Posts filed under ‘From the bakery’

Bake your own Bolillos to make Mexican Tortas!

Tortas make a great meal/snack for a small get-together with family or friends or a kiddie party. Make the different components and let everyone assemble their own sandwiches. This ,a pitcher full of Margarita or Mojito or Sangria (or any other drink) is my version of a homemade Happy Meal!

Continue Reading July 9, 2016 at 3:03 pm 4 comments

Spiced Pumpkin Bread Rolls – We knead to bake

This is one of the most adorable breads I have baked! These supersoft , flavourful,festive  Spiced Pumpkin Bread rolls are just in time for Thanksgiving- whether you celebrate or not 🙂

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Aparna aptly chose these for the our monthly bread baking group-We knead to Bake. Thank you Aparna, I had so much fun making them. As gorgeous as they look, they are quiet easy to make.

Apart from looking like mini pumpkins, these rolls use Pumpkin puree too. I followed Aparna’s recipe without making any changes.I made my own pumpkin puree, since canned is not available here. Also I used pumpkin pie spice mix to flavour the rolls, instead of the individual spices. The kitchen smelled heavenly, while the rolls were being baked 🙂

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This recipe for the Spiced Pumpkin Bread Rolls is adapted from Beyond Kimchee.I used only the 2 tbsp honey, recommended by Aparna so they were not sweet.

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Spiced Pumpkin Bread Rolls
(Adapted from Beyond Kimchee)

Ingredients:

1/3 cup warm milk

2 tbsp honey

2 tsp instant yeast

1/2 cup puréed pumpkin (unsweetened)

40gm butter, melted

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp powdered dry ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

5 to 6 pecans, sliced into 3 vertical sections

Method:

Pour the warm milk into a bowl. Add the honey and yeast and mix well and leave aside for about 5 minutes until the mixture is starting to look “frothy”.

Put the flour, the salt and the spice powders into a food processor or stand mixer bowl and run a couple of times to mix them well. Then add the yeast mixture, the pumpkin purée, the melted butter and the egg to the processor bowl.

Knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough that will be somewhat sticky. It should pull from the side of the bowl. Add a little more flour (or milk) if required, to obtain this consistency of dough.

Turn the dough out to a wooden board dusted with a little flour and knead by hand for a minute or if using a stand mixer continue to knead on medium speed.

Shape it into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning it around to coat it well. Loosely cover and let the dough rise for about an hour or so, until double in volume.

Deflate the risen dough gently to remove large pockets of air and divide it into about 8 or 10 equal sized portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Flatten each ball slightly and using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors make 7-8 cuts at equal distance from each other, from the edge of the ball towards the centre but leaving the centre uncut – like a flower.

Place the dough “flowers” 2” apart on a lightly oiled or parchment lined baking sheet. Loosely cover and let them rise for about 45 minutes. Use your fore finger or the round end of a wooden spoon (dip it in a little oil or flour so the dough doesn’t stick to it) and poke a deep hole in the centre of each “flower” for the pecan “stem”. Brush them with milk (or egg wash if you use it).

Bake the rolls at 180C (350F) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Take them out of the oven and brush the rolls with melted butter or a little honey diluted with water for a shine, if you like that.

Let them cool and then place a sliced pecan piece for the “stem”into the indentation of each roll.

I served them with a hot soup.

 

November 25, 2015 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

9 years and counting!

9 Years! That’s how old My Foodcourt is 🙂

What started as a journal to document heirloom recipes, soon became a passion and now an integral part of my life. Exploring different cuisines,Learning food photography,Cook-alongs,Bake-alongs, food events, Giveaways,some media mentions,blogging Off and On (at my own pace 🙂 ), moving to another space and then moving back – all this happened during these 9 long years.

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I have said this before and will say it again- I have been very lucky to meet talented, generous and ever encouraging virtual friends during these years, who now are my friends for life. Some of them I have met in person too. Thank You my food blogger friends as well as readers of My Foodcourt. I am so glad we crossed paths!

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Many of my food blogger friends have stopped blogging now. I miss the camaraderie we enjoyed back then, since we were such a close knit group. Not that it doesn’t exist anymore, but the small food blogging group has now become an ocean and it is a pretty difficult to keep up with the happenings.

I also miss posts from my friend Indira of Mahanandi very much. Mahanandi, as I have said earlier was the inspiration to start this blog in the first place. I am so glad that I met Indira few years back when I visited Sugarland. I wish and hope she gets back to blogging soon!

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On that Nostalgic note, I would like to share a recipe for a Banana and Date loaf  to celebrate these glorious 9 years of my virtual life .

The original recipe is from  Lisa’s Lemoy Kitchen . I made a few changes to it. I used part whole wheat and part APF/Maida instead of the spelt flour. Also I reduced the sugar to less that half cup, since I thought 1 cup sugar was too sweet. Also I skipped the pecans,since the little Diva in our house does not like nuts 🙂

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I baked 6 mini Banana and Date loaves instead of 1 large loaf and they were gone in no time. This is a great way to use up overripe Bananas.

Here’s the recipe for the Banana and Date loaf

Adapted from  Lisa’s Lemoy Kitchen

Makes 6 mini loaves

Ingredients

1 cup All purpose flour(Maida)  + ½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
200g pitted dates (roughly chopped)
½ cup caster sugar or a little less
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
3 very large ripe bananas (mashed)
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degC.

Grease and dust the loaf pan or mini pans.

Sift flour and baking soda into a mixing bowl.

Add salt and dates.

Mix to thoroughly coat the nuts and dates.

Use electric mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar and oil until light and creamy.

Add mashed banana and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients into the banana batter.

Pour into the loaf/mini pans.

Bake for 50-60 minutes (large pan) or ~15-18 minutes for the mini loaf pans or until skewers comes out clean.

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August 6, 2015 at 8:39 am 3 comments

Our ‘Mango Summer’ and Mango Curd topped Meringue nests

While you get over your shock of seeing 2 posts on consecutive days here, let me crib a bit more about the heat. It is so..so hot here- No respite whatsoever 😦

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The better part though, of the hot Indian summer is the gorgeous bounty of fruits that it offers. The little Diva in our house goes on an ‘all Mango’ Diet and hence we call it our ‘Mango Summer’. Unlike the other fruits, Mangoes don’t need any disguise for her. Wash-peel-eat  Mangoes is her ritual for the summer. The peels and pit are not spared either-every last bit of goodness is sucked & licked before getting discarded.

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Aamras shows up regularly on the menu and everything from Sheera to Cakes is flavoured with mangoes!We even made Mango Agua Fresca!

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Few summers ago, I discovered this gorgeousness called Mango Curd, the tropical cousin of Lemon curd. It is an integral part of our Mango Summer now. ‘We’ use it to Spread, fill, top breads, Rotis, Cakes, Tarts or just lick it from a spoon!

I like to use Alphonso mangoes for the Mango Curd, but I have made it with other varieties too. Some people might think they are overrated , but I looooovvvve Alphonso mangoes the most and so our Mango Curd is made with Alfonso mangoes. You can use any variety you like.

I use this recipe from Smitten Kitchen to make the Mango curd.

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If you are in Nasik, there is an organic Farmers market on Kute Marg, behind Sopan hospital. You can buy your box of plump, juicy, organic, naturally ripened mangoes from there.

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The egg whites left over from making the mango curd were baked into these airy, crisp meringue nests. A few specs of egg yolk managed to escape into the whites, but the Kitchen Aid whipped them to stiff peaks 🙂

Meringue nests topped with Mango curd and ruby red pomegranate seeds-we have a sweet, spectacular looking dessert!

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The mango curd, if you can save it,stays well refrigerated for about a week and the meringues can be baked in advance too.

 Mango Curd recipe:

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 1 to 1.5 cups

Ingredients

~ 400 gms ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces ( I used Amul)

Method

Puree mango, sugar, lime juice and salt in processor, scraping down sides of work bowl occasionally. Add yolks; puree 15 seconds longer.

I did not sieve the curd. You can do that if you have too many strands in the mangoes.

Set metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk puree until thickened and thermometer registers 75 deg C, about 10 minutes. Remove from over water. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Meringues nests recipe

Makes about 10- 12 nests

4 egg whites

¾ cup caster sugar

Pinch of Cream of tartar (or use few drops of lemon juice and few salt crystals)

Method:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.(if using an OTG heat only the lower element )

Place the egg whites in the bowl of the stand mixer with the whisk attachment.

Add cream of tartar and whisk on medium until frothy.

Whisk on high till soft peaks form.

With the mixer on medium speed, add caster sugar, 1 tbsp at a time and whisk till stiff peaks form

In a piping bag with a star nozzle, fill the stiff egg whites.

Pipe ~ 3” circles, 1-2 “apart from each other on the lined baking sheet.

Pipe two circles atop one another around the edge, to form a nest.

Bake the meringue nests till crisp on the outside but not browned (took about 40-45 minutes for me)

Switch off the oven and keep the meringues in the oven until completely cool

Fill each meringue nest with Mango curd and top with fruits of choice.I have topped them with Pomegranate seeds , kiwi and mango cubes.

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May 29, 2015 at 7:22 pm 11 comments

We Knead to Bake #26 -Kummelweck Rolls

It’s been 2 months since the ‘Dream machine’ arrived…and I haven’t baked bread for many months now. Ever since the Kitchen Aid arrived, I wanted to use it for Kneading bread dough. We Knead to Bake is in its 26th month and I have missed baking many of the breads. For a while now, I have had an idea brewing in my head to make- to fuse the classic Misal-Pav flavours into a burger. I was being too lazy to try this though. On a whim yesterday, I decided to take care of all the above issues and baked these gorgeous Kummelweck Rolls.

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“A Kummelweck (Kimmelweck) Roll is a crusty Roll sprinkled with caraway and coarse salt instead of sesame or poppy seed topping. They are German in origin ,“Kummel” means caraway seeds while “Weck” means roll. In Buffalo in New York, these rolls are used to make a speciality sandwich called the “Beef on Weck”, with thinly sliced rare roast beef and horseradish and it is typically served with fries and a dill pickle. These rolls are great for sandwiches and burgers’.

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I made 8 large sized Rolls using the recipe below. The hot weather aided the proofing and I got supersized rolls. I am not sure whether it was the added Vital Gluten, or the Kitchen aid or the recipe itself, but these are one of the best rolls I have baked- Crusty tops and super fluffy inside. Thank you Aparna for this fabulous recipe.

Next time maybe, I will keep the size smaller. Also, I used Shahjeera, instead of Caraway seeds.

I made a Misal Flavoured patty to sandwich between these fluffy buns, along with some sweet and sour mango chutney. To enhance the Misal flavor, I also added a layer of the Onion-Tomato Masala that is served with the Masala Pav . All these elements gelled together in this fabulous Misal Pav burger – as per the family this was one of the best burgers they have had.Recipe for my Misal Pav burger coming up tomorrow.

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Here’s the recipe for the Kummelweck/Kimmelweck Rolls

(Adapted from http://www.jewishfood-list.com/recipes/bread/rollskimelweck01.html )

Ingredients:

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast, I used Instant yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup warm milk

2 Tbsp oil

1 tbsp honey

1 egg white (optional)

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 to 3 1/4 cups bread flour*

Egg wash (optional)

Coarse sea salt and caraway seeds (Iused Shahjeera)

Method:

*To substitute for bread flour add 1 tbsp of vital wheat gluten to 2 to 3 cups of all-purpose flour.

Mix together the warm water and the warm milk and stir in the yeast. Let it sit aside for about 5 minutes. Knead by hand or with the machine.

In the bowl of your machine, combine the yeast mixture, oil, honey,the egg white and stir.

Now add the salt and about 2 1/2 cups of flour and knead, adding as much more flour as required till you have a smooth and elastic  dough that is tacky but not sticky. Shape the dough into a ball, and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover loosely with cling film and let rise for about an hour, until it is almost double in volume.

Deflate the dough well (not kneading), shape into a round and and allow it to rise, covered, for 30 minutes more.

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape each into a smooth ball, then slightly flatten it. Place them on lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheets. Spray or lightly brush with oil, loosely cover and let the dough rise for 30 more minutes. Brush with eggwash (or something else that will make sure the topping sticks when baking), then cut slits (like a +) on the top using a sharp blade or scissors.

Sprinkle the top of the rolls with sea salt and caraway seeds, and then mist with water. Bake the rolls at 220C (425F) for 5 minutes and then quickly mist with water again making sure you don’t keep the oven door open for too long.

Bake for another 20 minutes or so until they’re brown and done. Cool on a wire rack. This recipe makes 8 large burger bun sized rolls.

March 25, 2015 at 7:13 am 2 comments

A Plum post!

The thing that I like most about summers is the bounty of colorful fruits that it offers. Not just mangoes but Jamuns, Litchis,peaches apricots, cherries, plums we have been savoring them all! The lad is a fresh fruit lover and loves snacking on them. The little lady of our house on the other hand is a mango addict but refuses to eat any other fruit. The only way to feed her fruits other than mangoes and bananas is to sneak them in shakes or smoothies.

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The gorgeous weather (yes finally it’s raining here!) has increased the frequency of the kids’ hunger pangs. That also means my mind is constantly thinking of recipes to satiate the ever hungry kids with ‘different’ yet wholesome food. (I wonder how my mother managed when we were growing up?)

Litchis went into salads and Granitas when it was warmer. Peaches/apricots in crisps and parfaits.

Plums  were a bit tricky to sneak in -since the boy loves tart fruits but no sweets for him. The daughter wont eat tart fruits but loved her sweets.

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I had some leftover coconut milk from a Thai curry made earlier. On a whim I decided to make Sol Kadhi sans the Sol-The kokum. So you can call this ‘Plum Kadhi’ instead. The end result was as appetizing as the quintessential Maharashtrian favourite Sol Kadhi (have blogged about it here earlier).

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Plum Kadhi recipe

Makes ~ 4 cups

Ingredients

1  1/2  cups Coconut milk

~ 2  1/2 cups water

2 Plums pitted and chopped

¼ tsp green chilli paste

¼ tsp garlic paste

Black Salt to taste

Cumin powder and coriander or mint leaves for garnishing

Method

Blend all the ingredients except cumin and coriander/mint leaves together.

Chill and Garnish with cumin powder/coriander/mint leaves.

 

To satisfy the little on I made Plum Karanji-handpies. I chose to bake instead of deep fry the local favourite sweet Karanji with a Plum twist. A  layered cover (also called as Satha/Sathyachya karanjya in Marathi) wherein I substituted half the quantity of  all purpose flour with whole wheat flour and filled it with a sweet and sour plum filling. The end result was a stunning (specially when cut), crisp karanji with an unsual  sweet -sour  taste- almost a cross between a karanji and a hand pie and hence they are Plum Karanji-handpies !

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Plum Karanji recipe

Makes ~ 6 Karanjis

Ingredients

For the cover

¾ cup All purpose flour

¾ cup Whole wheat flour

3 tsp fine semolina

4 tbsp ghee melted

2 tsp icing sugar

Pinch of salt

~ ½ cup milk or enough to knead a tight dough

 For the filling

7-8 Crisp plums, pitted and chopped

3 tbsp scrapped fresh coconut

2 tbsp crushed/powdered cashewnuts

¼ tsp clove powder

¼ tsp cinnamon powder

~ 6 tbsp powdered jaggery (or to taste)

 For layering

4 tsp ghee

2 tsp Cornflour

Cinnamon sugar for dusting (optional)

Method:

For the filling:

In a pan add the plum, coconut and jaggery. Cook on a low flame  till the liquid evaporates (~ 4-5 minutes)

Add the cashewnut powder and the spices.

Mix well and cool completely.

 For the layering mixture:

Whisk the ghee  a few times till it becomes fluffy.

Add cornflour and whisk again.

 For the Cover

In the bowl of the food processor add all the cover ingredients except the milk. Pulse 1-2 times

Add the milk slowly till a firm dough is formed. Knead into a ball.

Cover and keep aside for half an hour.

Halfway through the waiting time heat the oven to 180 deg C.

After half hour, cut the dough into 4 equal parts.

Form a ball of 1 dough piece and roll out into a thin circular disc ~ 6 inch diameter

Keep aside, covered.

Roll out the 2nd dough ball to a thin circular disc like a chapati.

Spread about a tsp of the ghee cornflour mixture evenly on the rolled out dough.

Cover this with the rolled out chapatti no 1.

Repeat the with the 3rd and 4th dough ball. Total you have 4 rolled out chapatti like discs layered with the ghee-cornflour mixture.

Put a tsp of the cornflour-ghee mixture on top of the 4th layer.

Make a tight roll of the layered chapattis, like a Swiss roll.

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Trim both the edges and cut the rest of the roll into 6 pieces approximately 1 inch each.

Cover the other cut pieces till you roll out and fill the first one

With the cut side down roll out each piece into a circle like a poori

Place 1 tsp of the plum filling in the centre of the poori

Cover one side of the poori with the other into a semicircle-karanji shape.

Seal the ends using a fork or a fluted cutter

Place on a greased baking tray and bake till golden in color (~ 15 mins)

Dust with Cinnamon sugar mixture (optional)

Serve hot

 

With just 10 days to go for the first Indian Food Bloggers Meet ,the IFBM FB page is abuzz with all the upcoming excitement.There are several contests for participating bloggers being held as a run-up to the actual meet.

I am sending the ‘Plum Kadhi‘ and the ‘Plum Karanji Handpies‘ to the KitchenAid Plum contest

July 22, 2014 at 9:54 pm Leave a comment

A Road trip, A Focaccia and A Soup

WARNING: This is one of the longest posts I have ever posted! Grab a cup of Tea and enjoy 🙂

The weather Gods are still unsure -whether to rain or not to rain? Meanwhile we ventured out on a Road trip to Bangalore ; more than almost a 2000km car drive to and from Nashik. We were a bit apprehensive about the road trip considering the ‘can’t sit in one place for a minute’ little one but decided to go anyway. Finger foods, drawing/coloring sets, car games, CDs later we were finally on the way to Bangalore. The back-seat of the car was turned into a mini bed for both the kids to play/eat/ sleep and enjoy.

We preferred the Nashik –Mumbai highway and then the Mumbai-Pune expressway  to the single lane and ‘boring’ Nasik-Pune highway upto Pune. It was a scenic drive especially through the clouds in Lonavala just before Pune, and then the lovely windmills near Belgaum on the Bangalore highway. The road is fabulous except for the last 50-60 km as you near Bangalore. We halted at Belgaum for the night at ‘ Hotel Adarsh Palace’ . The hotel was good, clean and serves one of the best breakfast I have had on a road trip. The little one was impressed with their mini-button idlis.

Except the 1-2 Kamat Upchar outlets and 1-2 coffe day outlets we didn’t see many Food stops post Belgaum. We had south Indian thali at the The Kamat Upchar on the Tumkur-Bangalore  highway(~60 Km from Bangalore). Not the best of meals but enough to feed weary travelers.

We were in Bangalore exactly for 1 and ½ days. I have been to Bangalore a couple of times earlier but haven’t seen the city and its surroundings in bits and pieces on each trip. We could successfully squeeze in half a day trip to Bannerghatta Zoo and the Lalbaugh gardens. The lad was thrilled to see the animals at the zoo and also commented that the road trip was worth the effort  The foodie that he is, he enjoyed the spicy-sour sweet succulent slices of ‘ Gini mooti (Totapuri) aam’ sold just outside the zoo.

The lalbuagh nursery as beautiful as it is was disappointing since I went there in search of Herbs and they don’t grow them. (Should have checked beforehand)

I got a chance to visit a Nature’s basket outlet in Indiranagar, Bangalore and I happily carried a few fresh herbs like Thyme and Rosemary, Avocados , instant Polenta and such items all the way to Nasik. Fresh Thyme and Rosemary are yet to make an appearance in the market here in Nashik, though my kitchen garden will grow them in a month or two- Fingers crossed.

We stopped over at Kolhapur for the night on our way back and don’t have much to write about the hotel ‘Sony Palace’ just 2 minutes off the highway.The drive through Lonavala was even more scenic on the way back. Glad to report that the little one not only survived the car trip but is eager to go on another trip!

The herbs survived the ride back home and were  immediately used in as many dishes as I could. The Rosemary urged me to bake a lovely warm Rosemary and Olive Focaccia.Some of the thyme went into a Roasted tomato and Thyme soup.; a perfect dinner combination for these ‘Rainy weather days’.

I have adapted the recipe for the Rosemary and Olive Focaccia from  a book ‘Baking- simple cookery series’ from my collection of cookbooks.

I have used some part whole wheat flour instead of total AP flour as  recommened in the recipe with great results. The soup was made using whatever ingredients were available, Thyme being the star ingredient.

Here’s the recipe for the Rosemary Olive Focaccia

Makes 2 Loaves

Ingredients:

700 gms strong white flour (I used 450 gms Maida/AP flour, 250 gms whole wheat flour and 3 tbsp Vital gluten)

pinch of salt

pinch of caster sugar

7g/ 2tsp instant yeast (I used AB Mauri)

450 ml warm water (or as required to make a soft elastic dough, I needed about 470 ml)

2 tsp chopped fresh Rosemary

75 gms pitted black olives roughly chopped

3 tbsp Olive oil (I used herb infused Olive oil- see note below)

For the garnish:

3 tbsp Olive oil (I used herb infused Olive oil- see note below)

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Fresh Rosemary for garnishing

Method:

Sift the Flours, salt and the sugar.

Stir in the yeast and Rosemary.

Make a well in the centre

Carefully pour in the warm water and Olive oil/herb oil. I need about 10-20 ml more water so add the water gradually.

Mix to a soft dough.

Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead for 10 mins.(Yeast Therapy 🙂 ) until smooth and elastic.

Pat the olives dry on a kitchen paper, and then gently knead into the dough.

Put in a well oiled bowl, cover with a clingfilm and leave to rise for about 1½  hrs. or it has doubled in size(mine was overflowing from the bowl)

Turn out the dough and knead again for a minute or two.

Divide into half and roll out each piece into a 10 inch (25.5 cm) circle.

Transfer to oiled baking sheets and cover with oiled clingfilm/ foil and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Using the finger tips make deep dimples all over the dough.

Drizzle with the oil (I used herbed oil)and sprinkle with the sea salt.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until risen and golden. My old oven took almost 10-12 minutes more.

Cool on a wire rack and garnish with sprigs of Rosemary.

Grind over or sprinkle black pepper just before serving.

Recipe for the Roasted Tomato and Thyme soup

Ingredients:

7-8 tomatoes halved lengthwise

1 onion sliced

2-3 garlic pods

4-5 small sprigs of fresh Thyme

2 tbsp herb infused olive oil oil (or just olive oil) and a few drops more for garnishing.

1 carrot peeled and cubed

Coarse sea salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

½ tsp of brown sugar

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet, cut side up along with the onions, garlic pods and Thyme twigs.

Drizzle the herb infused olive oil (or just olive oil)

Sprinkle some coarse sea salt and pepper  over the tomatoes.

Roast  the tomatoes for about 30 mins.

Meanwhile Place water in a pan and boil the carrot cubes along with a sprig of Thyme till just soft ( 10 mins.)

Drain and cool the carrot cubes but do not discard the water.

Cool the Roasted tomatoes, onions and Garlic.

Carefully remove the Thyme sprigs.

Remove the skin from the tomatoes (or alternatively sieve the pulp later)

Blend the roasted Tomatoes, sliced onion, garlic along with the cooked carrot.

Transfer the pulp to a large pot.

Adjust to a soupy consistency using the carrot stock (or vegetable stock)

Add the brown sugar and adjust the seasoning.

Bring to a boil and turn off the heat.

Serve hot garnished with the herb and chilli infused olive oil along with  a warm bread.

(You may alternatively garnish with Cheese of your choice)

I served the Soup with the Rosemary & Olive Focaccia.

Note : Herb Infused Olive Oil

Warm about 1 cup Olive Oil (not necessarily Extra virgin). Add chopped fresh herbs like Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, Parsley.

Add 2-3  peeled garlic cloves.

Add ½ – 1 tsp of Chilli flakes.

Keep aside for 1 a day.

Strain out the  herbs and garlic ( I like to keep the chilli flakes)

Store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. ( Mine usually gets over in a week)

I use it on breads, pizzas, soups, dips or for salad dressings.

July 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm 11 comments

Saying Goodbye 2011 with Gingerbread Cookies

‘Stay Tuned’ that’s what I said in my last post- 3 months back! Those of you who ‘stayed tuned’ thanks a lot- I really appreciate your patience, those who didn’t please come back..coz I am back! 🙂 Yes the hectic life is getting the better of me and is keeping me very very busy and still I wanted to drop in here for the last time in 2011 with a simple recipe for Gingerbread cookies.

I am hoping 2012 will be a much better year for me- blogwise; I hope I can be more regular so that I can share my kitchen adventures (there have been many!) with you more often.

The Gingerbread cookies; Almost everyone has a recipe for them. Mine is from a lovely book called ‘Home Baking’. This book (publisher: parragon book) is packed with recipes to suit all tastes and occasions -from pies to tarts to muffins and biscuits, simple cakes to elaborate gateaux. So don’t be surprised if you see some more holiday recipes from the book in the New Year.

With 2 small vacationing kids at home, I ran out of ideas to keep them away from any mischief! The little one is quite a handful and the 6 yr.old gets bored easily without any activities.  Gingerbread cookies kept them busy for almost 2 days- 1 day cutting and baking, the next day for decorating. I didn’t have the gingerbread men cookie cutters so our gingerbread cookies are all shapes from Halloween to Christmas 🙂

The cookies were absolutely delicious with the warm ginger + spice flavour and were consumed in no time by the 2 little elves in my kitchen.

Here’s the recipe:

Gingerbread cookies from ‘Home Baking book’

Ingredients:

115g butter plus extra for greasing(I used Amul butter)

450 g plain flour(Maida), plus extra for dusting

2 tsp ground ginger (Soonth)

1 tsp mixed spice (I used apple pie spice mix)

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100 g golden syrup

115 g light muscovado sugar

1 egg beaten

To decorate

85 g icing sugar

3-4 tsp water (or as required to make a thick paste)

Method:

Preheat oven to 160oC

Grease 3 large baking sheets.

Sift the flour, ginger, mixed spice, and soda bi carbonate together into a large bowl.

Place the butter, syrup and sugar in a sauce pan over low heat and stir until melted.

Pour onto the dry ingredients and add the egg.

Take care the butter mixture is not too hot or the egg may scramble.

Mix together to make a dough.

The dough will be sticky to begin with but will become firmer as it cools.

You can store the dough in a plastic wrap upto a week in the refrigerator.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to about 3mm/1/8th inch thick and stamp out different shapes of your choice.

Place on the prepared baking sheets. Re-knead and re-roll the trimmings and cut out more shapes until the dough is used up.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm and lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

To Decorate:

Mix the icing sugar with the water to a thick consistency. Place the icing in a small polythene bag/piping bag and cut a tiny hole in one corner. Pipe the desired design on to the cooled biscuits.

Let the icing dry and if you have any left by then store in an airtight container. I didn’t have any left to store! 🙂

I will be hosting a Giveaway in the New Year 2012! So please stay tuned till then 🙂

Till then its Goodbye 2011 …

….see you in 2012 : another New year..lots of new dreams,hopes,ideas and recipes!

 

December 30, 2011 at 4:34 pm 1 comment

Am Back….with a Peach and Almond Cake

It’s been ages since My Foodcourt saw any activity.  Here’s a long post to make up for the absence.

Firstly, Thank you all for your lovely wishes .The little one has settled in perfectly- just like the last piece of our little jig-saw puzzle. It’s a pleasure watching her grow day by day along with her hero- her dada (elder brother).

As you can guess life after the little one has been an exciting roller coaster ride; had not imagined life with 2 very active kids + a full time job would be soooo hectic.

I have been surfing through some of my favourite blogs, have been tweeting sporadically too, but could not find any time to take pictures of the food that I have been dishing out or to blog about it.

From Rainbow cakes for the 6 year old’s birthday to a Peach and Almond cake (recipe follows) for A’s birthday, I have been quite adventurous in the kitchen. But the chaotic schedules did not permit any photography or posts.

2011 also brought a few Foodie adventures for me. In February this year, I visited Sugarland, Houston on a work trip. There I got a chance to meet the Fabulous Indira, of Mahanandi. Indira has been one of my earliest food-blog friends and in ways a trigger for me to start blogging. So it was just like a dream come true for me to meet her and that too my first time meeting any food blogger. We went for a small shopping spree at the Whole foods market in Sugarland, buying foodie things from Macademia nuts to Bamboo steamer to mini ramekins or just chatting over some fabulous Indira- recommended cheese and desserts (tasted the Tres Leches cake for the first time) and coffee.

Another work trip in April took me to Singapore where I met the gorgeous S from Served with love. I had recently discovered her blog. A few tweets and mails to and fro and we met one evening to discover some fabulous foodie things at ‘Cut the Mustard’; the most prized being a lovely bottle of dried Lavender. I also found my way to a tiny little shop (recommended by S) called ‘Bake it yourself’- a paradise for bakers.

Currently I am armed with lots of foodie ingredients and weapons, collected from different continents and hope I find time in my frenzied schedule to blog about recipes using them. July -August bring some blogging inspiration to me (My Foodcourt was started 5 yrs ago in August) and I am hoping they will also bring back my blogging mojo. Fingers crossed.

Here’s a recipe for a simple yet decadent Peach and Almond cake which I made for A’s birthday.

The recipe is from a Book called BAKING-Simple cookery series. I have tweaked the original recipe to accommodate the available ingredients. The original recipe uses Apricots, but I had a can of Peach halves, which was waiting to be used up and so I used peaches instead of Apricots. I also added some in-season fresh cherries to add that extra zing.  Also, I used some Tutti- Frutti instead of chopped dried apricot as recommended in the recipe.

Peach and Almond Cake recipe:

Ingredients:

2 tbsp Demerara Sugar

25g flaked almonds

400 g can peach halves drained (original recipe lists apricots)

225 g butter (I used Amul butter)

225 g caster sugar

4 medium eggs

200 g self-raising flours

25 g ground almonds

½ tsp almond essence

50 g Tutti-Frutti (original recipe lists chopped dried apricots)

3 tbsp clear honey

3 tbsp roughly chopped almonds, toasted (I used almond flakes)

~1/2 cup pitted halved cherries (not listed in the original recipe)

Method:

Preheat oven to 180oC.

Line a 8 inch square pan with parchment paper or grease with baking spray (am armed now with both these baking must havesJ).

Sprinkle sugar and flaked almonds uniformly in the pan. Then arrange the peach halves, cut side down.

Arrange the cherries in between the peach halves.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl till light and fluffy.

Gradually beat the eggs into the butter mixture, adding a spoonful of flour after each addition of egg.

When all the eggs have been added, stir in the remaining flour and ground almonds and mix properly.

Add the almond essence and Tutti Frutti and stir well.

Spoon the mixture into the pan taking care not to dislodge the peaches.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until golden and firm to touch (it took about ~ 55 mins for me)

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly for ~ 15-20 mins.

Turn out carefully, discard the lining paper and transfer to a serving dish.

Pour the honey on top of the cake, sprinkle the toasted almond flakes and serve.

July 18, 2011 at 10:08 am 8 comments

Petite Lemon Meringue Pies

This is a very quick post, but I had to make something for Aparna’s -Bite Sized desserts for Sugar High Friday. Life has been very very hectic here and so I could not manage to send my entry by Friday. Aparna has been very kind and is accepting my late entry too. Thanks Aparna for hosting as well as extending the deadline for me. 🙂

Petite Lemon Meringue Pies– I found the name itself quite refreshing when I first saw the recipe in the book Petite Sweets by Beatrice Ojakangas. Incidentally, I won this book (some time back) at a Giveaway hosted by Aparna. I have been meaning to post some of the recipes I have tried from this lovely book but somehow have not been able to do that.

Bite sized desserts for Sugar high Friday was the perfect occasion to make one of the cute looking desserts from this book and to Thank Aparna for introducing me to the cute bite sized dessert wonderland.

I chose the Petite Lemon Meringue Pies since I had a bottle of Lemon curd (from Fabindia) saved for a ‘Special Occasion’. I also had some homemade Mascarpone,I found Lemons (not limes) at the local supermarket and I had some petite glass bakeware. The only apprehension I had was the meringues, since I have never made one and did not know how ‘eggy’ it would taste. My doubts were put to rest the moment I took out the first pie from the oven and my son instantly gave a Thumbs up to the pie.

I made a small batch of 8-9 petite pies (I actually halved the original recipe). I had some problems with the temperature and the meringues were browned more than I would have liked, but the refreshing citrusy flavor of the pies more than made up for that. My photos do not do much justice to the sinful lemony morsels, but they are absolutely delightful, so go on and try the recipe and let me know about it.

Meanwhile I am sending this to my dear Friend Aparna for Bite Sized Desserts.

Here’s the recipe:

As adapted from Petite sweets by Beatrice Ojakangas

(I halved the recipe and got about 8 small Lemon pies)

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

3/4th Cup All purpose flour

2 tbsp butter cut up (I used salted butter)

1 tsp sugar (I used Vanilla sugar)

 1 small eggyolk

½ tsp fresh Lemon juice

2 tsp ice water

For the Lemon filling:

½ cup Lemon curd

½ cup Mascarpone at room temperature

For the Meringue:

1 Eggwhite

1 tbsp sugar

Method:

For the Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 200oC  or 400oF.

Prepare small muffin pans or like I used petite glass bake ware.

Pulse the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor till it resembles coarse meal.

Turn mixture into a mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl mix together egg yolk,lemon juice and icewater.

Sprinkle the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and mix till the dough holds together without being sticky or wet.

Knead and shape into a ball.

Flatten into a disk, wrap and chill for 30 mins.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about ¼-inch thickness.

With a 3-inch round cookie cutter cut rounds and fit into the muffins/baking moulds.

Pierce bottom with fork and for ~10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Cool before filling.

For the lemon filling:

Beat the Lemon curd and Mascarpone till smooth.

Spoon about 1 tbsp of the mixture into each of the baked pie shells.

For the Meringue:

Preheat oven to 180oC or 350oF

Meanwhile, beat the egg white until frothy.

Gradually beat in the sugar until the mixture is glossy- meringue like.

Spoon or pipe the meringue onto each pie and bake for ~ 10 minutes (it took~12-13 minutes for me) or just until lightly browned.

Cool and serve.

September 26, 2010 at 10:47 am 4 comments

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