Posts filed under ‘caster sugar’

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

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

Macadamia Marmalade cake

I have been guarding my prized stash of Macadamia nuts for almost a year now. I found these delicate creamy nuts in Sugarland last year when Indira took me on a foodie tour at the Whole foods market. I had bookmarked several recipes using Macadamia nuts to be tried. Somehow I never got around trying any of those and the nuts continued to lurk around in my freezer.

I hardly make resolutions, but this year I have resolved to use up all the ‘treasured ingredients’ I have been collecting from my various trips to different places; now it was the turn of the Macadamia nuts. The blog has been starving for quite some time now and needed some food. Life has been a roller coaster for the past few months and to add to that a few health concerns, sick little ones and the last straw –my old haggard camera dying on me! I have been handicapped photographically for the past 2 months and have resorted to ‘phonography’ for the time being. So please pardon the pictures in this post- they have been taken from my cellphone!

I have been toying with the idea of investing in a good DSLR camera for some time now (read 2 years) . Left with little choice now the DSLR has been ordered and will be with me in a couple of days! You know what they say-Every dark cloud has a silver lining!

I also thought a baking partner would be fun and a great motivation to return and feed the blog. Who better than my friend and a fabulous food blogger Aparna to bake together? Aparna too was game for it.A few messages later we were set to make this delectable ‘Macadamia Marmalade cake’. Apart from our fascination for Macadamia nuts the tangy Marmalade also attracted both of us to this recipe. We gave ourselves time till today to bake the cake and so I had to post it even if it meant taking pictures with my cell phone 🙂

I made this cake when we were visiting our friends for a casual weekend dinner at their place last night. The cake was light and has a fabulous crumb. The zesty marmalade added a lovely citrusy tang to the mildly sweet cake and the creamy ,delicately flavored nuts the required crunch.

I served the cake with vanilla ice-cream for dessert but you can have it as it is for a tea time snack.

Here’s the recipe for the Macadamia Marmalade cake:

Ingredients

• 2/3 cup self-raising flour
• 1/2 cup semolina
• 1/2 cup ground almonds
• 180g butter  (I used Amul)
• 1 cup caster sugar
• 1/2 cup buttermilk  (I substituted with ½ cup milk and 1 tsp vinegar)
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup marmalade (I used orange)
• 100g macadamias, chopped

Method

Grease a 17cm x 27cm x 4cm  tin(I used 17 x27x3 cm)) Line base and sides with baking paper. Preheat the oven to moderate, 180ºC.

Sift flour into a large bowl.

Add the semolina and ground almonds. Make a well in the centre.

Melt butter and sugar in a bowl in the microwave or on the stovetop in a pan. The sugar does not need to dissolve completely. Cool slightly. Pour mixture into the well.

Add the buttermilk and eggs. Stir to combine.

Pour mixture into the prepared tin.

Heat the marmalade in a bowl in the microwave or on the stovetop in a pan until warm and slightly runny.

Stir in the macadamias.

Spoon marmalade mixture over the surface of the cake. If the marmalade is too hot, it will sink into the cake mixture.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre.(Mine took 45 minutes)

Leave cake in the tin to cool.

This cake will keep for up to two weeks stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Mine already got over! 🙂

See Aparna’s eggless version of the cake here

 

February 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm 13 comments

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

Jammy Buns

I have been intending to try out this particular recipe for a long time. Lack of time is a major factor that has constrained me from doing so. When Nandita announced Baking for Breakfast’ as the theme for WBB#7 I decided to finally make it.Thanks Nandita for that .Baking is one culinary activity I plan to take up regularly. I am still at the trial stage. That is I still try my baked recipes on others! Thanks to food blogging and events like this I can hone my baking skill! I found this recipe in a lovely book ‘Baking- Simple cookery’, a collection of recipes by a team of experts. (No names on the book)  jb41.JPG

 I had most of the ingredients – Wheat flour and Cranberries were the ingredients that tempted me to try out this recipe! And I found it to be very simple for a novice baker like me.

Delicious and crispy Jammy Buns for WBB #7 hosted by the versatile Nandita.  jb2.jpg 

For 12 Jammy buns

175 g Plain flour (2 cups)

175 g Wheat flour(2 cups)

2 tsp baking powder

150 g butter

125 g caster sugar

50 g dried cranberries(I used orange flavoured)

1 egg beaten

1 tbsp milk

4-5 tbsp mixed fruit jam 

The original recipe used golden caster sugar and raspberry jam. I have used white sugar and mixed fruit jam instead.  Preheat oven to 190 oC/ 375oF 10 minutes before baking. Lightly oil a baking sheet.Sift the flours along with the baking powder into a bowl.Cut the butter into small pieces. Rub the butter into the flours untill it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.Stir in the sugar and cranberries.Stir in the beaten egg and milk.Mix to form a firm dough. Divide the mixture into 12 and roll into balls.Place the dough balls on the baking tray, leaving enough space for expansion. Press the thumb into the centre of each ball making a small hollow. Spoon a little jam in each hollow. Pinch lightly to seal the tops. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. 

Jammy Buns were delicious and turned out to be good for a first attempt. You have to excuse a little rocky shape for my crisp buns since my little one helped me do it. He was down with a severe bout of Dysentry and I had to entertain him!!

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November 29, 2006 at 9:51 pm 7 comments


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