Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Neapolitan Cupcakes- Ringing in the 4th BirthDay of TastyCurryLeaf

Dear TastyCurryLeaf ,
I know you are angry with me for neglecting you these days. This being the month of May I am savouring the last of the summer school break before the school reopens on June 1.

I know you are now thinking "she is  always like that Excuses,excuses,hmmmm". I accept (tears). I accept that I am clumsy and laidback and not so great in managing you. But that what I always am-Atleast all my well wishers (and detractors) say so :(

I know I am never around celebrating your birthday which is the last day of the holiday ie Today.Earlier I thought I would never be celebrating your birthdays at all. I remember you felt very bad those days when I went around wishing Happy Birthdays to all other yummy blogs and did not even look at you. To be honest I never thought you would be there with me so long -3 years is surely a long time. Can't believe we travelled together through different cuisines and tried and tasted several events and accidents together.And YES, I have already planned to do more of these in future.

This year I have decided to give you a nice treat -you know I love baking ok,WE love Baking. So.....

*****Stop Press***

 OK This is the private mail between CurryLeaf (ME) and TastyCurryLeaf(THE BLOG or TCL). I was about to post the cupcake when accidentally the blog took over and inserted the contents of the mail. I was just in time else it would have washed all the dirty linen in public -- err or posted a burnt cake should I say. Well for you dear readers ,look below for the delicious cupcakes that I presented to TCL on its 4th Birthday.

I have tried neapolitan cupcakes (OR black & white OR two tone) cupcakes where the 2-3 flavours and colours are present in the same cupcake. I decided to use my heart shaped cupcake pan for this and they turned out great for the occasion.I have adapted the recipe from How to Eat a Cupcake. I am not sure I got the layering perfectly,but the taste was GREAT.


Vanilla Batter:

Dry Mix:
All Purpose Flour: 14 tbsp
Baking Powder: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Wet Mix:
Unsalted Butter: 1/4 cup room temperature
Sugar: 6 tbsp

Egg: 1 OR Ener G Egg : 1.5 tsp  + 2 tbsp pf water 
Vanilla : 1/2 tsp

Milk: 1/4 cup
Water: 1-2 tbsp more if using Egg replacer 

Chocolate Batter: 
Replace 2 tbsp of Flour with Cocoa Powder. Rest same as above.


Vanilla Batter: 
Mix the dry items together. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar at high speed till fluffy. Beat in the egg along with vanilla until combined. Beat in the flour mix and milk alternatively beginning and ending with flour at low speed until just combined. If the batter is too thick and if using egg replacer you can add in additional 1-2 tbsp of water or milk itself till the cucpake consistency is reached.

Chocolate Batter:
Same as vanilla batter. But reduce 2 tbsp of flour and whisk in cocoa powder with the dry items. 

Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C. Grease and flour a muffin pan or appropriate molds.Pour 2-3 tbsp of vanilla batter on one side of the mold.Fill the other side with equal amount of chocolate batter.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes until a tester comes out clean.Cool for about 5 minutes in the muffin pan or molds after which remove to a wire rack and cool completely. Mine were done at 22nd minute,but I was a minute late  in pulling them out.

Frost or ice as per you like. I served them as themselves,and also glazed the middle part with melted jam and topped with sprinkles.I also dusted the chocolate part with powdered sugar prior to using jam.

Drum Rolls please...........

Happy BirthDay TastyCurryLeaf

I know I am a bit laidback with you,but keeping fingers crossed that we can turn things around this year and also in future.Meanwhile enjoy the cupcakes.Have a Great Day.

The cupcakes are really simple to make and you can go for combinations like strawberry and choclate, or whatever you like.Mine do not have the perfect layering though. You can also make the horizontal partition rather that going for the vertical partition that I have tried.In case of former, you can go for vanilla -chocolate-vanilla layers so that choco part looks sandwiched between the vanilla parts. They turned out a bit spongy and soft-which was great.

Heres a broken heart ....

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tzatziki- Greek Yogurt & Cucumber Dip

Tzatziki is a Greek strained yogurt and cucumber dip which is served also as a sauce with appropriate main course. I had tried tzatziki while in US using thick Greek Yogurt but somehow found that it was very liquidy or watery (similar to normal raitha) and felt something amiss. After coming back I saw Chef George Calombaris explaining how to make a perfect tzatziki in MasterChef Australia and tried it with regular yogurt available here. It definitely worked and here is the simple dip in my words.

Cucumber: at least 1 medium peeled
Yogurt: atleast 2 cups

Garlic: 1/2 small clove finely grated
Shallots/ pearl onions: 1 small coarsely grated
Fresh Dill : small bunch finely chopped
Zest of 1 small lemon
Cayenne Pepper: a small pinch

Olive Oil: 2-3 tbsp atleast

Strain the yogurt by pouring it in a cheesecloth and letting the whey/liquid flow out into a bowl. Keep this overnight in the fridge or atleast 2-3 hours. I did this overnight. You can use this post for straining the yogurt.

Coarsely grate the peeled cucumber and squeeze out liquid from this.You can grate it on top of a tray covered with cheesecloth so that the liquid drains away.To this,mix in little salt and cover it with  another clean cloth,leave for 5 minutes and then squeeze out the remaining liquid.To simplify, I squeezed out the grated cucumbers,mixed in salt, after few minutes again squeezed out. Make sure most of the liquid is removed from cucumbers and the yogurt as it affects the consistency of the dip which should be very thick.

To the thickened yogurt,mix in grated shallot, grated garlic,chopped dill,lemon zest and cayenne pepper.Add the squeezed out cucumbers and stir until combined.Add olive oil and mix well. Serve topped with more olive oil and dill leaves as a dip with chips/fresh veggies or as per choice.

Delectable dip this was and almost same as the tzatziki I had tried or seen. Perfect for the hot weather as well. Make your own and enjoy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon for me is always sweet.I go for pops or juices or sorbets but enjoys it as such most of the times.  I never experiment with watermelon despite being inspired by several savoury recipes that I see in blogosphere. But this summer I thought I should try a simple gazpacho with it just for a change.

A gazpacho is a raw tomato based soup from Spain and watermelon gazpacho is an equally popular variation of the traditional one.I have adapted Tyler Florence's recipe from the FoodNetwork snd it turned out to be good or much better than expected. I was apprehensive before tasting it and was surprised that I could relate to the taste.


Tomato: 1 small or 1/4 cup chopped
Watermelon: cubed 2 cups +more for garnish (optional)
Red onion: 2-3 tbsp
Cucumber: 2-3 tbsp + more for garnish

Garlic: 1 small clove
Green Chilly: 1 small(hot) or as per taste
Mint leaves: few as per taste

Salt, Pepper: as per taste

Red Wine Vinegar: 1 dash
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2 tsp

Puree the melon,tomato,cucumber and onion together with little quantity of mint,garlic and chilly. Add salt and pepper and adjust the chilly. Make sure the garlic and mint are not overpowering. Add in red wine vinegar and EVOO and give a final blend.Do the taste test and adjust the seasoning.

You will be having a tangy,red,thick and spicy liquid.Chill till serving time. Garnish with cubed cucumber/melon croutons and serve as a cold starter.

A tangy and cold red soupThe mint leaves an understated refreshing taste. Instead of mint, dill leaves can be used and are more popular in gazpachos.The watermelon is there for colour and a hint of sweetness. Again it depends on the ratio of ingredients that you have used.

I won't say the soup was excellent,but it was nice and palatable.My daughter did not touch this  but yes, the official head of the family gave his stamp of approval and had more than his fair share. :) A nice twist to the sweet melon and good for summer too. Atleast people who love tanginess should try it out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Aam Panna -Cooling Indian Raw Mango Drink

As I had mentioned in several previous posts, I am not a great fan of ripe juicy mangoes.Of course I use them, but has not great affection for the supposed king of fruits. Instead it is the tangy or sour raw mango that excites me. You can have them as such,use in gravies, dals, pickles etc .There are several varieties of mango and several ways of using it. One way of enjoying the raw mango is making a cooling summer drink out of it. You cook the mango -roast it,steam it,boil in water,squeeze out the pulp and add required amount of sweetner or spices and liquid. A simple cooling, sweet-sour drink  called Aam Panna is ready.

Aam panna/panha or kairi panna is a cooling summer drink popular in Northern and Central parts of India like Maharashtra,Gujarat, UP etc."Aam" stands for mangoes and "panna" or "panha" or the South Indian "Panaka" stands for Drink. There are also regional variations of making the drink. Some add cardamom to it and dish out a sweet drink whereas others prefer it tangy and spicy. Growing up in the Southern most part of India,this drink was unknown in my childhood,but after tasting it I have made it a regular in my kitchen.Given below is my version of Aam panna .

Raw Green Mangoes: atleast 1 big whole
Cumin :1/4 tsp + roasted and powdered
Black Peppercorn: freshly grated/crushed as needed
Black Salt: as needed
Asafetida/Hing: a pinch
Sugar: 1/4 cup +/- as per taste

Water: as needed

Garnish: Ice Cubes,Mint Leaves (optional)

Wash and boil mango in enough water till it is soft.This takes about 10-15 minutes. Cool,peel ,squeeze out the soft flesh.An easier way to do this is peel the mango,remove the stone,chop into small pieces and grind/pulp it in the mixer.Normally,you have to squeeze out the juice from the soft mango,but the mixer makes it easier.Also instead of cooking the whole mango,you can peel,chop and then cook it though traditionally it is the whole mango that is cooked and then pulped.

Add the roasted cumin powder,pepper,black salt,hing and sugar and mix well till sugar is absorbed.Do the taste test and adjust the seasonings.

Our Aam panna concentrate is ready.

For serving,add 2-4 tbsp of concentrate in a serving glass,add enough water,stir well and serve with ice cubes.Garnish with mint leaves.

The concentrate can be spiced and sweetened according to your taste.You can also go for a sweeter version by adding just sugar,powdered cardamom and saffron and removing spices and black salt.I prefer the salty-spicy version given above.Another version also adds ground mint leaves to the the already refreshing drink.

Aam panna is known for its heat resistant properties and is effective remedy for gastro- intestinal disorders thanks to the presence of pectin in green/raw which is a soluble fibre and a stabilizing agent. It is also high in Vitamin C and increases body resistance against TB,cholera,dysentery etc or typical summer diseases.Black Salt in the drink also acts as a coolant spice.Cumin also aids in digestion.

Enjoy the refreshing drink and beat the heat.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Strawberry Short(Cup)Cakes with Paneer-Almond Cream

A Shortcake is a crumbly biscuit made with baking soda or baking powder which is then halved and filled with whipped cream and sweetened fruit like strawberries,peach, blue berries etc. Strawberry shortcake is a popular one.Scones or corn  muffins can also be used as the base of the shortcake. I  presume the idea is to have a base strong enough to hold the cream and fruit and not turn soggy. Usually a shortcake will use chilled cubed butter which is mixed with other dry ingredients till it resembles coarse sand.

Anyway I saw shortcake being turned into shortcupcakes here in a non traditional way and adapted this. I had quartered the recipe to suit me and since I did not have cream, I made fake cream using almond and paneer and it was delicious.


Cupcakes :Gives around 8 crumbly cupcakes

Butter: 1/4 cup room temperature
Sugar: 6 tbsp
Baking Powder: 3/4 tsp
Salt: pinch

Egg: 1 or Ener G egg: 1 (1.5 packed tsp mixed with 2 tbsp water)
Milk: 1/4 cup
Vanilla : 1 tsp

All Purpose Flour: 10 tbsp + 2 tsp

Strawberries: Hulled and sliced and mixed with enough sugar: as needed

Paneer Almond Cream
Paneer: 1 cup
Almond powdered coarsely: 4 tbsp
Powdered Sugar: 4 tbsp or as per taste
Milk/SoyMilk: 3 tbsp or more as needed
Almond Extract: 1/4 tsp

Beat butter,sugar,baking powder and salt till well blended. Beat in the egg and add in the milk and vanilla. The mixture will look curdled.Add in flour and beat at  low speed till just combined, Pour into muffin tins lined and greased till 2/3 full.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 20-25 minutes or more until the tester comes out clean.Keep an eye on the oven 18th minute onwards.

Take out, cool in the muffin tin for about 5 minutes, after which invert onto the wire rack and let it cool completely.

Meanwhile wash and hull the strawberries and slice them thinly. Mix with little or enough sugar and let them sit for an hour or so.

Prepare the paneer almond cream by blending together all the ingredients.

Assembling the Short(Cup)Cake:
Slice the cupcake horizontally into 2 equal parts.On one half,spoon 1-2 tbsp of cream on the cut side and top with sweet strawberry slices along with little juice that has come out. Cover with the other half cut side down.Top with more cream and /or sweet berry slices.

A delish dessert or snack with the queen of berries. The paneer almond cream was much better than expected and I did not miss the traditional whipped cream at all. The cupcake were crumbly and few were cracked on top. I was scared to slit them  as I thought they may be torn. Thankfully they behaved nicely and I could give a nice farewell to the pink berries (Sighs).There goes my last strawberry post.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mango Shrikarani

I usually go for spicy side dishes with either rice and rotis or atleast sweet and spicy. But last year while on a vacation,I was surprised to see puris being served with thick mango juice and since I had heard of puri halwa combo in the Northern parts of India,I was thinking it was just a variation. But recently I read about Mango Shrikarani at Prathibha's space. 

Shrikarani or Shrikarni is a Karnataka style sweet side dish served with rotis. It like a chunky milk shake with mango pulp is mixed with chopped mango pieces and milk. Its easier to make and here is my version tried from Prathibha.

Mango: 1 peeled and chopped
Milk: around 1/4 cup
Sugar: as per taste
Cardamom:1-2 pods crushed OR 1/4-1/2 tsp powdered

Clean and peel the mango and finely chop it. Mash half of the chopped mango pieces in a bowl.

In a serving bowl,mix in sugar and milk till sugar dissolves. Add in cardamom and give it a final mix so as to get spiced milk.

Fold in the mashed and chopped mango into this sweetened cardamom milk.

Chill till serving time.
Serve with rotis or puris.

I am no lover of mangoes,but inspite of this I relished this with rotis (just as I had done with puris). A cooling side dish in this hot summer.But yes,you can also enjoy it as itself just as a dessert.

This delightful side graces T&T:The Chef & Her Kitchen at SaviRuchi,an event by Lakshmi.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tomato Mozzarella Tartlets

I am a bit scared of tarts.Somehow I have this belief that mine won't turn out nice.Somehow or rather MM:Topless Tarts by CookSister, tempted me to try them and this simple tomato one adapted from David Lebovitz did not let me down..I halved the original and made other changes as well and though it doesn't look as good as the original but definitely tasty it was.
All Purpose Flour: 3/4 cup
Butter: 6 tbsp cold (cubed and chilled)
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Egg: 1/2 or rather Ener G Egg: 3/4 tsp powder + 1 tbsp water
Ice cold water:1-2 tbsp

Tart Filling:

Parmesan Cheese: for a few sprinkles
Tomatoes: 1-2 sliced into rounds
Olive Oil:  1-2 tsp for drizzling
Basil: few leaves fresh/Frozen
Mozzarella: cubed/sliced as needed
Salt,pepper & /Italian seasoning: as needed

In a blender, mix together flour and salt. Add in the 1/2 egg or required Ener G mixed with 1 tbsp of water to the ice cold water and add to the blender. Give a mix so that the a dough starts to form.Put everything on a lightly dusted surface and gently form a dough. Chill for atleast 30 minutes. 

This chilling of the dough is not there in the original recipe. My dough was sticky(maybe I added more water) and got torn while rolling out. SoI rolled up everything and chilled the dough.

Take out the dough and roll it out on a floured surface.Once the dough is large enough to cover the bottom and sides of your tart dish, roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it over the tart dish.

Dock the bottom of the pastry firm with your fingertips,pressing a few times so as to make indentations.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese at the base as a single layer. The original used mustard as a base.I didn't have it and on googling found several recipes going for a parmesan layer.So I used cheese.

Top the cheese layer with tomato slices to get an even tomato layer.You can overlap tomato slices to get this.sprinkle little salt & pepper and olive oil on top of this and sprinkle basil leaves.
Top this with cubed/chopped/sliced mozarella.Sprinkle pepper,italian seasoning or whatever spices you have chosen.


 Bake in a preheat oven at 190C for 20-25 minutes or more until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted and browned to a nice crust. Within minutes I started baking, I saw that cheese has browned while the crust still needed few minutes of cooking,so I covered the top loosely with an aluminium foil and continued baking.

Take out let it cool for a few minutes then serve as a starter or entree or even as a snack.

It has a nice bisuity crust and was cheesy to the last bite. You can also call it Caprese salad tartlets as I have used the same ingredients. That name sure sound interesting and tasty just as the tartlets are.

You can also make the pastry few days ahead and freeze to be used later. As obvious,the tartlets are on way to MM:Topless Tarts at CookSister, an event by Meeta

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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