The Weekend Kitchen

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


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The experiments continue – Wholewheat, Ragi & Carrot

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“Ragi?” they ask in all disdain.

“Carrots are for rabbits, ” they continue.

Poor kids, they still haven’t realized how enterprising their amma can be. To stuff some veggies down their throat, I will do anything. The meat loves are stuffed with all the vegetables that are lucky to be in the referigerator that day. Beef cutlets camouflage broccoli and beets. The all time favorite kanji is boiled in vegetable stock. Yes, this is one evil amma.

Now, grains. That is a different ball game altogether. Chapatis and dosas are the only grainy stuff that they will even look at. The slightest change in colour and it is a strict no-no. But, amma cannot and will not be beaten.

“But amma, this is not chocolate,” the dark brown colour certainly fooled him. But who is bothered, when he picks one, then another and yet another. It is sold, and will come back quite often.

Here are the secret ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup Ragi flour

1 cup grated jaggery

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp dry ginger powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter milk

1/2 cup oil ( I used olive oil)

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 Tbsp vinegar

1 cup grated carrot

1 very ripe banana (squashed)

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup choco chips or any nuts of your choice

  1. Sift together all the dry ingredients

  2. Mix all the liquids, add jaggery and blend with a whisk

  3. Add the dry ingredients, blend gently.

  4. Add grated carrots, squashed banana, raisins and nuts.

  5. Pre heat oven at 175 C

  6. Pour 1 Tbsp each of batter into cup cake liners

  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes

Tastes best next day.

 

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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 😉 ) 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. What they say about carrot cakes is true. They taste better the next day. Much better. Far better. Always.


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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 🙂

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. 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 – 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 cup 

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