Ria's Collection: March 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Before I begin with the post, I have some news for you. I am participating in a scholarship challenge held by the Institute of Culinary Education in New York for their Pastry & Baking Arts course. If you could take a moment to cast a vote for me,click here. It will help me a lot! You can vote everyday till March 28.If everything goes well as planned, I should join school this year.
15 Minute Puff Pastry
A few days ago I was searching the internet for a quick puff pastry recipe a.k.a rough puff pastry. I have made both of them previously and I never tire from making them. Who doesn't like Chicken Puffs & Egg Puffs? When I made them earlier, I reused my chicken curry to make the filling. This time I was aiming for an Egg Puff but I made some Palmiers with it. They are just like the Britannia Little Hearts. So addictive!The Rough Puff Pastry I made earlier was for the famous Bangalore snack called Dilkhush.
15 Minute Puff Pastry
Clotilde's recipe is so quick that you can make them in the last minute's notice.There is no chilling in between the rolling of the dough,which saves a lot of time. The end product was super flaky and buttery. Do not substitute butter for anything else as the flavour will alter if you do so. The bakery puffs we get back home is definately made with Dalda/Margarine. They taste greasy after a while. These,when made with pure sweet butter smells and tastes so good!
15 Minute Puff Pastry
I would suggest an egg wash to give them a golden colour but make sure you don't let the egg wash drip down the cut sides as it will prevent the pastry from rising to it's maximum. We do buy our puff pastry,occasionally. The convenience is great but the price isn't,especially when you have to entertain a crowd with it. Now that I have found the quickest and the best one, I don't think I would return to the frozen packaged ones for convenience sake. You can wrap it well and store in the freezer for upto a month. Thaw and use as needed.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter,cubed
1/3 cup ice cold water

Method: In a medium sized bowl, add the flour and salt. Stir to mix.
Add the cubed butter to the flour and work it in using a pastry blender or knives till they are crumbly and when the butter is in uniform pieces all about the size of peas. Make a hole in the centre of the flour mix and pour in the water. Work it in using a fork to form a dough.
15 Minute Puff Pastry
Dump it onto a floured cutting board and pat to form a rough square. The dough might look crumbly,that's just the way it should be. Using a rolling pin,roll out the dough into a 10 inch long rectangle.Fold the bottom third of the dough over the middle of the dough. Fold the upper third of the dough over the middle of the dough.Rotate the dough one-quarter turn and repeat. Use additional flour to prevent sticking. Repeat the process atleast 6 or 7 times more. Wrap the dough well in plastic and chill for a minimum of 1 hour in the fridge. Use as needed.
This was well recieved by everyone who tried it. I made Ian some plain puffs and he loved it! You can use this for every recipe which calls for frozen puff pastry.

So, don't forget to vote for me! Here's the link!

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Spinach Roti's
In our household,there's one person who needs to eat more greens.It's me.I have admitted to that fact that earlier in my life. It just doesn't go down well with me. I feel it tastes like Iron. Doesn't it? No? It could be just me then. Now that Ian is growing up to be a jolly good eater, I made sure that I should join the bandwagon,just to make sure his interest in food will stay intact. I started doing it by drinking green smoothies. They are insanely good just because it has a lot of fruits that I love! Pineapple,especially.
Spinach Roti's
Last year,when we went to Jobin's sister's house in Gwalior,her maid made us beautiful spinach roti's for dinner. I can eat roti's for 3 meals a day.And if there's a good non vegetarian curry,be it fish or meat, I can eat it 4 times a day! My love for kneading is also a reason why I like to make them. I love the entire procedure of making roti's. From mixing to kneading and to the final rolling. Some of my friend's say that they hate making them because it never turns out right. I personally feel that the dough should be soft and pliable. Add some more water and knead it well. I don't believe in kneading roti dough for like 10-15 minutes. I just knead it till all comes together. The consistency has to be right,that's the trick.
Spinach Roti's
Our weather has been so good for the last couple of day. It feels like Spring already! I was so excited about it that I wanted to try out something new for dinner. I am a bit weird,so many things have an effect on my cooking :-)
There was a packet of organic baby spinach lying in the fridge and it kept reminding me that I should eat more of it.That's when I thought about the spinach roti's we ate in Gwalior. So,I grabbed hold of the entire packet of spinach,pureeed it with just enough water and kneaded a soft dough for the spinach roti's. I also had some dough for the usual roti's,so Ian had checkerboard roti's for dinner.

Spinach Roti's
Things you will need:
2 kind of roti dough
   a) Roti dough made with wholewheat flour and water
   b) Roti dough made with wholewheat flour and spinach puree (I just blended some spinach and enough water to make a paste)
Paring knife
Cookie cutter
Rolling pin
Extra  wholewheat flour

Method: Take 2 golf ball sized dough balls from the two different roti dough and roll them out using a rolling pin into a square/circle. Cut out thin strips using a paring knife.
On a lightly floured surface, weave the dough strips and then roll the rolling pin over it so that it flattens the dough and glues it in place. Cut them out into desired shapes, I used a round cookie cutter and cook them as you would with a roti dough.

Guess what? These don't taste like they have spinach in them! It's good news for me atleast. My mind is now working on other kind of dough's which can add more goodness to my diet. I felt so good eating it because I could feel that my meal was wholesome,especially when I pair it with a curry rich in protein.I felt like I was playing with play doh when I made the dough as it was bright green in colour. The colour will fade as it cooks to a dull green but the goodness remains intact!

Monday, March 2, 2015


Pistachio Rosewater Cake
Ilove the colour and flavour of pistachios.Growing up,Jogy Chachan and Mini Aunty,along with Appu,Tichu & Tia would come over to stay with us for every single holiday. When they came from Goa,tinned salted pistachios with shells on were one of the goodies they brought along with Bebinca,Bournvita Biscuits,Shrewbury Biscuits, Chocolates etc. I liked those Pista's mostly for it's salted shells. As a child, I would sneak into the dining room and drink salt water and add extra salt to my rice,for every meal. I just loved it. Everyone knew this habit of mine and they still talk about it. But, that habit of mine died over the last few years. I don't salt even my rice anymore!
Pistachio Rosewater Cake
Getting hold of unsalted,shelled Pistachio's in Kannur was impossible until a few years ago.It could be because they are always highly priced.When I wanted to make the Chocolate Pistachio Fudge (which I make every year as a part of our Christmas hamper)a few years ago, I bought some during a familt trip to Mysore. I still remember the happiness of holding that small packet of green nuts. Gone are those days of excitement because everything is in available in plenty in the US.
Pistachio Rosewater Cake
When I saw the recipe for a Pistachio & Rosewater Cake in NY Times, I immediately bookmarked it to try it for the coming weekend,as we had planned to celebrate a dear friend's birthday at home. We,as a family, believe in having quality friends over quantity.We make their special days a day of celebration for us! Our friend's birthday coincided with Amma's birthday,so it was extra special for me. Let me warn you, this cake is dense,like how it should be and it's an adult cake unless your kids are good eaters! It's chock full of nuts and other goodness and contains very little flour. It is flavoured with rose water and orange and iced with a simple glaze icing.
Pistachio Rosewater Cake Makes one 8 inch cake

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup finely ground unsalted pistachios
1 cup finely ground blanched almonds
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon rosewater
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Glaze Icing:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoon lime juice

Grated lime zest and chopped pistachios for decoration

Method: Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C and line the bottom of an 8 inch cake tin with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar till light and fluffy.Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the ground nuts and mix well. Add in the orange juice,zest and rose water and mix well. Fold in the flour,gently using a rubber spatula. Do not overmix.
Transfer the batter into a cake tin and bake until top is firm and golden brown,about 40 minutes. Cover the top loosely with a piece of foil and continue to bake till the cake is done,about 10 minutes.Allow the cake to cool in the tin for several minutes,then take it out and let it cool completely.

Icing: Mix together the ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the cooled cake. I garnished the top with grated lime zest and chopped pistachios. Let the icing set for a minimum of 1 hour ( which I didn't!) so that you can slice it beautifully.

*There are no leavening agents for this cake.

Like I said earlier, this is a very moist,fragrant,dense cake.You should really try it even if you like are into the fluffy cakes.Make sure you have the best quality ingredients. I source my rosewater and almonds from Kashmir, India. Jobin's sister sends it through his mom,when she visits us.A lot of rosewater lack flavour. Try to get the purest,if you can. It really make a big difference,just like a real vanilla extract.It adds character to your goodies.

These days, I am exploring new flavour combinations like this one and I must say, I am loving it! This cake was so good and our friends enjoyed it thoroughly. I had one too many glasses of wine that night,so cannot really remember if Ian took a bite of it! Our friend had brought in some Raspberry wine that his super talented friend makes,so you know,someone's got to taste it, right? ;-)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...