Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TRADITIONAL MADELEINES...for 300,000 hits! Woo Hoo!

"The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it...." but "....as soon as I had recognized the taste of the piece of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-blossom which my aunt used to give me .... immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set to attach itself to the little pavilion opening on to the garden which had been built out behind it for my parents."


Marcel Proust (1871-1922)
'Remembrance of Things Past'



Yes it's time for another celebration on RC. This time it's because we hit another 100,000 visitors here in less than 2.5 months! Thank you all SO SO much for making this happen! I am not sure if you guys have noticed the 'Contact Me' page, where you can contact me (DUH!) inorder to clear any recipe doubts or recipe requests :-) So make use of that page!
This time around, I thought I'd keep my celebrations simple as we are going to have a jam packed eating session for the coming week. So let's keep some extra calories at bay :)


Madeleins are from France. They are feather light in weight and they have a characteristic 'hump' ( which looks like a pot belly to me) and it that 'hump' which determines the quality of it.Luckily I did get that 'hump' for my madeleins :) If you are a fan of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. series, you would have heard Ross talking to Monica about these goodies. He says ,'they were light as feather'.

The honour for naming this cake so, belongs to King Stanislas Leszczynski of Poland, who, in the eighteenth century , tasted a tea cake made by a local woman in Commercy , France. He was so delighted with the cookie that he named it after the baker, Madeleine. (Info. courtsey: Dorie Greenspan)

The batter can be made up to 2 days in advance and they need to be chilled for a minimum of 3 hours. Don't try to cheat on it...you won't get the 'hump'.To make these beauties, you will need the specialised pan which can be bought in speciality shops in US. In India, I have never seen it, maybe you can get it now.






TRADITIONAL MADELEINS
Recipe from: Baking from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan, pg:166
Makes 12 large madeleines



Ingredients:
All purpose flour-2/3 c
Baking powder- 3/4 tsp
Pinch of salt
Sugar-1/2 c
Grated zest of one lemon
Eggs- 2 large, at room temperature
Vanilla extract- 2 tsp
Unsalted butter-3/4 stick/6 tbsp, melted and cooled


Method:
For the batter:

  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large bow, rub together the sugar and lemon zest till the sugar is moist and fragrant (less than a minute).
  • Add the eggs to the bowl and beat together on medium-high speed until pale, thick and light, 2-3 mins.
  • Beat in vanilla and with a rubber spatula,very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by melted butter.
  • Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface(yes, you read it right) of the batter and refrigerate it for atleast 3 hours, or for up to 2 days.

Getting ready to bake:

  • Centre a rack in the oven and pre heat the oven to 400 F.
  • Butter the tin generously and dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess.
  • Spoon the batter into the moulds, filling each one almost to the top. Don't worry about spreading the batter, the oven's heat will take care of that.
  • Bake them for 11-13 mins or till they are golden brown and the tops spring when touched.
  • Rap the pan on the counter and the madeleins will fall out.
  • Cool to room temperature and serve. You can also serve them warm.
  • Store in airtight containers.


Verdict:
These beauties are perfect as gifts. They are best eaten warm on the same day but can be served at room temperature, too. Jobin loves madeleins and whenever I plan to  bake a batch as gifts, I make an extra batch  for him to do the taste test...yeah we eat not just one, but an entire batch to taste test and tell ;)
So thank you all,once again, for letting my blog touch this milestone!

Much love,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Guess who I met today?



Yes, it's true! I met her! More on this in the next post :-)

CRACKERS & STRAWS - Global Kadai Event



This must be one of my craziest months ever, and I am so late in hosting this beautiful event called the 'Global Kadai' by Cilantro. According to her, 'It is a food blogging event, showcasing Global Flavour in an Indian version'.

Being the host and looking for something different, I thought of choosing 'Crackers & Straws' as the theme for this month. I simply love them! We all know what Crackers are, those squarish or roundish crunchy munching material that we have along with Chai. And of course, we all know Straws...those curly or rectangular savory snack that we usually have , stacked carefully in our 'biscuit' tins.So, basically make a cracker or a straw and give a nice Indian twist to it!

If you still didn't get it, though I am sure you did, you can have a look at this Cracker & Straw for ideas.

Now it is your turn to come up with some real cool ideas!When you post them, do not forget to include a link to this post.When you are ready, send in your entries to airmathew AT gmail DOT com  with these details:

For bloggers:
Subject: GLOBAL KADAI
Your name
Picture (not more than 300 px)
Blog's name
Blog's url (for the item)

For non-bloggers:

Subject: GLOBAL KADAI
Your name
Picture (not more than 300 px)


Please feel free to include the logo in your post. The deadline for the event is  DEC 5 and the round up will be posted in a week's time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

JALEBI for the Festival of Lights - Diwali


I
f you are a follower of my blog, you would have noticed that I usually do not celebrate a lot of festivals here. It's not because I am partial towards any,it's just that I am not sure whether I'd be able to follow it every year. But Christmas is celebrated big and wide here :-) And I am so waiting for this year's X'mas, as it is our first X'mas together, my first white X'mas and also my first X'mas outside India and my family being SO far away.

I had been planning to try out Jalebi for sometime now and it just happened to be today and so I thought I'd rather kill 2 birds with one stone :-) This is not the first time I am making Jalebi's. When I was in India, I had tried it out once and it did come out pretty nice.So this time around I thought I'd use a different recipe so that I can compare the results between the previous recipe. I would say, this recipe had a better outcome. Or maybe I have become a better cook now :-)

Anyhow, this recipe is a keeper and you all should try this sometime. You may have to be a bit patient, though. I tried squiggling with the batter and the batter wouldn't come out. It let out air into hot oil and I was seriously loosing my patience.My friend, Reeta, who was with me when I tried it out last afternoon , suggested that I keep the squeeze bottle nozzle - side down so that the batter will flow down...and it did! :-) Then we both had a great time making Jalebi's :-) Oh by the way, try to have it as hot as possible, there's nothing like it!









JALEBI
Recipe source: Hetal & Anuja
Please note that I made only half the quantity and it yielded me about 20-22 jalebi's.

Ingredients:
All purpose flour/Maida- 2 c
Cardamom powder-1/8 tsp
Yeast-1 tsp
Warm water-1/4 c
Cornflour/Cornstarch-2 tsp
Oil-1 tsp
Yoghurt-1 tbsp
Warm water- 3/4 c

For the syrup:
Sugar-1 1/4 c
Water-1cup
Lime juice-1 tsp
Red food colour- a pinch
Cardamom powder-1/4 tsp

Method:
  • Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 c warm water and keep it aside for 10 mins until frothy.
  • Mix rest of the ingredients together and add in the yeast mixture.
  • Place this bowl in another bowl filled with some warm water. Cover the bowl with the mix with a lid.
  • Leave this in a warm place and let the mix rise for 45 mins.
  • Once it's risen, stir with a spoon , just to mix everything together.
  • Pour into a mustard/sauce bottle and keep aside.
During the last 5 mins of the dough rising, make the syrup for the jalebi and also heat the oil for frying.

For the syrup:
  • Heat everything together on high for 2 mins. Reduce the flame to a simmer.
Making the Jalebi:
  • When the oil is hot, squeeze out some batter from the bottle and move your hand in a circular motion till you form one jalebi. You might have to go round and round 5-6 times. Make sure you don't leave any loose ends because the jalebi will be open, otherwise.
  • Fry till golden on one side, the flip it over. When the bubbles subside, they are done.
  • Transfer the hot jalebi's into the simmering sugar syrup. 
  • Do not leave it for more than 30 seconds in it.Turn them and make sure the sugar syrup is coated on either side.
  • Transfer them to a plate and serve them hot!

Verdict:
It was perfectly sweet, juicy and crunchy.We really enjoyed this treat! I don't think it can get any simpler or easier to make at home. If you are having guests coming for lunch or dinner, you can surely make this ahead and serve it to them. Jalebi's have a very high 'oomph' factor attached to it :-)

So here I am, wishing all my readers a very happy & safe Diwali! ~*Enjoy your day*~


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

THE MAKING OF FRESH APPLE CIDER


R
emember the last time I told you about Apple Cider?We went to an Apple Orchard last month and that's where we saw them making Apple Cider . Till then, I had no clue about how it tasted. I have seen them in stores, they have a pale colour...can call it slightly muddy in colour (which I think is because of oxidation). They were giving out samples and we got our share. It tasted so so good and refreshing that we stood back to see them make it. I am sure some of you wouldn't have seen this before, so here it is . I don't know whether this is how apple cider is made commercially, but that day, in that farm, they made it this way.


There were a lot of people other than just the 2 of us. So we stood in line. Patiently. And I wriggled myself to find a place as close as I could, so that...

... I could see  better and also click  better, without any one obstructing me ;-)

So this man, in red, was telling us that, the boy is putting in 24 apples of 5 varieties into a slot behind that wooden plank. And can you see that wheel in red? Oh yes, it's matching matching. So once the apples are in, the man in red, will turn the wheel...

... and the apples gets crushed in between and come out like that and falls into the wooden barrel.

This is how it looks like after all the 24 apples are crushed.

After showing us the crushed apples, they then push back that wooden barrel into it's place .

They placed a wooden plank, in the diameter of the barrel over the crushed apples.Then the boy starts to turn that black thing and it goes down and presses that wooden plank placed over the apples and squeezes them.Do you know what happens when you squeeze crushed apples that way? No?

This is what happens. Notice the colour? It's kind of white which turns into muddy brown later due to oxidation.
Do you know what happens when it's squeezed even more? No?

This is what happens.
Do you know what happens if it's squeezed further more? Yes? Ok...Sshhh! Don't act smart, now, okay? :-P

You get fresh Apple Cider!! See, I knew you knew it :-P

Then he showed us what was left in that bag, nothing special, just some really crushed apples which by the way is still edible.

It's time for some fresh apple cider! Notice the colour ,now?
Woo hoo! I got to drink another cup :-)

Now that's for you :)
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