Friday, May 27, 2011

VIP FOOD BLOGGER MEET aka BIG BANANA NIGHT!

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It's time for the Minnesota Food Blogger's meet once again! The wonderful VIP Food Blogger meet was sponsored by DOLE Bananas and hosted by Caribe Caribbean Bistro & Shaina of Food For My Family. I knew I was going to have fun and I was not wrong! I mean, a group of food bloggers and good food, the room can never be quiet!
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Since it was sponsored by DOLE bananas, everything had a touch of banana in it, starting from the Grilled Bananas to the  Banana Spritzer below, which I have to mention was fantastic!
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Here's the menu for you guys. Trust me, every single thing on that menu was just awesome!
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It was such a wonderful evening! The food was so good...the dessert (Banana Coconut Rum Creme Brulee) blew our minds away! Some of us actually licked the bowl clean! Yes, really! It was that good!

Now I'm waiting for the next get together! :-)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

EGGLESS CHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA SQUARES...delish!

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Oh, it's not that easy being a Gemini. I think that should talk enough for this whole post. You know what? We are a crazy bunch but I still will and forever fight back if people say we are double-faced. We all are, it's not just the May 22 - June 22 born fabulous people alone :-)  I'm in a good mood today...to whine! I mean, I was so happy on Sunday when my little brother topped his school in Business Studies and grabbed a 'Distinction' for his board exams and till I decided to bake a cake to celebrate !
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Why is it so difficult for me to chose one recipe and then stick onto it? Why do I want to experiment all the time? Why do I go to the kicthen with my mind fixed on one (I start with an Oreo Pie) but ends up making a 'totally different' something ( a Sorbet!!!) which has absolutely nothing to do the former idea(Am I being repetitive?)? Why do my mind wander so much? Why do I dream so much?Why am I whining so much on a Thursday when I'm usually very happy about the next day, Friday?
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Ah! That word Friday just cheered me up, peeps! It's the day I look forward to from Sunday. What is so special you may ask? I have no answer to give you for that. It just like any other day, but there's something about Friday! Jobin tells me  that I forget how to cook on weekends, maybe that's why! So it's Friday tomorrow and it's a long weekend this time! Yay! I'm super happy now! See how my mood changed from what you just read above? Life of a Gemini!
Chocolate Chip Banana Squarecakes
I  baked these eggless cakes using Aparna's recipe a while back and since I didn't bake a cake to celebrate Ritchie's success, I thought I'd just use this instead...after all I promised you guys a cake! :)

SquarecakesCHOCOLATE CHIP BANANA SQUARES
Ingredients:
75g butter,softened at room temperature
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 large banana
2-3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cardamom powder (optional)
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c semi sweet chocolate chips

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 350F and prepare your cake tin. You can use your regular square cake tin or use a tin like mine, if you have one.

Puree the banana with milk , vanilla and cardamom powder,if you are using.
In another bowl, beat together butter and sugar till it's creamy and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Add the pureed banana to it and beat on medium till well incorporated.
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into the bowl and beat on medium speed till it is incorporated.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin  and sprinkle some extra chocolate chips if you'd like.Bake for 20-25 mins (for my kind of tin) or 30-40 mins for the bigger tin (8 inch square). Cool in the tin for 5 mins and then unmould it and cool on wire rack.
This cake keeps well for almost 4 days.

Verdict: You can never miss the eggs in this cake. It's really nice and soft with a subtle banana flavour. I'm sure you can eat this for breakfast too!

Monday, May 23, 2011

COCONUT OATMEAL SNACK BARS

Coconut Oatmeal Bars
Idon't think I have told you that I love Coconut Oil or have I? It shouldn't come as a surprise since I come from the Land of Coconuts, Kerala.Given a chance I would cook everything in it,I mean, Kerala stuff. So when I was packing to move to the US one of the two things I held precious were my cookbooks and then 2 packets of Coconut Oil. Unfortunately, in the last minute hurry, I forgot to take the 2 precious packets and I realised that only after I landed here :-( You can guess it, I was definately not happy! So when Amma got a chance, she sent 2 packets with Jobin's bro when he got back after his visit to India.
Coconut Oatmeal Bars

That second packet out the 2 packets is almost over now and that's when Jen from Kelapo wrote to me asking if I wanted to review their product,Kelapo 100% Pure Virgin Coconut Oil. I jumped up with joy and grabbed the offer and she put it in the mail for me that day itself. As soon as I received the packet, I tore it open , unscrewed the bottle's cap and sniffed into it. It smelt so good but much more coconut-y almost like coconut cream. Maybe it's the difference in the processing that it smells different from the regular Indian Coconut Oil.
Coconut Oatmeal Bars

I have read a lot about using Coconut Oil in baking and since I love coconut oil and baking, I decided to combine the two and see how it works in Megan's recipe. The results were good and we loved it. I shared most of it with a friend of ours and she liked it too.
Coconut Oatmeal Bars

The folks at Kelapo has offered you readers a 20% discount if you want to try some of that wonderful oil,so at the checkout use the code Ria20 (It's case sensitive!) to get some bucks off!


Coconut Oatmeal Bars
Aaaannnd my little brother passed his board exams in super flying colours!! So watch out for the next post...there will be some cake in it :)

Coconut Oil
COCONUT OATMEAL SNACK BARS
Makes 12 bars
Ingredients:
1/4 c coconut oil (You can use regular vegetable/canola oil)
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp skim milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup oats ( I used Quaker)
1/2 c + 2/3 c  wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 c dessicated coconut

3/4 c chocolate chips, melted
Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350F/180F

Beat together oil, sugars,milk,egg & vanilla for 2 mins or till the sugar dissolves.
Dump the dry ingredients into the wet and mix together until just combined with a rubber spatula.
Spread this in a lightly greased 8 x 8 in. square baking tin and bake for 20-25 mins or until golden( It will be soft to touch).
Take it out and spread the melted chocolate over it. Cool completely and cut into bars.
Store in an airtight tin.

Verdict: Delicious to the last bite! The coconut oil can be substituted for your vegetable/canola oil and still get perfect results! I know I am going to try many other recipes with Coconut Oil. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I really am falling for wholewheat in baking!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WHOLEWHEAT FRUIT & NUT COOKIES...a fabulous one!

Wholewheat Fruit & Nut Cookies
Ilove cookies and I'm just looking for an excuse to bake a batch of 'em.The Food Blogger Bake Sale gave me a reason to bake to my heart's content and I took these cookies along with my Indian Curried  Puffs & Lamingtons. I saw this recipe on Swapna's wonderful blog and I knew I would be making it as soon as possible since she called it 'healthy' cookies!
I cannot tell you how good these cookies are, you will absolutely love it as they are tasty,chewy (in a good way) and butter-less! I made 4 batches in less than a week's time and they disappeared as soon as they were baked and hopefully they don't make an appearance on my waist! ;-)
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The bake sale was so much fun! I got to meet many talented food bloggers that I haven't met before at other events and the highlight was meeting Amanda of I Am Baker. She is so wonderful and talented! Kate is a great organiser and she chose the perfect venue which was Kitchen in the Market. (It'sAmanda & Stephanie in the picture above, Kate in the picture below)
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Now back to the cookies...the original recipe calls for a portion of flax seeds which makes it healthy but I didn't have any of it, so I substituted it with oatmeal and also used cashews & raisins ! These cookies are so so good,go bake a batch of 'em and fall in love with it!

Wholewheat Fruit & Nut CookiesWHOLEWHEAT FRUIT & NUT COOKIES
Recipe source: Eat Good 4 Life

Ingredients:
3/4 c wholewheat flour (I used Ashirvad Atta)
3/4 c oatmeal (I used Quaker oats)
1 c dry fruits (I used cashewnuts & raisins)
1/2 c chocolate chips
1tsp baking soda
1 egg
2/3 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c canola/vegetable oil
1 tsp Vanilla


Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C and line your cookie sheet with baking parchemnt.
Whisk together eggs,sugar,oil and vanilla in another bowl.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix it in with a rubber spatula.
Drop level tablespoons of dough onto the cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 mins.
Cool on the tin for 2 mins and then on the wire rack till cooled completely.
Store in an airtight tin.


Verdict: Absolutely delicious! Jobin is not a cookie person but he said these cookies were 'Incredible'! I am addicted to it and I am sure this cookie is going to be a regular in our home,whenever the cookie craving hits me! It's so simple to make! I guess I'm starting to fall for wholewheat products,they are a lot more healthier than refined flour.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

RE-VISITING CHOCOLATE BISCUIT PUDDING for 600,000 hits!

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Isomehow just cannot get enough of this pudding. This has been one of my firm favourites due to ease and taste. It's not that I have't blogged about it, it's just that I have improved in photography over the years and I wanted to give this pudding a better look and share it with you all so that this deliciousness wouldn't go unnoticed! It needs attention :-) I have plenty of time in my hands when it comes to dessert and I want it to look as pretty as it can even if I am standing on one leg in my messy kitchen :-)
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This recipe comes from my Aunt Beeji. She is my dad's cousin and I remember asking her for some recipes a  long time ago, easily 10 years ago. She said she has this yummy biscuit pudding recipe which she shall send me once she gets back home, which she did. I love recieveing letters especially in this world of everything electronic.There's something about fresh ink and paper, it's so personal, so touching that makes you want to treasure it.
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I still have that copy she sent me. She sent me some fabulous icing recipes too, along with it. I have used her 'Fudge Frosting' recipe on my Mahogany Cake and it is a winner. You need to work fast with that icing because it might dry out otherwise and be a bit crackly.
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So here's is the recipe (once again!) for my favourite easy pudding as I celebrate the success of my little blog having 600,000 hits!

CBPMY FAVOURITE CHOCOLATE BISCUIT PUDDING
Recipe source: Beeji Aunty
Serves 6-8 depending on the size of your dish.

Ingredients:
200g Marie biscuits,crushed
100gSalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 c milk
1 c sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp Vanilla/Rum

1 c heavy cream, whipped

Method:
Mix together crushed biscuits and butter till they are soft and sand-like. Spoon in half of it into wine glasses and press it with a spoon and level it.Reserve the remaining biscuit crumbs aside.
Make a thick sauce by boiling together milk,sugar, cocoa powder & cornflour.Whisk constantly to obtain a smooth sauce .When cooled, add vanilla/rum. Divide this among the wine glasses.
Top it with the remaining biscuit crumbs and then put a blob or two of whipped cream in each glass.
Let it set in the fridge for 4 hours. Serve cold.
You can decorate with a cube/square of chocolate like I did :-)


Verdict: I can eat this for brekky, lunch, tea time and dinner! I love this pudding so much that I convinced Amma to add it to her 'Cookery Class Menu'. There is nothing to go wrong with this recipe, so it's simply fool proof! Go ahead and try it for yourself and if you do, please let me know how you liked it :-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

CHOCOLATE & VANILLA BAVARIAN CREAM GATEAU

Jobin's Cake
Ihave no idea what took me so long to update this little space of mine after his birthday. Anyways it's better late than never : D The weather here is changing everyday. Finally we got to see some greenery on  the otherwise skeletons of trees. But this morning I woke up to see a gloomy sky giving way to heavy lightning and thunder and I was as happy as a peacock! Every time the sky gets gloomy, I see myself longing for heavy thunderstorms and rain.I'm just like a peacock, who does a rain dance with it's beautiful feathers (not that I have any) every time it's about to rain :)
Jobin's Cake
This was Jobin's 2nd cake for his birthday. I thought of mixing up 4 of my favourite components while making a gateau : Simple Sponge, Soaking Syrup, Bavarian Cream & Ganache. You can never go wrong with this combo. The cake & filling was very light and the soaking syrup moistened the cake beautifully. I set the cake in a loaf tin as I didn't want the same old rectangular/square/round birthday cake this time. I'm sure I'll return to my favourite round very soon :-)

'A Sweet Punch' is completing a year  this month, so we thought of asking our members to bake whatever they like. So this is what I am sending in as my entry for this month! I still cannot believe that our little group has turned one! :-)
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CHOCOLATE & VANILLA BAVARIAN CREAM GATEAU

You will need:
Simple Chocolate Sponge (Recipe given below)
Vanilla Bavarian Cream ( I made only half the quantity and omitted coffee powder from the recipe)
Soaking syrup
Chocolate Ganache

Recipe & Method for the sponge:
Beat 1/2 c granulate sugar and 3 large eggs together for 10-12 mins on high speed. I used my hand held beater. Fold in 1/4c all purpose flour,1/4 c cocoa powder & 1 tbsp cornflour. Pour into a loaf tin and bake at 350F/180C for 25 mins or till it is springy to touch. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, demould and cool completely. Slice it horizontally into 3.

Assembly:
Line your loaf tin with plastic wrap and put one layer of sponge, moisten it with the syrup and pour half the bavarian cream over it. Repeat. The last layer should be a layer of sponge.
Let it set in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours.

De-mould it and drizzle ganache over the sides and top. I didn't level the top completely as I wanted a bit of an 'old fashioned' look for the cake.Decorate with slivered almonds.Chill till needed.

Verdict: I took this cake to my relative's house that evening as we were having a get together there. Everybody was intrigued by the texture of the cake as you can see that the bavarian cream was pushed out of the cake layers that it coated the sides too. It was very moist and equally delicious! Bavarian cream is one of the easiest and tastiest filling you can make for your layered cake. I'm so hooked onto it now!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

jOBIN


I made his childhood favourite, Lamingtons as his 1st cake for the day. The 2nd cake for the day will follow :)

For the recipe,click here
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