20 December 2011

Chocolate Overload Barrel Cake

Finally i got to make the barrel cake :). I'd been planning on making this for a some months now and after the birthday was over my hubby asked if i was satisfied :D. I enjoyed putting it together and everyone enjoyed delving into it...SATISFACTION!!!!

I used choice of chocolates that my son loves. For the top chocolate filling i used about 200 grams of handmade chocolates and 1 packet of M&Ms, and munch bars for the barrel. Here's the recipe for the cake and frosting.

11/2 Cups - All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp - Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 Tsp - Baking Powder
3/4 Tsp - Baking Soda
1/2 Cup - Sugar
1 Tsp - Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup - Milk
1/2 Cup - Veg' Oil
2 - Eggs

For the filling and frosting:
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons (160 g) softened butter
3 cups powdered sugar or confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 to 5 tablespoons lukewarm milk

Preheat Oven @ 180 degrees C. Grease a 9inch baking tray and keep aside
Sieve all the dry ingredients together and keep aside
Blend the Oil, Milk and Sugar till creamy
Add the eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time and whisk till well combined then add the vanilla extract and mix well
Pour the wet over the dry ingredients and mix well (incase the batter is too thick, add milk 1 tbsp at a time) 
Transfer the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake it for 25-30 minutes or till the tip of the toothpick   inserted in the center comes out clean
Cool the cake completely

For the filling and frosting:
Cream the softened butter with powdered sugar in a bowl. Add cocoa, vanilla and 4 tablespoons lukewarm milk, and mix until smooth.
Use one 1/3 of the frosting between the two layers, 1/3 on top, and the rest around the cake.

It was not just a child's chocolate fantasy but the adults as well fulfilled :D.

18 December 2011

Turning 2!!!

Been off Pan Cuisine for a while and feel good to be back. Sadly will not be posting any recipe today but am leaving you with a peek into what's been keeping me away from here.

My lil' boy just completed two years and hubby and it is just amazing how incredibly fast time flies and how even quickly the kiddo is growing up. December truly is a fun packed month for this family what with two birthdays, an anniversary and then Christmas....what ffffUnnnnn!!!!!

The house is done up for Christmas as best as i can , truth is i lack unbelievably in the beautification department. 

And then the turning 2 party...

I'd been looking forward to A's 2nd birthday to bake THE CAKE for him. Since A is crazy about chocolate i wanted to make him a chocolate-loaded barrel cake with all his favorite chocolates and bars. The cake was not as neat as i would have wanted but it was well received by both parents and kids....phew!!

Blowing out B'day candle needs to be practiced in advance, my baby didn't quite get it..lol :)

Super excited to cut the cake...

Digging for his favorite m&ms :D....

The dinner spread.....

The menu was stir-fried homemade paneer, tomato dal, slow cooked chicken, my special pork curry and salads...thankfully everyone enjoyed it. 

It was fun to see the kids between 1s - 3s trying to interact with each other...a lot of busted balloons, crying, hyper energies, kicking, hugging, jumping but thankfully no nagging ones. The kiddies had fun and so did the parents....t'was a well spent evening. Now the journey of taming the terrible two begins....Hope you are enjoying this celebration season as much as we are :).. Cheers!!

9 December 2011

Pork - Naga Estyle

With the days speeding towards Christmas, this Naga belle, yours truly, is craving for many a dish that is typically Rongmei Naga. I miss the sight and smell of home and especially the home grown spices and ingredients. December truly is a celebration month back at home. The month is always packed with weddings, families get-together, love feasts at Church ect..etc..and the main dish that dominate the menu in most of such occasion is Pork or Beef or both (quite predictably) :D. Fish and Chicken are like a side dish, or made specially for those with health issues...basically for the Unwell lot ;).

Yes...fact is Naga people in general love pork and we love it most when cooked with fermented bamboo shoot or with fermented soya beans (the typical way). The way we process soya bean is totally different from that of the the Chinese. The smell is overwhelming but the taste is (for us) just mind blowing. Fermented bamboo shoot and soya beans are lovingly parceled by mothers to their children who are far away from home. Both these ingredients are used in curries and chutneys as well. 

Today's recipe is one of the Naga style of cooking that i love. Pork is cooked with dried soya beans, with potatoes as the thickening agent. Typically you would use raja mirchi instead of the green chilli and red chilli powder, fresh turmeric instead of the powder. Also due to the non availability of other local spices, i have used garam masala, an obvious influence of being married to a mainland Indian ;).

Sun-dried Soya beans
1 Kilo - Pork, cubed
3 - Medium Onions, diced
4 - Medium sized new potatoes
7 Tbsp - Veg' Oil
1/2 Cup - Dried Soya Beans
3 - Green Chillies, slit in the middle
3-4 - Garlic Pods, smashed
1 - Thumb sized Ginger smashed and diced
1 Tsp - Garam Masala (optional)
1 Tsp - Tumeric Powder
2-3 Tsp - Red Chilli Powder
Salt - According to taste
4 1/2 Cups - Water

  1. Heat some water in the microwave for about 1 minute plus and soak the soya beans
  2. Divide the pork meat into two batches, heat about 2 Tbsp oil in a pan and brown the first batch
  3. Repeat with the second batch with 2 Tbsp of oil and keep aside
  4. In the same pan, add the rest of the oil, when it is hot, add garlic and fry till it becomes fragrant
  5. Now add the ginger, saute for a minute and then add the diced onions and the slit green chillies and saute till the onion is evenly browned
  6. Now add the browned meat, sprinkle salt and mix it up well,put the lid on and cook on medium high flame for some time
  7. Once the steam starts coming off the lid, add the rest of the ingredients except water and give it another good stir
  8. Now add the soaked Soya beans and give it a good mixing so that the meat is well coated
  9. Add water and cook with the lid on for about 1 1/2 hours or till the meat is soft to your liking.
  10. Remember to keep stirring it every 2 - 3 minutes.

I personally feel that curries taste best when it is slow cooked. The total prep and cooking time would be around 2 to 21/2 hours depending on how soft you want the meat to be. Serve it over hot rice, raja mirchi chutney and some crunchy salad and you are on your way to becoming a Naga warrior..lol :).

7 December 2011

Huish Cake: A traditional Welsh Cake

I do love frosted cakes BUT i have to admit i love Traditional (no-nonsense, non-fancy) cakes much more. I somehow enjoy my cake even better knowing the interesting stories behind its origin. Like other history, the history behind certain cakes and cookies make for very interesting read. 

This Huish cake is from Wales and the cake is believed to be a traditional baby-christening cake :)...cool ain't it!!! The ingredients used and the ultimate taste of the cake is as interesting as the story of it's origin.

I'm kick-starting my holiday baking with this cake...December truly is one eventful month for this family. Toddler's birthday, our Anniversary and of course Christmas one week after the other...my head is brimming with too many ideas that 'am left dizzy and unproductive (is that the reason why scientists are paid 100 times more than the farmers?????), am a lil' delirious so pay no attention to the ( ) ;D.

I adapted this recipe from Julie-Duff''s and tweaked it a wee bit here and there to get the taste to my liking. If you're considering gifting yourself another cook book for x'mas, i would recommend picking this one, i got mine as a B'day gift from hubby dearest and we have been expanding horizontally faster than the speed of light ever since (does the statement make for a good book review??) :);). Back to the cake, here's the recipe.

1 Cup - Self-Rising Flour*
1/2 Cup - Rice Flour
1/2 Cup - Veg' Oil
1/2 Cup - Sugar
4 - Eggs
1 Tbsp - Lemon Zest, grated

The original recipe used butter, only egg yolks and the zest of one big lemon. The primary reason for using veg' oil inmost, almost all of my cakes is just for my mental peace ;); and as for using whole eggs as oppose to just yolks, i found the the batter too crumbly like a cookie batter and so i dump in the egg whites as well. As for the lemon zest, i wasn't too sure about a strong citrus flavor on my cake since i have those small lime commonly available with the vegetable vendors here in Hyderabad.

  1. Preheat oven at 180 degree C and grease a round baking tray. Keep aside
  2. Mix both the flour in a bowl and keep aside
  3. Beat oil and sugar till creamy and then add the eggs and whip it up till well combined
  4. Stir in the lemon zest and transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan
  5. Bake it for 25-30 minutes or till toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
  6. Let rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack for another minute or so and serve.
My toddler could not wait for the cake to cool and he finished two slices immediately..this cake is definitely for both the young and the old older people alike:).The cake looks like a pound cake and taste like a pound cake but with an interesting citrus twist. Next time i make it i'll increase the lemon zest to 2 Tbsp for a better citrus kick. I also have to mention that it taste even better the next morning (if it's still there) :). Please enjoy!!

Note: To make your own self-rising flour (i made my own for this recipe) mix 11/2 Tsp Baking Powder + 1/4 Tsp Salt to 1 Cup of All Purpose Flour and sieve twice to ensure the mixture is well combined.