsp
Milk/Soy Milk: 3/4 cup warmed
Water: 1/4 cup warmed
Tofu+SoyMilk : 2 tbsp ground paste
Shortening OR Canola /Vegetable Oil OR Melted Unsalted Butter : 2 tbsp
Sugar: 1/4 cup

In a large bowl, add yeast to warm water and mix well.Add in warm milk,sugar,tofu-soy milk paste ,oil/shortening/butter and salt and blend well.Add the flour in batches and mix well to form a smooth and soft dough.

I started with half of the flour and then gradually added remaining in batches,but make sure you stop adding it once the dough comes together and becomes smooth and 'not sticky'.The dough must be smooth and soft.Adding more flour,affects the texture of the rolls.They should be light and airy.So I used around 2 1/4 cups of flour even though as per the recipe I needed 1/2 cup more.Also I used soy milk instead of milk as I was using tofu instead of eggs.I used barely 2 tbsp of tofu and ground it with little soymilk to obtain a creamy paste to replace eggs.You can use 1 egg instead of tofu and used normal whole/low-fat milk instead of soymilk. I warmed the soymilk for about 20-30 seconds in the microwave.I also used vegetable oil in place of shortening which I did not have.I replaced 2 tbsp with the same quantity of veg.oil.
Once the dough is formed,you place it in a floured work area and knead it for 5-10 minutes atleast.

The more you knead the better the rolls.Put out all the hidden anger/emotiions against someone somewhere on to the dough and knead.It not just improves the bread,but your stress decreases.See kneading is therapeutic... :D.Do it to feel it.

Place the dough in a big greased bowl,turning it once inside the bowl so that it gets coated with oil and let it rest covered with a plastic wrap in a warm area until it doubles in volume or about 1 hour.

Once it doubles,punch it down,to release the air.Pinch of a small piece of the dough,roll it into a ball,place it in a greased muffin tin.Make two more similar dough balls and place in the same muffin cup-there will be 3 dough balls in each cup shaped like a leaf.Simply place the balls in a leaf like manner.Fill all the muffin cups in this fashion.It will look like this...

Now I had read that,these rolls,will take the shape of the muffin cup once they come out baking.So I kept the sizes very small,so only 1 came out with a muffin look.Also I played around with the sizes and kept big pieces in a baking dish as well.Like this...

Cookie Sheet will do fine,but I got hold of a pie pan and tried it... :D

Cover the muffin tin/baking dish with a plastic wrap and let the dough pieces rest in a warm area for around 30-45 minutes until they rise and almost double.Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 12-14 minute or until they become golden brown.

A Closer look..

Those in the baking dish came out as ........

For larger pieces in the pie dish I had to bake for 1 more minute.So check for oven time and start with 12 minutes.Also make sure your baking dish is greased,unless it is nonstick.

Also the above estimate give 16 big size rolls.If you do not want that much,after the first rise ,make as many rolls asyou want and freeze the rest of the bread dough.When needed,thaw the dough and then make rolls in the muffin tin and let it rise and then bake.Also you can make the rolls spicy,cheesy or sweet,as per the occasion.If you are adding herbs and other spices and cheese make sure you use greased baking/muffin dishes.

The rolls big as well as small ones were light and airy and soft and perfect for any time.Serve them with soup or gravy or chilli for dinner or with preserves or butter or honey for breakfast.Bitesized ones can be anytime snack.

A warm pack of these simple yet festive cloverleaf rolls are on their way to celebrate Bread Baking Day #15:Festive Breads,an event started by Zorra and currently hosted at Annarasa.

Fresh from the oven,another warm pack also go to Purvas Christmas Feast - a feast would be incomplete without these festive rolls.

Update On Dec 11,2008: The rolls are very simple and easy even for a novice baker.If you are okay with eggs,instead of tofu+soymilk use 1 single egg and also can use normal warm milk instead of the warmed soymilk I used.So a batch of these fresh rolls are on way to Vandana where she is conducting a Baking for Beginner event -a unique event that surely creates an awesome baker from a novice.Thanks Vandana for accepting these rolls.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Spiced Carrot Muffins

I like carrots,but have not baked them into a sweet dish.I add them to gravies and other items but never baked them.So this time I decided to go for it and made spiced up sweet muffins with prunes and pumpkin pie spice.Actually my idea was to use the applesauce to replace the egg in the recipe,but used prunes instead.They add little colour and blend very well.The muffins are moist and tasty,though the same cannot be said about the looks.Anyway here's the recipe.


All Purpose Flour:1 and 3/4 cup
Sugar: 1/2 or more as per taste
Baking Powder: 2 tsp
Baking Soda: 3/4 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Pumpkin Pie Spice: 2 tsp
1.5 tsp cinnamon+0.25 tsp nutmeg+ 0.25 tsp ginger(fresh or powdered)

Wet :
Unsalted Butter: 4 tbsp melted and cooled
Prunes: 3 tbsp ground
Yoghurt: 3/4 cup

Main Ingredient:
Carrots: 1.5 -2 cups grated (peeled,washed and grated)


In a large bowl,mix all the dry ingredients.You can use more sugar as per taste and also replace half with brown sugar.You can use store bought pumpkin pie spice or make your own as mixing cinnamon,nutmeg and powdered ginger in the above proportions.I used fresh ginger instead of dry.

In another small bowl,mix well the melted,cooled unsalted butter,prune paste.Prunes are dried sugar plums and look wrinkly and are chewy.Basically it is a dry fruit and is used in various dishes.I had dried prunes and I rinsed about 10-12 of them and soaked them in hot water for a few minutes.This softens them and allows them to be easily ground.The recipe here had 1 egg and I used prune paste to replace it.If the wet mix is too thick,add 1 tbsp or so of water /yoghurt.

Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and pour the wet mix into it.Blend until combined.Fold in the grated carrots.

Pour scoop/spoonful into lined muffin cups and bake in a preheated oven at 375F for 20 minutes.Cool on a wire rack and serve.

They were not sugary,so can increase the sugar.They came out tasty and were moist and soft.The prunes blend well,such that you do not feel/taste them when you bite into the muffins.You can see the prune piece from the pic,they actually work similar to raisin or atleast here they do not overpower the spices and carrotty taste.You can use egg or other replacers like applesauce and tofu as well instead of prunes.

As I said,I was about to use applesauce,but I saw in Egg Replacement Event:Pureed fruits announcement that Madhuram had included a prunes as well.So I wanted to see how they work here.Thus used it.The muffins came out very well and are on the way to Egg Replacement Event: PureedFruits .

Thursday, December 4, 2008

HazelNut SnowBalls

These are simple and easy cookies made with hazelnuts and rolled in powdered or confectioners sugar.Hazelnuts or Cob Nuts are widely used in confectionaries and hazelnut butter is an excellent spread.If you still do not know,delicious 'Nutella' is hazelnut and chocolate spread. I got this recipe from a magazine site and since I had hazelnuts on hand I tried it.


Hazelnuts: 1/4 cup roasted
All Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup
Unsalted Butter: 1/2 stick cold cut into pieces
Finely Powdered sugar/Confectioners Sugar: 7 tbsp+
Vanilla extract: 1/2 tsp


You can use store bought shelled/chopped and even roasted hazelnuts.I had unshelled hazelnuts,so I had to shell them and roast them.I shelled around 30-40 of these.You can roast these by spreading them on a baking sheet and roasting them at 350F for 10-12 minutesuntil they are browned.Then wrap these on a cloth towel and nice rub it till the brown skins come off.Then pick out the nuts and finely chop them into fine pieces by hand or processor.I managed to remove most of the brown skins,but since I was running out of patience,I allowed some to retain it.

Once the nuts are finely chopped,add half of the sugar and blend,then add vanila,cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces and blend well.Add the flour in batches and blend until a dry crumbly dough is just formed.Keep the rest of the sugar in a plate big enough for rolling the cookies.

Pinch pieces of dough and spread one inch apart on a ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 325F for 15 minutes or until the edges start to brown.Pull it out and cool for 2 minutes.The cookies will still be crumbly and delicate.Gently take a cookie by hand and roll it in confectioners sugar and place it in another plate.Do so for all the cookies.You can see that within a minute,as the cookie cools more,the sugar will melt and form a creamy layer on the cookie-the cookie will look like it is topped with white choco chip.Allow the rolled cookies to cool for 5-6 minutes and then again roll them in sugar.Allow to cool completely and then serve.

The cookies are moist and flaky -with the cold butter creating the flakes and sugar adding moistness.For me one or two came out crunchy,but most of them were soft and melt in the mouth.I baked in batches and also finely chopped the nuts-so the difference came I suppose.So I rested the dough to cool in fridge while baking one batch.

The above estimate gives about 1 dozen + cookies.The actual recipe here was for 64 cookies/snowballs,but I was not sure I wanted to crack that many hazelnut shells and also end up with a load of sugary cookies.So I reduced the recipe to one fourth.Also the recipe mentioned around 2 cups of sugar-3/4th of it was for rolling only,which I slashed as per my taste.But still,they are sugary sweet and roasted nuts can be tasted-roasting brings out the flavour.They are a sweet lovers delight.If you want to bite into them or make them crunchier do not chop/process these finely but do so roughly.They are a bit messy,sugar is left everywhere they are kept.Exactly like snowflakes I must add. :)

'And last but not least add your love to make them yummy.'

Well you guessed it right,these melt-in-the-mouth snowball cookies are on their way to Lubna of KitchenFlavours, where she is hosting FIC: White and what better than wintery snow to celebrate this colourful event started by Sunshinemom of TongueTicklers

Update: These cookies are also on their way to HappyCooks' HomeMade Christmas Gifts.THANKS CHAM for this.

Hazelnuts contain a high concentration of vitamin E which prevents oxidation of the polyunsaturated fats, and it is also one of the few nuts which contain vitamin A, which is a natural antioxidant and has cancer-preventing properties.The B-group vitamins are also well represented in hazelnuts, particularly vitamin B5 and B6. Moreover, hazelnuts are an excellent source of minerals, particularly the minerals manganese, selenium and zinc,but they are bit low in protein.(Source:A2Z of health & Beauty-Online health magazine)

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