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Fruit & Nut Rum Cake

For our birthdays, my in-laws celebrate by cooking Vada, kheer etc and visiting temples. I decided to celebrate my parents upcoming wedding anniversary by baking this Fruit and nut cake. Reminds of my first anniversary gift to them, during my 7th grade. It was a picnic set, a flask with some cups and plates. I had saved all my pocket money, walked to one of the “FANCY” stores near my school and bought it. Was so excited in keeping it hidden till the date. Needless to say its a flask preserved till this date, one which brings a proud smile to their faces.

I used Bee’s Fruit and Nut cake recipe, modified it slightly , making it vegetarian instead of vegan. I had my dry fruits( a mixture of currants,raisins,apricots,cranberries and dates) soaked in Dark Rum for a week.

Please visit Jugalbandi’s website for the original recipe. I will list down the recipe anyway.
Here is the recipe

Ingredients
1. Mix of Nuts ( I used walnuts,almonds and cashewnuts) & dry fruits.
2. 1 cup Rum.( for soaking the dry fruits).
3. 1 cup packed brown sugar
4. 1.5 cup water
5. 5 tablespoons Evaporated Fat Free Milk ( Can also use plain milk/condensed )
6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
7. 1/4 tsp each ground cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg
8. 3 cups unsifted wholewheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour.
( I used 1.5 Cups Wholewheat pastry flour,0.5 cup all-purpose flour,1 cup Oat flour)
9. 1 teaspoon baking soda
10. 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preparation
1.Drain the dried fruits and reserve the rum. Put the dried fruits in a pan with water. If they are pre-soaked, use 1 and 1/3 cups water, if not, add 2 cups water. ( This is as Bee states it. I soaked them in rum and used 1.5 cups water)
2.Add sugar, spices and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
3.Preheat the oven to 350 F with a rack in the middle. Grease a bundt pan.
4. Once the mixture is cooled,add the vanilla extract and evaporated milk.
5.Fold in flour, baking soda and nuts.
6.Spoon into greased bundt pan and bake until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. ( Around 35 minutes)
7.Cool for a few minutes and invert over a wire rack .Simmer the reserved rum for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol and drizzle over the cake.( I didn’t simmer the rum, rather drizzled it as it is since I wanted a true rum cake. 🙂

Had some cream at home which was getting outdated and used it to lather the cake.

Variations:
1. No need to soak the fruits in Rum. It can be plain Fruit & Nut cake.
2. The original recipe called for some lemon/orange zest, orange juice, which I skipped.
3. Instead of Milk, the original recipe had oil/applesauce.

Notes:
1. The cake came out perfect and very moist. It turned out to be a bit too sweet for me. The original recipe calls for 2 cups sugar.. Wonder how people would even taste anything other than sugar in that one..

Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion to convey my thanks to my parents.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM and DAD !!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING Everyone.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 22, 2009 in General, Recipes

 

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Quinoa Paniyaram

Quinoa (pronounced /ˈkiːnoʊ.ə/ or /kwɨˈnoʊ.ə/, Spanish quinua, from Quechua kinwa), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a grass. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is currently limited.

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I read about this grain some years ago and have been hooked on to it ever since as it is very nutritious and is a good substitute for rice, being quite bland with a very mild, nutty taste. Our friends M&M even make Quinoa Biryani. I usually stir fry some broccoli and mix it with cooked quinoa with little salt and curry powder. I also mix it with idlis, Parathas and Paniyarams.
For 1 cup of cooked Quinoa, here is the nutrition profile
http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/cgi-bin/list_nut_edit.pl

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Paniyaram ( in Tamil) is made by steaming rice & urad dal batter with seasonings, onions added in moulds meant for this particular dish. I bought my mould in India , but you will get it in the US too, called the “Ebleskiver pan”, available in Iron and Non-stick. Making Paniyarams is very simple. Get the batter ready and pour it in the moulds. But, it takes time to cook due to which it is very rarely served in restaurants.Using this mould , one can even make low fat Vadas, pakodas instead of deep frying them.

I had some idli batter , to which added some onions , green chili and quinoa. Lo and Behold !! Quinoa paniyarams ready.
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Ingredients

2 cups Idli batter/Paniyaram batter/ (0r)
1.5 cups rice flour and 1/2 cup Urad batter
( Different people have diff proportions for Idli batter/Paniyaram batter. If you don’t have any of those , just mix it with some rice flour & urad batter. I use Brown Rice flour. For Urad batter, soak Urad dal for 2 hrs and grind it.)
2 cups cooked Quinoa
3 Green Chilies
1 cup diced onion
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp jeera( cumin)
5 curry leaves
Oil as needed
Salt as per taste

Preparation
1. Mix the batter/flour, quinoa,onion and chilies.
2. Season the mustard, jeera and curry leaves in oil and add it to the batter.
3. Take the mould, pour 1 tsp oil in all the pockets and pour the batter in to those.
4. After 5 minutes, turn the paniyarams over to cook the other side, using the stick provided.
5. After 5 minutes or once the inserted stick shows the paniyarams to be cooked, just take them out using the stick.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 14, 2009 in health, Recipes

 

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Kefir & Thank You

The first I heard of Kefir was a couple of years ago and have loved it ever since.

Kefir (alternately kefīrs, keefir, kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, milkkefir, búlgaros) is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus region. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep’s milk with kefir grains. Traditional kefir was made in skin bags that were hung near a doorway; the bag would be knocked by anyone passing through the doorway to help keep the milk and kefir grains well mixed

I was overjoyed when I got picked by Bee for the Kefir Grains. On Monday, this package arrived at our doorstep
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thanks to Jai & Bee at Jugalbandi
I dunked it in milk the moment we opened the package..OK,after taking the photo. Both Suresh and I were checking it every few hours to see the various stages and mix it every now and then. Since I used Fat Free milk, I ended up with a runny liquid . Added ginger, salt and curry powder( I mean just plain curry powder which my mom prepared by drying curry leaves). Viola !! Neer More ( Watery buttermilk in Tamil) ready.
To know more about the preparation of Kefir , visit Jugalbandi .I just followed the steps mentioned by Bee.
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9 Comments

Posted by on November 11, 2009 in General, health, Recipes

 

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