I love having people over, and I love hosting parties. I love everything to do with the hosting – planning, sending out invites, the prepping, and I don’t even mind the clearing up after everyone’s left too. There’s one thing I just hate doing though - preparing starters that entail deep-frying. Much as they are the easiest to dish up, I just abhor the thought of standing in front of the frying pan. Not my cup of tea. Uggghh! So when Nags suggested we all come up with ideas for savoury appetizers that would be easy to make in bulk (for about 50 people or more), it had me all excited. It was like she had leafed through my mind and decided to give me a chance to fix for my problem.
Posted in Appetizers/Starters, Free-spirit Bloggers
Tagged aloo, Baking, cheese, cook curry nook, Cook-curry nook, cookcurry nook, Cooking, deviled eggs, deviled potatoes, easy, easy appetizers, easy starters, eggless baking, health, healthy, healthy food, Home, instant, mushrooms, vegetarian
The first event of the Free-spirit Bloggers group is here. And wowie, what an overwhelming response you gave us for the introduction post! Thank you. Forget those extra 4 brownie points I mentioned. Just drop by… I’ll have those warm fudgy brownies waiting for y’all :) So are you ready for that first burst of free-spirit we’re sharing with you?
Posted in Cakes & Bakes, Free-spirit Bloggers
Tagged Baking powder, chocolate, chocolate cake, Cocoa solids, Corn starch, easy eggless baking, Egg (food), egg substitutes, egg substitutes in baking, eggless baking, eggless baking experiments, eggless chocolate cake, eggless chocolate pound cake, Pound cake, Sodium bicarbonate, Vanilla extract, vegetarian chocolate pound cake
There are times when you want to bake just because it makes you feel good, and there are times when you want to bake just so you can feel good. You get the difference? I sure as shooting hope that you do, ‘cos its rather important to be able to tell the difference, else you wouldn’t understand me. This was a time when I wanted to bake something just because it would make me feel good on a lonely and boring Saturday afternoon. The hubby was out for lunch at some official party, and me, the bored wife was home alone, twiddling thumbs and wondering how I could while-away the afternoon that lay before me. And then, with a twinkle in my eyes, I thought – “What else other than baking would make me feel good?” Baking being my BFF, I knew it wouldn’t let me down whatsoever. Yeah, that was it…I was gonna bake something alright, but at the same time, I didn’t want to slog too much either. I am like that sometimes you know, just plain lazy, wanting to have my cake and eat it too (pun intended)!! So I set out to make the simplest cake ever, from one of my Nita Mehta cookbooks. You have to make it yourself to be able to take my word for this being the simplest cake ever. I did modify the amount of sugar that went in b’cos I thought the original called for too much. The cake tasted just fine, so I’m putting down the recipe with my proportion for the sugar.
- All-purpose flour/Maida – 1 1/2 cups
- Sugar – 3/4 cup (The original called for 1 cup)
- Baking powder – 1 1/4 tsps
- Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – a pinch
- Thick curd – 1 cup
- Cooking oil – 1/2 cup (I used Rice Bran)
- Vanilla essence – 2 tsps
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F. Grease a standard-sized loaf-pan (7″ x 4″) or a 7-inch round pan and set aside.
- In a bowl, mix the curd and sugar till the sugar dissolves completely. To ease the process, you could powder the sugar once you have it measured, and then stir in with the curd.
- Once done, stir-in the baking powder and baking soda into the curd mixture. Mix well and set aside for 2-3 minutes. The curd will turn frothy and start rising and increasing in volume.
- In the meanwhile, sieve the flour thrice and set aside.
- Add the oil and vanilla essence to the curd mixture. Stir gently so that the air in the mixture is not lost.
- Next, gently fold in the flour. Dont stir very vigorously; ‘gentle’ is the mantra. The batter should have a lovely dropping consistency. At this stage, I couldn’t help dipping a finger into the batter and licking it up. You should do it too!
- Pour the batter into the readied loaf-pan and bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.
- Lower the temperature to 180C/350F, and bake for another 35-40 minutes. (It took exactly 35 minutes in mine).
- Remove the loaf-pan from the oven, do the toothpick test to test doneness.
- Once it is done, though you’re raring to let the cake cool and dig into it, do one last thing, and you’ll thank me for this – Using a pastry brush, gently brush the top of the loaf with milk and stick it back in the oven for 2 minutes at 200C/400F. This is what gives the loaf that wonderful glazed finish on top. See that glazed finish in the pictures? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. I love the glaze and the browned top. Trust me, the crumbs around there are just out of this world!
- Once done, remove from oven and let the tin cool on a wire-rack for 10 minutes. Upturn the loaf from the tin and let it cool on the wire-rack for a good amount of time before you can slice it.
- Once fully cooled, slice the bread with a bread knife/serrated knife and get down to attacking it!
What’s best is that you cannot taste the curd! You will most certainly love this cake in terms of simplicity in making, and taste too. So don’t think too much, run into your kitchen right away and make yourself one of these, ‘cos it pairs perfectly well with your afternoon cuppa. I’ve given you the perfect excuse now…so GO! Don’t forget to come back and let me know how you liked it. Run along now :)
Who says you cannot enjoy your desserts when you’re dieting? And again, who says you must not enjoy something nice tasting just b’cos you’re dieting? I refute the argument. As long as the ingredients used are healthy, it’s not going to do you any harm, right? Absolutely right! I don’t believe in disdainfully baking goodies very oft with copious amounts of butter, and cream cheese, and what not, and then try to sound crushed and say – “Woot! I’m adding on those pounds. Help!”. That is incongruous with reason. Like my Dad was saying the other day – most people realise the importance of health only once they lose it. Shame they don’t realise in time! While I still enjoy the proverbial treat once in a while, I still aim at eating healthy, atleast when I’m making the treat myself.
I did promise you that the Muffin Man is here to stay, didn’t I? So yes, in keeping with my promise, here’s a virtual treat for all you folks reading this. Pray, tell me, what’s stopping you now…from mollycoddling away?
See those pretty vanilla beans? Oh they may look all shrivelled-up to you alright, but to me, they certainly are pretty. Take a minute, close your eyes and imagine that you can smell that wonderful vanilla from the beans. Did it work? I bet it did! Those are from Amma’s friend – Saraswathi Aunty’s garden from her native place. So if any of you need any vanilla beans, you know whom to contact – Me! Aunty will be more than happy to comply with your requests.
- Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
- Ground flax seed – 3/4 cup
- Wheat germ/Wheat bran – 1/2 cup (I used Wheat bran)
- Cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
- Honey – 3/4 cup (substituting 1 cup sugar) ( I used 1/2 cup honey and it was just about sweet, which works for me; suggest you use 1/4 cup more)
- Baking powder – 1 1/2 tsps
- Baking soda – 1 tsp
- Instant Coffee powder – 1 tsp
- Ground Cinnamon – 1/2 tsp
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips – 1/2 cup
- Low-fat buttermilk – 1 cup
- Home-made sugarless Applesauce – 3/4 cup
- Egg – 1 no
- Vanilla extract – 1 tsp (I used 1/2 tsp of powdered vanilla bean)
Note: This proportion makes 12 standard-sized muffins
- Preheat oven to 200c/400F. Line muffin tray with paper muffin liners and set aside.
- Use the muffin-method to prepare the batter – combine flour, flax seed, wheat germ/wheat bran, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, instant coffee powder and chocolate chips in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, beat the buttermilk, sugarless applesauce, honey, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
- Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing just until combined. The batter is definitely thick in consistency, so don’t be alarmed.
- Spoon equal amounts of batter into muffin cups. You will need to work with two spoons here, to scoop the batter into the muffin cups.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
- Cool on a wire-rack turned upside down. Enjoy them muffins with a nice hot cuppa, or have one for breakfast, a guilt-free one at that.
Sorry to digress while you are drooling, but I have some really drool-worthy news to share. Remember the announcement for the all-new feature on CCN – ‘Tales from Your Kitchen‘? I’m thrilled to say that I’m in possession of the first Tale from an ardent fan of the blog. No, I’m not giving out her name yet; the only thing I’m disclosing for now is that the next post on CCN will feature the first of ‘Tales from Your Kitchen’, so watch this space for a job wonderfully done by a reader of the blog. I hope her enthused tale inspires the other readers of the blog to share with us ‘Tales from Your Kitchen’ as well!
Posted in Cakes & Bakes
Tagged chocolate muffins, eggless baking, eggless muffins, fatless, fatless baking, healthy chocolate muffins, healthy double chocolate muffins, healthy muffins, No-fat Sugarless Double Chocolate Muffins, sugarless, sugarless baking