Jan 24, 2009

Plain cake

Cake is everybody's favorite and when you make it at home it has  extra special something in it - love. Many of my friends are worried about making cake and think it to be a big task. I would never agree to this. As far as I have known it just involves simple blending in of ingredients and baking till done. No magical tricks in here except that you might want to be a little precise with the measurements

I have made this cake for small get-togethers, family- get-togethers, friends, relatives, especially mil and yes it has been all time favorite. And I sure I remember it tight that it has always needed more servings with smiles on brightly lit faces

This here is a recipe for simple plain cake. It serves perfect for an evening snack or tea time. Add different things each time for simple but different taste change... say cashews, walnuts, raisins, tutti-frutti etc. We have cashews as our favorite but we love blending in other stuff too

Update : 10/12/12 Nowadays we make more of tutti-frutti cakes as that has become niks favorite addition to cake. Also he loves to dust it and add to the batter. Never to forget mentioning that he loves to help in every bit that he can. I love him soooooooooo much

This is what u'll need....

Maida /All-purpose Flour - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Baking powder 1 tspn
Eggs - 3
Unsalted Butter - 3/4 stick 
Pineapple essence - 1 tbspn
For garnish - broken casehws/ raisins / broken walnuts / tutti-frutti

Here is the stir....
  • Grease a baking pan thoroughly with little melted/softened butter. Make sure you dont leave any spots here and there. Sprinkle a tbspn of flour in the pan and swirl it all around to dust the pan evenly evenly all over. Set is aside till the batter is ready
  • Preheat the oven at 180 degrees to be ready to bake the perfect cake
  • Time to get the dry ingredients together. Measure a cup of flour - this could be tricky. Make sure you dont heap the cup with flour. Secondly dont tap the cup on the counter to accomodate more flour. The best way is to pick a cup of flour and level it gently it with a knife for the perfect measure. We will then sieve it to make it more light
  • Add a tspn of baking powder to it and sieve them together a couple of times to make it airy and to avoid any unwanted lumps in the batter. Let this sit aside while you mix in  the wet ingredients
  • Butter should be at room temperature. So the best would to remove from the fridge leave it outside on the kitchen counter for and hour or so
  • Cream butter and sugar together to make it more like a sticky paste

  • Break eggs one by one and add to the butter mixture. Add it one at a time and blend them  really well. When all 3 eggs are blended well add a tablespoon of pineapple essence. This helps take away unwanted odor that might creep in due to the eggs

  • Get the flour mixture ready. Drop in little at a time and blend well. I do it in three batches to keep it slow and smooth. If I add the dry flour all at once I risk the chances of having flour flying around and messing up my entire counter given me too much of extra worh which I hate. So best would be to add little flour at a time and mix well before adding more

  • If you planning for garnish then this is the right time. Whatever you add, just make sureto  coat/dust it with flour before you add them to the batter. This keeps them from sinking to the bottom so gives an even spread inside the cake
  • Pour the cake batter into the greased baking pan and place it in the oven in the middle rack. We would love an even cooking so dont leave it too close to the top or the bottom
  • Bake at 180 degrees for about 22-25 mins or till a toothpick comes out clean
  • Dont blend for too long as it would make it too airy causing the cake to drop in the middle after it is pulled out of the oven
  • Be precise on ingredients and their measures
  • I prefer less sugar. If you want you can try 1 cup
  • Sift flour and baking powder couple of times to make it airy which helps the cake puff up and stay light

Jan 8, 2009

Tomato soup

Tomato soup is one of my favorite soups. I love the homemade version so much that I cant just have one cup. The butter and bread crumbs add up to the taste. Its no hassle to make it so its almost always on my menu when I have friends coming over for lunch. A bread roll or chicken thighs on the side is what we prefer. Worth a try and sure to win hearts. 

This is what u'll need....

Tomatoes 2 big
Onion 1 big
Garlic 3 big cloves
Salt to taste
Pepper 2 tbspn
Cumin seeds 1 tspn
Butter 1 tbspn
Heavy cream 1/4 cup - optional
Bread slices 3

Here is the stir....
  • Cut the bread slices into half inch cubes and fry in little butter till they are brown and crispy
  • Chop up tomatoes, onion and garlic.
  • Add it to a pressure cooker along with salt, pepper and little water
  • Cook for 5-6 whistles
  • Let it cool down and grind it to a smooth paste
  • Heat up a pan and add butter. Follow it with cumin seeds
  • When you smell the aroma add the soup mixture and bring it to a boil
  • Add the cream(optional) and boil another couple of mins
  • When serving, top it with bread crumbs
  • Some may not want the cumin seasoning and that can be skipped too

Jan 7, 2009

Chicken soup - my mom's style

Chicken clear soup is simple to make and yet loaded with flavours. This chicken soup is what we usually make at home on weekends. Its quick and easy and also got the spice to kick your appetite. Its not too heavy so you can have even a little more than you would want to. Add more pepper and cumin to enjoy it spicy or just keep it low for a subtle flavour. Its all about ones taste

My mom used to make this for us almost every weekend. Sundays were always special and mummy always made sure to make non-veg. Special chicken gravy, rice, rasam, chicken fry, sometimes biryani and dessert too in case we have guests. My mom is a great cook and I can never deny that. Now internet and especially google have made it tad easy for all of us to check out recipes and try them out. If one doesnt click well then we try out another recipe. Also not to mention the blogs of recipes and the videos on youtube to assist us all further. But thinking about my moms days of cooking... I should say genius. I always wonder how in the world did she learn such good cooking and so many recipes. Hats off to you ma

Coming back to the recipe. All you need is just a handful of ingredients. Toss everything into the cooker and let it do the job for you... now that sounds really really easy and dont worry it is easy to make too as good as it sounds

Jan 4, 2009

Palak for a lunchtime menu

Spinach is good for health and there is every reason to include in our diet as much as possible. This one calls for boiling palak with a few other ingredients and grinding it into a smooth paste. Now dont think I am lazy .. it is just the way its made:)

Serves... 2 ppl 
Serve option... Hot rice

This is what u'll need....

Palak 1 bunch
Onion 1 small
Tomato 1 small
Garlic cloves 2 
Red chillies 2-3
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds 1 tspn
Urad dal 1 tspn

Here is the stir....
  • Put chopped palak, onion, tomato, garlic and red chillies into a wide pan and cook it with a little water 
  • This will take around 10-15 mins
  • Cool the mixture and grind to a smooth paste with salt and tamarind
  • Put tadka with hot oil, mustard and urad dal

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