Friday, June 29, 2012

Banana Oatmeal whole wheat muffins



 Muff Daddy © Cookaroo
I told you, this whole week I'd decided to go Bananas. No, really. Quite literally. First there was the Banoffee Pie , then there was the Cardamom-scented Banana Dosa and now these muffins.


I suppose, it's safe to say that I had a whole lot of over-ripe bananas that I needed to do something with. That's well, partially right. The other reason was, that I had really really looking forward to making a, sort of, one-pot meal for breakfast. Not so much breakfast on-the-go type thing, but something that could be just yanked out of the fridge and eaten on a working day.


A lot times, things are just sitting in your pantry. There's half a bottle of honey, some dessicated coconut, a single egg languishing for the last couple of days. And a overload of oats, that needs to be eaten, one way or the other. When things like these just keep staring at you, and give you sleepless nights (really they do), I get very frazzled. I surf the net, look at my recipe books, talk to my food-obsessed friends and finally think of a practical recipe that may or may not turn out A-ok.


This wasn't one of them. In fact this recipe turned out so good, I was wondering why in the world I hadn't thought of it before. Despite the oats and the whole wheat, this muffin had a light-crumb and was so moist, that your teeth just cut through like butter. The almonds gave it a nice crunch and the plump raisins a nice texture to it. The coconut just balanced the banananess of the muffin perfectly.


While I had initially set out to make 12 muffins with it, this recipe gave me 20. Not, that I'm complaining but in case anyone wants to just do a dozen, I'm sure this recipe will be easy to fiddle around with it.

Lonely, I'm so lonely © Cookaroo
Banana Oatmeal Whole wheat muffins with coconut, raisins and almonds
20 muffins


Ingredients 
1 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
Half cup yogurt
3/4 cup milk
2 tblsp honey
1/2 cup brown sugar less 2 tblsp
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup raisins

70 ml rum/ water
1/4 cup almonds slivered/ crushed
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 egg
1/3 cup oil

Method


1. In a bowl mix together yogurt, oats and milk and keep aside. Mash the bananas and keep aside. 


2, Zap the raisins with some rum/ water in the microwave, keep aside.  In a separate bowl beat the egg, add honey and oil to it. 


3. Measure the whole wheat flour add baking powder, soda, coconut  and salt. Add the yogurt oat mix, egg mix and bananas to it. Mix gently with a fork, add the raisins and almonds.


4, Stir till it all comes together, do not over mix.  Pour into muffin lined tins, and bake at 180 for 24 minutes or until done


I'm sending these super-moist breakfasty banana muffins to Frugal Fridays which is being hosted by Caroline of Caroline Makes


And to Jagruti's Know your Flour - Wheat Flour event






Meanwhile, make these muffins, you won't regret it. Ever




 Banana oatmeal whole wheat muffins © Cookaroo

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cardamom-scented Banana dosa

Banana republic © Cookaroo
Left-over bananas and I have a strange relationship. I like the clean non-spotty banana in my cereal and as a Banoffee Pie, but the moment it begins spotting, I get super-excited. You know why? Because I can make some 10,000 things with it. There's banana bread, there's a banana ice cream and of course the old favourite banana muffins, which I will be posting sometime this week (because in my head, I've decided this is going to be Banana-week!)

Sometime, I move them into the fridge to check a week later, on how black they have turned so that I can freeze them. And as if that's not bad enough, I even get my mother to freeze bananas, so that every couple of months, I get this mammoth supply of over-ripe frozen bananas, that are thrown in everything.

But the Banana Dosa, is a new one for me. Not eating it, but making it. And it only festered in my mind, when we were at the South Indian Food Festival last week. Because it brought back a memory. Of eating midnight feasts at Dakshin, at the Park Sheraton in Chennai. Of weddings at Park Sheraton.

We'd all sit down, and the thalis would be brought out, steaming hot vadas, glasses of mor or rasam, depending on the season (Ok, I'm kidding, Chennai never gets cold), vadams and banana dosas. Mini, hot, steaming never-ending pieces of delicious banana dripping with ghee. Oh heaven. In fact even when the dosas or the appams would be brought out, I'd prefer to eat a some of that banana dosa. Or when the dessert could be brought, I'd ask for another helping for the banana dosa.

The thing is, I've forgotten what they were called. In fact I even asked a friend whether he remembered the name. Bottomline is that they were so delicious, that even after so many years, I set out to recreate them.

The first time I made them, two days ago, I made only six and I really felt I could have popped in a few more. This morning, while I was contemplating what I should make for breakfast, the husband asked for them. So I'm going to take that he liked them too. 

This is a great way to use up ripe bananas and can be enjoyed cold, hot and at room temperature. The cardamom adds a nice scent to the whole thing, and frankly the South Indian in me, can't resist a bit of cardamom with bananas. 

Going bananas © Cookaroo
Cardamom-scented Banana Dosa
Makes 9 mini dosas

Ingredients 

3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup sugar
6 cardamom pods, crushed
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 whole wheat flour
2-4 tblsps milk
1/4 cup raisins
Ghee for frying

Method

1. Peel and mash the bananas with some sugar in a bowl. Make sure you mash it till its so mushy, that looks almost inedible.
2. Crush the cardamoms, add it to the mix. Add rice flour, whole wheat flour, raisins and milk. Mix well. Keep aside for 10 minutes (or up to 2 hours).
3. Heat a flat pan, coat it well with ghee and pour little pancakes of this banana batter. Cook on low flame till both sides brown and it's cooked through in the middle.
4. Serve with a sprinkling of crushed cardamom and some icing sugar.

I'm sending this for Prathibha aka Cook-ezee's event the EP Series - Herbs and Spices - Basil and Cardamom which she is hosting for Julie at Erivum Puliyum.


And to Patty's Weekly Story on her blog Colours Dekor

And in the meanwhile

Crescent shaped nomness © Cookaroo

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

South Indian Food Festival at Blooms, Eros by Hilton

So here's the thing. If you have good company, chances are you'll ignore some of the glitches in food. What I mean is, if the fish is too fishy, you won't make too much of a noise. Nor would you squawk about how the coconut rice was well, not coconutty enough or how the desserts are cloyingly sweet and only one out of the five even taste mildly authentic.


Naa, you wouldn't talk about it. Instead you'd talk about the good things that you are eating. Like how delicious the mor (buttermilk) is and just to stress on it's excellence drink up well, six-seven cups of this cool, yogurt-based drink that's been spiced with some coriander and has curry leaves in it.


Mor for me! © Cookaroo
And then chew on the fried salty snacks, because hey, no one gets appalams, vadams and  vazhapzham chips wrong. But what you do hope, is that they are no store-bought but hand-made hopefully by the chef-incharge.

Crunch time © Cookaroo
Or you can help yourself to the salads - Koshambari, which is one of my favourite salads, made with split yellow lentils and some carrots and some lime

Lime and Lemony © Cookaroo
Or Sundal!  A boiled chickpea snack with shredded coconuts and a tempering of mustard seeds and curry leaves. I don't know a single south Indian, who wouldn't have eaten this as a snack or as prasad in a temple.

Lime and Lemony © Cookaroo
And if you're still pursuing that fried line of thought, you can eat a number of South Indian spiced seafood dishes which are pretty awesome. Like this jumbo prawn with a semolina crust

I am not an upma, whats an upma © Cookaroo

Or this fish that is freshly marinated Kerala-style


I got eyes on you © Cookaroo
But when it comes to the main course, the only thing you can recommend from the spread is the Allepey Prawn Curry, the appam and the Malabar Parota. And you know why? Because everything else is / was boderline average. I am not going to ask you to eat the Kaadai Varuval, or the chicken stew or cabbage poriyal (how do you get something so simple so wrong!). Even the desserts are a damper. Mysore Pak, nocansdosville babydoll, Goudmei halwa (karachi halwa) wasn't too bad but the Elaneer Payasam (which they called Ellini Payasam) really ruined it for me.

So yes, that's what happened to me at the South Indian Food Festival at Blooms in Eros managed by Hilton. Except I am not complaining. Heck, this was the first time I was at a Delhi's Food Blogger's Meet and I met some awesome people. Such as Sangeeta, Sushmita, Charis, Rekha and well, Sid (who've known for a while now) so actually had a blast. And yes, there was some good things to eat


Rhomba Nandri © Cookaroo

Monday, June 25, 2012

Banoffee pie to share

Jar Jar Binks © Cookaroo

There's a lot I have to say about Banoffee pies. For one, the first time I ever ate this pie was in New York. I was standing in the middle of Times Square, waiting for a Broadway show to begin and I had an hour to kill. So I decided to walk into what I thought was a coffee shop (I cannot remember which one) where I saw people eating all kinds of pies - Strawberry pie, lemon meringue, apple pie, pumpkin pie, peach tarts with raspberries, coconut cream pie, chocolate pies.

I ofcourse, wanted to try something new, something different. And the banoffee pie caught my eye. Especially because there was dulce de leche in it (which by then, I had come to love, eating all sorts of ice cream).

The stickiness of the dulce against the gooeyness of the banana and the crunch of the biscuit bottom was awesome. I did smudge off some of the cream, but yes, finished eating most of it.

Much later, when I watched the movie Love Actually, Kiera Knightley offered it to her 'silent' lover and then I remember much later, Mr Sanghvi writing a column about it.

The best place though, in Delhi to eat the Banoffee has always been Big Chill. That is also where my husband tried it for the first time. Ever since that, it's really been his favourite dessert.

I don't make it that often, only because making the Dulce de leche is so tedious. I do however, like to make it when people are coming over. And this short cut way of making it, really does change my mind. A whole tin will make you a 6-inch pie plus this. So really you have to play it by the ear.

So while the bigger pie was wiped out clean, this pie for one, is for tonight. For the husband.

Although I did take a bite © Cookaroo
Banoffee pie (to share)
Serves 1

Ingredients
6 digestive biscuits (or marie) crushed
1 tsp melted butter
4 tblsp dulce de leche (1 tin of condensed milk and 2 tblsp of milk)
1 banana
4 tblsps whipped cream
Grated chocolate for the top

Method
1. Crush the digestive biscuits with a rolling pin and add melted butter to it. Press it down into your single pan. Or into the jar. Let it chill for one hour.

2. Make the Dulche De Leche by emptying the tin of condensed milk into a large microwable bowl. Microwave on high for 4 minutes, if the bowl threatens to boil over. Turn it off, give it a stir. Turn the microwave back on, and let it thicken for another 3 minutes. Totally the dulce de leche should take under 10 minutes. If it's browning too quickly, yank it out of the microwave and set it aside to cool.

3. Once the dulce de leche cools (about 20 minutes), run it in a blender with 2 tblsp of milk, until smooth. Set aside.

4. Whip the cream and allow it to stand in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Bring out the tin with biscuits. Layer it with the dulce de leche. Slice the bananas and arrange in a layer. Top with whipped cream . Let it chill for atleast 1 hour before eating.

5. Serve with chocolate shavings.


I am also sending this to Amina's Guest Quest, also because today's the last day for the entries :)




Friday, June 22, 2012

Bournvita Kulfi and trying to figure out recipes

 Now who's a complan boy? © Cookaroo
A couple of weeks ago, when my friend Mr M moved from Hyderabad to Delhi, he took me and the husband out for dinner. We were to do of recces of hotels around a certain area, where he was planning on doing some work. When we landed in Radisson Blu, not only were we taken aback at the expanse of the hotel, but the food too was really surprising.

While we ordered the regular Dal, roti, chicken thing, the dessert menu really caught our eye. There was this Thandai brulee, a beetroot halwa and a bournvita kulfi. When we ordered the kulfi, we were told that it needed to thaw a bit, so well, basically hang on to your horses.

As the husband excused himself for a couple of minutes, the dessert was brought to our table, within a few bites, Mr M and I knew it was a great dessert, and a couple of minutes later polished the whole thing off. And then we looked at each other, should we or should we not order another one? Well, we said, what he doesn't know he hasn't missed, and then promptly ordered another one.

Another kulfi arrived as did the husband. Mr M and I shared knowing looks as we let him help himself to the kulfi. It's really quite nice, he said. And as if on cue, we both attacked it with our spoons.

Ever since then, I've been wanting to recreate it at home. I bought the kulfi moulds, condensed milk and full fat milk. I love Bournvita, so that's always at home. Finally last night, I decided to jump at it.

I tried to recreate it with the flavours I remembered, your welcome to try your own concoction :) But, I must tell you, this was awesome!

Oh for some malt © Cookaroo

Bournvita Kulfi
Serves 12

Ingredients
1 litre full fat milk
200 ml low fat cream
2 tblsps corn flour
100 grams Bournvita, plus more if you like it stronger
1 tblsp Cocoa Powder
2 tblsp Sugar (more if you like it sweeter) or substitute with condensed milk

Method

1. Bring one litre of milk to the boil, let it simmer and reduce to half. Add bournvita, cocoa and sugar to it and let it dissolve well.

2. In a small bowl mix cornflour with half the cream, till it forms a thick paste. Add to the milk mix and add the remaining cream to it. Stir till the mixture thickens.

3. Check for sweetness. Let it cool and scoop into kulfi moulds. Freeze for atleast 8 hours before serving with some melted bournvita bits

Note: The milk reduction will helps keep the crystals in the kulfi/icecream away.

I'm also sending this for the Ice Cream Blog Hop. so here goes :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chocolate dipped coconut macaroons


 Into the cookie jar © Cookaroo
I've said this before, and I'm saying it again. I am always figuring out ways to use up my egg whites. I've made Cakes and Mousses that use up the whites. I've used it as face packs, hair packs and eaten it for breakfast. But that is all history. 


Coconut macaroons is now my favourite go-to recipe if I ever have left over. And you know why? Because these chewy sweet coconutty cookie are really excellent. They make awesome presents, tea -time snacks and  dessert-bites and little did I know that several members of my family loved this humble cookie.


I've always been slightly afraid of macaroons, but these completely blew me away and frankly made me think that I was being a fool not following it up with them macaroons.


Such fondness for this cookie, that I never realised that my sister was another Hooney Macarooney,(but I think that title can only be bestowed on her when she's presented with a plateful of Coconut Macaroons). Nor did I know that my husband could wake up earlier in the morning (than me) just so that he could nibble at the cookies when I wasn't up.


But that said, I can't wait to make these cookies again. They can be made days in advance and frozen and then baked the day you need them. They can be eaten right out of the oven


Bite me! © Cookaroo

Chocolate-dipped Coconut Macaroons from Joy of Baking

Makes two dozen cookies

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup  granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (60 grams) cake flour sifted (1/ 2 cup flour – 1 tbslp + 1 tbslp corn flour)
3 cups (300 grams) dried sweetened coconut shredded or flaked
100 grams dark chocolate - melted

Method

1. In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt. 
2. When this mixture is warm to the touch, and nice and creamy, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, flour, and coconut. Cover and refrigerate for about two hours, or until firm. 
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
4. Place small mounds (heaping tablespoons) of the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing several inches apart. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. 
5.Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool.
6. Dip in chocolate if you'd like or just eat it plain


Too late! © Cookaroo
I'm also sending this to Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes's Bookmarked Recipe which was founded by Ruth from Ruth's Kitchen because these have been in my to-make (to-do) list forever!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Maple Ginger Gelato

Pour a little more © Cookaroo


I love maple syrup. Always have. On waffles. On pancakes. On French Toasts. On plain toasts (sometimes with a parantha) and very often as a topping on my ice cream. 

I love that smoky, barky not-cloyingly sweet notes of the syrup. Oh and not a tiny drizzle, I like a generous pour. Where my pancakes are drowning in the golden-hue of the syrup and gleaming, thanks to a happy pat of butter. Where every square of the waffle is filled with this molten-liquid, so that every bite is filled with pure happiness.

I must confess that as much as I love the syrup, I don’t eat it too often. Mostly because I try and make my bottle last as long as I can. I do wish, though, that I could use it with gay abandon. Eat maple roasted chicken, pork chops marinated in maple and maple slaw, oh I could go on. But I don’t have enough maple syrup to stretch it that far.

I am always willing to try things that have maple syrup in it. Bacon and maple breakfast plate (so quintessential American J ), maple spare ribs , maple ice cream.

Many years ago, as I waited for my train at Grand Central Station, I stumbled across a gelato bar where you could sample gelatos. Different berries, a  100 different combinations of chocolate, coffee, nuts – name the flavour – they had it. But my eyes only focussed on one – the maple-walnut gelato. I asked for a taste – the explosion of flavours were immense. The maple syrup hit you gently, smokey undertones with a mild sweetness. There was the creaminess of the gelato, the crunch of walnuts and an underlying note of ginger.

So delicious, I had to get one scoop. No two. On a waffle cone.

Ever since then, this is the one flavour I have been trying to recreate. I used ginger powder, but I think steeping the milk in some ginger would have been a good idea too. I used B-grade syrup but I suggest you use A grade.  I’m just waiting for some more Maple syrup to arrive from the land of syrup via the in-laws who are visiting in Canada.

While this is really quite good, I need to make it better, no cross that, I need to make it irresistible.

Pool of syrup © Cookaroo
Maple Ginger Gelato

Ingredients
3cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup plus 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup (grade A for a delicate flavour and grade B for a richer maple taste)
4 tbslps ginger powder
  
      Directions          

1.      In a heavy saucepan mix the whole milk and ½ cup of maple syrup and the ginger powder. Place over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches 170°F.

 2.       In a standing mixer combine the 4 egg yolks with the sugar and beat until pale yellow in colour, and light and fluffy. Temper the egg yolks by very slowly adding the heat milk mixture, while whisking constantly. Once all of the milk mixture has been added to the eggs return the sauce pan to the heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches 185°F. You will know it is done when the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon.

3.      Allow mixture to fully cool before placing it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

4.      Whisk in the remaining the maple syrup into the chilled custard. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream maker and follow the manufactures instructions.

5.      Once ice cream is finished gently transfer the gelato to an air tight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with walnuts, almonds and additional syrup
  
Now you better scream © Cookaroo
I'm also sending this to Ice Cream blog hop  where you can get to see lots more frozen fun!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pinterest picks - Sangria

Starting this month, I'm going to be picking some of my favourite things from Pinterest to show to the rest of the world, because, well, Pinterest is so fun!

So I've decided to begin with something I truly love! Cocktails!

I think they are so fun to drink than a straight A drink. Plus I can't stand beer. So cocktails are always what I turn to when I'm out for a drink. Malibu + coke = pure heaven. Peach schnapps + vodka + orange = suberb and then there is the old favourite a white russian. Vodka + kahlua + milk + lots of ice (I don't drink that very often, because it puts me right to sleep in the middle of the second drink).

But I love wine-based cocktails. They quench your thirst and make you heady in no time. In the winters mulled wine is staple at most parties and picnic and in the summers I like to make pitchers of Sangrias and Bellini (Melon and Peach beingare my favourite).

While you can make Sangrias with any kind of wine and fruit, my favourite is the one with melon, white wine, mint , ginger ale and white grape juice and some grapes. (Try it whenever you have the time). The idea is so simple and it barely takes any time (except for chopping up the fruit!)

So here's a generic recipe for Sangria. It's Emeril Lagasse, so it's pretty much fool-proof

Classic Sangria


Ingredients

  • (750-ml) bottle red wine
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup orange flavored liquer
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 unwaxed apple, cored, and cut into thin wedges
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle sparkling water, chilled
Method
1. Combine everything but the sparkling water in a large pitcher.
2. Cover and chill completely, 1 to 2 hours. When ready to serve, add the sparkling water


Since it's the weekend, I've picked out seven Sangrias which you can see on one of my boards on Pinterest so that you can make a new one everyday of the week. So here goes:


7. Red Wine Sangria - Classic, divine and delicious!

Image courtsey: Real Simple

6.  Tropical Sangria - Fresh, clear and awesome

Image courtsey: Dining Al-Fresco

5. Raspberry and serrano pepper Sangria - The Serrano pepper can be replaced with a fresh red chilli makes all the difference

Image courtsey: Jamie Heimbuch

4. Melon and mint Sangria - See, see my favourite so pretty. And the pitcher I <3

Image courtsey: Caleigh's Kitchen


3.  Citrus Champagne Sangria - if you don't like champagne, this is a great way to use it up

Image courtsey: Kiran Tarun


2. Kiwi peach and raspberry sangria - yummers! Don't have raspberries? Don't put em in!

Image courtsey: Marcus Samuellson


1. White Strawberry-Lemon Sangria - I love this pink hues on this one.


Image courtsey: Kitchen Treaty




Thursday, June 14, 2012

Black Forest Trifle pudding in a jar


No genie in a bottle © Cookaroo
Have you made a mess in the kitchen lately? I have. Three times already. Sometimes you flop real bad, sometimes you can manage to salvage it. And it's so hot in the kitchen that it's hard not to feel like a puddle of sweat when you want to do anything at all.

Which is why, initially for Radhika's Blog Hop Wednesdays, I wanted to do something cool, frozen and lickable. Having been paired with Vidya of Sugar 'n Spice, the options I had were myriad but I zeroed in on these Mosaic Bars which looked so fun and I thought I'd do a popsicle version of the same.

I also decided to use vegetarian jelly for the same. Stupid stupid move. While the jelly set alright, it just wasn't cube-able. Plus I decided to use China grass vanilla jelly for the white layer. Another super idiotic move. Anyhoo, I steered on - mixed my jellies -pink, yellow, orange and green. Made the pudding and then put it all together in a loaf tin.

Ok, you can hit me on the head now. Because by now I should have known this was going to flop. So when I turned the pudding around, what did I get? A puddle of gunk.

In panic, I went back to Vidya's blog and picked up something that required a little less stress. I had chocolate pastry cream in the fridge since I'd made eclairs earlier. And cherries. And kirsch, so it made perfect sense to make her Black Forest Trifle, with tiny bits of tweaking. No brownies, but hey that's the easiest part.

So I used her brownie recipe, except I cut the quantity in half, the pastry cream is pretty much like Smitten Kitchen's pudding except it's Dorie Greenspan, but the ingredients are almost the same - milk, chocolate, and cornstarch except mine had egg yolks. As you can see my whipped cream fell a bit, I blame it on the weather, but it still turned out pretty good.

Anyhoo, presenting Black Forest Trifle for Blog Hop Wednesdays (should I say Thursday?!)

Wish I was a cookie jar © Cookaroo
Black Forest Trifle


Brownie
Whipped cream
Cherries
Kirsch
Chocolate pudding

For the brownie

 4 tblsp butter
80 gms semisweet chocolate chips
4 tblsp cocoa 3 large eggs
1 ½ tsp instant coffee
1 tbsp pure vanilla
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
¼ cup chocolate chips

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F. Melt together butter, semisweet chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water (double boil). Allow it to cool slightly.
2. In another bowl stir together eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow it to cool to room temperature.
3. Sift together ½ cup flour, baking powder and salt. Add into the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the dark chocolate chips into the chocolate batter. Mix well and fill the batter into the muffin tin. Band bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when tested

For the chocolate pudding 
(Adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan)

2 cups whole Milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
175 gms / 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces (I forgot the butter)

Method
1. Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended.
3. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk.
4. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
5. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky.
6.  Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold.

Assembly

1. Cut pieces of the brownie, and set aside. Line the bottom of your serving dish with a tiny bit of ganache or chocolate sauce. Press the brownie piece down.

2. Sprinkle a tsp of kirsch over it. If you don't have kirsch, just use the plain sugar water or the brine of the cherries. Spoon in three tablespoons of the chocolate pudding.

3. Put a layer of cherries, and then some whipped cream. Repeat all four layer. Top with a cherry and you're ready!

Popping cherries © Cookaroo
Thank you Radhika for pairing me with Vidya. This was a real fun recipe to try. And it goes to Blog Hop Wednesdays Week 18




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Achari dip, a guest post and a present from my youngest fan

So I got the sweetest thing in my mail today. My friend Radical has been telling me for weeks that her 11-year-old niece Dhruvi is my biggest fan. I couldn't help smiling at that thought but realised that she'd probably be my youngest reader too.

Dhruvi's a big foodie and she loves cooking and when she added me on gtalk, she'd chat with me online  about food and stuff. She's just starting to blog too.

She asked me two very pertinent questions - why I'm called Hooney Macarooney - because my last name is Hoon and I loved Macaroons. Or why I'm called Cookaroo. To which my answer was the short one - because I love cooking and my first name starts with Roo. (Truth is, it's a take on one my favourite short stories ever - The Great Switcheroo by Roald Dahl)

 But I never put two plus two, until today when I got this:


So cute! I am so touched!

Dhruvi has been cooking and baking for a while now. She's getting really quite good at it. And why not! Her mother is a fabulous cook, her grandmother is awesome, so she's got great teachers right at home.

I've also been asking Dhruvi to send me something she makes. She's sent me a photograph of some brownies she'd baked, but said that wasn't her favourite. So finally she sent me something she liked. And her mail said:

"Hi Ruchira Bua... Well I tried out a dip called ACHAARI DIP... It wasnt in your blog...... I really loved It.. Heres the recipe and the Picture I sent  In an attachment. "


So here goes:


Image courtesy Snack Bites


Dhruvi's Achaari Dip



Preparation Time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

3/4 cup chilled hung curd, whisked
1/4 cup chopped coriander 
1/2 tsp finely chopped green chillies
salt to taste
sugar to taste

For the achaari spices
1/4 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds ( rai / sarson)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1/4 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/2 tsp oil

For serving
Plain Khakhras

Method
For the achaari spices: 
1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and onion seeds.
2. When the seeds crackle add the asafoetida and switch off the gas. Remove and keep aside.

Assembly 
1. Combine the achaari spices, coriander, green chillies, salt and sugar together in a mixer and blend to a fine paste using little water.
2. Pour it into a bowl, add the curds and whisk well. 
3. Serve immediately with khakhras.


Thank you Dhruvi. Lots of good cooking vibes coming your way :)

Dhruvi with Radical


Monday, June 11, 2012

Mango-banana gelato. Just three ingredients

Pouring a little love © Cookaroo
I love food shows. They are so exciting to watch and the little tips you pick up on your way? So fun  to implement. I am also enamored by how beautiful the food looks, after all, half the joy of eating is the looking and smelling the food.


Ofcourse, if you're watching a food show on an empty stomach chances are you're going to get so ravenous by the end of it that either you'll be inspired to make what you saw on TV or you might want to eat the entire contents of your fridge. Both of which are quite hard. Especially if you look at the contents of my fridge - so many sauces, so many kinds of butter and so much cheese. Plodding through the whole thing will result in
a. A serious tummy upset
b.Superb acidity (thanks to all the peri-peri sauces)
c. Chocolate overload.

Ofcourse you'll find some vegetables and fruit. But if you're lucky you'll find an overripe banana or two that if perfect for a muffin or a bread. And while, the contents of my freezer are another story altogether, I'd advice  to steer clear of my meat section (Fourth shelf from the top, with a door that closes).

Lately, however, if you're lucky you'll find bits of home-made ice cream in the freezer. Currently, I've got some of this Mango Banana gelato and a maple-ginger-walnut gelato, that's really really sublime.

One of the simplest gelatos to make - this needs no churning, no eggs and no preservative. Simple, fast and super fresh, if you start making the gelato in the morning, you'll definitely get to eat it by the afternoon. While Donna Hay uses only three ingredients, depending on the quality of your mangoes, I suggest you use some honey or splenda. I, however, just decided to top it with some maple syrup.


Sir Float-a-lot © Cookaroo

Mango Banana Frozen Gelato
From  Donna Hay's Fast Fresh Simple. Available in India, US and UK

Serves 4 to 6


Ingredients
2 bananas, peeled and chopped
3 mangoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup hung yogurt
Method
1. Place the banana and mango in a sealed container and freeze for 2-3 hours until frozen.
2. Once the fruit is frozen, place yoghurt and fruit in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
3. Place in a sealed container and freeze.
4. After freezing allow to soften for 5 minutes before serving. I love it with a drizzle of maple syrup
Gelato! © Cookaroo

Friday, June 8, 2012

Out for Dinner: Greek Odyssey at IIC

I've been wanting to mix things up a bit, so today, I'm going to write about a meal that I had about two weeks ago, but everytime I see the pictures, I feel like eating everything all over again. So here goes:




Imagine eating all this and more!

Trust me, you have no idea how lucky I felt when my mother and step-father decided to take all of us to the India International Centre's Greek Food Fest. And no it wasn't the IIC's chefs who were trying their hand at it, there were chefs  from the Greek Embassy who were laying down this superb treat.

Because of the volume of people, we were not served individually, instead bain maries were put out where we have to stand in queue, shaadi-style to get some of the goodies.

Now, the last time I had eaten at one such fest at IIC, because we were in the late seating (which meant dinner started at 9.30 pm for us), dessert had run out. It was the Bengali fest, and truly all day mom and I had been looking forward to mishti doi. But by the time we plodded our way through the main course, the kullars of dahi were no where to be seen.

So this time, we smartened up. We booked ourselves for the early dinner - 8 pm, and started eating by 8.10, only to be the first ones to get to dessert. :) As embarrassed as my sister was of the both of us, we were happy piling up our plates, especially since we had to catch up to all the things we'd left out the last time.

The food was laid out in the center of the room and it started with the vegetarian things and led up to the non-vegetarian food and finally to dessert. We started off with piling our plates with copious amounts of salads and dips.

There was the Greek salad with lovely cubes of feta

© Cookaroo
 And a Cabbage, carrot and parsley salad called Politki

© Cookaroo
Both the salad were really awesome. Very fresh and light. Perfect for summer.

Then there was Tzatziki and Eggplant Salad (which was almost like Babaganoush but not quite)

© Cookaroo
Grilled Haloumi, spongey cheese served warm and were totally awesome

© Cookaroo
And finally the Dolmades, Vine leaves stuffed with Rice. I thought they had been wrapped beautifully and they tastes really lovely too. They had these fried eggplant and zucchini too, I just forgot to take the pictures.

© Cookaroo
Then came the non-vegetarian starters. Lamb meatballs in tomato sauce were lined up first

© Cookaroo
Chicken slouvaki, was really the most succulent meat of the lot. The skewers were fantastic and really moist

© Cookaroo
And the last starter was the Strapatsada or the Greek Omelet. Which honestly looked more like scrambled eggs to me

© Cookaroo
After the starters, began the main course. Papoutsaki was the first main. Basically, grilled eggplant stuffed with vegetables and topped with a bit of cheese. Really awesome

© Cookaroo

Oh and then there was the Spanakopita or the spinach in filo pastry! My absolute favourite. This one was a lone ranger in the bain marie

© Cookaroo

Gemista or stuffed vegetables with rice. Frankly I loved the filling but didn't care much for the veggies


And finally the Bamies or Okra in tomatoes cooked in the pot, was the final vegetarian main course

© Cookaroo
The non-vegetarian main course included the moussaka which I could not photograph but there was also whole roast chicken with potatoes. I prefered the potatoes to the chicken because the meat was a little flavourless

© Cookaroo
But my most favourite dish of the evening was the calamari. Deep fried and deeply yummy, all you  had to do is spritz some lemon on it

© Cookaroo
And then we came to dessert. I had no idea that thick yogurt with honey and walnuts could taste that awesome.

© Cookaroo
A caked called Revani. Basically a semolina cake with orange syrup which IIC was serving with ice cream

© Cookaroo
And finally a fruit and cheese platter. Melon, watermelon with feta, which again may I add, was awesome

© Cookaroo
Thick big cuts of watermelon with chunks of feta, truly heave on a plate.

I really really enjoyed my dinner that night. None of it was heavy, I mean they'd ofcourse used olive oil. Everything was fresh and delightful. Oh and they also gave us a complimentary shots of ouzo.  What can I say, I was just lucky to get such a fancy spread :)