Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Whole Wheat Bread

From the time I ventured into making bread at home I have not looked back. This time I bring for you a healthy Whole Wheat Loaf for guilt free breakfast.

Two most important things in bread making are: Milk should be just warm, approx. 48 to 54 degrees Celsius .
Second is kneading. You have to knead it for 10. -12 minutes for the gluten to develop, which helps the bread to rise.

Use only organic whole wheat flour for best results. 

Read the entire recipe carefully , including notes before you start.

Ingredients :
Whole wheat Flour.                         2 1/2 cups
All Purpose Flour ( maida)                1 cup
Gluten.                                           2 tbsp
Flaxseed meal.                                1 tbsp
Milk (warm)                                    1 1/2 cup
Instant Yeast                                   1 3/4 tsp
 Sugar                                            1 tsp.
Salt                                               1 tsp.
Oil ( EVOO or any vegetable  oil)     2 tbsp
Milk Powder                                  1/4  cup
Flax seeds.                                    1 tbsp      ( optional)
Water                                           2-3 tbsp
for brushing                                   Extra oil and milk


  1. Mix whole wheat flour, all purpose flour,  gluten, yeast,  milk powder, flaxseed meal and sugar in a large  bowl.
  2. Make a well. Pour in milk. Mix well.
  3. Now sprinkle salt and mix well.
  4. Turn the contents on a floured surface and start kneading .
  5. As you knead ,  after a couple of minutes you might find the dough to be slightly tough.
  6. Add a tbsp of water at a time and continue kneading. I had to use 3 tbsp of water.
  7. When you feel the dough is sticking to your hand, add a little oil. So this way slowly incorporate 2 tbsp of oil in the dough.
  8. Knead for good 10-12 minutes. By now the dough will become soft and smooth.
  9. Keep the dough in a well greased pan, turn it around so that it is coated with oil on all sides.
  10. Cling wrap it and keep it in a warm draft free place till it doubles in size , say for an hour and half to two depending on the weather conditions.
  11. Grease and flour 9 by 5 inch tin.
  12. Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it again for 3-4 minutes to expel out all the air.
  13. Sprinkle half the flax seeds on the counter top and press the dough on it.
  14. Now sprinkle the other half and press the other side of the dough.
  15. Now knead the dough so that flaxseeds are properly distributed throughout the dough.
  16. Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Say 12 by 14".
  17. From the end farthest to you fold the dough by an inch and half and pinch it to seal it.
  18. Repeat till you get a  roll, pinch to seal.
  19. Check the length of the roll against your pan and accordingly fold and seal the ends.
  20. Now carefully lift the ready roll and place it in the prepared pan with the seam side down.
  21. Brush it lightly with oil. Cover with a cling film and let it sit undisturbed in a warm place.
  22. It is ready to be baked when the loaf rises about an inch above the pan. This will take anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour.
  23. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  24. Brush the loaf with milk for a nice colour.
  25. Place it carefully in the oven.
  26. On the bottom tray of the oven  quickly throw a  few ice cubes . I throw in a full ice tray.
  27. The steam from the ice cubes will help in oven spring and also prevent from developing cracks on the surface of the loaf.
  28. Bake for 40-45 minutes, till the top gets a nice brown colour.
  29. The bread is ready when it sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.
  30. Once the bread is done turn it on a wire rack.
  31. Brush the top with oil if you want a soft crust. Let it cool completely on wire rack before you slice it.
Note :
if you are using active dry yeast then in warm milk  mix sugar. Now sprinkle yeast and mix it lightly.
Keep it in a warm place  for 10 minutes. You will see yeast would have ballooned by  now.
Now pour yeast milk  mixture  in the well and proceed.
In this case you don't sprinkle sugar in the well.

Pineapple Rasam

The winter season beckons you to try old and new soups. They become our soul food . Rasam has traditionally been an integral part of South Indian cuisine , whatever the season.

I had a small piece of pineapple languishing in my fridge. Actually I love pineapple but if I eat too much of it my throat hurts, so most of the time  I grill pineapple slices for dinner . After having grilled pineapple for two nights in a row I didn't want to have it again. I wanted to try something keeping the season in mind and this is what I made  ,  Pineapple Rasam.

It is mildly flavoured with pineapple, mint and lemon. Not very spicy , just a wonderful amalgamation of sour, spicy and sweet.

Use only fresh pineapple . If your pineapple is sour then add 1/2 a tsp of sugar otherwise omit it. If the moong dal is not very thick use 3 tbsp.

Ingredients :  serves 3
Pineapple                   150 gms
Moong dal                   2 tbsp cooked ( thick)
Ginger paste               1 tsp
Rasam pd                    1 tsp
Cumin pd                    1/2 tsp
Pepper                       1/4 tsp
Tomato                       1/2 med chopped finely
Lemon juice                2 tsp
Mint leaves                  12-14
Water                          2 cups + 100 ml
Sugar                           1/2 tsp ( optional)

Tempering :

Ghee/ clarified butter  1 tsp
Mustar seeds                1/2 tsp
Curry leaves                10

Method :

  1. Blend pineapple with 50 ml of water.
  2. Use the remaining 50 ml of water to wash the blender.
  3. Mix this with pulped pineapple .
  4. Pass it through a fine sieve twice, so that you get clear juice.
  5. In the same blender churn the dal with 1/2 a cup of water.
  6. Take a deep pan, pour dal liquid in it .
  7. Wash the blender with remaining 1 1/2 cup of water and pour it in the pan.
  8. Now tip in rasam pd, cumin pd, tomato pieces, pepper pd, and salt.
  9. Bring it to a boil.
  10. Cover and simmer till tomato pieces are cooked.
  11. Crush the tomato pieces with the back of the ladle.
  12. Now tip in pineapple juice.
  13. Bring it to a boil and turn off the gas.
  14. Taste and add lemon juice and sugar.
  15. Throw in the mint leaves.
  16. Cover it. Leave it for at least 10 minutes for flavours to seep in.

To serve :

  1. Heat the rasam
  2. Heat ghee/ clarified butter in a small pan.
  3. Crackle mustard seeds.
  4. Add curry leaves. When they turn crisp pour this tempering over the hot rasam.
  5. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dulche De Leche Oatmeal cookies ( eggless)

These cookies were a trial which ended in a brilliant result. I had some leftover Dulche De Leche  so instead of just licking it away I thought of trying out cookies with it. These cookies have a nice toffee taste to it. I have used walnuts but you can use choco-chips also or may be a combination of both.

These are not very sweet so if you like sweet cookies you can increase the qty of Dulche De Leche. After mixing in everything, taste the batter and adjust sweetness accordingly .
To make oatmeal grind quick oats in mixer and sieve it to get fine flour.

Ingredients : yields 18 small cookies.
Oatmeal                       1/2 cup
Whole wheat flour        2/3 cup
Dulche De Leche           120 gm
Olive oil                       2 tbsp
Milk                              2 tbsp
Salt                              1/4 tsp 
Baking soda                   1/2 tsp
Walnuts                         1/2 cup

Method :

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius .
  2. Sieve all the dry ingredients and keep aside.
  3. Whisk dulche de leche and oil so that they mix well.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Add milk as much as you need. A tbsp at a time. I used 2 tbsp.
  7. Tip in walnuts. Mix well.
  8. On a baking tray lined with parchment paper drop small portions depending on what size cookies you want. Flatten them a little with your fingers.
  9. They don't spread much.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on the size of your cookies and of course your oven.
  11. Let them cool for five minutes on the tray and then transfer them on a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Store in an airtight container.

Plum Cake

With Christmas round the corner it is only fair that I share my tried and tested recipe of Plum Cake with you all.

For the fruits you should soak them in rum at least a week before baking. What I do is I soak them somewhere in  August/ September and let them be in the fridge. I always have soaked fruits in the fridge. 

I soak equal quantities of sultanas, raisins, candied ginger peel, candied orange peel, walnuts, cashew nuts, dried apricots, tuti fruity and almonds. The fruits should be completely immersed in rum.  For a first time you can start with 50 gms of each.

To  make the cake more boozy , you can prick the hot cake with a satay stick and pour some rum over it ( according to your taste) . I  personally prefer not to.

All Purpose Flour                 1 1/2 cups

Oil                                     1/2 cup
Brown Sugar                       3/4 cup tightly pressed
Eggs                                   3
Baking pd                           1 tsp
Baking soda                        1/2 tsp
Mixed spice pd                   1 tsp
Cinnamon pd                      1/2 tsp
Mixed fruits soaked in rum   1 1/2 cup

For caramel
Sugar                                3 tbsp
Water                               1tbsp + 1 tbsp rum

Method :
  1. Grease and flour an 8" round pan. Line the bottom and sides with baking paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius . Once you put the cake cake batter in , reduce the temp . To 160 degrees Celsius.
  3. Measure the fruits and keep them in a sieve placed over a bowl so that all the excess rum can drain out. Use a tbsp of this rum for making caramel and the remaining pour back into soaked fruits.
  4. Sieve APF , baking pd, baking soda , cinnamon pd and mixed spice pd and keep it aside.
  5. In a large bowl beat sugar and oil using a hand blender for a 2 minutes.
  6. Add eggs one by one and beat well after each addition.
  7. Add the caramel. Beat well.
  8. Mix the fruits with the dry ingredients.
  9. Gradually add the fruits and dry ingredients mix to the wet ingredients, beating slowly till everything is incorporated properly.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 50-60 minutes.
  11. Check after 50 minutes.
  12. Each oven takes different time.
  13. Let it be in the pan for 10 minutes.
  14. Cool it completely on a wire rack before slicing it.
To make the caramel :
  1. Heat sugar in a deep pan on low heat.
  2. Slowly the sugar will melt and start turning golden on the edges.
  3. Now keep a hawk's eye on the sugar. Don't stir.
  4. When it turns dark golden. Remove from fire and care fully add water and rum. Mix well so that you get smooth and uniform caramel. Keep it aside