Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Homemade Mascarpone

Mascarpone cheese is so easy and ridiculously cheap when homemade with just two ingredients. You get the same or a better texture than the shop bought one if you follow the instructions carefully. Also those in India find it difficuilt to get these kind of cheese and I hope this post might help them too. TiramisuTiramisu cupcakePound Cake Tiramisu and many other desserts could be enjoyed more deliciously than before.




 

 Ingredients:
(yields 150g)
Fresh Cream (Amul/Puck/Al marai etc.) 2 cups
Lemon Juice                                            1  tbsp




Method:

1. Keep ready the bowl, strainer and a piece of cheesecloth or the kind.
2. Heat cream in a saucepan till bubble appears at the edges.

3.Add lemon juice to it and keep on stirring until the cream sticks to the ladle like in the picture. It won't split as in making paneer.Don't forget to scrape the bottom and sides while stirring. You may otherwise use doubleboiler to do this.
4. Switch off the flame and pour this onto the cloth which is kept on the strainer. Cover with the cloth and refrigerate for 24hours.
     
5. This is how it looks the next day. Mascarpone Cheese is all set to go into all your delectable desserts.







Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Coffee Macarons with Chocolate Ganache Filling









 Macaron baking is my latest addiction. It's an absolute pleasure sitting close to the oven glass and watching the feet arise from the macaron batter and then that sigh of relief! I can't express the feeling. I've been baking a lot since last two months; but still I keep my fingers crossed while mixing the batter, feel nervous everytime and dance to the success attempts. I had bought a new oven recently and fixing out the temperature settings for the macarons took a while and now fixed at 130C. Might be because the oven is new and the temperature a little high.


This set of macarons was baked in October, last year. I'm basically one lazy girl to type and post; especially when it comes to decorated cakes or macarons where there are a lot to type. I was not intending to post this until I saw the Home Bakers Challenge ,co-hosted by The Brave Cook where I had to post Macarons. I thought I would post this one which is one of our all time favorites. Coffee and chocolate is a wonderful combintaion and the kids as well as adults love this to the core. I hope this chewy delectable coffee macarons (or you can call it Mocha Macarons) may satisfy your sweet tongue and please your family. 




Recipe:
Adapted from Joy of Baking

Eggwhites 50g
Almond Flour 50g
Icing sugar 90g
Caster Sugar 15g
Instant Coffee powder 1 tsp



Method:

1. Line a baking tray with silicon sheet or baking sheet.

2. Age your egg-whites for atleast 24 hours at room temperature or upto 2 days in refrigerator, loosely covered. ie; to cover egg-whites in a clean bowl using cling film, prick that film with knife,just twice and then, keep them on your kitchen counter for a day or in refrigerator for 2 days.

3.Place icing sugar and almond powder together in a bowl and set aside. If almond flour is not finely ground, then blend it in a food processor together with icing sugar.

4.Beat castor sugar and egg white on a bowl in medium-high speed until soft peaks form . Continue to beat until egg white looks smooth and shiny. (and not dry)

5. Fold in the dry ingredients into this meringue in 3-4 batches . Do not overmix the batter. Just take a spoon of the mixture and drop on a plate and if no peaks are formed on top, the mixture is rightly folded. If peaks are formed, fold again. Folding should not exceed 50 strokes. Add coffee to this just 6 to 7 strokes before stopping if you wanto

6. Spoon the batter into the piping bag and then pipe it onto the baking sheets in round shapes. You can use macaron templates for that. Check this link for pictures of using templates.

7. Let the macarons rest for 15-30 mts or until a dry layer is formed on top of macarons. When you touch them, u can feel the dry layer. Switching on the a/c at high will help them dry fast.

8. Preheat your oven at 140C. Bake a tray at a time for 15-20 mts.

9. Cool the tray on a wire rack and remove the macarons. If you find difficuilty in removing them, spray a little water on the sheet and then remove it. Don't leave it for so long after spraying water as it may turn macarons soggy.
7. Fill them with  chocolate ganache and sandwich them. Keep in the fridge for atleast 3 days for better & chewy macarons. Serve at room temperature.


Ganache Filling:

Chocolate chips (semi-sweet or bittersweet)  50g
Heavy Cream                                               50g
Unsalted Butter                                            1tsp

Method:
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. (Can also heat the cream and butter in the microwave.) Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand, without stirring, for a few minutes. Stir gently (as you do not want to incorporate air into the ganache) with a spoon or whisk until smooth.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Aloo Parantha- Tips to Freeze

I'm a freezer girl. I always try to dump anything and everything into my freezer which makes my life easier and  helps me to get out of my laziness to spend hours inside my kitchen. I wake up half an hour prior to my kids' bus time and those thirty minutes are like hell! I always thought that the song 'Jame raho... ' from the movie Taare Zameen Par was made just for me. I know all moms take that to their credit. But I guess I'm more closer to that character ;) I plan to wake up earlier; set 6-7 alarms from 5 am to 5:38am; but wake up at the last set time. Waking up kids, packing tiffin,ironing uniforms, preparing breakfast, making them eat .. all these are done in those thirty minutes. Kids' bus arrive at 6:10 and many a times I miss that too. I had to then drive and drop kids to the big roundabout where I could catch the bus. I know my friends must be laughing at this as they always make fun of me.
In the midst of all these things, the only relaxing bit is that I always store something and all in the freezer which helps me to prepare breakfast in no time. Whenever I make parathas or rotis, I make 5-6 more and freeze it. I also freeze sandwich stuffings, french fries,home-made burgers etc. Also when planning for some dinner party, the first thing I do is freezing some parathas. This makes our job easier.



For The Dough:
Wheat flour 3 cups
Salt             1tsp
Oil              1 Tbsp

For The Stuffing:
Potato                         3 large/700 g
Oil                              2tbsp
Onion                         1 chopped into chunks
Green chilli                 2 chopped finely
Ginger-garlic paste      2tsp
Cumin powder            1/2 tsp
Chilli powder              1 tsp
Coriander powder        1/2tsp
Turmeric powder         1 tsp
Garam masala powder 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice                1 Tbsp
Coriander leaves          3 Tbsp
Salt to taste



 Method:

Stuffing:

1.  Mix the dough ingredients together in a bowl and add water to knead into a soft and pliable dough. Keep it aside.

2. Boil potato with salt and turmeric until cooked nicely. (Don't overcook them as it may result in messy stuffing)Cool them and grate them finely.


2. Crush onion, ginger, garlic and greenchilli in a grinder. Pulsing for 2-3 seconds is enough. Don't turn into paste. This is done to prevent paranthas from breaking while rolling.

3. Heat oil in a pan and saute onion paste in that till the raw smell disappears and colour changes slightly. 
4. Add spices to this. Saute for a few seconds.
5. Add grated potato to it and mix nicely and mash with the spatula. Make sure that masalas are coated evenly and nicely. Switch off the flame.

6. Add coriander leaves and lemon juice to it. Mix again.

7. Let it cool.



Parantha:

1. Make 12-13 balls of both the flour dough and filling.

2. Take a flour dough and roll slightly into a small circle. Place a ball of filling on it and cover from all the sides. Pin on top and shape into smooth balls again . Keep it aside. Repeat this step until all the dough balls are used up. 

3. Now take the first filled dough ball and flatten to a big circled roti.

4. Cook this on hot tawa (medium-low flame) flipping over both sides, spreading ghee/butter/oil on the parathas. Serve it  hot with dahi(curd) or achar(pickles). 

Notes:

#Grate cooked potatoes instead of just mashing them as this may prevent breaking while rolling.

#Use all purpose flour while rolling parathas to prevent sticking on the base. All purpose flour(maida) is better than whole-wheat flour(atta) for this purpose.

#Crush onion,ginger and garlic to prevent breaking of the parathas resulting in messy parathas. Avoid stems of coriander leaves for the same purpose.






Freezing tips:

Once you roll parathas, place it on a medium hot tawa and cook for a few seconds till a slight color change. Flip it over and cook the other side for another few seconds. (This step helps preventing parathas stick to each other or to the cling film)
 






No need to cook completely until crispier or flakier. Take it out to a plate with tissue paper and let it cool nicely. Once cooled layer your parathas with cling film (or plastic sheets or baking sheets) in between each parathas and place it inside a ziplock bag or air tight container. Once dumped into freezer bags, squeeze out maximum air as possible from inside and then lock the bags. I lock 3/4th of its face and then squeeze out air . Lock it after that. Freeze it until use.

To cook frozen parathas:

No need to thaw your parathas. Take it out from the freezer and place it on a medium-high hot tawa. Cook both sides until crispier and flakier. Brush oil/ghee/butter to make it more crispier. Serve hot.



Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Cinnabon- Replica




I don't read . I don't read books, I don't read any novels. I don't read newspapers. The list goes on and the fact is that I read nothing. I hate this habit of mine ;because of which I don't get to expose to what's going on in the outer world ; nor I get to improve my writing or clear my children's doubts. Thank God that they have their 'Genie DAD' ;) . But I did read story books to my kids when they were small . Got them all sort of books when and where they demanded. Offered many a things when they read newspapers and so now, they read a lot. I've to snatch books from them when guests are home or while eating. Now we started fighting for magazines;Noora read articles, while I look for recipes. I felt some sort of embarassment there. Yesterday I thought I would read something from the 'Friday' magazine and I read whole 3 articles. I enjoyed reading and they motivated me a lot. I shall keep on doing this. The articles were about World Dwarf Games Champion, MMUN child ambassadors and a cancer survivor.The story was not about how Dianne fought her disease or how she survived or whether did she really destroy her enemy. Instead this was about how she took this reality into her life; how she decided to live her life instead of mourning; how she organised her life party instead of funeral,which would be after her death and she wouldn't be enjoying. That was a damn bold attempt. She celebrated her life, met all her friends and relatives,danced,enjoyed and thanked all those who had helped her somewhere in her life-journey. This article as well as Joby's(arm wrestling champion) inspired me a lot. We are among those few lucky people, who got all those blessings of this life with able body and good family (Masha Allah) and we don't recognize it's importance or fail to thank God at times. We shall make full use of this wonderful life and live for the purpose and do something fruitful in this life. We should concentrate on living our life to the fullest rather than abusing this life.



Cinnabon is a famous brand cafe-chain who makes cinnamon rolls topped with cream cheese frosting. They make such delectable rolls that it just melts in mouth. I felt this recipe could do justice to atleast 80-85 % of the original one and is so delicious that you won't be able to stop with just one. I didn't had the bread machine or bread machine yeast, but still it tasted great . Measure your ingredients correctly and follow the technique as it is described below:


Ingredients:
(Courtesy:All recipes)

Warm Milk   1 cup
Eggs             2
Margarine     1/3cup
Bread flour   4 1/2 cups
Salt               1tsp
Sugar            1/2cup
Yeast            2 1/2tsp

Filling:
Brown Sugar           1cup,packed
Ground Cinnamon   2 1/2tbsp
Butter                       1/3cup,softened

Topping:
Cream cheese           3oz ,softened
Butter                       1/4cup
Confectioners'sugar 1 1/2cups
Vanilla essence        1/2tsp
Salt                           1/8tsp


Method:

1. Mix yeast in 1/4 cup warm milk and let it rest for a few minutes till bubble appears on top. Don't mix yeast with spoon. Let it stand like that for few minutes.

2. Take milk in a mixing bowl, add eggs,salt,yeast mix and sugar. Mix well. Add flour and melted margarine to it. Mix it and prepare dough. Keep on kneading for atleast 6 minutes. You might get tempted to stop before that, but you shall not dare to do that. The dough will be sticky. You can grease your hands with melted margarine,but little.

3. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it rest till it doubles in size.ie; for about 2 hours or more.
The dough doubled in size in the second picture and you can see the hand imprint on the third. This is how it looked after rising.

4. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.

5. Roll dough into a 16*21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar-cinnamon mixture.Spread whole the brown sugar mix.I was hesitating Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9*13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200C.
sorry for poor lighting. It was clicked at night.

6. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking,beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Shelf life: I kept on my kitchen counter(without topping) for 2 days and microwaved for 20 seconds before serving. Spread topping after heating.

Serving Suggestions: Top with Chocolate chips,curls, chocolate sauce, pecans,walnuts,caramel etc.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Thai Chilli Sweet Potato -Potluck Party


28th of the month is usually booked for the second stage of Potluck Party- ie; to recreate the dish posted by one other participant on 10th of this month. The food I got to experiment is Rachna's Thai Chilli Sweet potato.  I don't know whether you all have noticed that I never posted any Thai recipes till now. Yes, you are right. I'm not a fan of Thai food and I hate their jasmine rice, sweety, spicy, coconuty curries and everything. I tried it once or twice before and I hated it. But when I got this as an assignment and I read her post, I thought I would give it a chance. After all, it's my kitchen and I can play around with spices na?, shhh!! ;)



But believe me guys, I didn't have to change much. This was delicious and all thanks to both Rachna & Jagruti because of whom I tried something new in my kitchen.  I made it dry as I was having it with pasta; but you can make it with gravy by adding coconut milk to pair with rice/roti. 

This recipe is versatile- it can be cooked as a starter or a main-dish. I think you can make this with potato too.

Makes for 2-3 people
Ingredients:
1 medium sized sweet potato, about 250-300g 
1 tsp palm sugar / brown sugar
1/4 cup Thai chilli sauce
2-3 tbsp shredded coconut
1 medium sized onion, roughly chopped.
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice / 1-2 kaffir lime leaves
5-6 basil leaves, roughly chopped 
1cup coconut milk- optional
1 tsp chilli flakes / ground red chillies
3 tbsp oil
salt to taste 

Recipe:
1. Peel the sweet potato and make medium sized cubes. Wash them and pat them dry.
2. Heat oil in a deep pan and stir in the potato cubes. Add salt and mix well.
3. Cover the pan and cook on medium to slow heat. Add 1-2 tbsp water if required.
4. In the meantime, mix shredded coconut, Thai chilli sauce and chopped onions and grind them into a paste in a mixer.
5. Once the potato are golden and cooked, add the paste and mix thoroughly.
6. Now add chilli flakes or ground red chillies and mix well.
7. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Add chopped basil leaves and mix.
8. Remove from heat and serve hot.
9. If serving with rice as a main dish, add the coconut milk. Serve hot with steaming basmati rice.



Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Murg-e.Mumtaz


Masterchef contestant Zebi Zubair has always been my favourite since the first season. I haven't seen any series after that. Her sewaiyan recipe was a hit and i remember how tears rolled out of Akshay's eyes after tasting that. That's one great honour for any chef and for me it's more than the masterchef title. This recipe is one of her delicacies. Murg-e-mumtaz is a rich and creamy gravy which could be served with rotis,paranthas,rice or nan. It's so delicious that your kids would ask for more. A kids-friendly recipe-I must say.

Ingredients

 Chicken pieces       1 kg
 Onions                   2 medium fine sliced
 Ginger paste           1tbsp
Garlic paste             1tbsp
Fried Onion Paste    4tbsp
Almond Paste         1/2 cup
Red Chilli Powder    1tsp
Turmeric Powder     1/2tsp
Coriander Powder    1tbsp
Poppy Seeds          2tbsp
Green Cardamoms  4
Cloves                   4
Cinnamon stick      1 inch 
Mace                     1 inch 
Nutmeg (Jaifal)       1 pinch 
Yogurt                    1 cup 
fresh Cream            2tbsp
Oil/Ghee                 1cup
Salt to taste

Ingredients for Tadka
Garlic,chopped        1 tbsp
Bay Leaves             4
Green Chillies          4,chopped and deseeded
Green Cardamoms   2

Method

1.Wash the Chicken pieces. Add yoghurt & keep aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

2.Make a paste of Ginger, Garlic, all Garam Masala, Red Chilli, Turmeric & Coriander powder and poppy seeds.

3.Heat Oil/Ghee in a pan & fry Chopped garlic, Chopped Green Chilli, Green Cardamom & Bay Leaves for 5-8 minutes.

4.Add chopped onions and fry till golden brown.

5.Now add Chicken pieces and keep frying. Mix the paste and fry while adding fried onion & almond paste. Add the cream and bhuno it till oil is separated.

6.Prepare thick gravy by adding 2 cups of water & Salt into the Chicken.

7.Garnish with fried Onions and Serve Hot!