Saturday, November 21, 2009

Iphone Cake

It was my husbands birthday earlier this month and had a dinner party for him at home. And since i had been taking cake decorating classes, i wanted to make a cake that wasn't filled with flowers but also something fun. I started looking around and came across a few IPhone cakes. Now for those of you who know my husband Jigar, he's always on his iPhone, or on the computer or taking pictures!!

I said to myself with a big smile, "I can totally make this!!" A week before the dinner party, i started making the applications for the phone. A day later, i re made all the applications over again because the 1st set wasn't good enough for me. I am so glad i redid them. This cake was one layer butter cake and one layer Chocolate cake with Blackberry Swiss meringue filling. All made from scratch!! i wish i had taken a picture of the cake sliced. I would have hoped the black fondant on the cake would have been a little smoother. I had rolled out the fondant and placed it on the cake, only to realize that i had to move it over. And that caused the surface to get a little bumpy :( . Writing on the cake after the applications were put on wasn't easy either! I made some royal icing for writing and using colored piping gel for some of the application. I was super stressed and didn't want anything to go wrong. The party was just 3 hrs away!!

When i completed the cake and packed it away in a cake box, i had a sense of relieve. It was a good relieve and huge smile. I was so proud of myself for actually doing it!. It felt even better when my husband looked at the cake and gave me a big hug . All our friends stood there looking at the cake with their iPhone in their hands. After which, they all took a picture of my cake:).

This is just the beginning. I have my daughter's 2nd birthday coming up in April and i am already planning her cake. Hopefully some day, I'll be able to get in orders for cakes and cupcakes because i just love baking and decorating!

Course 3 Cakes


Course 3!!! It was wedding tiered cakes and fondant. This course, we got to make 2 cakes. The first one was a present cake. We learned how to cover a cake with fondant and make other fun stuff like the ribbons and bows. I remember feeling frustrated while covering my cake with the fondant. It wasn't easy at all but practice makes perfect. Know you know why bakeries charge so much for cakes!! It's a lot of time and effort and not forgetting Patience!! For the cake, it was a yellow cake with raspberry jelly.


Here's the final cake! I decided not to do wedding cake only because my husband was going to take this cake to work. Instead, i wanted to do something more fun and went with this. i pre made the flowers at home since they needed to be cut out and placed in flower formers to curl up. The cake turned out good but i my fondant tore a little while i was covering the cake. i covered most of it up with the flowers so it wasn't to bad. Like i said, practice makes perfect and i have gotten better at covering my cake:) The top tier of this cake was a butter cake with blackberry jelly and the bottom tier was chocolate with blackberry jelly.

Up next, Fondant and Gum paste. And for that, you'll have to wait till next week. Not sure yet what I'm going to do with my final cake but I'm sure I'll figure something out soon!

Course 2 cake

Here's my cake from course 2. Unfortunately, we only got to put together one cake for this course. So what did we do for the rest of the class? Well, all the bright and lovely flowers that are on my cake is what we made every week. Pansies, Daisies, Violets, Roses, Daffodils and Apple Blossoms. The flowers were made of royal icing so they harden up. We made a different one each week and placed them in flower formers to dry up. Week 4 rolled along and we brought all the flowers we had made and place them on an iced cake and completing the cake with a rope border and a basket weave. I love bright colors and so i made my flowers bright. Everyone else chose to keep it subtle with pastel colors. For the cake, i made a Sponge cake and filled it with blackberry jelly.

At this point, i figured I've done 2 courses, what's 2 more!! So i signed up for course 3 and had even more fun! More cakes from course 3 coming up in the next blog:)

Course 1 Cakes

I've been taking cake decorating class at my neighborhood Michael's and it's just been an amazing experience. Wilton has 4 courses to offer and they each are 4 weeks long. I've always known i love baking but have now realized that i enjoy decorating cupcakes and cakes as well. The joy and sense of accomplishment i get is just wonderful. So here are the pictures of the cakes I've made in course 1. The above picture is my first cake. I made a devil's food cake and filled it with Raspberry Jelly. For a first timer, i was pretty pleased with the final decorated cake:)


For the second cake, we were allowed to do cupcakes and so i decided to make Red Velvet cupcakes. This specific class was about figure pipping and some flowers. i would have done more if i had more time at class. It was still fun.
Here is my final cake for course 1. We had to make roses and place them on the cake. When i started making my roses, i was worried i wouldn't have any roses to place on my cake! But as the evening went by, i was making roses after roses. For this cake, i made a yellow cake and filled it with chocolate filling. I completed course 1 and went home wanting more. So i signed up for course 2! Check out my next blog for pictures from course 2:)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Marble cupcakes with Halloween decoration


I know I'm a little behind on my blogs and Halloween is long gone. But better late then never! With my daughter going to day care now, i got to sign up for something to bring for their class party. Of course there had to be cupcakes, and no one had signed up for them! I did and this is what i came up with. They had to be Halloween themed, but i also wanted to keep them fun for the kids. So i made pumpkins with some orange colored fondant, and drew in the faces with edible markers. How cute are they?? Super easy to make them and great for decorating cakes and other food. As for the frosting, i used Class Butter cream icing and kept it at a medium consistency and pipped some grass using the grass tip. I have to say, i had a great time putting these together and the kids loved it. Now to the cupcakes. They were marble cupcakes from Martha Stewart's 175 cupcakes recipe book. Really easy to make them and they were just delicious. Which kid doesn't like cupcakes with both vanilla and chocolate!

Cupcakes can just be so much fun. They are easy to eat, and you can be as creative as you want and personalize them in your own way. Here's the recipe for the cupcakes and butter cream:)

Marble Cupcakes
Makes 16 cupcakes

1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
1/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Stir together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and cream.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk mixture, and beating until combined.

3. To make chocolate batter, measure out 1 cup batter, and transfer to another bowl. Combine cocoa and the boiling water in a bowl. Stir into reserved 1 cup batter.

4. Fill prepared cups with alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batter, filling each three-quarters full. Run the tip of a paring knife or wooden skewer through batter in a figure-eight motion to make swirls. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops are golden and a cake tester (i.e. toothpick) inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

5. To finish dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Or personalize in your own way!


Class Butter cream

4 cups confectioner's sugar sifted
1 tablespoon meringue powder
1 cup shortening
2 table water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Using a whisk attachment, whip together the shortening and liquids. Add the sugar and meringue powder and whip until ingredients come together. Whip on medium speed for 1 min. This recipe makes thick consistency so you have to thin it out to a medium consistency after it's whipped up. Color frosting as needed. Frosting can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks in an air tight container.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sri Lankan Fish Curry with Tomato ( Thakkali Malu )


A few years ago, my husband and i went to Kerala for our 5 year wedding anniversary. The whole experience in Kerala was just amazing, from the scenery to the ambiance to the food. The coconut they use in their cooking kind of reminded me of Sri Lankan style curries. I was browsing the web for some new recipes and came across this one, Fish in Tomato. The flavors of the different spices together makes it just absolutely delicious. With each bite, you get a burst of various spices while the fish just melts in your mouth. The recipe call for Mackerel but you can use any fish of your choice. I've tried it with King Mackerel and Grouper and it tasted great both times. Pair up this dish with roti's, naan, paratha's or even just plain rice. Here's the recipe :)

Fish Curry with Tomato (Thakkali Malu)

500g Fish steaks (Spanish mackerel)
1 teaspoon Ground turmeric
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Large onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves Garlic
2 teaspoon Finely chopped fresh ginger
1 Medium size ripe tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons Oil
1 tablespoon Ceylon curry powder
1 teaspoon Chili powder
2 cups Coconut milk
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

~Method~

1) Wash and dry fish well and rub all over with turmeric and salt.
2) Cut each steak into serving pieces.
3) Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the fish until golden brown on both sides. Remove and set aside.
4) Put onion, garlic, ginger and tomato in container of electric blender and blend to a smooth paste. Heat oil in a saucepan and fry the blended ingredients for a few minutes, until oil begins to separate from mixture.
5) Add the curry and chili powders and about a teaspoonful of salt and the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for a few minutes, then add the fish and simmer further for 10 minutes.
6) Serve with rice and accompaniments.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Banana Bread


Banana Bread has got to be one all time favorite. Eat it for breakfast, as a snack or dessert with some ice cream. I usually make banana bread pretty frequently since there's always banana's in my fruit bowl. And if they are not eaten up by the time they a little to ripe, they are up for grabs to be baked:). I love the subtle cinnamon taste in banana bread which balances out the sweetness. Any kind of spice in baking usually gives the baked goods a vibrant flavor. So here's the recipe for it :)


Banana Bread

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Berry Strata

Here is the final recipe from Giada's Everyday Italian, Berry Strata. It's basically an Italian version of the bread pudding. I'm not a big fan of bread pudding, but berry strata, i just loved. The tartness from the frozen mixed berries and orange juice just gives it a refreshing taste. Not to forget the creamy ricotta cheese that's in it too. All these flavors together gives it the right amount of sweetness and tartness. Even the kids enjoyed it. It's a great dish to make for dessert since everything can be pre mixed and refridgerated. And if you don't want berries, feel free to use any fruit of your choice. I used french bread but you could use any type of bread you like. Here's the recipe:)

Berry Strata
From Giada's Everyday Italian

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey
4 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup orange juice
4 slices of bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen mixed berries, thawed and drained

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Turn off the heat, add the honey, and stir to combine.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the eggs, ricotta, and sugar. Using a fork, mix to combine and beat the eggs. Add the milk, orange juice, butter and honey mixture, and bread. Stir to combine. Gently fold in the berries.

Place the ingredients in a 10-inch round (2-quart) baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the strata until golden on top and baked through, about 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Spoon into dishes and serve.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Spicy Tomato Soup


When i think of soup, I'm thinking comfort food, warm, hearty and fulfilling. This recipe was one of 3 recipes aired on Giada's Everyday Italian episode that had the Linguine with Shrimp in Lemon oil. This soup is super easy and is made with marinara sauce. It says to use chicken broth in this recipe. I however have many friends who are vegetarian so i used vegetable broth instead. The flavors were great and the soup with absolutely delicious. It's a perfect dish to have on a cold day with some french bread on the side. I made it for my play date Thursday last week and it was great.Everyone enjoyed it and i saved some for my husband to have for dinner. What more can you ask for after a long work day:) Here's the recipe!

Spicy Tomato Soup
From Everyday Italian on Food Network

* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce
* 2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
* 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 1/2 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the jar of marinara sauce, chicken broth, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve. (Note: If you do not want the spice, you may eliminate the peppers or add less of it.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon oil

I love pasta and i love seafood. It was one of those days where i just spent thinking about food. What i wanted to try, what to make for dinner. I happen to turn on the TV to food network and Everyday Italian has just started. Giada had a delicious menu that had my mouth watering the entire time. I just couldn't wait to try these new dishes out. So here's the 1st out of the 3. Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon oil. For those of you you like the citrus flavor in your pasta, this is it. Every ingredient in this dish just compliments each other so well. The freshness of the lemon with the peppery flavor of the arugula just gives it am amazing flavor. We made come garlic bread on the side and it was just YUM! It's super easy and quick. Just what everyone needs in today's busy lifestyle. Here's the recipe :).

Adapted from Giada's Everyday Italian
Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon oil

Ingredients
For the lemon oil:

* 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 lemon, zested

For the pasta:

* 1 pound linguine pasta
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 shallots, diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 16 ounces frozen shrimp
* 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
* 1 lemon, zested
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 3 ounces arugula (about 3 packed cups)
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

For the lemon oil:

Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve.

For the pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the arugula. Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can be discarded. Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Sponge cake


I have been taking a cake decorating class now for about 2 months at my neighborhood Michael's. And i have to say, I've enjoyed the classes so much that it keeps me wanting to learn more. Who ever thought I'd be able to make flowers, decorate a cake and make it look all pretty! So for my final class, we had to bring in a cake so that we get to do a basket weave on it and place all the flowers we had made during the entire course. We made daisies, pansies, apple blossoms, violets, roses, daffodils and primroses. I had so many flowers that i could have covered my entire cake with the flowers. But, i chose not to! I decided to try a Sponge cake from a cookbook my dear friend got me for my birthday. This recipe is adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. So far, the sponge cake is the only recipe I've tried from it and have been pretty pleased with it. It's a great book with delicious recipes. I layered my sponge cake with some blackberry jam. You could use any flavor that you like. So for those of you who have had challenges baking a good sponge cake, here's the recipe :)

Note: I like using baking spray for my pans instead of using butter and flour to grease the pans. With the spray, you get a nice even coat and always have you cake come of easily without any issues.

Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
Sponge Cake

1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg white (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks (room temperature)
2 large eggs (room temperature)

1) Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 8 - or 9- inch pans
2) Whisk flours, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Heat milk and butter together in a small saucepan over low heat until butter melts. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla and cover to keep warm.
3)In a large bowl, whip the 3 egg whites and the cream of tartar together with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase to medium-high speed and whip the whites to soft, billowy, mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually whip in 6 tablespoons of sugar, about 30 seconds. Continue to whip the whites until they are shiny and form soft peaks, 1 to 3 minutes.
4)In a separate large bowl, whip the 3 eggs yolks and the 2 eggs together with an electric mixer on medium high speed and gradually add the remaining sugar, about 1 minute. Continue to whip the mixture until very think and voluminous, 4 to 6 minutes.
5)Scrape the whipped whole egg mixture on top of the whipped white mixture, then sift the flour mixture over the top. Very gently fold everything together with a large rubber spatula until just combined, about 12 folds. Pour the warm milk mixture against the side of the bowl and continue to fold batter until evenly combined and no streaks of flour remain, about 8 folds.
6) Immediately scrape batter into prepared pans. Bake the cakes until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 12 to 18 minutes. (Do not rotate cakes while baking)
7) Immediately run a knife around the edges of the cake and flip them out onto a parchment lined plate to protect the delicate top. Peel off the parchment paper and transfer cakes onto a cooling rack. Cool completely, about 2 hrs before filling or frosting.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blueberries and cream cupcakes

Last weekend, my friends and i decided to have a cupcake tea party which has been pending for the last 3 months. It finally happened and we all got to eat some yummy home made cupcakes. Since berries are in season, i decided to try out the Blueberries and cream cupcakes from my Martha Stewart's cupcake book. The fresh blueberries gives you a nice burst of sweet and tangy in each bite. These cupcakes are just amazing. They are not too sweet and the home made whipped cream gives it a nice finish to the cupcakes. They are light, spongy and another one of my favorites so far. Here's the recipe:)

BLUEBERRIES-AND-CREAM CUPCAKES
Makes 30 standard or 60 mini cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self rising), sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
2 cups fresh blueberries, plus more for garnish

For the whipped cream:

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line standard or mini muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high to cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each. Fold in the blueberries by hand. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until pale golden, about 25 minutes for standard and 15 minutes for mini.

Transfer the pans to wire racks to cool completely before removing the cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

To make the whipped cream, in a large bowl whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar, then whisk until combined. If not using immediately, whipped cream can be refrigerated, covered tightly, for up to 3 hours.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Strawberry cupcakes with Strawberry swiss meringue frosting

Since i enjoy baking so much, and absolutely love cupcakes, i decided to get the Martha Stewart's 175 cupcakes book. I've tried making cupcakes from recipes i find online and have had some great results and some not so great results. I hate having to waste and so decided I'm going to stick with Martha's recipes. Can't really go wrong and everything I've tried so far from her recipes have been a hit. So when my book came in the mail, i was super excited and couldn't wait to bake. I had some strawberries and i came across this recipe. It was also my husbands business partner's birthday. What more excuse do i need? Baking with fresh ingredients always make a huge difference. The cupcake itself was soft and moist with strawberry chunks and the frosting, just oh so good! Light, fluffy and smooth, with a little bit of sweetness. Can't wait to try out more recipes and share them with you. Here's the recipe:)

Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
frosting (makes 34 cupcake)

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large whole eggs plus 1 egg white
1 cup milk
2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries (about 20), plus about 10 more for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin pans with paper liners. Sift together both
flours, baking powder, and salt.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add whole eggs and the white, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk, and beating until well combined. Fold in chopped strawberries by hand.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks and cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto rack and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature in airtight containers.

4. To finish, fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star (Ateco #826 or Wilton #8B) with buttercream. Pipe butter cream onto each cupcake, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form peak. Just before serving, thinly slice strawberries, and tuck a few pieces into the butter cream.

Strawberry Meringue Buttercream Frosting

1 ½ cups fresh strawberries (8 ounces), rinsed, hulled, and coarsely chopped.
4 large egg whites
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ cups (three sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature

1. Puree strawberries in a food processor. Combine egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips.)

2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.

3. With mixer in medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula and switch to the paddle attachment; continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Add strawberries and beat until well combined. Stir with a flexible spatula until the frosting is smooth.

Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chocolate Meringues

These delicate and crunchy delights are just so irresistible. For once, my husband requested for me to bake some meringues and i say OK with a big smile! Lately I've been trying out different types of cupcakes and so i haven't really had a chance to bake cookies and other sweet delights. My husband never really tells me what he wants, so i usually end up making whatever i feel like. And so, when i got a request, it felt great. Meringues are so simple and easy to make and because they are so light and airy, you could just keep eating them. I got the recipe from a book titled "The Essential baking cookbook" which i had picked up at Borders a while ago. So here's the recipe:)

Note: You can make these in any flavor or variation. The basic recipe consist of the egg whites and Sugar. I of course added cocoa to make mine chocolate. You could do Almond, peppermint, lemon etc.

Chocolate Meringues


2 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp sifted cocoa powder.

~Method~ (makes 30)
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
2) Beat the egg white with an electric beater/stand mixer into stiff peaks.

3) Add the sugar in, 1tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat the mixture until thick and glossy and the sugar has dissolved. It will take about 10 mins.

4) Beat in cocoa powder.

5) Spoon mixture into a piping bag with plain round or star nozzle and pipe onto tray.

6) Bake for 20 to 25 mins, or until pale and dry. Turn of oven, leave the door ajar and cool the meringues in the oven. When cold, store in an airtight jar.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mee Goreng


Mee Goreng is a local Singaporean dish and has a few variations on it. There's a Malay version, a Chinese version and an Indian version. This one here is the Indian Mee Goreng and it's a recipe that my grandmother got from her good friend. My family have been using this recipe for years now and it's one that i enjoy making and eating very much. I've tried making it in different ways, however, this is still by far my favorite. "Mee" in the Malaysian language means noodles and "Goreng" mean fry giving us the name of this dish, fried noodles. It's such a simple dish but the sauces used in the noodles give it a unique flavor. I usually make it without eggs, but if you'd like it, it's something you can add to the noodle when you pan fry them. Here's the recipe:)


~ Ingredients ~

1 packet Fresh Egg Noodles ( Taiwanese egg noodles , available at Ranch 99)
2 medium size onions sliced up
1 packet Chinese spinach chopped, ( i use choy sum, it has yellow flowers )
1/2 cup cubed fried tofu
1 small can of Peas
1 1/2 tsp Green chili, ginger and garlic masala
3 serving spoons of Tomato ketchup
3 serving spoons of Chili sauce ( available at Chinese market)
3 serving spoons of soy sauce
3 serving spoons of Ketchup manis (sweet soy sauce, available at Chinese market)
1 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

(Noodles are spicy so adjust the chili to you taste)
~ Method~

1) In a large pot, stir fry chopped Onions in some oil until light golden pink.
2) Add Masala, Chili Powder, salt and turmeric and cook for a min.
3) Add in Tomato ketchup, chili sauce, soy sauce and ketchup manis. Stir everything and let it cook another min.
4) Add in tofu cubes, peas and spinach. Cook till spinach wilts a little. Than add in the fresh egg noodles and stir until all the ingredients are mixed in.
5) Taste the noodles and if more salt and spice is required, add some chili powder for spice and some salt .
6) Take a flat pan and pan fry mixed noodles lightly with a little bit of oil in batches.
Note: If you like eggs, scramble 1 egg 1st and than add the noodle to pan fry.
Mee goreng is now ready to eat!!! Yum Yum!!

Picture courtesy of Jigar Champaneria

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Red Velvet Cupcakes

As i mentioned in my previous, I've been taking a cake decorating class and we get to bake a cake every week for class. This decorating class is offered through Michael's and have 3 different courses. I finished my 1st one and am waiting to start the 2nd in a couple of weeks. So for our 3rd class, we had the option of making cupcakes and i decided on making red velvet cupcakes. Most people i know just love red velvet cupcakes and these came up moist and soft and airy which equals to PERFECT!! The rich red color with the chocolate flavor makes it great for any occasion. Red velvet cupcakes are usually either filled with or frosted and filled with cream cheese. The tartness of the cream cheese just goes so well with the sweetness of the cake. Here's the recipe.
http://pinchmysalt.com/2009/02/04/red-velvet-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe/

Red Velvet Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring (two bottles)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

4. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake cups with cake batter (they should be 2/3 – 3/4 full). You may not fill all the cups, I ended up with 20 cupcakes. Place muffin tins on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check early and don’t over bake!

5. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese icing (recipe below) and decorate with red sprinkles if desired. The cupcakes above were decorated using the Wilton Cupcake Decorating Kit and Valentine’s Sprinkles. They can usually be found at craft stores like Michaels or Joann.

*pictures courtesy of Jigar Champaneria*

Key Lime Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lately, I've been on a baking marathon. I've been taking a cake decorating class at my neighborhood Michael's and it's been so much fun. The only thing is that i have to bake a cake every week. There's only my husband and i at home and to eat all that cake, a big NO NO! So I've been sending it to my husbands work and i leave some for my play dates. Anyways, a dear friend had some yummy key lime cupcakes not to long ago and that got me tempted to try it out. I searched online for a good recipe and came across this one that i used. This recipe was used by so many people with great reviews, i figured it's got to be good. And guess what, it was great! I just loved it. The refreshing taste of the key lime just leaves you wanting for more. The cupcakes itself are moist and airy. And to make them look pretty, top it off with a lice of lime.My cupcakes are probably more green than they should be, but i like the brightness.You can always add less of the food color if you like something lighter. Here's the recipe :)

Key Lime Cupcakes
Adapted from Buttersweet Bakery courtesy of Bon Appetit
http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/2008/09/key_lime_cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup self-rising flour (make your own--add 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder & 1/2 tsp. salt to 1 cup all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2-1/2 Tablespoons key lime juice (about 10 key limes) or regular lime juice
1 Tablespoon key lime zest (about 10 key limes) or regular lime zest
1/4 teaspoon neon green food coloring ( i used the gel color in kelly green)
3/4 cup buttermilk

Frosting:
1 8 - ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tablespoon key lime zest (about 10 key limes) or regular lime zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift and whisk all-purpose flour and self-rising flour in a medium bowl. Don't have self-rising flour? You can make your own by adding 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup all-purpose flour, mixing well.

Beat butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat to blend. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add lime juice, lime zest and food coloring. Continue mixing until all ingredients are well combined.

Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions.

Spoon equal proportions of batter into a standard 12 cup muffin pan lined with paper liners. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the cupcakes immediately from the pan, letting them cool on a rack.

While waiting for them to cool down, make the frosting.

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, lime zest and vanilla extract on medium until smooth.

*pictures courtesy of Jigar Champaneria*

Monday, August 17, 2009

Onion Bhajia


Here's a dish every Indian kid has grown up eating. There's so many variations of the Onion Bhajia. They are basically onion rings or onion strings but with spices and a different type of batter. And Just like onion rings/strings, onion bhajia should be eaten while they are hot. Depending on which part of India you're from, some call is pakora, some call it bhaji and we gujarati's called it bhajia. It's usually made as an appetizer or even as an afternoon/evening snack to be eaten with some masala chai (tea). It's crispy with a little bit of spice, sweetness and sourness. You can never get enough of this. Once you start eating, it's just so addicting!

~Ingredients~ (Serves 2)
3 medium onions
1/2 cup Gram Flour
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup Rava (semolina)
1/4 cup cooked rice (mashed up)
2 tbsp rice flour
2 pinches of asafoetida powder
salt to taste

(Because onion has so much moisture in it, you do not need any water for this batter. Start with 1/4 cup of gram flour and add more if you feel there's not enough batter. The mixture should be some what dry with a little bit of moisture. You may also add as little or as much lemon juice and chili powder as you like.)

~Method~
1) Cut onion into half and slice it into thin slices. Separate the onion slices and put them in a large enough bowl. Toss in the rest on the ingredients and mix well. The mixture should be dry with a little moisture from the lemon and onions. Taste the batter a little to make sure there is enough seasoning.
2) Heat some oil and using you hand, scoop some of the onions and sprinkle them into the hot oil. Be careful not to burn yourself. Fry them at medium hi heat until golden brown. Remove from oil and serve hot. Enjoy!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Butter Chicken

As I'm looking at the picture of Butter Chicken, thinking of what i should write in this blog, all i can think about is the rich, creamy flavor. It's like i can almost taste the chicken just by looking at it! I do keep forgetting to mention that all the pictures of my food are taken by my dear husband whose passion is photography. So thanks alot for these wonderful picture! Alright, back to the chicken. So growing up, my mom never made butter chicken at home. And the only time we'd have it is if we went to an Indian restaurant . I like butter chicken but never really had it where it just blew me away. Not until one year, when i was back home in Singapore, visiting my family. My dad's cousin had me over for dinner and she made this delicious butter chicken. All i could think the entire time and the rest of the week was the butter chicken. The flavors, tenderness of the chicken and the yummy sauce. It was just right! I knew i wanted the recipe and to also see how it was prepared. I called my aunt, and she was so nice to share this recipe with me and have me over again so i can see how it was made. I have to say it isn't the healthiest but which Indian dish isn't?? I've made this many times and it's always been a hit. For those of my friends who've had it, you know what I'm talking about! So here's the recipe :).

BUTTER CHICKEN (BONELESS)
~Ingredients~

2 lbs chicken
1 tsp Red chili powder
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
a little Salt

~Marinate~
1/2 cup Yogurt
2 tbsp Ginger paste
2 tbsp Garlic paste
1 tsp Garam masala
1 tsp Red chili powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Oil
2 tbsp Butter (for basting)
Red Food Color

~Sauce~
900 grams tomato
500 grams onions
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp whipped cream
2 tbsp Kasoori Methi
1 tsp fresh ginger, garlic and chili paste
1 tbsp Garam masala
2 tsp red chili powder
2 Bay leaves
5 cloves
2 Elacho
Salt to taste

~Method for Tandoori Chicken~

1. Remove the skin and clean the chicken. Make incisions with a sharp knife (or fork) on breast and leg pieces. ( I usually end up using skinless, boneless breast )
2. Apply a mixture of red chili powder, lemon juice and salt to the chicken and leave aside for 15 min.
3. Hang the yogurt in a muslin cloth for 15-20 minutes to remove extra water. Add red chili powder, salt, ginger-garlic paste, garam masala powder, tandoori masala, oil and red colour.
4. Apply this marinade to the chicken pieces and refrigerate for 4 hours or more.
5. Cook this chicken in pressure cooker on low heat for 15-20 min. Do not add water. When cool, open the cooker. If there is too much water, boil it away on high heat till dry. Let it cool. Reserve the gravy and use it in butter chicken sauce later.
6. Break up the chicken into small boneless pieces.
7. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a non-stick pan. Stir-fry the chicken pieces on high till a little browned. Do this in 2 batches. Remove and keep aside.

(Alternatively, you can use tandoori chicken made in oven and then break it into boneless pieces. If making in the oven, You'll need butter for basting. For Pressure cooked chicken, you can skip the butter for basting and heat up just a little bit of oil so that chicken doesn't stick to the bottom.)

~Method for Preparing Sauce~

1. Quarter tomatoes and chop onions into big pieces. Put into pressure cooker. Do not add water. Cook for 10 min. on low. When cool, open the cooker. If there is too much water, boil it on high to reduce the water. Remove and cool. Blend in a blender and then pour mixture through a sieve to get a smooth sauce. It should look like a thick sauce.


~Method for Butter Chicken~

1. Heat 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add bay leaves, elacho and cloves. Then add ginger, garlic and chili paste, red chili powder, garam masala and salt. Cook for 1 minute or till dark brown.
2. Add sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add sugar or lemon to get desired taste if necessary. Add red colour if necessary.
3. Add cooked tandoori chicken pieces. Simmer for 5 minutes and then add kasoori methi (crushed), fresh chopped coriander and whipped cream. Mix until all ingredients are stirred in well.
4. Serve hot with naan or paratha.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vegetable Stew with Cous Cous


Thursday's are play date days and that means yummy lunch for the parents. My friends and i get together with our kids once a week and enjoy each other's company and have fun watching the kids be silly. It's such a great moment. This recipe here was shared with me by a dear friend from my play date group. It's such a simple recipe but so satisfying and delicious. Even my 15 month old daughter will come get a few bites from my husband and i while we eat. I've made it a bunch of times and it's a keeper. And every time i have this, i think of all the fun we have and stories we share at our play dates. So thank you my friend for this wonderful recipe:)

For the Cous Cous, you can get it at any grocery store. Follow directions on the package to cook it.

Vegetable Stew with Cous Cous

~Ingredients~
1 medium Potato
1 zucchini
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 32oz Vegetable stock/broth
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt to taste
crush red pepper to taste
hot sauce of your choice to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

~Method~

1) Chop all the vegetables into cubes. ( cube them to the size you would prefer)
2) In a large pot, heat some olive oil and add onions and minced garlic. Stir well and let it cook for 2 mins.
3) Add in the rest of the chopped vegetables. Stir well and cook covered for about 3 mins.
4) Add in the vegetable stock/broth along with salt, crushed red pepper and hot sauce of your choice. (You may use chili powder if you like) Stir well and bring it to a boil.
5) When the stock comes to a boil, add in tomato sauce. Bring to boil and let it simmer until the liquid has thicken up a bit and vegetables a cooked.
6) Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot with Cous Cous.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mee Siam


For those of you who have been to Singapore, the food you've had there is something you'll never forget. The authentic local food has it's own unique flavors and ingredients. Because the majority of the population consist of the Malays,Chinese and Indians, you can imagine all the different flavors you'd get. This dish here is actually a Malaysian dish and depending on where you have it, can be made with soup or without the soup. I however like it with the soup. It's a spicy and tangy soup with peanuts and because the noodle used in Mee Siam are rice noodle, it's light on your stomach. Traditionally, this dish is made with salted and fermented soy beans called Tao Cho and it also has belachan which is a shrimp paste base. I however make it without the soybeans and shrimp paste since i have friends who are vegetarian. So flavorful yet simple and it still taste just like it should. In Singapore, you can have Mee Siam even for breakfast or for an afternoon/evening snack. Since i have a 15 month old, and a few of my dear friends have kids around the same age, we have play date Thursdays. And it's just great because not only do the kids get to enjoy and play, the parents get to look forward to lunch and having a good time a well. Every week, whoever that's hosting the play date will make a delicious lunch for the 3 to 4 of us that are there. So it was my turn a couple of weeks ago and this is what i choose to make. Here's the recipe: ( This recipe makes for about 6 to 8 ppl )

~Ingredients~
7 Red Jalapenos
7 cloves Garlic
3 small onions
3/4 cup ground peanut

~Garnish For Noodle Soup~
cubed fried tofu
chopped green onions
Boiled egg

~Method~
1)Blend Jalapenos, garlic, onion and ground peanut in a food processor until it's a fine paste
2)In large pan, heat up 1/4 cup oil and saute the paste for about 10 mins. Stirring every few mins.
3)Remove 3/4 of the paste and put it in large pot to make the soup. With the remaining 1/4 paste, add 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1tbsp ketchup and 1 tbsp chili sauce and some salt to taste. Mix everything together and let it saute over medium heat for 2 mins. Turn it off and let it cool.
4)Make a packet of Rice noodles and mix the cooled paste into the cooked rice noodles. Make sure rice noodle are not over cooked. Warm it up in the Microwave just before serving.

(You can get rice noodles at the Chinese market. I like to use the thin, fine rice noodle. Any brand is fine.)

~Soup Method~
1) Add 4 cups water to the paste in the pot and bring it to boil.
2) In the mean time, add 2 tbsp brown sugar, chili powder, salt, some lemon and 1/2 cup finely ground peanuts.
3) Bring the soup to boil. Soup should be spicy with a bit of sweetness and sourness. Let it boil for about 5 mins .
4) Put some rice noodles in a bowl, top it with some chopped green onion, tofu and sliced boiled eggs. Pour hot soup over and serve.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Chocolate Chip Banana Cupcakes


The first time i made cupcakes from scratch were for my daughter's 1st birthday. And they turned out great and everyone enjoyed them. One little girl however loved it so much that she told my mother in law to have me make them for her again. That sure made my day! How could you say no to a child is what i thought. I made Lemon curd cupcakes for the birthday party and thought, why not try something different this time. Kids like chocolate and bananas! So i searched around online and came across this recipe. They were more muffin like and tasted like banana bread. Only difference was the chocolate chips.I made them and sent some over for the little girl who wanted my cupcakes. Of course i had to save some or my family too! It's such a great recipe to make with kids and to enjoy them later with the rest of the family! The best part of it all is the smell of fresh baked goodies! Mmmm so good!

Chocolate Chip Banana Cupcakes Recipe

* 3 cups all purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
* 3 large eggs
* 1 1/4 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
* 3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
* 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
* 2 cups mashed bananas
* 1 cup mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate chunks, semi sweet or milk chocolate

~Method~

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. This recipe makes 24 regular size cupcakes, so line muffin pans with paper or silicone liners and set aside.
* In a large bowl, combine flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside.In another large mixing bowl with a hand-held or stand mixer, beat eggs and sugars together. Add oil, vanilla, bananas and blend well. Scrape bowl.
* With mixer on low speed, add 1/2 the flour mixture and mix. Scrape down bowl and add the remaining flour. Beat on low just until blended and the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet ingredients.
* Fold in chocolate chips and coconut if desired.
* Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes, turning once half way through baking, until pick comes out clean.
* Let sit on cooling racks for 5 minutes before removing cupcakes from pans.
* Cool completely before frosting.
* At this point, the cupcakes can be wrapped in Ziploc Bags and frozen for up to 2 months.
* Makes 24 regular size cupcakes.

Chicken Biryani


Biryani is one of my all time favorite dish. Growing up in Singapore, you get all types of cuisine to choose from. And i remember my dad taking orders from everyone for our weekend biryani luncheon. I personally love having Fish Biryani. However, i've grown to like Chicken Biryani as well. When i first moved to the United States, my knowledge about cooking was very limited. I'd make simple and easy food which almost requiered nothing. And part of it also had to do with the fact that i was home sick and missed my family and friends dearly! But as years went by, it gave me more and more confidence to try new recipes and learn from my mother in law and mom in Singapore. And it's still a learning process. Sometimes my mother in law and mom would ask me for recipes :). And it feels great to be learning and sharing my experiences with my loved ones. So here's my all time favorite Chicken Biryani recipe that i learnt from my dear Mother in law:) She's an amazing cook and a great inspiration to me.

~Chicken Biryani~
Serves about 4 to 6 ppl


*Chicken*

1 1/2lbs Chicken breast cubed
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tsp Chili powder
3 tbsp tandoori chicken powder
2 tbsp ginger, garlic and chili paste
salt to taste.

1) Marinade the cubed chicken in the above ingredients and let it sit in the fridge for about 4 hrs. i usually marinade extra chicken and freeze the extra in a ziplock bag. That way, the next time i want to make more biryani, i have my chicken marinated and ready to go.
2) In a large pressure cooker, heat up some oil/ghee and add the marinated chicken . Add another 1 tbsp of ginger. garlic and chili paste to the marinated chicken. Stir well and pressure cook chicken for about 15 to 30 mins on low. Chicken should be well cooked and tender when you open the pressure cooker.
3) Heat some oil in a separate pan and add some cloves and cinnamon sticks. Add 2 chopped up medium onions and saute till they are golden brown.
4) Add the sauted onions into the cooked chicken along with 1/2 cup of yogurt , 3 tbsp of chicken masala, 1 tsp turmeric powder and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. Mix well and taste for seasoning.

*Rice*
- 2 cups of basmati rice, washed and soaked for 1/2 hr.
- 1/4 tsp saffaron

1)Cook rice in a rice cooker with some ghee, salt and saffaron.
2) When the rice is cooked, remove the rice cooker lid and let the rice cool a little.

*Biryani*

1)Slice up 2 large tomatoes and set aside
2) Take a baking dish and spread some rice . ( i like using my rectangular lasagna baking dish)
3) Place the cooked chicken on top of the rice followed by the sliced tomatoes. The tomatoes are to give some moisture and flavor to the rice. Put as many or as little as you'd like.
4) Repeat steps again in the order of rice/chicken/tomatoe
5)Cover the baking dish with some foil and bake it in the oven at 375 for 1/2 hr.
6) Serve hot with some yogurt on the side.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tandoori Chicken

Here's is another great recipe for BBQ's or grill in the oven. Tandoori Chicken is usually very tender and juicy since it's usually marinated for many hrs and has yogurt in it. It's healthy and easy to make and also a dish that everyone loves. Here is the recipe.

~Tandoori Chicken~
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cubed

1/2 cup yogurt, strained in a cheese clothe
3 to 4 tbsp tandoori masala
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
red food color
butter for basting
salt to taste

1) Mix all the ingredients in a bowl really well. Taste to make sure there is enough salt and spice. You may add more spice or less spice depending on your palate.
2) Add Chicken into the marinade and let it sit for 10 to 12 hrs. You may either BBQ it or grill it in the oven. Baste is with butter while cooking it. Serve hot with some mint chutney.

Lamb Kabobs with Mint Chutney


BBQ season is here and if you like spice and flavor, here is a great dish. Spicy Lamb Kabobs with a refreshing Mint Chutney. Both extremely easy to make and great for a quick meal. I usually make the chutney the day before, but if you like, you could even make it several days ahead and freeze it. As for the kabobs, i like to get all the spice into the ground lamb the day before I'm going to make them just so the meat gets enough time to get all the flavors in. These come out tender and juicy and are just great to eat while they are hot. Enjoy the recipe!

~Lamb Kabobs~
3 lbs ground lamb
1 tbsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp fresh ginger, garlic and chili paste
1 tbsp garam masala
salt to taste

1) Mix all the ingredients into the ground lamb really well the night before or morning of and let it sit until you're ready to cook them. ( i usually cook a little on a pan to taste and make sure there's enough spice and salt.)
2) You can either skewer them or roll them into kabobs using your hand and cook it on the BBQ or grill in the oven. Do not overcook or it'll get dry. Because there's enough fat in the meat, you don't need to baste it at all.

~Mint Chutney~
8 tomatillos
2 Serrano chili
1 medium onion
1 cup cilantro
1 1/2 cup mint
salt to taste
1/4 cup small chopped onions
2 tbsp vinegar

1) Chop up the tomatillos, onion and chili and cook in a large pan with lid on until all the ingredients are soft and tender. Be sure to stir the ingredients a few time while cooking.
2) Place the cooked ingredients in a blender with chopped cilantro, mint and salt and blend until pureed. Add some water if chutney is too thick.
3) Empty out Chutney in a bowl and add in Vinegar and small chopped onions. Mix and let it chill for 2 to 3 hrs. Serve when ready.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sophia's 1st Birthday Cupcakes!!

I can't believe my daughter is already 1!!! And i am just so glad that i made the birthday cupcakes myself instead of ordering them. This was something i really wanted to do. So much more meaningful and everyone loved them. Soft and moist with a burst of lemon and you bite into them. They were Lemon cupcakes filled with Lemon curd. Makes me want to have one right now as I'm writing up this blog. I decided to go with the bright colors since it was a garden themed party. So we had Aqua, Yellow and Rose Pink frosting for the cupcakes. I also ordered some sugar toppers to decorate the cupcakes so that they went with the theme. Something so simple, yet elegant. Here's the recipe for the cupcakes and Lemon curd. For the butter cream frosting, i used 1/2 stick of softened butter to 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and little bit of milk as needed for the consistency. Enjoy!!

~Lemon cupcakes~
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 8-ounce cartons dairy sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Line thirty 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and vanilla; beat until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. (The batter will be thick.) Stir in lemon peel.

3. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter into each prepared muffin cup.* Bake in the preheated oven about 18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Makes 30 cupcakes.

~Lemon Curd~
1/3 cup strained, fresh lemon juice
2 tsp fresh lemon zest
5 tbsp sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, combine sugar and lemon juice. Add zest and stir until sugar is dissolved completely.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg. Whisking constantly (or with an electric mixer on low), very slowly stream the hot lemon-sugar syrup into the egg. Beat for 2 minutes (only 1 if you’re using a mixer), then transfer back into the saucepan by pouring the mixture through a sieve.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the curd just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Transfer to a small airtight container and store in the fridge.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prawns in tomato and onion gravy


I love eating seafood and Prawns are one of my favorite. I've made them in a coconut gravy and a cilantro lime gravy. This one is very flavorful with the sweetness of onions and the tartness from the tomatoes. It also had a good amount of spice to it from the garam masala which is basically a mixture of a few different spices ground up together. This is the first time i've made them in the tomato and onion gravy. Another dish that i grew up eating. Mom's cooking is always the best and to learn from the top chef is even better:)) Here's the recipe: ( serves 4 ppl)

~Ingedients~
1 pound Shrimp headed and cleaned
2 meduim red onions chopped fine
2 roma tomatoes or any other type
1/4 tspn turmeric powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp fresh ginger,garlic and chili paste
a handful of chopped cilantro for garnishing
salt to taste

1)In a large pan, heat some oil and cook onions with the lid on until onions are well cooked. about 5 to 10 mins on medium heat. Stir frequently to prevent onions from browning to fast.

2) Add in the tomatoes and cooked for another 5 mins. Add in turmeric powder, fresh paste, and salt and cook for about 2 to 3 mins

3) Toss in the shrimp and cook until done. Add in garam masala and cilantro. Mix and serve with roti or rice.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Rava Dosa

Here's a South Indian dish called Rava Dosa. It's a thin crepe that's made from rice flour and Semolina. It goes along side with coconut chutney, tomato chutney and some potatoes. There's just such a variety in Indian food and they are all very different from one another. Rava Dosa is just one type of dosa. You can go all out and make cheese dosa, paneer dosa, and many more. This one is my husbands favourite and so here it is. It's light and crispy and gets even more flavorfull wtih the chutney's and potato. Something i would have anytime of the day! It's a dish taht kids would love to. I gave some to my 11 month daughter and she ate it with a smile! i've added spices to the batter but you could go plain and add just cumin seeds to it. To get a nice crispy dosa, you need to make the batter thin. Here's the recipe:

~ Rava Dosa ~
1cup Rice Flour
1/2 cup Rava
1 tbsp mainda
Finely chopped onions
Chopped Chili
Finely chopped Ginger
Curry leaves ( tear into half)

Mix all the ingredients together with water and add some salt to taste. Let it sit for about 2 hrs before making it. Make it into a thin batter. Make it in a non stick pan using a little cup to pour a thin layer. Put a little oil on the batter after it's poured into the pan and let it cook till a little crispy and brown

~Coconut Chutney~

Fresh grated coconut
ginger ( cubed )
dried red chilli
chana dal 2 tbsp
1/2 onion
1 tomato
Curry leaves

1) In a pan, heat some oil and saute the chana dal, curry leaves and dried chilli for 3 mins on med heat.
2)Add in the chopped onions, tomatoes and ginger and cook for another 3 mins.
3) Add in the coconut and mix well, add some salt to taste.
4) Let it cool a little and blend in well in a blender until it's a thick puree.
5) In a smal pan heat some oil and add mustard seeds, when seed are done popping, add some Hing and pour over the chutney. Mix and eat!!!

~Tomato chutney~

1 medium onion
3 medium tomatoes
Jeera 1tbsp
chana dal 2 tbsp
curry leaves
dried red chilli

1) In a pan with some oil, saute jeera, curry leaves and chana dal for 3 mins
2)Add the onions and tomatoes and cook till tomatoes are well cooked
3) Let it cool and blend it to make a smooth puree. At this point, add a little salt to taste a some lemon juice is tomatoes are not sour. This chutney should be a little tart and spicy.

~ Potat0~

2 medium patotoes (cooked, peeled and cubed)
1 tbspoon fresh ginger, garlic and chili paste
1 tbsp corriander powder
1 onion sliced
1/4 Urad Daal ( soaked )
a pinch of turmeric powder

In a pan, heat up some oild an cooked the soaked urad daal till light brown. Remove and set aside. Add in the onions and saute for 3 mins. Add in turmeric powder, Fresh paste salt to taste and cook for another 2 mins. Add potatoes, urad daal and corriander powder. Mix well and serve with Dosa.