The Weekend Kitchen

Some hits, some misses…..in my kitchen, over the weekends


2 Comments

There is something about walnuts

image There is something about walnuts, especially when it decides to give company to carrots. Fresh and crispy roots coupled with slightly bitter crunchiness. So much power, packed with goodness. Carrot walnut cakes has been a favorite with family and friends. People who would run for their lives when faced with a fresh carrot has been known to run back at double the speed when it turned to these dense cakes. The recipe that I follow has some sugar in it and I don’t have sugar. But I love cakes. And walnuts.

By the way, did you know walnut trees were first brought to California in the 1700s? From Central Asia. And how they have taken root! Today, that small area produces almost 3/4th of world’s walnuts. The shell and the kernel inside looks like a miniature human head and the wrinkly brain inside. No surprise then, that it is considered brain food. Considered the king of nuts, it is supposed to boost the health of your heart, fight cancer, decrease the risk of diabetes and even aid weight reduction. Eating a quarter cup of walnuts every day is supposed to even reduce fasting sugar levels. Talking about walnuts and California, wonder is that why you find all the brainy types there.

Anyway, getting back to cakes and me, browsing through food sites and pictures is an addiction. Some recipes are bookmarked. More favourite ones (read easy ones ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) are written down. Yes, I do that. There is something prosaic about butter stained cook books. Virtual love is just that. Virtual. You need to feel a person, the bare skin, that special smell, the sheen of sweat on the hands, caress their face, hug, kiss and hold to know what real love is. Just like hand written cook books. image The most difficult part in baking this? 1/3 rd tsp baking soda. Can you believe it? 1/3rd of a tea spoon. How in the world are you supposed to measure that out? There was a half tea spoon. And the brain started working. What they say about walnuts is true, you see. A little less than 0.5 and little more than 0.33 and crossed my fingers. No oranges in stock. So no zest. No big deal. The recipe asked to check the loaf at 45 minutes. The tooth pick that went in came out dry by look and sticky by touch. Another 15 minutes. Toothpick didn’t change its diagnosis. But the top looked brown enough. And the roasted walnuts tasted just perfect.

Patience has never been one of my virtues. After an hour of cooling time, tasted a small slice. It was okay. Just about. And I told myself, “you win some, and then you lose some more.”

Early morning hunger made me attempt another slice.ย What they say about carrot cakes is true. They taste better the next day. Much better. Far better. Always.

Advertisements


1 Comment

Necessity, the mother of Carrot Apple Cake :)

A post, first time in four months. Better than waiting for one whole year, eh? Says a lot about the lazy cook ๐Ÿ™‚

The laziness stops at writing, let me assure you. Cooking and eating has been continuing, unabated. Baking too.

I’ve never been a fan of dressed up cakes. Yes I do admire them, from afar. Maybe it is the envy factor. Neither talent, nor patience my vices, you see. And off late the guilt bug has started biting as well. Too much butter, ugh! Maida, oh no! Sugar, the killer! So goes the soliloquies inside my head. And then, the eternal search for the easy way out.ย There are a few such easy recipes that I know by heart now, this carrot cake is one such. People who’ve never had carrot cakes before have approached this in apprehension and instantly fallen in love. Perfect texture, moist to the core, the cakes melts in your mouth as you enjoy the crunch of the occasional walnut piece.

Baking has become therapeutic and the carrot cake is almost a ritual. Having started the habit of gifting home made goodies, when Uma suggested we meet up, this was the first dish that I wanted to make. Opened the fridge to find three carrots inside and the recipe asked for three cups of grated carrots. The optimistic in me never gives up, but there is a limit to which the puny carrots could extend themselves. They stopped at two cups. The next raided three apples and inspiration hit. Why not add one cup apples instead of carrots? And whole wheat instead of white? And less sugar? The hands acted in accordance with the mind and thus was born the ‘Carrot Apple Cake’. Best relished the next day

carrot

 

Ingredients

flour – 1 cup

whole wheat flour -3/4cup

baking soda –ย 2 tsp

baking powder – 2 tsp

cinnamon – 3 tsp

nutmeg – 1/2 tsp

brown sugar – 1 cup

eggs – 4

oil – 1 and 1/4 cups ( used sunflower oil for the cake in picture)

Vanilla – 2 tsp

grated carrot – 2 cups

grated apple – 1 cup

nuts – 1/2 cupย 

raisins – 1/2 cup

Method

mix all the dry ingredients except sugar

beat together oil and sugar

add eggs one by one, beat for half a minute after each addition

add vanilla

gently fold in the dry ingredients in 2-3 batches

beat at low speed for about a minute

gently fold in the grated carrots and apples

add nuts nd raisins

bake at 175 C for 45 – 50 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1 Comment

Fresh Strawberry Cake

Last year was when we first saw strawberries in plenty, or maybe it is then that I started noticing it in abundance. The fact that daughter took a strong liking to it maybe the actual reason. Anyhow, since the day I started baking in earnest, she has been asking for a Strawberry Cake. And I’ve been telling her, let the season start.

She was an exceptionally good girl today morning, dusting the bookshelves by herself, that too so perfectly. So when I started for my weekly grocery shopping, I promised her a surprise. Imagine my pleasure when I saw boxes of strawberries stacked on the fruit shelves. Being the start of the season, they were slightly expensive, but then, what else is money for if not for such indulgences? And the pure joy on her face when she saw it….priceless!

Here is the recipe that I hunted down from food.com

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup fresh strawberry, crushed

For the glaze:
1/2 – 3/4 cup crushed strawberry
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Sift flour, slat and baking powder
Beat butter and sugar till soft and fluffy
Add eggs one at a time, beat well along with vanilla
Add flour mixture in batches alternating with crushed strawberry. Beat well
Bake in a pre heated oven at 180C for 25 – 30 minutes

For glaze, mix all ingredients together and whip for 2 minutes.
Top the cake with the glaze.

I would bake it everyday, if only for that beatific look on daughter’s face after the first bite ๐Ÿ™‚


Leave a comment

Lemon Yoghurt Pound Cake

Another one from my notebook ๐Ÿ™‚
(Would be more than happy to acknowledge the source if only I could remember)

Who can resist the tanginess of lemon when a little sugar is added to it? This cake has lemon zest, lemon juice and if that was not enough, lemon glaze too if you are in the mood. I have tried this with and without the glaze, both are equally good. A word of caution – add the glaze only if patience is one your virtues. It tastes better after a day or two. (Now you know why I didn’t add the glaze this time ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Ingredients:
Flour – 3/4 cup
Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup at room temp
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Lemon zest – 1 tbsp
Lemon Juice – 2 tS
Eggs – 2
Vanilla – 1 tsp
Yoghurt – 2 tbsp

Directions:
Sift flour, baking powder and salt
Cream sugar and butter till light and fluffy
Add lemon zest, juice and vanilla and mix well
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
Add flour mixture alternating with youghurt. Start and end with flour mixture
Beat at low speed until smooth
Bake in a pre heated oven at 350F/180C for 40-45 minutes

Lemon Glaze

Stir 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsp lime juice till sugar dissolves. Poke the cake with a tooth pick ad spread the sugar – lemon mix over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.
Keep for a day before serving if you are adding the glaze.


1 Comment

Super Moist Chocolate Banana Cake

This one is from my notebook days. Those were the days when we just noted down interesting recipes in a notebook, didn’t bother about sources and acknowledgements, life was so much simpler and so on and so forth. If any of you find the source of this recipe, please let me know, I would really like to thank the person for this super easy, super moist and super yummy chocolate banana cakes.

I have repeated this so many times and each time it turns out just perfect and gets over in half an hour. Here you go….

Flour – 1 3/4 cup
Sugar – 2 cups
Cocoa powder – 3/4 cup
Baking powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Baking soda – 1 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp

Sift alll the above together

Bananas, crushed – 1 cup (robusta is best , 2 medium sized would do. Make sure it is really really ripe, super soft and at that stage where the skin is almost turning black.
Eggs – 2

Beat the above two together

Warm water – 1 cup
Milk – 1/2 cup
Sun flower oil – 1/ cup
Vanilla essence – 1 1/2 tsp

Add these ingredients to the banana egg mix and beat well.

Add the dry ingredients in batches mixing gently

Bake in a pre heated oven at 180C for 30-35 minutes.

Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack and cool.


8 Comments

Apple Crisp – Goodness of apples, oats, and cinnamon

There is something enticing about the smell of apples cooking with a dash of cinnamon and sugar. And when you love apples in all forms, this is one recipe that would appeal to you.

‘Vanitha’, the malayalam magazine is a good repository of real good recipes. They have a cookery publication ‘Pachakam’ that comes out a few times a year and the recipes in there are pretty enticing and fairly easy to try out as well. Got this recipe from a 2009 edition of ‘Pachakam’

Ingredients:

1. Flour – 1 1/2 cups (the recipe says 1 cup, but that didn’t seem enough)
2. Oats – 1 cup (again, the recipe says 3/4 cup, but….)
3. Brown Sugar – 1 cup
4. Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp
5. Butter, softened – 1/2 cup
6. Apple, skinned and cut into small pieces – 4 cups (about 3 normal sized apples)
7. Sugar – 1/2 cup
8. Corn Flour – 1 tbsp
9. Water – 1/2 cup
10. Vanilla essence – 1/2 tsp

Directions:

1. Pre heat oven to 350F
2. Combine ingredients 1 to 5. This should be coarse

3. Tightly pack half this mix into a baking dish smeared with butter
4. Spread apples on top of this
5. Meanwhile, cook ingredients 7 to 10 on low flame, stirring constantly till it becomes thick
6. Spread it evenly over the layer of apple
7. Cover this tightly with the remaining oats mix
8. Bake for 45 minutes
9. Cool and serve with custard or cream

This tastes better the next day. Allow it to cool completely if you want the pieces to come out well when cut. If you are as impatient as me, go ahead, have it warm ๐Ÿ™‚


4 Comments

When you go overboard….bake a cake :-) (Banana Carrot cake)

Son calls daughter a monkey – she just loves bananas. Guess she got it from her father. He just have to have a banana after lunch and dinner irrespective of whatever dessert is available. So bananas – yelakki, robusta, ‘poovan’, ‘palenkudan’ – are a staple at our house. But sometimes it so happens that I go a little overboard or forgetful at times and end up buying much more than all of us together can finish before they get rotten.

From the time I started baking, bananas getting rotten was no trouble. The chocaholics and the banana lovers get a combined treat – banana chocolate cakes – they turn out perfect almost always – soft, dark and with a mild flavor of the fruit. This time around, wanted to try put something new. Edible Garden’s Moist carrot Cake had been tempting me for some time and over the weekend, I had gone overboard with carrots as well. So Banana carrot cake it was and where else turn to other than our trusted Google?

I am a lazy bum and elaborate and time consuming recipes put me off, unless I am really really in the mood to impress someone ๐Ÿ˜‰ Zeroed in on this recipe from food.com finally.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed banana
2/3 cup canola oil (I used the normal sun flower oil)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove
1 cup quick-cooking oat (uncooked)
1 cup carrot, shredded
1/3 cup chopped nuts (used walnuts, guess any nut will do ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ยฐF.
Combine sugar, banana, and oil.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices.
Add to banana mixture and mix well.
Stir in carrots and oats; mix well.
Spread in greased 9×9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Pretty easy to prepare, it is just ready to go into the oven

Fresh out from the oven

I still had some leftover bananas and guess what?

Yes, made a chocolate banana cake too, son thinks it is a normal chocolate cake ๐Ÿ˜‰