Friday, September 30, 2016

Skillet Peach Blueberry Cake

Blogging Marathon #68 Week 5 Day 5
Theme: Desserts
Dish: Skillet Peach Blueberry Cake

Today is the last day of this month's Cooking Carnival. For this last week I have been posting desserts and this one is the last of the series. I shot this recipe a few weeks back, but was unsure if it would make it to the Marathon. While we enjoyed part of this skillet cake for breakfast, snack and dessert; I was not completely convinced if this qualifies as dessert. But over the last couple of weeks, I have been craving for this fruity cake post dinner, and decided IT IS a dessert. For folks who disagree, you may choose to enjoy it for breakfast. 


I made this recipe in the week that I visited the Farmer's Market on Sunday and got home a big bag of peaches, two boxes of berries and extra large eggs. By Tuesday, we were bored of both fruits and the expiry of the eggs was fast approaching. So I searched everywhere for a recipe that would help me finish almost everything at once! I chanced on this one. It was spot on and I decided to give it a shot. 


The result was perfect. The cake turned out super moist and really tasty. Almost as soon as I mixed the dry ingredients, I wanted to bake a whole wheat version of this. But it was all mixed already and baked it with All purpose. Next time I am going to bake a whole wheat version of this amazing cake. Most of the ingredients in the recipe will be easily available in any pantry. The original recipe had sour cream but I was out of it so used Greek yogurt and it worked just fine. From start to finish the cake takes an hour, but most of it is baking time. We loved this version of the cake, hope you all do too!


Ingredients (Barely adapted from here)

Allpurpose Flour 1 1/2 cup
Brown Sugar 3/4 cup
Unsalted Butter 1/2 cup
Greek Yogurt 2/3 cup
Eggs 2 
Peaches 3 medium
Blueberries 1 cup
Baking Powder 1 tsp
Baking Soda 1/2 tsp
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Nutmeg Powder 1/4 tsp
Salt a pinch


Method

In a bowl sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Mix well and set aside. Chop one peach into chunks and slice the remaining two. Divide the blueberries into two parts. 

In another bowl beat butter and sugar till light and creamy. Once it is creamy, add the eggs (at room temperature) and whisk to a smooth mixture. Then add the yogurt and vanilla extract. Whip once again. Finally add the dry ingredients and mix. Do not overmix. 

Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Grease a skillet with nonstick spray and keep ready. Finally fold in the diced peaches and half the blueberries. Mix slowly. Pour the batter into the skillet. Place the peach slices around the sides and place the blueberries in the centre. 

Bake for 40-45 minutes, till the crust is golden brown. Remove and cool. Serve warm or cold with a side of Vanilla Ice cream. 







Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cantaloupe Sorbet

Blogging Marathon #68 Week 5 Day 4
Theme: Desserts
Dish: Cantaloupe Sorbet

We are almost at the end of the month with the Cooking Carnival. Today is the last but one dish. I am posting desserts this week and this happens to be the simplest dessert to make and the shortest recipe on my blog! Actually when I read about fruit sorbets on various websites, the simplicity is what drew me towards them. So I am posting a Cantaloupe Sorbet today.


Cantaloupes are easily available in my region all year round, and they are surprisingly sweet all the time! So I made the sorbet using it. Many people refer to it as muskmelon too. And in my mother tongue Gujarati, we call it sakkarteti. If you cannot get, use any melon you like. The same can also be made from peaches. It tastes super yummy!

The recipe calls only for two ingredients; a melon and honey. Though the recipe needs some planning in terms of freezing the fruit for a few hours, it can be made in under 10 minutes. The result was great and we fell in love with the orange color of the sorbet! Do try it and yes, come back tomorrow for the last dessert in this series!


Ingredients

Cantaloupe 1 medium
Honey to taste
Mint Leaves 2-3


Method

Remove the peel and slice the cantaloupe into pieces. Place them in a baking tray lined with parchment paper and freeze for 4-6 hours. You can freeze them overnight too.

After it has frozen, remove and add to a food processor. Also add a tsp of honey. The amount of honey can be changed depending on how sweet the cantaloupe is. Process to an almost smooth texture. Remove and serve immediately, topped with mint leaves. 

The leftover can be frozen in an airtight container for a day or two.







Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Honey Toast

Blogging Marathon #68 Week 5 Day 3
Theme: Desserts
Dish: Honey Toast

After fruit salad and carrot cake, here is another dessert. This one had been on my to make list since the first time I had it! An Asian friend of ours took us to a place that serves Shaved Ice and Honey Toast. Little did I know I would get so addicted to both of them. To describe Honey Toast; it is a brick of bread with small pieces of bread inside, all the bread is slathered with honey or condensed milk, baked and topped with toppings of your choice. 


If the description did not tempt you, the pictures in this post will definitely do it! When we had it there for the first time, we clicked pictures and sent it to family and friends in India. Since then, every time we have them visiting us, we HAVE to go to enjoy this dessert. And it is so huge that we generally share one amongst 3-4 people. 

So since a long time we have been meaning to make it at home. As it is so filling, I made it from brunch on Sunday. Between the two of us, we managed to lick off the plate but as expected, we skipped lunch! I added toppings as we like it, but the restaurants offer a range of toppings like chocolate chips, gummies, condensed milk, chocolate sticks, macaroons and so on. Adding it all makes the dessert a perfect substitute for a meal!! 


I made the bread from scratch too, but to simplify things, you can get unsliced bread from the store. Assemble it all and enjoy. The melting ice cream with the warm honey drenched bread makes a perfect combination. Here is another interesting thing about my shoot. I kept the dessert with the wooden plank at the back. And after I finished taking most pictures, I left the dessert there and went to my kitchen to grab a knife to cut it and take pictures. When I returned, I saw the plank falling on the dessert. I just held it in time that it did not completely spoil the dessert. It just smeared the ice cream and crushed a strawberry :p But then I was a little disappointed and stopped taking pictures. So I do not have any pictures of the cut dessert. Shall update the post next time I make it!


Ingredients


Unsliced Sandwich Bread 1/4 loaf (recipe here)
Honey 1/4 cup

Toppings
Vanilla Ice Cream 2 scoops
Strawberry Ice cream 1 scoop
Chocolate Sauce as required
Strawberries and chocolate


Method

Preheat oven to 350 F/ 200 C. Place the 1/4 sandwich loaf on a chopping board. Using a sharp knife, scoop out the insides and cube the bread removed. Brush honey on the pieces and on the walls of the loaf. 

Place the pieces and the bread in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. The bread should become crisp. Remove the tray and place the pieces back into the loaf. 

Top the bread with ice creams, chocolate sauce, strawberries and chocolate. Enjoy immediately before the ice creams melt!






Sandwich Bread

It has been a long time since I started bread. I started off with pizza (that is the easiest as you do not have to worry too much about rising etc :0). Then it went to a little complex breads like pita bread, pumpkin bread and tons of stuffed rolls. But out of all the breads, I had a fancy for perfectly straight edged sandwich bread. I saw a lot of loaf pans but most had angular sides. Finally I found what I was looking for and made this bread several times. Last weekend I made another loaf and it was simply fabulous. 



I used all purpose flour then and now it is time to make a whole wheat bread this weekend. I got some vital gluten a while back and now I am in love with how it transforms the wheat bread to perfect sponge! Lately I did a lot of baking with whole wheat, the recipes will be up once I know for sure how to go about it! 


Apart from sandwich, I made this loaf for something even better. For those who are familiar with Asian places serving the Honey Toast, I made that from scratch! For those who do not know, read the next post coming up later today. It is one of the best desserts I have had ever!! So I used quarter of the bread to make that and used the remaining to make sandwiches. The fresh bread gives such a wonderful flavor to the sandwich, I feel like making bread at home all the time!! Hope you all enjoy this bread and do read the next post to see my favorite dessert made from bread!  


Ingredients

All Purpose Flour 3 cups
Milk 1/4 cup
Water 3/4 cup -1 cup
RapidRise Yeast 1 sachet (2 1/4 tsp) 
Salt 2 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Unsalted Butter 3 tbsp (Room Temperature)


Method

In a bowl add milk and 1/2 cup water. To that add sugar and 1 tsp salt. Mix and microwave for a minute. When the water milk mixture is warm, add the yeast, mix and rest covered in a warm place. The yeast will bloom in 10 minutes or so.

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, remaining salt and mix well. Add the unsalted butter and bloomed yeast. Mix and make a dough adding water as required. Knead it to a smooth dough and keep working on it till soft. Once done, coat with oil or butter and rest covered for an hour in a warm place. 


Meanwhile, line a bread pan with parchment paper. Set aside. After an hour or once it has doubled in size, punch it down and knead again for 5-7 minutes. Roll the dough out to a rectangle of 9 inches by 5 inches. Start folding it like a towel, along the longer edge, bringing in all the edges. Place the rolled loaf in the bread pan and cover it. Rest for an hour. 

When the hour is almost up, preheat oven to 400 F/ 210 C. Once the loaf rises till the top of the pan, place it in the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes, till the top is nice and golden. Once it is, remove and cool for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Cut the slices only when the bread has cooled for 3-4 hours. Enjoy!!





Use this bread to make this amazingggg dessert, Honey Toast



If you are a sandwich lover, try this Grilled Sandwich made in a triangle bread from scratch, check out this recipe. Perfectly like the one from the streets on Mumbai!!


Baked Potato Stacks


Potatoes is one of the most versatile ingredients that can be made in multiple ways. Whether it is in a curry or in a snack, potato makes everything a little more tasty! For a while I have been meaning to make this appetizer or snack called potato stacks. Finally I made them today and poting them right away!



The ingredients required for this dish are simply potatoes, olive oil and seasoning of choice. I used a simple mixture of garlic powder, oregano and salt for seasoning. If you like, adding fresh herbs is a great idea too. To make the dish one needs to slice potatoes into equal size slices. While most slicers work for it, I used my new Briefton's latest device. The entire thing is pretty neat. It comes with a plastic holder at the bottom to catch all the slices. And the best part is that the device can chop, slice, dice and blend. There are different blades, one each for slice, julienne, grate and finely chop. There are two sets of blades to chop and puree. Plus, the chopping or juicing requires no power! It works on a pull mechanism by a cord!! Really cool thing to have at home. I love the fact that it has compartments, such that I can puree two different fruits at one time! Get yours here





Back to the recipe, this one takes hardly any preparation time and tastes super awesome. The whole thing is so simple that kids and help make it too! While I made it with potatoes, sweet potatoes and zucchini would be a great alternative too. This food is perfect for all the parties in the upcoming holiday season. Do try this at home and share how it turned out for you!



Ingredients

Potatoes 2 medium
Olive Oil 1/4 cup
Dried Oregano 1 tsp
Garlic Powder 1 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Basil Leaves to top


Method

In a bowl mix the oil with oregano, garlic powder and salt. Set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 210 C. Line a muffin pan with non stick spray. Peel the potatoes and using a slicer or a sharp knife, slice the potatoes to slices. Place them in water till all the slices are made. 



Remove the slices from water and put them all into the seasoned oil. Place about 6-8 slices in each muffin cavity. brush some more oil and place the pan in the oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes till the potatoes are crisp. Remove, top with shredded basil and enjoy warm. I served them with a dip made by mixing equal parts of yogurt and mayonnaise with a tsp of Sriracha Sauce. 






Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Carrot Cake with Carrot Caviar

Blogging Marathon #68 Week 5 Day 2
Theme: Desserts
Dish: Carrot Cake with Carrot Caviar 

After an Indian dessert yesterday, today it is time for a family favorite recipe that I tweaked a little. Carrot cake, a cake full of shredded carrot is one of our favorite cakes. While we generally enjoy it as a breakfast or evening tea time snack, seldom do we frost it with cream cheese or cream. 


This time around, I went one step further and converted it to a dessert by adding some carrot jelly, vanilla ice cream and carrot caviar. I have been meaning to make the caviar since a long time. Finally I made it for this recipe. The entire dessert has three parts; the cake itself, the caviar and the ice cream. I bought the ice cream and made the remaining two components. 


For the cake, there are few ingredients. While the ingredients and method looks just like any other cake, the proportions are really important here. This is because of the massive amount of carrot used in the recipe. As the carrot cooks, it releases water. So if the liquids in the cake are too much, it will not bake to a hard cake. It will keep wobbling and fall apart when removed. The carrots I used were not very sweet. Depending on how sweet the carrot are, adjust the amount of sugar. Adding cinnamon is optional, but highly recommended as it imparts a great flavor!


Coming to the caviar, the ingredients are just three. I juiced two carrots and added remaining water to get the required juice. Agar agar is available in most Asian stores in powder form and strand. The powder is easier to measure so I prefer that. This same recipe can be used to make caviar of any liquid, ranging from balsamic vinegar for salads to fruit juices for deserts. Together with the carrot jelly, vanilla ice cream and the carrot cake, the dessert is perfect for all carrot lovers! 


Ingredients

For the Cake (Adapted from here)
All purpose Flour 2 cups
Carrots 2 cups, shredded
Sugar 1 1/4 cup
Yogurt 2 tbsp
Buttermilk 1 cup (can be made by mixing 1 tsp vinegar and 1 cup milk)
Oil 1 cup
Baking Powder 1 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda 1 tsp
Cinnamon Powder 2 tsp
Salt a pinch


For the Carrot Caviar (Adapted from here)

Carrot Juice 1/2 cup
Sugar 1 tbsp
Agar Agar Powder 2 grams
Olive oil or any Neutral Oil 1 cup

Vanilla Ice cream as required


Method

For the Cake

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray either a 9 inch round pan or a 9*4 bread pan with oil or non stick spray. Alternatively, line the pan with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients, i.e. Allpurpose flour, salt, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Cinnamon Powder. 

In another bowl mix oil and sugar. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat till well combined. Then, add yogurt and beat again. Pour half the dry ingredients into this and half the buttermilk. Mix and add the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk. Then, add the shredded carrot and combine. 

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and place in the centre rack. Bake for 40-45 minutes till the cake does not wobble and a toothpick comes out clean from the centre of the cake. 

Remove and cool on a wire rack. This cake tastes great warm or cool. To cool, refrigerate it for an hour or so.



For the Carrot Caviar

Place the oil in a tall glass. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. In a pan heat the carrot juice and sugar. Once it comes to a boil, add the agar agar powder. Mix well and let the powder dissolve completely. Turn down the heat and cool the mixture a little. 

Transfer the mixture to a squeeze bottle or dropper. Remove the oil from the refrigerator and keep a spoon ready. Start dropping balls of carrot agar agar mixture into the oil and keep moving them away from the centre with a spoon. 

I had some juice left and had enough caviar. So I poured the remaining carrot juice into round molds and made carrot jelly.

To remove the caviar, pour the oil with all the caviar into a sieve. Wash the caviar with water and the oil can be reused for cooking as it is clean. Store the caviar in an airtight container till ready to use.

To assemble the Dessert

I made the cake in a bread pan. Cut the cake into parts. Place one part on the plate, top with Vanilla Ice Cream and carrot caviar. Add the carrot jelly and serve immediately.