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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Marbled Mocha Whoopie Pies


There are days when I just want to bake something but its not a cake or cookie that I am craving for. On a gloomy day these pies helped satisfy my sweet tooth and also my baking obsession! Actually it was my son who was after me to bake these for him. I made them twice in a row and they were gobbled up in no time! The pies which look like large cookies are actually soft like cake and go very well with the filling sandwiched between them. I think they are a real treat for little ones. 



You must give these delightful little whoopie pies a try. They are perfect for a kids party or any other celebration as they are sure to win many hearts! The pies are soft with a delicious chocolate & whipped cream filling. Try something different this Christmas season!




Marbled Mocha Whoopie Pies
Prep time: 20 mins | Baking time: 10-12 mins | Makes 10-12 pies

Ingredients:

For the pies:

  • 250 grams all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • a large pinch of salt
  • 115 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 150 ml buttermilk * see notes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon strong black coffee (cooled) or coffee extract
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

For the chocolate & cream filling:

  • 150 grams plain chocolate, chopped
  • 450 ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon strong black coffee (cooled) or coffee extract

Method:
Make the chocolate filling (it takes time for the chocolate ganache to cool and thicken enough to be spread on the pies or else if it will drip when not cooled sufficiently, so it is recommended to make the filling first and then the pies)
Place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Heat 200ml (a little less than a cupful) of cream in a saucepan along with the strong black coffee (or coffee extract) and pour this over the chocolate and stir till the chocolate has melted. Leave to cool for 30-40 minutes (or until the ganache is thick enough to be spread without dripping)
Whip the rest of the double cream till firm peaks are formed (do this after the pies are baked and you are ready to assemble them)

Make the pies:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with baking parchment. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together into a bowl.
2. In another bowl beat the butter and sugar till it fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk in parts until well incorporated.
3. Divide the batter into two bowls. To one bowl add the vanilla extract and to the other bowl stir in the strong coffee (or coffee extract) and cocoa  and mix well.
4. Mix the two batters into a single bowl very lightly (till you just see a marbled effect - don't over mix as the brown will take over completely leaving you with no marble effect)
5. Using a tablespoon place 20 mounds of the mixture onto the baking sheets, spaced well apart. Make sure that you place equal amounts of batter as you will get fairly even sized pies which will help while sandwiching them.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes until the pies have just risen and are firm to the touch. Remove and cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Assemble & Serve
1. Spread the chocolate mixture on the flat side of a pie and top it with the whipped cream. Cover with another pie.
2. Repeat the process till all the pies have been sandwiched using the two types of filling.
3. Serve immediately

Recipe adapted from 'Coffee, 100 Everyday Recipes'

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Quinoa Brownies ~ Gluten Free Brownies


Over the past few Christmases I have posted a large variety of recipes, ranging from traditional Mangalorean to contemporary, sweets, savories et al. I totally love this season and I am thrilled that we are inching towards Christmas. However, as much as I love to indulge and let people around me eat out of my hands (literally!) I receive a lot of mails asking me for healthier recipes. When I come to think of it, while the healthier lot enjoys all kinds of sinful stuff what do those with dietary restrictions do? I personally know many people who have a various reasons why they want to keep it simple during the festive season and so this Advent season and the run up to Christmas I am going to try and post as many recipes that can be easily tried and enjoyed by people with special dietary needs. I do hope you enjoy these recipes. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chilli Coriander Brown Rice with Mushrooms


The past one month has zoomed by so quickly that I can hardly tell where the days vanished! Everything seems to be a blur. All I know is that a ton of recipes were tried and tested and enjoyed but none were noted down (shucks!) ** except ** ofcourse, this recipe for a lovely one pot meal that I made several times in the past few weeks. Since we are trying to eat healthy as far as possible I found myself buying a bag of brown basmati rice sometime last month. I was hesitant at first as I wasn't sure how to cook it right and whether there would be any takers for it at home. To my surprise, my experiment was a success and the final product, a big hit. The first time I made it I served it with grilled salmon (recipe coming up shortly - still experimenting with the flavours). The combination of flavours was awesome! I did not add mushrooms to the rice at that time but had served it alongside the fish. Over a period of time I have tried adding different veggies to this preparation but I guess it tastes best with mushrooms or without them (simple and plain chilli-coriander rice). 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Kadi ~ Mangalorean Wedding Style Besan Burfi (Chickpea Flour Fudge) ~ Gluten Free Indian Sweet


Happy Diwali to all my dear readers who celebrate the festival of lights!! May you be blessed with health, happiness, peace & prosperity today and always! I bet you are having a gala time this festive season. Most of you in India are enjoying a really long weekend too! I heard that Karnataka has an extra day off because of Rajyotsava (birth of the state)! I am totally missing the festivities and the joy of having an (almost) endless weekend! Anyway, since you have plenty of time on your hands (hehe) and if you have run out of sweets that you prepared you can give this new recipe a try. In Mangalore and only in select bakeries you get this very unassuming sweet that won my heart as a child. It is called the kadi and is nothing but besan (chickpea flour) fudge or burfi that is usually made with a small ratio of ground cashewnuts. However, since the time my friend Anupama Michael shared the recipe with me a couple of years ago, I've been meaning to try it out every Diwali and have been shelving the project due to lack of time! I also mixed up her careful instructions and ended up tweaking her original recipe slightly but the result was just as good. It reminded me so much of the stuff we still get in bakeries back home and lug around back to Dubai without fail every year. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

50 Festive Recipes You Must Try This Diwali !


Folks! Are you all set for Diwali? Well, although we don't celebrate Diwali at home I enjoy the festivities through what I experience - from friends who share pictures of the goodies they have been making to those that share them. Back home in India it was a delight to see the beautifully decorated homes and streets. Noise free crackers were wonderful to watch and a joy to partake in! I miss all this a lot but nevertheless social media is making up for it in some way. My newsfeed is usually filled with foodies sharing pictures of a variety of goodies and I simply couldn't resist but make a couple of dishes at home. While the recipe for the sweet I tried successfully is coming up shortly, why don't you take a look at these 50 recipes that I have hand picked for you? Do give them a try and bookmark them for the future too!

I wish all my readers a very Happy Diwali! 
Have a safe, joyous and beautiful festive season with your loved ones!! Wishing you health & happiness always!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Whole Wheat Banana & Yogurt Muffins ~ The Healthier Chocolate Muffins


It all started when I was drawing up my grocery list and noticed that the only fruit remaining in the fruit basket was this lonesome chiquita banana, the peel almost covered with black spots, not too ripe but not something that my kids would want to eat. All I had to do was peel it and eat it and the story would be finished. But no! There is something about over ripe bananas that triggers this manic urge to bake with them. Why waste it when you can taste it I say! 

When life gives you lemons there are tons of things you can make with them, but when it gives you over ripe bananas the only thing you should do is bake some yummy banana muffins that are healthier because you replace refined flour with whole wheat, butter with coconut oil and throw in some yogurt for good measure! Add some chocolate chips and you can win the hearts of your little ones!
Psst!Thanks to the cocoa and choco chips that masked the strong aroma of bananas, the little ones gladly ate them without a fuss. If you are a crazy mom who likes to sneak in fruits & veggies into baked goodies for her kids then you know what I'm talking about.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rava Idli ~ Steamed Semolina Cakes


Since the past few days I've been trying out new recipes for breakfast. Since we love to kick start our metabolism with something South Indian I usually stick to my usual recipes. However, on our recent trip to Oman my friend shared her recipe for rava idlis which she quickly made in the microwave. They were just so delicious! The term 'rava' is synonymous with semolina which is also known as cream of wheat or a fine texture of broken wheat. However rava is actually the term given to the texture of the grain (that is powdered to a coarse texture) and down South India, broken rice (also known as idli rava/rice rava) along with ground black gram (urad dal) is used in the preparation of rava idlis. This process is slightly longer as the black gram has to be soaked for at least 2-3 hours before being ground to paste and added to the rava which is then kept aside for fermentation.

Preparing idli batter using semolina, yogurt as the souring agent and soda bi carb (baking soda/meetha soda) or fruit salt (Eno) as a raising agent is a perfect way to eliminate the lengthy process and make healthy breakfast in a jiffy. This works perfectly well for those who are not looking for a gluten free option for breakfast (as semolina contains gluten unlike rice rava). It also works well for those who want to enjoy a nutritious and filling breakfast despite the mad morning rush as putting this whole thing together takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kartofel Khleb ~ Russian Potato Bread ~ #Breadbakers


I joined the Breadbakers baking group this month after a really long time and the bread of the month is anything baked with fall fruits and vegetables -apples, pears, persimmons, grapes, quince sweet potatoes, potatoes, figs, cauliflower, broccoli, squashes and cranberries. I picked potatoes as my choice as I had been eyeing this recipe for a really long time. Infact, two different cookbooks had two different recipes but I narrowed down and picked the healthier of the two. In addition to mashed potatoes, this bread is made with the addition of wholemeal bread flour that I picked up on sale at Spinney's a while ago. While I never go looking for bargains whenever I do my groceries, a 'sale' signboard got my attention. A lot of flours, especially bread flours were on sale as they had a month to go before expiry and at one third the price, the deal was a steal. I had never worked with bread flour before and this one was stone ground wholemeal flour, perfect for the recipe in mind. However, regular wholemeal flour (whole wheat flour/atta) will work just as fine. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Restaurant Review ~ Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, Dubai



Restaurant: Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, Dubai
Location: The Address Roundabout, The Promenade, overlooking the lake, Downtown, Dubai
Cuisine: Japanese - Robata & Sushi Bar
Price Range: AED 180-200 for two (without alcohol)
Date of Dining: 28th Sep, 2016

THE PLACE

Last week I was invited to the launch of 'Bubbles, Bites & Beats' which takes place every Wednesday at the uber chic and elegant Japanese restaurant, Katana Robata & Sushi Bar. In Japanese, the term 'katana' stands for the traditional, single edged and slender sword used by the samurai (a member of a powerful military caste in feudal Japan). The restaurant that originated and is frequented by celebrities in Los Angeles has now opened its doors to Dubai

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Marbled Mocha Whoopie Pies


There are days when I just want to bake something but its not a cake or cookie that I am craving for. On a gloomy day these pies helped satisfy my sweet tooth and also my baking obsession! Actually it was my son who was after me to bake these for him. I made them twice in a row and they were gobbled up in no time! The pies which look like large cookies are actually soft like cake and go very well with the filling sandwiched between them. I think they are a real treat for little ones. 



You must give these delightful little whoopie pies a try. They are perfect for a kids party or any other celebration as they are sure to win many hearts! The pies are soft with a delicious chocolate & whipped cream filling. Try something different this Christmas season!




Marbled Mocha Whoopie Pies
Prep time: 20 mins | Baking time: 10-12 mins | Makes 10-12 pies

Ingredients:

For the pies:

  • 250 grams all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • a large pinch of salt
  • 115 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 150 ml buttermilk * see notes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon strong black coffee (cooled) or coffee extract
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

For the chocolate & cream filling:

  • 150 grams plain chocolate, chopped
  • 450 ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon strong black coffee (cooled) or coffee extract

Method:
Make the chocolate filling (it takes time for the chocolate ganache to cool and thicken enough to be spread on the pies or else if it will drip when not cooled sufficiently, so it is recommended to make the filling first and then the pies)
Place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Heat 200ml (a little less than a cupful) of cream in a saucepan along with the strong black coffee (or coffee extract) and pour this over the chocolate and stir till the chocolate has melted. Leave to cool for 30-40 minutes (or until the ganache is thick enough to be spread without dripping)
Whip the rest of the double cream till firm peaks are formed (do this after the pies are baked and you are ready to assemble them)

Make the pies:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with baking parchment. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together into a bowl.
2. In another bowl beat the butter and sugar till it fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk in parts until well incorporated.
3. Divide the batter into two bowls. To one bowl add the vanilla extract and to the other bowl stir in the strong coffee (or coffee extract) and cocoa  and mix well.
4. Mix the two batters into a single bowl very lightly (till you just see a marbled effect - don't over mix as the brown will take over completely leaving you with no marble effect)
5. Using a tablespoon place 20 mounds of the mixture onto the baking sheets, spaced well apart. Make sure that you place equal amounts of batter as you will get fairly even sized pies which will help while sandwiching them.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes until the pies have just risen and are firm to the touch. Remove and cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Assemble & Serve
1. Spread the chocolate mixture on the flat side of a pie and top it with the whipped cream. Cover with another pie.
2. Repeat the process till all the pies have been sandwiched using the two types of filling.
3. Serve immediately

Recipe adapted from 'Coffee, 100 Everyday Recipes'

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Quinoa Brownies ~ Gluten Free Brownies


Over the past few Christmases I have posted a large variety of recipes, ranging from traditional Mangalorean to contemporary, sweets, savories et al. I totally love this season and I am thrilled that we are inching towards Christmas. However, as much as I love to indulge and let people around me eat out of my hands (literally!) I receive a lot of mails asking me for healthier recipes. When I come to think of it, while the healthier lot enjoys all kinds of sinful stuff what do those with dietary restrictions do? I personally know many people who have a various reasons why they want to keep it simple during the festive season and so this Advent season and the run up to Christmas I am going to try and post as many recipes that can be easily tried and enjoyed by people with special dietary needs. I do hope you enjoy these recipes. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chilli Coriander Brown Rice with Mushrooms


The past one month has zoomed by so quickly that I can hardly tell where the days vanished! Everything seems to be a blur. All I know is that a ton of recipes were tried and tested and enjoyed but none were noted down (shucks!) ** except ** ofcourse, this recipe for a lovely one pot meal that I made several times in the past few weeks. Since we are trying to eat healthy as far as possible I found myself buying a bag of brown basmati rice sometime last month. I was hesitant at first as I wasn't sure how to cook it right and whether there would be any takers for it at home. To my surprise, my experiment was a success and the final product, a big hit. The first time I made it I served it with grilled salmon (recipe coming up shortly - still experimenting with the flavours). The combination of flavours was awesome! I did not add mushrooms to the rice at that time but had served it alongside the fish. Over a period of time I have tried adding different veggies to this preparation but I guess it tastes best with mushrooms or without them (simple and plain chilli-coriander rice). 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Kadi ~ Mangalorean Wedding Style Besan Burfi (Chickpea Flour Fudge) ~ Gluten Free Indian Sweet


Happy Diwali to all my dear readers who celebrate the festival of lights!! May you be blessed with health, happiness, peace & prosperity today and always! I bet you are having a gala time this festive season. Most of you in India are enjoying a really long weekend too! I heard that Karnataka has an extra day off because of Rajyotsava (birth of the state)! I am totally missing the festivities and the joy of having an (almost) endless weekend! Anyway, since you have plenty of time on your hands (hehe) and if you have run out of sweets that you prepared you can give this new recipe a try. In Mangalore and only in select bakeries you get this very unassuming sweet that won my heart as a child. It is called the kadi and is nothing but besan (chickpea flour) fudge or burfi that is usually made with a small ratio of ground cashewnuts. However, since the time my friend Anupama Michael shared the recipe with me a couple of years ago, I've been meaning to try it out every Diwali and have been shelving the project due to lack of time! I also mixed up her careful instructions and ended up tweaking her original recipe slightly but the result was just as good. It reminded me so much of the stuff we still get in bakeries back home and lug around back to Dubai without fail every year. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

50 Festive Recipes You Must Try This Diwali !


Folks! Are you all set for Diwali? Well, although we don't celebrate Diwali at home I enjoy the festivities through what I experience - from friends who share pictures of the goodies they have been making to those that share them. Back home in India it was a delight to see the beautifully decorated homes and streets. Noise free crackers were wonderful to watch and a joy to partake in! I miss all this a lot but nevertheless social media is making up for it in some way. My newsfeed is usually filled with foodies sharing pictures of a variety of goodies and I simply couldn't resist but make a couple of dishes at home. While the recipe for the sweet I tried successfully is coming up shortly, why don't you take a look at these 50 recipes that I have hand picked for you? Do give them a try and bookmark them for the future too!

I wish all my readers a very Happy Diwali! 
Have a safe, joyous and beautiful festive season with your loved ones!! Wishing you health & happiness always!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Whole Wheat Banana & Yogurt Muffins ~ The Healthier Chocolate Muffins


It all started when I was drawing up my grocery list and noticed that the only fruit remaining in the fruit basket was this lonesome chiquita banana, the peel almost covered with black spots, not too ripe but not something that my kids would want to eat. All I had to do was peel it and eat it and the story would be finished. But no! There is something about over ripe bananas that triggers this manic urge to bake with them. Why waste it when you can taste it I say! 

When life gives you lemons there are tons of things you can make with them, but when it gives you over ripe bananas the only thing you should do is bake some yummy banana muffins that are healthier because you replace refined flour with whole wheat, butter with coconut oil and throw in some yogurt for good measure! Add some chocolate chips and you can win the hearts of your little ones!
Psst!Thanks to the cocoa and choco chips that masked the strong aroma of bananas, the little ones gladly ate them without a fuss. If you are a crazy mom who likes to sneak in fruits & veggies into baked goodies for her kids then you know what I'm talking about.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rava Idli ~ Steamed Semolina Cakes


Since the past few days I've been trying out new recipes for breakfast. Since we love to kick start our metabolism with something South Indian I usually stick to my usual recipes. However, on our recent trip to Oman my friend shared her recipe for rava idlis which she quickly made in the microwave. They were just so delicious! The term 'rava' is synonymous with semolina which is also known as cream of wheat or a fine texture of broken wheat. However rava is actually the term given to the texture of the grain (that is powdered to a coarse texture) and down South India, broken rice (also known as idli rava/rice rava) along with ground black gram (urad dal) is used in the preparation of rava idlis. This process is slightly longer as the black gram has to be soaked for at least 2-3 hours before being ground to paste and added to the rava which is then kept aside for fermentation.

Preparing idli batter using semolina, yogurt as the souring agent and soda bi carb (baking soda/meetha soda) or fruit salt (Eno) as a raising agent is a perfect way to eliminate the lengthy process and make healthy breakfast in a jiffy. This works perfectly well for those who are not looking for a gluten free option for breakfast (as semolina contains gluten unlike rice rava). It also works well for those who want to enjoy a nutritious and filling breakfast despite the mad morning rush as putting this whole thing together takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kartofel Khleb ~ Russian Potato Bread ~ #Breadbakers


I joined the Breadbakers baking group this month after a really long time and the bread of the month is anything baked with fall fruits and vegetables -apples, pears, persimmons, grapes, quince sweet potatoes, potatoes, figs, cauliflower, broccoli, squashes and cranberries. I picked potatoes as my choice as I had been eyeing this recipe for a really long time. Infact, two different cookbooks had two different recipes but I narrowed down and picked the healthier of the two. In addition to mashed potatoes, this bread is made with the addition of wholemeal bread flour that I picked up on sale at Spinney's a while ago. While I never go looking for bargains whenever I do my groceries, a 'sale' signboard got my attention. A lot of flours, especially bread flours were on sale as they had a month to go before expiry and at one third the price, the deal was a steal. I had never worked with bread flour before and this one was stone ground wholemeal flour, perfect for the recipe in mind. However, regular wholemeal flour (whole wheat flour/atta) will work just as fine. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Restaurant Review ~ Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, Dubai



Restaurant: Katana Robata & Sushi Bar, Dubai
Location: The Address Roundabout, The Promenade, overlooking the lake, Downtown, Dubai
Cuisine: Japanese - Robata & Sushi Bar
Price Range: AED 180-200 for two (without alcohol)
Date of Dining: 28th Sep, 2016

THE PLACE

Last week I was invited to the launch of 'Bubbles, Bites & Beats' which takes place every Wednesday at the uber chic and elegant Japanese restaurant, Katana Robata & Sushi Bar. In Japanese, the term 'katana' stands for the traditional, single edged and slender sword used by the samurai (a member of a powerful military caste in feudal Japan). The restaurant that originated and is frequented by celebrities in Los Angeles has now opened its doors to Dubai