Fruit Tartlets

If you are looking for a sophisticated, impressive yet easy to make dessert then Fruit Tartlets can be one of your choices. As we know tartlets are the miniature form of tarts which consists of two parts, one is crunchy shortbread crust and the other is creamy savoury or sweet filling. Obviously fruit tartlets will be topped with any of our favourite fruits. I always got tempted to find those fruit tartlets topped with all the possible colourful fruits while passing by the bakery shops in Europe and apprehended that those should be very difficult to make. But I was wrong. After trying my hand on them, I can vouch that tartlets are very easy to make and taste absolutely yummy 🙂

Delicious Fruit Tartlets

Delicious Fruit Tartlets

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French Macaron filled with Chocolate Ganache : Valentine’s day special

Macarons are colourful and cute looking French sweets or cookies. The preparation of macarons is based on meringue (from egg whites and castor sugar), almond flour and powdered sugar. Different food colours or gels are often used to give them the attractive and pretty look. Various fillings like chocolate ganache, buttercream, lemon curd, jam etc., are used to sandwich two cookies together.

When I saw them for the first time, I was highly impressed and taken aback. In fact their look invited me more than their taste. Since then I often thought of preparing it but took a long time to try my hand. It is my first attempt to make the macarons and I try here to adapt a simplified approach. I don’t use any colour and choose the simple chocolate ganache for filling.

Though I prepared these cookies two month back, I choose today for posting its recipe as the day is very special for all of us. On the eve of Valentine’s day make these prettiest cookies for your loved one 🙂

Almond Macarons filled wit Chocolate Ganache

Almond Macarons filled with Chocolate Ganache

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Carrot Cake

I love to bake cakes with different fruits to blend their flavours in the cake. However to bring variety, this time I baked the cake with a vegetable, carrot, which is perhaps the most easy to find in winter. With the grated carrot, what I prepare is a butter less, wholewheat cake which is topped with lemon flavoured cream cheese. I am not exaggerating, but the outcome was truly lip-smacking.

Carrot cake

Carrot cake

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Sugar Cookies for Christmas

On the eve of Christmas the old Santa sneaks into our home secretly and drops beautiful gifts. When we wake up in the morning, we find them everywhere, a new day starts with surprise, joy and hope. It makes our life blissful. Hope this Christmas brings the gift of peace and tranquility in all of our lives.

On this occasion, I share a jar of sugar cookies with my friends. They are sweet, full of colours and made on cute little Chirstmas trees. Wish you all a merry Christmas !!!!

Sugar Cookies for Christmas

Sugar Cookies for Christmas

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Black Forest Gâteau

Christmas is around the corner, Santa Claus is knocking the door and Jingle bells started ringing. This is high time for baking to flourish in full fledged. I can’t also resist my self from this feeling. For long I had a wish to make a Black Forest cake. It is a traditional German dessert known as Schwarzwälder (means Black Forest)Kirschtorte, gets the name after the place where it was originated. We are all familiar with this multilayer chocolate cake filled with whipping cream and cherries. To prepare it I choose to follow the video of “Joyofbaking.com” from youtube. In fact it is my second attempt to bake the black forest cake and both the time I got success after following her video. So without spending many words, may I suggest to go through the recipe of this mouthwatering dessert.

Black Forest Gâteau

Black Forest Gâteau

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Fig & Almond Muffins (Eggless & Butterless)

I heard quite a few times from my blogger friends on baking without butter and egg. I always wondered how can one make cakes without these two key ingredients. This time I tried to find the answer myself by baking muffins without either butter or egg. To my surprise, they turned out to be quite satisfying, still having the fluffiness like normal muffins. Must admit, missed the flavour of butter in the muffins, which otherwise were pretty good. Hope the eggless bakes would be a nice option for vegetarians or vegans who do not want to remain deprived of the baking wonders.

Fig & Almond Muffins

Fig & Almond Muffins

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Blue Cheese & Walnut Tartlets

Miniature forms of anything around us are always attractive and win one’s heart quickly. The same applies for the food and I am not an exception here. When I first came to know about the miniature form of tarts, known as ‘tartlets’, it turned me on instantly and the adoration grew over the days. Among the various types of tartlets, the fruit tartlet could be a great dessert, while the savoury ones serve the purpose of tempting snacks. In fact in one of my earlier posts, I shared with you the recipe of Cherry tomato & poppy seed tartlets. No one on earth can dislike the cheesy filling of savoury tartlets. Although different cheese can be used for the filling, as the name reveals I used blue cheese in this recipe. Make these tartlets to surprise your guests and I bet they will enjoy it and end up licking their leaps 🙂

Blue Cheese & Walnut Tartlet

Blue Cheese & Walnut Tartlet

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Rose Swirl Cake – My 100th Post

Oops ! can’t believe I am presenting  my 100th post. 🙂 Though I am very lazy and take 8 long months to reach this number, still very happy and surprised on this achievement. So it’s time to celebrate and post a special recipe.

Today I want to share with you the recipe of a gorgeous Rose swirl cake which I made few days back for my beloved husband on his birthday. It was perfect for the occasion and looked absolutely amazing. My husband was over cloud nine to find it on the table. Must admit we kicked off the celebration in style for the evening.

If you look at the picture of the cake, at first glance, you may feel that making such a large number of roses on the cake must have been very tedious. But if you know the trick, as given in the recipe below, you will realise it to be rather easy. And overall it does not take a hell lot of time. Every bit of effort to prepare the swirl cake is worthy, once you come up with the brilliant looking finished product at the end. Enjoy 🙂

Rose Swirl Cake

Rose Swirl Cake

Ingredients to serve 10 – 12 :

For the Sponge Cakes :

  1. Butter (at room temperature) – 175 gm. + extra for greasing
  2. Caster sugar – 175 gm.
  3. Egg (beaten) – 3
  4. Plain flour – 175 gm.
  5. Baking powder – 2 teaspoon
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. Pure vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon

For Buttercream Frosting/Icing :

  1. Unsalted butter (softened) – 300 gm.
  2. Powdered sugar/Icing sugar – 600 gm.
  3. Milk – 1-2 tbspoon
  4. Pure vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
  5. Red food colour (liquid/gel) – few drops (if liquid)/little amount (if gel)
Ingredients

Ingredients

Procedure :

Making of Sponge Cakes :

Grease two 20 cm./8 inch round cake tin and base-line with baking paper. (If you don’t possess two cake tins which even I don’t, then you have to bake two cakes separately using the same tin as described here.)

Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or a hand-held mixer/stand mixer until the mixture is pale in colour and light and fluffy (I used hand mixer).

Add the egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition.

After beating butter, sugar and egg

After beating butter, sugar and egg

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and carefully add to the mixture, folding it in with a metal spoon or a spatula.

Divide the mixture between the tins and smooth over with the spatula. (If you are using a single tin, then pour half of the batter into it and reserve the rest for another cake.)

Place them on the same shelf in the centre of a preheated oven, 180°C/350ºF, and bake for 25-30 minutes until well risen, golden brown and beginning to shrink from the sides of the tins.

Remove from the oven and let stand for few minutes. Loosen the cakes from around the edge of the tins using a knife. Turn the cakes out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Making of Buttercream frosting :

In large bowl, beat butter with electric stand-mixer or hand-mixer until light and fluffy (I used hand mixer). Beat in vanilla extract.

Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.

Gradually add milk ; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. I used 1 tbspoon of milk to get the right consistency. If your icing seems to be very stiff then you can add more milk. But don’t make very thin/spreading consistency icing, then your roses will not come out perfect.

Now colour your frosting by adding few drops of food colour into it and beating lightly until you get the right colour of your choice. Initially I gave whole of my icing a light pink colour and kept aside 2/3 of it in a separate bowl. I later added few more drops of colour to the rest to give it a dark pink colour.

Keep both the bowls covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

Assembling of Cakes :

Ready for assembling

Ready for assembling

When the cakes are cold, sandwich them, right on the serving plate/cake stand, with 3-4 tbspoon of light pink icing. You should not transfer it elsewhere after that, so it is better to sandwich on the serving plate in the beginning. Cover the top and sides of the cake with icing to be smoothed using a spatula or big knife.

Cakes are sandwiched with buttercream frosting

Cakes are sandwiched with buttercream frosting

Coating the whole cake with buttercream

Coating the whole cake with buttercream

For making rose swirls, you will need a large close/open star tip. I used close C4 star tip.

Put your tip into the pastry bag then fill it up with dark-pink buttercream frosting.

To make your rose, start at the center, press a bit and then slowly move your tip in a circle around the center point.

Try to end at the same point for each circle.

Go all the way around the cake and first finish the bottom layer.

First layer of roses

Finishing first layer of roses

For the next top layer, put the tip in another piping bag (or use another C4 tip, if you have two of them) and fill it with light-pink frosting.

Now start making one light pink roses in between the two deep pink roses of the layer below.

In this way cover your whole cake by layer of roses with different colours of your choice.

If there are blank spaces between the roses, then just fill them with star dollop.

Rose swirl cake is ready to cut ;)

Rose swirl cake is ready to cut 😉

Beautiful rose swirl cake is ready to enjoy. 🙂

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Note :

  1. Colouring the buttercream is completely optional.
  2. You can make a single coloured rose swirl cake.

Cinnamon Swirls or Buns

Cinnamon is a very common spice used in many a Indian cuisines, mostly in savoury dishes. I never knew it can even be used in cakes and breads. So when I found this recipe in my baking book, I got really surprised and initially was not very keen on baking it. But as the recipe read quite simple and I also got bored having breads daily in my breakfast, I gave it a try. And to my surprise again, I liked the flavour of cinnamon in my buns. Add to this, the swirl shape makes the bun look quite attractive too.

Cinnamon swirls or buns

Cinnamon swirls or buns

Ingredients for 8 pieces :

  1. Butter – 2 tbspoon (cut into small pieces) + extra for greasing
  2. Plain flour/Strong white bread flour – 225 gm. (I used plain flour)
  3. Salt – ½ teaspoon
  4. 1 sachet easy-blend dry yeast (7 gm.)
  5. Egg (beaten) – 1
  6. warm milk – 125 ml.
  7. Maple syrup/Honey – 2 tbspoon (I used honey)
  8. Milk/Single cream – 2-3 tbspoon

For Filling :

  1. Butter (softened) – 4 tbspoon
  2. Ground cinnamon – 2 teaspoon
  3. Brown sugar – 50 gm.
  4. Currants/Sultans/Raisins – 50 gm. (I used currants)
Ingredients

Ingredients

Procedure :

Grease a 23 cm./9 inch square/circular cake tin.

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, stir in the yeast.

Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and milk and mix to form a dough.

Place in a greased bowl, cover with cling film and let stand in a warm place for 1 hour, or until double in size.

Then knead the dough lightly for 1 minute to punch it down, then roll out on a lightly floured work surface to form a rectangle measuring 30 x 23 cm./12 x 9 inches.

To make the filling, beat the butter, cinnamon and brown sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 2.5 cm./1 inch border all round.

Sprinkle over the currants.

Spreading the filling

Spreading the filling

Arranging the currants

Arranging the currants

Brush the edges with milk/cream and carefully roll up the dough like a Swiss roll, starting at a long edge, and press down to seal.

Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 8 slices.

Place them in the prepared tin, cover with cling film and let stand for 30 minutes.

Cutting the roll into 8 slices

Cutting the roll into 8 slices

Placing the swirls into the prepared tin

Placing the swirls into the prepared tin

Brush the swirls with milk/cream and bake in a preheated oven, 190ºC/375ºF, for 28-30 minutes, or until well risen.

After baking

After baking

Brush the swirls with syrup/honey and cool slightly before serving warm.

Soft cinnamon bun

yummy & soft cinnamon bun 🙂

Note :

  1. Initially dough will remain very sticky so better if you can use a stand mixer or hand mixer with dough hook attachment to prepare it. If you don’t have them, then just have patient and use your hand. 🙂

Whole Wheat and Oats Flower Pizza – Guest post by Chitra of Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen

Who can make such an innovative and gorgeous looking pizza other than Chitra !!!! I suppose no one. Yet she makes it look so easy.

Not very long ago, I get acquainted with Chitra and went through her blog Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen. As the name reveals, her blog is a treasure of healthy recipes which is a perfect foil to our daily stressful life. On the top of that I am really impressed with innovative approach and individuality in each of her recipes. She always tries to present a lighter and healthier version of traditional and common foods along with her amazing fusion recipes. Till date I did not find a dedicated blogger like her who manages to post two recipes each single day. Needless to say, if you visit her blog, never will you be disappointed.

Today I am privileged to have her recipe, Whole wheat and Oats Flower Pizza, as guest post for my blog. Though the recipe  sounds common at the first go still is quite new and refreshing for its ingredients and look. Here a circular pizza is given the shape of a flower by some twists, quite similar to the flower shaped bread, as found in Italian cuisine. Again, Chitra used wheat flour and oats instead of plain flour to turn it into a healthier dish. Thus she shows her innovative best for which she is well known.

Whole Wheat & Oat Flower Pizza

Whole Wheat & Oat Flower Pizza

Servings: 2

Preparation time: 15minutes

Baking time: 18-20minutes

Waiting time: 1½-2hours

Ingredients:

  • Wheat flour – 1½ cup
  • Powdered oats – ½ cup
  • hot water – 1cup
  • Yeast – 1tsp
  • Honey – 1tsp
  • Extra virgin olive oil – 2tbsp
  • Salt – 1/2tsp

For topping:

  • Pizza sauce – to spread (link)
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Cherry tomatoes (cut to half)
  • Low fat mozzarella cheese – 30-50gms
  • Italian herbs-to drizzle

Procedure:

  • In a bowl combine yeast, honey, 1/4cup hot water and let it sit on the counter for 5-10minutes.
  • Sieve wheat flour, powdered oats in a mixing bowl, add in salt, oil mix well to form crumbs.
  • Then add in yeast mixture and hot water little at a time to form a dough.
  • Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes and then transfer into a greased bowl, cover and let it rest until doubles.
  • Pre-heat the oven at 200° C, grease the pizza tray and keep aside.
  • Once the dough doubles, transfer to the floured surface and roll it out to a circle.
  • Place a cup on its middle to separate it from the petals.
  • Brush some olive oil on the remaining part of the dough apart from bowl surface and spread some pizza sauce .
  • Using a sharp knife cut it in equal portions (divide in quarters and then each quarter in four pieces)
  • Twist two times each petal
  • Uncover the middle portion and Brush with olive oil and spread sauce.
Flower pizza steps

Flower pizza steps

  • Bake for 14-15minutes. Then pull the bread out from the oven spread some cheese, top it with olives and cherry tomatoes at the centre circle and place back the tray into the oven and bake for 4-5minutes more/until the cheese melts.

Serve with sauce.

Note:

  1. Topping can be personalised as per the choice.
  2. Plain flour can be used in place of wheat and oats

Pizza with cheese, bell pepper & bacon

Pizza, originally an Italian delicacy, earned the reputation of a true global food over the years. Perhaps there is no place on earth where you can’t find a pizzeria. Being a pizza fan like millions other, I always used to have the fresh baked pizza from pizzeria and never really thought to try my hands into it. But after going through few videos in youtube I made my mind to give it a try at my own kitchen. After a couple of trials things became clear on how to make a perfect pizza dough. Pizza dough is the most important thing to make a good pizza; toppings can be anything of your choice. For this present pizza recipe, I used grated mozzarella cheese, bacons and bell peppers for topping. However, you can make it completely vegetarian using mozzarella slices, tomato, olive, mushrooms or spinach as topping. I can honestly assure you that if you have time and a bit of patience, making Pizza at home is not at all a tough job.

Pizza with cheese, bell pepper & bacon

Pizza with cheese, bell pepper & bacon

Ingredients to serve 2 :

  1. Pizza base – 2 (recipe under “Useful Supplementary” tab)
  2. Pizza sauce (recipe under “Useful Supplementary” tab)
  3. Bacon (chopped) – 150 gm.
  4. Bell pepper (sliced) – ¼
  5. Grated mozzarella cheese – 150 gm.
  6. Salt and crushed black pepper for seasoning
  7. Oilve oil – 2 tbspoon

Procedure :

Place the pizza bases on a lightly oiled baking sheet/aluminum foil and push up the edges with your fingers to form a small rim.

Pour 2-3 tbspoon pizza sauce at the center of each base and spread it throughout leaving a ½” edge.

Now spread generous amount of grated cheese over it and arrange the bacon and bell pepper slices.

Season to taste with salt and crushed black pepper and drizzle with 1 tbspoon of olive oil.

Pizza is ready to go into the oven

Pizza is ready to go into the oven

Bake in a preheated oven, 230ºC/450ºF, for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is crisp.

Pizza is ready to be served

Pizza is ready to be served

Serve immediately.

Caramelized Lemon Tart

Although we find different desserts back in India, still I get amazed to see their variety here in Europe. The bakers put their creative best to make all sort of desserts, which look incredibly lucrative. In fact my favourite among them is tart. The tart is nothing but a baked dish containing of a creamy filling atop a crunchy crust, often decorated with different fruits.

I tried savoury tartlets before, Cherry tomato & poppy seed tartlets, while this is my first attempt to make tart as a dessert. It is a sweet n sour lemon tart which is quite common too. It turned out quite good and certainly recommendable  to serve for your guests.

Caramelized Lemon Tart

Caramelized Lemon Tart

Ingredients to serve 6 :

For crust

  1. Plain flour – 200 gm. + extra for dusting
  2. Cold butter (cut into pieces) – 100 gm.
  3. Caster sugar – 2 tbspoon
  4. Egg yolk – 1
  5. cold water
  6. Pinch of salt

For filling

  1. Lemon – 5
  2. Egg – 2
  3. Caster sugar – 275 gm.
  4. Ground almond – 175 gm.
  5. Water – 100 ml.
  6. Whipping cream – 125 ml. + extra for serving
Ingredients

Ingredients

Procedure :

Lightly grease a 22 cm./9 inch loose-based fluted tart tin.

Sift the flour and salt into a food processor, add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar, egg yolk and just enough cold water (approx. 1-2 tbspoon) into the processor to bring the dough together.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to a circle 8 cm./3¼ inches larger than the tin.

Wrap the dough around your rolling-pin and lift carefully into the tin, press to fit and trim the excess dough.

Making the crust

Making the crust

Pierce crust all over with fork.

Fit baking paper into the tart case and fill with dried beans.

Chill for 30 minutes in refrigerator, then bake blind for 15 minutes in a preheated oven, 190ºC/375ºF.

Remove the beans and paper and bake for 10 minutes more or until the crust turns golden brown in colour, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles.

Transfer crust to rack. Maintain oven temperature.

To make the filling, put the juice and finely grated rind of 3 of the lemons in a bowl.

Add the eggs, 85 gm. of the sugar, the ground almonds and the cream, whisking to combine.

Pour into the pastry case and bake for 25 minutes.

Thinly slice the remaining two lemons, discarding the seeds and ends.

Heat the remaining sugar and water in a large pan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the lemon slices and boil for 10 minutes, try to minimise the overlap as far as possible.

Arrange the lemon slices over the surface of the cooked tart in a spiral pattern.

Arranging the lemon slices

Arranging the lemon slices

Drizzle over the lemon syrup.

Serve warm or cold with whipped cream.

Tart is ready to be served

Tart is ready to be served

 Note :

  1. Try to cut the lemon slices as thin as possible.
  2. It is necessary to be accompanied with whipped cream as the tart is bit sour in taste.

Blueberry & lemon drizzle cake

Berries are always a treat to my eyes whenever I find them in the market. Their vibrant colours and cute looks often compel me to buy them. However, I am not used to eat the berries just by themselves so love to try out them in different recipes. Once I found this tempting blueberry cake recipes in my good old baking book, I did not spare a second to bake it. Here comes the result in a spongy, soft and little sour Blueberry and lemon drizzle cake.

Blueberry & lemon drizzle cake

Blueberry & lemon drizzle cake

Ingredients for 12 pieces :

  1. Softened butter – 225 gm. + extra for greasing
  2. Golden caster sugar – 225 gm.
  3. Egg (beaten) – 4
  4. Self-raising flour (sifted) – 250 gm.
  5. Ground almonds – 25 gm.
  6. Fresh blueberries – 200 gm.
  7. Freshly grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

For topping :

  1. Juice of 2 lemons
  2. Golden caster sugar – 115 gm.
Ingredients

Ingredients

Procedure :

Grease and line the bottom of a 20 cm./8 inch square cake tin/oven proof dish.

Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.

Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour toward the end to prevent curdling.

Beat in the lemon rind, then fold in the remaining flour and almonds with enough of the lemon juice to give a good dropping consistency.

Fold in three-quarters of the blueberries and turn into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface, then scatter the remaining blueberries on top.

Ready for oven

Ready for oven

Bake in a preheated oven at180ºC/350ºF for 1 hour, or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

After baking

After baking

To make the topping, dissolve the sugar in lemon juice either by putting the mixture in microwave or on stove (over low flame).

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick all over with a fine skewer up to the bottom of it and pour over the lemon mixture.

Cool in the tin until completely cold, then cut into 12 squares to serve.

Herb Muffins with Smoked Cheese

I already shared with you the recipe of Spicy Chicken Muffins which I liked a lot. Since then I got enthusiastic about savoury muffins and started looking for them. Suddenly I came across an interesting recipe in my baking book as they told the story of a muffin with herbs and cheese in it. The recipe is very simple and quick to make. If you don’t dislike the flavour of herbs, this muffins will not disappoint you.

Herb Muffin with Smoked cheese

Herb Muffin with Smoked cheese

Ingredients to serve 12 :

  1. Sunflower oil or groundnut oil (for oiling) – 1 tbspoon
  2. Plain flour – 280 gm.
  3. Baking powder – 2 teaspoon
  4. Bicarbonate of soda – ½ teaspoon
  5. Smoked hard cheese (grated) – 25 gm.
  6. Fresh parsley (finely chopped) – 50 gm.
  7. Egg (large, lightly beaten) – 1
  8. Thick strained plain yogurt – 300 ml. (I used Greek style yogurt)
  9. Butter (melted) – 4 tbspoon

Procedure :

Oil your muffin tin with sunflower oil, or line it with muffin paper liners.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the smoked cheese and the parsley and mix together well.

In a separate bowl, lightly mix the egg, yogurt and melted butter together. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and then gently stir together until just combined. Do not overstir the batter – it is fine for it to be little lumpy.

Flour & Yogurt mixture

Flour & Yogurt mixture

Muffin batter

Muffin batter

Divide the muffin batter evenly between the cups in the muffin tin or the paper liners (they should be about 2/3 full).

Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C or 400ºF for 20 minutes or until risen and golden.

Before baking

Before baking

After baking

After baking

Remove the muffins form the oven and serve warm, or place them on a wire rack to cool.

Muffin is ready to be served

Muffin is ready to be served

Pear & Ginger Cake

Today’s recipe is of a moist and fruity cake for breakfast. I always liked the idea of fruitcake, where each bite in the pie will find a bit contrasting sour or sweetness of fruits. Here in the bakeries, I often find those colourful cakes with various fruits pooping up from inside or there as a topping which look so juicy and decorative. However, here I present a simple peer fruit cake which came out really well at my first attempt. I was never the biggest fan of peer, available a plenty in India as well. However, at the end the mild sourness of peer with the sponginess of cake was so astounding that we could not get tired of praising. Now I am charged up to go with other fruits say apple, berries and many more.

Pear & Ginger Cake

Pear & Ginger Cake

Ingredients to serve 6 :

  1. Unsalted butter (softened) – 200 gm. + extra for greasing
  2. Caster sugar – 175 gm.
  3. Self-raising flour (sifted) – 175 gm.
  4. Ground ginger – 1 tbspoon
  5. Eggs (lightly beaten) – 3
  6. Pear – 450 gm.
  7. Lemon juice – 1/3 cup
  8. Brown sugar -1tbspoon

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

Procedure :

Peel and core the pears. Cut into thin slices and then brush with lemon juice.

Slicing the pears

Slicing the pears

Lightly grease a deep 20-cm./8-inch cake tin with butter and line the bottom with baking paper.

Mix all but 2 tbspoon of butter with the caster sugar, flour, ginger and eggs in a bow. Beat with a whisk until the mixture forms a smooth consistency.

Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and level out the surface with a spatula. Arrange the pear slices over the cake batter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and dot with the remaining butter.

Ready to go into the oven

Ready to go into the oven

Bake in a preheated oven, 180ºC/350ºF for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is golden on top and feels springy to touch.

The cake is ready to be served

The cake is ready to be served

Serve warm with, ice cream or whipped cream, if you like.

Note :

  1. If you are using plain flour then add 2 teaspoon of baking powder with the flour.

 

Aubergine & Pesto Tartlets

I love to try different recipes for evening snacks. Generally, you cant afford to experiment much over  lunch and dinner all the time. So I put most of my experimental skills at test on either preparing evening snacks or on baking.

Today I am sharing another recipe from my cute baking book, which is a bit different still appropriate to have in the evening.

Here in Europe, I discovered the “Puff pastry sheet” which is quite amazing in its multipurpose utility to make a large variety of savoury as well as sweet dishes. It is readily available in the freezer section of all the super markets although one can prepare at home too. If not exactly the “Puff pastry sheet”, still something similar is used to make the layered coating  of veg & non-veg patties in India as well. Although I often prepare these patties with the pastry sheets, the current recipe tells the story of an experimentation with pesto sauce, aubergine and cheese. The food is light, munch and tasty and perfect to impress your guests.

Aubergine & Pesto tartlet

Aubergine & Pesto tartlet

Ingredients to serve 2 :

  1. Ready-made puff pastry sheet – 85 gm.
  2. Aubergines/Bringels (trimmed and thinly sliced) – 8 slices
  3. Olive oil – 2 tbspoon
  4. Mozzarella cheese (sliced) – 1 (150 gm.)
  5. Pesto – 2 tbspoon
  6. Egg yolk – 1
  7. Salt & Crushed black pepper

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

Procedure :

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and divide into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into either circles or rectangles, then place on baking sheets. (I used two 12 cm. square sheets and roll them out to12 x 15 cm. rectangles.)

Brush the aubergine slices with 1 tbspoon of olive oil and cook briefly in a non-stick frying pan. Then arrange the slices neatly overlapping on each dough base, leaving a 2.5 cm./1 inch margin along the edges. Lay the mozzarella slices over the aubergine slices and spoon over the pesto. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the edges of the dough with egg yolk.

Ready to go into the oven

Ready to go into the oven

Bake in a preheated oven, 190ºC/375ºF, for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

Note :

  1. If you don’t find any ready-made puff pastry sheet, then you can also prepare it at home. There are a number of videos in you tube for this recipe. Follow any one of them.
  2. I have used ready-made Pesto available in market. You can also prepare it at home. Follow Pesto recipe under “Useful Supplementary” tab.
  3. Any cheese instead of mozzarella would be fine.
  4. To make the dish completely vegetarian skip egg wash and use milk instead.

 

 

Buckwheat flakes & hazelnut bites

By each passing day, I am turning more passionate about baking. To get a good end product in baking, correct measurement of the ingredients, right consistency of batter or dough, proper temperature etc. are the key factors. So when I measure the ingredients in my small weight machine, combine them and then bake them in oven, I feel that I am carrying out my experiments in Chemistry lab. To some extent it reminds me of the colourful college days, although I dearly miss my friends and professors. 🙂

Today I am sharing a recipe of cookies made from buckwheat flakes. Here I should admit that my intention was to prepare oat cookies. However by mistake, I bought buckwheat flakes instead of oats. First I thought to return it, although later refrained from that and made an experiment with buckwheat. Worth to mention that being gluten free, buckwheat is good for health. Initially, I was little worried how the cookies will taste, but the doubt disappeared when it got loads of appreciation from our guests. Do try this recipe and enjoy. 🙂

Buckwheat flakes & hazalnut cookies

Buckwheat flakes & hazelnut cookies

Ingredients for 30 pieces :

  1. Unsalted butter/margarine – 175 gm, + extra for greasing (I used butter)
  2. Brown sugar – 225 gm. (I used muscovado sugar as it was in my stock)
  3. Egg (beaten) – 1
  4. Milk – 4 tbspoon
  5. Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
  6. Almond extract – ½ teaspoon
  7. Hazelnut – 115 gm.
  8. Plain flour – 115 gm.
  9. Buckwheat flakes – 225 gm.
  10. Ground allspice – 1½ teaspoon (or, Cinnamon + Nutmeg + Cardamom ⇒ ½ teaspoon of all powders)
  11. Bicarbonate of soda – ¼ teaspoon
  12. pinch of salt
  13. Sultans/Raisin – 150 gm. (I used raisins)

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

Procedure :

Chop the hazelnuts finely.

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Blend in the egg, milk, vanilla and almond extract until thoroughly combined.

In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, allspice, bicarbonate of soda and salt together. Add to the creamed mixture slowly, stirring constantly. Mix in the buckwheat flakes, raisins and hazelnuts.

Batter

Batter

Put 30 rounded tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto greased baking sheets, spaced well apart to allow for spreading. Transfer to a preheated oven, 190ºC/375ºF, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.

Before baking

Before baking

After baking

After baking

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool before serving.

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee. 🙂

 

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Last week, we had our marriage anniversary which we looked up dearly for long. I have many plans too for that day which included preparing some special foods too. My husband, an eternal fan of chocolate cake came up with a demand of it. Usually, I prepare the rich chocolate cake which I did not want to repeat for this occasion. So I opt for slight different, although the very common chocolate fudge cake. My small baking book proved handy again and I did not have to search for it elsewhere. My husband was super happy and so was I. We had a real blast on the day.

Tempting Chocolate Fudge Cake

Tempting Chocolate Fudge Cake

Ingredients to serve 8 :

For Cake Batter :

  1. Unsalted butter (softened) – 175 gm. + extra for greasing
  2. Golden caster sugar – 175 gm.
  3. Egges (beaten) – 3
  4. Gloden syrup or Honey – 3 tbspoon (I used honey)
  5. Ground almonds – 40 gm.
  6. Self – raising flour – 175 gm.
  7. Cocoa powder – 40 gm.
  8. Pinch of salt

For Icicng :

  1. Plain chocolate – 300 gm.
  2. Dark muscovado sugar – 55 gm.
  3. Unsalted butter (diced) – 225 gm.
  4. Evaporated milk – 5 tbspoon
  5. Vanilla extract – ½ teaspoon

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

Procedure :

Grease and line the bottom of two  20 cm./8 inch round cake tin. If you don’t possess two cake tins which even I don’t, then you have to bake two cakes separately using the same tin as described here.

To make the icing place 225 gm. of chocolate, sugar, butter, evaporated milk and vanilla extract in a heavy- based pan. Heat gently, stirring continuously, until melted. Pour into a bowl and cool. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until spreadable.

Chocolate icing after chilling

Chocolate icing after chilling

For making the cake batter place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Stir in the golden syrup/honey and ground almonds. Sift the flour, salt and cocoa powder in a separate bowl, then fold into the mixture. Add a little water/milk, if necessary, to make a dropping consistency (I added 6 tbspoon water). Divide equally the mixture into the prepared cake tins and bake in a preheated oven at 180ºC/350ºF for 20 – 25 minutes, or until springy to touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. (In my case I first baked one cake with half of the batter, then cleaned the cake tin to bake the other one with the remaining batter.)

Leave the cakes in the tin for five minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Also let the chocolate icing to come at the room temperature.

When the cakes are clod, sandwich them together with half the icing. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake, swirling it to give a frosted appearance.

Cakes are ready to be assembled

Cakes are ready to be assembled

Icing the cake

Icing the cake

Swirl topped chocolate fudge cake

Swirl topped chocolate fudge cake

Now peel the remaining chocolate with a peeler to get chocolate curls. Then sprinkle it over the top of the cake.

Now again put the cake into the refrigerator for 1 or 2 hours so that it can set properly.

Chocolate Fudge Cake is ready to be served

Chocolate Fudge Cake is ready to be served

Note :

  1. You can also serve the fudge cake without decorating with chocolate curls.
  2. If you don’t get evaporated milk then use plain milk.
  3. If you prefer dark chocolate then you can use that instead of plain chocolate.
  4. If you are using plain flour then add 2 teaspoon of baking powder with the flour.

Cheese Straws

Crispy, crunchy cheese straws are very common snacks to have with drinks as well as with a hot cup of coffee here in Europe. They are readily available in each and every super markets here.

After making Cherry tomato & poppy seed tartlets I had some extra Cheddar cheese left in my refrigerator. Since then I was little worried about how to utilise it as it could be no longer edible if I leave it for a long time. Again started searching for a simple recipe in my baking book and ended up with this simplest one. Hope you will like it. Enjoy 🙂

Cheese Straws

Cheese Straws

Ingredients for 17 pieces :

  1. Self raising flour – 115 gm. + extra for dusting
  2. Curry powder – 1 teaspoon
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. Butter – 65 gm. + extra for greasing
  5. Grated cheddar cheese – 65 gm.
  6. Egg, beaten – 2
  7. Poppy and cumin seeds for sprinkling

Procedure :

Sift the flour, salt and curry powder into a bowl.

Add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the cheese and one egg and mix to form a dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Lightly grease two baking sheets with butter.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 5 mm. (¼ inch) thick and 15 x 17 cm. (6 x 6.7 inch) rectangle.

Cut into 15 x 1 cm. (6 x ½ inch) strips. Twist the strips slightly along its length and place on the prepared baking sheets.

Cutting the dough into strips

Cutting the dough into strips

Brush the straws with the remaining egg and sprinkle half with poppy seeds and half with cumin seeds.

Bake in a preheated oven, 200ºC / 400ºF, for 10 – 15 minutes, or until golden.

Transfer to wire racks to cool.

After baking

After baking

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or a glass of beer . 😉

Note :

  1. If you are using plain flour, then adda ½ teaspoon of baking powder into it.
  2. You can lengthen or shorten the size of the straw according to your preference. Just roll out the dough to 5 mm. (¼ inch) thick.

Moroccan Orange & Almond Cake (A semolina cake without flour)

I never knew that a cake can be baked without flour. While going through my baking book I discovered a recipe of semolina cake which is a specialty of Morocco. I had a full jar of semolina in my stock and I was little worried how to spend those. My problem was solved within a minute and I made my mind to prepare this cake though I was apprehensive about the outcome. But believe me the end product was quite satisfactory and thus I highly recommend this recipe for you to bake differently.

Moroccan Orange & Almond Cake

Moroccan Orange & Almond Cake

Ingredients to serve 8 :

For cake :

  1. Orange – 1
  2. Softened butter – 115 gm. + extra for greasing
  3. Golden caster sugar – 115 gm.
  4. Egg (beaten) – 2
  5. Semolina – 175 gm.
  6. Ground almond – 100 gm.
  7. Baking powder – 1½ teaspoon
  8. Icing sugar for dusting
  9. Strained plain yogurt, to serve

For syrup :

  1. Orange juice – 300 ml.
  2. Caster sugar – 130 gm.
  3. Crushed cardamom pods – 8

Procedure :

Grate the rind from the orange, reserving some for the decoration, and squeeze the juice from one half.

Place the butter, orange rind and sugar in a bowl and beat together until fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs.

In a separate bowl, mix the semolina, ground almonds and baking powder, then fold into the cream mixture with the orange juice.

Spoon the batter into a greased and base-lined 20 cm/8 inch cake tin and bake in a preheated oven, 180ºC, for 30 – 40 minutes, or until well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes.

After baking

After baking

To make the syrup, place the orange juice, sugar and cardamom pods in a pan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes, or until syrupy.

Turn the cake out into a deep serving dish.

Using a skewer, make holes over the surface of the warm cake.

Strain the syrup into a separate bowl and spoon three – quarters of it over the cake, then set aside for 30 minutes.

Dust the cake with icing sugar and cut into slices.

Serve with the remaining syrup drizzled around, accompanied by strained plain yogurt decorated with reserved orange rind.

Note :

  1. Try to use 20 cm./8 inch cake tin. My cake tin is a bit smaller in size and for that reason the cake took longer time to bake completely. As a result the top and bottom of the cake get overcooked.
  2. Scrape off only the rind of the orange. Do not remove the pith, otherwise it will be bitter.