The Weekend Kitchen

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


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What’s in a name?

Brownies are eternal favorites at home. Father and the two offsprings clamour for it, all the time. And each can finish one whole batch by themselves in no time. I’m not exaggerating. As I measure out the butter , sugar and maida, there is a feeling of foreboding. Their favorite one has 150 g butter, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 5-6 bars of snickers and chocolate chips on top of that. Sometimes ganache as well. If the lot ate vegetables otherwise, I wouldn’t have been so worried. Like necessity, worry also causes new discoveries. Tried this yesterday. Yet to name it 🙂

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate pieces

3/4 cups oil (sun flower or olive – olive oil gives extra softness and glow)

1 cup grated jaggery

4  eggs

1 T vanilla

1 cup whole wheat flour

a pinch of baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup crushed walnuts

Sift flour, bs and salt. Keep aside. 

Warm the chocolate chips and oil together on high in a microwave for 40 sec. Mix well using a manual whisk.

Add jaggery, mix well. Add the eggs one by one and mix well after each addition. Add vanilla.

Add the sifted flour in three equal portions and blend till just mixed. Add the grated carrot and 3/4 of the walnuts. Gently blend.

Transfer to a square pan lined with oiled aluminum foil. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts on top. Bake at 170 C for 27 – 30 minutes.

(Optional – Add 1 cup of choco chips along with the grated carrot. You could also pour some ganache on top once cooled.)

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Going the Grainy Way

There was a time when cakes, cookies and bread was plain old white flour. The notion of health food wasn’t heard of, and the evils of white flour would have been laughed off. Maybe it didn’t do our generation much harm while we were growing up, these were luxuries, not everyday or even a weekly item. Cakes came with Christmas, and cookies were a once in a blue moon phenomenon. As for bread, we had 2-3 slices for breakfast once in two weeks. All that changed with the mushrooming, blossoming and then spreading like wild fire culture of eating out. We had no clue what went into the dishes that we relished with a passion. With the Internet came information and the era of ubiquitous home baking.

Like most others, I started with white flour cakes. When baking became an almost daily affair, the quantity of processed flour, butter and white sugar loomed as a monster in front of my eyes. I had to slay the dragon. If I can point to one person who prodded me in this direction, it has to be Sangeeta of www.healthfooddesivideshi.com. The kind of storm that she cooks up with local, healthy produce has to be seen to be believed. The courage to experiment with multiple grains came from her.

Baking bread is therapeutic. The yeast ferments, just as all the stress and frustrations that had been bottled up for long slowly percolates to the top. The slow kneading eases out the tension in your shoulders and soul. And inhaling the aroma of freshly baked bread can be as peaceful as an hour of meditation. This bread that I tried last week, however doesn’t need any kneading. Just mix, mash and bake. At the risk of sounding like blowing my own trumpet, let me say the texture and the taste was amazing. As certified by the husband, who is not too much into cakes and breads. That in itself is something, I suppose 🙂 image   Ingredients

Whole wheat flour – 1 cup

Barley Flour – 1/2 cup

Maize Flour – 1/2 cup

Almond Flour – 1/4 cup

Cocoa Powder – 1/4 cup

Brown sugar – 1/2 cup (optional, I didn’t use it)

Baking powder – 1 tsp

Baking soda – 1 tsp

Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp

Nutmeg powder – 1 tsp

Eggs – 2

Oil – 1/2 cup (used sun flower oil)

Honey – 1//3 cup

Ripe bananas – 3 (ripened to the extent that next step would be rotten)

Vanilla essence – 1/2 tsp

Crushed walnuts – 1/2 cup

Directions

Sift all the dry ingredients together, thrice.  Mash the bananas with a fork. Add eggs, oil , honey and vanilla. Beat at low speed for 1-2 minutes. Add the flour mixture in three batches. Mix gently. Beat at low speed for just a minute so that all the ingredients are blended well. Add walnuts and mix with a spatula. Preheat the oven for 10 minutes at 160 C. Transfer the batter into a well oiled loaf pan. Sprinkle some quick cooking oats and walnuts on top. Bake for 45-55 minutes.

Test whether done at about 45 minutes by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, take the pan out, cool for 10 minutes, and transfer to a cooling rack.  Tastes best the next day.


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Extremely Easy and Incredibly Tasty

It’s amazing how simple certain tasty dishes can be. Somehow, we associate great taste with hours of work. It was the mushroom dish that we had at Chianti last week that inspired this. Olive oil, red chillies and garlic. That’s it. All the flavour you need. Find it hard to believe? Go on, try this out. Anyone can do it. Honestly. image Olive oil – 2-3 tsp

5-6 red chillies and 7-8 cloves of garlic – crushed together

200 g mushrooms, cleaned and drained

200-250 g prawns – deveined, cleaned and cooked for 10-15 minutes with just salt added to it

a small head of broccoli , broken into florets – boil some water, dump the florets into it, continue to boil for 5 minutes and drain a handful of walnuts

1. Heat a kadai.

2. Add the crushed chillies and garlic, sauté till the garlic turns slightly brown.

3. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Close the lid and cook for about 7-8 minutes. Open the lid, let the water dry up completely and continue to stir in between till the mushrooms appear shrunk, oily and browned.

4. Add the cooked prawns.. Stir till well coated with the masala and the prawns have turned brown. 5. Add broccoli and walnuts. Toss for 1-2 minutes.

That’s it. And it tastes perfect. Ideal for a mid work snack.

(Note : You can cook the prawns and boil and drain the broccoli florets in advance. Refrigerate till you use it. )