Bread Horns | Baking

So I’ve been working on my sourdough bread which turned out to be disaster, last week. Yes the sourdough starter is live and kicking but the bread was another story. Will elaborate on that in another post soon. So when your bread has failed, you are miserable, and you feel like you suddenly don’t know how to cook / bake etc…. it’s time to go back to the basics (for moral boosting) with a twist….well literally eh !!



Over the weekend I baked Bread Horns. They are such a delight to look at !! Perfect for parties and a sure shot crowd pleaser. I used the basic dinner roll recipe for these cuties and filled them with chicken mince. You can obviously let your imagination run wild and will with whatever you like. Though a nice prawn salad or a refreshing corn and cucumber salad will be good ideas 🙂



Bread horns come with an added advantage of being guilt-free, unlike their Cream Horn look alikes (well almost), which are made of puff pastry so full of butter and lard and cream….ummm yummm !!!

Bread Horns

Ingredients

250g All Purpose Flour
2 tsps Dry Active Yeast / Instant Yeast
1 tsp Sugar
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
Luke warm water as required

For The Filling

500 g chicken mince
2 spring onions
1/2 a red bell pepper
1/2 capsicum
1 tbsp oil
White sauce / cheese sauce.
salt to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper powder



Directions

1. Prove the yeast with a teaspoon of sugar and lukewarm water.

2. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and add salt and olive oil. Mix well with your hands

3. Now add the cultured yeast and the warm milk. Rub well, till the yeast and milk are completely incorporated in the flour.

4. Now start kneading the dough and use the push-n-fold method. You’ll need to knead this till the dough is elastic enough and absolutely smooth, about 10-12 minutes.

5. To check if the dough is well kneaded, roll it into a ball and press it gently, if the springs back, the dough is ready. If not, knead it a little more.

6. Rest the dough in a big bowl and cover with cling wrap. Keep it to prove for 1-1.5 hours, till it doubles in size.

7. Once the dough has doubled itself, punch it down and divide into 12 equal portions. 

8. Now roll each ball into a long strip (the way we used to play with our playdough and make snakes) and wrap it onto the horn moulds. Make sure you pinch them at the bottom to seal them.

9. Place them on a baking tray covered with parchment.

10. Brush with the milk and sugar glaze or the egg wash and let it rest for another 20 minutes.

11. In the mean time preheat your oven to 220 degrees C and bake the bread horns for about 20 minutes.

12. Remove from the oven, transfer on the cooling rack and let them cool down completely.

The filling

1. While the horns and baking and cooling make the filling.

2. Saute` onions in a pan, add the chicken mince and cook through. Now add the bell peppers and capsicum and saute` for another minute. Finish off with salt and pepper.

3. Mix in the white sauce / cheese sauce, adjust the seasoning and let it cool down completely.



Once both the horns and the filling is cooled completely, fill the horns with the chicken mince and serve.
you can either warm them slightly or serve them as it is. This depends on your preference as well as the kind of filling !

Happy Baking !!

Semolina (Rava) Bread

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.” – M.F.K. Fischer



True that !! Nothing like the smell of baking bread !! 
The weather was awesome….a light breeze and a constant drizzle with spells of heavy showers off and on….. Isn’t it the perfect setting for baking. Baking breads. 🙂
I made Semolina Bread. Semolina known as Rava or Sooji in India. Semolina flour is often also used in making Pastas. In breads it adds a sweetish fermented aroma and a smooth silky texture.


This bread dough is made with a technique called Sponging. It is an old fashioned type of sponge called Flying Sponge. So first we create the sponge (more in the recipe….) and then add it to the main flour. 
Yes you do need to have time at hand to do this bread but one bite and you know it was all worth the effort.  It has a crispy crust and chewy inside. 
So it was a perfect Saturday spent with a surprise from the cousins over lunch and then bread baking. Between making and sponge and the main dough KJ and I decided to take a walk in the rain…. yes we had that kinda time in between 🙂



So here it is:

Semolina Bread

Makes 2 large loaves

Ingredients:
Sponge:
180 g (1 ½ cups) Semolina Flour
180 g (1 ½ cups) Bread Flour
250 g (1 1/8 cups) Water
1 ¼ tsp Instant Yeast
½ tsp Sugar
Final Dough:
270 g (2 & 1/8 cups) Semolina Flour
270 g (2 & ¼ cups) Bread Flour
306 g (1 and 3/8 cups) Water
1 tbsp Salt
2 tbsps Olive oil, extra virgin
Sponge, all of the above

Procedure
Creating the Sponge:
1. Mix the semolina flour, bread flour, water, yeast and sugar until evenly incorporated.  You can use the mixer, but I just used a large fork.
2. The sponge should be fairly loose.  Let the sponge ferment for about 1¼ hours.

Mixing the Dough:
1. Add all of the ingredients, including the sponge, to the mixing bowl and mix on first speed until all of the ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes.
2. Increase the speed to the second speed and mix for another 2 to 3 minutes.  The dough will be of medium consistency. It should have noticeable gluten development.
I used my hands to mix the dough and kneaded it with hands too.
Bulk Fermentation:
Let the dough bulk ferment for 1½ hour and fold the dough after 45 minutes.  

Dividing Shaping and Baking the Loaves:
1. Divide the dough into two halves, preshape lightly into rounds and place the rounds on a lightly floured surface, seams up.  Cover the rounds with plastic.
2. After about 10-20 minutes, when the dough has relaxed sufficiently, shape it into tight round or oval loaves.  Place the loaves into floured lined baskets.
3. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees C.
4. Invert the loaves onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  They came out of the baskets really easily.

5. Spray the top of the loaves with water and sprinkle them with sesame seeds or nigella seeds and score the bread with a sharp knife or a blade.
6. Once the oven is preheated, bake the bread for 15 minutes on a water bath, and then lower the oven setting to 230 degrees C.  Continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes more.  Check the breads during the bake and rotate them 180 degrees for even baking if necessary.

7. Remove the loaves to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.



Happy Baking !!

Bread…yet again | Baking


Another weekend, another bread loaf !! I think i’ll never get tired of telling you how much I love to bake breads and how versatile a dough it is !! Before you think I’m a broken record…..let’s move on…


So this time it is a 30% whole wheat flour  (atta) and the rest is maida (all purpose flour). You will see every time you change the proportions of the flour your dough behaves differently. A simple basic loaf that goes well with curries or even as a grilled sandwich.




Ingredients

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

2.25 cups All Purpose Flour

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tsp Dry Active Yeast

2 tsp Sugar

1 tsp Salt

1.5 cups Lukewarm Water



Directions


1. Activate the yeast in half a cup of lukewarm water.

2. In the meantime, mix both the flours, salt and olive oil together.
3. Now add the yeast and mix it well into the flour mixture. It should look crumbly, like a bread crumbs mix. You essentially need to rub the yeast into the flour with your fingers.
4. Now add the water gradually and knead it into a soft springy dough.
5. Set the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot. 

6. Allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour or until it has doubled.
7. When ready to shape the dough, set it on a very lightly floured work surface and form it into the desired shape. I wanted to make it round ! Transfer onto the dusted baking tray.
8. Cut a cross onto the loaf. Sprinkle some poppy seeds and let it rest for 30 minutes.
15 minutes before your dough is ready to go into the oven, preheat the oven on 220 degree centigrade and once preheated place the loaf tin into the oven. Bake at 220 degree centigrade for about 20 minutes.
9. Once the bread is golden brown on the top remove from the oven and transfer the loaf on to wire racks until it is completely cool.
10. Slice and serve as it is or toasted or make a sandwich !!!

Happy B(re)aking Bread !!

Butterscotch Ice cream ‘n’ Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel | Happy Birthday My Precious One !!


It’s that time of the year yet again….. 🙂
KJ’s Birthday…..special to me in more than one ways…..Not only that it’s my best friend, my husband, my partner in love-n-life’s birthday but also because his birthday means a new cake I bake !!
KJ loves to push my boundaries; always getting me out of my comfort zone and throwing in a challenge. He knows I’ll never say never for his birthday cake !!


It was a quiet weekend with a modern version of a shakespearean play, followed by dinner. I spent the morning baking the cake for him and we spent a lot of time together watching movies at home. For company we had some thunder and rain !! A perfect setting for a weekend birthday.


So coming back to the cake, this was a first for me….an ice cream cake. A couple of years back KJ baked an ice cream cake for my birthday and now it was my turn !!
Yes he did a cake which I had still not dared to. In the humidity of July, I must confess it is not the easiest thing to handle. After every 5 minutes of work and handling the cake had to be sent back to the freezer or else the ice cream would start melting. And equally difficult was the whipped cream frosting with salted caramel sauce for flavour; but nevertheless I loved every bit of it !! It’s always fun to experiment. Here I was not only experimenting with the technique but also combining new flavours.


Butterscotch Ice Cream and Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce



Ingredients

1 l tub / brick of Butterscotch 
Ice cream

1 packet of Oreo Cookies

2 tbsps Butter

Salted Caramel Sauce (Recipe at the end of the post)
300 ml of Whipping Cream


For the Chocolate Cake:

1 cup Flour

1 cup Powdered Sugar

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

A pinch of Soda Bicarbonate

3/4 cup Oil

4 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Essence



Directions

1. Grease and dust a 8-9″ diameter round cake mould. Preferably a springform or a loose bottom mould. (I used a springform) 

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder together.

3. Separate the eggs.

4. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt till stiff peaks are formed. 

5. Now add the powdered sugar in batches and keep whisking the eggs till they get a sheen to them. (Do not add the sugar in one go, we do not want the aeration to go flat) 

6. Add the essence to the egg yolks, mix and gradually add them to the egg whites. Whisk well.

7. Now add the oil to the eggs and whisk for 30 seconds.

8. Fold in the flour mix gently (do not use the hand mixer)

9. Transfer to the mould and bake for 35 minutes at 180 degree C.

10. Remove from the mould and transfer on the wire rack and let it cool completely.

11. Once the cake cools down completely, slice it horizontally to get two parts. These are your two layers of the cake.

Assembly of the cake:

1. Crush the Oreo Cookies coarsely. Mix in the butter and layer the cake mould with it. Press it in and set in the freezer for 45 minutes. (Use the same cake mould, you used to bake the cake in).

2. Once the base has set completely, brush a layer of Salted Caramel Sauce. Put it back in the freezer for 20 minutes.

3. Now take half of the ice cream and spread it on top of the caramel sauce. Place one half of the cake. Press it down. Now add the remaining ice cream on top of the cake layer. Smoothen it with a palette knife. Place the second half of the cake. Press it down and put it in the freezer for atleast 3 hours or overnight. I left it in the freezer overnight.

4. Whip the cream well. Till soft peaks are formed. Add 2 tablespoons of the Salted Caramel sauce and whip some more. If you are using Amul cream for the frosting, remove the water content from the cream. If using non dairy cream whip it well. For amul cream or any other dairy cream please add 1/2 cup of icing sugar as well. Whip it on an ice bath. Whipping up Amul Cream is difficult in humid summer months.

5. Once the cake has set completely, remove from the freezer. Cover with whipping cream. Place it back in the freezer.

6. After 30 minutes, again neaten the frosting and place it back in the freezer.

7. For decoration dribble some salted caramel sauce.

8. Chill it again. Serve chilled. Store in the freezer.



Recipe for the Salted Caramel Sauce


Ingredients

2 cups of Sugar
200 ml of Cream
10 tbsps of Unsalted Butter
1 tsp Sea Salt

Directions

1. Place the sugar in a pan. Put it on high flame. Once the sugar starts melting, keep an eye on your caramel. 
2. As soon as the caramel turns amber, add the butter. The caramel could bubble at this stage. Be careful. 
3. Once the butter melts in completely, remove from the flame and add the cream. Mix well. Now again the caramel would bubble, so be careful.
4. Add the sea salt.

5. Once it cools down completely, store in an airtight jar. It stays happy in the fridge for about a month.


Yes this is indeed a tad tedious, but trust me it’s worth all the effort !! Nothing like a chilled frozen dessert on a summer afternoon !!



Happy Baking !!


Arabian Date and Walnut Cake


Baking a cake is always special and baking it for someone’s birthday is only icing on the cake !! 🙂
It was my uncle’s birthday and I wanted to do a different cake though non icing. This cake is a hands down winner so full of flavour !!


I’m sure you’ll wonder that most of my cakes are baked in the bundt mould. Well, when I’m baking a cake for someone’s birthday the round is common and kinda boring. Bundt makes the cake look really interesting. There is no hard and fast rule for the mould. You can use any shape you like.



Arabian Date and Walnut Cake


Ingredients

1 ¾ cups Plain Flour

125g Butter

1 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1 cup chopped, stoned Dates

½ cup chopped Walnuts

¾ cup hot strong Coffee

½ tsp Baking Soda (soda bicarbonate)

½ tsp Salt (omit salt if using salted butter)

1 ½ tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Vanilla Essence


Icing Sugar for dusting





Directions

1. Dust a ring mould or a bundt mould.

2. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C for 10 minutes.

3.Pour hot coffee over the dates and walnuts and allow it to cool.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together.

5. Cream the butter and sugar and then add one egg at a time. Beat well.

6.Mix the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar-egg mixture.

7. Lastly mix in the date and nut mixture and the vanilla essence.

8. Pour into the prepared mould and bake for 50-60 minutes at 180 degree C.

9. Let it cool down. Demould and dust with icing sugar.

10. Serve.


Happy Baking !!

Mushroom Tart | Baking


What better way to welcome the monsoons than baking a tart !! Rains have started playing hide-n-seek in Delhi now, and we, the rain parched mortals leave no occasion to celebrate the high and mighty rains. 

While savoury tarts are perfect for cold winter nights, they are great company for the rain on your window sill 🙂

This tart has a surprise element which adds a new dimension to the flavour. A layer of caramelized onions. The slight sweetness from the onions actually enhances the umami flavour of the mushrooms. 
This is now my new go-to veg tart for friends and family. 🙂

Mushroom Tart

Ingredients

For the Pastry

225g All Purpose Flour

100g Butter

1 tsp Powdered Sugar

Ice Cold Water about 1/3 of a cup

For the Filling

5-6 Medium to Large sized Onions (for making caramelized onions)

1/2 cup of White Wine

400 g of Mushrooms

2-3 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup of Cream

2 tbsp of Processed Cheese

1 tsp Chilli Flakes

2 Onions 

2 tbsp of Olive Oil
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Black Pepper Powder

Cheese


Directions

For the Pastry

1. Cut the butter into 1cm cubes and freeze for about 30 minutes.
2. In a blender jar, put the flour and butter alternatingly.Blitz till you get a bread crumbly texture.
3. Transfer in a large bowl and with your hands, bring the dough together. Use cold water but keep it absolutely minimal. DO NOT OVER KNEAD THE DOUGH !! You have to just bind it together.
4. Wrap in a cling wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.


In the mean time let’s work on the filling.

1. Chop 5-6 onions into slices, take a pan, add some oil, once heated add the onions and set them to caramelise.
2. Now finely chop two more onions.
3. Wash and slice the mushrooms.
4. Keep an eye on those onions being caramelized. You don’t want them to burn.
4. Take another pan, heat the olive oil and add the finely chopped onions. Saute` till they sweat, add the garlic and saute` a little more till the garlicky aroma rises. Now add the sliced mushrooms and saute` till the mushrooms start to sweat. Add the chilli flakes, black pepper and salt. Give it a nice stir.
5. Now add the cheese and cream, give it a good mix and finally finish it off with the white wine. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
6. The mushroom filling should not be too dry but at the same time not too flowey.


Making the Tart Shell

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C.
2. Remove the pastry dough fro mthe refrigerator. 
3. Between two sheets of cling wrap start rolling the pastry dough.
4. Always remember to roll the pastry away from you and always in one direction. This helps in the pastry to not shrink while baking.
5. Carefully lift it, either on your rolling pin or with the cling wrap in which the dough was being rolled. Place it on your tart tin. Make sure you do not pull it. Gently press it down and trim the excess from the sides.
6 .Poke with the fork in a few places, so that it doesn’t puff up while baking.
7. Now cover it with butter paper and place either baking weights or just some beans from your kitchen.
8. Blind bake it for 20-25 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven. Remove the butter paper and the weights or the beans and let it cool down completely.

Assembly

1. Once the tart shell is completely cool, spread an even layer of the caramelized onions. 
2. Now add a layer of the mushrooms. Fill it in, nicely. Place thin strips of cheese on the top and bake at a 180 degree C for about 30 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven and serve hot.


Happy Baking !!

Condiment Series | Parsley-n-Garlic Dip | Dip

With hung curd in my hand, I feel like a magician !! Really you can turn it around in so many different ways. Over time it has become my favourite ingredient. I use it for dips, for desserts, for kebabs, for marination and many more…
Hung curd makes the most amazing dips. 





The Parsley-Garlic Dip is a delicately flavoured one. Parsley like the way it looks also has a bright sharp flavour and works as an enhancer to any dish. 
The best way to use parsley is to dip it in warm water for just 10 seconds, rid the leaves of excess moisture and chop. The flavours of Parsley are enhanced once dipped in warm water. However never cut and dip in warm water. It should always be dipped in warm water and then chopped finely.



Parsley Garlic Dip

Ingredients

1 cup Hung Curd
2 cloves of Garlic
a small bunch of Parsley ( when chopped 2-3 tbsp)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper

Directions

1. Whisk the hung curd.

2. Finely chop parsley.

3. Mince the garlic.

4. Add parsley, minced garlic salt and pepper to the hung curd. Mix well to blend all ingredients.

5. Transfer in the serving dish, garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve.



Coconut Colada Pound Cake for Dad’s Birthday | Baking

It’s that time of the year again…time to bake…time to try new things… time to push my limits !!! It is dad’s birthday. I’m always motivated to try something new for him. 
He expects me to :-).


Amongst the many flavours he loves, Coconut is high on his list. Be it Malibu, the Caribbean White Coconut Rum or the Bounty Chocolates or the good old simple local bakery-made Coconut Macaroons.
But then who doesn’t like coconut macaroons? It’s a sweet comforting flavour that makes you happy.


This time for dad’s birthday I had other plans…. instead of a cake I wanted to make Cream Rolls or Cream Horns for him. Something he had been telling me to make for almost 4 years now, but I always shied away from them.


So while the cream horns were in the making (recipe coming up in my next post), I had time at my hand and thought that a birthday is never complete without a cake. So I set off looking for the right cake for him and instantly knew it had to be a coconut cake.
Found this absolutely amazing recipe, tweaked it a bit and voila….one of the best cakes I’ve ever made :-). Absolutely happy with the results and everyone loved it !!



Coconut Colada Pound Cake

Ingredients

175 g, ¾ cup Softened Butter
175 ml, ¾ cup Coconut Milk
290 g, 1 ½ cups Regular Sugar
4 – 6 tbsps Desiccated Coconut
225 g, 1 ¾ cups Plain / All purpose Flour (sieved)
1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
For the Topping
4 tbsps Coconut Milk
1 -2 tbsps Desiccated / shredded coconut for sprinkling

Directions
1. Heat oven to 180 C. Grease and line your baking tin. If using a Bundt Mould, just grease it. ( I used a bundt mould)
2. Sieve the flour and baking powder together.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until a pale light colour.
4. Add eggs, one at a time on a low speed setting. If the mixture starts to curdle or split, add a spoonful of your sieved flour.
5. Add half the coconut milk with half of the flour, keeping the mixer on a slow speed. Once combined, add the desiccated coconut and vanilla essence.
6. Transfer the cake mixture to the greased and lined cake mould and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for one hour or till the cake is done. (Test with a think skewer. It’s ready if the skewer comes out clean once inserted on the side of the cake).
7. While the cake is baking take the coconut and toast is lightly till golden brown. Be careful, it browns quickly.

8. When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and leave in the cake tin until cool. Whilst the cake is still HOT, using a skewer, prick holes all over the top of the cake, pushing the skewer through to the bottom of the cake. Gently pour the coconut milk all over the surface of the cake, distributing evenly with a brush if needed. The cake will quickly absorb the liquid. Then immediately sprinkle the dried coconut all over so it sticks.



Happy Baking !!