Saturday, February 28, 2015

Eggless Semolina cake

    This simply moist and soft looking cake is not like any other cake, it has no eggs or flour, so it is a healthier option than any regular cakes. The main ingredient of this cake is semolina or suji, which is a by-product of wheat. It's quick and very easy to make, need no elaborate preparation. I tried this for first time and became fan of it. Surprisingly, one of my kid who is a very choosy cake eater, he loved it so much and asking me every day to make it again. It can be a very healthy add-on in your kid's lunch box or as a after school snack. 

You Need :
Semolina/Suji : 1 and 1/2 cup
Coconut : 1/2 cup or more
Sugar : 1 and 1/4 cup, powdered
Plain yogurt/dahi : 1 cup
Milk : 2/3 cup
Vegetable oil : 1/2 cup
Baking Soda : 1 tblsp.
Vanilla essence : 1 tblsp.
Assorted nuts : 1/2 cup chopped (walnuts, cashews or almonds) [optional]

How To :
  • In a bowl, take sugar and yogurt. Stir to mix them so that sugar dissolves fully. Then add suji/semonlina, coconut, oil and all the other ingredients one at a time and mix properly. Do not overmix. 
  • Then set aside the bowl for at least an hour so that semolina can soak up all the moisture before baking.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C. Grease your baking pan with butter or oil and then pour the semolina mixture into the pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  • Let it cool completely before you slice it.
  • Can be a great accompaniment with evening tea/coffee.

Try this effortless cake at home and I guarantee you'll be hooked to it. I made twice in one week, that much addictive this cake is. Let me know whenever you try it...........

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Basic sandwich bread

  Today I'm going to introduce you to another member of our foodie group, "Kolkata Food Bloggers", Rakhee Dutta of "My World of baking and More", with her our event, "Know your Blogger" is going to end, but I'm going to introduce you many more awesome bloggers in future for sure.
  So now, Rakhee is an IT professional, who manages home and office in equal elan with a food blog by her side. She is very Jolly and jovial in nature. Her passion for baking is extraordinary. She has blogged on many difficult and traditional baked delicacies on her blog within very short period of time. She is the bread baking queen of our group, KFB. I blindly follow her recipe when it comes to bread baking and I've gathered all my courage to bake a bread at home from her blog only. The way she explains all the procedures and minute details, anyone can bake a bread like I did. I've always poured a piles of queries whenever I've tried something from her blog in the past and she answered each and every query very politely and added her personal tips,too. If you want to learn the funda behind Bread baking, her blog should be your destination.

     So, this week as per event rule when I'm supposed to chose one recipe from her blog and post, what else you think I'm gonna choose other than a bread. And I chose her Daily Bread or a Basic Sandwich Bread recipe. As always, Ive followed her recipe and measurement to the T, still I had few queries in my mind and as usual called her during the baking and she answered all my queries and wished me luck. And Voila, I got a perfect textured bread at one go and it's all thanks to her. Slowly I'm overcoming the fear of baking breads. Thank you Rakhee for being such a wonderful friend, even though we havn't met yet personally, hoping to meet you soon.

Here is the link to her recipe................
You need : [All cup measures should be from the same cup]

3 cups flour { you can use 3 cups of All-purpose flour(maida) or 1:1 ratio of wheat flour and APF or 2: 1 ratio of APF and wheat flour(atta) -- any combination works}
Instant yeast : 1 and 1/2 tsp.
Lukewarm milk : 3/4 cup
Water : 1/2 cup
Sugar : 1 ans 1/2 tblsp.
Salt : 1 tsp.
White oil : 1 and 1/2 tblsp.
A little flour for dusting the work space
An aluminium foil or a butter paper to cover up the bread while baking

How To :
  • In a pan, mix milk and water and warm a little. {V. Imp. : It should be lukewarm, just a little warm to touch not hot. Otherwise it may kill your yeast.} Add sugar and mix till sugar completely dissolves. Add yeast and mix well. Keep this yeast mixture in some warm place undisturbed for 10 minutes.{Tips : I usually run my microwave for 3-4 minutes, then switch it off and keep the yeast bowl in closed microwave}
  • Meanwhile, take flour(in whatever ratio you are using, I used 1and 1/2 cup of APF and 1 and 1/2 cup of wheat flour) in a big bowl, add salt and oil into the flour and mix well with your hands and keep aside. After 10 minutes, check the yeast mixture, you'll see the yeast mixture will be frothy as yeast has proved and became active. {***This is what we want to bake a perfect bread. If your yeast mixture doesn't froth, that means the yeast is not good enough for baking a bread.}
  • Add the yeast mixture into the flour and knead well. The dough will feel sticky, do not add extra flour to knead it, instead add little more oil and the dough will bind well. Now grease a big bowl and keep the dough in a warm place, loosely covering with a damp kitchen cloth for about 1 hour to rise, same way we've kept our yeast mixture in the microwave. The dough will double in size within an hour.{The time depends it can take little more time too}
  • After it doubles in size, take out the dough and deflate it by pressing it down. Do not punch. Using little flour knead the dough for couple of minutes more. Now spread the dough using a rolling pin in a rectangular shape. Then start rolling the dough from one end and press down the open end with fingers. continue the process till the end and make a log shaped dough. 
  • Now grease a wide (at least 8 inches long and 3 inches wide) loaf pan and place the shaped dough inside it. Now keep this ready loaf tin in a warm place for the second rise, covering with a damp kitchen cloth. It takes about 45 minutes to rise. This time it'll not double in size but will rise 1/2 the size of the dough more.
  • Preheat your oven to 220 degreeC and keep the loaf tin inside it after the second rise. Before you place the dough inside the oven, make a slit with a sharp knife from the middle. This will allow the trapped air inside bread to escape and also prevents the top of the bread from cracking. {Tips : Place an aluminium foil or a butter paper loosely covered on the bread, so that the top of the bread doesn't ger hard.}
  • Bake for 40 minutes or when you tap the back of the bread, it sounds hollow. 
  • If you want a brown crusted bread, turn on the grill mode on your oven and grill for 5 minutes. You'll get a golden brown top. 
  • Remove the bread from oven and brush it with butter/milk/oil. Cool completely before you slice the bread, otherwise the bread will crumble.    

Enjoy your favorite sandwich with your homemade bread.........aha, what an awesome feeling.
Here are some more tries with yeast from my blog : Pav buns, Italian Focaccia, Vegetable stuffed buns

Sending this to "Kolkata Food Bloggers" ongoing event, "Know your Blogger"

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Baked Pasta in meat Sauce from Antypasti

Gradually, we are almost at the end of the event,"Know Your Blogger-2" of Kolkata Food Bloggers, only few are left. Any way, today I'm going to introduce you to Antara Ray who blogs at Antypasti, not so regularly but quite often after managing her 9-5 job as a Management consultant. Her blog is a chronicle of her travel stories (she is a frequent traveller too) along with lots of interesting food from different parts of the World. You will also find very quick and healthy meal ideas from her blog as she is a working girl and manages home and office simultaneously. I recently had a chance to meet her for little time at KFB's Annual Bake Sale and I was very glad to finally meet her. Antara, hope to meet you again soon. 
         As a rule, I'm supposed to pick a recipe from her blog and make it in my kitchen. But I found many interesting recipes form her blog, and finally decided to cook this one out, which is Baked Rigatoni in meat sauce. My daughter and me both love pasta and when I checked this recipe on her blog, I just drooled and went ahead hurriedly to the kitchen. Luckily, I had all the ingredients it needed. Actually, I tried Italian Bolognese pasta, which is someway similar to this recipe, only difference is that this one is baked and Bolognese pasta is cooked on stove-top. But I never tried Baked pasta with meat sauce. So, I just followed her recipe, there she added readymade pasta sauce, which I didn't have, so made a fresh tomato puree and went ahead with rest of the recipe. I cooked a whole lot of pasta for this, so made 2 layers of pasta and meat sauce while assembling the baking pan, so that sauce can spread evenly to each pasta.
As a pasta lover, I experimented many Pasta recipes and blogged about it. Check my International Recipe folder to check them out.......

Here is Antara's recipe of Baked Rigatoni in Meat Sauce

You Need :
Pasta of any kind, but Rigatoni/Penne/Fusilli works better(I used Penne)
Keema/minced meat : 200 gm.(I used store-bought cooked one)
Tomatoes : 3-4, medium, pureed
Onion : 1, sliced
Garlic cloves : 4 , big, grated
Green capsicum : 1, big, diced
Fresh corn : 1/2 cup
Tomato sauce : 2 tblsp.
Dried Rosemary : 1 tblsp. 
Red chilli Flakes : a pinch, optional
Salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil : 1tblsp.

How To :
  • Cook the pasta according to package direction until just done. The pastas should not be overcooked.
  • Heat 1 tblsp. olive oil in a pan, add sliced onion, diced capsicum and fresh corn. Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add grated garlic and wait for 1/2 a minute before you add keema or minced meat to the pan. Saute for couple of minutes. Season with little salt at this time. Then add pureed tomatoes along with tomato sauce. Add red chilli flakes, rosemary and salt and black pepper to taste. Your meet sauce is ready.
  • Now take a baking pan, drizzle little olive oil allover, first arrange 1/2 of the cooked pastas as a first layer, then our 1/2 of the meat sauce over them. Again arrange last 1/2 of the pastas over the meat sauce and lastly rest of the meat sauce and cover the whole pan. I placed few capsicum rings over the last layer of meat sauce and covered the baking pan with grated mozzarella cheese.
  • Pre-heat your oven in 180 degreeC and bake for about 20 minutes or your cheese melts and browns a bit.  
Note :
  1. you can add your choice of vegetable here.
Sending this to Kolkata Food Blogger's Ongoing event, "Know your Blogger-2". 
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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Baked Rasgulla ~ A Fusion dessert from Bengal

          Today I am back with a dessert which is known not to many, but belongs from the land of sweets, my Bengal. But this dessert is not from the huge lists of traditional sweet dishes of Bengal, rather a innovation of traditional Sweet shop owners, whoa re serving traditional sweets for more than 50 years to the people of Bengal, still they are brave enough to give a twist to traditional sweets and presenting a whole new sweet dish to the world. Nowadays, fusion desserts are very common in Bengal, they are making fusions using western desserts like Ice-cream, cake, souffle and mixing them to Indian ingredients, like Sandesh cake from K.C. Das(famous Sweet Shop) or this Baked Rasogolla and Gur-er(date plam jaggery) Souffle from Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick(another famous sweet shop of Calcutta/Kolkata) and so on. If you havn't try one of these yet, plan a trip to Kolkata just to have a taste of these awesome sweets.  
     This baked Rasogolla is also an twist to traditional Rasmalai. Rasmalai is a dessert, where a steamed ball of chhana/Paneer/cottage cheese(Rasgulla) dunked in a sweetened and thickened milk. In this baked version, we are going to do the same, just we are going to make this in conventional oven instead of stove top and it also gives a burnt flavour to the dish, as we are going to brown the top of the dish. You can make with store-bought rasgullas too or make your own at home. I have heard a lot from friends about this dessert, but never tasted it, as the shop it makes is quite far from my home, so thought to make my own at home. This is very easy to make and what to say about the taste, it gives a whole new dimension to the traditional Rasmalai, just heavenly! Try it to believe me!

You Need :
Rasgulla : 9-10
Milk : 1 cup
Paneer/cottage cheese : 100 gms., crumbled
Sugar : 1/2 cup or use as per your taste
Saffron : few strands, soaked in 2 tblsp. of milk
Cornflour : 1 tsp. dissolved in 2 tsp. water
Cardamom Powder : 1/2 tsp.  

How To :
  • Dissolve the rasgullas in water for couple of minutes. Then squeeze out all the sugar syrup from them. Try to remove sugar syrup as much as possible.
  • In a blender, take milk, crumbled paneer, sugar, cornflour water and blend to a semi-smooth mixture. Add saffron soaked milk and cardamom powder and mix well.
  • Preheat your oven to 200degreeC, take a baking dish, arrange the rasgullas , then pour the blended mixture evenly allover the dish covering the rasgullas well. Bake until the top sets and starts to brown. 
                                                                      Before Baking
                                                                     After Baking
  • Serve warm or in room temperature. 

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

  In Winter months, Indian vegetable market are flooded with Broccoli, which is still not so commonly known by people in India.
Broccoli : Broccoli is named one of the healthiest food. It is low in calories, broccoli is rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber. A  cup of cooked broccoli offers as much vitamin C as an orange, and is very rich in beta-carotene. Broccoli contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, folate, lutein and zinc too.

Health Benefits of Broccoli :
  • Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body's detoxification system
  • Broccoli can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming.
  • Broccoli has an unusually strong combination of both vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and vitamin K. For people faced with the need to rebuild vitamin D stores through vitamin D supplements, broccoli may be an ideal food to include in the diet. 
  • Broccoli is a particularly rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol. This kaempferol connection helps to explain the unique anti-inflammatory benefits of broccoli.
Cooking methods of Broccoli :  Cooking methods can impact the nutrient content and health benefits of broccoli. Boiling can leach up to 90% of the valuable nutrients from broccoli, while steaming, roasting, stir-frying, and microwaving tends to preserve the nutrients.

   One of the way, I consume Broccoli mostly is make a warm soup out of it, so that I can gain most of the health benefits from it and it tastes so great. I just love broccoli soup, this time I included Brocooli's sister, Cauliflower too in this soup, together it was out of this world...really, try this out to believe me. As you all know cauliflower is also very healthy vegetable, also a h=great source f Vitamin C.

You Need :
Broccoli : 5-7 big florets
Cauliflower : 5-6 big florets
Onion : 1, small, chopped
Garlic : 2-3 cloves, chopped/grated
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Chicken broth/water : 2 cups
Milk : 1/2 cup
Cornflour : 1 tblsp. 
Oil/Butter : 1 tblsp.

How to :
  • Dunk broccoli and cauliflower florets with warm water for some time, then carefully wash all the florets, have a good checkout for small insects in between florets. 
  • Heat oil/butter in a pan, add onions and garlic and saute for a minute. Then add broccoli and cauliflower florets and saute a little. Add 1 tsp. salt and then add chicken broth or water and cook until they are just done. Let it cool a bit.
  • Then put the whole thing in a mixer and blend well. Now add the pureed vegetables on the pan again, mix the milk and let it come to boil in low flame. Season with salt and black pepper upto your taste. 
  • You can also add little cornflour mixed with  2 tblsp. water and add it to the soup if you like thicker soup, otherwise just avoid this step.
  • When the consistency comes to your liking, remove and serve hot with some warm bread or as it is. I served mine with some homemade Vegetable stuffed Buns.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Valentien's Day Recipe idea : Hidden Heart Chocolate Cake

         It's just few days back we have celebrated New Year's day and now a month has already passed and we are on the second month of the year and it is February-the month of love. Me and my hubby have grown older to celebrate Valentine's Day, but I celebrate Valentine's day surely with my kids and hubby also gains from that. So that kids get to know the importance of each celebration. My 16 years old daughter who expects something sweet and cute for her from me, my younger ones doesn't understand much about valentine's day. After lots of thinking, I decided to try out this Hidden heart cake for my kiddos, they all love cakes and a hidden heart cake which will suit perfectly for the theme and I can satisfy my itching of trying something new at the same time. You too can easily try out this cute concept of cake for any occasion, like birthdays or anniversaries etc.

    To make this cake, we have t bake two cakes. First, we'll make the pink heart cake, then when it cool, will cut that cake in heart shape. Then we have to bake the chocolate cake. So, to finish this cake it takes quite some time. Plan accordingly............

You Need :
APF(All Purpose Flour) : 3 cups
Sugar : 2 cups, powdered
Butter : 150 gms., in room temperature
Eggs : 4
Vegetable Oil : 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence : 3 tsp.
Baking Powder : 2 tsp.
Baking Soda : 1/4 tsp.
Cocoa Powder : 1/2 cup
Salt : a pinch
Red Food Color : 4-5 drops or more
Milk : 1/2 cup

How To : [ What i did, I made the wet ingredients for two cakes together, then divide it into two parts for two cakes.]
  • In a bowl, take butter and sugar and beat with an electric beater until creamy. Add one egg at a time and incorporate. Add vegetable oil in there and mix well. Lastly, add vanilla essence and mix again. Now divide this wet mixture into two parts.
  • To make the pink cake, in another bowl, mix together 1and1/2 cup of flour, 1 tsp. baking powder and a pinch of salt. Now slowly add this flour mixture into one part of wet mixture and incorporate well. If needed, add little milk to make a creamy batter. Lastly, add red food color in it and your pink cake batter is ready.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degree C and grease your baking tin with butter or oil, pour the whole batter in it and bake for 45-50 minutes or a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean. When done, remove from oven and demould and let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes before you slice the cake.
  • When the cake cools down, carefully slice the cake in 1/2 " thick slices. With the help of a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out heart shaped cake pieces from the center of each slice. Keep rest part of the cake aside. [Refer pic. 1 and 2]. Gather all the heart shaped cake pieces [refer pic.3] and keep aside.
  • Now prepare the chocolate cake batter, take 1and1/2 cup of maida(flour), Cocoa powder, 1 tsp. of baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt in a bowl and mix well. Now slowly add this flour mixture into the other part of wet mixture and incorporate well. If needed, add little milk to make a creamy batter and your chocolate cake batter is ready.
  • Now we are going to assemble both the cake together. In another baking tin, (I used loaf tin for both the cake), first pour 1/3 of chocolate cake batter evenly at the bottom. Then place the pink heart shaped cake pieces in the center just one after another, leaving no spice in between. [Refer Pic.4] Then fill side and top of the cake tin with rest of the chocolate batter. Bake in preheated oven (in 180degree C) for 45-50 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean. Let it cool completely before you cut or apply icing.

Decor : I first applied pink coloured whipped cream icing to decorate the cake. Then made few heart shapes in darker pink shade. Then added few chocolates and multicolor sprinkler. That's all. You can add your personal touch too and make your valentines fall for your love once again.

Last year, I made these Heart Shaped Strawberry Cookies and Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies 
for my sweethearts

Sending this valentine's treat to Kolkata Food Blogger's Ongoing event, "Valentines' Day Special"

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