Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top 15 of 2015

2015 has officially come to an end, and I am writing out my last post; a recap of how the year has been. In this year, I cooked, clicked and posted over 100 recipes. A long list that I never thought I would complete. There are still tons of recipes that are in my mind but not on the blog. I have a few recipes cooked and pictured but they will spill into the first few days of January to come online. 




This year has been full of firsts. I finished my first century of posts in February 2015. The facebook page of my blog started in this year and got over 1000 likes in the same year! I started using twitter for the blog and reactivated my personal Instagram account to post pictures of all the recipes. I also got my first award for food photography this year, which was a cherry on the cake! I hope the coming year will be just as good if not better. 

Today on the last day of the year I look back at the posts and the analytics of the last 365 days. Such a wonderful trip recollecting all the recipes, the pictures and the thoughts behind posting each and every recipe! So based on the reader's favorites, here is a list of top fifteen posts of 2015.


When I was photographing freshly prepared Rice Idli, my husband asked me why would you post such a common thing. But it is wonderful to see that this post actually made it to the top fifteen posts of 2015! Here is a no-fail recipe to make perfect rice idlis every time!





This amazing dish was prepared by my mother when they visited us in summer. Such a simple recipe yet so tasty and fulfilling. This recipe took me back to my childhood days.





I made this cute pink kalakand a few months back. The texture was perfect, the taste awesome and the recipe was absolutely easy and quick. The pink color that came from crushed rose petals was unmatched!





Being from Mumbai, Misal Pav is a famous snack and breakfast item. While there are many different types of misal all over Maharashtra, this recipe is a simple one, made completely in a pressure cooker. Easy, simple and wholesome recipe.





If you have visited any of the Mumbai based Indo-Chinese restaurants, you would have seen these logs of paneer rolled in thin  noodles, fried and served with a sweet and spicy sauce. I love this appetizer and I am glad my viewers appreciated it so much.





Diwali is incomplete without Chakli, these cute little fried swirls made from rice flour and spices. I tweaked the recipe and baked the chakli instead of frying them. The result was a healthy lot of perfectly round chaklis with minimum oil or butter.





I have made a lot of different types of Tomato soups, but this simple recipe is my favorite. Just a few ingredients and a couple of whistles in the pressure cooker yields a thick, creamy and delicious bowl of tomato soup. 





Ricotta Cheese is such a versatile ingredient. From savory to sweet delicacies, I have used ricotta in various recipes. Of all the recipes that I have made, this Instant Rasmalai was the best. I made a dozen of these cuties and the two of us gobbled them in under 24 hours! Check out this recipe to see how to make this delicious Indian dessert.





Ever thought you could make a soup in under 20 minutes? Try this sweet corn vegetable soup that is made in hardly any time. This recipe is by far my favorite soup from all the ones on my blog!





Saffron and four other ingredients combine so easily to make these pedas. I made them once and they were loved by everyone, that I made a big lot the second time, enough for us, our friends and family!





When my mom and I made ghee at home from unsalted butter, I was so happy that I clicked at least 50 pictures of the ghee, both clear and when it was frozen. I am equally glad that the post was amongst the top five recipes of 2015!





Handvo is a family favorite recipe in India and here. We make handvo so often that it is like a staple for dinner. It is such a great thing that the first post on my blog was cupcake handvo and now this mixed lentil handvo has proved to be a favorite among all the readers.





Who doesn't like kesar modaks from Siddhivinayak? I tried to make the similar modaks for Ganeshji and for a ganpati theme meetup we had with friends. Both times the modaks turned out amazing and so they make it to the top three recipes liked by the viewers in 2015!





I love Chipotle's sofritas. The day i made the same at home, I was overwhelmed. The taste, texture and flavor of the smoked tofu was amazing and the bowl served with rice, guacamole, sour cream and fajita came together really well.





It is indeed surprising and amazing to see that a simple recipe like sabudana vada would be the most liked recipe this year. With over 6000 views in under two days of posting the recipe these sago fritters have also become a house favorite! A simple substitution of frying is the appam pan, and this pan has proved to be the utensil of 2015!




With all these recipes in the archives, it is time to start the new year with some more recipes; some Indian, some Italian, Mexican etc. A lot of baking and some really interesting substitutions await in the upcoming year. Until then, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Keep all the love coming!

Sending this out to the Best of 2015 event on Cooking for all Season by Valli.
Do check out this post that has a never ending list of the best recipes from other bloggers from 2015:Best of 2015 roundup.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Spicy Sriracha Rice

2015 has officially come to an end. This year has been filled with happy and sad moments, with successes and some failures. And now that it is all ending, I look forward to the next year. I hope the coming year will bring a lot of optimism with it. That each day will be brighter than the days of this year!




In this year I made a lot of dishes that were favorites of a lot of people. From my family members to close friends and Gods; I cooked some dish that was of their liking. This is the closing post of 2015, and so it had to be one that combines few of my favorites: Indo-Chinese cuisine, rice dish and one with lots of spice and a big tablespoon of Sriracha Sauce. 

So as the name and the text above indicates, this is the recipe of a bowl of spicy Sriracha Sauce. The recipe is pretty simple and comes together in under 15 minutes. I made the recipe for a vegetarian rice, but you can also add meats if you like. This rice is the perfect way to finish off all the vegetables in your refrigerator. If you like a couple of vegetables or dislike some, adjust the vegetables in this dish. Though this rice dish tastes best without any side,  Tofu in Chili Garlic Sauce tastes very good with it. If you like you can also serve it with Vegetable Coins in Hot Garlic Sauce. For a sweet and spicy side dish, try this Spicy Orange Tofu



On this note, I write off this year and promise to bring new recipes for all my readers in the coming year. I hope you all enjoy and continue your support on this blog page and on all the social media platforms! Happy New Year to all my readers! :)




Ingredients

White rice 2 cups
Vegetables 1 cup finely diced 
Garlic 2-3 cloves 
Spring onion greens and white 1/4 cup
Oil 2 tbsp
Chilli oil 1 tsp (optional)
Sriracha Garlic Sauce 2 tbsp
Soy Sauce 2 tbsp
Vinegar 1 tsp
Salt, Pepper



Method
Wash and cook two cups rice (can be substituted with brown rice) in 3 cups water and a pinch of salt. Let the rice rest while you prepare for the dish. If you cook the rice at least a couple of hours before making it, it would be great. Wash and dice the vegetables. I used purple cabbage, carrots, french beans, colored peppers and cabbage. Mince garlic and chop the spring onion greens and whites separately.

In a wok/wide saucepan, heat oil and chilli oil, put the garlic. Sauté till the raw flavor vanishes. Add the spring onion whites and peppers; cook them on high flame for a minute or two. Add the salt, 1 tsp pepper and sriracha sauce. Give it a stir and add the vegetables in this order: french beans, carrots, purple cabbage, cabbage. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Keep stirring and cooking on high flame till the vegetables are little soft and the water evaporates. Add the rice, mix well and add Soy Sauce and Vinegar. Adjust salt, pepper and sriracha sauce as required and sauté for a minute or two. Turn down the flame.

Sprinkle some cilantro and spring onion greens and serve with your choice of tofu or vegetable side dish. Tofu in Chili Garlic Sauce tastes very good with this rice. If you like you can also serve it with Vegetable Coins in Hot Garlic Sauce. For a sweet and spicy side dish, try this Spicy Orange Tofu





Monday, December 28, 2015

Yule Log Cake

A Yule log (or bûche de Noël) is a traditional dessert served near Christmas, especially in France, Quebec and several former French colonies. Made of sponge cake to resemble a miniature actual Yule log, it is a form of sweet roulade. The original Yule log recipe emerged during the 19th century. It is traditionally made from a genoise, generally baked in a large, shallow Swiss roll pan, iced, rolled to form a cylinder, and iced again on the outside. The most common combination is basic yellow sponge cake and chocolate buttercream, though many variations which include chocolate cake, ganache, and icings flavored with espresso or liqueurs exist.



Yule logs are often served with one end cut off and set atop the cake, or protruding from its side to resemble a chopped off branch. A bark-like texture is often produced by dragging a fork through the icing, and powdered sugar sprinkled to resemble snow. Other cake decorations may include actual tree branches, fresh berries, and mushrooms made of meringue. The name bûche de Noël originally referred to the Yule log itself, and was transferred to the desert only after the custom had fallen out of use, presumably during the first half of the 20th century. By 1945 it referred to the cake.



Enough of history! Now to the recipe. I made a chocolate cake roll with vanilla frosting as filling. I topped it with a thick chocolate flavored frosting. You can interchange the flavors of cream and cake or use chocolate in the cake as well as the filling. The method is simple and straightforward. Make a chocolate flavored batter, spread out in a cookie pan, bake a thin sheet and roll it up like a log. Fill with vanilla flavored filling, top with chocolate flavored icing and decorate with cranberries, leaves, powdered sugar and pine cones.



Ingredients

For the Cake
All the ingredients as per the recipe of this chocolate cake

For the Icing
Heavy Whipping Cream 1 cup
Confectioner's Sugar 1/2 cup
Vanilla Extract 2 tsp
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder 2 tsp

Decorations like leaves, cranberries, pinecones and powdered sugar




Method

Preheat oven to 350 F/ 200 C. Make the batter for the cake as explained in this recipe. Line a large rectangle cookie tray with parchment paper. Transfer the batter to form a thin layer of about 1/4 inch thickness. If the batter is extra, you can bake another small cake out of it. Tap the tray a couple of times on the kitchen counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake the cake for 13-15 minutes, till the toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do not let the sides become crunchy else they will not roll properly.

Remove and cool  the cake for 5 minutes. Now take another sheet of parchment paper, and transfer the cake to it. Gently roll the cake and the paper to get a nice tight roll. Refrigerate with the seam side down for at least 45 minutes. 

While the cake is resting, prepare the two icings. I used just Vanilla icing in the layers and chocolate icing on top. If you want, you can use the same icing all over too. To make the icings, take 1/4 cup cream, 2 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and whip till you get soft peaks. Set aside. In another bowl, combine and whip the rest of the ingredients to get hard peaks. 




Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Open the roll slowly and remove the parchment paper. Now apply the vanilla frosting on the inside of the roll in an even layer. Roll up the cake again and set it on a platter that you are going to serve on. Cut the log into a small piece and the remaining. Join the small piece on the side as seen in the pictures. Now use the chocolate icing and apply it in layers to get the texture of a tree bark. Finish by decorating with cranberries, leaves and sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on the sides. You may choose to decorate with other things too.

Serve and enjoy the Holidays!






Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Garlic and Rosemary Bread Wreath

A wreath is an assortment of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs or various materials that is constructed to resemble a ring. In English-speaking countries, wreaths are used typically as household ornaments, mainly as Christmas decoration. They are also used in ceremonial events in many cultures around the globe. Wreaths have much history and symbolism associated with them. They are usually made from evergreens and symbolize strength, as evergreens last even throughout the harshest winters. Bay laurel may also be used, and these wreaths are known as laurel wreath.





We had a Christmas Potlunch this weekend. The theme was Italian and we had an array of pastas and soups and garlic bread for lunch. The desserts were the best; brownie and tiramisu! We also played White Elephant and had a great time. For this event, I decided to make Rosemary and Garlic bread. To keep up with the traditions of Christmas, I shaped the buns like a wreath and brushed them with rosemary and garlic oil. The sight of the bread was indeed a treat to the eyes!




The recipe for this bread is on the same lines as the breads I have baked earlier, like these Rose shaped bunsGarlic Braid and Subway Sandwiches. I added fresh minced rosemary along with garlic and garlic salt. These ingredients combined, gave a great flavor to the bread. So the next time you are hosting a Christmas lunch and looking for a centerpiece, try this rosemary bread. If you cannot lay your hands on fresh herb, add any dry herb of your choice. 





Ingredients

All Purpose Flour/Maida 3 cups
Rapid Rise Dry Yeast 1 sachet (2 1/4 tsp)
Unsalted Butter 3 tbsp
Warm Water 1 cup (100-110 F)
Garlic 3-4 cloves
Fresh Rosemary 2-3 stalks
Italian Seasoning mix 2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Garlic Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1/2 tsp



Method

Peel and dice garlic cloves. Wash and finely chop the rosemary. Set aside. Heat 1 cup of water to 100-110 F. Add a sachet of yeast, sugar and 1 tsp salt. Let the mixture stand for ten minutes till it foams. Melt the unsalted butter in a bowl. In a large mixing bowl, take three cups of flour, garlic salt, italian seasoning, 3 tbsp butter, garlic pieces, minced rosemary and the bloomed yeast. Mix it all together and form a dough. The dough may be sticky at first, knead it well till it converts to a soft dough. Apply some oil over the dough and place it in a large bowl, cover it with a moist cloth and let stand for 45 minutes to an hour. 

After 45 minutes, the dough will be almost double it's size. Punch down the dough and knead it for 5 more minutes. Now, preheat the oven to 375 F/ 180 C. Grease a pizza pan with nonstick spray or butter. Divide the dough into pieces of equal size. Roll the individual pieces to balls, and place them in three concentric circles like a wreath. Leave about 1/2 inch between the balls. Let the balls rise again for 20-25 minutes. The balls will almost touch each other. 




Bake the bread wreath for 10-12 minutes till the top is golden. Remove from oven and let them cool little in the pan. You may choose to apply little butter on top. Then, remove and cool them on a cooling rack. Top with some cherry tomato and rosemary. Serve them as an appetizer or as a snack with butter or herbed olive oil. 









Tuesday, December 22, 2015

10 Fruity Bakes this Holiday Season

Holiday season is here and it is the perfect time to indulge in cakes and breads. I love baking with a lot of fruits. From persimmons to banana and from cranberry to pineapple, I have used it all in baking different kinds of breads, cakes, muffins and bundts. Here is a round-up of my favorite ten bakes for this Holiday season!



Tutti Frutti Cupcakes

No soak, no alcohol Christmas tutti frutti cake. Candied papaya and fresh orange juice are used to make this childhood favorite recipe. One bite of this cupcake will take you back to your old days!



Cranberry Orange Bread

Holiday special Cranberry Orange bread; few ingredients, easy to follow recipe and absolutely amazing taste!! Try this bake today.


Spiced Persimmon Cake

Persimmons and holiday spices make this cake super moist and delicious. Holiday baking begins with this spiced persimmon cake. Love the flavors of the fruit with these spices.

Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Bread

This healthy Whole Wheat Walnut Banana Bread is made with 100% whole grains and free from butter and added sugar. Healthy and tasty, all at the same time.


Pumpkin Spice Bundts


Pumpkin Spiced Bundts with cream cheese frosting. You need this eggless treat for the Holidays! It is the flavor of pumpkin spice that uplifts the complete flavor of this bread.

Eggless Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

Blueberries and Greek yogurt come together in this eggless muffin that is bursting with fruity flavor. Use either frozen berries or fresh if u like. Quick breakfast or snacking option!


Banana Chocolate Bread

A delicious blend of ripe mashed bananas and chocolate chips makes this easy Banana Chocolate Bread. A truly moist bread that is great for breakfast! I love to enjoy this with a glass of milk.



Super Moist Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Combination of caramelized pineapple and cherry on top of a soft, spongy Vanilla and butter cake. A super moist Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. Perfect bake for this Holiday season.

Strawberry Cupcakes

What do you do with a box full of Strawberries? You make breakfast muffins from them. These naked muffins are perfect for breakfast, snack or your kids tiffin box.


Eggless Blueberry Orange Cake


Whole blueberries and Orange juice come together to make this flavorful yet easy cake. And it is eggless, made using Greek yogurt! Are you baking this for your family?