Saturday, February 20, 2016

ANZAC Biscuits | Oats Goodness

After posting a War time cake I think its apt to post another war time goodness.. ANZAC cookies or Biscuits. The Australian New Zealand Army Corps were the First World War (1914-18) Army corps and formed in Egypt in 1915. They were used in the Battle of Gallipoli and were finally disbanded on 1916. Well coming to interesting stories, its said that the mothers or in general families of the soldiers used to mail  them cookies or biscuits which were sturdy and egg free and basically traveled and kept well. These cookies are known as ANZAC cookies or Biscuits.

ANZAC cookies are made with oats, flour, dessicated coconut, butter, sugar, golden syrup/dark corn syrup and boiling water.I selected the recipe from KingArthurFlour site. The recipe was quick and easy and out came  chewy-crispy,buttery coconutty cookies . I have followed the recipe to the 'T' and the only change I made was double the dark corn syrup/golden syrup.

Whole Grain Oats: 1 cup
All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Granulated Sugar: 3/4 cup
Salt: 1/8 tsp
Shredded sweetened /unsweetened coconut flakes: 3/4 cup

Salted Butter: 1/2 cup (8 tbsp / 100gm)
Dark Corn Syrup /Golden Syrup: 4 tbsp

Boiling Water: 2 tbsp
Baking Soda: 1.5 tsp

In a big bowl mix together, oats, flour, sugar, salt and coconut flakes.

In a small bowl, melt butter and syrup together till it bubbles. Keep aside.

In another bowl, add baking soda to boiling water and then mix in the butter syrup.

Add  the mix to the dry mix and stir well until it all comes together. You will be getting a moist lightly sticky mass and not a concise dough.

Scoop tablespoonful of dough and with greased hands shape it into rounds and place it on a greased/lined working sheet. These cookies might spread and so keep these atleast an inch apart from each other.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350F/ 175C for 13-15 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Take out and let these cool in the baking sheet itself on a wire rack. This hardens them and turns them crunchy.

Serve anytime.Chewy- crunchy and oaty and buttery and coconutty.A perfect tiffin box snack. Make more and share with friends or have all by yourself.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

1940's Chocolate Cake | Valentine Special

Today being Valentines Day and red roses and heart shapes everywhere, I thought I too would contribute a little with a chocolate cake I had bookmarked for the occasion. Now whats in a chocolate cake ? Its a 1940s Wartime Chocolate Cake when there were restrictions imposed on the use of milk, eggs, butter etc as most of the countries were involved in war and it was tough to procure items. 

But necessity being the mother of inventions, goodtimes were celebrated with a chocolate cake that was eggless and dairy free.. in other worlds perfectly Vegan. And also a one pot chocolate cake. I had adapted a healthier version from CanolaInfo made with canola oil and whole wheat flour which can be enjoyed guilt free with your loved ones..

Whole Wheat Flour: 3/4 cup
All Purpose Flour: 3/4 cup
Granulated Sugar: 1 cup
Cocoa Powder: 1/3 cup (5 tbsp + 1 tsp) I went for heaped 3 tbsp
Baking Soda: 1 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Canola Oil: 1/3 cup
Vanilla Extract: 1tsp

Cold Water: 1 cup (250ml)
Cider Vinegar: 1 tbsp


In a round baking pan, whisk together the flours, sugar,cocoa, soda and salt.

Make a well in the center and pour in oil and vanilla .

In a small measuring cup combine water and vinegar.

Pour this over the flour mix and stir well to blend all the ingredients.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F for about 30-35 minutes, until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Take out and let it cool in the pan itself on a wirerack. Unmold and place it in a cake table or dessert plate after garnishing with confectioners sugar

Slice and Serve to your loved ones...

A simple one pot cake which is butter free, egg free and healthy with the addition of whole wheat flour and canola oil. Its a quick mix cake and one bowl too. By the time the oven is preheating, mix the ingredients and under 40 minutes yum... enjoy your slice of chocolate heaven.

Slighlty crumbly and moist and sweetened just right for your Valentine..

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Coconut Raisin Bread | Tea Time Snack

I am always looking for tea time snacks.If it involves baking  then I need to plan it beforehand . This planning bit actually puts me off a bit. These days the oven is getting a well needed rest and though my hands itch to use it something else comes up and baking takes the backseat again. Though ofcourse tea time snacks are a must. and usually deepfrying gets the priority during winters. I love fried items and come winter I use it as an excuse for deepfrying. But these days thanks to majority opinion at home fritters and other fried stuff were vetoed out and I was again on a lookout for tea time snacks.

I had bookmarked this recipe long time back and was under the impression that it will take time, but it was quicker than I thought though of course it was quickest to disappear from the table.I had adapted the recipe from GourmetTable. It was designed on the lines of sweet coconut Goan poi bread or a sweeter version of populist bread 'pav'.

All Purpose Flour: 225gms or 1.5 cups + 
Instant yeast: 1 tsp
Sugar: 1.5-2 tbsp
Salted Butter: 2 tsp at room temperature
Dessicated/Fresh coconut: 1/2 cup 
Cardamom powdere: 1/2 tsp
Raisins: 1/4 cup
Milk: 1 cup lukewarm

Place the yeast and sugar in a small bowl and pour in  the milk over it. stir it once and leave in a warm spot for 10-15 minutes until frothy.

I would suggest half the quantity of milk to be added to yeast keep the rest aside to add as and when needed. I went as per the recipe and had to add additional 3/4 - 1 cup of flour which reduced the sweetness slightly. 

Mix together butter and powdered cardamom and keep aside.

Place flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and knead until the dough comes together.Add more milk/flour if needed.

Turn out the dough onto a clean counter and knead in stretching motions pulling with one hand and pushing with the other for around 5 minutes until you get  soft dough.

Incorporate the butter cardamom mix and knead again. Work in all the butter into the ough and knead until you get a soft pliable dough. 

Shape into a ball and place in a bowl and let it sit until doubled in volume ,covered with a plastic wrap for about 20 minutes or more.
Punch the dough to release the air.Flatten  the dough on the counter and sprinkle coconut and raisins. 
Fold over a couple of times and knead the doungh lighlty until the coconut and raisins are well incorporated.

Shape into a ball and place in a lined /floured baking tray. Make shallow incisions on the dough using a sharp knife to allow air to escape. Sprinkle flour over the loaves and leave it to rest uncovered for another 20 minutes or more until doubled.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200F for about 20-30 minutes,unitl brown. Cool completely before slicing.

A bread similar to sandwich loaf. The coconut and raisins add to the flavour and make it definitely gourmet.Its perfect as a tea time treat and the taste increases the next day as per the author. But mine was over the same day itself.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Spiced Yam Soup | GoodBye Winter

Some of you might not have heard or tried this vegetable -yam aka elephant yam, chenai/chena suran, khamalu, chapri alu and also karunai kilangu in someparts of TamilNadu. This is a tuber which comes in different varieties an colours in different continents and most of them edible to eat and is starchy and has good levels of potassium, manganese, thiamine and dietary fiber while being low in sodium and  saturated fat. 
At the same time I have heard that vegetables like pumpkin and yam is not good if arthritis runs in your family. But still it is a vegetable that can be turned into a snack or curry or even cake if you check out this page on Wiki.

Yam has been a part of my regular routine cooking and yes I enjoyed it in different forms even  tikkis Chettinad Style. During Onam in Kerala, chena/yam plays an important role being a part of aviyal, kaalan,thoran,fritters etc and these days I have heard of payasam or kheer as well.It is cultivated all year round, but actual season is November mid -December. The traditional dish of "Thiruvathira Puzzhukku" made on "Thiuruvathira Day" where they celebrate Lord Shiva's Birthday has yam and other seasonal tubers taking centrestage and offcourse the tubers play their role excellently. 

I have loved yam in various ways but have never tried/ made a soup out of it. So I decided to try out the yam soup with fennel seeds from Chef Vikas Khanna's Hymns from the soil. I loved the soup and it was easy to make as well. I have definitely become a fan of Chef Khanna. 

Oil: 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp

Onion: 1 medium sized finely chopped
Fresh Ginger: 1" pieces peeled and chopped/minced
Garlic: 2 cloves peeled and minced/chopped

Powdered Cumin : 1 tsp
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Fennel Seeds: 1tbsp
Chilli Powder: 1/2 tsp + 1-1.5 tsp or as per taste
Green Chili: 1 coarsely chopped

Yam/Chenai: 1 pound or 1/2 kg or 2.5-3 cups peeled and cut into small pieces

Vegetable Stock: 3 cups

Cream: 1/2-1 cup

Cilantro: for garnishing

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a deep pan and saute onion,ginger and garlic until soft and the raw smell goes for about 3-4 minutes.
Add in cumin, turmeric, fennel seeds, green chilli, 1/2 tsp of chilli powder,salt and yams and cook for few minutes until the flavours and blended. Pour in the stock and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer under cover until the yam is cooked through for about 20 minutes. If you are doubltful about the time, feel free to cook it in the pressure cooker for 2 whistles atleast.

Remove from heat and let it cool a bit. Stir in the cream and blend the mixture to a fine puree in batches if needed.

Meanwhile in a small pan, heat the remaining 1-1.5 tsp of oil. Remove from heat and stir in the reminder of chilli powder as per taste.

Congratulations, you have made a chili oil which can be used as a garnish not just for this soup but for whatever dishes you like.

Ladle the soup in bowls, drizzle chili oil and also sprigs of fresh cilantro/coriander. Enjoy the chili night with a warm filling bowl of yam soup thinking what else you can turn the yam into.

An easy to make gourmet soup made from a rustic or country vegetable. Never thought I would enjoy the combo  of yam with fennel seeds. Try the recipe and enjoy.

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