December 28, 2007

Ringing In 2008

I have been blogging for about 2 months now, and I was initially not too sure that I would be able to do a reasonably good job of it. :)
I have to say that the encouragement I have got from fellow bloggers all over the world and all those visitors to My Diverse Kitchen who have been coming by quietly have left me feeling very happy.
I hope I will be continuing to see you in the coming year, too. My very best wishes to you all for a Happy New Year.
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Bread With Onion, Tomato and Bell Pepper Filling

I made this bread about ten days back and wanted to do a post but didn’t get around to it. I thought I should do this before this year was over and also wanted to submit it for this month’s Bread Baking Day.

I used a basic bread dough recipe and added some dry herbs. Then I made up a filling and shaped the bread according to instructions given by The Prepared Pantry. Actually it was the way this bread that was shaped that was the inspiration behind my baking this particular bread.

For the filling:
3 onions, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper (capsicum), finely chopped
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp aniseed
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp jaggery powder (or sugar)
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

For the bread:
3 cups strong flour (I used 2 cups all purpose + 1 cup whole wheat)
2 tsps active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp of mixed Italian herbs ( or whatever herbs you choose)
2 tbsps oil
2 tbsps crumbled paneer/ cottage cheese
2 tbsps grated cheddar cheese

For the filling:
Heat the oil, add the ginger and garlic pastes and stir. Add the onions and sauté till soft and transparent. Now add the tomatoes and allow to cook till most of the moisture has disappeared. Add the the bell pepper and allow to cook but still crunchy. Now add the cumin, chilli and jaggery powder and salt. Mix well and you should have a filling somewhat moisture-free filling or your bread would become soggy.

For the bread:
To half a cup of warm water, add the sugar and yeast. Add the proven yeast to the flour, salt, herbs and oil and mix into a soft dough with more water as necessary. I did this in my food processor but you may knead it by hand. Cover and allow to double in volume. Once this is done, punch down the dough and press out into a rectangle. The further instructions for shaping the dough are at Italian Filled Bread from the Prepared Pantry. I followed this method. I used my filling and then sprinkled the crumbled paneer and grated cheese before completing the braiding of the bread.
Once this is done, allow the bread to rise till about double in size. Brush with water. Bake at 190C for about 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.
This bread turned very nice with a nice crust. I am sending this bread to Chelsea to be included in Bread Baking Day# 05.

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December 25, 2007

Cinnamon Almond Praline Ice cream (with no cream)

Ice cream made without cream?
When Sunita announced Cinnamon to be this month’s spice, I wanted to come up with something different. Most desserts have a fruit, especially apples, and cinnamon in some form or the other. In Indian cooking, cinnamon is used in north Indian cooking, but would not be a main ingredient, but used along with other spices as a part of garam masala or otherwise. Then the option was to bake something with cinnamon in it. So I spent most of December hoping a lightbulb would flash. It was only a couple of days back, while reading someone’s post about an entry sent in for the event, that I realized I didn’t have much time left.
So I came up with Cinnamon Almond Praline Ice cream!

The credit for the basic recipe I am using goes to my friend, Gauri, in Goa. Technically, this might not qualify for an ice cream as it has no cream!! No eggs either. But as far as I am concerned it is made from milk and looks and tastes like ice cream. So this is how I made it.

For the Ice cream:

1 litre milk (I used 3% fat milk) + ¼ cup
4 slices white sandwich bread
2 tbsp corn flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ tsps powdered cinnamon

For the praline:
¾ cups chopped/ coarsely ground almonds
(pulsed in the processor, into pieces-not powdered)
¼ cup sugar

Toast the broken almonds and spread over a greased cookie sheet or piece of foil. Dissolve the sugar with 1 tbsp of water and boil till a one thread syrup forms. Pour this over the almonds and allow to cool and set. Break the praline into smaller pieces.

Ice cream:
Cut off the crusts from the bread and powder in the blender. Pour the milk into a heavy bottom vessel. Allow to boil, then add the sugar and powdered bread, turn down the heat, and allow to simmer while stirring frequently till it has reduced a little and is thicker in consistency. Dissolve the cornflour and the cinnamon powder in ¼ cup milk and add to the mixture, stirring all the while. The mixture will thicken to a custardy consistency. Allow to cool. If the mixture is lumpy (it shouldn't be) then bled till smooth. Pour into a container and freeze. When frozen, take this out and beat well to break ice crystals and get a smooth consistency. Repeat twice more. Just before freezing the ice cream for the final time, add the praline pieces and mix well and then freeze. The ice cream is ready to be served.
Serve the cinnamon ice cream with any sauce (chocolate would be good) of choice and decorate as you wish. Enjoy.
P.S. This ice cream would not be as creamy in texture as regular ones (for obvious reasons). This is the first time I made this with cinnamon. I usually make it with fruit puree (mango is especially good) and the texture is creamier. If the milk is higher in fat content and the milk sugar mixture is reduced well, this ice cream turns out well.
This goes over to Sunitha for Think Spice, Think Cinnamon.
You may want to check this out. Apparently, there is a connection between your character and ice cream flavour you prefer!!!
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December 22, 2007

Quick Blender Cake

Yesterday my daughter’s class at school was having their Christmas celebrations. Akshaya has been looking forward to this also because she would have a 10-day vacation immediately after this. She had wanted me to bake a cake to take to school. It just so happened that I have been recovering from a bit of a fever and cold and my energy levels are at an all time low.
I could have bought her something to take to school, but I know she was looking forward to taking something that “Amma made”. So I scouted around my recipe collection for an easy-to-do recipe. I found the perfect one in The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge. The best part about this recipe is that all the ingredients are mixed in the blender at one go and the resulting batter is baked. I don’t think cake making can get easier than this.

Her recipe made chocolate cupcakes. I made a couple of minor changes (I needed a slightly bigger cake) and poured the batter into a tube pan.
I, later, covered the cake with glace icing and sprinkles according to my daughter’s wishes. Akshaya was one happy girl going to school with cake. My mission accomplished!

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups hot water
¾ cup corn oil
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 egg
1 ½ tsp vanilla essence
If you want chocolate cake, substitute ½ cup flour with cocoa powder.

Mix all the dry ingredients in the blender. Add all the wet ingredients and blend till well mixed and smooth. Pour the batter into a well greased and floured cake tin/ pan and bake at 190C for about 20 minutes. Cool and serve or decorate if you wish.
My daughter wanted a chocolate icing, not too thick. I made a chocolate glace icing with 2 cups of icing sugar, 1 tbsp cocoa powder and a couple of teaspoons of water. I poured this over the cake and covered this with coloured sugar sprinkles.

I will finish this post wishing fellow bloggers and non-blogging visitors dropping by My Diverse Kitchen (my blog statistics tell me that I have a lot of silent visitors and am encouraged by their presence, too) a Merry Christmas and a happy and fun holiday season.
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December 19, 2007

Dry Fruit Truffles

When I saw that Dry Fruits were to be this month’s fruit on A Fruit A Month (AFAM), I really wasn’t sure if I could come up with anything. These are not something I usually have at home or am familiar cooking with. Dates and raisins are probably the only dry fruits I use.
We used to get a lot of dry fruits earlier, as a part of Diwali gift hampers, when we would just eat them as they were. I believe dry fruits are more common in the northern part of India, where such fruits are grown, and then used mainly during the winters as a source of energy. The southern part of India does not have winters or the climate for these fruit trees to grow.
I had almost decided to give this month’s event a miss when I saw a recipe in a previous issue of Good Housekeeping. So I went shopping for some stuff, made some few changes and here is what I made – Dry Fruit Truffles. I guess truffles are made and then rolled in sugar or cocoa or dipped in chocolate. The recipe suggested rolling these in sugar, but I thought they might turn out too sweet. I added chocolate instead, so one more chocolate recipe.

½ cup dried apricots
¼ cup dries figs
¼ cup dried dates
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup cashewnuts
¼ cup almonds
¼ cup dessicated coconut (I used fresh)
½ tsp vanilla essence
250 g dark chocolate

Pulse all the dry fruits and the nuts, separately, in a food processor or grinder jar (with the blade for dry food) till chopped to small bits. Mix together with coconut. Form into 1 inch balls.
Melt the chocolate over boiling water or in the microwave. Add the vanilla and mix well. Dip the dry fruit balls in the chocolate and place on a greased cookie sheet or plate to dry.
I took a bit of a shortcut. I am not especially fond of dry fruits and did not want that to be the overriding taste in these truffles. So I melted the chocolate, then added all the dry fruit, nuts and coconut and mixed well. Then I rolled out the mixture into balls and then drizzled white chocolate over them (my efforts were a lot less than perfect) and allowed them to dry.
My truffles were done and ready to eat. They can be served decoratively and be packed and gifted.
So this goes across to The "Yum" Blog for this month’s AFAM-Dry Fruits. I am also sending this is to Deepz for January’s JFI- Chocolate.
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December 16, 2007

Been Tagged, And A Meme!

I have been tagged by Red Chillies to do a meme about 7 random or weird facts about myself.
I have been wondering what to do about the meme. It does feel nice to be tagged ( in the very short time I have been blogging, it is encouraging to know that I have been noticed), but I wasn’t sure I wanted to take it up, for no other reason other than the fact that I am not the sort who opens up about even vaguely personal things. Does this qualify for a weird thing about me?

I first looked up the exact meaning of “weird”. According to my very voluminous dictionary, weird refers to supernatural, strikingly odd or unusual, or strange. I do not believe I am any of these, though my husband and daughter tell me that I can be odd or strange, on occasion. A few others may feel the same but no one has shared this opinion with me so far!!

I finally decided that I would do the meme in the spirit of the idea. I have to warn all of you that are going to read this, that there is nothing very exciting coming up. I am just an ordinary sort of a person (not a mover or a shaker or any thing remotely exciting) getting on with the business of doing the best of whatever I can.

So read on. The rules for this meme are

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself.

3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

And seven (weird or otherwise) facts about me.

1. I have this “thing” about neatness and hate searching endlessly for things which refuse to be found. I tend to get upset when things are left lying around. And my husband and daughter tend to get upset when I rave and rant! I have toned this down a bit, I would like to think.
2. I have lived in eight different places so far and been to many more. The positive thing about this is that I have seen and learned to appreciate that while people may look, dress, eat and speak differently, that on the inside everyone is really the same.
3. I love milagapodi and will have it with a variety of foods. As an example, I like it as a spread in sandwiches! My husband thinks this is totally weird.
4. One of my favourite things to do would be reading. I have too many books that I like to mention them all and read books of a wide variety. In fact, the staff at the library I go to notice if I haven’t been there in a week.
5. I enjoy listening to music, classical or otherwise.
6. One thing I have always wanted to do and plan to do sometime in the next 30 years or so, is to learn to play the guitar.
7. My grand dad and my dad were both teachers. My husband is one, too.

I would like to tag the following bloggers to keep this thread going. Doing this meme is not compulsory and the choice is yours.

1. Jeena of Jeena’s Kitchen
2. Arundati of Escapades
3. RP of My Workshop
4. Mahek of Mahek’s Kitchen
5. Linda of Out of the Garden
6. Rachel of Tangerine’s Kitchen Hangout
7. tbc of The Budding Cook

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December 15, 2007

Coconut-free Chutney

This is a chutney that goes well with idlis, dosas/ adais, and other dishes that are usually served with coconut chutneys as an accompaniment. This chutney is free of coconut and tastes great.

½ cup roasted gram (daria/ pottukadalai)
2 onions
3 tomatoes
2 -3 green chillies/ as required
a small handful coriander leaves
salt to taste
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal

Dry roast the gram till it gives off an aroma and and starts to brown (do not brown). Grind this, onions, tomatoes, chillies, coriander and salt to a fine paste, adding a couple of teaspoons of water, if necessary.
Heat oil, splutter the mustard seeds and then add the urad dal. Lightly brown and pour into the chutney. Serve.
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Pesarattu (Moong Beans and Rice Pancakes)

Pesarattu is a breakfast dish I make often. These are slightly thick dosas/ adais (savoury pancakes) made from a batter of soaked and ground whole moong beans and raw rice. Very healthy and very filling, the Pesarattu comes from the Indian state of Andra Pradesh.


2 cups whole moong beans
¾ cup raw rice
1 large onion
3 tbsp grated coconut (optional)
2 green chillies ( adjusted for spiciness)
¼ tsp asafetida powder
salt to taste


Soak the moong beans and rice together for about 4 hours. Drain and grind in the blender, usin water as required, to a slightly thick and coarse paste along with all the other ingredients. This batter does not need to be fermented. If not using immediately, refrigerate till needed.

On a hot griddle, pour a ladleful of batter and spread as for a dosa. Pour ½ a tsp of oil around the dosa and cook on both sides till brownish and cooked.
Serve hot with a chutney. A good accompaniment to this dosa/ adai is powdered jaggery.

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December 12, 2007

Home-made Chocolates

I was just going through some of the recipes in my collection when I came across a recipe for making chocolates at home. This recipe is from an old newspaper cutting dated 1991! My daughter was looking over my shoulder just then and she wanted the both of us to make some. So our chocolate making project was born.
I have made these before and they are not too difficult to do. The ingredients are also easily available. The dough and filling can be made a little ahead, refrigerated, and assembled after a day or two.
If you are looking for the taste and feel of regular chocolates, you may be disappointed. But if you approach these with an open mind and without preconceived “chocolatey” notions, you will be pleasantly surprised. If it is any consolation, these chocolates are a bit lower in calories as there is hardly any added fat in this recipe!

The full taste of these chocolates come through the day after they are made. They keep and so are ideal for gifting and do not need refrigeration.
This is what you need and here is how to make them. The amounts given here are small so you could try making the chocolates in small quantities before proportionately increasing the quantities for larger batches, should you wish to.

For the milk chocolate:
2 tbsps icing sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
2 tbsps drinking chocolate
1 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp lemon juice

Sieve all the dry ingredients so there are no lumps left. Add the lemon juice and a little water (I suggest ½ tsp water at a time, or you could end up with something resembling frosting like I did the first time I made these) to make a dough which is a bit stiff but easy to knead. Cover with cling wrap and keep till needed. You may store this in the fridge and shape the chocolates the next day. The dough would need to be kneaded so it is smooth and easy to handle.
I used some of this dough to make plain moulded chocolates. I had some flower shaped chocolate moulds. I greased these with my finger dipped in oil/ butter. Then take small pieces of dough and press into the moulds, greasing your fingers if necessary, and smoothen the base. Leave the chocolates overnight (not in the fridge) to dry and then unmould the next day. Allow to dry for a few hours and then wrap in fancy foil if you like.

For chocolates with centres:
The centres need to be allowed to dry for about 5 hours before moulding into chocolates.

Coffee Centre:
(3-4 pieces)
1 ½ tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
½ tsp instant coffee powder (use more for a stronger flavour)
Mix into a dough with very little water and shape into 3-4 balls. Allow to dry.

Coconut Centre:
(6-8 pieces)
1 ½ tbsp icing sugar
1 ½ milk powder
4 tbsps dessicated coconut (I used fresh coconut, pulsed once in the blender)
A drop or two of colour (optional)
Mix into a dough with very little water. If using fresh coconut, you don’t need water as the coconut would be wet enough. Shape into 6-8 balls and allow to dry.

Marzipan Centre:
(4-6 pieces)
2 tbsps icing sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
3 tbsps almond or cashewnuts, blanched and ground
A drop or two of colour (optional)
Mix into a dough. This does not need water. Shape into balls and allow to dry.

To assemble:
Take a bit of the milk chocolate dough and press and shape into cups. Put in the desired filling and cover with the chocolate dough, pinching together the joints and roll between palms to smoothen. Lightly grease your palms if needed. Allow the chocolate balls to dry for a few hours and place in paper cups or wrap in decorative foil and pack as desired. They are ready to be eaten. My pictures do not really do them justice.
Happy Chocolate Making!!

This is going across to Bindiya for My Favourite Things- Chocolate. I am also sending this in to Deepz for January's JFI- Chocolate.
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December 8, 2007

Achappam (Rose Cookies)

e are Hindu and don’t celebrate Christmas. I have, however, spent a large part of my childhood and adulthood living in places where Christmas is celebrated. Now, my next door neighbour also celebrates Christmas and we look forward to the variety of food, cake and chocolates they always bring over.

Our daughter has this little tree (artificial) she loves to decorate and put up in our living room. In fact, for a long time she used to believe in Santa Claus and would be thrilled by the presents he brought for her. She used to be very worried that Santa would give her a miss as we didn’t have a chimney ( her books told her this was how he came) so I used to tell her he would come through the open window!
So, in tune with the spirit of the season, I thought I should do a post about some food typical of Christmas in Kerala.

Christmas in Kerala is celebrated as in other parts of the world, with families getting together and putting up Christmas cribs, attending special masses and eating good food. Christmas trees are not a tradition (probably because they don’t grow here) though stars are put up in Christian homes in December. While I am not sure about the details of the traditional fare served for Christmas, I know it is mostly non-vegetarian. Traditionally foods prepared for Christmas include plum or fruit cake, vattayappam, palappam, kozhalappam and achappam.

Of these, achappam is a favourite with us, whatever the season. “Achu” refers to the mould used to make this and “appam” is a general name for a batter, usually of rice flour, that is deep-fried or steamed.
One of my cookie books has a recipe for rosette cookies from Europe (made using a mould) which is made from all purpose flour and deep-fried. This might be the origin of the achappam. GIven the the Dutch and the Portuguese have influenced Christian cuisine in Kerala especially of those foods connected to important celebrations like Easter and Christmas, it is logical to assume that the Achappam in Kerala is an adpatation of the Dutch "Rose Koekje".

To make an achappam you need a special iron mould which is dipped in the batter and then lowered into the oil. The achappam leaves the mould and is fried till cooked. This technique is what has to be learnt. This comes only with practice. I should know. I finally got it right today. Earlier, the batter would stick to the mould and refuse to come off.

The best moulds are the ones made of iron (not stainless steel) and the heavier the mould the better.The moulds need to be seasoned by immersing them in oil in a wok and then heating them with the oil. Once the Achappam have been made, let the mould cool and then wash it well but without removing the oily completely.
Otherwise, make sure a very thin layer of oil is applied on it before you put it away. This ensures that the mould stays seasoned and also does not develop rust spots.

This video from a television show is a good demonstration of how Achappam is made in Kerala.
Achappam (Rose Cookies)


1 cup fine rice flour

1 tbsp all purpose flour

1 cup thick coconut milk (120ml, this would be from 1 coconut)
(I used 25g coconut milk powder dissolved in 120ml water)

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp black sesame seeds

oil for deep frying

(Traditional recipes use only rice flour and no baking powder)


Mix all the ingredients to make a slightly thick batter (like for dosas or pancakes).

Heat the oil with the mould in it because the metal of the mould needs to heat up for the batter to coat it. If the mould is not hot enough, or too hot the batter will not coat it properly.

Turn the heat to medium, dip the mould into the batter making sure that the batter comes only upto just below the top edge of the mould, and then lower into the oil.If the mould is dipped completely into the batter, the Achappam will not come off the mould into the oil.

Agitate the mould very slightly and the achappam will slide into the oil. Fry till light brown on both sides and allow to drain on a paper towel. Use up the batter this way. Store in airtight containers.

Note: Natural fresh pressed coconut milk is the best. In a pinch the packaged coconut milk, whether liquid or dehydrated (powdered), also works well.

I am sending these to Susan at Food Blogga for her Christmas Cookies from Around the World
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December 7, 2007

Coriander/ Cilantro Chutney Powder (Kothamalli Podi)


ost saturdays, a greens (as in spinach, fenugreek leaves, coriander, etc) seller ( I don’t know how else to describe him as he sells only a variety of greens), brings fresh leafy vegetables to my door. I almost always end up buying these in larger quantities than I need. I have devised various methods of cutting, cooking and freezing so that nothing goes waste!

Last week he had fresh and healthy looking coriander leaves. I bought 2 huge bunches and used up some in chutneys. The rest went into making chutney powder. This chutney powder is common in Palakkad and Tamil Iyer homes.

Some basic facts about Coriander:

Coriander (Kothamalli/ Dhania), also known as Cilantro is an annual herb whose leaves, stems and seeds are edible. Coriander leaves are widely used in Asian, Mexican and some Portuguese cooking.
Coriander, in traditional medicine, is thought to have anxiety relieving properties. The seeds are boiled with cumin in water and this liquid is used as a diuretic.
Coriander/ Cilantro Chutney Powder (Kothamalli Podi)


1 1/2 cups coriander leaves, loosely packed
1/2 cup urad dal
1/2 cup chana dal
red chillies (to taste, I used 10)
tamarind, size of a marble
1/4 tsp asafetida
1 tsp jaggery powder (optional)
salt to taste

Wash the coriander leaves and also the stems, if they are tender, and spread on a cloth to dry, preferably overnight. I snip them into manageable portions with a pair of scissors I keep for cutting up herbs and green chillies.
Put the dry leaves in a pan and stir, on medium heat, for a minute or two till they wilt and start giving off an aroma. Take off the heat. In the same pan, roast the urad and chana dals till golden brown. As they start browning, add the chillies and asafetida powder. Remove from heat and cool.
Put all the ingredients in the blender/ grinder jar and powder till the the coriander leaves are well ground. The powder will be a little coarse in texture. Bottle and refrigerate.
This chutney powder goes well with idlis, dosas or rice and yogurt. If it is served with idlis or dosas, you may add a bit of oil as for milagaipodi.

Kothamalli Thokku:
This a sort of oily chutney/ pickle with almost the same ingredients. Just grind the coriander leaves, tamarind and chillies ( you may use green chillies). To about ¼ cup sesame seed/ gingelly oil, add a tsp of mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the asafetida and the ground paste. Add the powdered dals and other ingredients and cook till all the moisture has evaporated and the oil is visible at the side of the pan. Cool and bottle.
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December 6, 2007

Oats Sesame Crackers

When I saw Viji’s recipe for Oats and Sesame Crackers this morning, I knew I wanted to try it out. I had some time to spare so decided to give it a try. The recipe is the same as Viji’s and I just made some changes.
I added ¼ cup wheat germ (yes, I know this turns up in most of my baking!) and so reduced the whole wheat flour to ¼ cup.
Wheat germ is rich in essential fatty acids, so I reduced the butter to 25g and added 1 tbsp of oil. I do try to reduce or avoid butter wherever I can because eof the saturated fat and cholesterol. It doesn’t always work, but I try!!
Wheat germ in a dough has a tendency to absorb moisture so I used a spoon or two more of water to bind the dough. I also added a spoon of garam masala to “spice” it up.
I cut them into fancy shapes (blame it on the approaching Christmas season) and needed to bake them at 160C for 20 minutes.
The crackers turned out well, crisp and not too sweet.
Thanks Viji, for the recipe.
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December 5, 2007

Date and Walnut Muffins

I had some dates leftover from making date-filled rolls and was wondering how to use them up. I was reminded of a wonderful date and walnut cake we used to buy around Christmas every year when we were in Goa. There is a shop called “Mr. Baker” in the middle of Panjim, which is run by two dear ladies and their date and walnut cake is beyond compare (I have made my own version of this which is quite nice but nowhere near theirs). That will keep for another post.
Coming back to the topic at hand, I decided to use the dates in some muffins and the recipe follows.
I still have not managed to finish those dates, so you will probably see some other date recipe in the future!!

1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup wheat germ
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup dates, deseeded
½ cup walnuts
1 cup milk
1 egg (optional, I made these muffins without egg)
3 tbsp oil
1tsp vanilla essence

Chop the the dates and walnuts into smaller pieces. I pulsed them, separately, in my blender. The walnuts will need to be pulsed just once while the dates would need a little more.
Set the oven to 200C.
Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Put all the wet ingredients in another bowl and mix well. Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and fold so that everything is just mixed. If the batter is a bit lumpy, that’s okay. If the batter is over-mixed, the muffins will not be soft and springy in texture. Spoon the batter into greased muffin cups/ pan about 2/3 full. Bake for about 15 to 2o minutes.
Cool slightly, remove to a rack. This recipe makes 12 muffins. I made 10 as my muffin cups are slightly on the larger side.
These muffins are very easy to make and do not require very much time. They are also healthy, quite filling and nice to eat at any time of the day.
I am sending this across to the Heart Of The Matter for HotM 10 – Quick and Easy.
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December 2, 2007

Anadama Bread

I have been baking some bread this weekend. This one for the first time and another one I have made a few times before (will do another post of that later).

Anadama bread is a traditional sweet bread of New England and chewy and dense in texture. Made with white flour, cornmeal, molasses and sometimes rye flour, there are many stories about the origin of this bread.
The most well known one is this quaint one. A fisherman’s wife Anna, used to serve him cornmeal and molasses every evening. One day Anna added flour and yeast to his porridge to make a bread. The fisherman, upset by the lack of variety in his evening meal, ate this bread while apparently muttering “Anna- damn her” and hence the name!
While history does not confirm this version, this bread has been baked since before the 1940s and is popular along the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S.
The recipe follows.

1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
3 tbsp light molasses (I used honey)
½ cup warm water
3 cups flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp butter (I used oil)
1 tsp salt

To the warm water, add the honey and yeast. Mix and allow to prove. In a bowl, Mix the flour, cornmeal and salt till well blended. Add the yeast and then the oil/ butter. Adding water as required, knead into a soft dough. Cover and keep aside to double in size.
Now, punch down the dough and then press out into a rectangle to fit your loaf pan. Tightly roll the dough from the short end, as for a swiss or jelly roll, and pinch the sides to seal neatly. Place the loaf in a greased tin and allow to rise again. Brush with water if you want a crust.
Bake at 190C for about 35 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a rack. This bread is good for toasting or making French Toast.

My loaf looks a bit lop-sided (I’m sure this is allowed for home made bread)! This bread has just a hint of sweetness, is beautifully crusty on the outside but nice and soft inside. Very tasty, too.
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December 1, 2007

Quick Potato and Chickpea (Garbanzo bean) Curry

We had to go out early this morning and it was almost lunchtime when we got back. My husband suggested we eat out, but I didn’t feel like it. So I thought of cooking a simple lunch. Now, this was okay except for a little problem.
Remember Old Mother Hubbard, her bare cupboard and the little dog who had to settle for a bone? Well, it wasn’t quite that bad but near enough. I hadn’t done my weekly vegetable stocking up (I am doing it later this evening) so I did not have too many vegetables on hand. I had 1 carrot, 2 tomatoes, some onions and a quarter kilo or so of potatoes! Sounds pretty dismal, I know.
Anyways, I put together a curry with these and some chickpeas I had frozen earlier. The list of ingredients seems pretty long considering, but most of the items are for seasoning.

¼ kg potatoes, boiled
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
½ cup chickpeas
2 green chillies, slit
½ tsp ginger paste
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp jaggery powder
1 tsp rice flour
salt to taste
1 ½ tsp oil

Mash the potatoes lightly so that a large portion still retain their shape.
Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the ginger paste, chillies, curry leaves and onions. Saute till onions are soft. Add the tomatoes and cook till soft. Add the turmeric, coriander, cumin powders and garam masala. Stir a couple of times, and then add the chickpeas, carrot, potatoes, jaggery, salt and half a cup of water. Allow to boil for a couple of minutes till well blended. Add the 1 tsp of rice flour to about quarter a cup of water and add to the curry while stirring. This will thicken the gravy a bit. Garnish with coriander (I didn’t have any of this either).
Serve with chappathis and yogurt for a filling meal.

I have been wondering what I could possibly send in to “Grindless Gravies” given all the restrictions SRA imposed to make us all put on our thinking caps and come up with something different. I just realized that this dish probably qualified ( at least I hope so) so I’m sending it over.
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