Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spinach linguine with cranberries and mushrooms!!!

Since my colossal cake baking day, I have pretty much decided to not bake cakes or anything sweet for that matter for another two weeks. I might break this law that I have laid out for myself, just because I love baking, but the only reason why I have made this decision is because the chopped up cake takes up half the room in my little apartment fridge and I don't think I  will be able to finish the entire thing anytime soon. So, instead of leaving my blog empty I have decided to put up the recipes of the food I make on a regular basis. This food is much healthier and is the typical meal I'd cook. Today I made something I'm sure my Amma would've truly enjoyed. For that matter, I think it's something my sister-in-law, Sanjukta would enjoy too. It's a simple linguine pasta that's quick to make and light on the stomach. I'm really bad at measuring how much of stuff I use while I cook general meals because I like quick no-fuss recipes that can be manipulated and changed according to the ingredients I have at home. Anyway, here's the recipe:

Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes


  • 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 tbsps of finely chopped basil
  • A spring or two of fresh oregano (I'm proud to announce that I used the oregano that I grew in my little herbarium)
  • 1 packet of mushrooms
  • Crushed red chillies
  • A few tbsps of olive oil
  • A small bunch of spinach
  • Cranberries or raisins (I used orange flavoured cranberries, which are to die for!)
  • Spinach and chive linguine (If you don't find any of that you can use regular fettuccine and add a little more spinach)
  • A few tbsps of feta cheese

  • Sautee the basil and garlic in a bit of hot olive oil.
  • Add mushrooms, spinach, crushed chillies and oregano.
  • Simultaneously cook the pasta on the side so that you don't waste anytime.
  • Add in the cranberries/raisins to the mushroom mixture and add a few tablespoons of water and olive oil to the mixture. Cook till mushrooms are done and you have a little sauce.
  • Strain the pasta and mix feta cheese into it.
  • Add the mushroom mixture to the pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese.
  • Done!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Ma & Happy Anniversary Amma & Acha!

 I often feel left out when it's time for family get-togethers but we both tend to miss home more so during times of celebration. I wasn't there for Ma's birthday nor could I be there for Amma and Acha's wedding anniversary. I missed both occasions and felt a little sad that we could not celebrate with them. So, today I decided to surprise all of them with a special cake. It was a white chocolate and apricot cream cake. There was a total of six layers. and it was the first time I made a two-tier cake. I was really excited as it was the first time I made flowers and leaves with royal icing and fondant. The cake tasted really good and it was fun because we got all our family to sit in front of the webcam as we cut the cake for them. It all sounds very silly, but trust me, when you're far away from home and miss all the special occasions anything that makes you feel closer to your loved ones makes a lot of sense. In a way it makes your day because you feel like you are a part of an occasion.  I'm sorry I'm unable to post the recipe of this cake because I have been in the kitchen for 3 hours creating this thing and towards the end I stopped taking pictures of the process; I'm really sorry about that. Anyway, this is the cake, and I hope you'll like it!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lemon pie!!!

Gifts seem to still trickle down and one of the sweetest gifts I got was from my friend Hazel. Hazel and I went to college together and recently I received a mail from her which was my special gift. The mail had a file containing a digitized version of all the recipes her grandmother collected over the years. I was so touched by this gift and I have decided to try each and every one of the recipes listed in them.

Today, I made lemon pie. The recipe that Hazel had given me was that of crunchy lemon bars. I used the recipe for the pastry but then I sort of improvised and played it out in my own way. I'm really bad at sticking to recipes but I love getting inspired by ideas and trying to make my own versions of them, so I hope Hazel doesn't mind that. As I baked this I remembered how I would walk back from my bus stop everyday. I studied in Valley School for two years and the food there was very simple. We would often come home really hungry because the bus ride was about an hour long and we would get home only in the evening. So, as I would walk back home I would pass by Creamy Layer, a branch of All-Saints Bakery and I would be so tempted by all the smells that I would end up buying a lemon tart. I would then rush home, eat Amma's delicious dinner and relish my lemon tart by licking the lemon curd out first, and then slowly devouring the pastry. Just the smell of lemon curd reminds me of me walking back home everyday. I wish I could walk back home; Well, if I walk back home from here, I'd probably get lost by the time I pass two intersections. This recipe a more sophisticated one, where there is a light pastry, with gorgeous satin lemon curd and a crunchy and fluffy meringue topping. So, here's the recipe; I will also be posting the recipe for pulichery, since someone asked for the recipe. Thanks for reading! Hope you like this one:

Preparation time: 1 hour

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tsps of grated lemon peel
  • 2 egg yolks (well beaten)
  • 1 cup of flour
Lemon curd:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp of grated lemon peel
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 4 tbsps of butter
Meringue topping:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 and 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
For the pastry:

  • Melt the butter and cream the sugar into the butter.
  • Add the lemon zest.
  • Add the egg yolks and flour; mix well.
  • Butter a flat tart dish and press the dough into it.
  • Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Celsius for 10-15 minutes.
  • Pull out of the oven and cool.
For the lemon curd:
  • Place the eggs, sugar and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl.
  • Place this bowl over a simmering water bath and keep stirring as it cooks. This should take approximately 8 minutes.
  • Once the lemon curd has thickened turn off the heat and whisk the lemon curd gently for less than a minute.
  • Add butter and lemon rind and whisk well till the butter is completely dissolved.
  • Let the mixture cool and pour it over the pastry.
For the meringue topping:
  • Whisk the egg whites till thick and fluffy.
  • Add sugar and lemon juice and whisk once more till everything combines together to form a marshmallow-like mass.
  • Pour the meringue batter onto the lemon curd layer and use a spoon to spread it around evenly.
  • Bake for 3-5 minutes in a 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius and bake for 5-6 minutes till the meringue topping browns slightly on the top.
  • Chill for at least an hour before serving.
  • Done!

Here's the recipe for pulichery:

  • 1/2 can of mango puree, which is roughly 2-3 cups
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsps of yellow powder
  • 2 tsps of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsps of jeera powder
  • 3 cups of thick yogurt
  • 1 tsp of methi seeds
  • 2 tsps of mustard seeds
  • a few curry leaves
  • a few

  • Mix the chili powder, sugar, salt and yellow powder in with the mango puree.
  • Cook this mixture for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Grind the coconut and jeera powder together.
  • Add the yogurt to the coconut and jeera powder and cook together stirring continuously. Let the mixture gently boil up and froth. Turn off the heat and pour this mixture into the mango mixture.
  • Cook once again and let the pulichery boil up.
  • Add a tadka by frying red chilies, mustard seeds, curry leaves and methi seeds and pour over the curry.
  • Done!