Sunday, 31 July 2016

Chocolate mud cake with SMBC frosting


It was time of the year to bake a cake again and I jumped on the opportunity to try my hands on some techniques I have never tried before. It was my dear Husband's birthday on the 27th of this month and more than us, our daughter Vaanya was super excited about the celebration. The cake was attempted keeping Vaanya and her fetish with pink in mind. And boy, how elated she was to look at it. 
I had seen a similar image of a cake on Pinterest one day and had decided to attempt it. With the D day nearing, I pushed myself out of a lazy slumber and bought the necessary equipments and ingredients. The cakes were baked a night before and while they got baked in batches, I made the icing. The cakes were cooled, stacked with the icing in between and given a crumb coat. Next morning, I gave all the finishing touches to the cake while my daughter was away at school. The cake was dressed up in a pink drip and adorned with buttercream flowers. I knew Vaanya was going to love all the pinkness.  
The day was spent in a long drive to the highway and once we came back home in the evening, Vaanya was eager to have the cake cut. The day came to an end with the cake cutting, eating cheer and laughter. May God bless us with such beautiful moments forever.



Chocolate Mud cake 

Recipe source : Cocawind

My notes : 
  • I halved the recipe and then pour the batter in two 6" round pans.
  • Baked them at 180 degree Celsius for 20-25 mins. 
  • Made other half of the recipe and repeated to yield four 6" round cakes.
  • Trim tops so that all are equal.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream icing (SMBC) 

Recipe source : Here

My notes : 
  • I followed the recipe to the T
  • Separated 3/4 of the icing and kept separate for frosting the cake.
  • Added pink food colour till I achieved the desired colour and frosted each cake layer with it. 
  • Once all the layers were stacked, I frosted the outside and refrigerated to set. I kept mine overnight. You may keep for 3-4 hrs.
  • With a glass of hot water and an offset spatula, give the cake a final frosting finish. Every time dip in the hot water, wipe your spatula and try and give a neat finish to the frosting. 
  • Refrigerate

Pink Drip : 

Take equal quantity of white chocolate and cream. Heat cream and add chopped white chocolate to it. Stir it well. Add little milk to make it a little runny. Add pink food colour. 
Take spoonfuls of the drip and pour on the edge of the frosted cake, all around. Now fill the top of the cake with the drip too. Refrigerate.


Buttercream flowers

To the rest of the SMBC icing, divide into 4. Colour pink to one part, purple to another, green to the third and leave the 4th as it is. 
Pipe pink icing to a piping bag with a Rose petal nozzle and pipe flowers over a piece of butter paper and over a flower nail. Once done, transfer the piece of butter paper to a flat plate and refrigerate.
Repeat same with purple flower.
Watch here 
Pipe some of the icing(not coloured) over the top of the cake, half an inch behind from the outer diameter. 
Peel the flowers from the butter paper and put on the cake. Arrange it the way you want.
Pipe the leaves with a leaf nozzle.
Refrigerate.



Happy Cake decorating
Amrita

Friday, 22 July 2016

Homemade Coffee Liqueur


I love DIY- do it yourself. As a child, I remember spending time more over all sorts of crafts than anything else. It just satisfies my creative soul to another level. I have had phases of love affair with embroidery, artwork, crochet, tatting etc which continued well till my college life. My love for food started after marriage and I realized my old love for diy's in it too. Instead of buying steep ingredients from the shelves, I experimented with them at home in the form of diy.
Making Coffee liqueur at home was in the cards for a long long time and I just kept procrastinating it. Once a bottle of Vodka (which was esp bought for the liqueur making) got over just because I kept postponing the idea and my husband found his greedy eyes on it. So, after much contemplation another bottle was demanded from the culprit and this time I decided to hide it. It turned out that I was so good in putting it away that I myself forgot all about it. Kolkata Food Bloggers ongoing event Chef's challenge made me remember about it and thus finally I had my bottle of Homemade Coffee Liqueur. 
I found loads of ideas on Pinterest and ended up making a version myself with adjusted quantities. Making it is literally a breeze because it is essentially mixing all the ingredients. Keep it in a clean bottle and let it age for 2-3 weeks for better and enhanced flavouring. 
I used my liqueur in Nigella Lawson's sinful Coffee Pannacotta with boozy chocolate sauce. I have a list of other sinful desserts to be tried out with the coffee liqueur and will keep sharing them as well. Till then, make your homemade version of Coffee Liqueur and stock it. 



Ingredients : Makes 150 ml or around 3/4 cup 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vodka (I used White Mischief ultra pure Vodka)
Procedure : 
Heat water and sugar in a pan on medium flame. Allow the sugar to melt.
Stir in instant coffee.
Let this mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Add vodka and vanilla and mix.
Store in a clean glass bottle and let it mature for 2-3 weeks for the flavour to enhance. 
Use it in your cakes, brownies, tiramisu, puddings etc

Happy DIY Coffee liqueur
Amrita

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Coffee Pannacotta with Boozy Chocolate sauce


Its our 'Blogger of the week' time and this week features the founder of our group Kamalika Chakrabarty who blogs from Silence sings. Her theme for this week is Chef's Challenge and each member is supposed to make a dish inspired from their favourite chef. 
A little lost in the beginning, I found my answer in Nigella Lawson's Coffee pannacotta with chocolate sauce shown on Masterchef Australia. The moment I saw it, I knew I was making it. And thus I started with making a homemade version of Coffee liqueur (blogpost coming soon next). As usual, I modified the quantity and adjusted it to 2 servings. The original recipe has a more pouring consistency of the chocolate sauce but I have made mine a little thicker for my plating idea. I designed the plate with a little piece of crunch from a chocolate walnut disc and some chocolate rings. 
This dessert is rich, decadent, extremely delicious and a must try for coffee lovers.


Recipe source: Nigella Lawson 

Ingredients : Serves 2
  • 1/2 cream (I used Amul cream)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder 
  • 2 tbsp water (for dissolving coffee)
  • 3/4 tsp gelatin powder
  • 1 tbsp cold water (for blooming gelatin)
Boozy Chocolate sauce:
  • 50 gms dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coffee liqueur

Procedure : 

Coffee Pannacotta:
Take 1 tbsp cold water in a small bowl and add gelatin powder to it. Mix well and let it bloom for 5 minutes. The gelatin will become spongy. 
Heat 2 tbsp water in a pan and add the coffee powder. Add sugar and stir till it dissolves. 
On low heat, stir in cream. Add salt. Mix well.
Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin. Mix well so that the gelatin dissolves. 
Sieve the mixture to attain a smooth texture and allow it to cool. 
Pour the mixture in desired bowls and refrigerate for 3-4 hrs or till set. 

Boozy Chocolate sauce :
Take coffee liqueur in a pan and boil it. Add chopped chocolate to it and stir well. Remove to a bowl and allow to cool.

Garnish

Chocolate rings : Melt dark chocolate over a double boiler and spread a spoonful on a sheet of acetate with a spatula. Use a pastry comb to make lines through the chocolate. Roll the acetate sheet gently and secure ends with some cello tape. Allow to cool completely. Remove the cello tape gently and take out the curls carefully. 

Chocolate coated coffee beans : Melt some dark chocolate and dip whole coffee beans in it. Remove on a piece of parchment paper and allow to set.

Chocolate walnut disc : Melt some dark chocolate and spread like a circle on a piece of parchment paper. Roughly crush a walnut and sprinkle on the chocolate. Take a small circular cutter and make an impression on the half set chocolate. Allow to cool completely. Remove carefully to get the chocolate disc.

Plating
Take a spoonful of the boozy chocolate sauce and spread it on the plate with the help of a spoon.
Dip the pannacotta mould in little hot water for few seconds and gently remove the pannacotta. Place it on the plate. 
Insert the chocolate walnut disc and the chocolate rings on the pannacotta. 
Place the chocolate coated coffee beans on the plate.

Note : 
  • You can make a chocolate sauce without the liqueur by substituting it with cream. 
  • Taste the pannacotta before setting in the mould for sweetness and add more sugar if required.
This recipe is part of Kolkata Food Bloggers  ongoing event Chef's Challenge where Kamalika Chakrabarty is the featured blogger of the week who blogs from Silence sings




Happy relishing
Amrita

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Mango Sorbet


We have almost reached the fag end of the lovely Mango season and like every year I did my experiments with the mighty fruit. The mango ice cream I experimented this year was loved and relished so much that I made it three times over. The Lychee lemon sorbet was a hit too at home, so much so it gave me the idea to try a mango version of it. Since I do not have an Ice cream machine, the texture of the Lychee sorbet was not very soft. I expected the same with my Mango sorbet, but surprisingly it came out much smoother in texture. I reckon, it is because of the texture of the fruit which lend its natural smoothness. 
The lovely part of a sorbet is that it just melts in your mouth and refreshes your palate making you feel not too heavy with the dessert. It is light, refreshing and a smooth dessert and this season I am in love with Sorbet's. 
Since my last experiment with Lychee pannacotta , I have been hit hard with the dessert plating bug (if there is any) There was no set plan for plating this dessert but since the texture of the mango sorbet was so smooth that I got near perfect quenelles, I quickly planned one before clicking pictures of the same. I randomly put the quenelles on some chocolate biscuit crumb and threw in some mango cubes along with mint leaves. 


Ingredients : Serves 2-3
  • Mango pulp from 1 ripe mango(I used a variety called Langda)
  • 1/4 cup or less sugar, depending on the sweetness of the mango
  • 1/4 cup water
Procedure : 
Heat sugar and water in a pan till sugar dissolves.
Strain the mango pulp to remove any fibre and add it to the pan.
Cook for a minute and them remove from flame.
Allow to cool completely.
Transfer to a freeze proof container and freeze overnight or for minimum 6 hrs.
Next morning break the crystals with a fork and put it back in the freezer. Repeat 3-4 times. This will help achieve a smooth texture.
For plating, crumble a chocolate biscuit (I used hide and seed) and put on a plate. Make quenelles out of the mango sorbet with the help of two spoons and place on top of the biscuit crumbs. Place cubes of mango randomly on the plate and finish with mint leaves. 
Otherwise just scoop out the sorbet and enjoy it. 



Happy Mango Relishing
Amrita

Monday, 4 July 2016

One Pot Ham and Peas Fusilli Pasta


Kolkata Food Bloggers encourages new and interactive events where its members can showcase versatility and passion. Our new ongoing event is featuring one member for a week where the chosen one gets to decide on a theme of their choice. For this week, our featured blogger is Chitrangada Kundu who blogs from Color and Spices, a blog with wonderful recipes and amazing breath-taking food photography. 
Recently, KFB held a demo workshop where Chitrangada tried explaining us a thing or two about Food photography. I was lucky to get an opportunity to attend the same and was enthralled at her knowledge and passion. With the limited time, she tried to pack in as much information as possible and shared lots of her hard-learned tips. 
For this week, our event showcases One Pot meal wonders. I have been elusive of this fuss free way of cooking and decided to try an easy pasta recipe. This is literally a dump in kind of a recipe where everything is just put in the pan and then allowed to cook. Simple and easy as a breeze, it is a quick way to beat some sudden hunger pangs.


Ingredients : Serves 2
  • 1/2 cup Fusilli Pasta
  • 1/4 cup chicken ham, cubed
  • handful of green peas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of mixed dried herbs
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • parmesan cheese for sprinkling
Procedure : 
Heat oil in a pan and saute onions till translucent. Add chopped garlic and ham cubes. Stir for a minute.
Add flour and the fusilli pasta and mix.
Stir in water and milk. 
Add salt and pepper.
Cook for 10-15 minutes and then stir in the peas.
Cook for another 5 minutes or till the pasta is done. 
Sprinkle parmesan cheese and dried herbs on top and serve. 

This recipe is part of Kolkata Food Bloggers ongoing event One Pot meals which features our blogger Chitrangada Kundu who blogs from Color and Spices



Happy Enjoying a fuss free One Pot meal
Amrita

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