Dec 28, 2012

Coconut Banana French Toast

                     Its a healthy power packed breakfast. Whole wheat bread, eggs, milk, bananas all put together in make simply delicious breakfast for you. If you like french toast you must try this tropical flavored  french toast.
                                 IF you dont eat eggs or dont like eggs, just omit the eggs and you can enjoy vegetarian french toast.
Serves 2 (12 pieces)
Ingredients:
  • 6 slices of brown bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of fresh coconut
  • 2 small bananas
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • butter/ cooking spray/ oil
Method:
  • Cut the coconut in small pieces and make paste with very little amount of milk in a blender
  • Add chopped pieces of banana, sugar, cinnamon and beat till you get smooth puree
  • Add milk and eggs and just beat till all the mixture comes together, for about 5 secs.Transfer the mixture to a large shallow bowl.
  • Cut each slice of brown bread into two triangles
  • Heat the skillet on medium high, add butter/ oil or use cooking spray to coat the skillet
  • Dip the bread slices into the coconut banana egg mixture, making sure the bread is well coated on both the sides
  • Place them on the skillet.cook till the underside is golden brown (about 3 min). Flip and let the other side cook till it is golden brown.( about 2-3 min )
  • Serve them hot drizzled with some honey/ maple syrup/ butter

Dec 27, 2012

Cheese Stuffed Pizza Crust

     Pizza.... 
        Who doesn't love Pizzas... Ya, I do agree its a very healthy option. But its OK to indulge sometimes and enjoy the warm golden crusted freshly baked pizza with toppings of your choice... and to top it pizza crust is stuffed with cheese,,, more cheese...This unique thin crust pizza has a ring of cheese baked into the edge , so that you can enjoy cheese in every last bite of the slice.
       Neil demanded me to make a Yummy Yummy Pizza for him.. Nowadays he has his own demands. He is growing independent and is in the phase of "The Terrible twos".. Sometimes he is very very understanding to an extent that even if I cough, he runs to kitchen and gives me a glass or water. he will wipe my tears with towel when I cut onions and will run to tell his dad that his mom is sad and is crying. And there are times when he wont agree to anything I say, he will be stubborn without any reason.. That's well , I guess, how the kids grow, passing through various stages in life. Now lets get back to the pizza Neil demanded. now Neil was an extremly good boy that day. So decided to make a special pizza with the extra Cheese,, Oh havent I told you before, he looooooooooooves Cheese.
    For stuffed crust pizza, I have used a very very simple technique using cheese slices which are commonly available in India. I have used plain cheese slices, but you could used, cheddar cheese slices or red chilli cheese slices,, basically any kind of cheese slices that you love...
    For all those of you who love non veg, try rolling up a ham slice or chicken ham slice along with the cheese slice for great twist to your regular pizza base.
Serves : 4 small stuffed crust pizzas
 Ingredients:
For the stuffed crust pizza dough
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/ tsp sugar
  • 1 1/ tsp active instant yeast
  • 1  tsp salt
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • little more that 1 cup warm milk
  • 12 cheese slices (3 for each pizza)
For the pizza sauce
  • tomato puree
  • chopped fresh basil
  • dried oregano
  • salt, sugar and black pepper to taste
Toppings
  • sliced mushrooms
  • sliced green olives
  • sweet corn
  • paneer cubes
  • red pepper cubes
  • yellow pepper cubes
  • sliced onions
  • sliced jalepenos
  • shredded mozzarella chesse 
Method:
  •  Mix flour, sugar, yeast, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add 2 tsp oil and rub the flour to incorporate all the oil. 
  • Slowly add warm milk and knead to form a smooth soft dough for about 10 min. Now use the rest of oil to gently coat the dough. Cover the dough and let it rest in warm place till it double for about and hour.
  • After the dough has risen, punch the dough and knead once again to a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 4 balls.
  • Using a rolling pin roll a dough ball into a circle. Cut the cheese slice into two halves. Roll half cheese slice and place it around the edges of the flattened pizza dough. Similarly use rest of 5 half cheese slices to complete " The Circle of Cheese"
                          
  • Now bring the ends of the dough over the cheese and press it down well until it encloses the cheese well. Make sure its a tight fit.


  •  Pour some of the pizza sauce and spread it around till the edges. For the pizza sauce, I added tomato puree to the pan and added some chopped fresh basil, dried oregano. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and brown sugar and boiled it for some time.
  •  Added lots of toppings. We like our pizza to be filled with toppings.
  •  Grated some mozzarella cheese.
  •  Baked in a preheated oven at 400F/ 200 C for 15 min on a wire mesh. The wiremesh made lot of difference to pizza. the pizza was cooked uniformly and had a golden brown crisp base. I used the Cookamesh.

Dec 17, 2012

Hokey Pokey

Hokey pokey...
Honeycomb...
Cinder toffee...
Sponge toffee....
Sea foam
   You can call this toffee by any name you wish... But you must must must try this simple toffee which is light with sponge like texture and melts in your mouth... It just requires three ingredients and you are ready to please any kid who walks in to your home..
       You need sugar, some golden syrup/ corn syrup/ glucose and baking soda to whip up this golden magic. The thermal decomposition of the baking soda releases carbon dioxide. The lattice structure is formed while the sugar is liquid, then the toffee sets hard.
                       Just sprinkle on your vanilla ice cream to taste the famous Hokey Pokey ice cream from New Zealand.
Source:Nigella Lawson's How to be a domestic goddess

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 tbsp of golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda
Method:
  • Measure the baking soda and sift it before you start the recipe. you surly do not want clumps of baking soapy soda in your toffee.
  • Put the sugar and syrup in a saucepan, a saucepan which larger as the syrup sizzles up almost thrice the volume at the last stage. Stir the syrup and sugar just once after you place it on the gas stove.
  • The mixture first melts, then starts turning gooey and then starts bubbling and turning to golden amber color. It took me about 2 min for that stage to reach. Do not stir the mixture at all. If you feel teh edges are turning brown you can swirl the pan. Stirring is not recommended, but swirling is permitted... Now that's how Nigella puts it and I could'nt resist jotting it down.
  • Now switch off the heat and add the baking soda and whisk it up and you will see the mixture foaming up and forming gold cloud. Pour this mixture on a parchement paper or silicon mat.
  • Leave to rest for 15-20 min allowing the candy to harden.
    Don't spread the mixture after you pour it on the parchment - just pour it and leave it.

    Read more: http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2008/11/hokey-pokey-nigella-lawson.html#ixzz2Dafnoqbe
    Don't spread the mixture after you pour it on the parchment - just pour it and leave it.

    Read more: http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2008/11/hokey-pokey-nigella-lawson.html#ixzz2Dafnoqbe
                             Bash the candy to get glittering golden pieces of Hokey Pokey candy.. drizzle these pieces over the vanilla ice cream and enjoy New Zealand style Hokey Pokey Ice Cream, that is if you have some leftovers after you put one in your mouth to just taste them....

Dec 11, 2012

The Ultimate Chocolate Brownie

  Brownie....
Whats a Brownie............ 
The warm dense chocolatety fudgy brownie with little pecans peeping at you under the dry cracked crust is the your instant ticket to Chocolatety heaven....
 Trust me..
One bite into this and you will be the happiest person in the world...
Ya... its that goood.
           I have tried many many versions of brownie, but none of those recipes gave me the brownie that could me do the HAPPY DANCE. The brownies were too cakey, or didnt have crust or were dry and overbaked...
                                Finally I tried the brownie from joy of baking and they were spot on the best brownies I had in a long long time... they were fudgy and dense with a perfect crust and were loved by all. The recipe is simple and just uses one bowl and hand whisk
Just be very very cautious with the baking time, check towards the end of the baking time, you want some moist clumps clinging to the toothpick when you insert in the center of brownies. You do not want the toothpick to be clean as this means the brownies have been over baked.
Source:

Serves: 16 pieces
 
Ingredients:
  • 5 ounces (150 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (125 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)  I used pecans, you could use walnuts as well
  • 3 large eggs
Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a nonstick cooking spray) an 8 inch (20 cm) square pan, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment or wax paper
  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a large stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. I just placed the chopped bittersweet chocolate and butter in a large glass bowl and melted them in microwave for 1.5 mins, stirring after every 30 seconds. I would suggest to use dark chocolate, it really gives THE RIGHT TASTE
  • Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder and sugar . Next, whisk (with a hand whisk as we do not want to incorporate air in the batter) in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Finally, stir in the flour, salt and chocolate chips (if using). I used silicon spatula to stir the flour and added chopped pecans.
  • Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a little batter and a few moist clumps clinging to it. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  • Once the brownie is cooled to room temperature, cut the brownie in 16 pieces and its ready to be served as it is or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle of warm chocolate sauce.

Nov 28, 2012

Rosebud Madeleines

  Madeleines,,,,,,
          I was first introduced to these treats in starbucks cafe where sugar bowl madeleines are sold. I wasn't too keen to taste these cakes, but one bit of these and I became a ife long fan of these french cookie cakes... they just melt in your mouth ..
How can I describe them ..... they are light and melt in your mouth bursting with flavours of butter and sugar... Trust me,,, you just gotta taste once and you will fall in love with these beautiful shell shaped french tea cakes...

               I was desperately waiting for madeleine pan.. I searched almost every shop in Mumbai n Bangalore for these pan, but could not find them. I was behind my sister's life when she was coming back from USA for good to find metal madeleine pan for me.. but all she found were too big to fit in my oven.. Finally my brother in law managed to get one silicon mold for us which we cut into two and are both thrilled to posses.. I dedicate this post to my dear elder sister Manshree, who is an amazing cook and has always been source of inspiration to my cooking... I have learnt so many cooking lessons from her... and bugged her so many doubts.. Thanks a lot for being der
   As much as I craved for madeleines, I always wanted to own a book by Nigella Lawson... I just love her attitude and way she makes food seem so desirable and sexy... Her style is so simple and casual and yet she manages to create miracles.... I love to watch her food shows and I finally laid hands on my own copy of How to be a domestic Goddess... Its an amazing addition to my collection. Wanted to try some Nigellisamian recipe.. I picked up Rosebud Madeleines. The madeleines were good in taste,,, But they werent the Melt in Mouth like those madeleines from Sugar bowl...

Rosebud Madeleines
Source: Nigella Lawson- How To Be A Domestic Goddess Art Of Comfort Cooking



Ingredients:
  •  ¼ cup unsalted butter (50g), plus 1 tablespoon for greasing
  •  1 large egg
  •  2 tablespoons sugar (40g)
  •  pinch of salt
  •  ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (45g)
  •  1 tablespoon rosewater ( I added 4-5 drops of rose water essence)
  •  confectioners' sugar for dusting
  •  24 mini-madeleine tin ( I used regular madeleines silicon mould and made 10 madeleines)
Method:
  • Melt all the butter over a low heat, then leave to cool. Beat the egg, sugar and salt in a bowl for about 5 minutes, preferably with an electric mixer of some sort, until it’s as thick as mayonnaise.
  • Then sprinkle in the flour; I hold a sieve above the egg and sugar mixture, put the flour in and shake it through. 
  • Fold in the flour with a wooden spoon/ silicon spatula and then set aside a scant tablespoon of the cold, melted butter for greasing the tins and fold in the rest along with the rosewater. Mix well, but not too vigorously.
  • Leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour, then take out and leave at room temperature for half an hour. I left the batter in the fridge for about 2 hours and directly placed the batter onto the moulds. this helps in getting the characteristic madeleine hump  

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). 
  • Generously brush the insides of the Madeleine tins if you are using metal ones, with the tablespoon of butter (melting more if you feel you need it) before filling them with half the cake mixture. About 1 teaspoonful in each should do for the mini madeleines. I filled the madeleine batter almost 3/4th the madeleine mould.don’t worry about covering the molded indentations; in the heat of the oven the mixture will spread before it rises.
  • I used silicon madeleines pan and to get the best out of the silicon pan, place the silicone mold directly on the oven grid and not on a metal tray for perfect heat convection, to allow for optimum heat circulation and even baking. The temperature for the silicone mold should be the same as a traditional metal pan. When using a traditional oven place the grid in the lower part of the oven for best results.
  • Bake for 5 minutes, though check after 3. (If you're making regular-sized madeleines, bake for 10 minutes) 
  • Turn out and let cool on a rack, then arrange on a plate and dust with icing sugar. Repeat with the remaining half of the mixture...

Nov 10, 2012

How to make Lightning Mcqueen cake

Lightning Mcqueen .....
If you have a boy of any age, you will surly know Lightening Mcqueen.. He is the adorable red car from the movie Cars n Cars 2. Neil had his 2nd birthday just few days back and when I asked him what cake does he want for his birthday, he very quickly answered "LIGHTNING MCQUEEN"
So it was decided by Neil Its gonna be Mcqueen for his birthday.. By the way he also asked for few more cakes of Holly shiftwell, Finn Mcmissile, Mater and "Franko loli" ( thats the way he used to call Francesco  Bernoulli ) We made a deal with him, the day you start saying Francesco bernoulli properly , he would get the all the racing cars from the movie..  and started practicing the name for a week and now he can say all the 10 names of the racing cars and is a proud owner of all the cars,,,

Lets get talking about the cake now... I googled about the cake and came up with many sites and videos on youtube  instructing how to make the car. But finally the car was made in our own way when we started carving the cake. Just kept the the lightning mcqueen car near and kept on getting the shape and design as much as possible.

I was handling the fondant for first time, so read lots of tips on many sites beforehand. I will share couple of tips along the way which could help a first timer like me.

  1.  When the cake is supposed to be covered with fondant, the cake needs to be able to bear the weight of fondant, so its better if you make dense cake. Its also easier to carve dense cake better than crumbly cake. I made chocolate and vanilla marble cake which turned out to be quite good for this adventure. I guess, if you are in hurry, you could also used cake box mixes. I made two cakes, One 10 inch round cake with i covered with chocolate custard and made 8 inch square cake which ahd depth of 2 inches for the mcqueen car. You need to remember larger the cake pan, larger will be you car, so adjust as per your requirements.
  2.  Now the cake is cake and cooled to room temperature, its time to carve and shape the cake. I used a carving knife, but and sharp and serrated knife should do. Just mark the outline of the cake and cut along the markings, the front is smaller in dimensions.
  3. Now it is this time when having an engineer husband helps. He measured the car and     proportionately help me carve the cake.
  4.  Place the carved middle portion on the cake board on which you plan to place your cake finally. I was too scared to assemble the cake and then move it to cake board.
  5.  Now we have two pieces left which we will use to make rest of the car. Cut a small piece and make the hood of the car and trim it looking at the curvatures and inclinations on the mcqueen. We decided to make the spoiler of the car using cake as well.
  6. Here in this cake, we cut the middle front portion to make the ridges on the side in the front portion of car, you may need to add or cut depending on the cake.
  7. I used the Pillsbury vanilla frosting to coat the entire cake and also used it to stick all the cake pieces together. Finally the entire cake was crumb coated (covered with frosting) and kept in the fridge for 30 min. So that all firms up and its easier to make further adjustments to car shape. I am sorry , i was too worried my cake is not going to turn out as expected, that I forgot to click picture. I spent next 30 min worrying about all the possibilities how my cake will turn out bad.
  8. I used store bought fondant. I was lucky to get fondant in Institute of baking and cake art Bangalore at 250 rs per kg. I cut the fondant into balls of required quantity and wrapped all teh fondant balls in saran wrap and packed them in ziplock bag and sealed in air tight bag. ITS VERY VERY IMPORTANT TO KEEP THE FONDANT COVERED IN CLING WRAP ALL THE TIME YOU ARE NOT USING IT , TO AVOID IT FROM BEING DRIED UP.  
  9. I unwrapped the fondant I wanted to color and heated the fondant for 8 sec in microwave to soften it a bit and then kneaded it using some shortening.  I colored the fondant almost of the size of cricket ball into colour red. I used wilton gel colors and I almost finished more than half of my colour. It takes lots and lots of red colour to get red.. I was adding on colour and it was still PINK,, I was afraid, once Neil grows up and sees I made Pink Mcqueen Cake for him, he is not going to be a very happy kid.;). 
  10. I also colored a little more than golf ball sized fondant to get black. Getting the fondant to color black also is a tiring task.. Now wash your hands really really well, as even a tiny speck of black in you nails of on your work surface can mess up the yellow color fondant you now need. I again used almost a tennis ball sized fondant to make yellow fondant.
  11. Now, its time to drape car form with red fondant. Sprinkle the work surface with icing sugar or coat it with shortening and start rolling the red fondant into almost 2 mm thickness uniform sheet. Then I rolled the fondant on my rolling pin and placed it on the cake.
  12. Allow the fondant to rest for a while so that it can stretch gently to the curves of the car.  You can lift it up, pull it and stretch it gently in places as required.  Once you are happy with it, rub your hands  greased with shortening or cornstarch all over the car to fully press the fondant into the contours of the car.  Then use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to trim away the excess.
  13. In order to make tyres. make four balls of equal size and use ball tool to make indentation in the disc. use the back of knife to make tyre marks on the wheel. Lastly add round ball of fondant in the indentation and make marks of the wheel cap. Brush a small amount of water using paint brush to the back of the fondant to help it stick and gently press into position.  
  14.  Roll out the yellow fondant on  greased work surface. My hubby drew the flame design and the design of piston cup on a piece of paper and the cut the shapes using sharp pointed knife.Brush a small amount of water using paint brush to the back of the fondant to help it stick and gently press into position.                                                                                                                          
  15. Similarly roll out the rest of black fondant and make window panes and black stripes to resemble the rear window pane of the car. Brush a small amount of water using paint brush to the back of the fondant to help it stick and gently press into position.
  16. Next, roll out some white fondant and cut out in the shape of the windscreen.  Use the original toy as a guide to the shape you need to cut.  Brush a small amount of water using paint brush to the back of the fondant to help it stick and gently press into position. Use some more white fondant triangles to shape out the headlights. And for the mouth, using knife cut of red fondant to expose frosting and place small sausage of white fondant in that depression and shape it to make beautiful smile.Paint some blue color on the windscreen to make his eyes.Now add small black circles and again small white dots to complete the eyes.
  17. Finally, my hubby cut out the letter NEIL freehand on white fondant and attached it to the spoiler.
The cake was ready and Neil was very very happy and dancing the whole day telling everyone who called to wish him. My mom made Mcqueen cake for me,,, Happy birthday to me

Oct 12, 2012

Starting Solid food for your baby

            My pediatrician advised me to breastfeed Neil till he was six months old. I didn't even feed him water till then. Initial breastmilk is watery and satisfies the babies thirst and later the breastmilk gets thicker and satisfies his hunger. So it is advised to let the baby drain out one breast before switching over to the other, else the baby might just get watery breastmilk and wont satiate his hunger. I introduced Neil to solid food when he was six months old, after his first Annaprashna ceremony, wherein he was fed some mashed rice sitting on his mama's lap.  Introducing your baby to solid food is an exciting experience both for the baby as well as parents.   

You will know your baby is ready for solids when he or she can:
  • Sit supported with good head and neck control
  • Open his or her mouth when seeing a spoon
  • Remove food from a spoon with lips and tongue
  • Move food from front to back of tongue to swallow
  • Use jaw control to munch up and down
  • Use his or her whole hand to grasp objects 
  • The baby is interested in your food and tries to grab your plate.
                     It is best to introduce foods one at a time, waiting at least a few days to a week in between new foods, so that you know which food is causing trouble to your baby. Dont give that food for couple of weeks and try again later.

Here are some recipes which you can try to introduce:
  A) Rice Soup:
You can also give cooled rice water, i.e. water in which rice has been boiled. This is a little but not too starchy and a light first food for your baby. boil 2 cups of water with 2 tbsp of rice (ambe mohar/ basmati) and cook till the rice is soft. Strain the water and feed 1 cup of rice soup to your child

  B) Moong dal Soup:
It is the water in which pulses have been boiled. Usually green gram (moong dal) is given to babies first as it is the easiest to digest.Add a pinch of turmeric, asafoetia and 2 tsp of washed moong dal to 1 1/2 cup of water. Boil and cook till the dal is cooked. Strain and feed the baby.

 C) Rice Porridge:
    Wash and dry 500gms of  Ambemohar/ Basamati rice and grind to a fine powder. use a sieve and discard and large pieces of rice. the powder should very fine.Store thios powder in an airtight box.
    When you want to make rice porridge add 1 tsp of rice to 1 cup of water and cook while stirring continuously with whisk. This ensures no lumps are formed in the porridge. Once the porridge is cooked, add some amount of your breast milk/ formula milk to make a very runny mixture and feed the baby with spoon.

  D) Banana
Banana can be simply mashed very well to a paste and mixed with a little milk or water to make runny and given to baby. To make sure there are no chunks, pass through a strainer.

  E) Khimat:
Wash and dry 3 cups of Ambemohar/ basamati rice. Dry roast the dried rice and 1 cup of greem gram/ moong dal and 2 tsp of cumin/ jeera. Then grind it to fine powder.
 When you need to make Khimat, add half a pinch of turmeric and asafoetida/hing to 1 cup water and 1 tbsp of khimat powder. cook on stovetop on medium heat, stirring continuously with whisk. add more water if desired. Serve warm, drizzled with some ghee/ clarified butter.

   F)Boiled potatoes and apples
Boil potatoes and eating apples in their skins and then scoop out the cooked flesh for the puree. Push the cooked food through a sieve or blend in a small blender. Mix the food with some of the cooking water or some breast or formula milk to get a smooth texture

  G)Steamed Vegetable purees:
Once the baby is adjusted to rice and bananas, its time to introduce vegetables. It’s easy to make your own baby foods by cooking and pureeing food. The vegetables are pumpkin, carrots, potatoes, green peas, sweet potatoes, bottle gourd/lauki/ doodhi.  Peel the skin from vegetables and steam or cook in a little boiling water to keep as many vitamins as possible.Don’t add salt. Once the vegetable are cooked and soft push the cooked food through a sieve or blend in a small blender. Mix the food with some of the cooking water or some breast or formula milk to get a smooth texture. As he gets used to ‘solids’ you can gradually make the puree less runny and then mash instead of sieve the food
Babies only need very small amounts to begin with, but you can freeze teaspoons of puree in ice cube trays and just defrost enough for one meal at a time. you could start off with once vegetable puree at a time and later on add some bottle gourd + pumpkin + carrots + potatoes and puree into thick mix.

H) Water
After Neil was six months old , I introduced him to water. I used to boil 2 liters of water in a large vessel with 1 coin of 1 gm gold and 1 coin of 1 gm silver and boil till it was reduced to say 1.5 litres of water. I used this water in his bottle as well as for cooking for him.

Foods to avoid for first one year of infant

  1. Salt, There is no need to add salt to your baby's food in her first year. Babies need less than 1g of salt a day until they are 12 months old. Toddlers aged one to three years need less than 2g. Eating more than the recommended amount of salt can damage your baby's kidneys.
  2. Baby foods that come in a jar as they have loads of preservatives and why give baby stale food when you can easily make fresh and nutritious baby food at home for your baby
  3. Grains – it is best to wait 1-2 years to feed babies grains, as they do not have the enzymes to digest them
  4. Spinach, turnips, beets, carrots, collard greens, cabbage and broccoli ie is vegetables that are high in nitrates should not be given uncooked till 9 months. Foods which are too high in nitrates can affect your baby by causing what is known as "Blue Baby Disease". This occurs because babies cannot process high amounts of nitrates and as a result the oxygen level in their blood will diminish greatly. When this happens the baby will take on a blue appearance.
  5. Honey – babies should not get honey prior to one year. Honey can contain bacterial spores that can lead to infant botulism. This is a rare but very serious disease that can be fatal. As the risk is very low in percentage but one should avoid it for the baby.
  6. Soy – even properly fermented soy is not easy to digest
  7. Grapes and other small foods that pose a choking hazard
  8. Raw fruits and vegetables – these are hard to digest and should always be cooked (with the exception of banana and avocado
  9. Some fish as the mercury levels in mackerel, shark, swordfish and tuna are too high to be consumed by children under a year old.
                 There are other foods which you may want to avoid feeding your infant during the first year of his/her life but the above are just some of the choices which have been proven to be potentially dangerous or harmful to your infant. The best thing to do when deciding what to feed is to speak with your doctor or a pediatric nutritionist for a much more detailed list on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to your baby’s diet.

Sep 5, 2012

Delicious Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes

                                 Apple and Cinnamon is a classic combination which is used to make cupcakes n muffins. The apples taste great spiced up with cinnamon in this delicious light cupcakes. These can be prepared really quick. You just need 10 min to prep them and pop the in the oven for 20 min, while you have your dinner. They are just right hot and ready to be devoured  for post dinner dessert. Oh yes, they are that simple to make.
                           Neil is surly enjoying his time in kitchen with me when I cook nowadays. He pushes chair near kitchen top while I am cooking and instructs me how to cook. He will ask me multiple questions as well... why you do this? what is this? can I eat? when can I eat? Why can't I eat now?..
           Would like to share one of neil's recipes with you, Try at your own risk ;) he says. " Kanda tak,, cut cut cut kar, Thoda tomato pan tak, cut cut cut kar, aata Strawberry tak,, yummmmmmmmmmm ( he pauses to enjoy the taste of fresh strawberries in his mind) , aata Kaju tak, khup tak".....

    He also loves to leaf through my recipe books and tells me which all recipes he would like to eat. He is waiting for his Baba's birthday wherein he wants a large "Mater Ccocolate Cake" He is currently completely smitten by CARS movie and he is all the time talking about Mcqueen, Mater, Mcmissile n Holly Shiftwell.
 Neil Loved these apple cupcakes and was all eating them on his own and appreciating them...

                          In this cupcake recipe, I have added chunks of apple to the batter, they tasted sweet and soft. If you don't like biting into apple pieces in the cupcakes, grate the apple and add to the batter. Again as i said earlier apple n cinnamon is a classic combination, but you can have fun trying different combos, apple would taste with all spice or nutmeg and pear.....
Serves 6
Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup of all purpose flour (maida)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 small peeled and cored apple pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp oil/ melted butter


Method:
  • Line the muffin pan with muffin liners or grease the muffin cups with some oil.
  • Sift all purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt in a large bowl.Add the sugar and apple pieces.
  • Add beaten egg, milk and oil to the dry ingredients. The batter is thin and smooth with chunks of apple. It smells divine with cinnamon and apple in the batter
  • Divide the batter equally in 6 muffin cups. .
  • Bake in a preheated oven 200C/ 400F for 20 min until golden and risen.


Aug 29, 2012

Chilli Cheese Corn Toast

                      One of the most simple and delicious appetisers to be served along with soup or just to be served as snacks is Chilli Cheese toast. Its so simple and easy to make, it can be fixed at last moment even when surprise guest drop in. Just any kind of bread would do, be it brown bread slices or baguette or even lad pav bread cut into two halves..The capsicum isn't fully cooked in this recipe. It still retains some crunch. if you prefer your capsicum completely cooked, I suggest you saute the chopped capsicum with some oil for few min on a skillet and then top on the bread.
            It is an open sandwich which is topped with some capcisum, sweet corn, garlic and cheese and popped in oven. This recipe can be a good project to cook along with your toddler, who can help you place all the toppings on the top of bread. They will surly enjoy cooking along with their parents.. Give it a try...


Serves 3
Ingredients:
  • 6 thick slices of bread
  • ½ cup boiled sweet corn
  • ½ cup chopped capsicum
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup grated cheese

Method:
Mix the minced garlic with butter and apply the garlic butter to the bread slices. Top with some boiled corn, chopped capsicum. I have used green, colored capsicum will taste and look much better. Grate some cheese on the top. Place in preheated oven at 350C for about 10 min, until the cheese melts and edges of the bread are toasted.

Aug 28, 2012

Aluvadi/ Patra/ Stuffed taro leaves

                        Aluvadi/ stuffed taro leaves are one of the most favourite Maharashtrian delicacies. It is also very popular snack in Gujarat called as Patra... When I came to Bangalore, I realized "Patrode" are also very popular snack in Mangalore Community, wherein the batter is fermented rice batter. Aluvadi is made usually in the monsoon season especially in Shravan and during Ganesh festival.


       Aluvadi is of a special importance to me, cos that dish is specifically associated with one and only person. I don't think anyone else in the world can create that taste which my dearest aaji used to make. My mother's mother, my granny was a culinary expert. She was quick and fast with her recipes which used to turn out always great. She was the cute ever smiling strong lady who is an inspiration for me. She was not only good with cooking skills in kitchen, but was very very good with managing relations with everyone. She knew what each of her grandchild loved and she was sure to make them in jiffy for them before she came over. She used to bring her Kurmura laddoos every single time she visited our home.....
Oh! how much I miss her... Can't type any futher with my vision turning blurred with every memory of hers hitting me now... Love u dear aaji.. This post is dedicated to u,,,, wont be able to make the ALUVADI as nearly good as yours.... 



Makes 10 pieces
Ingredients:
  • 4 colcassia leaves/ taro leaves/ aluchi paana
  • 1 cup besan/ gram flour
  • 2 tbsp jaggery
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp water
 Method:
  • First lets make the batter. In a large bowl, add besan, salt, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, jaggery and tamarind paste. mix it well by adding water a tablespoon at a time to make a medium consistency smooth batter. 
  • Wash the taro leaves and wipe them dry with a paper towel. Cut the central thick vein and the thick stem.Place the largest leaf on a flat surface.

  • Smear the paste all over the leaf. Now place the other leaf over the top, but turn the leaf such that the pointed portion of the leaf points in the opposite direction,,, CONFUSED,, see the pic below
 
  • Apply the paste all over the leaf. Repeat for the rest two leaves as well.Keep in mind the topmost leaf should also be covered with batter. 
  • Now fold the upper, lower ends and sides of the leaves to resemble a rectangle.














  • Smear the folded edges with batter and start rolling the leaves tightly















  • Steam the roll in the steamer or in a pressure cooker without whistle for 25- 30 min. Check if the roll is well cooked by inserting a toothpick in the centre.
  •  Let the roll cool down. Then cut the roll into 1/2 " slices
 
  • Now either you could shallow fry or deep fry or just temper with tempering of oil, curry leaves, mustard seeds, sesame seeds.
  • I just heated a shallow girdle/ tava . Placed the aluvadis and trickled some oil around them. Shallow fried the aluvadis and savoured every bite of them missing my dear aaji...