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Had some cream at home which was getting outdated and used it to lather the cake.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

I have been buying nutritious bars for the past 4 years . Started with Cliff & Luna bars, which are mostly meant for sportspeople and I am not one. My sports is limited to my gym activities and walking round the block , though regularly. The cliff bar did not impress me at all and I refused to eat it unless I was ravenous.Then, encountered the Organic Bars that we get in whole foods , loaded with nuts and dry fruits , flax seed etc, though I don’t remember the brand name. It was good and very fulfilling but slowly got tired of it. About two years ago, we found the Lara Bar…YUMMO!! I still remember the first time when we saw a guy promoting it in our Whole Foods Store,I went by him three times to get a free bite of the “Banana” flavored Lara bar. If you have not eaten one, then you are missing some heavenly taste. From then on, it has been only Lara Bars for us, though they are a bit expensive, but it is worth it as they are raw, unprocessed , healthy goodness. Though I bake different types of energy bars, I wanted to get the exact taste as the Lara bar.Decided to try my hand at it last weekend and it turned out to be worth the trial. Both Suresh and I just loved it, of course, with all the fruits and nuts, flavored with banana, who wouldn’t? Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:
6 dates, chopped
3 dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup cashew nuts
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 ripe banana
1/3 cup date paste
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Recipe:
1. Pulse all the nuts in a food processor, till the nuts are fine,but not too fine.( coarse> nuts > fine ).
2. Add the dried fruits( except the date paste and banana) & the pepper in the FP, pulse it some more till the ingredients are mixed.
3.Mash the banana and mix it with the date paste.Now , add this mixture in the FP, pulse it once more.
4. Take the mixture out, lay it on a sheet and cool it in the refrigerator.Cut it out and your lara bar is ready.
5. Store it in the refrigerator.

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Variations:
1. Just add whatever nuts and fruits you like. Add the date paste and banana in the end.
2. I did not have date paste, so ended soaking some dates in warm water and blended it with banana.
3. If you think the mixture is a bit runny and may not set well, just add a couple of tbsp whole wheat pastry flour or AP flour and bake the mixture in the oven @ 350C for 10 minutes.
4. I think if we don’t use fresh banana , but instead substitute with dried banana, this might have better shelf life.

“You are what you eat”

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 22, 2009 in Recipes

 

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