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 ❤

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Pal Appam — Lace Hoppers

 

 

Hello my wonderful readers,

Do you follow my Instagram feed? Many a times Appam is our preferred breakfast and it is super easy to make once you have the batter. Much like the dosa batter but I use yeast in this recipe. There are recipes that do not include yeast but I love that lovely fermented smell that comes from the yeast and frankly its more like  a – ‘Soak, Dump , Grind and Rest’ method. The reason it is called a Lace Hopper is because of those wonderful intricate lace like weave that it has on the outsides. The inner centre of the circle is thicker and the outer ring is crispier. These are perfect with a coconut milk based egg curry. The recipe for which I will share later. You could also pair with left over curry from the previous day.

My son started school this week and man now I know how it feels to be a mum of child going to school!! no am not talking about the work that goes into getting him ready for school but the fact that this little human being is already ready to start his formal education! The school is like no other school we have ever seen. It believes in being as natural and close to the environment as possible. Infact as you enter into the school you wonder where the building and concrete structures of the school is. Lots of lush green, children learning under trees, no foot wear, greeting each other with a namaste. In all, this is the perfect place for my little one. While the little one is inside his little environment, I sit outside and just breathe! all the fresh air and the sounds of chirping birds, the occasional squirrel running around. It feels like a Gurukula straight out of the Mahabharata! In all this new change is one my little bunny is trying hard to cope up with but is also something he looks forward too. Wish me luck people! I hope he likes it for all the years to come..

So back to the recipe! This recipe makes easily 20 appams and you have 3 breakfasts from the week sorted.

Now before I get into the recipe, I wanted to tell you this. Traditionally appam is make with ” Kallu” / palm wine / Toddy . It helps in the fermentation and it gives the appam its unique smell. But Kallu is hard to find and yeast gives you just about the same smell so why not? My grandmother lives on a property that houses almost 5 dozen coconut trees and so back in Kerala toddy is easier to come across and the appam is so so good! Also the heat and the humidity of the place also helps in making the perfect batter. This is my straingforward recipe and it works all the time. All you need to make sure is it to keep the batter in a warm place of your kitchen over night. Not in the fridge! Not near a window with cold air blowing in etc. A nice warm corner for the yeast fairy to work her magic!


Ingredients :-

  1. Ponni Rice – 2 cups
  2. Boiled cooked rice – 1 cup
  3. Desiccated Coconut – 1 cup
  4. Yeast – 1 tsp
  5. Sugar – 1 tsp + 3 tbsp
  6. Warm Water – 3 cups ( more if required)
  7. Coconut oil for greasing the pan

Instructions :-

  1. In a large vessel, wash the Ponni rice. Then soak the rice in water for 5 -6 hours ( 12 hours is best) I usually soak in the morning and do the rest after dinner
  2. After the rice has soaked in the water for sufficient time, in the bowl of your grinder or blender, add the soaked rice, cooked rice and desiccated coconut
  3. In a small bowl add 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 tsp of sugar. Then add the yeast and let it stand still till the yeast becomes frothy ( activated yeast)
  4. Then add 2 cups of water to the blender jar with the rice and coconut and blend to form a nice smooth paste. There shouldn’t be any coarse rice pieces or coconut pieces
  5. finally just before you remove the blender jar from the machine, add the yeast water and the rest of the water and run the blender for 1 min.
  6. Now use a large vessel / container for the fermentation.
  7. Pour the batter into the container and add 2 tbsp of sugar. Mix well and combine.
  8. Now cover the container loosely and set it on a plate. Place the container in a warm place over night. By the next morning you will see the batter rise up and be bubbly
  9. This is because of the yeast in the batter . Your batter is ready
  10. Now heat up your appam chatti.  ( Appa chatti is a vessel that is used to make these hoppers, the market is flooded with teflon non stick pans, but I DO NOT USE any teflon / non stick pans in my kitchen, so if you are interested in buying a pan I suggest you look for a iron pan, the one I own is from —   the Village Fair 
  11. Heat your Appa chatti on a medium flame. Once it is hot grease the pan lightly with coconut oil. I dip a cotton cloth in oil and then spread it around the chatti
  12. Now using a ladle pour the fermented Batter into the chatti. Slowly swirl the chatti round to spread the batter to all the sides of the chatti and then place it back in the flame. You will notice that the batter settle back to the centre. That is fine, that is what gives it that fully centre and crisp side. Now if you do not like it to thick, just reduce the amount of batter and rotate the chatti for a little longer that way all sides are crisp yet not too thick. Also make sure to use mittens or use a cotton cloth to hold the sides of the chatti
  13. Close with the lid and cook on medium flame for 3 -4 mins
  14. Once it is done, take off the lid and let it cook for 1 min.
  15. Finally using a soft wooden spatula loosen the sides of the appam
  16. Then slowly loosen the centre and transfer to a plate!
  17. Your appams are ready! Serve with egg curry, or Kadala curry 

 

 

Thai Style – Galangal and Lemongrass Chicken Soup

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Hello my wonderful readers!!

Its December already!! Can you believe how fast this year has gone by!! I mean the amount of things that have happened and the pace at which things have changed is just incredible! Do not get me wrong. Every moment in it be it sadness or happiness has been an adventure and I do not intend on changing it one bit. But I fear that time moves too quickly when you have a little 2 year and you are hitting 30.

Before getting into the recipe, there was a little thought I wanted to share with you. Last month I turned 30. And oh boy that was a sucky day. I hate birthdays. I do not see the point in celebrating the fact that your skin is getting wrinkled, you hair is losing its lushness, you bones are getting brittle and your patience is running at a low. But that is when my husband sat me down and asked me – what where the highlights of the year and some how I had more reasons to be happy than sad. That is when I realized that your birthday is just a celebration of the number of memories that you have made for so many years and the opportunity to make new ones as time progresses. The number does not really matter for what really matter is how many times you closed your eyes to sleep wearing a smile on your face, or how many times you laughed like no one was watching. How far did you push your self to do the right thing and actually make a difference in someones life. More importantly a birthday is day you treat your self for the champion that you are for all the fears you overcame and all little things you did for your self to make you stronger today. Ok now I am done about that!!!

This recipe is as easy as it gets and oh my god it is so full of flavour. If you are looking for a mild, creamy, aromatic soup then this is it! It reminds you of summer days spent on beaches after a massage at a spa. Soft and delicate, this soup is the perfect winter soup for when the heart yearns for summer time.

Ingredients :-

  1. Chicken – 1 kg ( breast pieces cut into bite size chunks)
  2. Coconut Milk – 2 cans
  3. Pepper Corns – 1 tbsp
  4. Lemon Grass – 10 cms stick
  5. Lime Leaves – 5
  6. Shallots – 8
  7. Cherry Tomatoes – 8
  8. Galangal – 2 tbsp ( chopped fine)
  9. Fish Sauce – 4 tbsp
  10. Coconut sugar – 3 tbsp
  11. Chicken stock – 1 cup
  12. Button Mushroom – 250 gms
  13. Lime Juice – juice from 3 limes
  14. Green Chillies – 5 ( chopped fine)
  15. Salt to taste

Instructions :-

  1. In a large pot, add the coconut milk, pepper corns, shallots and galangal
  2. Bruise the lemon grass with the back of a knife and add to the pot and bring to a boil. Then add the chicken stock
  3. Add the fish sauce, chicken and coconut sugar. Stir occasionally
  4. Once the chicken has cooked add the mushrooms, green chilies, lime juice and lime leaves
  5. Add salt to taste
  6. Bring back to a boil and add the cherry tomatoes. Cook only for another 1 min
  7. Serve right away with fresh lime leaves

Achari Murg Samosa – Samosa stuffed with chicken cooked in pickling spices

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Hello my Dear Wonderfull Readers!!

How are you all doing today? The weather here is slowly changing and the nights are getting colder. The evening’s are breezy and that is the perfect excuse to make hot samosas don’t you think? Traditionally, samosas are make with a potato based stuffing with a wide variety of spices. But today, I bring to you my perfect spicy twist to this much loved snack. Now given that it is only a snack, the idea of spending the least amount of time in the kitchen has to be a part of this recipe right? So I recommend buying samosa patty’s from your super market cause they save so much time!! So all you have to do, is make the filling, make the samosa cone and fry them!! So simple!

So firstly you need to know how to make the Achari Murgh. Now Achari Murgh literally translates to ” Pickled Chicken”. NO I am not going to ask you to pickle a chicken. We are going to cook the chicken in a medley of spices that usually are used while making pickles. The most prominent of these spices is the “KALONJI”. Samosas are the best sort of snack for a cold evening with a hot cup of coffee and this recipe is the right mix of spicy and crispy!

Ingredients for the stuffing :

  1. Chicken – 500 gms ( minced)
  2. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Methi Seeds / Coriander Seeds – 1/2 tsp
  4. Kalonji – 1/ tsp
  5. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  6. Dry Red Chillies – 6 -8
  7. Oil – 2 tbsp
  8. Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp
  9. Green Chillies – 2 ( chopped fine)
  10. Salt – according to taste
  11. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  12. Lime Juice – 5 tbsp

Instructions :-

  1. In a large pan, add the minced chicken, lemon juice, ginger garlic paste and 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside to rest for 30 mins
  2. Once  you are ready to cook the chicken, heat oil in a large khadai
  3. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds, methi seeds, kalonji, mustard seeds and dry red chillies. Fry till the red chillies get roasted and plump
  4. Then add the green chillies and the marinated chicken
  5. Add the chilli powder and cook till the chicken is cooked well and all the water has evaporated.
  6. Set aside to cool down

Ingredients to assemble the samosa :-

  1. Samosa Patti / pastry – 1 pack ( around 15)
  2. Boiled Potatoes – 1/2 cup
  3. Deep fried Onions – 1/2 cup *
  4. Coriander Leaves – 1/4 cup ( chopped fine)
  5. Mint Leaves – 1/4 cup ( chopped fine)
  6. Flour paste – add 2 tbsp of flour to 1 tbsp of water to form a thick paste (set aside)
  7. Oil – for deep frying

Instructions :-

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, boiled potatoes, mint, coriander leaves and fried onions. add salt to taste
  2. Using the samosa patti / pastry, fold to form a cone.
  3. Then stuff the cone with the chicken mixture
  4. Using the flour paste, seal the corners
  5. Deep fry the samosas and serve right away with spicy mint chutney

 

 

 

Ari “Rice” Muruku – Deep fried, crisp and with a touch of spice!

 

 

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Hello My Dear Wonderful Readers!

How are you all doing today? So my next recipe for the season is the Rice and Urad Dal Murukku. In case you have never had these before, let me tell you, this is the Indian version of a deep fried snack that comes in a number of variations that is a staple at your 4 o clock tea / coffee. Yes, we love to have a little some thing to “bite into” every evening. But of late these savory snacks have been reserved only to be savored during festivals such as Diwali etc. So I decided why not make a batch of these pinwheels. They are really easy to make but you do need a “Murukku Maker / Press” The theory is the same as a piping bag for cream, just that the mixture is tighter and thicker so you need a little more force when squeezing them.

These murukku makers are available in both brass and stainless steel. I have the brass one and they come with various ends / nozzles just like your piping tips. Best enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee these Murukku’s can last 2 – 3 weeks if kept in an air tight container. Make sure to use a good brand of oil. I used rice bran oil and you are sorted for a long time 🙂

Ingredients :-

  1. Rice Flour – 3 cups
  2. Urad Dal – 6 tbsp
  3. White Sesame Seeds – 1 tsp
  4. Black Sesame Seeds – 1 tsp
  5. Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  6. Pepper Powder – 1/2 tsp
  7. Asafoetida – 1/2 tsp ( more if you like it pungent )
  8. Salt – to taste
  9. Oil – 3 tbsp
  10. Oil to fry
  11. Water to bind ( depends on the quality of the rice flour)

Instructions :-

  1. Heat a heavy bottom Khadai and fry the urad dal till they start turning golden brown. Make sure to stir continuously or else the dal might burn
  2. Once they are ready , add into a blender and powder to a fine powder
  3. In a large plate/ even your kitchen counter, drop the rice flour, urad dal powder, salt, white and black sesame seeds, pepper powder and asafoetida. Give it all a nice mix with the tips of your finger to spread the ingredients evenly
  4. Then add the 3 tsp of oil and mix into the mixture till they almost resemble  bread crumbs
  5. Finally add water little bit at a time to make a nice tight dough. Remember all you need is the dough to come together
  6. Take small portion of the mixture and run it through the murukku maker to see if you are able to make nice round circles. If you find that the circle keeps falling or breaking then you need little more water in the dough
  7. Once you have your dough ready, heat oil in a khadai ( enough to be able to deep fry these wheels)
  8. Cut a baking paper into equal sqares and at the back draw circles of equal size. you can use these as a stencil to make all your murukkkus
  9. Now attach the start tip to the murukku maker and fill the barrel with the rice flour dough
  10. Slowly make round shapes of the murukku on your prepared baking paper
  11. Start from the inside and go round towards the outside
  12. Once you reach the outside, pinch the end towards the murukku
  13. Once you oil is nice and hot ( make sure the oil is always at medium flame not too hot and not too cold)
  14. Fry these in batches of 2 – 3 depending on the size of your khadai. Wait til they turn golden bown on both sides. Keep turning them when in the oil for even browning
  15. Lay them on kitchen paper tower to soak up the excess oil
  16. You Murukku is ready! Store in an air tight container

Pumpkin Oat Smoothie – Fall inspired goodness

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My Dear Wonderful Readers

So we are finally settling in and most of my stuff are on the walls and inside the wardrobe and guess what? I am still out of space! LOL All the while I am thinking how did I store all this junk at the old place. Have you felt the same way too?

So I was online scrolling through my instagram account and I found that pumpkin is the thing every body wants to cook with. So i decided to join the fun and start off with a simple smoothie. This one is a no brainer and it really is a mixture of everything I would have on a daily basis just that instead of apples or other fruits I just added pumpkin puree. Now making the puree was actually really easy. It helps if you make a large batch and use whenever you need it. Not just in smoothies but in many more recipes. I will share those with you soon. But for now here is a fall inspired pumpkin smoothie.

 

Ingredients :-

  1. Pumpkin puree – 2 cups (scroll down for recipe)
  2.  Oats – 2 cups
  3. Milk –  1/2 ltr ( or as much as you want)
  4. Coconut / Palm Sugar – 1 tbsp
  5. Cinnamon Powder – 1 tsp
  6. Nutmeg – 1/2 tsp
  7. Banana – 2 (ripe)
  8. Almond flakes and chia seeds – just for the topping

Instructions :-

  1. In the bowl of your blender, add the pumpkin puree, oats, palm sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg powder and bananas
  2. Turn you blender on and add as much milk as required
  3. Add in accordance to the consistency that you like
  4. Finally pour the smoothie into your glass and top with chia seeds and almond flakes

 

To make the pumpkin puree :-

  1. First wash and  cut a medium sized pumpkin into 4 equal halves
  2. Then scoop out the seeds and innards of the pumpkin
  3. Bring a pot of water up to boil and slowly immerse the cut pumpkin into the water
  4. Boil for 10 – 15 ( depends on the size and ripeness) mins till the pumpkin is soft and tender ( use a spoon to pierce through the pumpkin to see if its done)
  5. Turn the heat off and drain the water from the pumpkin
  6. Let the it cool and then scoop out the flesh leaving only the skin
  7. Drain excess water by keeping all the flesh in a strainer and letting the water drain out completely
  8. Store in a clean container in the fridge till ready to use. I usually use it in a day or two.

Dosa – Crisp rice batter crepes

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Hello My Dear wonderful readers!!

How are you all doing today? Its a long weekend and we have been having the best time ever! The new house is shaping up and I am down to my final two boxes to unpack! yay.  Before we moved here, I would save up the carboard boxes of the new gadgets and electronics we would buy and my reason was quite simply, “cause it will come handy when we move”. But for the first time in my life I am saying “hey throw it, we are not going any where, are we?” . The sheer happiness of buying your own place and making it home. I still haven’t figured where I want all my paintings and photos to go up on the walls but hey, that is the fun part right? setting up your own place and doing it up the way you like it and not worrying about what your house owner would say 😛

The best part about the new place is the fact that my kitchen now has lots more counter space. That means, more space for making bread. lol!! My earlier kitchen was always a choice. There where decisions made every time a dish was made. But now I absolutely love it here
That brings me to my recipe. I always loved making dosa and idilis for breakfast. They are super easy to make and the boys love hot crisp dosas with ghee or cheese early morning. So this time I decided to share my mums dosa batter recipe and methods with you. 

Ingredients :-

1. Par Boiled Rice – 1 cup
2. Regular Rice -3 cups
3. Split Black Gram – 1 cup
4. Methi / Fenugreek Seeds –  2 tsp
5. Salt – according to taste
6. Water – as given in instructions

Instructions to make the Batter

1. First the rice – Mix both kinds of rice and the fenugreek seeds. Wash in running water till the water runs clear. ( first it will be milky white, but 3 – 4 good washes will give you nice clean rice with no mucky white water)
2. Second the Split Black Gram – Wash the dal the same way as the rice till the water runs clear
3. Soak – Soak the rice with 3 and 1/2 cups of water
4. In another bowl, soak the split black gram in 1 cup of water
5.  Let them soak for 6 – 8 hours ( usually this is done on a sunday early morning so by evening it is ready for the next step
6. After soaking, grind the rice and the gram separately. You could use a food processor too but you want to make sure that the batter is nice and fine
7.  Finally once you have both the rice and the gram in a batter , combine the two in a big container ( make sure that the container is only 60% full once you have poured both the rice and the gram batter. Give the batter a quick mix and set aside to ferment
8. Now typically this step is done over night. But do give it atleast 10 hours in a warm place. I have seen that if the temperature is above 25C the batter ferments faster and the batter is much better
9.  After the given time your batter is ready! Add salt just before you start making your dosas 

 Instructions to make the dosa 

1.  First grease your pan / tava / griddle with coconut oil lightly . Then spoon some of the batter onto the centre of your pan.  Make sure you use a nice long spoon with a round base that will help spreading the batter evenly around the pan

2. So after pouring the batter in the centre of the pan using the back side of the spoon, push the batter outwards in a circular motion. ( Do Check out my INSTAGRAM Account for a quick video on how to do this part)

3. After the batter is evenly spread, add a few drops of coconut oil around the dosa and wait till you see the edge and the thin sides, turn brown. That is when you have to turn the dosa over.

4. Once the other side is done too, you are ready to serve!

Serve with hot sambar, coconut or peanut chutney or with chutney powder (locally known as podi)!