Friday, January 31, 2014

Apple Cake


Honestly, I didn't think January would pass by so quickly. I had thought about blogging more regularly but a bout of illness and a great deal of cooking left me with not much time in blogdom. I hope that isn't the case with most of you! 
This morning we had a fancy version of eggs on toast and I was left with a the whites of six eggs. I had often thought about making these bacon and egg breakfast cups but never got around to it. You can check out this link here. With breakfast done I checked out my fridge for what I could team the egg whites with. Macarons? No, something else. Finally settled for a cake with an apple topping. 
The recipe uses the usual ingredients except that the eggs are in the form of egg whites only. I used two sweet apples for the top layer. The cake was baked for 25 minutes and yes, it turned out to be yum!:)

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Beetroot Brownies

Roasted beetroot salad with pine nuts & edible winter blooms
With beetroots in season I have been incorporating them in several dishes. My favourite happens to be the roasted salad with a light dressing of olive oil, pepper, and salt. With nasturtiums blooming now I often add the leaves and the blooms but in this picture I've also added pea tendrils and blooms. It is known that the more vibrant the colours are of fruits and vegetables the more they offer in the form of nutrients. And having such a "good-looking" dish is indeed a feel-good factor.

Although I had read about beetroots in cakes I had never tried out any recipe. But the December issue of Good Food had loads of recipes with this veggie and the pictures were out of this world. So the other day I made brownies with 500 grams of beetroots and some dark chocolate. They turned out to be moist and absolutely delicious! I did make some adaptations by cutting down on the sugar. The recipe from the magazine is given below.
The icing was a little runny but tasted so good!

beetroot 500g, washed
rapeseed oil 100ml
dark chocolate 250g, chopped (I used Morde)
eggs 3 large
golden caster sugar 200g (I used only 100g of regular ground sugar)
vanilla extract 2 tsp
plain flour 140g
cocoa powder 75g
baking powder 1tsp
walnuts 50g, roughly chopped

The Icing
icing sugar 100g (I used less)
beetroot juice 1 tbsp

~Heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20x30cm cake tin with baking parchment. Boil the beetroots in a pan of boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain and leave to cool before peeling.
~ Chop one-third of the cooked beetroots into small cubes and blitz the remainder to a paste in a sieve over a bowl to collect 1-2 tbsp juice. Save this for the icing, and mix the oil into the puree.
~Melt the chocolate slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and leave to cool slightly. Use an electric whisk to beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl until light, fluffy and tripled in size. Carefully fold the eggs into the beetroot mixture, followed by the melted chocolate. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, then add walnuts and the chopped beetroot.
~Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes. The brownies should still be slightly gooey in the middle. Allow to cool. Mix enough reserved beetroot juice with the icing sugar to get a runny icing. Remove brownies from the tin, drizzle with the icing and cut into squares.

I used butter instead of rapeseed oil and apart from cutting down on the sugar there were no changes made. Everyone who tasted these brownies said that they were the best!:)

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Seaweed & Fish-ball Soup

When my b-i-l's Korean friend brought some extra tins of seaweed, they invariably found their way to my kitchen. Laughing all the way I must say.:) Excess food from the kitchens of my siblings and relatives have always been welcomed. In most cases, the way to everyone's heart is indeed, via the stomach!!
Anything coastal has been the occasional squid sitting on a crowded beach in Chennai. Although I have been trying out global cuisine in some form or the other, seaweed wasn't really on my list. Looking up online I was amazed at the nutritional values of the humble seaweed. Apart from that I did check out some sites but checked out my fridge and brought it all together in a form of a simple but wholesome soup.

There was some fish so I made fish balls with pepper, salt, and an egg yolk. The other vegetables that went into the broth (fish again) were peas, carrots, two types of brassicas, and lastly, the seaweed was added. It was more like a delicious garnish as it soaked up the flavours from the fish and the veggies. I loved the taste and am now thinking of hmm, a salad or another kind of soup....

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Braiding In The New Year!

Braided bread topped with sesame seeds
 I've been busy  entertaining family and friends which kept me away from blogging. But the joy of working on recipes is much more when there are many {mouths:)}to sample them. To see my braided bread and the orange sour cream cake relished gave me such satisfaction that I spent an afternoon baking the Finnish pulla bread today. The bread in the first picture actually started as a pulla but I didn't add the cardamoms and finished off with sesame seeds.
Orange& sour cream cake with orange/honey drizzle
It's such a joy to bake with seasonal fruits considering the fact that we don't have many to choose from. I mean the ones that are good for the oven. So a citrusy cake it was with sour cream and drizzled with a mix of honey and orange juice. The cake was indeed a delight.
The Finnish pulla
 I have always been fascinated by braided breads and going through Baking With Julia, with photos that make drool every single day, I finally baked the Finnish pulla bread without missing out on any ingredient except the pearl sugar. I used the traditional flavouring, powdered cardamom fresh from the pods. Like brioche this bread has eggs and butter. I even made a bow, brushed the bread with egg-yolk and topped it with flaked almonds. I'm on to the second recipe from the book and the feeling is what you get when your mission is accomplished. I'm hoping to try out many more recipes from this book this year. And a start to the new year this way must be a good sign!!

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and thank you for stopping by today.