Sunday, 30 June 2013

Event Announcement-Bake Fest# 21


Bake Fest, an immensely popular event started by Vardhini of Cook's Joy, needs no introduction to all Baking enthusiasts. The event has come a long way with completing 20 successful months. As we enter the 21st month, I happily announce being the host of this event. 
Being a complete Bake-o-holic, I look forward to having lots of fun getting to see amazing bakes from all of you. 

Kindly follow these simple rules:

1. Send in any recipe which has been baked / broiled.
2. Only vegetarian or vegan recipes please. I normally accept eggs in baking and hence eggs are allowed.
3. Usage of the logo is appreciated as it helps spread the word.
4. Linking to my announcement page and the Bake Fest announcement page is mandatory. If sending an old entry, it needs to be re-published with the links.
5. You can send in any number of new entries and a maximum of 2 old entries.  
6. Send in your yummy entries to amritavishal127@gmail.com with the following details:
Subject: Bake Fest#21
Your name and your blog name:
Recipe title and URL:
One picture of your dish:

The event runs from 1st to 31st July. 
A roundup will be posted in the first week of August.

All you wonderful and amazing Baker's, please send us your bakes and enrich this event.

Happy Baking
Amrita

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Choco-Caramel Mini Pies

"Eat lots of Chocolate when times get rough, and even more when times are great."

Chocolate is such a divine confection. Rich, creamy, decadent, smooth, delightful, addictive..are just a few words that come to my mind to describe this worldwide loved food and flavour.
As much as it is loved the way it is, Chocolate is very commonly paired with other food which further enhances the amazing Choco-experience that no human words can describe. Satisfying both the Sweet and Savoury palates, Chocolate is paired with fruits, seafood, coffee, caramel, cheese, nuts and balsamic vinegar etc. 
Daring Baker's challenge for this month was baking four amazing Pies-Crack Pie, Chocolate and Caramel tart, Crostata di Marmellata and Double crust Apple Pie.This Yummy challenge was given by Rachel who blogs from pizzarossa. Her description and pictures of each pie tempted me to try all of them but due to time constraint, a choice had to be made. And who else, but the innocent and humble Chocolate Pie screamt to get picked up!!
With a crisp and buttery crust and two amazing fillings, Caramel and Chocolate, this pie surely was the best I have ever baked. I piped some Indian motif with white Chocolate on top of the pie. The only problem I faced was the Caramel melting away, but I guess that was because of the heat and humidity. 


Ingredients : For 2 mini pies

Pâte sablée(Pastry) :
  • 1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cold butter
  • 1 tsp cold water + more for kneading(if required)
  • 1 tsp egg yolk
Caramel sauce :
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp hot cream
Chocolate mousse :
  • 1 egg(take out 1 tsp egg yolk for the pate sable)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate, chopped
Procedure :

Pâte sablée :

Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius and lightly grease two 4" mini pie pans.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk, sugar and 1 tsp of cold water until pale and fluffy. Set aside.
Sift flour and mound on a work surface.
Scatter the diced butter over the top of flour. Rub the butter in the flour, using your fingers, till it resembles breadcrumbs.
Gather the flour mixture and make a well in the center.
Pour the egg mixture in the center and mix with your fingers. 
Gently gather the dough together into a rough ball.
Using the palm of your hand, push away from you to smear the dough across the work surface, gather it up and repeat until it comes together into a smooth  and soft ball.
The dough ball shouldn't spring back when pressed.
Lightly flour work surface and lightly roll the dough to 3 mm thick in circle to fit your pan. 
Press the dough gently into the pan, prick all over the bottom and sides with a fork.
Refrigerate for 15 mins. 
Ideally line the tart pan with baking paper and fill with dry beans or pie weights. I skipped this step.
Bake for 10 -15 mins till the pastry looks dry.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.



Caramel filling :
Spread sugar evenly across the bottom of a saucepan over medium heat.
Once the sugar starts to melt, stir gently with a wooden spoon till it turns a deep amber colour. 
Remove from heat and very slowly and carefully pour all the hot cream in the caramel, stirring continuously.
It will splutter and steam so be very careful.
Keep stirring till it stops bubbling and is well combined. 
Set aside to cool.



Chocolate filling :

Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg together with the milk and powdered sugar.
Bring cream to a boil and pour on the chopped chocolate. Stir till the chocolate has melted and the mixture becomes smooth. Allow to cool.
Pour chocolate mixture into the egg and milk mixture and stir gently.
Spread the cooled caramel in the bottom of the cooked pie shell.
At this stage, I refrigerated the pie to allow the caramel to set for 15-20 mins.
Gently pour the chocolate filling over the caramel.
Bake for 30 mins, until the filling has set but is still wobbly in the center.
Allow to cool to room temperature.

I piped the top with some melted white chocolate.


Happy Pie eating
Amrita

Monday, 24 June 2013

Aam/Mango Sandesh

 

Summer in India is synonymous to Mango for Foodies. Each state in our country boasts of having varied varieties of this king of fruits. Also, each state has its own favourite Mango recipe. Be it sweet or savoury, mango is enjoyed as a core ingredient in many dishes. The list of delectables made with mango is endless.
Its no wonder that with the mango season around, I had to try them in a recipe apart from eating them as a fruit. Having tried Mango Mousse, Mango cheesecake and Mango & Banana Gelato last year, I decided to try this traditional Sandesh. With authentic Bengali recipes I always blindly trust Sayantani's blog A homemaker's diary. Her breathtaking pictures and simple recipes always turn out amazing. 
With this attempt I also learned about the Paak sandesh. Paak means cooked. The kneaded chenna which is cooked very little to achieve a melt-in-your mouth texture is called Norom Paak Sandesh-Soft cooked Sandesh. You also have a Kora Paak Sandesh which is cooked for a longer time resulting in hard sweet. Kora means hard.
The Aam Sandesh, a Norom Paak Sandesh, true to its name turned out super soft and just melted away. The mango flavour come out just strong enough to confirm its presence. Being another Sweet day on our blog, it was the perfect recipe to make and share.
I used the Tamol Paan holder that I had bought from my recent trip to Guwahati. It is a made of brass and is used to greet guests with Tamol(betel nut) and Paan(betel leaf). We were gifted with Gamosa/Gamcha which is hand weaved and is very traditional to the people of Assam. You may see it wrapped on the Tamol paan holder in the pic beneath.

 


Recipe Source :  Adapted from A Homemaker's Diary

Ingredients: For 8-9 pieces
  • 500 ml Full cream milk
  • 1/2 cup Mango pulp (I used Himsagar)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice/a pinch of citric acid
  • chopped Cardamom for garnishing



Procedure :
Take milk in a pan and bring it to a boil.
Mix in the lime juice or citric acid and stir till you see the milk curdling and the whey separating.
Turn off the flame and let it stand for 2 mins. Meanwhile prepare a vessel by placing a muslin cloth or use a colander.
Strain the mixture into the muslin cloth. I usually save the whey to use it to knead my dough for roti or use it while boiling dal.
Bring the sides of the muslin cloth together and hang it to drain excess liquid for 30 mins. This is the Chenna.
Take the chenna in a plate and knead it with the heel of your palm for 5-10 mins till you get a smooth and doughy texture. 
Prepare mango pulp by processing a chopped ripe mango in a mixer. Strain it to remove any threads.
In a non stick pan, add the mango pulp and mix in the sugar. You may avoid adding the sugar if you want the natural sweetness of mango.
Add the kneaded chenna to it and on low flame keep stirring continuously to avoid burning the chenna.
The chenna will gradually change colour as it gets mixed with the mango pulp and will become lumpy. This should take 10-15 mins of continuous stirring.
This is called 'Makha' or 'Ready to be moulded' stage.
Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to handle with hands.
Grease your Sandesh moulds (though after my first attempt I saw that I did not require greasing others as the chenna had enough oil on its own)
Take little of the makha and press it on the mould gently. Smoothen the edges and take it out of the mould from one end very carefully.
Repeat with the rest of the makha.
Press some chopped pistachios on top.

Notes :
  • If you do not have the Sandesh moulds, simply shape them in rounds balls and press the top with a finger tip to place the chopped pista.
  • You may try them with other fruits too like strawberry. 


Happy Aam Sandesh Eating
Amrita

Friday, 21 June 2013

Falsa Muffins with Cinnamon crumb topping-Falsa Fetish#3


My last two posts were dedicated to my new found fruit love Falsa. Many of the readers said that they have never heard of this fruit. Falsa is native to southern Asia and is not a very famous fruit. I, being born and brought up in India, had never heard or eaten or seen these purple black beauties. My mother who is from Punjab mentioned eyeing this fruit in the market and the next day Vishal got them home. And thus began my love affair with this humble fruit.
Fruit bake is an area which excites me a lot(definitely not as much as Chocolate bakes!!) The moment I realized I could use them as Blueberries which we very sadly do not get here, I searched for recipes and stumbled upon an amazing blog Zoe Bakes. My last bake Falsa Bars were adapted from her amazing Blueberry bars. They turned out so well that I jumped on to another recipe from her blog to finish my Falsa Fetish with these muffins. 
The best part about these otherwise ordinary muffins is the Cinnamon crumb topping. The aroma from the very flavourful Cinnamon fills up your kitchen while baking and makes you wait with baited breath to have them soon. I also enjoyed the rich brown colour of these muffins which was because of the brown sugar.
An amazing finale bake with these tiny beauties. 
 


Recipe source: Adapted from Zoe bakes

Ingredients: Yields 9 regular sized muffins

Muffin batter :
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 egg
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk(see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Falsa(pitted)
Cinnamon crumb topping
  • 1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp chilled butter
Procedure:
 
Muffins :
Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius.
Prepare muffin tray with liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl, mix softened butter, egg, brown sugar, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
Stir in the flour mixture and mix well.
Fold in the Falsa.
Pour in the prepared muffin liners. 
Topping :
In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon powder.
Grate the chilled butter over the mixture. 
Quickly mix with light hands.
If the butter has melted, pop the mixture in the freezer for some time.
Divide the topping over the muffins.
Place muffin tray over a baking sheet/aluminium foil (so that bottom does not burn) and bake for 20-25 mins.
 
 
Notes:
  • To make buttermilk, take 3 tbsp of milk at room temperature and add 1/4 tsp white vinegar or lime juice. Allow i to stand for 5 mins and then use it in the recipe. 
  • You can add any other fruit like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries etc
  • The muffin gets its rich brown colour with the use of brown sugar, so as far as possible do not substitute.
My Falsa doing a Peek-a-boo
Happy Falsa muffin Eating
Amrita

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Fish Pie


Sweet'n'Savoury, a blog that started as a journey of a newly married couple experimenting and having loads of fun in their little kitchen, has off late, become synonymous with my wife, Amrita who manages the show all by herself and how well!  Although I, Vishal(the better half of this blog!) continue to experiment and cook on a consistent basis, my involvement with the blog has become limited since my work and the development of my other passion with friends, Boat Safari Adventure Tourism 'midst the world's largest mangrove forest at Crossindia Adventures takes a big chunk of my time. I make it a conscious effort, however, to add an occasional post to the blog just to renew my membership at Sweet 'n' Savoury!!

This time my usual weekend cooking routine coincided with the world celebrating ‘Father’s Day’. I don’t know what Father’s Day mean to the world, which is celebrated or rather reminded once a year, but to me it is an everyday journey to better myself as a father to a beautiful daughter and husband to a wonderful wife. Creating an environment conducive to happiness and growth, forgiveness and love, security and trust, acceptance and tolerance is a matter of consistent choice, which becomes a habit and ultimately a character.     

Cooking is just a medium through which our family connects together on an everyday basis. Amazingly, it just isn’t limited to us but also extends to our respective family as well. An everyday phone call from our mother asking ‘aaj kitchen mein kya ban raha hai’ is as priceless as meeting together after a long gap and cherishing each moment.  

The fish pie was a very simple preparation that came out exceedingly well. It was a welcome change to the normal cooking approach in terms of technique and the spices that we usually use.


Ingredients: For serving 2-3 people
  • 400 gms fish(I used Bhetki)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-3 lime slices
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 black peppercorns
  • 1 thyme sprig/1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 5-6 mushrooms sliced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 4 potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tomato, sliced and halved
  • 3-4 tbsp grated cheese

Procedure:
Put fish, skin side down, in a shallow pan. Add milk, lime slices, bay leaf and black peppercorns. Bring to boil, then lower heat and poach gently for 5 mins until just cooked. 



Strain off and reserve milk. Remove fish skin and flake the flesh, discarding any bones.
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook gently for 1 min. Add milk and boil, whisking until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep aside.
Heat remaining 1 tbsp butter in a pan and saute sliced mushroom and chopped onions. If the mixture leaves water, dry it on medium heat. Season with salt and add flaked fish. 
Mix in the white sauce made above and gently stir to combine. Transfer to an ovenproof casserole.
Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius. 
Beat mashed potato with 1 tbsp butter and little milk till creamy. Season with salt and pepper and spread evenly over the fish mixture. 
Fork up the surface and arrange sliced tomato around the edge. Sprinkle grated cheese.



Bake for 20-25 min or till the cheese gets brown in colour.
 

What started as a lazy Sunday afternoon experiment, became an instant hit family recipe. We loved everything about this dish, from the simplicity in the technique to the simple and subtle flavours. A meal in itself, it can also be wonderfully paired with some Butter or Garlic Toasts.


Happy Fish Pie Eating
Vishal

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Falsa Bars-Falsa Fetish # 2


A casual discussion on FB made me fall in love with this unknown(till now) fruit called Falsa/Phalsa. This tiny, purple black, sweet and sour fruit has since then been the queen of my kitchen! As soon as I realized that I could use them as the Blueberries(which we sadly do not get here), I jumped on to all possible recipes. Having found some amazing recipes, I decided to do a 3 part series of my Falsa Fetish.
The first one in the series is my favourite Falsa Gelato. The lovely rich colours along with simple ingredients are surely a perfect Summer Killer. The second in my series is the Falsa Bars which  was loved the most. A super simple recipe with a yummy filling, these bars were over the same day. The crispy shortbread base with the sweet and sour tangy filling topped with a soft yet crisp crust turned out to be the most loved in my Falsa series! And the Baker in me was happy to have finally baked something with this little fruit.
 

Recipe adapted from: Zoe Bakes

Ingredients:I modified the recipe to get a 9x4" rectangular bar

Shortbread Crust :
  •  2 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • a pinch of salt
Falsa Filling :
  • 100 gms Falsa/Indian blueberries
  • 2 tbsp sugar
Top Crust :
  • 1/4 cup finely mashed paneer/cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
Milk and cream mixture(1 tbsp)/egg wash mixture(1/2 egg+1/2 tbsp) for brushing top 
 
 
Procedure :

Shortbread Crust :
Preheat oven to 176 degree Celsius. Grease a 9x4" rectangular pan or a 6x6" square pan.
In a bowl, combine sugar, flour, butter and salt. Knead to a smooth dough and press to the bottom of the pan, spreading it out evenly.
Bake for 20 mins or just till light golden in colour.
Cool.

Falsa filling
Wash Falsa and de-seed them.
In a saucepan, combine falsa and sugar and stir on low heat. Add little water and let it cook till it gets mushy and thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Top Crust
In a bowl, combine mashed paneer/cream cheese, butter and sugar. Add flour and knead to a smooth ball. Refrigerate the dough for 1/2 hour.
Take out the dough and roll out thin strips to cover the bars. 
Spread the Falsa filling over the shortbread.
Place strips of the dough over it, 2 across the length and 5 width wise.
    

Brush the top with milk-cream mixture or egg wash.
Bake for 30-35  mins or till the top gets a golden brown colour.
Cool and cut in bars to serve.


Notes :
  • You may use any other fruit to make the filling or even try a chocolate or caramel filling. 
  • For an even more quicker version, use any jam as the filling.
  • You may even try and make them savoury bars with any yummy filling of your choice!



My last of this series- another lovely Falsa bake coming real soon.

Happy Falsa Bars Eating
Amrita 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Falsa Gelato-Falsa Fetish#1


Falsa Fetish!!
My husband Vishal got these tiny purple blue berries one day back from office. On asking him what they were, he proudly proclaimed the season's first batch of Falsa. I know my fruits and somehow this one escaped my knowledge since the time I was born!! I had never even noticed them, leave alone tasting them. On finally having the privilege to taste them, I found them a bit too tiny, sweet and sour and a little cumbersome to remove the seed while eating. So the Falsa was happily left for Vishal to devour.
I took a picture of them and posted in the Facebook group-Chef at large asking fellow foodies its English name. To my surprise I was bowled over with many answers, most of them referring it to as the Indian Blueberry with its scientific name being Grewia asiatica
A little research divulged that Phalsa/Falsa(Urdu) is native to Southern Asia and is a Summer fruit. It is an excellent cooling agent and has astringent properties. It is rich in Vit C and is a good source of antioxidants. Falsa is popularly used to make juices, syrups and sherbets.
My discussion on Chef at large FB group made me suddenly jump on the realization that I could use them in some bakes and Sayantani came to my rescue by suggesting me to check Deeba's blog Passionate about baking. Once I realized I could use them as Blueberries, I actually went hunting in the market in time to buy the season's last produce(They have a short season) 
My first attempt in my Falsa Fetish series is this extremely simple and yummy Gelato or better called Frozen Yogurt. With an amazing sweet and sour taste and a pretty colour, this dessert is definitely a Heart Winner and worthy to be called an excellent Summer Treat.

 
 

Recipe adapted from: Passionate about Baking
 
Ingredients: Serves 2
  • 100 gms Falsa/Indian Blueberries
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp hung curd(Take 4 tbsp of normal curd and tie in a muslin cloth. Hang it for 1-2 hours to drain the water)
  • 2 tbsp cream(I used Amul)
Procedure:
Wash berries, drain and mix them with sugar and water. Keep aside for 1-2 hours.
Mash them (I used my fingers) and pass through a strainer (this helps to remove the seeds). Be careful to not get any stains on your clothes. 
This step takes some effort and time but is worth it as you can get a lot of the pulp mixture by repeated straining.
Take hung curd and cream in a bowl and whip it. Add the berry pulp mixture and mix well.
Transfer to an airtight container with a lid and put in the freezer. 
Let it set for an hour or 2 and whisk it with a fork to break the ice crystals. Repeat it 2-3 times, whisking every hour. Let it set.
Scoop out the Gelato and serve with a sprinkle of fresh Falsa and a sprig of mint leaf.

Notes
  • You may use the pulp of any other fruit like Mango, strawberry, blueberry etc
  • The quantity of sugar may vary with the sourness of the fruit. Always taste the pulp mixture before proceeding.
  • You may save some pulp mixture to be poured as a sauce on your Gelato.(I forgot and added it in the end)

From being unaware of its existence to falling in love with this tiny summer fruit, I sure had a whale of time with my experiments. More on my Falsa Fetish following soon with an amazing Falsa bake!!


Happy enjoying Summers
Amrita

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