12/11/2013

I"M BACK

      For those of you wondering my absence from updating this blog, I wasnt cooking anything special for last few months. I never knew a bereavement in the family could affect me so much. My dear father in law passed away in June. He was a foodalcoholic. Anything I made always was appreciated by him. his knowledge of food was amazing. Although in my 15 years of married life I have never seen him cook, he always surprised me with his detailed knowledge of food. He was so well travelled and knew where to find the best food in any place. The one thing that always impressed me was however bad the food he always praised it and the person who cooked it.
       His last few days were full of suffering but I just pray that He's resting and looking down on us with pride and blessings.
       Finally, I decided to get out of my depression. I hadn't cooked anything for my kids since then and my kids love the cakes and cookies I make. I started my journey back with a delicious olive oil cake from one of Nigella's show on TLC. More on that tomorrow. So, see you tomorrow.

15/03/2013

HONEY AND CINNAMON



 



WOW! miracle workers indeed!  
O.K. What am I talking about?  I'm talking about the most common health ingredient found in almost all Indian homes - honey and cinnamon. I"ve a been a big fan of home remedies and am constantly on the search for new ones. I've known honey is good for cold and cough, its good for skin, and also hair. Then, awareness about cholesterol and harms of  increased cholesterol levels led me to search for some home remedy. Then searching through ayurvedic books and websites, I found out a very simple one - a tsp of honey and cinnamon each taken early morning with a glass of warm water was said to reduce cholesterol levels. And then I found this great website extolling more uses for this combination. they look so absolutely useful ideas that I coudn't help but share with everyone.

          So, give it a go. I certainly am going to try some of them.



16/12/2012

DULCHE DE LECHE

     This has been a long promised post of my dulche de lechay recipe. Well, actually not my recipe. Its a commonly found recipe, although there are a lot of ways to make this. The simplest I found was the microwave recipe. Again, I had to try to make and correct my recipe a lot of times since I was making it for the first time. I will try to post all the methods of making this, but I can vouch for the microwave one, it worked for me. But, in favour of the other methods, I can only say that I have collected them from reputed sources. I am kind of just summarising them up.

Starting with what is Dulche De Lechay, well I too was ignorant until a friend of mine asked me to make her a banoffie pie ( more on that later). So I got browsing and this is what I found.

 

 Dulce de leche  is a confection prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk to create a product that derives its taste from caramelised sugar.

FIRST METHOD: ( Foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds in a large, 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the baking soda and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered at a bare simmer. Stir occasionally, but do not re-incorporate the foam that appears on the top of the mixture. Continue to cook for 1 hour. Remove the vanilla bean after 1 hour and continue to cook until the mixture is a dark caramel color and has reduced to about 1 cup, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to a month.

SECOND METHOD: (Stovetop method)

1 cansweetened condensed milk
Remove the label from the can of condensed milk. Poke two vent holes in the top, by using a can opener for example. Put the can into a pot (with the holes up), and fill up the pot with water until it is a quarter inch or so below the top of the can. Put the pot on a stove and turn up the heat. Let the pot and can simmer gently for about one and a half to two hours for runny dulce de leche, or up to four hours for solid dulce de leche. Add more water, as necessary, when the level boils down too much.
When it's done, let it cool for a while, and then carefully open up the can completely. This is important because if the sontents are too hot you'll burn yourself.
The resulting product should be colored tan or brown.

THIRD METHOD: (Microwave method)
Again, this requires a can of condensed milk.  So, just open a can of condensed milk, pour it in a microwaveable glass bowl. The bowl should be a lot bigger than the amount of condensed milk used. during microwaving the condensed milk will start foaming and rising, if the bowl is small there will be spillage and a huge mess, and believe me you wouldn't like cleaning up that sticky mess. So, back to the method, microwave the contents of the jar for about 6-7 minutes or until the milk starts foaming. Take out the bowl, whisk the foaming milk and microwave again. Do this a few times, till the caramel thus formed starts leaving the sides of the bowl. this may take anywhere between 10-15 minutes depending upon your microwave. DURING THIS ENTIRE PROCESS HANDLE THE BOWL AND ITS CONTENTS CAREFULLY AS THEY ARE VERY HOT AND YOU MAY BURN YOURSELF. Add a few drops of vanilla and you are ready to go. I'll be putting up more recipes using this caramel later, or you could just sandwich some between some cookies (try my easy vanilla cookies) and you'll never be out of desserts.



There are a lot of other methods, but, hey, this works for me and its easy plus I'm feeling lazy, so I guess this'll do for us all. do try this and let me know how you like this.









06/10/2012

CARAMEL SHORTBREAD COOKIES



Since I discovered my love for cooking and baking, a few chefs have been inspirational. Some are simply too inventive, I can only admire their work, attempting to copy them is kind of intimidating. Some like Donna Hay and Rachel Allen just make baking and cooking seem too easy for words. Last but not least, Nigella Lawson, I got interested after watching her cook. And after Masterchef Australia, my list has grown. Can't say I like the other versions of the show around. Anyways, I found this recipe ont he net, and since I had some leftover caramel (or Dulche De Leche) I decided to make this and they turned out wonderful. So here's the recipe,

[ From Donna Hay Magazine ]
Ingredients
150g butter
1/3 cup (55g) icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup (225g) plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
2/3 cup (200g) dulce de leche ( you can used readymade dulche de leche or make your own caramel from condensed milk, see my recipe for Dulche De Leche)
Method
1. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixer and beat for 8-10 mins or until pale and creamy
2. add the flour and cornflour and mix until a smooth dough forms
3. Roll the dough out (5mm thick) between two sheets of baking paper and place in the fridge for around 30 mins
4. using a 4.5 cm round cookie cutter, cut our your cookies and transfer the dough to a a baking tray
5. bake at 180 degrees celsius for 6-7 mins and check to see if they are done. If not, continue cooking for another few minutes keeping a close eye on these babies!
6. cool cookies on a wire rack
7. Pipe caramel onto half the cookies and sandwich with the remaining ones

14/09/2012

Indulgent Bake Shop Chocolate Chunk Cookies



                 Chocolate chip cookies, ummmmm, who doesn't love them. I keep trying to find the best recipe and this leads to trail and errors. But usually they are good.  I found this recipe on Hershey's website. It is totally so scrumptious. My kids love it and it is easy to make.

    Ingredients