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


It’s that time of the year yet again….. ūüôā
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 !!


Condiment Series | Capsicum-n- Celery Dip | Dip


I recently did a series of 30 days 30 dips and it was a huge success. I loved it and people, my readers loved it too. This is a dip which was supposed to be a part of that series but it left me in two minds so I skipped it at that time, however after all these dips, this particular dips still remains close to my heart.


Capsicum-n-Celery Dip, this is where it all started. After this there was no stopping me. When I started making my own dips at home for parties a few years back, this was one of the first dips I made. To my surprise then, it was an absolute winner. 
Capsicum in my mind is the only vegetable equivalent to a herb…. as fresh and as fragrant !! It has the ability to add that extra zing to a dish.


This is a simple dip where, I not just use the celery stem, but also the leaves. The celery leaves have a much stronger spicy fragrance. You would need to chop the leaves really fine though. 

Serve this with whatever. It’s a crowd pleaser, the bowls are wiped clean ūüôā

Capsicum-n-Celery Dip




Ingredients

1/2 cup Quark or Hung Curd

1/4 cup cold milk

1 small Capsicum, finely chopped

1 clove of Garlic, minced

1 stem and leaves of Celery finely chopped

1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Salt to taste

Direction

1. Whisk the quark till absolutely smooth and creamy. Add the milk and whisk some more.

2. Now add the capsicum, garlic and celery. Mix well. Add the salt and pepper. Give it another stir till everything is well blended. If you find the dip a little thick, add a little more cold milk.

3. Transfer in a serving dish and serve with your choice of appetizer.

Happy Dipping !!




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 ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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 !!

Lamingtons | Baking


Baking a cake always leaves me smiling !! If I were a doggie I’d be sitting outside the kitchen door waiting for the cake to get done and then wait to get my share !! Yeah that’s exactly how I feel when I bake a cake…. the aroma, a butter cakes creates in my house is sooooo soothing, happy, promising and inviting !! The smell of a comfortable bakery.¬†

Lamingtons originated in Australia, are cubes or square cakes made with either a sponge or a basic vanilla cake, dipped in chocolate icing and dusted with desiccated coconut. They are quick to make, look amazing and leave you with that happy comfortable contentment.


Lamingtons were the daring bakers challenge last month which I so wanted to participate in but could not because of some other issues going on in my life beyond the blog but I could not get over these beauties so they were high on my to do list and here I go today. I like them ! Now I’m waiting for the verdicts from my dad and KJ !!¬†

Lamingtons


Ingredients

For the cake:

125 g All purpose flour

75 g Cornflour

1 tsp Baking Powder

2 pinches of Baking Soda

4 eggs

1 cup of Castor Sugar

125g of Butter

1 tsp Vanilla Essence


For the Icing

3 ¬ľ cups icing sugar

1/3 cocoa powder

1 tbsp butter, melted


¬Ĺ to ¬ĺ cup Milk




Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C. Line a square baking dish with parchment.

2. Sift together flour, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda. Do this atleast 3 times and keep aside.

3. Cream the sugar and butter together.

4. Add eggs one by one into the sugar-butter cream. You need to add eggs one by one to make sure the mixture doesn’t split. Add the vanilla essence

5. Once all eggs are incorporated well, add the flour in about 3 batches. 

6. If the batter looks too thick add about 2 tbsp of milk or else transfer into the baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is done.

7. Remove the cake from the cake mould and transfer on a cooling rack. Let it col down completely.

8. Once the cake is completely cool, cut it up into equal sized square pieces. 


To make the icing:

1. Combine icing sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Whisk it well. Add the butter and milk and whisk again. Now put it on a pan of boiling water. Basically we need to create a double boiler here. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl on the top which has the sugar and cocoa mix. While on the pot pan of water, whisk the cocoa – icing sugar mix well, till¬†ingredients¬†are well¬†incorporated and you get a thick saucy consistency.

2. In another bowl put some desiccated coconut.

Assembly:

1. Take the cake squared and first dip it in to the chocolate icing. coast well.

2. Now carefully remove from the icing bowl (you could use a fork to do this) and transfer into the desiccated coconut bowl. Coat well again. Make sure the squares are properly coated with the coconut on all sides. 

3. Put on the rack . Repeat this step with all the squares.

Now place the lamingtons on a plate and refrigerate for about 30-45 minutes. Serve.



Happy Baking !!


Condiment Series |Szechuan Sauce | Dip

Day 30 !!



Yay !! I did it. Making dips and shooting them and writing about them for 30 days continuously !! And I loved every bit of it !! I had a wonderful time creating these dips, some were originals, some inspired and some learnt from others with minor modifications !! 
Do leave your comments to tell me how you liked this series and which was your favourite dip. I love to hear from all of you as it gives me a chance to connect with my readers.
But hey…don’t go away..there is another surprise tomorrow……under this series only !! Look out for this space…..


Coming back to the dip of the day -the Schezwan Sauce, a very popular one in Asian countries, especially India !! It gets its bold flavours from the red chillies, garlic and the unique sichuan peppers. 
The sauce gets its name from it’s origin in the Sichuan region of Southwest China.


It is one of the most popular sauces of the Chinese Cuisine here in India where some like it really hot, some like to just have a hint of it…some like to get a little greedy about it (like me….I can have an entire meal with only noodles and¬†szechuan¬†sauce)

So here I am with an authentic szechuan sauce recipe for the 30th day of the 30days30dips Series. Though this is not the grand finale`….look out for this space tomorrow for the grand finale` of the 30days30dips Series. Till then…..

Szechuan Sauce


Ingredients

20 dry red chilies

1 small onion, finely chopped

15 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 inch ginger, finely chopped

2 to 2 ¬Ĺ tbsp water for grinding¬†
the red chilies

¬Ĺ cup water to be added later

1 tbsp rice vinegar or white vinegar

3 to 4 sichuan peppers (skip if you don’t have)

¬Ĺ tbsp finely chopped celery

1 to 2 tsp brown sugar (If you like your sauce to be sweeter, add 3 tbsps)

¬Ĺ tsp black pepper powder

¬Ĺ tsp soy sauce

3 to 4 tbsp sesame oil or any vegetable oil

Salt to taste

Directions

1. Soak the chilies in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain.

2. Blend them to a fine paste. Add a little water to make a smooth paste.

3. Crush the Sichuan peppers coarsely in a mortar-pestle.

4. Heat sesame oil or any other vegetable oil in a pan.

5. Add the garlic and ginger first and saut√© till their raw aroma goes away. Don’t brown them.

6. Add the chopped onions and sauté` them till translucent.

7. Add the ground red chili paste and stir.

8. Then add the crushed Sichuan pepper. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes more till you see oil on the sides of 
the sauce.

9. Add ¬Ĺ cup of water and give a stir again. Simmer for 2 minutes.

10. Add salt, pepper, soy sauce and vinegar. Also add celery now.

11. Stir and continue to cook for 5 to 6 minutes more.

12. Adjust the season if required.

13. Transfer in a serving dish and serve or store in the refrigerator. It stays happy in a refrigerator for upto 3 weeks.

Use as a sauce to add to chicken or vegetable or even rice dishes or simply use as a dip.




Happy dipping !!

Condiment Series | Cheesy Beer Dip | Dip

Day 29


When I read about this dip, I thought it was unusual, though very simple. I often cook with wine but have never used beer for cooking. Yes I’ve heard and had the beer batter fried fish and I love it but have never cooked myself. So I wanted to give this a shot.

I love all the ingredients including my beer so this has to be a yummm dip !! The name says it all; but but but, it’s not something I want in my fridge all the time. It is perfect for those days when you want a sinful gooey cheese rush ! On days when it’s raining and you are home, tucked in bed with your favourite book or a movie or when you want to impress your guests at a party !! (it makes quickly and easily and you can make lots and lots of it.) ¬†


I told a friend about it and her instant reaction was “oh the boys will be very happy” !! ūüôā Why only the boys I’d be happy too. ūüôā

The beer and cheese blend in beautifully and the beer adds a mild malty sweetness to the dip . It has a hint of the fermented fragrance. Enjoy it with a french baguette or bread sticks or even crudites. 

The original recipe had asked for a lot more cheese but I did not have the guts to add so much of it so I have reduced the quantity. You can of course add as much more as you like. 

Cheesy Beer Dip


Ingredients

2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Flour
¬ĺ cup milk, divided
¬Ĺ cup beer (beer of your choice)
1 tsp English Mustard
¬ľ tsp Salt
A pinch of sweet paprika (plus more for garnish)
150g Processed Cheese (the original recipe asked for 300g of cheese)

Directions:
1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter. Whisk in the flour.

2. Take the pan off of the heat, once the aroma rises, whisk in 2 tablespoons of the milk until smooth.

3. Then whisk in 2 more tablespoons. Add ¬ľ cup of the milk and whisk that until smooth followed by the final ¬ľ cup of milk. All this needs to be done quickly and make sure there are no lumps formed.

4. Stir in the beer, mustard, paprika and salt. Return the pan to medium heat and stir until thick and bubbling, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

5. Add the cheese and continue to whisk. Once blended in, adjust the seasoning.


6. Transfer in serving dish and garnish with sweet paprika.



Happy Dipping !!


Condiment Series | Harissa | Dip

Day 28

Harissa for the brave heart or err…. for the brave tongue !!!


This is a Tunisian Hot Chili Peppers Sauce, but now making inroads into the Moroccan Cuisine. It is a combination of various types of chillies. Both fresh and dried. Traditionally Harissa uses roasted red peppers, serrano peppers and other hot chilli peppers. however the recipe goes on evolving according to the region you are in, and the availability of the the types of peppers. Actually not just the region, it varies from household to household too. Some like it smooth as a paste, some like is coarse, and some like a specific variety of chilli flavour more than the others.

Harissa works as a hot sauce, a dip or a marinade. If you are someone who can handle a tad bit of spiciness then go ahead try it in all its pureness as a dip or else, mix it with cream cheese, or honey or mayo as you like it. We at home can handle that kind spice though I like to use another dip or spread as a base and use the harissa as a garnish.

 

Harissa

Ingredients

1 Red Bell Peppers

2 Fresh whole red chillies (the fat varieties – the ones used for pickles)

2 Dried Kashmiri Deghi Mirchi ( the thin crinckled chile, deep red in colour)

2 Dried  Tarvati (the thin smooth dried red chilli with a bright red colour)

1 Dried Reshampatti chillies ( the dried fat chilli with a thick fleshy skin)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup Boiling Water

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp Olive Oil



Directions

1. Put all the dried chillies in hot water and let it soak for 20 minutes, till they soften. Reserve the cilli water.

2. Once the chiles are softened, put them in a blender along with the fresh chillies, red bell peppers, salt, garlic and lemon juice. Blitz till you get a smooth puree`. If it looks a little too thick for your liking, add the reserved chilli water to thin it down a bit.

3. Now slowly dribble the olive oil and blitz a little more.

4. Transfer in a jar and refrigerate or use immediately.


Serving suggestions

– Mix with mayonnaise
– Mix with hung curd
– Serve as it is

Spice it up !!

Condiment Series | Soya Granules Dip | Dip

Day 27


This actually, originally was made by my mum as a sandwich spread ! That too of the leftover soya granules. She transformed the cooked ‘nutri sabji’ into an amazing sandwich dip and surprised all of us one fine morning for breakfast. This dip is an inspiration from that spread !!

Though of course this recipe is tweaked as per my taste and sensibility and is not made from leftovers.

The granules lend a very interesting texture to the dip. It is again healthy and not so bad for your waistline.
It of course can be used as a spread in sandwiches but otherwise goes well with crackers, pita, salted toasties etc.



Soya Granules Dip





Ingredients

1/2 cup Soya Granules (washed and soaked in water for 20 minutes)

1 small Capiscum finely chopped

1 small Onion finely chopped

2 cloves of Garlic, minced

For the White Sauce

1 tbsp Butter

1 tbsp Flour

1 cup Milk

1/2 tsp Pepper 

Salt to taste



Directions

1. Take a pan pour, 1 tbsp oil and saute` the garlic and onions till they sweat. Add the capsicum, saute` for another minute.

2. Now add the soya granules and season with salt. Mix well and saute for another 3-4 minutes.  Remove from the flame and let it cool down.

3. Take another pan, melt the butter, add the flour and saute` till an aroma rises. Keep stirring and make sure that the roux doesn’t change colour.¬†

4. Turn the flame down and add the milk in two batches, whisking well continuously. Make sure there are no lumps. 

5. Once you get a smooth sauce consistency and the sauce coats the back of the spoon, add the salt and pepper and mix well.  

6. Now add the cooked soya granules and mix well so that it blends well with the sauce. 

7. Transfer in a serving dish and serve warm with toasties or crackers.

Happy Dipping !!


Condiment Series | Honey Mango Dip | Dip

Day 22


I’m on a dip roll these days and I must confess that while I have made a lot of them, many a times over, many dips are new to me. I’m learning them, making them, enjoying them as I go along my series of ’30days30dips’ !! And I’m loving it !!¬†

Like my father rightly said, this is the only way to get me to blog as often as I am doing now, otherwise I invariably get stuck in the rut of life and my blog takes a back seat. 
Guess what…..writing and religiously making a one dip like this everyday and hearing from so many friends is addictive !! Let’s hope I remain as dedicated and active with my blog as I am now, during this series. I promise I’ll try to with all my heart……



Generally in our minds, a dip means a savoury sauce !
What is a dip ? What is it’s purpose ? Essentially a dip is a dipping sauce in which one dunks their appetizer / finger foods before eating ! We have a dip along with our finger foods to add that extra punch of flavour then why not a sweet dip ! It works as well, sometimes even better !!¬†
Especially if it is a mayo based fresh fruit dip.

With the Mango season around, what better fruit could I choose for my fruit dip than the mango !! Yes it is a Fresh Mango dip which lends a completely new dimension to your appetizers. My personal favourites with this dip are chicken strips or bread sticks, though of course you can have it with whatever you like. 

Honey Mango Dip








Ingredients

¬Ĺ cup mayonnaise

¬Ĺ cup fresh mango pieces

2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves

1 tbsp honey

Pinch (small) curry powder

3-4 drops Tabasco


¬Ĺ tsp fresh lemon juice










Directions

1. Blitz all ingredients in a blender till well blended.

2. Transfer in a serving dish and serve or bottle it and store in the refrigerator. It stays happy for up to a week.

Happy dipping !!



Condiment Series | Green Peas Hummus | Dip

Day 21


I’m back with yet another Hummus dish, this time Green Peas Hummus !! This is purely a vegetable hummus unlike my earlier ones.
I’ll be honest, I’m not someone who’s particularly fond of green peas, rather as a child I would run away from them. Now I have this delish way of eating these lovely beads. The Green Peas Hummus has a lovely texture and a vibrant fresh colour and very quick to make.


Like other hummus, this too is brilliant and healthy in wraps, on crostinis or to just have with crackers.

Green Peas Hummus



Ingredients

1 cup fresh or frozen Green Peas

A handful of green cilantro

2 cloves of Garlic

1 tbsp Tahini

1 tbsp Lemon Juice

1/4 tsp Cumin Powder

Salt to taste

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

1. Boil the peas in some salted water. (This should take about 8-10 minutes). Do not cover the pan or the peas will become dull in colour.  Drain and cool the peas under cold water. Strain and keep aside.

2. In a food processor, blitz the boiled peas, tahini, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin powder and salt. Blitz till you get a coarse paste.

3. Add a little olive oil and blitz some more. You should now get a creamy texture.

4. Transfer in the serving dish, dribble some olive oil if you like and serve.

This stays happy in a refrigerator for up to a week.


Happy Cooking !!