Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cherry slices

Oh Monica,if you ever happen to view this post you can be sure I'm running for cover,hiding my face and sliding under the blanket....because this is so not what you meant it to be!Your recipe was for a chewy bar and what I got was a spongy cake!But you said they would be pretty and pretty they were!So darn pretty that I couldn't help blogging about it!

Ever since I saw these strikingly red beauties posted by Monica a while ago,I've been dying to bake some.And finally when I did get the things ready,I found that I didn't have a sheet pan big enough.So I baked it in a rectangular cake pan(smaller than the size mentioned) and hence the batter baked into a cake....a hot and sexy one!!And it made my heart burst forth into a song...(Ooh la la..Ooh la la from the Dirty picture)
And if you ever want to try this out,you might want to have a look at Monica's blog because that is what the original recipe intends it to be.But,then you won't be baking anything at all because you'll spend the rest of your day just drooling over her incredibly gorgeous recipes and clicks....It is a highly addictive blog so proceed with caution!
And in case you don't have a big enough sheet pan or you are more in a mood for a piece of cake,then just bake yours in a cake pan and you'll get what I got...Ooh la la..Ooh la la...

I'm sending this to the 'Be my valentine' recipe challenge at Very good

Also linking it to Cakes,Cookies and Desserts event at Spice and Sugar tales.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter(at room temperature)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 larges eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can cherry pie filling


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 9*12 inch cake pan(the original recipe uses 11x17-inch rimmed baking sheet).
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until creamy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix on low speed until well blended.
Add the vanilla and beat.
Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, and beat until smooth.
Reserve 1 cup of the batter.
Spread the remaining batter in the cake pan.
Spoon the cherry pie filling over the top.
Drop the reserved cup of batter by teaspoonfuls,here and there,over the pie filling like uneven dumplings.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the batter begins to turn golden.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing.
Enjoy....Ooh la la..Ooh la la!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chicken stroganoff

On Valentine's day I made this for my darling hubby...My charming,sensible and totally adorable six-pack hubby!
Did I hear someone chuckle at the last adjective??
Six packs,I tell you....
Six packs combined into one whole pack and wrapped up somewhere round the belly...He says its easier to maintain it that way!

The Stroganoff is one of my all time favorites.It is the first thing I hunt for in a menu card at any continental restaurant.And over the years, he has grown to like it too.Yess!I've managed to transform my 'kappa, meen curry' loving husband to a 'Stroganoff' loving guy.It wasn't easy at all...Eight long years of hard work and patience; that's what it took!;p And though he annoys me at times by behaving like one of the masterchef judges,I must admit that he's a perfect guinea pig and my most honest critic.
Okay,jokes apart,let me tell you that he's the bestEST thing that has ever happened to me.I'm having the 'time of my life' being his wife and wouldn't trade it for anything else in the whole,wide world!!
And now over to the dish...Stroganoff or Stroganov is a Russian dish of sautéed pieces of beef served in a sauce with smetana or sour cream. From its origins in 19th-century Russia, it has become popular around the world, with considerable variation from the original recipe.Various explanations are given for the name, presumably derived from some member of the large and important Stroganov family, perhaps Alexander Grigorievich Stroganoff of Odessa or a diplomat, Count Pavel Stroganov....
And perhaps you're wondering...'Whats wrong with this woman?Now she's giving history lessons...' Sorry,but this was a bit of information I got when I googled for the right spelling of 'Stroganoff'.Those of you who would like more of history can read it here.Others,come with me...

Though Stroganoff originally is a beef dish,I chose to do a chicken version for the sheer love of chicken.I followed the recipe posted by a member at the Jamie Oliver website with a few,minor changes here and there.And the result was a lovely,classy Stroganoff with succulent pieces of chicken and mushrooms drenched in a creamy sour cream and white wine sauce accompanied with some buttered herb rice...mmmm...heaven!!
Here's wishing all my lovely readers a belated 'Happy valentine's day'.And to you Stroganoff Jem,I can't help falling in love with you a bit more everyday!


2 or 3 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsb butter
2 shallots, finely sliced
1/2 packet button mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp paprika
1-2 tsp dried parsley flakes
2 cups basmati rice
handful of parsley, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper


Cook the rice and toss with parsley and a blob of butter.
Dust the chicken pieces with flour.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan.
Add the chicken and fry until just cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the shallots to the pan, adding more olive oil or butter if needed, and cook until softened.
Add the mushrooms and cook further on high until all the water has evaporated.
Add 2 tsp paprika and cook for a while until a warm,earthy aroma rises.
Pour the white wine and stir,scraping out the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.Then simmer until the wine reduces a bit.
Pour in the chicken stock and turn the heat up to high. Reduce the stock by half and then turn the heat down to a simmer.
Add the chicken to the pan, along with the sour cream and stir through. Season with salt and pepper.Sprinkle dried parsley flakes and simmer until the sauce has thickened and is creamy.
Serve, accompanied by the rice and sprinkle some paprika over the Stroganoff on each plate.

NOTE:If sour cream is unavailable to you,fresh cream would be a good substitute.
If you feel your chicken breasts are tough,it is a good idea to give it a gentle steam before cutting it to strips,so that you will not have to fry it for too long.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lemon butter cake

'The little Teochew' is my new favorite food blog... Ju,a brilliant cook and a yummy mummy of three, shares her awesome recipes along with some incredible clicks that make you drool right into your keyboard!On a scale of 1 to 10,I would give her an eleven!!
My search results for a good butter cake,led me to her 'orange butter cake' recipe and when I substituted orange zest with lemon zest,I got a 'lemon butter cake'.And it was delightful!Rich,moist and buttery,the cake had a lovely golden crust and the perfect,tight crumb!And the lemony hint was not too overpowering...just right to give the cake a freshness and a gentle lift.Even my daughter who dislikes anything but chocolate and vanilla in her cakes,gave it a thumbs up!
I had plans of adding a lemon glaze,but finally decided against it...Sometimes life calls for a piece of plain ol' butter cake...


- 195g all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 170g butter, softened
- 225g sugar
- 1 large egg, plus one large egg yolk
- 1 tbsp lemon zest(I used the zest from 2 large lemons)
- 17 tbsp whole milk (The original recipe uses only 12 tbsp,but I found the batter too thick and added 5 more)

Preheat oven to 180 degree c.Grease a 9" round cake pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy for about about 2 minutes.
Beat in lemon zest, then egg and egg yolk. If the mixture curdles, just add 1 tbsp of flour and continue mixing.
On low speed, add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with milk.
Beat for 10 to 15 seconds on medium speed, just until batter appears uniform. The batter should look thick and creamy.
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with spatula or knife.
Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until it forms a golden crust and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let to rest in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Allow cake to completely cool before slicing.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Veg pulav/Tomato rice

I have been married into a wonderful family.United,supportive and happy....a true blessing in every way!A houseful of loving people,who will always be there for each other,come rain or sunshine!
And I have two co-sisters,both of them excellent home makers and incredible cooks.Back home ,whenever I'm with them in the kitchen,I always volunteer to do the dishes because I simply cannot seem to master the art of 'cooking by instinct',without written down recipes or accurate measurements.It is with such ease that they throw in a little bit of this here and a little bit of that there to cook up 'perfect' dishes every time!They have always been a source of inspiration and I've learned so much from them.
The basic rice recipe in this dish is borrowed from one of them,Pinky chechy.She calls it 'tomato rice',and I when I added a good lot of vegetables to it(as my fridge needed a clearing up),it became a veg pulav!And this dish,I tell you,is too good to be vegetarian.It is a favorite even in a 'strictly non-veg' household like mine.Do try it.Tomato rice or veg pulav...either way it is just too good!
Sending this as my entry for the Indian cooking event at Lisa's kitchen.


2 cups rice(I like to use jeera rice)
1 medium onion(finely chopped)
2 large tomatoes
A handful of coriander leaves
2 tbsp broken cashew nuts
1/4 cup grated coconut
6 each of pepper corns,cardamom and cloves
2" piece of cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 green chillies crushed(less or more according to your taste)
1 tsp kashmiri chilly powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp garam masala powder
Enough refined oil
Vegetables of your choice:
1/2 cup carrot cubed
1/2 cup potato cubed
1/2 cup beans cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup cauliflower split into florets
1 cup button mushrooms halved
1/2 cup green peas

Cook rice and keep aside.
Saute mushrooms in a little oil over high flame till all the water evaporates and keep aside.
Cook peas in water until soft.
Cook the remaining vegetables(carrot,potato,beans and cauliflower) in a pressure cooker for one whistle.Remove lid to prevent vegetables from losing color and keep aside.
Blanch tomatoes in water,peel skin and puree in mixer.
Soak coriander leaves in water for a while and grind in mixer.
Grind the cashew and coconut together with a little water to make a paste.
Heat oil in a large kadai and splutter the spices.
Add ginger garlic paste and green chillies and stir for a minute.
Add chopped onions and stir till translucent.
Add the powders(chilly,turmeric and garam masala) and stir well.
Cook till the raw smell goes and the oil rises to the top.Sprinkle a little water if necessary.
Add the coriander paste and cook for a while.
Add the tomato puree and stir.Cook on medium-low flame till well cooked and an aroma rises.
Add the cashew /coconut paste and cook while stirring.
Add the cooked vegetables including the peas and mushrooms and mix carefully.
Remove from flame.
Take a large pan,add the rice and gravy alternately and start mixing it together little by little until you feel that you have added enough gravy to coat all the rice and give it a beautiful golden color.Adding more gravy makes the pulav clumpy and less makes it dry.Reserve the remaining gravy in the freezer for later.
You can bake this for 10 to 15 minutes in a hot oven or microwave it for 3-4 minutes because the rice would have cooled a bit by now.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with raita and achar.

Note:Just don't add the vegetables to the gravy for the tomato rice variation.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My very first award!

This was totally unexpected.
My blog's pageviews were decreasing by the day and I was a bit demotivated.I know I have to do more 'blog marketing' but when?My life is entirely at the mercy of a busy lil' toddler and I barely manage to do a post or two every week.And then,out of the blue came this award from dear, dear Alida of 'My little Italian kitchen'.It was my very first award from a fellow blogger and I was delighted.Thank you Alida for being so thoughtful...I just realised that it is worth to go on for a few special friends like you!

Liebster means favourite or dearest in German. It is meant for newbie blogs with less than 200 followers.

Rules for accepting the award:

- Thank the person who gave the award and link back to their blog.
- Copy and paste the award to your blog.
- Reveal the 5 blogs you have chosen to award and let them know by commenting on their blog.
- Hope they pass it forward by accepting and awarding it to bloggers they would like to honour

And I pass it on to:

Good food
Naughty curry
Only fish recipes
Teenz' yummy delights

Thanks again blessed always!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Biscuit pudding....for the soul!

Darlings,you haven't lived until you've tasted this absolutely creamy,dreamy,delicious,calorie laden,knock your socks off,ultimate dessert!And if such food couldn't make you fat or clog your arteries or stop your heart,I would be having this every day of my life...for breakfast lunch and dinner!
This recipe comes from my best friend Reshma.A few years back,I visited her at her home in Palakkad and we spent some good time together.Her mom cooked a yum biriyani for lunch and Reshma made this wonderful pudding for dessert.One spoonful and I fell in love with it instantly!It was entirely different from the biscuit pudding that I had been eating all my life(biscuits soaked in coffee,layered and drizzled with cocoa sauce and topped with beaten egg whites).Back home,I jotted down the new recipe quickly and it remains my favorite dessert to this day!
'My favoritest dessert by my bestest friend!'
Bad english,I know....but I'm just a little tipsy after shamelessly devouring half a tray of this scrummy pudding!
I tweaked the original recipe here and there to make the sin more unpardonable.I used milk biscuits instead of arrowroot biscuits and I also added a layer of custard.And since it is February and most of us would have already waded off our healthy new year resolutions,go ahead and dunk in!!

Linking this to the Cakes,Cookies and Desserts event at Spice and sugar tales.


500 gms plain milk biscuits(Brittania milk bikis)
100 gms butter(softened)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4+1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar+extra for the custard
1+1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
1 tsp coffee powder
2-3 tbsp hot water
1 cup fresh cream
1 tbsp powdered sugar


Using your hands,break biscuits into small pieces.
Rub in the butter until all the biscuit pieces are well coated.Keep aside.
To prepare chocolate sauce,combine cocoa powder,3/4 cup milk,1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla essence.Make sure all lumps are removed.Keep on medium-low flame and stir for 8 to 10 minutes.Keep this aside.
Make custard by double boiling 1 cup milk,1 beaten egg and enough sugar.Keep stirring till custard reaches a thick consistency. Remove from flame and add 1 tsp vanilla essence.Strain to remove lumps and keep this aside.
Mix 1 tsp coffee powder in hot water and keep aside.
Layer a pudding dish with half the biscuits.Pour half of the chocolate sauce over the biscuits,followed by half of the custard.Sprinkle half of the coffee over this.Repeat with the next layer - biscuits,chocolate sauce,custard and coffee.Press down with a spatula so that all the biscuits are well immersed in the sauces.
Refrigerate for at least half an hour or until partly set before topping with fresh cream.

Fresh Cream Topping

Make sure the fresh cream is well chilled.You can also freeze your whisks and mixing bowl for 15 minutes to quicken the beating process.Sometimes it helps if you beat with your bowl kept over ice cubes.
Beat chilled fresh cream until smooth.Add powdered sugar and beat again until soft peaks form.
Spoon uniformly over the pudding.
Decorate by sprinkling chocolate sauce or chocolate shavings.

NOTE:The pudding tastes best if it is kept outside the refrigerator in room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.