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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mocha Brownies

It's brownie time folks! 

As the years go by I realise that I am better at baking than anything else. And I am definitely better at clicking food pics and writing posts than actually cooking. The whole idea of cleaning, cutting & cooking and then doing a mountain of dishes is no longer appealing to me (it never ever appealed to me) what with two bawling babies - well, the older one is 5 now and has thrust a fresh set of challenges in front of me.



Poor eating habits that drive me up the wall coupled with an actual baby who is slowly displaying her true characteristics - well, err, the naughtier side of an erstwhile very quiet baby doll. So yes, something that is definitely calming for their poor mom is her tryst with baking. 


I was baking brownies after a long time and I quite enjoyed baking these babies. Brownies with a hint of coffee made them so wonderfully delicious and homely - I totally love the aroma of coffee and these brownies filled my kitchen and my entire house with the heady aroma of freshly brewed coffee - even the next day!


Something as rich in taste as the brownie always calls for a simple accompaniment - a glass of milk. For the next two days I only had a glass of milk during tea time instead of my usual cuppa - you can't possibly have a mug of coffee with these brownies - it would be just too much - but again this is just my opinion. But why two days you may ask! Well, the mister was travelling and I had lots of time to kill. Well, not really. I just had the baker's itch - you know that feeling when its post lunch and you are browsing through a really good book on cakes & bakes and you want to jump out of your bed (or wherever you are sitting) to go make these? That's what I call the baker's itch. 


I know who else is having the baker's itch - a reader turned friend Usha! - So dearie, I hope you get to make these soon for your babies and enjoy them too. However, since it contains a wee bit of coffee - please use your discretion as to whether you want to serve them to your kids


Mocha brownies can lift a boring glass of milk! Go make them today!


About the brownies
Enough said already. Go make them!

Mocha Brownies
Prep time: 10 mins | Bake time: 30mins | Servings 12

Ingredients:
  • 55grams/2 oz unsalted butter (at room temperature) plus extra for greasing
  • 115grams/ 4 oz plain chocolate roughly chopped
  • 175grams/6 oz brown sugar (I used dark muscovado)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder (I used Nescafe) dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water and cooled
  • 85grams plain flour (maida)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 55 grams/2 oz roughly chopped walnuts or pecans
Method:
1. Grease and line a 7 or 8" (20cms) square cake tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F.
2. In a double boiler (see notes) melt the chopped chocolate & butter. Keep aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl cream the sugar & eggs together until light & fluffy. Fold in the chocolate & butter mixture and the cooled coffee and blend well till everything is mixed. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture. Toss in the chopped nuts & fold gently. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25-30 mins or till the skewer inserted comes out clean.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, turn the cake over onto a wire mesh/rack and peel off the baking paper.
5. Cool completely, cut into squares & serve.

Recipe adapted from: Everyday Muffins & Bakes

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Coconut Red Chilli Chutney

Another coconut-y recipe is making its appearance today. No points for guessing then that coconut stands to be one of my favourite ingredients while cooking. It is so versatile that you can not only have coconuts as a base for your curries, but it can be consumed raw - in the form of a chutney. I can go on & on about the wonders of this wonderful fruit, but I really should stop.


This chutney is simple yet lovely and is rather common in Mangalorean homes. The red colour comes from the locally available long dry red chillies called the Bedgi/Byadge chillles which also give a great taste to it. Different homes have different versions of this chutney, so you can really play around with the ingredients to suit your tastebuds.


It is a perfect accompaniment to a host of South Indian breakfasts, from idlis to dosas, the match is heavenly.   Surprisingly, I don't recall having this at home. Neither at my in-laws. This recipe was given by my friend Veda Pai and I assume it is made regularly in Konkani homes with a few variations here & there to beat the humdrum. So thanks to her, I add one more chutney to my culinary repertoire .


About the chutney
A simple and tasty chutney that you can put together in minutes. Increase or decrease the level of spice and thereby the red colour by adjusting the number of chillies used. You may season it for an added flavour or just serve it without the seasoning - this way you can cut out the extra bit of oil.

Coconut Red Chilli Chutney
Prep time: 8-10mins | Cook time: Nil | Serves 2

You Need
  • 3/4th cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1/2 inch piece ginger
  • 1/2 marble sized ball of tamarind
  • 1-2 small green chillies (adjust to taste)
  • 1 long dry red chilly (Bedgi) + 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil to fry it
  • salt to taste
For seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 sprig or 6-7 curry leaves /kadipatta
  • 2 small flakes of garlic with skin, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
Method:
1. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a small pan (meant for seasoning) and lightly fry the long dry chilly - turn off the flame when it begins to brown - take care to see that it doesn't get burnt.
2. Add the fried chilli and the rest of the ingredients to a chutney grinder and grind it to a coarse paste using water sparingly (about 1 tablespoon). Transfer the chutney into a bowl
3. To prepare the seasoning, heat the coconut oil in the same pan used before and toss in the mustard - when they stop spluttering add the crushed garlic flakes and fry for a couple of seconds before adding the curry leaves. Swirl the curry leaves so they are just fried. Turn off the flame and pour this seasoning into the chutney.
4. Serve along with idli or dosa

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mocha Brownies

It's brownie time folks! 

As the years go by I realise that I am better at baking than anything else. And I am definitely better at clicking food pics and writing posts than actually cooking. The whole idea of cleaning, cutting & cooking and then doing a mountain of dishes is no longer appealing to me (it never ever appealed to me) what with two bawling babies - well, the older one is 5 now and has thrust a fresh set of challenges in front of me.



Poor eating habits that drive me up the wall coupled with an actual baby who is slowly displaying her true characteristics - well, err, the naughtier side of an erstwhile very quiet baby doll. So yes, something that is definitely calming for their poor mom is her tryst with baking. 


I was baking brownies after a long time and I quite enjoyed baking these babies. Brownies with a hint of coffee made them so wonderfully delicious and homely - I totally love the aroma of coffee and these brownies filled my kitchen and my entire house with the heady aroma of freshly brewed coffee - even the next day!


Something as rich in taste as the brownie always calls for a simple accompaniment - a glass of milk. For the next two days I only had a glass of milk during tea time instead of my usual cuppa - you can't possibly have a mug of coffee with these brownies - it would be just too much - but again this is just my opinion. But why two days you may ask! Well, the mister was travelling and I had lots of time to kill. Well, not really. I just had the baker's itch - you know that feeling when its post lunch and you are browsing through a really good book on cakes & bakes and you want to jump out of your bed (or wherever you are sitting) to go make these? That's what I call the baker's itch. 


I know who else is having the baker's itch - a reader turned friend Usha! - So dearie, I hope you get to make these soon for your babies and enjoy them too. However, since it contains a wee bit of coffee - please use your discretion as to whether you want to serve them to your kids


Mocha brownies can lift a boring glass of milk! Go make them today!


About the brownies
Enough said already. Go make them!

Mocha Brownies
Prep time: 10 mins | Bake time: 30mins | Servings 12

Ingredients:
  • 55grams/2 oz unsalted butter (at room temperature) plus extra for greasing
  • 115grams/ 4 oz plain chocolate roughly chopped
  • 175grams/6 oz brown sugar (I used dark muscovado)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder (I used Nescafe) dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water and cooled
  • 85grams plain flour (maida)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 55 grams/2 oz roughly chopped walnuts or pecans
Method:
1. Grease and line a 7 or 8" (20cms) square cake tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F.
2. In a double boiler (see notes) melt the chopped chocolate & butter. Keep aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl cream the sugar & eggs together until light & fluffy. Fold in the chocolate & butter mixture and the cooled coffee and blend well till everything is mixed. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture. Toss in the chopped nuts & fold gently. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25-30 mins or till the skewer inserted comes out clean.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, turn the cake over onto a wire mesh/rack and peel off the baking paper.
5. Cool completely, cut into squares & serve.

Recipe adapted from: Everyday Muffins & Bakes

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Coconut Red Chilli Chutney

Another coconut-y recipe is making its appearance today. No points for guessing then that coconut stands to be one of my favourite ingredients while cooking. It is so versatile that you can not only have coconuts as a base for your curries, but it can be consumed raw - in the form of a chutney. I can go on & on about the wonders of this wonderful fruit, but I really should stop.


This chutney is simple yet lovely and is rather common in Mangalorean homes. The red colour comes from the locally available long dry red chillies called the Bedgi/Byadge chillles which also give a great taste to it. Different homes have different versions of this chutney, so you can really play around with the ingredients to suit your tastebuds.


It is a perfect accompaniment to a host of South Indian breakfasts, from idlis to dosas, the match is heavenly.   Surprisingly, I don't recall having this at home. Neither at my in-laws. This recipe was given by my friend Veda Pai and I assume it is made regularly in Konkani homes with a few variations here & there to beat the humdrum. So thanks to her, I add one more chutney to my culinary repertoire .


About the chutney
A simple and tasty chutney that you can put together in minutes. Increase or decrease the level of spice and thereby the red colour by adjusting the number of chillies used. You may season it for an added flavour or just serve it without the seasoning - this way you can cut out the extra bit of oil.

Coconut Red Chilli Chutney
Prep time: 8-10mins | Cook time: Nil | Serves 2

You Need
  • 3/4th cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1/2 inch piece ginger
  • 1/2 marble sized ball of tamarind
  • 1-2 small green chillies (adjust to taste)
  • 1 long dry red chilly (Bedgi) + 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil to fry it
  • salt to taste
For seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 sprig or 6-7 curry leaves /kadipatta
  • 2 small flakes of garlic with skin, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
Method:
1. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a small pan (meant for seasoning) and lightly fry the long dry chilly - turn off the flame when it begins to brown - take care to see that it doesn't get burnt.
2. Add the fried chilli and the rest of the ingredients to a chutney grinder and grind it to a coarse paste using water sparingly (about 1 tablespoon). Transfer the chutney into a bowl
3. To prepare the seasoning, heat the coconut oil in the same pan used before and toss in the mustard - when they stop spluttering add the crushed garlic flakes and fry for a couple of seconds before adding the curry leaves. Swirl the curry leaves so they are just fried. Turn off the flame and pour this seasoning into the chutney.
4. Serve along with idli or dosa