September 30, 2008

Dutch Crunch Bread or Pao Tigre

Dutch Crunch Bread is something I have been wanting to bake ever since I saw it on Nicole’s blog, Baking Bites. This bread is shaped and then covered with a yeasted rice flour topping which cracks and becomes crisp while baking to give the bread crust an interesting texture of light and dark brown resembling tiger stripes.
It brought back memories of a Pao Tigre (or Tiger Bread) we used buy and feast on, when we had gone to Portugal many years ago. When I first bookmarked Nicole’s recipe, there wasn’t much information on it, but she has since updated her post. Apparently, this bread is also called Tiger Bread or Tijgerbrood in Holland.

I made this bread 3 times before I got the texture and taste I was looking for. Of course, my bread looks less like a Tiger Bread and more like a Leopard Bread! So I should probably call it a Pao Leopardo or Luipardbrood.

I followed Nicole’s recipe exactly the first two times. My first attempt was a bread disaster. The bread didn’t rise very much and I felt the rice flour topping was too thick and heavy, as my bread did not achieve the desired cracked crust.

My second attempt was a whole lot better. I made the rice flour topping thinner in consistency and got the cracked appearance I was looking for. I was still not very satisfied as I felt I was getting too much of a rice flour taste to my bread.

I made a few minor changes and got lucky the third time. Nicole’s recipe is for 6 buns. I made one round loaf/ boule instead of buns. I substituted some of the flour with wholewheat flour. I used only 3 cups of flour of which 2 cups were wholewheat. I also used only a half recipe of the rice flour topping and spread it a lot thinner than suggested.

The bread crust will be slightly sweet and a bit crunchy. This bread is best eaten the sane day, as the crust loses its crunch and becomes soft. I didn’t find the softness of the bread much altered by the substitution of wholewheat flour.

My picture of this bread goes to this month’s edition of CLICK where the theme is “Crusts”. This bread is also off to Susan for YeastSpotting.

Please Note:

Today is the deadline for submissions to WBB: Grains in my Breakfast.
As I had mentioned before, I believe that many e-mails with entry details to this event are still not reaching me. I do send replies to all the e-mails I have received for WBB and leave comments at your entry posts.

If you have sent in e-mails to me for this event and haven't, as yet, got a reply from me, may I request that you resend the details or at least leave a comment at the event announcement post?
Please do this in the next three days as it will enable me to put up the round-up during the weekend.
Thank you and my apologies for any inconvenience.

It has been brought to my notice that there was a typo in my event announcement. My e-mail id was typed as which is incorrect. Please accept my apologies for creating so much confusion. My correct id is Thank you Bee.

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September 29, 2008

Vegetarian Shepherd’s (or Shepherdess’s) Pie

Printable version here.

This “Book Makes Me Cook” is a monthly read and cook event where this month’s book (chosen by Simran) was any book from the Harry Potter series. A small group of bloggers get together every month to read a chosen book and then cook something that was inspired by that book. I joined them this month to see what I could come up with.
Ever since J K Rowling announced that she was putting a stop to the Harry Potter saga with the 7th book, Potter Mania seems to have eased off worldwide.

My daughter used to be quite “potty” about Potter, as I used to tease her. She got me to read all the seven books (plus the two about some mystical beasts and another one I now forget) and my husband and I have sat with her through all the Potter movies, except the last one!

While all this didn’t make me a Harry Potter fan, I could see why children and so many adults found the books so fascinating.
The books are full of passages featuring food. Students at Hogwart’s Academy are always served dinner at tables that are laden with food. And Ron’s fascination for the weird sweet stuff sold on Hogwat’s express. The dinners served by Harry’s aunt (usually as punishment decreed by his uncle) are a contrast to the meals that Ron’s mother, Molly Weasley, juggles up out of the thin air. Now this is one feat I wish I could manage on those “what to cook?” days that I often have!

I couldn’t quite figure out what to cook as Chocolate Frogs, Cockroach Clusters, Broomstick Salad, Tooth Flossing String Mints, Jelly Slugs and the like weren’t exactly my sort of thing. Of course there was nicer and real food like butter beer, treacle fudge, chocolate gateaux but I wanted to cook something savoury. Now most of the real food mentioned in the books are typically English and many are non-vegetarian.

So I finally settled on a Shepherd’s Pie (in a vegetarian version) which I believe was on the menu at Hogwart’s. I understand that a vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is sometimes called a Shepherdess’s Pie!!
I adapted Delia’s Vegetarian Shepherd Pie to suit us here is my version.


2 ½ cups well mashed potaoes

¼ cup grated cheese

25 g butter, softened

salt and freshly crushed pepper to taste

½ cup cooked black eyed beans

¼ cup cooked (not very mushy) split yellow lentils (tuvar dal)

¼ cup cooked whole moong beans

1 ½ cup chopped vegetables (carrots, peas, cabbage, green beans)

2 onions, finely chopped

2 small tomatoes, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper (capsicum), finely chopped

½ tsp garlic paste

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin powder

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

½ tsp herbs (I used thyme, parsley and basil)

salt to taste

1 ½ tsp oil


Lightly mash the cooked beans and lentils. Keep aside.
Heat the oil and add the garlic paste and chopped onions. Sauté till the onions are soft and light brown. Add the tomatoes and cook till soft. Add the chilli and cumin powders and cook for a minute. Now add the bell pepper/ capsicum and the steamed vegetables and cook for another minute. Add the mashed beans and lentils, salt, the grated nutmeg and the herbs. Mix well and cook for a minute or two. Take off the heat.
Now pour this mixture into an oven safe dish (about 8”by 8”) and smoothen it out.

In another bowl, put the mashed potatoes, grated cheese, butter, salt and pepper and mix everything well. Spread this mashed potato mixture on top of the bean-vegetable mixture making sure it is an even layer. You may smoothen the top, or use a fork to score the mashed potato layer decoratively. Alternatively, pipe the mashed potato in an attractive pattern.

Bake at 190C for about 30 minutes till the top is brown.
Serve warm. This recipe serves 4.

You can see that my Shepherd’s Pie is looking a bit anaemic! I baked the pie for about 35 minutes and didn’t see too much browning happening. Never having baked this before, I didn’t want to over bake the pie and end up with a “tough as leather” potato layer. But after eating it (it was good), I think the pie can be safely baked for another 15 minutes till it browned well.

I take consolation in the fact that though my pie didn’t look so nice, it tasted very good. At least it’s not in the same class as Hagrid’s Rock Cakes!!

And while we are on the subject of Harry Potter, you might want to read J K Rowling’s speech “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination”. She delivered this commencement address at Harvard University on the occasion of being presented with an honorary doctorate of letters degree.

This Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie is also going across to Ivy’s Savoury Pie Event.

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September 27, 2008

Crackers, The Vegan Way - Lavash Crackers and Toppings: Daring Bakers Challenge September 2008

By now, most food bloggers knows that it’s the end of the month and that food blogosphere is going to be deluged with thousands of Daring Baker versions of one particular recipe. I wouldn’t be surprised or blame the non-Daring Bakers if they looked at this particular phenomenon with some apprehension.

This month, our challenge has been a bit different. Our hosts this month, Natalie of Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings From The Fishbowl, are both alternative bakers. There is a small group of Alternative Daring Bakers within our group who modify the regular challenges, every month, to suit their diet choices and continue to bake with the rest of us. The innovations they come up with to do this is something I have marveled at month after month.

So this month, our hosts decided to have all of us Daring Bakers bake the alternative way. We had to make vegan crackers {Lavash Crackers from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice (pp 178 - 180)} with the option of gluten-free or non gluten-free, for which they provided us with the recipe. We had full freedom with a choice of one or more dips to accompany the crackers, provided they were vegan and gluten-free.

I have made crackers before so I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge. Making the crackers and the dips was a breeze.

A full and printable version of this month’s challenge is here.

My Cracker Making Experience:

I chose to make the Non Gluten-Free Crackers with whole wheat flour. We were also given the freedom to experiment with what we wanted to add to our crackers in terms of salts, spices, seasonings or seeds.

I found the dough required a bit more kneading than suggested in the recipe. So what I did was to put everything into my processor and kneaded the dough in it for a couple of minutes. I then kneaded the dough further by hand till it was smooth and elastic.

My dough didn’t get anywhere near the suggested windowpane test. I was wondering if 100% whole-wheat dough could achieve that level of elasticity?

The one thing I had problems with was baking the crackers on parchment. My dough stuck to the parchment and wouldn’t come off! I have round cookie trays, so what I did was to lightly grease them and roll the dough thin on them and then bake the crackers on the back of the cookie tray. This worked perfectly.

I also needed to bake the crackers for about 30 minutes to get them crisp.

So I made my crackers in four flavours.

1.  Using one half of the recipe, I rolled out a big round (about 9” diameter) and lightly moistened the top. I sprinkled some freshly crushed pepper, cumin seeds and black and white sesame seeds. I then lightly pressed them into the dough using my rolling pin. I then marked them with a pizza cutter into 8 pieces before baking.

2.  To the other half recipe of dough, I added thymol seeds (an Indian spice also known as Ajwain in Hindi and Omam in Tamil) which I believe these are also called Carom seeds or Bishop's weed in English. These were cut out using butterfly shaped cookie cutters and baked. I got 15 butterfly crackers.

3.  I made some pizza-ish flavoured crackers using a half of the dough. I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil, and added 2 tsp of home-made marinara sauce, 1 ½ tsp red chilli flakes and 1 tsp of dried Italian herbs to the dough. I then rolled out the dough into a circle and baked it.

4.  I also made a half recipe of the dough flavoured with freshly crushed pepper, some thymol seeds and a big pinch of asafetida powder. These were all incorporated into the dough while kneading. After rolling the dough out, I cut them out into approximately 3” rounds using a cutter. I got 14 of these which I used to make Indian style “chaat”. Traditionally these are made using crisp deep-fried dough rounds called “puris”. I substituted the puris with the crackers.

To make these, place a little bit of mashed potato (which has been seasoned with a little salt and chopped coriander leaves) on a cracker. Top this with a bit of finely chopped onion. Top this off with some Tamarind and Date Chutney. Now sprinkle some “Sev”(deep-fried savoury chickpea flour vermicelli; this can be found in Indian stores) or even potato wafers. Garnish with a little fresh coriander. Do these with the other crackers.

Serve immediately.

This “chaat” can get soggy if not eaten immediately, so the idea is to keep all the ingredients ready in different bowls and each person puts together his/ her own “chaat”.

The Dips/ Chutneys:

I made an Apple-Tomato- Raisin Chutney which was a nice combination of sweet, sour and spicy. I also made a Spicy Onion Peanut Chutney/ Dip which was spicy and nutty with a slight sweetness. These are my own concoctions and the recipes for these are below.

As mentioned above, I also used a Tamarind and Date Chutney for the “chaat” which would also make a great dip on its own.

Apple Tomato Raisin Chutney


2½ cups chopped tomato

2 big apples (peeled, cored, quartered and sliced)

¾ cup golden raisins

2 big onions, grated

2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

juice of 1 lemon

¾ cup powdered jaggery (or brown sugar)

2 tbsp red chilli flakes

1 tsp cinnamon powder

3 cloves

salt to taste

1½ tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp aniseed


Add the lemon juice to the apples and keep aside.
I ran the chopped tomatoes a couple of time in my mixer/ blender so that my tomatoes were partially liquidized partially chunky. Put the raisins in a small bowl and pour just enough water so they’re immersed. Keep aside for about 10 minutes.

Put the soaked raisins, apples, tomatoes, powdered jaggery, chilli flakes, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a microwave safe bowl.
Dry roast the cumin seeds and aniseed and pound them to a coarse powder. Add this to the bowl.

In the same pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and when they splutter add the ginger and grated onions. Sauté till the onions become soft and golden. Add this to the bowl.

Mix everything well and microwave the mixture at 100% for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring after every 10 minutes till the chutney is quite thick.
Cool and bottle. This quantity gave me enough to a fill a large jam jar.

I am sending this chutney across to Heart Of The Matter: Preserving The Harvest and Key Ingredient Cook's Kitchen.

Spicy Onion Peanut Chutney/ Dip:


2 big onions, sliced

½ cup shelled, unsalted and roasted peanuts

2 dry red chillies

1 ½ tsp oil

½ tsp thick tamarind extract or paste

1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves

1 tbsp fresh mint leaves

1 tsp sugar

salt to taste


Heat the oil and sauté the sliced onions till they turn soft and golden. Grind this along with all the other ingredients, adding a little water, to a fine paste. Serve.

You may adjust the ingredients, especially the red chillies, to suit your taste.


This was a challenge that I really enjoyed for many reasons. While I enjoyed all the past challenges, even the ones I had problems with, I was particularly happy with this one because it was a savoury recipe and vegetarian/ vegan.

It also satisfied my need for healthy, low fat and crunchy snacking! If you would like to feast your eyes on some more savoury and vegetarian cracker fare, please do take a look at the other Daring Baker blogs. You won’t be disappointed.

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September 26, 2008

Honey Peanut Cupcakes With Chocolate Ganache

I have been baking cakes for some time now, since college. My cakes are usually nothing very fancy, just the ordinary kind. You know, cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, then flour and whatever flavours the cake calls for, then pour the batter into a cake tin and bake it.
My cupcakes are much the same, so far. But every now and then, I would dream of making cupcakes with unusual or different flavour combinations and decorating them too.
The Cupcake Bakeshop by Chockylit is a blog with an amazing variety of cupcakes and frostings. I have been wanting to bake some cupcakes using one of those recipes for quite some time now. Well, I finally did it.

I made her Sweet & Salty Honey Peanut Cupcakes. I followed her recipe but instead of layering the peanuts with the cupcake batter, I folded the peanuts into the batter at the end. I also used 1 egg less.

I also decided to use a chocolate ganache (melt ¾ cup chopped chocolate + 75 ml cream + 1 tsp oil) instead of the frosting to decorate the cupcakes.
Most frostings seem to need a lot of sugar making them too sweet for my taste. I need to find one which has just the right amount of sugar.
I, personally, liked the combination of dark chocolate ganache and these honey peanut cupcakes.

I used dark chocolate here but I would advise using milk chocolate to make the ganache. It would pair better with these cupcakes. I would also recommend trying the frosting accompanying the original cupcake recipe, if you like frosting as it seems a perfect pairing for the cupcakes.
These cupcakes turned out quite light, not to sweet and we liked the honey-peanut combination. The original recipe was for 9 cupcakes, whereas I got 10 cupcakes. I guess my liners were a bit smaller.
I also had a go at decorating the cupcakes. I know I’m still not there but would like to believe I’m improving.

These cupcakes are my contribution to Cupcakes, the Final Chapter: A Sugar High Friday event hosted by Fanny of Foodbeam.

May I also take this opportunity to remind everyone who was planning to be a part of WBB: Grains in my Breakfast, that the deadline for submissions is the 30th of September, which is just 4 days away? Thanks.

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September 25, 2008

Baked Methi Muthias (Fenugreek Crackers)

I enjoy having something savoury to snack on with my evening cup of tea. And if it is crunchy, I like it even better. Unfortunately, crunchy and savoury usually translates as deep-fried or very high in fat, which is definitely not good on a regular basis.
So I am always on the look out for healthy snacks which will satisfy my craving for “crunch” without the fat and all those calories.

I had bookmarked these Methi Muthias from Ashwini’s Food For Thought, sometime back but got around to finally making them just this week.
Muthias are a Gujarathi preparation of dumplings which are usually steamed or deep-fried. They are eaten with chutney or sometimes feature as in ingredient in other recipes.

I mostly followed Ashwini’s recipe and the only changes I made were to increase the flour quantities a bit, reduce the kasuri methi by ½ tsp, increase the amount of black pepper and I also added 1 tsp of sugar to offset the bitterness of the methi.
I also rolled out the dough and cut out rounds using a cookie cutter, hence the crackers.

These methi muthia crackers (for want of a better name) were crisp and very nicely flavoured with fenugreek with no bitter after-taste. I think they pair perfectly with my evening tea. If you are not used to fenugreek leaves (the dry leaves are much more bitter than fresh ones), these might not find favour with you. My version of Ashwini’s recipe is here.

These crackers go to Kittie of Kittens in the Kitchen who is hosting Think Spice, Think Fenugreek this month.

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September 23, 2008

Cabbage Payasam/ Kheer (A South Indian Style Cabbage & Milk Pudding/ Sweet)

abbage Payasam sounds weird, to say the least, and isn’t something that sits easy in one’s mind if you know Indian sweets and desserts. Cabbage is a vegetable, a sort of “stinky” vegetable and definitely not the thing you would normally choose to make dessert out of. More so when you know just how delicious Indian payasam or kheer (Indian pudding like sweet usually made with milk, sugar, cardamom and nuts) can get.

That’s what I also thought the first time I came across Vasantha Moorthy’s recipe for “Cabbage Rabadi” in “The Vegetarian Menu Book”.  My recipe that follows this post is adapted from the book.

As I was saying, I was quite skeptical how a vegetable like cabbage could be a part of something so nice. Yet the sheer unusualness of it all had me marking it down to make at the first opportunity. As it turned out, this Cabbage Payasam has been a hit every time I’ve served it for its great taste and always elicits surprise and disbelief from our guests when they discover that there was “cabbage” in their payasam!

So it’s my birthday today. I’m another year older though I’m not sure a lot wiser.
Traditionally, in my community, birthdays come and go and are not celebrated or made much of except the first one ever. Birthdays in general start with offering prayers at a temple and then a more elaborate meal than usual, called a “Sadya”,  is served where the sweet dish is always a Payasam (a milk or coconut milk based sweet, usually made with rice or sometimes lentils or fruit like ripe plantain or jackfruit).

I thought of the Cabbage Payasam and that’s what I’m celebrating with today. It also happens that I’m one of those few who actually likes cabbage, provided it’s fresh and cooked savoury.

It’s important to keep a couple of things in mind when making a Cabbage Payasam. Please, please please, make sure to use really fresh cabbage, and look for cabbages that are green rather than white. The whiter cabbages and the those that are not fresh tend to develop the hallmark “stink” and will lend that to the Payaysam. Now that is something you do not want!

You may use skim milk, but full fat always gives you that really creamy and milky taste that Payasam made with milk should have.
Cabbage Payasam/ Kheer (A South Indian Style Cabbage & Milk Pudding/ Sweet)


1 1/4 cups finely chopped cabbage

1 litre milk (I used ½ L of 3% fat and ½ L of 4.5% fat)

1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar depending on preference

5 pods cardamom, powdered

1 to 2 tbsp chopped almonds

2 tbsp chopped pistachios


Pour the milk into a thick bottom or heavy pan. Bring the milk to a boil, then add the cabbage. Allow to come to boil, turn down the heat and simmer till the cabbage has cooked and is soft.

Keep stirring frequently while the cabbage is cooking to ensure that cream does not form on the sides or the top and that the cabbage does not catch at the bottom of the pan. The milk in the pan should have reduced by more than a third of the original quantity.
Add the sugar and the chopped almonds and 1 tbsp of the chopped pistachios. Cook further till the milk-cabbage mixture is a little thicker. Add the cardamom powder, mix well and take the payasam off the heat.

The consistency of the payasam should thick but be such that you can drink it from a glass. If you would like it thick enough to serve in dessert bowls, just before adding the cardamom powder, mix about 1 1/2 tbsp of rice flour in 3 tbsp of cold milk and add this to the cabbage-milk mixture while stirring constantly. This will cause the payasam to thicken a little. Pour into individual bowls and garnish with the remaining 1 tbsp of chopped pistachios.

Serve chilled. This recipe serves 4 to 5.

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September 20, 2008

Elai Adai Goan Style - Patolyo (Coconut-Jackfruit-Jaggery Filled Rice Packets Steamed In Turmeric Leaves)

Printable version here.

Elai Adais (called Ela Ada in Malayalam) are steamed rice packets usually filled with a coconut jaggery filling and a traditional sweet preparation from Kerala. The “Elai” (meaning leaf in Tamil) in the Elai Adai, is the leaf of the banana plant in which the “Adai”s are wrapped before steaming. When you open the steamed leafy packet, what you find is a thin envelope of rice which is almost bursting with the promise of a sweet cardamom flavoured coconut and jackfruit filling. As far as I am aware, in Kerala, these sweet preparations are not made to be served at any particular festival or occasion. This is another Kerala preparation which has been adopted and has become a part of Palakkad Iyer cuisine.

Jackfruits (Chakka in Malayalam), like mangoes, are very common during the summer months in Kerala. They are a much loved fruit there and cooked in their raw form in a variety of ways. The raw fruit is also deep fried into delicious and crisp chips and even the seeds make for some very tasty food. The ripe fruit is sweet and mostly eaten as it is. Most houses, in the olden days, would have at least one Jackfruit tree (known as “Plavu” in Malayalam) in their backyard. The excess of the sweet fruit would be converted into a ghee-flavoured, jaggery-sweetened jam called “Chakkavaratti”. Making Chakkavarati is a laborious process which requires much stirring to ensure the jam reaches its correct consistency.

You must be wondering why I started with Elai Adais and moved off to Jackfruit jam!
Well, during the Jackfruit season, the Chakkavaratti/ jam is also added to the usual jaggery coconut filling while making the Elai Adai. I can assure you that this makes this delicious sweet absolutely wonderful. I was lucky to find some home-made Chakkavaratti on my last trip to Kerala in July. I had stored this in the freezer for some special occasion.

The perfect occasion turned out to be late last month because, in Goa, this is when the tender, parrot green and aromatic leaves of the turmeric plant are available in plenty. And people in Goa use it to make Patolyos (or Patoleo or Patoli). Patolyos are also steamed rice sweet filled with a coconut jaggery mixture and made for special occasions. The only difference is that they are steamed in turmeric leaves. This lends it a unique taste and flavour which is different from those steamed in banana leaves.

Hindus in Goa make Patolyos usually for Nagpanchami and the eve of Ganesh Chathurthi, while Roman Catholics here make these for local feasts such as the Feast of Our Lady of Assumption (on August 15th), Sao Joao Feast or Konsachem Fest (a harvest festival). In both communities, Patholyos are also sent with the groom’s family as part of the “vojem” (trousseau).

The method for making Elai Adai or Patholyo is generally the same and the difference is in the leaves used for wrapping them before steaming. I understand some families here use wheat flour for the outer covering instead of rice. Some use cane jaggery for the filling while others use palm jaggery. When Jackfruits are available in Goa, it seems that the pulp of the fruit is added to rice batter. Sometimes, even chopped cashewnuts or raisins are added to the rice batter. Such variations exist depending on the family and the part of the Konkan coast they belong to.

So this time I made Elai Adai, Goan style, by using turmeric leaves as banana leaves are not easy to come by where I live. I used my usual recipe for making Elai Adai and that is what is given below.


8 to 10 tender turmeric leaves (or banana leaf pieces)

For the outer covering:

1 cup raw rice

½ tsp salt

For the filling:

1 ½ cups freshly grated coconut

½ cup powdered jaggery

½ cup chakkavaratti (if not using this, increase the jaggery to ¾ cup)

1 tbsp ghee

5 pods, cardamom, powdered


Soak the rice in water for about 4 hours, drain the water and then grind to a smooth paste using enough water to have a somewhat thick batter (like for pancakes). Add the salt and keep aside.

Put all the ingredients in a pan on the stove, adding a couple of tbsps of water. Over medium heat, keep stirring the mixture for about 2 minutes, till the jaggery has dissolved and the mixture is moist and comes together. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
If you are not using the Jackfruit jam, use ¾ cup of powdered jaggery and proceed with the recipe. You may adjust the amount depending on how sweet your jaggery is.

If you are using banana leaves, cut into roughly 6” by 6” pieces. Then place each piece over the flame of your gas stove (a few seconds) so that the leaf just wilts. This will make the banana leaf flexible enough to fold without tearing.
Then proceed as for the turmeric leaves. After folding once, you may fold the open ends and the sides to form a sealed packet, which cannot be done with the turmeric leaves.

To make the Elai Adais or Patolyos:

Using a spoon, pour a small quantity of the batter on the centre of the turmeric leaf and spread it into a somewhat thin circle (see the picture). Place some filling in the centre of the batter and carefully fold the leaf along its centre such that the leaf folds over itself. Place carefully in the steamer, taking care the batter does not leak. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling.

Place the Elai Adais/ Patolyos in a steamer and steam cook for about 12 minutes, till the rice layer is well cooked. Take out and allow to cool till just warm. Serve.

When you peel off the leaf, the rice covering should be thin enough to see the dark coloured filling. It is important that the rice batter is not applied very thick or your Elai Adai/ Patolyo will taste more of the rice than the filling.

This recipe makes about 8 to 10 Elai Adais or Patolyos.

Update (22nd September, 2008):

It was only while reading the comments at this post, that I realised that I hadn't said anything about the flavour of the Patolyos. We are used to Elai Adais steamed in banana leaves, but this new flavour was something we really enjoyed.
The tender turmeric leaves lend a mild (not strong as with turmeric powder) and very nice flavour to the Elai Adai/ Patolyo. And the fragrance of the leaves just wafts through the kitchen while they are being steam cooked. I really do not know how to describe this but it is worth experiencing.

This is my contribution to RCI - Konkan Cuisine being hosted by by Deepa at Recipes N More.

An Appeal Regarding WBB: Grains in my Breakfast

On the matter of WBB: Grains in my Breakfast, I have just found out that many of you have linked to my event announcement but I don’t seem to have got many of your e-mails with the entry details. Either there has been a problem with Gmail or else my e-mail id { (zero zero and not oh oh)} hasn’t been typed in properly. I usually send a reply within 3 days of receiving a mail with concerning event details.

So if you have sent me a mail with details for the WBB event, and not heard from me so far, please resend the mail with the details, to me. Thank you and my apologies for any inconvenience.

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September 17, 2008

Chocolate Cupcakes (Microwave version) with Fudge Frosting

Printable version here.

Cupcakes are just the thing when you would like to eat satisfy that urge to eat cake without having to bake a big one. You can scale down (or up) the numbers to suit your requirement. And there is something special about peeling off the paper cup and eating a cake, even though small, that is just yours.
And if I have to decorate them, given my mediocre cake decorating skills, I don’t feel threatened the way I do when I face the task of decorating a big cake!

These cupcakes have been made in the microwave. I use my microwave everyday, mostly for cooking vegetables, making pappads and for heating up and crisping food. However, cooking wholly using the microwave is something I do less frequently except while making jams or certain sweets.

I have to point out that the texture of these microwaved cupcakes is somewhat like a sponge cake and to be frank, if I had to choose I do prefer the oven baked version. That’s not to say these aren’t good. They are and I have made them quite a few times. There’s something to be said for a cupcake that can made from scratch, frosted and is ready to eat in under 20 minutes. The recipe is one of those I copied down a long time ago, so I have no idea about its origins. And this is how it goes.


For the cupcakes:

¼ cup butter, softened

¼ cup castor sugar

1 egg

½ cup all purpose flour – 1 tbsp

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp water

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the fudge icing:

¼ cup butter

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp boiling water

¾ cup icing sugar

Sugar strands or decoration of choice


For cupcakes:

Put the butter, sugar, egg, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cocoa powder and water in a bowl and beat for 2 minutes.
Divide this batter into 10 double thickness small paper cake cases (you may also use two paper cases for each to achieve this thickness). My cupcake cases were a bit larger so I got 8 cupcakes

Arrange five filled cupcake cases in a circle on your MW turntable. Cook at 100% for about 2 minutes. The cooking time will vary with the microwaves so check after about 1 ½ minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted. Repeat with the remaining five filled cases. My turntable is on the larger side so I put in all 8 cases in one batch.
Allow to cool.

For the frosting:

While the cupcakes are cooling, put the butter in a MW safe bowl. MW at 60% for 40 seconds to melt the butter. Add the cocoa powder, boiling water and mix. Add the icing sugar while stirring constantly to obtain a smooth paste.

Spread the frosting over the warm cupcakes and decorate as preferred. Let the frosting set. Remove the extra paper case (if using) and serve.

Makes 8 to 10 cupcakes depending on the size of the paper cases.

These cupcakes can be made in a regular oven too. Follow the same procedure for making the cupcake batter. Pour into cupcake cases or moulds. Bake at 180C for 15 to 20 minutes till a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
Frost as you wish or serve plain.

These cupcakes are my submission to Srivalli’s MEC: Chocolate

This month, Rachel and I have been baking a bit of Jamaica. Do check out these cute “Pinch Me Rounds” or “Gizzadas” at The World In Our Oven. Thank you.

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September 15, 2008

Green Tomato Khorma (Green Tomatoes in a Mildly Spicy Yogurt and Coconut Gravy)

Printable version here.

Green tomatoes are something we don’t come across very frequently at the market here. We find that the tang of green tomatoes goes very well with certain spicy preparations. Last weekend I found some when shopping for vegetables. So this time the green tomatoes are featuring in a khorma (or korma, kurma or qorma as it is sometimes spelt).

Khorma is a well known North Indian Mughlai preparation and was probably brought into India by the Mughal invaders. It is traditionally a non-vegetarian meat preparation which is not very spicy, though vegetarian versions are very common.

There are different ways in which Khorma is made. Mughlai khormas use a small amount of nuts ground to a paste (in addition to yogurt, cardamom and saffron) and give an added richness to the gravy. Kashmiri khorma uses nuts, yogurt, saffron, cardamom and dried fruits. Shahi khorma is made with lots of cream. The South Indian version is made with coconut or coconut milk.

My khorma is a South Indian one and uses a little bit of coconut.


4 medium sized green tomatoes

¾ cup yogurt

2 green chillies, slit lengthwise

1 tsp sugar

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp garam masala

2 tbsp oil

1 sprig curry leaves

1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

2 bay leaves

salt to taste

Grind the following into a fine paste:

1 big onion, chopped

½” piece of ginger

½ tsp garlic paste (adjust to taste)

¾ tsp white poppy seeds

2 tbsp freshly grated coconut

2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

2 cloves

2 cardamoms


Cut each tomato into 8 pieces and keep aside.
Heat the oil, add the bay leaves and green chillies. Add the ground coconut-spice paste and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes till the raw smell of the onions and garlic disappears. Now add the turmeric powder and fry till the oil appears at the sides of the paste.

Add the tomatoes and about ½ a cup of water. Add the salt and curry leaves. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat. Allow the tomatoes to simmer till they’re cooked but not mushy.

In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, garam masala and coriander leaves till well blended. Once the tomatoes are done, add the yogurt mixture and mix well so everything is blended but do not allow to boil, or the yogurt will split. Take off the heat.

Serve warm with chappathis, puris or rice. This recipe serves 3.

This goes to Harini, the Sunshinemom of TongueTicklers for her Food In Colours - Green.


I also want to say a thank you to two fellow bloggers who have honoured my blog with awards, Srimathi (Foody Guru) of Few Minute Wonders for a Good Job Award and Uma of Veg Inspirations for an Arte y Pico award.

May I also remind everyone interested in sending in entries for WBB: Grains in my Breakfast the the deadline is the 30th of September.

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September 12, 2008

Olan (Pumpkin and Ash Gourd/ Winter Melon in Coconut Milk)

Olan is another vegetable preparation which is very typical of Kerala. It is made of Ash Gourd (also known as Winter Melon) and Pumpkin (both very commonly available vegetables) and and a handful of cooked black-eyed beans simmered in coconut milk and then seasoned with a little coconut oil. There are no spices used with the exception of green chillies. Yet the green chillies do not make it spicy, just lend a flavour.

The other interesting thing about Olan is that turmeric powder, which is typically used in most South Indian recipes is not used here, and this makes for an aesthetically pleasing milky white and golden yellow vegetable dish. Another thing about Olan is that the typical addition of tempered spices in oil is also absent here. So the main flavours are those of the vegetables and the flavour of coconut from both coconut milk which forms the gravy as well as the coconut oil which is used to finish the dish.

So despite having very little or no spice which in itself is unusual in an Indian “curry”, this is not bland. It is very tasty, full of flavour with the slight sweetness of coconut milk. No traditional festive meal (called a "Sadhya") in Kerala, whether religious or celebratory, is complete without an Olan.

Malayalis all over the world celebrate the festival of Onam which is a ten day long celebration with Thiruvonam (the tenth and final day of the Onam festival) being the most important. This time, we aren't having a sadhya as such but I have cooked some of the dishes which are served as part of the festive lunch. Today's post Olan and though it is festive fare, it is also something that is regularly cooked in homes all across Kerala regularly. This dish is one of those which Palakkad Iyers have also adopted and made their own.

Sometimes very tender yard long beans are also added to the usual vegetables in Olan. Olan can also be made with only ash gourd or only pumpkin with all the other ingredients remaining the same.There is also a less rich version of this dish that is sometimes cooked with milk instead of coconut milk.
Olan (Pumpkin and Ash Gourd/ Winter Melon in Coconut Milk)


1 1/2 cups pumpkin (matthan) cut into approx. 1” pieces and 1/4” thick

1 1/2 cups ash gourd (elavan/ kumbalanga) cut into approx. 1” pieces and 1/4” thick

1/4 cup dried red cowpeas (vanpayaru) or black-eyed beans

2 or 3 green chillies, slit lengthwise (this dish is not meant to be very spicy)

1 cup thin coconut milk

1/2 cup thick coconut milk

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 sprig curry leaves

salt to taste


Soak the red cowpeas/ black-eyed beans overnight and cook till soft but firm.

Put the sliced pumpkin and ashgourd in a pan and add the thin coconut milk. Keep this on the stove and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, add the chillies, the cooked red cowpeas/ black-eyed beans, salt and allow to simmer till the vegetables are cooked while stirring occasionally.

Now add the thick coconut milk and the curry leaves. Do not allow to boil or the coconut milk will split. Mix well and then turn off the heat. The consistency of the Olan should be of a vegetable with a little gravy which is not watery yet not very thick. Pour the coconut oil in to the pan, do not mix, and cover the pan.

Mix just before serving. When mixing, the cooked vegetable may break into smaller pieces appearing a little mushy. This is acceptable.

Serve warm as a side dish along with rice, sambhar and pappadum.

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September 9, 2008

Puttu with Cherupayarukari (Steamed Rice Flour and Coconut with Whole Moong Beans in a Spiced Coconut Gravy)

Puttu (steamed rice flour and coconut) with Kadalakari (black chickpeas in a spiced coconut gravy) is a popular breakfast dish in Kerala. It is also very popular as a Sunday breakfast in our home. I tend to make Kadalakari as often as I make Cherupayarukari (whole moong beans in a spiced coconut gravy) just for variety.

Puttu and kari is really complete only when served with the small and sweet variety of yellow bananas. Some people would argue that even this is incomplete unless “pappadam” (Kerala style blackgram/ urad dal pappads) is also served!


Nowadays, the rice flour for puttu is available ready made. Before this improvement, raw rice (not basmati) was soaked in water for about an hour. After draining the water, the rice would be spread out on a cotton towel for another hour or so to remove the moisture from the rice (not in the sun). Then the rice would be pounded into a powder (in my grandmother’s time) or powdered (in a mixer/ grinder these days) till fine but grainy to touch. This would be used to make the puttu.

Puttu can also be made with wheat flour, millet flour, corn flour (all these are powdered specially for making puttu, packed and available in the stores in Kerala) or semolina.

To make puttu, you also need a special steamer called a “kodam” and “puttukutti”. A “kodam” is a round aluminium vessel (with a flat bottom) into which water is poured and the mouth of which is sealed with a cylindrical aluminium tube into which the puttu and coconut is filled. This whole assembly is kept on the stove.

The water in the lower vessel would boil and produce steam which pushes through the puttu in the upper cylindrical chamber or “kutti” and cooks it. Nowadays, the kodam has largely been replaced by the pressure cooker and a stainless steel “kutti” which sits where the weight normally does, is available (see pictures).

The Kadalakari is usually made with black (smaller dark brown) variety of chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Here I have used whole “Cherupayaru” (whole moong beans) instead. Should you wish to make Kadala kari, just substitute the whole moong beans with the chickpeas and follow the same recipe.

For this post, I have used Chemba puttu podi (powdered reddish variety of whole rice) which has a nice aroma and a sweet taste. Remember the rice flour used here is not regular rice flour. But a fine flour which feels slightly grainy to the fingers.

Puttu (Steamed Rice And Coconut Cylinders)


1 1/2 cups Chemba rice flour (puttu podi)

1/2 tsp salt

Enough water to moisten the flour (approximately 3/4 cup)

1 cup freshly grated coconut


Put the rice and salt in a deep bowl. Sprinkle the water, a little at a time, and using your fingers keep mixing till the flour starts looking like crumbs. If you take a little in your fist and scrunch it up, it should hold its shape when you open your palm. Let the moistened rice powder rest for about 10 minutes.

If you add too little water, the puttu will be dry and uncooked when steamed. If you add too much water, the puttu will be a lumpy mass after steam cooking. Judging the water required to moisten the flour needs a little practice.

Now fill your pressure cooker or “kodam” with water till two thirds full. Place on the stove. Take the cylindrical part, place the small plate with holes (this comes with the puttu maker) in the bottom, and put in 2 tbsps of coconut followed by moistened rice flour till 1/4 th is filled. Now put in about 2 tbsps coconut onto it. Fill with some more flour till half filled. Put in 2 tbsp coconut followed by rice flour till 3/4 is filled and then 2 more tbsp of coconut. Cover the cylinder and place on the cooker spout or “Kodam” once the steam starts coming out. The rice flour must be loosely filled and not packed.

The steam will push its way out through the rice flour and the small holes on top. Steam for about 12 minutes till cooked. Then remove the cylindrical part from the steamer and push the “Puttu” variety, onto a plate, out slowly from underneath using the steel rod provided for this.

Use up the remaining flour and coconut similarly.
I try to reduce the coconut used here, so what I do is to add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of grated coconut directly to the moistened rice flour. Then there is no need to alternate layers before steaming. Just fill the cylinder till about 3/4 full and steam cook.

Update (13th September, 2008):

Cherupayarukari (Whole Moong Beans in a Spiced Coconut Gravy):

There are different versions of this preparation and most of them use onions but no cumin seeds. Jaggery is also not normally used. This is supposed to be a spicy preparation and I find that the jaggery balances the spiciness without taking anything away from the taste.

Talking to another blogger yesterday and some comments at the end of this post suddenly made me realise that puttu could be made without a puttu maker. And if you are not planning to make puttu very often, then investing in a puttu maker is not worthwhile.

Most of us (Indians, at least) would be having a set of idli trays. So you can use these to make puttu. If you want to layer the moistened flour and coconut separately, then first put some fresh grated coconut in each depression in the idli tray. Then loosely pack the depressions with the moistened flour and steam till done. If you use coconut mixed with the moistened flour, similarly loosely pack it and steam till done.

Do not press the flour down into either the puttu maker or idli depression or the puttu will not cook prperly since there is no place for the steam to get through the puttu. The puttu may look like like an idli, but will taste most definitely like puttu!

My version has no onions and uses cumin seeds. If you would like to use onions, slice 1 big or 2 small onions and sauté them till light brown and add this to the ingredients to be ground into a paste.

Substitute the whole moong beans with kadala (black chickpeas) if you prefer to make a Kadalakari. They need to be soaked over night and cooked till soft, before using in this preparation. The moong beans do not need to be soaked before cooking.

Cherupayarukari (Whole Moong Beans in a Spiced Coconut Gravy)


1 1/2 cups whole moong beans

1/2 cup freshly grated coconut

1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds

1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

2 or 3 dry red chillies

1 1/2 inch piece cinnamon

4 or 5 cloves

4 pods green cardamom

2 sprigs curry leaves

2 tsp oil (coconut oil if you prefer)

1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp asafetida

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp powdered jaggery

salt to taste


Cook the moong beans till they’re soft and done but not mushy. Keep aside.

In 1/2 tsp oil, lightly fry the coriander and cumin seeds till golden. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and dry red chillies. Keep aside.

In the same pan, roast the coconut over low heat till it is lightly reddish brown and gives off a lovely aroma. Take off the heat. Now finely grind the roasted spices and the coconut along with 2 tbsps of the cooked moong beans using enough water to get a thick and smooth paste. Keep aside.

Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the curry leaves, the asafetida powder, and stir once. Immediately add the cooked moong beans with the water it has been cooked in. Add the turmeric powder, salt and powdered jaggery. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the coconut-spice paste and mix well. Allow the “Cherupayarukari” to simmer for a further 5 minutes and then take off the heat.
Serve with puttu. Both these recipes will serve 4.
  This “Cherupayarukari” goes well with chappathis or plain parathas too. It can be served with rice also.

This is my entry for WBB: Grains in my Breakfast, which is being hosted right here on this blog.

This also goes to Suganya of
Tasty Palettes who is guest hosting Indira’s JFI with the theme “Wholegrains”.

The Cherupayarukari is my submission for Susan’s
My Legume Love Affair whose Third Helping is being hosted by Lucinda at Nourish Me.

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September 5, 2008

An Alcohol-free Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte or Black Forest Gateau/ Cake

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte literally translates as Cherry Cake from the Black Forest region of Germany. I don’t think there are too many people who haven’t heard of this cake of German origin or don’t like it. I am one of those few who doesn't particularly like the Blackt Forest Gâteau/ Black Forest Cake! This mainly because I’m not very fond of cakes or confections filled or decorated with cream or frosting.
The confectioner Josef Keller supposedly invented the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in its present form in 1915 at the then famous Café Agner in Bonn.

My husband and daughter, like most Indians I know, love the Black Forest Cake. It was my husband’s birthday about 2 weeks back and I had planned to surprise him with a home-made version. After making quite a few layered cakes for the Daring Bakers challenges, I thought I could handle this.

Yes, I know for a lot of people out there, baking a layered cake and frosting it is as easy as peeling a few potatoes but I'm a person who gets scared at the thooght of having to cut cakes, fill them and stack them one on top of the other. I'm plagued by scary thoughts! What if I don't cut the layers neatly? What if my cake crumbles? How do I level the filling/ frosting to perfection? What of my stacked layers slide off and land on the table?What if the cream/ frosting melts in my notoriously hot Indian summer? And so it goes on........

But a birthday of one's better half deserves something beyond mediocre and something he definitely likes, and so I set about making the Black Forest Cake. We were also having a few guests to dinner the night before his birthday (no, it wasn’t a party, just a coincidence) so I thought I could serve the cake for dessert. I don’t normally experiment with food when guests are expected, so I had made some of Cynthia’s coconut ice-cream just in case the cake was a disaster.

I had seen and bookmarked a recipe for this cake from Eva’s blog Sweet Sins, quite a while back. She is a German living in Australia and had a recipe without using Kirsch (a cherry liquor). We don't use alcohol in any form, and I thought if a German could make a Black Forest Cake without Kirsch, then so could I. I managed to get all the ingredients, including a can of cherries (luckily not the sickly sweet ones in syrup). I have also made this cake with fresh cherries.

I used her recipe with a few modifications to suit the ingredients I had on hand. Eva had suggested I could use rum in place of Kirsch, but we’re teetotalers and I don’t like the flavour or taste of rum even in chocolate or Christmas fruit cakes. I used unsweetend apple juice instead.

I used 3 tbsp of cocoa instead of dark chocolate to cut down on the fat and calories (this might seem silly when you consider how much cream goes into the cake!). I also added 2 tbsp of cornstarch to the flour as I don't get cake flour here, as cake flour makes a lot of difference to the cake.

For the cherry filling, I had some frozen cherry compote (I had made this earlier when I had an excess of cherries) to which I added a little of the liquid from the canned cherries and liquidized to a grainy spreadable consistency. If you are using fresh cherries, you can make a compote with them using unsweetend apple juice. You can also add a little sugar to some more apple juice and bring it to a boil, let it cool and then use that as a soaking syrup for the cakes to keep them moist.

In India, we only get cream with 25% fat so that is what I used for whipped cream. Given the general higher temperatures in India, you can stabilize your cream with cornstarch or agar for better results.  It helps to refrigerate the cake at the slightest hint that the heat is getting to the cake. Now this is not a true Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, because it lacks the Kirsch, but its close enough to qualify for the name, in my opinion.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte or Black Forest Cake/ Gateau
(Adapted from Eva's blog, Sweet Sins)
For the cake:
4 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
100gm unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 cup cake flour (or 2 tbsp + all-purpose flour to make up to 1 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla essence  
For the cherry filling: 
1 cup pitted fresh cherries (or canned)
1 cup unsweetened apple juice (or liquid from the canned cherries and enough apple juice to make 1 cup)
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (more or less depending on how sweet your cherries are)
1 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch 
For the soaking syrup:
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/4 cup sugar 
For the whipped cream: 
400 ml cream (25% fat, I used Amul)
5 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla essence 
For decorating:
whipped cream
fresh or canned cherries
chocolate curls and shavings
For the cherry filling:
Keep aside the cherries needed for decoration and chop up the remaining cherries. Reserve about 4 tbsp of the apple juice to dissolve the corn-starch and use the rest to make the filling. Put the pitted cherries and half the apple juice/ liquid in a blender and blend till smooth.
Put this in a pan, with the remaining apple juice/ liquid in which the cherries were preserved, sugar (according to taste and depending on how sweet the cherries are) and the lime juice and bring to a boil. When this has reduced a bit, add the dissolved corn-starch, mixing it well first, and allow the filling to thicken. Take it off the heat, allow it to cool, and use to fill the cake.
For the soaking syrup:
Bring the apple juice and sugar to a boil in a small pan and simmer for about 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it cool. Use this syrup to moisten the cake.
For the whipped cream:
Refrigerate the cream for about 12 to 24 hours till really thick. Pour into a chilled steel bowl, add the sugar and vanilla essence, and beat with an electric mixer till it forms soft peaks. Add the cornsstarch and beat further till the cream forms stiff peaks which hold their shape. This will take between 6 to 10 minutes. Refrigerate till ready to use. Do this about an hour before you are ready to use the whipped cream. 
For the cake: 
Melt the butter and cocoa powder over hot water and mix well. Cool till it is lukewarm but of pouring consistency.
In another bowl beat the egg yolk and sugar, using a electric beater, over hot water till it is pale, creamy and increases in volume. This will take about 2 minutes.
In a third clean and stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites and salt till they form soft peaks.
Sift the flour and baking powder onto the egg yolks and then pour the chocolate mixture also into this bowl. Do not mix. Add one third of the beaten egg whites to the bowl and stir lightly into the batter. Then add the remaining beaten egg whites to the batter and fold carefully making sure everything is well mixed.
Pour into an 8” (20cm) round cake tin with a round of parchment paper at the bottom and well-greased sides. Bake at 180C for about 35 minutes till the top of the cake springs back when touched. Do not over-bake, or the cake will dry out. 
Assembling the cake:
After the cake has cooled a bit, remove from the tin and neatly cut it into 3 layers horizontally.
Place the top most layer of the cake on your serving plate, with the cut side facing up. Moisten the layer with a few tsp of syrup. Spread one half of the cherry filling on this layer. The use 1/4 of the whipped cream and spread it over this. Place the middle layer over this.
Moisten this layer with the syrup too, and spread the remaining cherry filling over this layer too. Spread another 1/4 of the whipped cream over this. Now place the bottom most layer on top with the underside facing up. Keep aside some of the whipped cream for decorating and spread the rest of the cream on the top and sides of the cake and smoothen it out.
Now decorate the sides with the chocolate curls or shavings and the top as well if you wish. Decorate with piped cream and cherries. If you live in warmer climates, it would be a good idea to refrigerate the cake till you serve it.
This cake will serve 6 to 8 people.

How was the cake?
It was good, very good. I actually liked it. It was light and not too sweet.
I still have those cherries in my fridge and I will try making this again. Hopefully, this time, it will look prettier and I’ll be able to get some pictures.

By the way, I found decorating the sides of the cake with chocolate shavings quite difficult and messy. Any suggestions for a neater and easier way to do this?

Eva’s recipe uses 6 eggs but I cut that down to 4 eggs, which I couldn't smell or taste in the cake. That surprised me. The cake was soft with a lovely texture, yet firm enough to cut into three layers without any difficulty. You can cut the cake into two layers if you prefer and it'll still be good. Just add a thicker layer of filling and the cream between the two layers.

And the whipped cream was just right and not too sweet. I only wish the weather was cooler and I would have had a prettier cake. But I didn’t see anyone complaining. All the guests, and my husband of course, opted for the cake and thoroughly enjoyed it. They had smaller helpings of the coconut ice-cream too.

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