Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saffron Cookies

Saffron plays an important role in the Indian and Middle Eastern and mediterranean cuisine.There are authentic saffron recipes including cakes and cookies from several middle eastern countries apart from the stove top sweet Indian dishes.I have made simple saffron cookies using the recipe I found in Tarla Dalal's site.Another good or intriguing feature of this recipe is the use of ghee instead of butter/margarine for creaming.

All Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup OR 8 tbsp

Ghee: 3.5 tbsp
Sugar: 3 tbsp

Saffron threads: 1/4-1/2 tsp
Warm Milk: 1 tsp

Cream together ghee and sugar till thoroughly blended.Soak saffron threads in warm milk and mix well till the milk looks yellow.Add in flour to the creamed sugar and ghee mix and knead to form a crumbly dough adding only the saffron milk.

Pinch tablespoonfuls of dough,shape into rounds,and slightly flatten it and put on a lined but non greased baking sheet.I added almonds on top of some cookies,and added designs on few with the help of fork and remaining I left alone.Totally there were 9 cookies.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 10-15 minutes till the edges start browning and the bottoms are already brown.Take out and let them cool completely.You may feel that the centre is soft but upon cooling it turns hard.

I allowed them to cool completely on the baking sheet itself which made them a little crunchy.Also while baking you can see the cookies expanding a little and turning flaky.I suppose its because of the use of ghee.As for the taste,it feels like we are biting into an Indian sweet laden with ghee or rather baked Mysorepak made from flour instead of besan!!.

Well the cookies are onway to JFI-Saffron,an event by Indira of Mahanandi and currently hosted by DK of ChefInYou.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Train Journey & Cutlets

Trains have always been a part of middle class Indian Life.They are the ones that bridge the vast distance between South,the North,Central and the West.Right from installation of the first passenger train between Bori Bunder Thane in Bombay, till now they have been the major source of travel for people.The long waiting list,the reservation to be done prior to months if we are planning a vacation,er the dirty railway station and er the stinky loos (unbearable) and the mass of people (we feel the whole India is waiting for a train) and the variety of foods - especially these days where we have special trains with their own restaurant compartments- endear the trains to us.It has become a part of life that we want to avoid but we find itself in it.It is also a place where we meet different kinds of people,share food and stories especially if it is a long distant train that spans several days.Ladies Coupe or Ladies Compartment has been associated with a train - passenger as well as long distant trains -a compartment specially for ladies or "Ladies Only" has been a good idea especially in a place like India where several atrocities has been committed against women and are still rampant.It has become a place where ladies sit and talk together share stories and food,and even chop veggies.

Ladies Coupe,a novel by Anitha Nair, tells us the story that happened in a ladies compartment of Bangalore Kanyakumari Express about six ladies who met for the first time and shared their life stories.Sometimes we feel perfectly normal when we share our fears,life and secrets to perfect strangers.The story begins with ,Akhila,who forgot to live her life for the sake of siblings but was left alone when the siblings flew away to their own nests.She starts the journey from Bangalore and meets up Prabha Devi,Janaki,Margret Shanti,Marikulanthu and Sheela and opens up her mind and listens to them.Each feel their is a sad story till they hear the other. Akhila searchs within herself and others whether a woman needs a man to feel complete.While reading the story we feel we can identify with these characters.Foodwise there are some references and recipes but the general railway food comes into our mind.FYI,the author talks about Appam and stew when the train stops at Palakkad.Appam and Stew is one the signature dishes of Kerala and has been a popular food from Palakkad (erstwhile Palghat)railway station.

Anyway the novel full of food reminds me of the cutlets that I used to get while travelling on the Southern Railways.A mix of several vegetables and batter fried(shallow or deep) it is a perfect example of different classes and mindsets sitting together and travelling to a common destination,er stomach in case of cutlets.The greasy cutlets with in Southern Railways were always a popular evening snack though I prefer much healthier shallow fried version my mom makes.The ingredients are basically potato,carrots and beets,though we can add whatever leftover veggies we like or cooked beans cheese(paneer) etc.

Potatoes,Beets and Carrots(cooked,peeled and mashed/grated) : 1-2 cups
Onion: 1 small,finely chopped
Green chillies: 1-2 as per taste,chopped into long pieces
Ginger: 1 small piece
Pepper & Red chilli powder : pinch (optional)
Tomato: 1 small finely chopped
Semolina/Bread Crumbs: 1/4 cup +/-

Bread Crumbs : 1/4 cup + (Breading)
Vegetable Oil: for shallow frying

Cook the potatoes,carrot and peeled beets.You can cook them altogether or separately or can even grate the carrots and beets.Chop the onions,tomato and green chillies and grate the ginger.

Heat little vegetable oil in a pan,add the chopped onion and grated ginger and chopped green chillies and cook till soft.Add chopped tomatoes,little salt ,optional pepper and chilli powder and saute for a few minutes.If you are using any uncooked vegetables or even grated beets and carrots then you can add at this point and saute till they are cooked.

Add the mashed potatoes and semolina/bread crumbs,mix well and cook for a few more minutes.The semolina is used as a thickner or it absorbs any extra liquid in the mix of vegetables keeping it moist at the same time.Check for salt and add more if needed.Let the mix cool till it can be shaped into balls.The potatoes also act as a binder.The quantity of spices and chillies is guestimate and adjust as per your taste and choice of vegetables.Chilli powder and pepper are completely optional,but if you do not have/like chillies then you can use this more.Crumbled paneer can be added as well.Tomatoes can be replaced with tomato paste/puree as per availability.

Once cooled the veg mix which looks rose in colour due to beets can be shaped into balls or kababs.

Bread the balls in bread crumbs or matzo meal or crushed oats.I have used cheesy bread crumbs. Shake off the excess if you like.

Shallow fry the cutlets on a non stick pan for a few minutes on both sides adding a few drops of oil.If you want to deep fry these,then you can first dip them in yoghurt or a thin batter made of all purpose flour and water and then dip them in bread crumbs and deep fry.But,give me shallow frying anyday.

The cutlets will have a brownish crust when cooked.Serve with spiced yoghurt and or tomato sauce and optionally with salsa cruda as in train.

The cutlets are hearty and perfect snack for everyone.Lets see who all boarded the Ladies Coupe in the BookClub train and are travelling to the perfect destination - "Climbing the Mango Trees ' by Madhur Jaffery next month.

*BREAKING NEWS *- I am at present on a vacation and has neither been able to visit yummy blogs nor comment on the wonderful dishes.I was a bit busy earlier and could not even inform about this thanks to limited net connection.The current situation will continue till the first week of Jan 2010 though some of my scheduled posts will appear if blogger works properly ie. :D




Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

This is a simple fudge that I prepared in minutes using a microwave.I had seen the foolproof fudge recipe in Nestle site and decided to give it a makeover using some excess ingredients I had in my pantry.I decided to make a double layered fudge with a chocolate layer as a base and a peanut butter layer on top.The result was a bit sticky but very tasty fudge.

Chocolate Fudge:
Condensed milk:1/3 cup
Baking chocolate -I usedsemi sweet - 2 oz/square
Nuts: 1/4 cup (optional)

Peanut Butter Layer:
Reese's cups: 4 no:s (0.75 oz each)
Peanut Butter: 3 tbsp
Condensed Milk: 3 tbsp

Chocolate Fudge:
Grate the chocolate and add it to a microwave safe dish along with condensed milk.Microwave at 100% power for about 1 minute.You can see the milk almost boiling and the chocolate start melting.Take it out,mix well so as to get chocolate liquid,stir in chopped nuts if using and pour into a well greased dish and smoothen it with a spatula.

Peanut butter Fudge:
Microwave the reeses cups for about 40-50 seconds at 100% power till the start to melt and the biscuity/cookie base start appearing .Take out whisk well,add 3 tbsp of peanut butter and again microwave for 10 secs.Take out,add 3 tbsp condensed milk and microwave again at 100% power for 20 seconds or till the milk starts boiling.Take out,whisk well and then spoon over the chocolate fudge.Let the layers come to room temperature and then chill the dish for atleast 2 hours in the refrigerator.I kept mine for several hours and then cut up into squares and serve for a festive dessert.

If you do not have baking chocolate,then you can use Cadbury's or any branded chocolate.If you want to use chocolate chips then you may have to use unsalted butter while melting in the microwave.Do check this recipe,if you want to use chocolate chips instead of chocolate.If you do not like/have peanut butter,then feel free to completely omit that layer.If you do not have Reeses cup then I assume you can use any confection of your choice (Cadbury's chocolate eclairs)or even choco chips or peanut butter chips in which case you need to use around 1/2 cup peanut butter.You can simply spoon the peanut butter fudge over the base chocolate fudge or try spreading it and then give swirls on it or whatever way you wish.I spooned it over and tried spreading it and the design I ended up with was not so good.Hence,you may find the pics not upto the mark.

The taste was ofcourse peanut buttery in the first bite which gives way to crunchy nuts and gooey chocolate and is heavenly.The festive fudge is onway to MEC:FestiveFoods at SpiceClub.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bon Bon -Stuffed Cookies,Anyone?

Bon bon cookies are Christmassy cookies that are stuffed with cherries,choc chips ,coconuts or whatever you feel like.This is an old heritage cookie I stumbled upon while browsing and I had used this recipe from WhatsCookingAmerica site.It has a simple cookie dough which is traditionally eggless and the cookies are stuffed and then baked and dipped in/drizzled with frosting.The normal flat cookie gets a perfect makeover in this version.

All Purpose Flour: 1.5 cups
Salt: 1/8 tsp

Unsalted Butter: 1/2 cup softened
Powdered (Confectioners Sugar):3/4 cup
Vanilla Extract: 1-2 tsp
Food Coloring: few drops (optional)
Cream/Milk: 1-2 tbsp (optional)

Glazed Cherries
Sweeetened Coconut
Chocolate chips
Dates,Nuts etc

Powdered (Confectioners/Icing)Sugar: 1/2 cup
Cream: 1 tbsp
Food coloring: few drops/pinches

Sift together flour and salt in a bowl.Cream together butter,sugar and vanilla and optional food colouring .Add in the flour -salt mix and bring together to form a dough.If the dough is too dry /not coming together add in milk/cream.I added milk and obtained a crumbly soft dough.

Pinch tablespoonful of dough,form into a ball,make an indentation,put the filling in the centre and mold the dough around the filling.I used candied cherries thoguh you can go for a filling of your choice.Place the stuffed dough ball in an ungreased and optionally lined baking sheet.

Repeat the process for rest of the dough and place the cookies 1 inch apart.Bake in a pre heated oven at 350F for 12-15 minutes,until the bottom starts turning brown,but the top is not yet browned.They may still look uncooked at the top.Remove from the oven and immediately remove from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.When the cookies are warm dip them in the icing and cool completely.You can also drizzle the icing on top of the cookies,rather than completely dipping or even use them without frosting.

Beat cream and sugar and food coloring and vanilla till well blended.You can also use coloured juices -cherry/strawberry/pom as per taste instead of food colouring.I used red food colouring for the icing.

The delectable cookies are on way to Eat Christmas Cookies: Season 3 at FoodBlogga and they will be part of an amazing round up .These are also on way to Sara's Cake n Cookies Event, as a part of her blogversary celebrations.

It seems these were the in vogue cookies of the '60s thanks to Betty Crocker.Do read the old ad campaign of BettyCrocker here with delectable bon bons.Also check out the detailed video of making these here.

UPDATE on 13 Jan 2010 : The cookies are also a part of the Jingle Event at Asankhana. I had forgotten to add the link earlier though had mailed it.Do wait for the jingling round up.Thanks Priyanka for accepting this along with Sugar Plums.

SugarPlums for Christmas

Sugar Plum are candies associated with Christmas and are made from nuts,dry fruits and spices.I had heard about sugar plum or rather the 'sugar plum fairy' but had never seen a recipe -never even knew it was a candy to be precise - and did not even knew they were so easy to make until I saw them in Closet Cooking.

Almonds: 1 cup
Date: 1/2 cup chopped
Apricots: 1/2 cup chopped
Dried Figs: 1/2 cup chopped

Honey: 2 tbsp
Orange Zest

Toast almonds in the oven at 400 for 8-10 minutes till they turn brown.You can do this in the stove top(I did) or even the microwave.Let them cool a bit and then chop them into small pieces.Also chop pitted dates,figs and apricots.

Mix all the chopped nuts, dry fruits,spices and zest in a bowl.Add honey and again mix well.I used hands for this.Form small balls out of the mix.Dust with icing sugar and serve.

The nuts add crunch to the sugar plums while the dried fruits make it chewy and add sweetness and a bit of tanginess to this.Honey makes sure everything sticks together but the dryfruits also act as glue.I added allspice and pinch of cinnamon and avoided nutmeg as I elt the allspice has a nutmeggy taste.You can add the spices as per taste or do check the original recipe at Closet Cooking.

Obviously this is my simple sweet Christmassy entry to T&T:ClosetCooking at Salt2Taste,an event by Zlamuskha.

The Christmassy sugar plums are onway to Homemade: End of 2009 Edition where all things Festive are welcome.

UPDATE on 13 Jan 2010 : These are also a part of the Jingle Event at Asankhana. Thanks Priyanka for accepting this along with BonBon Cookies.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mercimek Koftesi - Turkish Red Lentil Kofte

This is one of popular vegetarian appetizer that I tried from Almost Turkish blog.The snack is made of red lentils (masoor dal) and bulgur and these are cooked and then mixed with spiced and browned onion and then shaped into koftes or patties as I have done and then consumed.No pan frying or baking or deep frying etc.This is what that attracted me to these as I wanted to taste them as it is the first time I was seeeing a kofte without frying,steaming or baking -simply shape and eat. It is traditionally served kabab shaped with lettuce leaves but erm,..for my ease I have made them into round patties.Thanks Burcu of Almost Turkish for the recipe.

Masoor Dal /Red Lentils: 1 cup
Bulgur Wheat: 1/2 cup

Onion: 1 medium
Spring Onion/Scallion: 2+ white and green parts separately chopped
Tomato Paste: 1 tbsp
Hot Pepper Paste: 1 tbsp (optional)(I used normal chilli flakes)
Cumin powdered :1-2 tsp

Fresh Parsley: chopped almost 3 tbsp + more for garnish
Olive Oil

Wash and clean and cook red lentils in adequate water as needed.When the lentil is almost cooked and there is just a little water remaining,add salt and bulgur and stire and cover the dish and remove from the heat.Let the dish sit for around 10 minutes or so,when the bulgur gets cooked and mixture becomes completely dry.

Chop the onions finely.Also chop the white and green part of the scallion and keep them separate.Finely chop the parsley .

Heat a pan with olive oil and add onions and saute.Add the white part of the scallion along with the onions and continue to saute till soft.Then add tomato paste,little salt and red chilli flakes or hot pepper paste.Cook for 2 more minutes and then remove from heat.Mix well with lentil-bulgur mix.Add chopped parsley and mix well adjusting salt.

Shape into koftes or patties and garnish with green part of the scallions and more chopped parsley.Serve wrapped in a lettuce leaf.I shaped into patties and served with ketchup and a yogurt dip.

I wanted these to be spicy so I added the chilli flakes.Hot pepper paste or Aleppo pepper if available can be added.I liked the patties with tomato ketchup and also spiced yogurt.My daughter also liked it thgh my husband did not .And to think my daughter does not like bulgur but my husband does especially in soups.So it depends individual taste or I do not know....This is also one dish where I added lots of parsley.Normally i find parsley is sharper compared to coriander and I tend to avoid it or reduce it ,but this time there was no reducing the amount and it turned out much better than expected.The simple cooked dal without any shallow or deep frying or any so called spiced gravy was a new experience for me.If you like bulgur then this is the snack for you.Hope Srivalli accepts a plate of this for MLLA#18, an event by Susan.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Minty Peas Soup

This is a simple and quick soup made of peas and mint.The recipe is nothing much.I remebered seeing a Peas and basil soup and since I did not have basil,I went with mint and the combo is as perfect as it can be.

Fresh/Frozen Peas: 1 cup
Red Onion: 1 small
Garlic: 1 small clove
Vegetable Stock /Water: 1/4 cup + as needed
Fresh Mint leaves:as per taste
Salt& Pepper :as per Taste

Garnish/Topping (optional)
LowFat Yoghurt
Carrot Coins

Heat oil in a pan,add finely chopped onion and garlic and cook till transparent.Add in peas,little salt & pepper and chopped/crushed mint leaves.Saute for a minute.Add in stock/water and bring to a boil.Reduce and let it cook for a few minutes,till the flavours are blended and the raw smell of peas is gone and it is cooked.Cool.

Puree in a blender adding stock/water as needed.Return to heat and add more stock/water to adjust the thickness and let it cook for about 5-7 minutes.Adjust salt and pepper and serve warm with your choice of accompaniments.

Quickest soup is ready.Peas takes much less time to cook especially if frozen ones are used.You can also use this as a base recipe and add your own choice of spices or even add a green chilli for extra heat.

The simple soup is going to meet several hearty ones at MM:Soups at TongueTicklers,an event by Meeta.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tostones-Twice Fried Plantains

Tostones or Patacones are twice fried plantains that are common to all varieties/countries/areas in the Caribbean and also the South Americas.These are sliced raw /green plantains which are twice fried,second time after mashing them.Traditionally but optionally they are served with Aji Salsa using Aji peppers.I was aghast at the concept of serving with a dip of anykind but still I rustled up a simple tomato -roasted green chilly salsa and found that the combo was perfect.
Again the recipe is easy and the procedure interesting.If Aranitas included grater then this involves another vessel /any firm object for mashing up the plantains.

Raw Bananas: atleast 1
Salt/Garlic Salt: I used normal salt
Oil: for deep frying

Peel the bananas properly.Make sure you are removing only the thicker peel and not the fleshy part.For more guidance refer the video of tostones here or the recipe here.

Cut the peeled plantains into pieces.It looks like...

Deep fry the pieces in hot vegetable oil till golden brown.This makes sure that the insides are cooked as well.

Take a fried plantain,keep it within heat proof ziploc bag.You can also keep the fritter within two sheets of parchment for this.

Take a flat & bit heavy bottomed pan/plate.I used a small plate for this.You can also use a tawa .

Flatten the fritter by pressing the plate on top of the ziploc bag/parchment.It looks like...

Repeat the same for others...

At This stage,you can freeze the tostonesfor later use.
Deep fry the fritters again in hot oil and drain on paper towels.Sprinkle salt /garlic salt on top of these imediately after removing from oil.

Serve with your choice of salsa or a dip .Again this is optional.I prefer eating them as such as we are used to eating plantain chips just like that.But when I tried it with a simple salsa I loved the combo as well.
Simple Tomato Coriander Salsa:
I tossed together chopped tomato,chopped onion,chopped cilantro and chopped roasted green chillies along with salt,little pepper and lemon juice.I simply roasted the green chillies on gas top and chopped and used it.Go with any salsa you want.

Top the patacones with the salsa and have a hearty snack.

Well,atlast the plantain saga is over.So a warm plate of patacones goes to Jamie of FlavorPantry for AWED:Caribbean an event by dear DK.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Aranitas-Little Spiders

Aranitas are shredded and fried raw plantain fritters from PuertoRico.The term in Spanish means little spiders and these are garlicky and perfectly easy to make.I first came across this dish in Foodnetwork show -Ingrid Hoffmanns' Simply Delicioso. For those who think plantain fritters are a part of Kerala tradition then this is another equally tasty version. Again not much of a recipe,but the procedure of shredding and forming fritters of the plantain is interesting.

Raw Plantain Banana: atleast 1
Garlic :1 clove
Salt & Pepper : as needed

Peel the plantain -make sure only the skin/peel is removed. Grate the peeled plantain in the big holes of the box grater.

Mince garlic finely -make a paste of it- and mix with salt.Add this and pepper to the grated plantains and mix well.You can add more salt as per taste.Also instead or minced garlic,garlic salt can be added which ensures that the garlic is totally blended with the plantains.Form small balls from this mixture.Make sure you make these balls gently .

Deep fry the fritters in hot oil till golden brown and drain on paper towels.Serve warm as an anytime snack.Garlicky plantain fritters (chips as they are also known) are ready.

Do check out the original recipe and also check out Cynthia's amazing looking aranitas.My aranitas are not on par with them.This could also be because of the type of plantain available here and er,.. also my skills.Well, again these PuertoRican snacks are going to the AWED:Caribbean at FlavorPantry,an even by DK.

The plantain saga continues...................

P(irates)lantains of the Caribbean

When I was a kid,my mother used to make a snack of caramelized bananas.These are nothing but peeled sliced bananas pan fried adding ghee and sugar.It was a quick and tasty snack and I am sure you would have made or come across several versions of the same- some with the addition of spices and some where the banana slices were dipped in milk/coconut milk and then panfried or whatever way you make it.Recently I came to know that these fried/sauteed bananas were a common dish or dessert or snack in Trinidad.Well the Trinidad version used oil and served the sauteed bananas with sugar or traditionally brownsugar.Such an easy recipe- I do not think you can call it a recipe- anyway heres my Trinidad Version of simple snack.

Ripe bananas: atleast 1
Vegetable Oil
Sugar/Brown sugar

Peel and slice the preferably overripe (with blackened peels especially) bananas into thick slices. Heat a pan on medium heat,add little oil,add the slices and little sugar and let them caramelize.Turn the slices and repeat for the other side. Serve with more sugar.

I have reduced the oil a bit and add sugar so that the bananas on caramelizing look like they have been dunked in oil.This way the look of the traditional dish remains the same but it is more healthy and tasty.Else,you can keep on adding more oil till they are completely fried.

Hope Jamie accepts my version of the Trinidadian fried plantains for AWED: Caribbean,an event by dear DK.

Wait,there's more in the plantain saga........

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Barley Raisin Cookies

These are actually simple coookies that I tried using one of my previous posts on Whole Wheat oats and Raisin Cookies.The original recipe uses 3 parts oats and 1 part wheat flour and in this version I have replaced both with barley flour.It is just an experiment and I had used very less quantites fearing it might go wrong but that turned out right and hence I am blogging it.

Barley Flour : 1/2 cup
Raisins:2 tbsp
Milk: 1.5 tbsp
Brown Sugar: 2 tbsp
Vegetable oil: 2 tsp
Honey: 1/2 tsp

In a bowl,whisk together Barley flour,raisins and sugar.Add in milk,oil and honey and knead gently to form a dough.Pinch handful of dough and lay them on a greased/lined baking sheet flattening them slightly.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 15-20 minutes or more till the underside and edges get brown.My cookie top never browned.Cool on a rack.

Actually barley is a nutty flour and can be used to replace whole wheat in most of the baked goods.Here I have used this concept and replaced not just wheat but also oats which was in the main recipe.At first while forming the dough I never added honey,but the dough was not coming together and on tasting,I found the dough was not sweet enough.So I added the honey and also extra 1/2 tsp of oil.The taste was amazing but the attempt is amaeteurish and can be more developed into a much better recipe.But right now the barley cookies are on way to Madhuram's Whole Grain Baking event:Barley.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jammy Doughnut Muffins

I have never ever worked with barley flour.So when Madhuram announced whole grain Baking with Barley I was literally dumbstruck.I expected riceflour,but never barley.Anyway thus began my search for Barley in Bangalore.Obviously I could not find any flour,so I purchased whole barley or barley rice as it is known here and ground to a fine flour.The first experiment with it turned to be a flop.I tried baking a bread and it ended up in dustbin.Thankfully these muffins turned out great .I never expected it to come out good but they were surprisingly good and well tasty almost like doughnuts.I have adapted the recipe from Hamiltons Barley Site and it is pretty easy and I have made it vegan as well.

Dry Mix:
Barley Flour: 1 and 3/4 cup
Sugar: 3/4 cup
Baking Soda: 1.5 tsp
Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp
Nutmeg: 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp (PS: In my excitement,I forgot it)

Wet Mix:
Egg: 1 OR 1 Ener G Egg (1.5 tsp of packed powder blended with 2 tbsp of water)
Milk: 3/4 cup (I used soymilk)
Vegetable Oil: 1/4 cup (I used 2 tbsp only)

Jam of your choice

Topping (optional):
Melted Butter along with cinnamon sugar
Icing Sugar & Sprinkles

In a big bowl,whisk together the dry ingredients.In another small bowl,lightly beat (with a fork) the wet ingredients.If using Ener G Egg ,then optionally add 1-2 tbsp of water or milk/soymilk.The original recipe has 4 tbsp of oil,but I reduced it to 2,but you can add 4 as I felt the muffins were a bit dry .

Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix and stir until combined.

Spoon little of the thick muffin batter into the greased and lined muffin cups till 1/3 rd full. Make a slight indentation or hole on this batter. Just a little indentation and not a complete well.Add around 1 tsp + of jam into this hole.It looks like...

Top the jam with more batter till the cup is full.Do so with remaining muffin cups.

Bake in a preheated oved at 375F for 25-27 minutes or more until the tester comes out clean.Take out and let it cool for 10 minutes in the muffin moulds.After which remove and cool completely on the wirerack.
It looks like this ...

or like this....

You can brush melted butter on top and then dip it into cinnamon sugar.I simply topped it with powdered sugar and added sprinkles.Obviously this is my entry to Whole Grain Baking Event: Barley at EgglessCooking.
UPDATE on 12/12/09: These delicious muffins are perfect for tea and are on way to EC's WYF:Tea Time Snack.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Swirled Nutella Scones

"Bread Alone' by Judith Ryan Hendricks is a powerful story where Bread plays a strong yet silent role.I had never heard of this book unless it was chosen by BookClub.I was so moved by some of the reviews that I had read on the net and had purchased the book online.The book was very worth the money spent on it or whatever way you look at it.The story of Wynter and how she cops with her divorce,mother's marriage etc is very gripping.

Foodwise there are a lot of references and some recipes that interest us.Now while reading the book,I never keep a note of the food references it has and especially with this one,I was fully into the life of Wynter that I forgot that I have to post something based on it yesterday.But somehow,I pulled myself and prepared these quick scones using Nutella .Why scones? - B'Coz scones are the first thing that Wynter eats when she visits Queen Street Bakery along with her friend CM.Why nutella? - Wynter takes a bite of cappuccino hazelnut scones while talking about her woes. and since I was too lazy to shell hazelnut I decided to take short cut using Nutella.But ofcourse,you can expect coffee-hazelnut scones and some others here in a short time.

I have used the normal scone recipe that I adapted from 'Joy of Baking' for my Jelly Filled Scones. Only thing new I have tried is rolling the scone dough spread with nutella and then baking them.The scones come out within a short time and are also gone in a shorter time.

All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Sugar: 2 tbsp +
Salt: a pinch

Cold Unsalted Butter: cubed: 2 tbsp

Milk: 1/4 - 1/2 cup

Nutella : 1/4 cup +

In a bowl,whisk together,flour,baking powder,sugar and salt.Cut in cold butter and pinch and fluff so that the mix resembles coarse sand.Add in 1/4 cup of milk and combine gently to form a dough adding tablespoonful of milk as needed.It took me around 7 tbsp.

When I had made my jelly scones,I had replaced one egg in that with ground flax seed and had used around 1/4 cup of milk.This time I avoided the flax and have used extra milk.If interested use an egg or Vegan egg and mix with 2 tbsp of milk and then add it to the flour,and then combine to form a dough.

Once a dough starts forming,put it on a lighlty floured surface and knead it gently for few time and then pat it into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle.You can roll it out if you like,but too much pressure can toughen the scones.

Spread nutella on the rectangle leaving free a little of the borders.

Roll the rectangle starting from the longest side and form a log.Pinch the seam and optionally seal the edges.I did not do that.Cut the log into pieces possibly of equal size or as you wish.Lay the scones in a greased baking dish.

Bake at 200C/ 400F for 12-16 minutes until browned.My tops did not brown,but the bottoms did. Serve them warm optionally with more nutella if you like.

Now the scone were made quickly and were gone more quickly than expected.But I found that the dough was not as sweet as expected.I had used barely 1.5 tbsp of sugar in it as I thought I could compensate with nutella,but since the dough was crumbly,I used barely 1/4 cup of nutella as I did not want the dough to fall apart.So the edge scones -first and the last portions of the log- were not that sweet.Also the top of the scones did not brown that well -may be because I used only milk.But these were good for a hearty bite especially when warm and all you want to do curl up with a book shutting yourself from the world.

Lets see what other members made inspired from 'Bread Alone' :
Simran used Ms Tippity and gave us a sourdough bread while Janaki, the newest member, though not so taken in by the story still baked a whole wheat bread.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Eggless Zeppoles

Zeppole or zapplas are Italian version of doughnuts and are light,deep fried yeasted flour dough balls.They are toppled with powdered sugar and can also be filled with honey-butter,cream etc.They can be savoury as well in which case they are filled with anchovy.

I had bookmarked the zeppole recipe from SunshineMom where she made a vegan version of zapplas.I followed the recipe as such except that I used diary ingredients and so its not vegan,but eggless.I dipped them in coffee syrup,chocolate and normal powdered sugar.Hearty warm doughnuts are welcome anytime this winter.

Milk: 3/4 cup - 1 cup
Vanilla : few drops
Sugar :2 tbsp +
Butter: 1.5 tbsp
CornStarch: 1 tsp

All Purpose Flour: 30 tbsp
CornStarch: 2 tbsp
Instant Yeast: 1 tsp
Salt: a pinch

Vegetable Oil: frying

Powdered Sugar
Melted Chocolate
Coffee syrup

In a saucepan mix together 1/2 cup milk,vanilla and 1 tsp cornstarch.Heat this on lowfire stirring till the sauce thickens. Add to it the butter and sugar and stir well till it reaches a custard like consistency.Let it cool to room temp.After adding butter and sugar,I removed it immediately from heat as the mix as warm enough to melt the butter.

In another big bowl,whisk together flour,cornstarch,yeast and salt.To this add the milk mixture and knead to form a dough adding more milk as needed.It took me another 4-6 tbsp apart from the 1/2 cup already added.Put the dough on a lighlty floured surface and knead gently into a soft smooth dough.Keep the dough in a greased bowl and let it rise for about 40 minutes or until doubled.

Once doubled,put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate it.Let it rest for a few minutes.Roll out /shape the dough into a long rope and then pinch out lime sized balls from it.Flatten each ball very slightly and create a hole in the centre using the thumb and index finger.

Place the ball on a lined and greased baking sheet. Repeat the same process for rest of the dough pieces,cover them with an oiled plasticwrap and let them rise for another 40 minutes.

They may double or may rise slighlty.Mine actually did not double the first time,but second time,they rose beautifully and doughnut felt very light.

Deep fry the doughnuts in hot vegetable oil.Drain on papertowels and immediately sprinkle/dip them in powdered sugar or whatever you wish.

The zapplas were 'fried pillows of heaven'.No words to describe the taste.They are not sugary sweet when tasted as themselves but sprinkling them with powdered sugar takes care of that.If you like you can increase the sugar as per taste.I dipped then in powdered sugar, then coffee syrup and powdered sugar, and then melted chocolate and added sprinkles.

The zeppoles are very delicious and Thanks H, for the hearty recipe.My zeppoles are not as goodlooking as hers,but perfect in taste.These are going to be a part of T&T:Tongueticklers,an event by Zlamushka and currently hosted by the SingingChef Raga.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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