Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pinwheel sandwiches

A brilliant idea for picnic baskets,birthday parties or even lunch boxes.These colorful,bright and super tasty little sandwiches are absolute delights.And the best thing is that it can be made a day or two in advance and refrigerated so it saves you the last minute rush.
This recipe is again from my Amma's cookbook.I grew up eating these.She made it every time we had our school friends over,or whenever we took a long road trip,or during train journeys from Cochin to Calicut(for a vacation at my maternal grandparents).Good ol' days!

On Sunday,my daughter's school was taking their class for a trip to the zoo,and I thought of making these sandwiches for her lunch box.And I thought they would look good on my blog too.....

The biggest challenge however, was to find a perfect loaf of bread,whole and unsliced.All the neighborhood bakeries and supermarkets turned me down.Finally we had to drive all the way down to Spinneys,Al Wasl,to find a large loaf of white bread...Maybe next time I'll try making it with brown bread for a healthier version.


1 large loaf of bread(unsliced)
1/2 cup beans(very finely chopped)
1/2 cup carrots(very finely chopped)
3 large eggs(boiled)
Butter 100 gms(or a little more)
1/2 cup cheese(grated)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Cut the brown crust off the bread from all six sides.With a serrated knife,slice it horizontally into long slices about 3/4 of an inch in thickness.
Sprinkle about 1/4 cup water over the finely chopped carrot and beans and give it a quick steam on high flame for about 2 minutes.Do not overcook as the vegetables may loose their color and crunch.Strain and keep aside.
In a bowl,mash the boiled eggs well,using a fork.
Add the vegetables,salt, pepper and cheese.Mix until well blended.
Add butter and mix well.The mixture should be of a spreadable consistency.
Take each long slice of bread and steam it until it is warm and soft.Steaming ensures that the slices roll up easily without cracking.
Take it out of the steamer and immediately spread an even layer of the egg/veg mixture.Do not spread it too thick as it may ooze out while rolling.
While still warm,roll it up into a log.
Repeat with all slices of bread.
Cover with foil and refrigerate till the butter is set and the logs take their shape.(A few hours or overnight)
Trim off the uneven edges from each log and slice into uniform rounds or pinwheels.

NOTE:To slice your loaf with ease,refrigerate it for a few hours or better still,use it the next day.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cinnamon and brown butter breakfast muffins

Cinnamon is my new favorite spice.In fact,I'm so obsessed with it that I crave for something 'cinnamony' every now and then and I cannot take my mind off it,until I get a bite.And no...I'm not pregnant.But I'm still nursing my toddler and I need my nutrients!So most of the days my poor hubby has to stop by 'Cinnabon' on his way back from work to buy his wife some lovely cinnamon rolls.See what a sweet hubby I've got...The best in the world!
The other day as I was browsing through my favorite blogs,I was smitten by these muffins at the Smitten kitchen.And I had this sudden urge to bake some.The dishes were piled up in the kitchen sink and the laundry had to be done.But all that could wait.... this couldn't!I simply had to bake some.It was an emergency!!
So off went a batch into the oven.Quick and easy to put together,these muffins are a lovely addition to the breakfast table.The nuttiness of the brown butter and the subtle twist of the cinnamon blends together perfectly.
They did puff up beautifully......

CINNAMON BROWN BUTTER BREAKFAST MUFFINS(makes 12 standard sized muffins)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon(My addition.Not in the original recipe.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.Grease or line a muffin tray with paper liners.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and ground cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.
Beat softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
Mix in 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of buttermilk, repeating again and finishing with the flour mixture. Mix only until combined.
Spoon into muffin cups, filling only 3/4 of the cups.Take care not to overfill.
Bake muffins for 20 to 25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Keep them in the tray for 5 minutes and then transfer them in to a wire rack.

While the muffins are still in the oven,prepare the brown butter and the cinnamon sugar.


2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a small saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat,stirring frequently, until brown bits form on the bottom and it gives a warm,nutty smell.
Immediately remove from heat and set aside.
Combine 2/3 cup sugar and cinnamon and set aside.


As soon as the muffins are cool enough to touch,take each muffin and roll the top and upper edges in the browned butter.Do not neglect the wonderful brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
Let any excess butter drip off.
Gently roll in cinnamon-sugar.
Arrange on a tray and serve warm.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese rice and beef dish

The Chinese have probably not heard of this!

Pardon me China,for taking your name in vain.But that is the title given for this recipe in my Amma's old,torn and tattered,yellow pages almost falling apart,yet a million dollar worth recipe book.And she is going to state in her will that this book,along with the other precious recipe books(the dark blue binder and the orange german note book)has to be rightfully handed down to her first born and favorite daughter...;p Did the other daughter get the message clear?
Well,I'm assuming that some old grand aunt of mine would have cooked up this dish in her Indian kitchen and since it uses a few Chinese ingredients,she called it 'The Chinese rice and beef dish'.But it is so yum that I don't think the Chinese will ever complain!
For me it is pure comfort food.Perfect for the weather.Enjoy it piping hot on a cold,rainy day.Bliss!!


Rice 2 cups
Beef 500 gms(cut into small chunks)
Cornflour 2 tbsp + enough to thicken gravy
Onion 1(cut into fairly big cubes)
Green chillies 2(finely chopped)
Garlic 4 cloves(finely chopped)
Capsicum 1/2(cut into big cubes)
Soy sauce 1 tbsp or more
Salad oil
Spring onion(finely chopped)

Cook the rice and keep aside.
Pressure cook beef with enough salt and pepper till just tender.Separate the stock and the meat.
Mix cornflour with cooked beef and leave aside for sometime.
Fry the beef in salad oil until nice and brown.Do not over cook.
In a pan,heat salad oil and fry the garlic and green chillies for 30 secs.
Add onion and stir fry until just translucent.
Add the fried beef and stir well.
Add soy sauce and enough pepper and salt.
Now mix enough cornflour(I added a tsp)into the stock and pour it into the pan.
Wait for it to boil and thicken.The gravy should be nice and thick not runny.So pour the stock accordingly.
Put some rice in a plate and pour the beef gravy generously over the rice.
Garnish with spring onion and serve hot.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pan grilled salmon served with hung curd dip, mashed potatoes and steamed greens

This recipe comes from my dear aunt Teena and since this blog is going to feature many many recipes from this source,I think it would be good to introduce her to all my readers(if there are any at this point).Well,she is my mom's youngest sister...her favorite and mine too!!I should say I've never seen a more lively, happier person in my life.Her tiny frame is filled with so much of positive energy and her cheerfulness and laughter is so very contagious.I've always loved being with her....laughing our hearts out at the silliest of jokes,late night chats,fooling around,shopping,....oh how I miss her!!And of course she is a fabulous cook and was my greatest inspiration to start cooking.Her recipes are all winners(tried and tested in her kitchen before passing it on) and she is always ever ready to share all her prized recipes with every little detail.Love you Teena are the yummiest aunt ever!!
Now onto the dish...Please don't let the rather long title stop you from trying it.It is in fact a simple,easy and quick-to-fix recipe.It uses no fancy ingredients,no complicated steps and the whole dish can be put together in less than an hour.A hearty,healthy,happy meal in no time!


Salmon (cut into medium sized fillets)-2 pieces
Ginger-1 piece
Garlic-1/2 pod
Coriander leaves-1 handful
Green chillies-2(reduce amount if you want it less spicy)
Whole black Pepper-1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 small lemon
Olive oil

For the marinade,grind ginger,garlic,coriander leaves,pepper and salt together in a mixer and make a smooth paste.
Make slits on the salmon fillets and smear generously with lime juice.
Marinate the pieces with the above paste and set aside for at least 1/2 hr.
Drizzle olive oil in a non stick pan and heat it.
Lay the salmon on the pan and cook on medium low heat till the fish is cooked through on one side.Gently flip over and cook on the other side.The fish should be flaky and appear charred here and there.
Remove from pan and serve hot with hung curd dip,mashed potatoes and fresh,steamed greens of your choice.


Curd-1 cup
Garlic-5-6 cloves(ground coarsely)
Onion- 1/2(finely chopped)
Coriander leaves(finely chopped)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Hang curd in a muslin cloth until all the water is drained off(a few hours).
Whisk until smooth and creamy.
Add all the other ingredients and mix well.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A castle cake for my princess!!

I almost broke my new year resolution which was to feed my hungry blog with at least one post a week.I am late by a day and I blame it all on this cake!But I guess it is better late than least I have something good enough to blog about.
It was my daughter's seventh birthday on the first of January and since it fell in the midst of holidays and she wanted her classmates to be there for the party,we hosted a birthday party for the darling yesterday.And this was the b'day cake her loving mommy made for her!
Happy birthday Esha...cant believe you are seven years old!You are a wonderful child and a true princess.May God bless you always.Love you to bits!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A fondant covered cake and a big dream!

Ta da.......!

Ladies and gentlemen,put your hands together for Ramya and the Best cake of the show!!The stage is lit and the music plays as I walk the ramp in my off-shoulder,figure-hugging,knee-slit designer gown.The crowd is crazy,throwing roses and other wonderful things to show their admiration....Ouch!did somebody throw a slipper??Never mind...I take a bow and blow a kiss,then take a bow and blow a kiss,take another bow and then...TTRRIINNGG!!!
I jumped up on the bed.....and stared at the bedroom wall...No Oklahoma cake show,no crazy crowd,no music,no lights,no stage,no roses....ah yes,there were a couple of slippers lying around and three bodies curled up in bed next to was just another cold,dark morning and boring daily chores to look forward to!

Well,look what one little wonderful cake can do to a poor woman?Ever since I finished my Wilton course three final cake,which was spectacular,mind blowing and delightfully gorgeous(sorry for being such a braggart!),this is what I ever do ...dream of becoming a celebrity cake decorator when I am not even sure if I will be able to do a second cake as good as this one!
It was no doubt difficult to put together with a troublesome toddler and a school-goer to take care of.However the end result was rewarding.I was so much in love with it,that the thought of having to cut it broke my heart.So I decided not to cut it and it stood on the dining table for two weeks until I finally dumped it.Experienced cake decorators may point out a thousand flaws,but to me,it is a masterpiece!Makes me proud of myself!
And did I master the art of cake decoration??My next cake will perhaps give an answer!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Chocolate sour cream cake with chocolate sour cream frosting

This is from Monica's lovely blog.I love all her recipes and this one is definitely a keeper!A rich,dark,moist and decadent chocolate cake!The frosting(it uses sour cream) is from a different recipe in the same blog.I wanted to use my leftover sour cream before expiry.I however had to add more icing sugar to the frosting to convert it from the pourable to the spreadable consistency! But as she said,any frosting works well with this cake or it can be enjoyed plain as well.Go on and give it a try..Its awesome!

Linking this to Cakes,Cookies and Desserts event at Spice and Sugar Tales

Chocolate sour cream cake
(This recipe makes a really huge cake.I halved the recipe)

* 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
* 3 cups light brown sugar, packed
* 4 eggs
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 tablespoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 cups sifted cake flour
* 1 1/3 cups sour cream
* 1 1/2 cups hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Cut 3 circles of waxed paper or parchment paper to fit the bottoms of the pans, then press them in.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and eggs and mix until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, cocoa, baking soda and salt and mix. Add 1/2 of the flour, then 1/2 of the sour cream and mix. Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream. Drizzle in the hot coffee and mix until smooth. The batter will be thin.

Pour into the prepared pans and bake until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (a few crumbs are okay), about 35 minutes. Halfway through the baking, quickly rotate the pans in the oven to ensure even baking, but otherwise try not to open the oven.

Let cool in the pan 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks and let cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate sour cream frosting

* 12 ounces bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, chopped
* 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
* 2 tbsp light corn syrup
* ¼ cup half-and-half at room temperature
* ½ cup sour cream, at room temperature

Melt the chocolate with the butter and corn syrup in a double boiler over barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and whisk until smooth.

Whisk in the half-and-half and sour cream. Use while still soft.

NOTE: This was too soft for me so I added icing sugar until I got the consistency right.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Butter cookies....The best ever!

Oh...these cookies!How can I ever give a description?Maybe I should say t'was "love at first bite!"

The crispy outside gives way to the utterly crumbly,buttery,melt in your mouth goodness within....And before you even know...they're gone!And believe me,you CANNOT stop at 1 or 2 or simply have to gorge on a whole batch at one go and it will be too late when you realise that you've almost devoured a whole slab of butter!What a grave sin....And you're not even sorry!!
So pull yourselves up ladies.Make them and your husbands will want to marry you again and your children will never want to get married and leave you....Okay...I went too far here;Just make them and you'll never regret!

BUTTER COOKIES(makes about 50 bite sized cookies)

1 c Salted butter(good quality,softened)
3/4 c sugar(fine,granulated)
1 large egg(separated)
2 c All purpose flour
11/2 tsp flavoring (I prefer vanilla)

Preheat oven to 350 f/180 c.
Beat butter and sugar until well combined.
Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat again.
Add flour(in three batches)and beat until just combined.
Scoop out teaspoons of the dough and roll into balls.
Place them on a cookie sheet(a few cms apart).
Bake them for 16 minutes.Each oven is different.So keep watch.The cookies are best when the bottom just starts to brown.
When done,take them out and keep them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before you carefully transfer them with a spatula onto a cooling rack.
Wait for cookies to cool completely else they wont be crisp.

For a variation,after you roll them,make a small dent on the top with your finger.Drop a little of your favorite jam into the dent and bake till done!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Good old flan/Caramel custard

A set of ramekins were on my wishlist for a very long time.A few weeks ago,I found a beautiful set of Christmas themed ramekins at Crate and Barrel.And since Santa was busy with all the good people,I decided to buy my own present...
Look at them...Ain't they pretty?
I searched the net for all possible recipes a ramekin could hold!And lo....there came Ria with her CARAMEL CUSTARD.Thats it!Nothing could be better than this simple,humble dessert....Ria had added condensed milk to the original recipe and nothing with condensed milk in it could ever go wrong!So I made it right away.It is a really simple and quick dessert to fix except for the rather long baking time of 45 minutes.And it came out simply delicious!Enjoy it warm or chilled.Its a classic!
You can either unmould it onto a dessert plate or if your ramekins are exceptionally cute,like mine...serve it in them!

Linking this to Cakes,Cookies and Desserts event at Spice and Sugar Tales


2 c whole milk
1/2 c sweetened condensed milk
5 tbsp white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla flavor(Iused 1 vanilla bean)
1/2 c sugar for caramelising

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F/ 180C .
In a saucepan,add milk, condensed milk,vanilla flavor and 5 tbsp sugar and bring to a boil.If you are using vanilla bean,split it open, scrape down the caviar and dump it all into the milk and boil.
Let it cool for a few minutes.
Meanwhile,in a medium bowl, beat the eggs till well blended. Drizzle hot milk into it while beating all the time.
Strain the mixture to avoid any egg white lumps in the custard.
In a pan, on medium heat, caramelise 1/2 c sugar till golden brown and pour it into the pudding moulds. Swirl to coat the sides. Pour the milk-egg mixture into the moulds.
Place the moulds into a baking tin with tall sides and pour hot water just so that the bowls are immersed halfway. Bake for 45 mins or till a knife inserted comes out smooth.Let it cool for half an hour.Enjoy!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cake decoration....The Wilton way.

My final cake for Wilton course 1.The classes were a lot of fun though it was a little too pricey.All materials for the course were not included in the kit.You still had to buy lots of extra stuff and they were quite expensive too.However I was lucky to have the very talented "REEM "as my instructor who ensured that the classes were super fun!!
This is my very first iced cake.You can clearly see my poor piping skills.To cover the cake smoothly with buttercream is not the easiest thing in the world!And the Wilton roses...ugh!What a pain!But on the whole the final cake was"okay" to look at.I'm glad I took the classes anyway.