31 July 2012

Orange Loaf / Cake with Nuts & Oats - His Cake

I am a wife and a mom, but i have to confess that most times the role of mom is given prominence and so to an observer, i would come across as a mom and a wife. How many of us err in this matter?? We were blessed with our son first year of marriage, and so the role of wife took a beating right from the start. I was just getting into the role of being a wife, when pregnancy and its demands took over and then along came the baby and so between sleep deprivation and breast-feeding, the wifey-hat was tossed into the corner. I am now, working towards being a better wife and not let the mom in me override every role i need to play. Why am i gibbering about this??? 

Because i made an Orange Cake....for my son, son did not like it BUT hubby l-o-v-e-d it :). He said, "ummm...cake like this i don't mind. But not carrot and beetroot and other veggies." To that i responded, "those were meant for your son." (see!!!!;)) It's not that i don't make things he love, i do, but it's just that my son's needs and wants cloud my mind and hubby dearest gets my leftover energy most days, and that definitely is not fair. I decided that i will be more conscious about how i divide my time and energy between the two people who mean the most to me. 

About the cake: firstly, it is a very moist cake, and so this can be had for breakfast like my hubby did :). Secondly, healthy and guilt-free, because it is made with cooking oil (i used canola oil) and bits of almonds and cashews and oats. Thirdly, this is a real fruit cake with strong orange flavor because i used the whole fruit, by that i mean skin, seed, pulp, juice...basically the whole fruit. Finally, it is yummy with a stamp of approval from the Man- my Man, who is indeed Black ;).

1/2 - 3/4 Cup - Orange paste made from i whole orange
1 Tbsp - Oats (i used quakeroats)
1/2 Tbsp - Cashew nut
1/2 Tbsp -Whole Almonds 
1 Cup (scant) - Plain Flour
1/2 Tsp - Baking Soda
1/2 Tbsp - Baking Powder
1/4 Cup - Milk
1/2 Cup - Canola oil ( any neutral cooking oil will do)
1 Tsp - Vanilla Essence
1/4 + 2 Tbsp - Sugar
2 - Eggs

Preheat the oven to 170 degree C, Grease a loaf pan and keep aside.
Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder into a bowl and keep aside.
Cut the orange into four  and put it into a food processor and run it to make a paste. To this add the cashews and almonds and oats and milk and run the food processor to make a puree. Now add the oil and sugar and run it again to make sure it is well combined. 
Add the vanilla essence and then crack the eggs one at a time and blitz once or twice, or till it's well combined. Pour this wet ingredient into the dry and using a spatula mix to combine, very gently. 
Pour it into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 22 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Once done, cool for 10 to 15 minutes, transfer to a serving plate, cut into slices and enjoy. Dust some icing sugar if you want to pretty it up further :).

Happy Baking! 

23 July 2012

Spicy Chicken Curry with Mushroom & Crispy Onions

It's been quite a while since my last post. Ever since my toddler started school, time seem to be slipping away just like that. The change in the schedule took a while to get use to, thankfully, now all of us are settling down with the new timing.

And of course, there is the stress of what to pack for his tiffin ;), stress because my dear son has become s-u-c-h a picky-picky eater. It is disheartening really, when lovingly packed snack box comes back untouched ;(. Let's save that tale for another day. Today, lets talk chicken and mushrooms with lots of chillies  and topped with crispy fried onions, meaning yummy in the tummy. 

I have been planning on cooking chicken with mushrooms for a long time, but somehow never got around to making it. Then yesterday, most of the veggies were out, except for ones or twos of this & that and nothing whatsoever that would complement the chicken, but for a packet of mushroom that was sitting pretty and untouched, this recipe came to be. I must warn you that it is Spicy, but i must also dare you to try, because it is (without being too cocky) so good. 

759 gms - Chicken, cubed
200 gms - Button Mushroom, sliced
3 Cups - Onions, sliced thin
1 Tbsp - Fresh Garlic paste
1 Tbsp - Fresh Ginger paste
1 Tsp - Red Chilli powder, heapful
1/2 Tsp - Tuemeric powder
10 - Dried Red Chillies, soaked and made into a paste
4 Tbsp - Water
4 Tbsp - Mustard Oil
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying the onions.

Clean the chicken, divide it into two batches and keep it aside. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil till hot, brown the first batch of chicken and keep it aside in a bowl or plate. Brown the next batch using another tbsp of oil, transfer the browned chicken pieces into the same bowl as earlier.
Pour the remaining oil, once hot, add 1 cup of onions and stir fry till its lightly browned. Now add the garlic and ginger paste, stir and let cook till it gives out a smoked aroma. Add the mushrooms, cook for a couple of minutes, sprinkle some salt, and then transfer the browned chicken pieces into the pan and give it a good stir meanwhile ensuring that you don't crush the mushroom. 
Now add the red chilli paste, stir and mix making sure the chicken pieces are well coated. Then add the turmeric powder and the red chilli powder, give it a good stir and cooked covered in medium-low flame. After a few minutes, pour the 4 tbsp of water into the mixer used for making the red chilli paste, shake it clean and pour this water into the pan, add as much salt as you prefer, cover and cook for about 30-40 minutes or till chicken is cooked through. There is no need for more water because the chicken pieces will give out enough water to cook through,but  incase you want more gravy, add more water according to your preference.
As the chicken cooks, heat a frying pan with enough oil, maybe 21//2 - 3 cups,  and deep fry the remaining 2 cups of onions till it is brown and crisp. Once chicken is cooked, sprinkle the crispy onion on top, give the curry a good mixing and then serve with hot rice and some nice and crunchy salad.
Bon Apetite!

4 July 2012

Pizza Two Ways - Chicken Liver - Ricotta Cheese Pizza & Kidney Beans Pizza

First of all Happy 4th July to all my fellow bloggers in the US. I have been salivating, looking at all the colorful and mind blowing cakes and other sweet treats flooding the blog sphere. Have a wonderful celebration!

Today i'm sharing my new favorite pizzas recipe. Making bread is really therapeutic for me, and theni made my own pizza base. Ever since then my life is up'ed by another degree. Home-made pizza is, excuse me but ,kick-ass good! Having pizza is always a treat, anytime, any day. And once we make our own pizza, that taste amazingly good, you realized that the domino's and the pizza hut guys have been sucking us big time. Of course i will continue to order and eat from them once in a while BUT desperation for one of theres stops right here, this minute, now. Homemade any day, i say, but then maybe, when the mouth wants them cheese-bursting, oozy-woozy pizza, then domino's i call thee.

The basic pizza dough recipe i'm sharing today makes 2 pizza base, serving 4-5 people. The base recipe is adapted from 1 Base-50 Pizzas by Love Food. The toppings really just came about from my love for chicken liver, my new found obsession incorporating homemade ricotta cheese wherever possible, and then my hubby's love for kidney beans. We enjoyed it so much so that, i did not get to click any decent pictures. So, here's the recipe of the great pizza dinner we enjoyed few weekends back. Do sweat it out making your own pizza base and enjoy a truly remarkable and rewarding treat.

Pizza Dough:
3 Cups -Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting
5g - Fresh Yeast
1 Tsp - Dried Yeast
11/2 Tsp - Salt
175 ml - Warm Water
1 Tbsp - Olive Oil

Chicken Liver - Ricotta Cheese Pizza:
250 g - Boiled chicken liver diced to bite size
1/2 Cup - Ricotta cheese chunks
1 Onion - Sliced
1 Cup - Mozzarella cheese, grated
1 - Green chilli, chopped
4 Tbsp - Delmonte Tangy & Fruity Sauce Tomato Sauce

Kidney Beans Pizza:
2 Cups - Cooked Kidney Beans, drained and kept aside
1 Onion - Sliced
2 -  Green Chillies, chopped
1 1/2 Cup - Mozzarella cheese, grated
4 Tbsp - Delmonte Tangy & Fruity Sauce Tomato Sauc

For Pizza Dough:
Proof the fresh yeast in 1/4 Cup warm water, and wait for it to froth.
Mix oil with the remaining water.
Sift the flour with the salt added, onto a bowl, make a well and pour both the wet ingredients and mix till the dough comes together. It will be a wee bit sticky but not to worry at all.
Lightly flour the work surface and turn out the dough and knead till it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough into greased vessel and cover with a tea towel or cling film, and wait for it to double in size.
Once doubled in size, knead for another 3-4 minutes and then cut it into two equal portions. 
Flatten each dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface as to how thin or wide you want it to be. 
Pizza base is ready.

For the Chicken liver - ricotta cheese pizza topping:
Preheat the oven to 200 degree C. Place the pizza base on the baking pan.
Spread the tomato sauce almost till the edges, leaving maybe around an inch space.
Spread the chicken liver, then the onions, then scatter the ricotta cheese and the mozzarella cheese. 
Finally sprinkle the chopped green chilli and bake it in a preheated oven @ 200 degree C for 10 minutes.

For the Kidney Beans Pizza:
Preheat the oven to 200 degree C. Place the other pizza base on the baking pan.
Spread the tomato sauce almost till the edges, leaving maybe around an inch space.
Spread the cooked kidney beans over the tomato sauce, then sprinkle the onions.
Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and then the green chillies, and bake it in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.