Summer Lemon Sponge Cake

 

Hello my wonderful readers!

How have you all been? As you can see, I haven’t really had much time to blog and cook as I have been spending time at the school and after with my little one. I stay at the school along wth my baby and once we are back we continue with activities etc together. Not cause blogging is not as interesting, its just that it really feels nice to spend time with Adi. In the last few weeks, as a mother there are so many changes in my little one and its just the best. I couldn’t imagine not sharing these changes with him. The perks of staying home with your baby, I guess 🙂

For March – April the temperatures are soaring like crazy and apparently they are only going to get worse. So I decided to make a little lemon sponge cake for the evening tea. The cake is light and spongy and so so delicious. Paired with a cup of tea this makes the perfect summer evening tea.

As the days go by there is this reality that hits you that these moments, hot, cold, summer or rain, will never come back. Little precious moments with the little boy and as a mum the only thing you want is for your little one to be able to make decisions on his own with a sensible head. As a parent we are so so weak. Some times even if its for his good, it takes a lot out of me to keep a straight face when I am trying to explain why he should do some thing . Or when I ask him if he wants to go to school and he replies with “OR THE MALL? ” like its really an option .. lol…. secretly I think he enjoys the car / auto ride to and from the school more than anything. He holds the railing behind the auto driver and pretends to be driving the auto with all the expression and sound effects the auto and its driver. Once we are home, everyday he makes a fuss to enter home. Cause he knows its time for lunch and then his afternoon  sleep which is such a struggle!! But in all its the best feeling to see his little black straight hair flutter gently when he runs to jump, his little look from the corner of his eye when I ask him to keep back things or when I say “What did Amma say?” and he says ” No Skweeeeming ” … These little moments make my heart warm and every moment worth living. Oh my there I go again about how I love my little honey bee.

Ok back to the recipe. You want all the ingredient at room temperature and do not forget to butter and dust the pan WELL!

Ingredients :-

  1. Flour – 1 + 1/2 cups
  2. Butter – 1 cup
  3. Eggs – 3
  4. Butter milk – 1 Cup ( whisked well)
  5. Caster Sugar – 1 + 1/4 cup
  6. Vanilla Extract – 1 tbsp
  7. Lemon Zest – from 2 lemons / 1/4 cup
  8. Lemon Juice – from 2 Lemons
  9. Baking Powder – 2 tsp
  10. Extra butter and flour to grease and dust the pan
  11. Extra powdered Sugar for dusting

 

Instructions :-

  1. Pre Heat the oven to 180C
  2. Grese and dust a pan with butter and flour. Make sure to tap out the excess flour
  3. Now in a large bowl, add the butter and sugar . Cream till pale and fluffy
  4. Then add the eggs one at a time. Make sure to cream the mixture well and incorporate as much air as possible.
  5. In a large pan, mix the flour and baking powder. Sieve the mixture thrice to incorporate air and to distribute the Baking powder well in the flour
  6. Now into the butter and egg mixture, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract and mix well ( if you are using a hand whisk this is easy, the same can be done with a hand held whisk)
  7. Next add the butter milk to the lemon egg mixture and mix well
  8. With a spatula divide the flour mixture into 3 and slowly fold the flour into the  buttermilk butter egg mixture ( wet mixture)
  9. Once you have added all the flour to the wet mixture, your batter is ready! ( do not over mix the batter)
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and tap to release bubbles
  11. Pop the cake tin into the pre heated oven and bake for 45 – 50 mins or till the tooth pick inserted comes out clean
  12. Cool completely on a cooling rack and then turn it out onto a plate
  13. Finally dust with powdered sugar and lemon slices !

 

Enjoy your summer Tea party ❤

Healthy Flax Seed and Oat, Raisin Thins

 

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!!

How have you all been? Its been a long time since I got down to blogging and trust me when I say, the last week has been such a life changer! Have you ever looked down from a flight that is just about to land? That moment when you see tiny cars and thin trees and wormy roads? That’s the moment you realize how small you really are! We have been travelling a lot for the last few days and I have come to the firm belief that, no matter how hard you try, some things cannot be controlled. Its sad when people who drink and smoke their whole lives, live happy without a care are fit as a fiddle while people who are so cautious about their physical and mental health might have the worst medical condition. I guess what I am trying to say is that, what really matters, is that you live each minute of each day to its fullest and you do your part. There is no point living a vegetarian life when our mind is full of vengeful thoughts. There is no need for an argument with your spouse when life itself is full of challenges thrown at you every day. Every time I have fought or scolded some one its makes me feel like all I did was bring negativity into the room and nothing stands a chance to improve.

While such tumultuous thoughts run through my head, my cup of hot green tea was beckoning for a little some thing to go along with it. Much to my dismay, reaching for the cookie jar had only resulted in a depressing after thought of how many calories I have to burn the next day or why my greedy tongue has not been able to make its peace with 3 cookies undoubtedly made with much more sugar than flour or butter 😛 . So here was my answer!

A simple #NO GLUTEN! NO FLOUR, REFINED SUGAR FREE COOKIE- ( OH! did i mention no butter too)

These are so really simple to make all you need is a fork and two bowls. So lets get to it ….

 

Ingredients :-

  1. Instant Oats – 2 cups
  2. Raisins – 1/2 cup
  3. Flax Seed – 3 tbsp
  4. Virgin Coconut Oil – 1 cup
  5. Egg – 1
  6. Palm Sugar – 1 cup
  7. Cinnamon Powder – 1.2 tsp
  8. Vanilla Extract – 1.2 tsp

Instructions :-

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 150 C and line a baking tray with parchment paper
  2. In a bowl, mix oats, flax see, raisins, palm sugar, cinnamon powder and give it a good mix with a fork ( make sure you do not have any lumps of sugar)
  3. In another bowl, crack open the egg. Add the coconut oil and vanilla extract. Give it a good whisk with the fork
  4. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the oat mixture and set aside to soak for 10 mins
  5. Then using the same fork give it a good mix once again to coat the oats well with the egg mixture
  6. Now using a small ice cream spoon or a normal spoon scoop out even portions of the oats and egg mixture and place on the baking tray
  7. Then with the back of the fork press down to flatten
  8. I like these nice and thin, so they snap when I bite into them
  9. Bake in the pre heated oven for 10 – 15 mins (till they turn light brown )
  10. Once they are done leave to cool completely – remember they will be soft when they come out of the oven but leave to cool completely and they will crisp up soon!!
  11. Store in an air tight container once cooled

Chocolate Pavlova with Raspberry compote and cream

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Hello Everybody!!

Happy World Chocolate Day! Now I was so tempted to make a nice chocolate brownie with lots of gooey frosting and stuff, but I decided I did not wanna play with flour.  Pavlova has always been my nemesis! Smaller version of the same are easier to make, but the tricky part is not till you get it in the oven, its when you have to pull it out of it. Make no mistake, if there were ever a fight between a tiramisu and pavlova, the tiramisu would win, but if I wanted to keep it light a pavlova is the way to go.   When I say “light” I mean “lighter” 😛

The perfect pavlova should be crunchy, gooey, chewy in the center, not too sweet and just right. The first time I made a summer pavlova, with kiwi, fresh cherries , passion fruit and lots of lemon curd. It was really good. But it was not really a looker and after repeated attempts I realized two things. Firstly – a Pavlova is not a cake! – so do not expect it to be nice and puffy like a cake. And Secondly, Time it! Time your baking time and after the baking time, leave it inside the oven to cool till it comes down to room temperature. Texture is everything when it comes to this dessert. What makes this dessert, much craved for is that wonderful crunchy exterior and then that gooey, chewy, marshmallow center. The cream over the Pavlova is just for additional creaminess and to balance out the sweetness of the pavlova itself. I strongly recommend that when ever you make a Pavlova, use a strong pungent flavor to top it off.  That just makes this dessert a ride on a roller coaster. You could use fresh raspberries too, but I took the liberty to make a concentrate with the raspberries, added a little honey and made it a little more dramatic. But like I said, using fresh raspberries would do well too. Needless to say, the last time I made it, it was over within a day. So if you are the one cutting into the pavlova, make sure to save some for your self too!

 

Ingredients for the pavlova base:-

  1. Egg Whites – 6
  2. Sugar – 300 gms
  3. Coco Powder – 3 tbsp
  4. Balsamic Vinegar – 1 tsp
  5. Chopped Dark Chocolate – 2 tbsp

 

Instructions :-

  1. Pre Heat you over to 180 and line two baking tray with parchment paper. Draw two discs the size of a quarter plate on the lower side of the paper
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, pour in the egg whites and whisk on medium speed
  3. Once the whites are double in size and are nice and glossy, add one spoon of sugar at a time
  4. Now increase the speed and whip on high speed till nice firm peaks are formed
  5. Take off the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the coco powder, balsamic vinegar and dark chocolate
  6. Make sure to only fold in the ingredients or you will knock out the air from the whites  ( which you really do not want)
  7. Now divide the batter equally and pour over the two circle you drew earlier on the parchment paper
  8. Using a spatula or a butter knife, level off the top
  9. Pop the baking tray into the oven and reduce the temperature to 150
  10. Bake for 1 hour and 15 mins
  11. Once you hear the ding of the oven, DO NOT OPEN IT AJAR! slowly pop a wooden ladle between the door of the oven and let it sit till the pavlova had completely  cooled and reached room temperature
  12. Mean while get on with the raspberry goo 🙂

 

Ingredients :-

  1. Frozen Raspberries – 100 gms
  2. Honey – 3 tbsp
  3. Whipping Cream – 300 ml

Instructions :-

  1. In a sauce pan, combine the raspberry and honey
  2. Cook on medium flame till the mixture begins to boil ( stir occasionally)
  3. The let the mixture reduce to half on the same flame
  4. Once it has reduced by half, take it off the flame and let it cool down
  5. Whip the double cream to stiff peaks and set aside

 

  • When you are ready to assemble the Pavlova, first use one pavlova as the base, add cream and spread evenly
  • Then add half the raspberry goo and sprinkle some chocolate chips
  • Then place the next pavlova over the first layer and repeat the same step
  • Your Chocolate Pavlova is ready!

Recipe Adapted from Nigella Lawsons book

 

 

 

 

Peach Clafouti – Sweet and Tart Peaches in a soft cakey dessert

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!!

How are you all doing today? Its been raining here all week and its been so cold, I am always in my socks and either I am eating some thing warm or drinking the same. While it is quite easy to make cold desserts, warm desserts are a little “different”. Now I know I could make a batch of warm cookies or brownies and eat them right out of the oven. But here is the thing, I wanted to incorporate fresh fruits in there as well. Now, synonymous to these cozy days, is the world Lazy! So the last thing on my mind is to bring everything to room temperature and adding raising agents etc! So this is my” no stress, just vegetate and eat warm gooey deserts” recipe.

Also this is a great option when you have surprise visitors over for dinner and you do want to make some thing sweet at the end of your meal. You could use any kind of fruit, the base remains the same and let me tell you, in my opinion, tart fruits work the best cause they cut through the sugar in the base and leave you with this wonderful warm happy feeling!

Ice cream or fresh cream, how ever you fashion to pair this dessert, it is a total win  – win. Oh and did I forget to mention, its a ONE POT dessert!

My mum makes another version of the same thing and adds roasted cashew nuts and bananas too. Oh that one is out of this world and to compare the two wouldn’t be fair. So if you are looking for a warm, sweet, fruit and cakey dessert that doesn’t involve too much work but you would like to enjoy on a cold night, then I strongly recommend this recipe!

Ingredients :-

  1. Flour – 2 cups
  2. Powdered Sugar – 1 cup
  3. Butter – 100 gms
  4. Vanilla – seeds from one pod or 2 tsp
  5. Salt – just a pinch
  6. Fresh Peaches – 6 (sliced thin)
  7. Eggs – 3
  8. Butter ( just to grease the bowl)
  9. Milk – 1 cup

Instructions :-

  1. Pop the butter into a microwaveable dish and melt. Set it aside to cool
  2. While that is happening, place a kitchen towel on your counter and place your large bowl
  3. Slice peaches to desired thickness and set aside
  4. Add flour and sugar and whisk together
  5. Then add the milk, eggs, vanilla and salt
  6. Whisk well to for a lump free batter ( little thicker than a pancake batter)
  7. Grease your pie tray or enamel wear or even your cake tin with butter ( using a shallow tray makes the fruit pop out better through the cakey base)
  8. Pour the batter into the pan
  9. Then arrange the peaches over the batter. The batter is very runny so some of the fruit may sink but that’s ok, just add more 🙂
  10. Pop the tray into a pre-heated over at 180 C for around 30 – 45 mins
  11. Once done, pull it out of the oven and serve right away with a dusting of powdered sugar and fresh cream or ice cream!!

Lemon and Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Grilled Pineapples, Kiwi and Honey

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Hello my wonderful readers!!

Its Monday already!! Every Sunday I catch myself saying “If only the weekend had one more day”!!! Ohh..

Unlike most people, weekends is when so much gets done at home. Cause that’s when I have help. Yes these are the words of a typical stay at home mum. And I love it

So this is how breakfast looked on Sunday morning. Soft, fluffy. lemony pancakes, with lightly grilled pineapple, fresh kiwi and a honey drizzle. Usually I make a typical south Indian breakfast on the weekends. But this time I wanted a change. Apart from breakfast smoothies, we usually have Dosas for breakfast. So these pancakes where a welcome change from the usual food. They are super simple to make and ideal for a family of 4. You could add what ever kind of fruit you prefer, I love fresh pineapples and I had a few kiwis in the fridge so I added them and they were awesome!!!

Ingredients :-

  1. Flour – 2 cups
  2. Sugar – 5 tbsp (brown sugar)
  3. Baking Powder – 1 tsp
  4. Milk – 1 + 2/3 cup
  5. Eggs – 4
  6. Butter – 3 tbsp (melted and cooled)
  7. Salt – 1 tsp ( or to taste)
  8. Vanilla Essence – 2 tbsp
  9. Cottage Cheese – 1+ 1/2 cup
  10. Lemon – zest of one lemon

Instructions :-

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Whisk well with a dry whisk and set aside
  2. In another bowl mix lemon zest, milk, butter, vanilla essence and cottage cheese. Then separate the egg yolks and white.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the milk and butter mixture and whisk
  4. Whisk the egg white to soft peaks in a separate bowl – set aside
  5. Now add the egg yolk + butter + milk + vanilla + cottage cheese + lemon zest  mixture to the dry ingredients
  6. Combine with a wooden spoon (do not over work the batter, its ok if there are a few lumps)
  7. Now divide the egg white mixture into 3 and slowly fold into the flour mixture
  8. Once all the egg white have been mixed your batter is ready
  9. Heat a non stick pan
  10. I use a large ice cream scoop so that I have equal quantities of batter for every pancake
  11. Pour the batter onto the hot pan. once you see bubbles form on the ends of the pancake flip and cook for 3- 4 mins on low
  12. Stack and serve with grilled pineapples, kiwi and honey!

 

Bell Pepper and Sausage Rolls – Sausage rolls my way :)

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!!

So guess what!! I finally baked bread today! It feels like ages since I baked some bread. In fact I have no intention of baking today. I wanted to make a simple paneer dish for dinner and post it on the blog but my son decided to sleep for a few hours during the day, which gave me some time to write this post. Keeping in mind the requests of many followers on Instagram and the blog, to take photographs of the procedure of making the bread too, I have take a few shots of that as well. I know its not the prettiest but I am getting there.

Now before I get to the recipe, I want to share a very fond memory that I have with sausage rolls. When I was around 6, my mum had just gone back to work and she would always be back home before I got back from school. But every time I came back home, I was sure there would be a special treat at home. Some time it would be these Sausage Rolls. Very often  Amma would make them at home, but some times she would buy them from my favourite bakery “Hot Breads”. I still remember the distinct blue and white lines under the logo and that smell of fresh baked bread! Ohh!! My Amma would also make bread at home. In fact last week she gave me a cake book that I remember reading when I was very small. Most of my birthday cakes where inspired from photos in that book. These memories are close to my heart. My mum is the best baker ever! In fact her oven broke down a few months ago, but that doesn’t stop her from baking at all. She can make the most fluffiest sponge cake even on an iron skillet!! haaa!

Ok so back to the recipe. Now this is my take on the famous sausage roll. I know that the original sausage roll does not have bell peppers but I wanted to give it my own twist and an excuse to add some vegetables in there 🙂 So here it is.

Ingredients for the bread :-

  1. Bread Flour – 3 cups + 3 tbsp
  2. Sugar – 2 tsp
  3. Active Bakers Yeast – 2 tsp
  4. Milk – 1 cup
  5. Butter – 50 gms (melted and cooled)
  6. Eggs – 2 + 1 for the egg wash
  7. Salt – 1 tsp
  8. Olive oil – 1 tsp

Instructions :-

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine half the four, sugar and yeast. Give it a good mix
  2. Now add butter and two eggs and with a fork combine them
  3. Next turn on your mixer on low and slowly add the milk
  4. Finally add rest of the flour and crack up the speed to medium
  5. Run the mixer for 5 mins
  6. Finally add the salt and mix for another 3 mins
  7. Grease a glass bowl with olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with a warm cloth and keep the bowl in a warm place to rise.
  8. Let the dough  sit for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size

Ingredients for the filling:-

  1. Red Bell pepper – 1 – chopped to squares
  2. Yellow Bell Pepper – 1 – chopped to squares
  3. Garlic – 5 ( chopped fine )
  4. Oregano – 1 tsp
  5. Thyme – 1 tsp
  6. Rose Mary – 1/2 tsp
  7. Pepper – 1 tsp
  8. Fresh Parsley – 1/2 cup
  9. Salt according to taste
  10. Chicken Sausages – 6
  11. Oil – 3 tbsp

Instructions for the Filling :-

  1. Heat oil in a pan
  2. Once the oil is hot add the garlic and fry for a min on medium
  3. Then add the sausages and fry for 5 mins ( just to start the cooking process)
  4. Then add the Oregano, thyme, rosemary, pepper and salt
  5. Give it a good mix and then add the peppers
  6. Cover and cook for 3 mins and turn off the flame
  7. Let the filling cool before you use it in the next step
  8. Use the parsley just as it is, fresh over  the top of the cooked filling

 

Assembling the roll :-

  1. Once the dough in doubles in size, punch it down with your fist
  2. Then empty the dough onto a flour dusted surface
  3. Roll the dough out to the shape of a log. Then using a pastry cutter or a sharp knife, divide the dough into 6 equal halves.
  4. The roll out each individual pieces into 15 cm x 25 cm square pieces, leaving enough space in the centre for the filling (at least 6 cms)
  5. Slash 5 -6 lines on each side of the rolled out piece (as shown in the photos)
  6. Then add the filling into the centre of the rolled out dough. Make sure to sprinkle the fresh parsley over the filing
  7. Then start from the top. Tuck the top most piece of dough on top of the filling, then alternatively cover on over the  other ( as shown in the photos). I start with the right, lift the pieces of dough from the right and over lap the filling and pull gently towards the centre and then towards the left. Then take the piece of the left and gently place over filling in the centre and then over to the right. After you do two of them it will become easier. Make sure to press the ends of the dough at the end or else they come out a little wonky when you bake them ( like some in the photos 😛 )
  8. After you have done all of them, transfer them to a baking sheet lined with baking paper
  9. Cover and let it sit for 20 mins
  10. During this time, pre heat your oven to 200 C
  11. Crack the last egg and beat it well
  12. Then using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash. This is what will give it that wonderful golden colour
  13. Pop the baking tray into the oven and bake for 30 mins or until you the see the tops turn nice and golden brown
  14. Once they are done baking, pull them out of the oven and let them cool in the baking tray for 10 mins
  15. Then move them to a cooling rack and let them cool completely
  16. If you wanna store them, wrap them in cotton cloth and then put them in an air tight container in the fridge

 

Serve these babies with ketchup or mayo or just like that!!

Nadan Mutta Roast – Egg roast the Malayali Way (Kerala style)

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Hello my Dear Wonderful Readers!

So this week has been full of ups and downs, and I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that it is coming to an end!! My camera and my phone died on the same day, my husband falls sick the next and then it got a little better and now I am just exhausted! So I really did not have time to invent or go through my recipe library. So this one is my simple Kerala style egg roast. It is so easy to make and this is my husband’s favourite egg recipe! The key ingredient is onion. Roast the onions well and you will add the most amazing flavour to the eggs.

I love curry leaves! In fact, I prefer them to coriander leaves. They just add so much more to a dish. This is partly because of my Malayalee roots. We add curry leaves to everything!! including our drinks. Ohh!! There is this drink called “Sambharam” (“flavoured buttermilk”) which is the best thing to beat the heat during these hot summer afternoons. I will have to make a post about that! Its just butter milk and a few spices with curry leaves but it is so good and refreshing (also good for hangovers, no kidding!!).

If you look at it, the traditional “Sadhya” is the most perfectly balanced meal  ever! It starts with rice and a green gram curry, move to sambar, and finally the yogurt based curry. All the way you have a array of vegetables and pickles to go along with it. Ok maybe the 4 different “Payasams” are not that healthy, but hey! How many people make it every day! My mum is a “Payasam” expert!! She can whip up a payasam in no time and it will taste just like the ones they serve you at the temples. Yes I do think that the real ingredient is love!! I may have digressed a little bit here. lol.

Ok so back to this recipe. This is your ideal week night,”I do not want take out, I do not want to make any thing too complex”, “Oh I want some spicy egg based side” – kind of dish.

Ingredients :-

  1. Hard Boiled Eggs – 6 -7
  2. Onions – 5 large – julienned
  3. Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
  4. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  5. Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
  6. Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
  7. Garam Masala Powder – 1 + 1/2 tsp
  8. Curry leaves – 14
  9. Coconut Oil – 3 tbsp
  10. Green Chillies – 4 ( slit into two)
  11. Water – 1 tbsp + 1/2 cup (optional)

Instructions :-

  1. In a large heavy bottom kadai / wok, heat oil
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and half of the curry leaves  and fry till golden brown
  3. Then add the turmeric, chilli, pepper, garam masala powder and coriander powder and give it a nice mix. Add 1 tbsp of water to the mixture. This will prevent the spice powders from getting burnt
  4. Now add the green chillies and the eggs.
  5. Season with salt and give it a good mix. Mix gently so as to not tear the boiled eggs but make sure to coat the eggs well with the onion masala
  6. Cover and cook for 5 min
  7. Garnish with the remaining curry leaves and serve with hot Rotis or Rice