Friday 31 August 2012

Spinach and Sweetcorn Tartlets

I love making and eating tarts. Last May when I was in Allahabad to celebrate Vaanya's 1st Birthday, I tried my hands on them and since then have been making and enjoying batches of these crispy yummy pastry. 
A tart is basically a shortcrust pastry with a filling which can be either sweet or savoury. A tartlet is a miniature tart.
Though I always love to make tarts with a sweet filling especially chocolate, this time I decided to try the classic combination of spinach and sweetcorn combined with the goodness and gooeyness of cheese. A perfect Savoury Tartlet.

Ingredients: For Tartlets(makes four 3 1/2" size tarts)I used two 3 1/2" tarts and one 6" tart.
  • 1 cup refined flour
  • 40 gms unsalted butter cubes(cold)
  • A little cold water for kneading
Take flour and butter in a bowl and rub the butter cubes with the flour till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (in texture).

Now add cold water 1 tbsp at a time and knead to get a smooth dough. Do not over knead.

 Wrap this dough in a plastic sheet and refrigerate for half an hour.
Take out the dough and roll it with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Roll it roughly to a circle with 1/8" thickness.
 Gently press the dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the tart tin. Trim excess dough. 
Line all the 4 tart tins the same way. Make holes on the sides and bottom with a fork and refrigerate for another half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. Bake the tarts for 15-20 mins or till they get a light brown colour. Take them out and let them cool.

Ingredients: For filling
  • 1 cup spinach (blanched and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Del Monte Whole Kernel Corn
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp refined flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
Take little oil in a pan and saute garlic. Add spinach and let it cook for some time. Add salt to taste.
In another pan add butter and flour. Mix well till it browns lightly and add milk while stirring well to avoid lumps. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let it thicken as we want a thick white sauce.
Mix the spinach and the sweetcorn with the white sauce.

Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Pour this filling in the prepared tarts and sprinkle some grated processed cheese on top. Bake for 10 mins or till the cheese gets a lovely brown colour.

Happy Tartlet-eating

Sending this recipe to The Del Monte Blogger Recipe Carnival

 to Bon Vivant#7-Baked Goodies

to Lets Cook#18~Starters/Appetizers

 and to Fun Fair Food event

Friday 24 August 2012

Mini Chocolate Eclairs

24th of the month..and my daughter Vaanya turns 15 months- the reason I celebrate 'Sweet day' on our blog. Today is an extra special sweet day for us being Amma's(mother-in-law) birthday too. Every 24th of the month is dedicated to something sweet to celebrate the spirit of the day Vaanya was born. This being an extra sweet one,I decided to attempt Chocolate Eclairs. This recipe was confirmed when Vishal admitted to loving these creamy chocolaty yummies just a few days back.

The Eclair is a basic recipe of a 'Choux' Pastry (pronounced shoo pastry). This basic recipe can be used to make eclairs, cream puffs and profiteroles. 
The difference being in the way they are shaped and their respective filling.The eclairs have an elongated shape with a pastry cream filling and chocolate coating on top whereas cream puffs are circular with a whipped cream filling and powdered sugar dusting. Profiteroles on the other hand are circular and have an ice-cream filling.

Ingredients: Choux Pastry- makes 6 eclairs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup refined flour
  • 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius. Line a baking tray with butter or parchment paper.
Combine water, butter and salt in a pan set over medium heat. Heat until the butter melts.
Remove from the pan and add all the flour at once, stirring well. Return to the pan and cook over medium heat till the mixture becomes smooth.
Remove from heat and let the mixture cool for 5-10 mins.
Beat in eggs one at a time mixing well with a mixer.
Take a zip-lock bag or a thick plastic bag. Fill this mixture in the bag and snip off the end. Now pipe 5"logs about 1" in diameter. Space them 3" apart to allow expansion. You can make 6-7 such logs with this recipe. 
Put them in the preheated oven and bake for 15 mins and then reduce temperature to 170 degree Celsius to bake for 20-25 mins or till they are golden brown.
Place them on a rack to let them cool and then make a slit lengthwise for the pastry cream.

Ingredients:For Pastry cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tbsp refined flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

In a saucepan, stir together 1 cup of the milk, the sugar, salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks with the remaining milk.
Whisk some of the hot milk mixture with the egg yolks to temper them. This keeps the yolks from turning to scrambled eggs when you add them to the simmering milk.
Pour the egg mixture back into the remaining simmering milk. Doing this through a strainer will help prevent lumps later. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture thickens. 
Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. Stir in the vanilla extract.
To complete, fold the whipped cream into the cooled pastry cream. 

Assembling the eclairs:
Fill the slit made in the eclairs with pastry cream. Top the eclairs with chocolate sauce made with mixing melted chocolate and cream (or by mixing some nutella with hersheys chocolate sauce ,as I did!)

This is the card I made for Amma's birthday. Cute little colourful flowers stuck together made for this very easy and simple card.

Happy Eclairs Eating

Sending this recipe to Fun-Fair Food Event

and to Bon Vivant#7-Baked Goodies

Wednesday 22 August 2012

The Khandvi Trials !

The 'Khandvi' Trials!!
This has been one of those recipes that I have been wanting to put my hands on for the longest time. I first came across khandvis when I had them at one of my dear school friend's (Ashita Patel) house. Her mother had very sweetly prepared some Gujarati snacks for me and on my insistence taught me some of them too. I still remember loving and licking off her Khaman Dhokla, Ragda Patties and these irresistibly sweet looking Khandvis. Years went by and I never got the courage and reason to try them..till a few days back.
Finally Monsoons in Kolkata decided to give us a glimpse of its beauty. It has been two days of non-stop sweet drizzle with occasional roaring of thunderclouds.. a very sweet remembrance of this season of wet smelling earth and fresh wet breeze.
A beautiful day like this needs a wonderful snack with a hot steaming cup of tea. I finally decided to give up my fear and try these rolled yummies. Though I wasn't happy with the thickness, the ease and quickness of creating them left me proud of my attempt. The best part is that they are quite low on fat requiring only a tbsp of oil for tempering.

  • 1 cup besan/gram flour
  • 1 cup dahi/curd
  • 2 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
For tempering:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds/safed til
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut

 Take a bowl and mix besan, dahi, water, salt and turmeric powder.Take care that no lumps are formed.
Take a pan and put this mixture in it. Cook on medium flame while stirring constantly. The mixture will slowly thicken and it needs to be thick enough to not drop from a spoon when lifted. Once it reaches the required consistency, very quickly spread it on an oiled surface.(I used my kitchen top. You can do the same on an inverted plate or thali) Try and spread it thin a much as possible.
Meanwhile take a tbsp of oil in a pan and add mustard and sesame seeds. Add curry leaves, green chillies and grated coconut. Let it cook for a minute and remove  from flame. Spread it on the khandvi mixture leaving some for garnishing. 


By the time you do this, the khandvi mixtue will be dry and ready to roll. Cut strips longitudinally and roll from one end to the other. 
Garnish with the leftover tempering and devour these irresitible little yummies immediately.

Happy Khandvi Eating 

Sending this recipe to Monsoon of India JCO brain child of Jagruti.
and to Fun Fair Food Event

Friday 17 August 2012

Chidwa/Chire Bhaja

As a child I remember Monsoons in Kolkata meant non-stop rains, knee high water clogged lanes and people wading through all that to go about managing their daily routine. At times it would rain so much that we would get a Rainy day holiday from school. Oh! the joy of getting an unexpected holiday.I am sure you can understand!!
Through the years the monsoon pattern has changed in Kolkata as it has everywhere else. The rainfalls have become lesser and absurd. We explain all this by calling it 'The wrath of Global Warming'. 
One thing that hasn't changed is the food that is associated with the season of rains. The most popular being 'Fries' of any sort or 'Bhaja' as it is called in bengali. All over Kolkata you can see crispy fries being freshly made and rows of people waiting patiently for their turn to devour on them! 
My favourite of all is the Chidwa/Chire Bhaja. These crispy Chire mixed with roasted China badam (pronounced 'cheena baadam') or peanuts teamed with a steaming hot cup of tea with the intoxicating smell of wet earth and sweet sound of raindrops as background is a purely heavenly combination.


  • 1 cup chidwa/poha/beaten rice
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup roasted chana dal
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 green chillies halved and slit lengthwise
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • a pinch turmeric/haldi powder
  • salt to taste

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they start spluttering add green chillies and curry leaves. Add turmeric powder and salt and then add peanuts, chana dal and chidwa. Let it cook for some time while you stir constantly till the chidwa becomes crispy. This should take about 4-5 mins.
Enjoy freshly made Chire bhaja with a hot cup of tea on a fuzzy and rainy day like I did !!

Happy eating and enjoying the rains!

Sending this recipe to Monsoon of India JCO brain child of Jagruti


Saturday 11 August 2012

Oats Choco-Chips Muffins

Oats have entered our kitchen shelves big time and are added in a lot of dishes to create innovative, healthy and yummy recipes. 
Oats is a type of Cereal grain which has cholesterol reducing properties and has high soluble fibre content. For its healthy properties we have a range of recipes from Oats dhokla, Oats dosa, Oats upma, Oats smoothie...the list is literally endless.  

This recipe uses oats to make muffins and I added some Choco-chips to make them a little interesting. The result was this amazingly soft ,healthy and warm chocolate oozing muffins!!
Well, this also brings us to the eternal debate of Muffins vs Cupcakes. Both the words have baffled the foodies for the longest time. Very simply put cupcakes are actually miniature cakes with icing and decoration while muffins are usually eaten for breakfast with no icing and often contain some fruit or choco-chips. Muffins can be sweet and savoury.

Ingredients: will yield 8-9 muffins
  • 1 cup refined flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup sugar (powdered)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp choco-chips

Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Grease muffin tins with butter and dust with flour.
Take butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with a beater  till it smoothens  and becomes creamy. Add egg and vanilla essence and mix till blended well.
Sieve flour and baking powder in another bowl and mix oats. Now add this dry mixture in the sugar,butter and egg mixture (wet mixture). Mix well.
Add choco chips and put this batter in the prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 25-30 mins or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Serve while warm and enjoy with your cup of tea or coffee!

Happy Muffin-eating

This recipe is being sent to the following events on food blogsites
 My Culinary Creations
 Lets party-Go Bake it hosted by My Cook Book

Bon Vivant#7-Baked Goodies by Sumee's Culinary Bites
   Bake Fest- event & Giveaway  Linking to Bake Fest hosted by FOODOMANIA 

Fun-Fair Food Event hosted by Cook-Eat-Burrp


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