Sunday, September 2, 2012

Espresso Buttercream Frosting

Last week we celebrated D's mom's Birthday. We ( D and me ) were rounding up on what cake to make and we were sure about two things: it had to be a chocolate cake with  lots of nuts ( mentioned earlier, as a family we like dry fruits). After going through various frosting recipes, I remembered the Espresso Buttercream recipe by the browneyedbaker that I had bookmarked a while back. The frosting recipe was simple and was a sure shot winner. I followed the recipe step by step, and everyone loved everything about it: the smooth velvety texture of the butter cream, ganache, the filling between the layers of the chocolate cake, in tandem with the occasional bite into a nut! 

Photo courtesy D

Unfortunately I wasn't able to take the pictures of the cake cut into layers (filled with espresso butter cream). I used Cadburys nutties on the top ( for the dry fruits touch) and piped in some chocolate ganache over the espresso buttercream frosting.


For the Espresso Buttercream Frosting

Butter - 1 cup, 250 ml ( at room temeperature )
Icing sugar - 2 and 1/2 cups
Vanilla essence - 1 and 1/2 tsp
Espresso powder - 1 and 1/2 tsp


Procedure :

For the Espresso buttercream frosting :

Mix the vanilla essence and espresso powder till it dissolves completely.

In a big mixing bowl, start by whisking the butter ( at room temperature ) with a hand mixer for five minutes at medium speed ( Stop in between to scrape the sides ) . Reduce the speed to low and add 1 tbsp of icing sugar and whisk till it gets incorporated into the butter completely. Stop in between to scrape the sides. Repeat the step by adding more sugar and whisking till the sugar gets incorporated and mixed homogeneously . After this stage add the vanilla - espresso mix and again whisk till its gets incorporated into the buttercream fully. The resulting smooth espresso buttercream can be used to spread on cakes/ cupcakes. 

Spread the buttercream on the cake only when its at room temperature . I started by spreading the frosting from the sides to the top and in the end I dipped my spatula in cold water to give the frosting a smooth finish. 
Once you have completed all the decoration on the cake, chill in refrigerator until you plan to serve the same.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Brown Bread Toast with Olive Oil and Flax seed

Preparing a healthy breakfast while preparing lunch can get little challenging. Though I do stick to traditional Idli/ Dosai/ Upma routine, these too get repetitive at times. Recently I realized that I had some significant quantity of unused flaxseeds which I had to put to good use. So what I did was to grind it and use it as a spread on toasted bread, spiced it up with some salt/pepper and olive oil. It turned out to be a great breakfast option which D loved. To make it wholesome I served it with lots of fruits and nuts.

Prep Time : Depending on the heat setting of your toaster

Ingredients :

Brown bread slices 
Flax seed powder - 1 tsp [ Ground flax seeds and store in a air tight container ]
Olive oil - to drizzle 
Salt - as per taste
Pepper - as per taste

Procedure :

Toast your bread and place it in a serving plate. Spread the flax seed powder over the toast , top it up with salt and pepper. Drizzle some olive oil and serve warm with fruits and nuts for a tasty healthy breakfast!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Watermelon Salad with Mint and Feta cheese

Ingredients :

Watermelon - 1/4, cubed and deseeded
Feta Cheese - 1/4 cup, crumbled
Mint - 1/2 bunch
Lime juice - 2 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Pepper - as per taste


In a bowl , mix lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper till you get a homogenous mix. Add the cubed watermelon, mint and crumbled cheese and mix slowly. Serve chilled.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Strawberry Parfait

Both me and D have a thing for strawberries, from strawberry milkshakes to cakes ( read cheesecakes) , from smoothies to ice cream,from fruit bowls with a large amount of strawberries to chocolate icecreams with chunks of strawberries embedded , we always find ways to include them. So it was only obvious that I would be making this small discovery while wanting to enjoy the goodness of fresh strawberries. This recipe would go as a perfect dessert when you want to entertain a group of guests. For this I would recommend frozen strawberries,  store bought concentrates are a strict no no.

Prep time - 10 mins

Serves 2 in medium sized cocktail glasses.


Strawberries - 11 - 12, frozen
Greek Yogurt - 1/2 cup ( or more as per taste),
Oatmeal cookies - 3 - 4
Sugar - 2 tbsp

For Greek yogurt - Strain the yogurt on a muslin cloth to remove the excess water or whey.


Blend the strawberries and sugar till you get a crumbly homogenous mixture.

Whisk the yogurt to a smooth paste.

Crush the oatmeal cookies with your hands into coarse powder.


In your serving glasses layer with  1 -2 tbsp of strawberry puree, top it up with 3 tbsp ( or less ) of yogurt. Refrigerate and chill. Just before serving, sprinkle the oatmeal cookie crumbs.

Enjoy the chiilled dessert as it slowly melts in your mouth!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Masala Toast

Delicious and mouth watering offering which comes to my mind the first thing I get bread.. This takes somewhat a little time to make, and will probably suit you when you have some free time. But certainly compensated for by its taste!

Prep Time : 20 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins


Whole wheat brown bread - 8 slices
Green chutney - 5-6 tbsp
Aloo masala - 1 - 1.5 cup
Butter - 1 tbsp
Cucumber - 1, cut into thin slices
Tomato - 1, cut into thin slices
Onion - 1, cut into thin slices
Tomato ketchup - as per taste

For the Green Chutney:

Coriander - 1 cup, roughly chopped
Coconut - 1/4 cup, grated
Garlic - 2-3 pods, roughly chopped
Green chillies - 4-5 or as per taste
Water - as required for grinding
Lemon juice - 1 tsp or as per taste ( optional )

For the Aloo Masala:

Potatoes - 1 cup , boiled and mashed
Ginger - 1/2 inch, roughly chopped
Green chilli - 2 or as per taste , roughly chopped
Cilantro - 1 tbsp , finely chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 5-6 leaves
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1tsp

Procedure :

Cut off the edges of the bread and keep aside.

Preparing the Green Chutney:

Grind all the ingredients under the "for the green chutney" section into a smooth paste.

Preparing the Aloo Masala:

Grind ginger and green chillies into a smooth paste.
In a small wok , heat oil . Once hot, add in the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add in the curry leaves and saute for few seconds and add the mashed potatoes , turmeric, ginger- green chilli paste, coriander and salt and mix properly. Cook for 4-5 mins on medium flame and keep aside.

Assembling the Masala Toast:

Preheat the grill/ toaster.

Take two slices of bread and apply butter on one side of both the slices. Place one slice on a plate and spread green chutney generously on the side that was buttered and place 1-2 tbsp of aloo masala over the chutney . Top it with tomato , cucumber and onion slices and squeeze in some tomato ketchup. Complete it with the other slice of bread.

Place in toaster/ grill and cook till it turns golden brown. Repeat the same for more servings.

Best served when still warm and the bread slices are toasty and tasty!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dried Fruits Chocolate Truffles

D and me both are really fond of dry fruits,  we always end up adding more than needed for the recipe. On the side, we recently went to a herb Souk in a certain Middle East city and we got excited at the wide variety, quality and most of all enjoyed the taste. In a recent 'brainwave' abetted by an extreme craving for chocolates and dryfruits, I concocted this recipe of a nutty, smooth chocolatey byte! If you have a sweet tooth, then follow me, and drool at the different pictures and head to the kitchen to make and splurge on this delicious, decadent dessert! 

Prep Time - 25 mins

Ingredients :

Almonds -         1/4 cup, roughly chopped
Cashews -         1/8 cup, roughly chopped
Pistachios -        1/4 cup, roughly chopped
Figs -                 1/8 cup, roughly chopped
Golden raisins -  1/8 cup, roughly chopped
Apricots -           1/8 cup , roughly chopped

Heavy cream - 2- 3 tbsp
Butter  -           1 tbsp
Dark chocolate - 200 grams, roughly chopped

Procedure :

Dry roast the almonds, cashews and pistachios for 2-3 mins or till you get a nice aroma. Cool and ground it to a coarse mixture. Separately grind the figs, apricots and raisins to a coarse paste. 

Take a large pan and add water ( for double boiling method) . When the water starts boiling, place a bowl with cream and butter till you get a homogenous mixture. Add in the chopped chocolate and keep stirring continuously till the chocolate melts. Give it a good mix again and turn off the heat. Transfer all the contents to a big mixing bowl and add the dried fruits. Mix it with your hand till the dried fruits get incorporated into the melted chocolate fully. Take small portions and roll them into truffles. If you find it difficult to roll them , store the mixture in refrigerator for 10 mins and then roll.

Alternatively you can just mix the dried fruit mixture and roll them into small balls ( the figs, apricots and raisins mix will help bind the other dried fruits ) and dip those into the melted chocolate, but I prefer the first method where i get dried fruits and chocolate in every bite.

You can further roll these truffles in cocoa powder. Or one can melt white chocolate and decorate with simple words or just plainly drizzle on them. There are lots of ways to play around and make your truffles a success.

Store in refrigerator and serve. Can even be kept for  a week!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

D's Special Dosa

D made an interestingly shaped dosa ! I thought this needed a special mention here ! A few pictures below..

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Black Bean and Brown Rice Veg Burger

I love the black bean burger but when I came across this recipe that included brown rice and pepper, I have been sticking to it. Its healthy and not that difficult to make since all the ingredients required are usually present in a kitchen.

Inactive Prep Time - 8-9 hours
Active Prep Time - 15 mins
Cooking Time - 20 mins

Ingredients :

For the patty :

Black beans - 6 ounces / 3/4th cup, 
Cooked brown rice - 1/2 cup
Green bell pepper - 1/2 medium, chopped finely
Onions - 1 medium, chopped finely
Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped finely
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Ground pepper - as per taste
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Bread crumbs - 1/2 cup
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 1 tsp + for drizzling ( if shallow frying )

For assembling the burger :

Burger Buns
Tomatoes - cut into slices
Cucumber - cut into slices
Onions - cut into slices
Cheddar cheese 
Tomato Ketchup
Any other ketchup/sauce of your choice

If  you are using dried beans (not canned), soak them overnight and pressure cook till they become soft.

Procedure :

In a small wok, heat oil. Once hot, add onions and garlic, fry till the raw smell goes off. Keep this aside.

Coarsely ground kidney beans and brown rice. Transfer this coarse mixture into a big bowl , add the onion and garlic and other remaining ingredients from the " for the patty section ". Mix properly till all the ingredients get incorporated properly. Form into firm patties and shallow fry with little oil on both sides till they turn golden brown. ( you can even grill/bake /fry as per your convenience). I have tried grilling the patties but I feel they turn out dry sometimes.


Toast the burger buns and assemble by placing lettuce on them followed by the patty, cheese ( I melted my cheese in a double boiler), ketchup, tomato, cucumber, onions. You can also choose your own veggies and place them in any order your choice. Make sure the ketchup is not exactly at the top, lest after your first bite you end up with an evil red grin!

I served my burgers with baked sweet potato fries.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Ah...Here I am, back after 7 months of hibernation from blogging with a dish which I remembered having in a place called Crane Alley (in downtown Urbana).

Prep Time - 15 mins
Baking Time - 20 - 30 mins

Ingredients :

Sweet potatoes - 4, medium sized , peeled

Seasoning :

Olive Oil - 1 - 2 tbsp
Garlic - 2-3 flakes, minced ( optional )
Paprika - 1/2 tsp
Black pepper - 1/2 tsp ( or as per taste )
Salt as per taste

15 mins prior to baking :

Soak the sweet potatos in water as soon as you peel them as they tend to get black when exposed to air. Cut the sweet potato into half, cut it into large slices about 3/4th inch thick . Now cut these slices into finger sized fries ( 1/2 inch thick approx ).

Pre heat the oven at 300 F / 150 C.

Procedure :

In a small bowl mix all the ingredients under the seasoning section and keep it aside.
Drain all the water and transfer the sweet potatoes to a large bowl. Pour the seasoning and toss till the sweet potatoes are covered with the seasoning evenly.

Line the baking tray with parchment paper and spread the sweet potatoes in a single layer. Bake until the sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown. ( Ten minutes into baking take out your baking tray from the oven and turn the fries ).

Serve warm with your favourite sauce!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cranberry and Granny Smith Apple Pickle / Thokku

This is my first venture into pickles and thanks to M ( read Meena ) for this recipe which by the way is her creation. This pickle turned out to be a hit and vanished in no time! Infact we tasted this pickle during one of our get togethers at M's place and I immediately asked her for the recipe. She mailed me the step by step procedure for the same. I followed them as specified and it turned out perfect - spicy, tangy and with a tinge of sweetness. I plan to make some more before the end of cranberry season!

Prep time : 20 - 30 mins
Cooking Time : 20 - 25 mins

Ingredients :

Fresh cranberry - 12 oz ( one packet ), cut into 4 - 6 pieces
Granny Smith apples - 3 nos, medium sized, grated
Red chilli powder - 6 - 7 tsp or as per taste ( the chilli powder that I  was using was not very hot, ideally 3-4 tsp should work )
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp + 1 tsp ( to grind )
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 - 2 tbsp

Ten mins prior to cooking :

Roast 1 tsp of mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds on medium to low heat till the fenugreek seeds turn golden brown in color. Cool and grind into a fine powder.

Procedure :

Take a big wok and heat oil on medium. Once it is hot add in the mustard seeds, and as they crackle add in the turmeric powder, chilli powder, fenugreek powder and mustard powder ( Turn the heat to low, just in case, you feel you might burn them ). Give a quick stir and add in the cranberries and grated apple along with salt ( increase the heat to medium again ) . Keep stirring in between and cook till the cranberries and apple become real mushy ( approx 20 -25 mins on medium heat ). Check for salt and tartness. If you feel its still very tart add some more chilli powder. For more sweetness you can even add jaggery ( Since the sweetness from apples was enough, I didn't add jaggery ).

When you get a homogenous mix and feel the taste is perfect ( spicy, little tangy with a tinge of sweetness), turn off the heat. Serve with curd rice!