26 November 2013

Apple & Raisins Cake - Christmas Baking!!

I find Apples to be one of the most attractive fruit. Living in the city has given me the luxury of choosing what variety of apple to eat, and what variety to bake. Apples are available through the year but there is something about baking apples during the fall/winter season. I added tea soaked raisins for the Christmas-sy effect in this cake. The sweet aroma of this cake just filled up the whole house as it was baking, and i was mighty excited when it turned out into this gorgeous golden colour.


It is soft, moist with a lovely citrus kick from the plump tea-soaked raisins. And my! oh my!! the aroma of the cake is just so inviting you wanna take a bite every time you want get a whiff of it. I used apple Himachali for this cake. You can use any apple, especially the ones that are close to getting spoilt.


I used tea to soak the raisins, and somehow it worked! It worked a nice citrus effect on the raisins and it was good. You can go the trusted route of soaking it in rum for sure, but if you don't want to go the rum-route, try tea..:D


The hint of nutmeg in fruit cakes is just lovely, and especially in this cake somehow the spice elevated the cake. I took out a cup of the batter before folding in the raisins and made a triple heart cake for my son. The plain apple cake was good, but the tea soaked raisins definitely made all the difference to the cake. 


Do try it and see for yourselves, like it's said, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating". Enjoy!!!

Ingredients:
1 Cup - Plain Flour
1 Tsp - Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp - Baking Soda
2 - Eggs
3 Tbsp - Plain Curd/Yogurt
1 Tsp - Real Vanilla Essence
1/3 Cup - Sugar
1/2 Cup - Canola Oil
1/2 Tsp - Nutmeg powder
1 Cup - Apple grated
1 Cup - Raisins soaked in tea

Method:
Preheat oven to 180 degree C. Prepare a round cake tin and keep aside. 
Put the first three ingredients in a mixer and blitz a couple of time, then transfer it to a bowl. 
Add the eggs, the sugar, nutmeg powder, vanilla essence and yogurt and blitz till it's all well combined. 
Now add the dry ingredients into the mixer and blitz till everything comes together and the batter is smooth.
Transfer the batter into a bowl, fold in the apple and the raisins and baked it in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, at 180 degree C for 30 minutes, and remaining 10 minutes at 150 degree C.
Once done, cool the cake in the pan till the base is completely cool to touch.
Transfer to a serving plate and cut into slices and enjoy.

18 November 2013

No Fail Basic Chocolate Cake recipe - Christmas Baking!!

Starting this week, i plan to post various cakes that define the festive season. I'm kick-starting the holiday baking season with this basic chocolate cake. This is so easy to make, and the best part is you can transform it into any sort of cake you fancy, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Chips Cake, Banana Cake, Rum & Raisins Cake, the list goes on. The pain version is my son's current  favorite, but then me being me, i sneak in some carrot, some beets, bananas..from time to time or rather, most time ;D.




So really, the possibility of making fruit or veggie cake is endless with this basic base. Also, i intentionally use veg' oil instead of butter in most of my baking, and for me, with the exception of pound cakes, i prefer the lightness of oil to butter in my cakes. 


Anyway, by the time this cake was shot, my son had mowed down some of the cake ;D, this cake can serve a generous slice for 10 people. I would advice you to keep it covered to avoid the top drying out, but, in case that does happen, make fine cake crumbs using your fingers, sprinkle it on the base of a serving bowl , drop a generous dollop of vanilla ice-cream on top, then drizzle a bit of honey or chocolate syrup....yum!!! yum!!! Desert is served. Try it out!!

Ingredients:
1 Cup - Plain Flour
1 Tsp - Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp - Baking Soda
1 Tbsp - Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup - Sugar
1/2 Cup - Veg' Oil
3 Tbsp - Plain Curd/Yogurt
2 - Eggs
1 Tsp - Real Vanilla Essence

Ingredients:
Preheat the oven at 180 degree C. Grease a 12/2 inch round cake tin and keep aside (line the base if you want to, i never do :)).
Sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and keep aside.
In a bowl, add the sugar and oil and mix with a hand mixer, add the eggs one at a time and blend till well combined.
Now add the vanilla essence and curd into the wet ingredients, mix, then add the dry ingredients, mix with a spatula to combine, then blend with the hand blender to give it a smooth texture.
Pour the cake batter into the cake tin, and bake it for about 25 - 30 minutes.
Check for done-ness at about 25 minutes. Once done, let cool in the tin till the base is cool enough to handle. Then transfer it into a rack to cool it even further. Cut and serve.

14 November 2013

Tree Tomato & Thangjing Chutney

It's been a while, a long while infact, since my last post. Today's post is in response to a message my nephew, residing in NZ sent me saying he, to use his words, "almost died of hunger and traditional food deprivation". Anybody anywhere staying far from home knows this feeling, this desperation so vividly expressed by my nephew. It was this same feeling that compelled my hubby to come back bringing goodies from the North East weighting over 17 kilos in excess of the allotted weight :D. Today's recipe, therefore,  is made from two really special ingredients that came straight from home..Tree Tomatos & Thangjing.



They can be enjoyed individually as chutneys, but i wanted to bask myself in the luxury of these exquisite  ingredients together in one chutney and so here it is...tree tomato and thangjing chutney. To add to the luxury, i made the chutney with fresh Raja Mirchi/ King Chilli.



In case you don't have tree tomato in hand you can use regular tomatoes. The tree tomatoes does have a distinct flavour, but i guarantee that even with the regular tomatoes it will taste just as good. Here is the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:
1 - Fresh Raja Chilli
4-5 Medium Sized - Fermented Dried Fish/Ngari
4-5 - Garlic Pods, Pealed
1 - Tree Tomato, Roasted
1 - Thangjing Bulb
Salt as per taste


 METHOD:
  1. First roast the Tree tomato ~ To roast the tomato/tree tomato, wrap it in foil and place it on top of the burner and let roast over low flame for 2-3 mins or till you get the roasted smell. Once done, take it our, unwrap the foil and keep aside.
  2.  Roast the ngari either same manner as the tomato or over an old metal skimmer spoon till evenly browned.
  3.  Put the Raja Mirch, Garlic, Ngari and some salt into a mortar-pastel and mash-mix it up. Then add the roasted tomato, mash it up real well, then finally add the thangjing into the chutney, check salt and serve.