Friday, November 29, 2013

Coffee Walnut Sponge with Chocolate Buttercream icing

Wishing Happy Thanks Giving and Wonderful Holidays to all friends in US !

Grey sky, rain, wind, Chill ... that’s pretty much the weather here these days and moreover the sunset at 4 o clock makes matter worse, for all these reason and other reasons I find it hard to get  into kitchen for cooking. My kitchen is really cold and there is no heating in kitchen. So I even dread the thought of cooking but on the other hand I am in full mojo for baking, after all its Christmas and holiday season soon. Shops and streets are already decorated and people are busy buying Christmas gifts for loved ones, so it’s lovely atmosphere expect the weather part. When the weather really gets to me I always tend to bake and it really helps, baking and winter goes hand in hand for some reason and that’s why I guess I have more tendency to bake during the winter!
Coming to today’s post, I would have never made this cake if I haven’t tasted it, so when a friend made this cake and gave it to me I couldn’t stop eating it, it was just so yumm. I did some googling and also got hold of her recipe book and all the recipes were pretty much the same so I made this cake adapting all those recipes. Coffee and walnut combination is a combination made in heaven, if you still haven’t tried it you are missing out a great flavour. I have baked this cake and taken it to India for my cousins and family this summer and they all loved it and they have asked me take the same cake next time as well, in fact when my parents visited us they asked to send one through them when they were going back !

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
( Cup measurement given is in a 200 ml cup)

Plain flour – 150 gm ( 1 1/3 cup)
Baking powder – 1 ½ tsp
Salt - pinch
Butter – 175 gm ( ¾ cup)
Sugar – 175 gm (  roughly ¾ cup) + 2 tbs
Coffee powder – 1 ½ tbs
Boiling water – 50 ml ( ¼ cup)
Walnut – 75 gm ( 50 +25 )
Eggs – 3 large

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and keep it aside.
  2. Dissolve 1 tbs of coffee powder in 50 ml of boiling water and keep it aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy for about 5 minutes.
  4. In a bowl break three eggs and lightly beat them with a spoon or whisk.
  5. With hand mixer or electric mixer running add the beaten eggs gradually to the creamed mixture adding a tbs of sifted flour in between(to avoid curdling) .
  6. Beat until eggs have been mixed well into mixture.
  7. Blitz 50 gm of Walnut with 2  tbs of sugar into a nutty powder ( if you  do not add sugar you will end up with a  paste !) and add this to the creamed mixture and beat in.
  8. Add the sifted flour, fold in.
  9. Add the coffee and  25 gm of chopped walnut pieces to the batter and fold in.
  10. Pour the  batter into a two 8 inch prepared/ greased cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

 Chocolate buttercream Icing

Butter - 100 gm - (approximately 1/2 cup )
Icing sugar - 200 gm ( 1 1/2 cup )
Double cream - 50 ml
Meringue powder - 1tsp
Coffee liqueur / Vanilla extract  - 1tsp
salt - pinch
 Dark  chocolate - 40 gm (melted )

1.In a mixing bowl add 1/3 of the sugar, salt and meringue powder and mix.
2.Add cream to it and beat it for 5 minutes in an electric mixer with paddle attachment 
3.Add remaining sugar and beat for 3 minutes.
4.Add butter little by little and beat for 5-7 minutes.
5.Add coffee liqueur, melted chocolate and beat for 1 minute.

Assembling the cake
Once the cake is cool, place one cake on the cake stand/ board and spread the buttercream to top. Place the second layer on top and spread the remaining buttercream on top and decorate it with some walnut pieces or as you wish ! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Corn Flake Cookies, A guest post for Rekha of " Foodolicious pictured "

It was during one of my lazy afternoon browsing session that I stumbled upon Rekha’s blog Foodolicious pictured accidentally. I was totally impressed by her blog, her beautiful pictures and superb collection of recipes. I immediately became her FB fan and  left few comments and  it led to  the beginning of a new friendship ! The one  good quality that  I really like about Rekha is the way she support and encourage other bloggers. I have seen Rekha sharing fellow bloggers recipes on  her Social media platform. It is indeed really sweet of her to do that and support other blogs.

I have to say Rekha  is a versatile blogger as she contributes a variety of recipes, some of them are very unique and innovative. Picking few favourites from her blog would be a tough job but few pictures which left me drooling are Gongura Mutton, Bread Gulab Jamun, and Mediterranian Meat balls .
Thanks you  Rekha for inviting me for a guest post, its indeed a pleasure to do a guest post for friends.

Coming to todays post, it’s a melt in mouth kind of cookies with crunchy cornflakes coating. I tried this recipe from MyKitchenatics and it was a hit expect that it was a  bit less sweet to our liking, so the second time I made this I added a bit  more sugar to adjust to our liking and it was perfect. If you would like to check out the recipe head over to Foodolicious pictured and while you are there don’t forget to check her blog for more J

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mango Shrikhand/ Amrakhand

I maybe get some odd looks for posting this recipe now as its almost winter and mangoes are wayyyy out of season, but since mango pulp  are easily available in tins here, I make and enjoy mango based desserts throughout the year. Its a light dessert which you can enjoy after a heavy meal and the best bit is it is so easy to put together  (less than 10 minutes)  if you hang the yogurt in muslin cloth overnight. Even though I love this dessert and have enjoyed it several times, I got the inspiration to try this at home after tasting this at a friend’s place, it was so delicious and creamy and one of the best shrikhand I tasted. Her's was a pineapple shrikhand made from tinned pineapple with bits of pineapple but since I was more of mango fan  I decided to try mango shrikhand, but I got to say I liked pineapple shrikhand better than my mango one, so next time when I try shrikhand I am going to make  pineapple one .

Ingredients (serves 4 )
Thick yogurt / Curd – 3 cup
Mango Pulp – 1 ½  cup
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
Saffron  Milk – 2 tbs ( Add  ¼ tsp of Saffron strands to 2 tbs of warm milk for 15-30 mins )
Crushed Nuts / Pistachios/ Almonds -   2 tbs
Sugar – 1/4 cup or as required 

  •  Strain yogurt in a muslin cloth overnight.                                                            
  • Beat the thick yogurt for 1-2 minutes until creamy.
  • Add mango pulp, Saffron milk,sugar, cardamom powder and mix well and chill for 2 -3 hours
  • Serve them in individual bowls or cups with crushed nuts on top.                                                                                               

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kerala Pathiri / Rice pancake

Pathiri and chicken curry/ Meat curry is an absolute favourite of most of the Mallu’s, but I have to confess that I was never a Pathiri fan even though I eat it when I am given some. For the same reason I never bothered to make it myself, maybe it’s an acquired taste or maybe I was a picky eater back then. But last year when I visited my sister in Dubai she made some pathiri and Beef curry for us and I was surprised that I quite liked it and enjoyed the pathiri’s for the first time. Like many other things, trying Pathiri was on my agenda after that day. But since pathiri podi is not readily available in Asian shops where I go, I never got around in making them or maybe  I should believe that there is a right time for everything. This time when I came from India, I got so homemade rice flour/ pathiri podi and I used most of it for making idiyappam and before I finished the last bit of it I decided to give Pathiri a try. I asked my sister for her recipe as she is a kind of pathiri expert as she makes it every now and then. Before going to the recipe let me tell you something ,to make some good pathiri you need experience and  little practice, even though I followed my sisters recipe, my pathiri’s were not as good as hers and I know what exactly  went wrong and the next time when I make I won’t make those mistakes again( refer notes). I guess that’s how we learn to make good pathri’s !! I served pathiri with chicken curry and some coconut milk. I have eaten pathiri dipped in coconut milk along with chicken/meat curry  from my muslim friends and coconut milk makes pathiri soft and gives a nice flavour,  it’s a gourmet style of eating them, but you can go ahead and  eat them just with some curry.

Ingredients ( serves 2)
Roated rice flour/ Pathiri podi  – 1 ½ cup
Water – 1 ½ cup
Oil – 1 tbs
  •          In a thick  bottom saucepan boil some water adding salt and oil.
  •      Once water boils, gradually add the rice flour  stirring continuously with other hand. Once all the flour has been added and mixed, remove from fire.
  •        Now the next step maybe be intimidating as you have to knead the dough while it’s hot, use wooden spoon if you find it hard to knead it with hands until its warm. Knead well until you get a smooth dough.
  •       Pinch out small balls from the dough, roll it out with a rolling pin by dusting some rice flour as needed.
  •     Heat a non stick pan on medium heat and place the pathiri on pan. Cook on medium flame by flipping sides in between for about  2 minutes. The pathiri will puff up.
When I made pathiri’s the first half came out really well and it puffed up but the second lot didn’t, as I rolled out all pathiri’s  together and by the time  I reached the second half the rolled out pathiri’s were little dry (maybe it was  because I was slow in rolling out ! ). So next time I am going to cover the pepared dough in cling film or damn cloth. I won’t roll out whole pathiri’s together and will pinch out balls and roll it out and cook at the same time covering the rest of the dough in damn cloth every time as believe that it  will retain the moisture in dough which will help in puffing up.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pressure cooker Vegetable Pulav ( step by step ) and Autumn in Pictures

Eventhough autumn comes as a warning of the next horrible 4-5 months of chilly weather, I love the season for its beauty ! For us its almost like a ritual every year going out to enjoy the season to  capture the  fall colours. This year we went to a nearby park and the park was so beautiful with a big carpet of yellow leaves scattered all over. We walked through the crunching leaves watching squirrels rushing off with Acorns storing up for the harsh winters. They seemed very dedicated and hardworking ! Lil A wanted to help the squirrels as well, so we picked up few acorns and kept it outside the squirrels little cosy house ! I tried hard to take a look inside the house, but it was way too dark inside for us to see :)

Coming to todays post, its such an easy pulav anyone can make in less than 30 minutes if you  soak basamathi rice beforehand. This pulav finds it way to my hubbys lunch box often and he loves it.

Ingredients ( serves 2-3 )

Basmathi rice - 1 1/2 cup
Fennel seeds/ Perum jeerakam - 2 tsp
Cinnamon stick/ patta  - 1 small stick
Cloves/ Grambu - 2-3
Cardamom/ Elakka - 2-3
Star Anise/ thakkolam - 1 ( optional)
Bay leaf - 1-2
Chopped beans - 1/2 cup
Chopped carrot - 3/4 cup
Fresh/ frozen Green peas - 1/3 cup
Potato -1 ( chopped)
Green chillies - 3 ( optional, I didnt use it )
Boiling water - 2 3/4 - 3 cup
Ginger - garlic paste(Inji - veluthulli paste ) - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/ 2 tsp
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp or as required
Ghee/ oil - 2 tbs


  1. Soak Basmathi rice for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile chop beans, carrot, potato and keep it aside.

  1. In a pressure cooker add ghee/ oil and add the whole garam masala's ( cinnamon, fennel, cardamom,star anise, cloves, bay leaves  ) and saute until it releases nice smell ( for a minute or so).                                            

  2. Add ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute until raw smell goes.                                       

  3. Add chopped carrot, beans, potato and Green chillies (if using ) and  saute for 5- 10 minutes.                                                      

  4. Add Green peas, turmeric powder  and stir.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

  5. Finally add soaked rice and stir for a minute.                                                                                      

  6. Add boiling water, salt and mix. Cover the pressure cooker and put the weight on. Turn off the flame when the first whistle comes.
  7. Open the cooker when the pressure releases and serve immediately.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Caramel Panacotta with Strawberry coulis, A guest post for Avika

Avika who blogs at A Day through my life has been so patient with me giving me nearly 3 months time for doing this guest post for her. She was really sweet and very supportive when this post got dealyed. So when I got a chance to make a  dessert for taking it to a  friends place for a dinner party I made up my mind to send it over to Avika. What I like about her blog is her step by step instruction which is very easy to follow for any novice cook. Her rescent post, hotel style kuruma with paneer cubes seriously left me drooling :)

Coming to the recipe its Caramel Panacotta with strawberry coulis, an elegant Italian desssert. Usually when I post desserts I click two pairs of them in plates or bowls for the food styling sake, but this time I have only one, wonder why ? Since I knew that I wont get time to take  picture of the dessert before taking it to my friends place I made one extra bowl for clicking picture next day. The next day morning was not different as I had to leave house in the morning for a whole day, so I had to click the pictures in a hurry before leaving the house and as I knew  that by the time I come back daylight will be gone. Even though I couldnt do justice to the pictures, this dessert is  very delicious. I made one simple mistake by adding one extra teaspoon of gelatin as I was worried whether it might not set which made by panacotta slightly hard but if you  try the recipe with one teaspoon less it will be soft and perfect. I have corrected the recipe accordingly,  please  head over  to Avika's blog for the recipe and do try it out too, it so easy to put together and taste yumm too !