Easy Peasy Chocolate Cake

Each time I read a new recipe, watch a new video of someone baking I get excited and depressed at the same time. Excited, obviously to try out the recipe, but depressed because of the lack of multiple baking equipments at hand. I mean, sure you can buy most of the ingredients required, but wouldn’t want to invest in say a stand-mixer, an electric beater or a turn-table if you’re not doing it professionally.

So I read up a bunch of recipes, decided to improvise and make my own version of the ‘Easy Peasy Chocolate Cake’. If you read on, you’ll see why I’m calling it so :)

Preparation time: 20 mins Cooking time: 25-30 mins
Serves: 4-10 (depends on your appetite for cake ;))

Ingredients:
For the cake:
-Flour/Maida : 225g/ 7.95 Oz.
-Chocolate Bar : 100g/ 3.5 Oz.
-Sugar : 200g/ 7 Oz.
-Butter: 100g/ 3.5 Oz.
-Eggs : 2
-Baking Powder: 1 tsp/ 5g/ 0.18 Oz.
-Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp/ 2.5g/ 0.09 Oz.
-Chocolate/Vanilla Essence: 2 tsp/ 10 ml
-Cocoa Powder: 1 tbsp/ 0.5 Oz./ 14.3 g <optional>
-Milk : As required

For the icing:
-Chocolate Bar : 100g/ 3.5 Oz.
-Sugar : 100g/ 3.5 Oz.
-Butter: 50g/ 1.75 Oz.

Preparation:

Now, this process is divided into 4 simple parts.

1. Mixing the wet/solid ingredients
Take a thick saucepan and place the bar of chocolate on it on medium to low heat. After the chocolate starts getting warm and starts melting, rub it all over the pan. Avoid the chocolate cooking, add milk if it starts to thicken too much. Add the butter and mix well with the chocolate. Sugar should be added gradually, stirred and mixed in well. You can add more milk and make sure it is a smooth mixture.

Now set this aside to cool, under a fan maybe. But not in the fridge!

2. Beat the eggs
Take a bowl, break both the eggs in it and just whisk them enough to mix the yolk with the whites.

3. Sieving the dry ingredients
Place a kitchen sifter on a clean sheet of newspaper and add all the dry ingredients in it. Sieve the mixture and keep it aside.

4. Mixing all the ingredients
Add the dry ingredients gradually to the wet mix and fold it in. This is important because you do not want to unnecessarily beat the batter and deflate it – which can result in a really bad-shaped cake.
After this is done, add the whisked eggs to the batter, mix in in and you will see your batter shine.

Preheat your oven to 150 degree C. Now generously grease a baking tin with butter and dust it with some flour. Add the batter into the tin and set it inside the pre-heated oven to bake at 180 degree C for about 25 minutes (only with bottom heating). Turn-up the top heating after 25 minutes and let it bake for another 10 minutes. Poke in a clean toothpick or knife to check if the cake is cooked within. A clean knife is a thumbs up! Now let it sit inside the tin for sometime before trying to ease it out.
To remove from the tin, simply overturn it on a plate and lift the tin off. If the tin comes off easy, you’ve done your greasing right! Here on, you can either gobble up the cake bare, or choose to decorate it, if you want to show it off ;)

The perfect baked cake

Icing:

Similar to the first step of preparing the cake, take a thick saucepan and place the bar of chocolate on it on medium to low heat. After the chocolate starts getting warm and melting, rub it all over the pan. Only this time, don’t add too much milk. Add the butter and mix well with the chocolate. Sugar should be added gradually, stirred and mixed in well.

Lathering the icing

Now take the cake (I usually apply the icing bottom-up) and add a dollop of icing on top and spread evenly using a butter knife. Also apply the icing to all sides for uniformity.
You can top it with some choco-chips/gems/nuts and slight sugar icing for a classy touch. And the cake is ready to go. Ta-da!

The final temptress!

This one’s for the shroom lovers!

Stuffed Mushrooms

One look at the dish and you’ll think it’s an order out, but you’ll be surprised at how easily you can cook up this delight on your own!

Stuffed Mushrooms
Baked stuffed Mushrooms

As for the ingredients, there’s no hard set rule. You can use veggies stocked up at home, experiment with herbs, and finish up that loaf of bread (as crumbs). Here’s a list of what I used for reference.

Preparation time: 10-15 mins Cooking time:  40 mins

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil : 2 tbsp
  • Garlic: 2-3 cloves, chopped
  • Red Bell Pepper : Half, chopped
  • Yellow Bell Pepper : Half, chopped
  • Capsicum: Half, chopped
  • Cheddar cheese : ½ a cup, grated
  • Button Mushrooms (the bigger the better) : 8-10
    You can also use Portobello mushrooms if available; they are the mature form and bigger in size. Both have the same scientific name: Agaricus bisporus
  • Sweet Corn : ¼ cup or 2 table spoons
    You can also add 2 fistfuls, works for me!

For seasoning:

  • Salt and Pepper : To taste
  • Red Chili Flakes: ½ tbsp
  • Rosemary : 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Parsley: ½ tbsp, chopped
    You can add mix herbs if you don’t have the individual fresh herbs
  • Tabasco sauce:  ½ tbsp, you can add more if you like yours a little more tangy

Preparation:

Wash and wipe the mushrooms, then scoop out the stalks to reveal the hollow caps. Retain the stalks and chop them finely.

Scooped mushrooms

Cooking:

Now, the steps have been illustrated in the pictures to ensure clarity of the process.

So we start with sautéing the vegetables. In a pan, pour some olive oil on medium heat and add garlic. Season it for a couple of minutes and then add all the colorful bell peppers.

DSCN8288

As they start to get softer, add the sweet corn, chopped mushrooms and cook for about 4-5 minutes.  Then adding the rosemary, parsley, salt, pepper, chili flakes toss it with some Tabasco sauce.

DSCN8292

On low heat, make way for the indulgent of all ingredients, cheese. You can stick to quantity of your choice, where as I add loads to mine, there are some of you who would like to keep it healthy and low on calories. Mix the cheese with the rest of the vegetables so that everything blends in perfectly. Take it off the gas once the cheese has melted, else it will start getting burnt.

Here’s how your final filling/stuffing should look like:

Mushroom filling
Mushroom filling: Sticky, but not lumpy
Stuffed Mushrooms, ready to be baked!

The next step is to prepare the baking tray with a lining of aluminum foil and drizzle small amount of olive oil over it. Fill the empty mushroom caps with the stuffing, garnish with cheese and place them apart on the tray.

Bake them for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 175° C and serve.

Delicious baked stuffed mushrooms
Delicious baked stuffed mushrooms

Eat, enjoy and oh, don’t forget:

Cook-food-and-take-pictures

How to make Gordon Ramsay’s perfect scrambled eggs

Early morning breakfast, lazy brunch or just a quick snack in the evening. This genius of a concoction from one of the century’s best Chef is an eye opener. Once you try it out you’ll figure that we’ve been cooking our eggs wrong all this while! Learn straight from the chef himself by watching the video or find the recipe with simpler ingredients here. Its a shame we don’t get other exotic vegetables easily.

DSCN8000

Preparation time: 0 minutes                    Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Eggs – 3
  • Butter – About 1tbsp (you can always add more to increase the richness)
  • Thick Fresh Cream – 1tbsp (Substitute for Creme Fraiche, which isn’t available easily in India)
  • Chopped Chives
  • Salt, Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Wheat Bread
  • Olive oil – A drizzle

On Gas:

Break the eggs into a saucepan (preferably made of steel to lock the heat, unlike the teflon coated shallow pan used normally) and add the butter. Start mixing over low flame till the butter melts and whites and the yolk mix. Do not whisk the eggs pre-cooking. Then take the pan off the heat and keep stirring. Meanwhile put the bread in the toaster/oven. Repeat the on-off heat cooking couple of times till the eggs are cooked with a velvety finish. Add the cream to reduce the temperature further. Mix in the chives, salt and pepper.

Plating:

Take out the toasted bread, add a drizzle of olive oil and gently pour the scrambled eggs over it. There, you have the perfect scrambled eggs with toast. Fresh, healthy and lively. Bask in the sunny afternoon enjoying your brunch with a hot cuppa tea or coffee. I like mine with cold milk and corn flakes.

Scrambled eggs with toast

Stop worrying about that weekend brunch any more. Give this a shot. Feel free to post any queries, questions or suggestions regarding this. Delighted to help! :)

Let them eat..chips?

Tortilla (pronounced tor-TEE-yah) chips, commonly known as ‘Nachos’, are the popular Tex-Mex munchies in town. Move over French fries, this is the new favorite with drinks, as starters or for plain cheese craving.  Traditionally served only with melted cheese and jalapenos, they are now available with umpteen numbers of dips and toppings. And out of the zillion places serving up this delight, we have here, some of Bangalore’s best.

Habanero

1. Macho NachosHabanero, Park Square mall, Whitefield

My personal favorite, the nachos they serve have so much life, it’ll make you happy even before eating it. Classic Tortilla chips with cheese, kidney beans, lettuce, tomatoes, olives and jalapenos topped with sour-cream and guacamole.  Well they are just AWESOME!

Viva_arriba

2. Nachos SupremoViva Arriba, Indiranagar

This minimalist nachos preparation is a pleasure to the palate. Tortilla chips warmed with nachos sauce and served with the 3 classic dips – Guacamole, Sour curd and Pico de gallo (which is our lovable salsa dip).  Eat them one-at-a-time to relish the individual tastes, but do try mixing the three in a single bite for a burst of sour, spice and tang.

Continue reading Let them eat..chips?

As simple as 1..2..3

It’s that time of the year again. Sarson, Gobhi, Matar and the king of winter vegetables: ‘Gajar’. Hence begins the season of ‘Gajar ka halwa’ or if you might say ‘Warm Carrot Pudding’. Here’s a recipe from my mom’s cookbook. Simple, no frills, nut-free carrot bliss. I tried it today, you can too.

Gajar ka Halwa/Warm Carrot Pudding


Preparation time: 15-20 mins  Cooking time: 40-45 mins
Serves : 4


Ingredients:
Sugar – 50g
Milk – 500 ml
Red/Delhi carrots – 500g (Peeled & Grated)
Ghee – 1 tbsp (optional, but adds to that desi flavor)
On Gas:               
Heat ghee on a non-stick pan, add the grated carrot and cook until it becomes soft and most of the water dries off. On medium flame, add milk and stir so that it does not burn or stick to the bottom. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then add sugar, cook for some more time to reduce all the milk. Make sure you do not cover the pan/vessel else the milk starts bubbling and spills out.
Empty into a pretty bowl, garnish with tulsi/mint leaf and relish!
If you’re staying away from home and crave delicacies like this, you should really put in that extra effort and try this. Seems like too much, but is quite easy. And if you do, share the experience here :)
Happy Winters! 

Toss it up!

Tired of eating outside? Crave a healthy yet yummy meal, without burning a hole in your pocket? Look no further. 
Colorful Hot and Cold salad

Outcome of hunger, my diet freak roommate and determination to cook gourmet style food at home. This salad balances health and taste with easily available ingredients, and satiates your appetite. So next time, before running to the uber-cool, expensive salad bar in your neighborhood mall, devote a little time to your kitchen and try this out. Keeps your tummy happy!
Preparation time : 15 mins Cooking time : 5-10 mins

Ingredients:

·         Garlic – 3-4 cloves
·         Tomatoes – 2 large
·         Red Onion – 1 large
·         Sweet Corn – ½ a cup
·         Green Capsicum – 1 large
·         Jalapenos – 2 large (sliced)
·         Egg White – From 2 boiled eggs
·         Olive oil – 1 tbsp (Substitutes: Refined oil)
·         Breadcrumbs – ½ a cup or equivalent to 2 slices or brown/wheat bread
 (If ready made crumbs are not handy, hard toast the bread and crush with hands)
For the dressing:

·         Lemon – 2
·         Salt – To taste
·         Honey – A drizzle
·         Mint – For garnish 
·         Cheese – For garnish
·         Mustard Sauce – 2 tbsp
·         Pepper (Freshly ground preferred) – To taste
·         Parsley – For garnish and few pinches while cooking
·         Red chili/Tabasco sauce – 1 tbsp (You can add more/less to suit your taste buds)
On Gas:
Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan on low flame, add the garlic and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Add in the chopped onions, capsicum and corn. Sauté until cooked. Pinch over the salt, pepper, parsley and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.  Add the mustard and Tabasco sauce, then sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and cover the vessel, take it off the heat after 2-3 minutes.
Non-Gas:
Empty the contents of the pan into a serving bowl. Spread a layer of tomatoes followed by the diced egg white and jalapenos. Pour in some honey and lemon juice. Grate cheese over it, sprinkle some parsley. Use a fresh parsley leaf (or mint) to garnish.
Click some fancy pictures and toss it all before eating. Enjoy and stay healthy!
Variations:
  • Pure Vegetarian? : Forgo the egg whites
  • Watching your weight? : Forgo just the cheese, it tastes equally yummy!
  • Like your salad cold? : Blanch all the vegetables and toss all ingredients together
  • Like your salad hot? : Forgo the tomatoes and jalapenos and toss the rest on the pan
  • Going frugal? : Forgo the jalapenos and mustard sauce. Use free pizza seasoning for parsley and half the amount of hot & sweet tomato ketchup for Tabasco
  • Go Veggie : Same recipe, minus the egg and breadcrumbs
Feel free to add your comments and thoughts. Feedback appreciated :)

Quirky recipes, eat-outs and lots more about gourmet and home-food

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