Blueberry muffin crumble cake


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Are you seeing this? are you feeling it? Behold the rocket science behind making a muffin batter, only to make a cake instead, and top it all off with a crumble. gasp!

Before I begin with the alchemy of innovation and the complicated discoveries of pouring a muffin batter into a cake pan, let me just tell you about the divinity of this blueberry muffin crumble cake.

The rustic golden top, splattered with the ooze of violent violet of tart sweet blueberries, has known to make grown men weep. It’s guaranteed to make a painter out of the most banal harsh hearts, and turn your cold cemented soul into a benevolent rasp of tenderness. It doesn’t masquerade as a sinful dessert, but rather bleeds of such hearty compassion, that you’d want nothing better than to cry your woes to this plate of cake, and promise to turn over a new leaf. It’s seriously that good!…Also it takes no more than mere moments to conjure up this holiness.

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totally basic ingredients involving sugar, oil, lemon zest, baking soda, baking powder, salt, blueberries (obviously), yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, flour and crumble toppings that include flour, sugar & butter.

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so let’s just begin with the crumble topping and that’s one less thing to bother about. So, flour in a bowl

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and sugar

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and butter

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and mix with a fork

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until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Now refrigerate this and forget about it for a bit.

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now because this is a muffin cake, we go the basic dry ingredient+wet ingredients way. So this is our wet ingredients bit..lol wet! in a separate clean bowl, crack and egg.

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beat it with some vanilla

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add in the yogurt

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and the oil.

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and mix/beat/whip until it forms a real nice smooth batter..real smooth.

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now for the dry ingredients. In a separate larger bowl, add in the flour.

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and the sugar

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and the baking soda, baking powder and salt. and phew!

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in with the lemon zest

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and the blueberries that hardly ever look blue, but whatever!

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and mix! yes sir.

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mix until everything is..umm..mixed. That is to say the blueberries are coated with the flour mixture and all ingredients are evenly dispersed.

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dump in the wet ingredients..you remember..that egg, oil and yogurt batter

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and now you get a mixing..but remember DO NOT OVERMIX!

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mix only until it has just come together..just barely come together..

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scrape the muffin batter into a cake tin/pan/dish. make sure you’ve oiled it first. Even out the top as best as you can

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and sprinkle on the crumble topping that has been resting in the fridge

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like so..bake in a preheated oven at 190ºC for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Can you see the gorgeously golden cracked crumble top?

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see???

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see..sigh! flecked dangerously vivid with blueberries, this muffin cake is a joy to bake and a wonder to eat. Serve just as is, or with ice cream or cream or custard or tears.


Ingredients

egg: 1 large

yogurt: 240 mls (1 cup)

vegetable oil: 80 mls (1/3 cup)

flour: 250g (2 cups)

sugar: 100g (1/2 cup)

baking powder: 1 1/2 tsp

baking soda: 1/4tsp

salt: 1/4 tsp

lemon zest: 1 tsp

blueberries: 320g (about 1 1/4 cup)


for the crumble topping

sugar: 50g (1/4 cup)

butter: 30g (2 heaped tablespoons)

flour: 70g (1/2 cup)


 Blueberry muffin crumble cake: make the crumble topping by mixing in the flour and sugar and using a fork cut in the cold butter, until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. you can do this using just your finger tips as well.

wet ingredients: In a large bowl mix together egg, vanilla extract, yogurt and oil.

dry ingredients: In a separate bowl mix in the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and blueberries. Mix until the blueberries are well coated with flour and all the ingredients are evenly mixed.

Now gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and do not over mix. The batter will be a bit thick, but desirably so. Scrape into a well greased baking dish and even out the top as best as you can.

Sprinkle the crumble topping thickly and bake at 190ºC for about 25-30 minutes in a pre heated oven or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Almost – fudge gateau


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In case you ever wondered what gateway to heaven was really made of, then please look no further. The gateway to heaven or even the stairway to one was/is most definitely made of this dense, moist disc of chocolate bliss. I’d love to say that this was something that came out of my kitchen in a moment of godlike inspiration, but sadly it isn’t. This is a recipe I adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s book (baking, from my home to yours), and the moment I made it I knew this would be that moment of magical sin, when I’d plunge headlong into this shiny matt dome of chocolate and wish for no rescue.

The real reason I’d made this cake was because I was in a celebratory mode, as I’d just become a part of this fantastic website put together by a bunch of serious food lovers called Gastronazi.com and that I was doing metaphysical somersaults and driving myself into a food frenzy would be a serious understatement. This website is exactly what it sounds like, and puts not only well researched, well thought food related articles but also comes up with excellent how to videos and recipes that you always thought belonged in a pricey French kitchen. So do check put this website and know more about how to kick it up a notch or two in your home kitchen.

Coming back to this gateau, here’s all you need.

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sugar, good quality dark chocolate, eggs separated, flour, butter and salt.

DSC_1064start with prepping your springform pan by buttering the sides and bottom

DSC_1066lining with a parchment paper

DSC_1067buttering that as well

DSC_1068sprinkle in some flour to coat the entire pan and shake off the excess

DSC_1070something like this

DSC_1072add the butter to your chocolate and melt either using a double boiler or nuking in the microwave

DSC_1074this is what you should end up with. stir it all together to form a chocolate pool, then dive in and forget the world, or just continue making the cake.

DSC_1076to this add sugar

DSC_1077stir well to mix as well as you can

DSC_1078add in the egg yolks, one at a time and stir until all’s well combined.

DSC_1080add in the flour and mix well

DSC_1081to make it look like this.

DSC_1082in a separate, very clean bowl we have to whip up the egg whites to form firm peaks, they should be glossy and not dry

DSC_1083so add a pinch of salt to the egg whites

DSC_1085and whip like a maniac, until they kinda look like this

DSC_1086now the part where you exercise caution. First fold in about a third of the egg white mixture into the batter, to lighten it a bit. I generally do this step by cut and fold method too. Very gently fold in the egg whites to form a part of the batter. I do this by scraping the bottom of the batter and bringing it to the top of the egg whites and keep repeating this step 4-5 times until the egg whites become a part of the batter.

DSC_1087once you’ve lightened the batter, fold in the rest of the egg whites using the same method.

DSC_1088and the batter should look something like this.

DSC_1089scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the sides just a bit to even the batter (I always use foil on my tray because my springform pan can be slightly dyslexic). Bake at 180°C for 35-45 minutes.  thin knife inserted will come slightly smeared with chocolate when its done.

DSC_1090the cake when done looks something like this. Let it rest for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. If you think the cake is sticking to the edges, just run a blunt knife around the edges and it will come out easily. The way we’ve buttered and floured the pan, it might be almost impossible to stick.

Let the cake cool completely before glazing it.

DSC_1092for the glaze we need heavy cream, dark chocolate and honey

DSC_1097start by heating the chocolate on low flame until it’s just nearly boiling but not boiling. Turn off the heat and add in the chocolate and let them sit without stirring for a couple of minutes.

DSC_1098after a few minutes, stir together to combine

DSC_1099add in the honey and stir again. Wait for a few minutes until it’s just cool because it has to be pourable, for you to do

DSC_1103this. Yes! slather that cake with that glaze baby..ooh yeah.

DSC_1116cut yourself a piece and watch yourself melt into a pool of luxurious indulgence

Ingredients

Eggs- 5 (separated)

bittersweet chocolate- 250g

sugar- 150g (1 cup)

butter- 70g (5 tbsp)

flour-50g (1/3cup)

salt- pinch

For the glaze

Dark chocolate-100g

heavy cream- 90 mls (about 1/2 cup)

Honey- 2 tsp

Baking instructions

Butter a sprinform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust with flour to ensure the pan is evenly coated on all sides and shake off the excess.

Melt the chocolate and butter and mix in sugar, then add in the egg yolks, one at a time and mix well. Add flour and mix to form a smooth batter.

Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whip to form firm peaks. Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter and fold in to lighten, then gently fold the rest of the egg whites, cautiously. Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle a bit to even out. Bake at 180°C for 35-45 minutes. A thin knife inserted will come slightly smeared with chocolate when its done.

Let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. Once out of the pan and let it cool completely.

For the chocolate glaze: heat the cream to a point when it’s just about boiling, don’t let it come to a boil. Add in the chocolate to the saucepan and let it sit without stirring for a couple of minutes. Stir the mixture after a couple of minutes until smooth and add the honey and keep mixing until it’s shiny. Let it cool a bit before pouting over the cake. Let the glaze set at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before cutting into the cake.

DSC_1108enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Onion focaccia


DSC_0384As a lover of all things carbohydrate and more specifically bread, flavourful focaccia is probably among the top five things I want to be seen dead with. There’s an almost borderline obscene love that I treasure for this bread. I mean honestly, it’s flat, chic, flavoured, reeking of olive oil and begs to be torn mercilessly into choicest shards, to be shovelled into your mouth with absolutely no regrets.

This to me works as an appetizer, a full meal, a snack, a towel to wipe my tears, a snug bed that doesn’t judge me, a mop for gravies, a lover, a husband…..

This blog already has a garlic basil focaccia recipe, and the premises for this wonder are no different. Onion somehow lends a sublime sweetness and when it’s caramelized dark with crispy edges, it makes this bread go places…Basically my kitchen to my bed where I spend all night fighting my body image issues with this lovely bread.

So here it is.

DSC_0334nregular bread stuff; flower, olive oil, warm water,  yeast, salt, sugar, dried rosemary and sliced onions. I’m using dried rosemary because I have no fresh ones available, but if you do please go ahead and up the quantity a bit.

DSC_0335let’s get bread making first. Sugar into warm water

DSC_0336followed by yeast. followed by a ten minute wait to let the yeast foam up.

DSC_0339in the meantime dump your flour in a big bowl

DSC_0340followed by salt

DSC_0341and a blurry picture of rosemary

DSC_0342followed by the foamy water.

DSC_0344and our star of this show.. the studly extra virgin olive oil ( about half of the total quantity), that shies from rough handling. Knead to make a smooth dough.

DSC_0345something like this. I kneaded the dough for at least 10 minutes, but in case you have a mixer of sorts go ahead and make your work easier, only you won’t love this bread as much.

DSC_0347We have to let the bread rest to puff up and become more bread like. So back into the bowl smeared lovingly with some more olive oil. Cover well and let it rest for at least an hour or until the bread has doubled in size. Mine almost took two hours. It’s cold here.

DSC_0348in the meantime, let’s get cracking with the onions. a frying pan on medium heat and a tablespoon of regular olive oil, just to get the onions sweating.

DSC_0351in with the onions.

DSC_0352slick well with oil

DSC_0353a pinch of salt, just to get them nice and soft

DSC_0355Now we’re talking. This is after about five minutes of cooking. They’re perfect like this but I like them a bit more caramelized.

DSC_0356something like this.

DSC_0357Reserve until the dough is ready.

DSC_0359which might look something like this. It’s aromatic and gorgeously flecked with rosemary. Punch it down and knead for a minute.

DSC_0361some more olive oil on your baking tray

DSC_0363to have the kneaded dough sit on.

DSC_0364Now to turn this bread dough into focaccia. Flatten it down

DSC_0365like so, without making it too thin. Spread some more olive oil and..

DSC_0367give it that characteristic focaccia dimpled look, by simply pushing in your fingers deep to make pretty little dents and have the oil pool in them. so pretty!

DSC_0368like so. If at this stage you feel that there isn’t enough oil on top and that it looks dry, just pour in some more. This looked perfect, so onions now.

DSC_0369like so. Make sure to push them in, or else they won’t stick.

DSC_0370cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.

DSC_0371Now for some wonderful smattering of crunchy sea salt, for what is focaccia without a smear of sea salt?

DSC_0373It’s risen a bit more after the second rising, and you’ve to simply sprinkle the salt on top and bake at 200℃ for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the onions caramelized to a devious crispy dark

DSC_0375like so,  but wait!

DSC_0377some more extra virgin olive oil for the top to gleam and glow.

DSC_0382apply to face. This bread is a breeze to make and a delight to eat. Dunk in more olive oil, or sauce of your choice and make a meal of it.

Ingredients

Bread flour: 300g (around 2 cups)

Warm water: 200ml ( a little less than a cup)

Yeast: 1 teaspoon

Sugar: 1 tablespoon

Salt: 1 teaspoon

Rosemary: 3/4th teaspoon

Extra virgin olive oil: 80ml (1/4 cup)

Onion: 1 medium sliced thin

sea salt: 1 teaspoon

Preparation Instructions: Dissolve the sugar and yeast in warm water and leave for 10 minutes to activate and foam.

In a large bowl mix flour, rosemary and salt. Once the yeast water has foamed, add into the mix along with half the quantity of extra virgin olive oil. Knead to form a smooth dough (if the dough is too dry add more water, if it’s sticky add some flour) and let it rise for at least an hour or until it’s doubled in size.

Cook onions on medium flame in some regular olive oil until soft and translucent. Reserve.

Once the dough has risen, knead it for another two minutes and flatten out on a well oiled tray (use a tablespoon of the remaining oil), making dimples with your fingers and add some more oil to the top.

Spread the cooked onions on the top evenly and push them in so they stick. Wrap and let rest and rise for another 45 minutes.

After the second rising sprinkle top with some sea salt and bake at 200℃ for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Brush the remainder of the olive oil on top and let it rest for at least ten minutes before you dig in.

DSC_0387Enjoy!

 

Double chocolate chunk cookies


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This isn’t the first chocolate chip/chunk cookie post on this blog, and most certainly not the last. But before you roll your eyes and dismiss these sweet little discs of joy, at least stare at them for a while, and notice that there are two kinds of demonic babies in there. I meant dark chocolate and white chocolate; a pairing made in gluttonous heaven of sweet sin.

These golden halos of chewy rapture are sweet, rich, and sometimes responsible for stealthily increasing your waistline..but that’s a different story for a boring day. Make a big batch and freeze some for later I say.

These need no heavy machinery, or special equipments or even muscle power. The ingredients are few and it takes moments to conjure these lovers

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just butter (softened to room temperature), dark brown sugar, white sugar, flour, an egg, salt, baking soda, vanilla extract, and of course chocolate chunks both dark and white. Feel free to use chocolate chips instead (only they won’t be as awesome)

DSC_0983add the softened butter to a bowl of choice. Ahem! notice my gorgeous new pink spatula?

DSC_0984rain in the white sugar

DSC_0985and the brown sugar and simply beat it together. It shouldn’t take long if the butter is nicely soft.

DSC_0987a minute of creaming together and it comes to look like this.

DSC_0996crack in the egg

DSC_0997splash in the vanilla

DSC_0998and beat again, until it looks something like this.

DSC_0990in a separate bowl, add in the flour and salt

DSC_0991and the baking soda

DSC_0992and mix to combine

DSC_1000and stir it into the butter sugar mixture.

DSC_1001mix until it just about comes together.

DSC_1002clatter in the chunks..the white

DSC_1003and the dark,  and mix until just barely there. Do not over-mix the cookie dough. Please!

DSC_1004this is how it comes together. Now cover with a cling film and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.

DSC_1006in the meantime, line your baking tray with parchment or butter paper, ignore that this is full of creases.

DSC_1007after 45 minutes, we’re ready to bake. It’s easiest with an ice cream scoop.

DSC_1008like so

DSC_1009like so.. bake at 180℃ for 12-14 minutes, until the edges just start to slightly brown

DSC_1011tadaa!! do not attempt to transfer the hot cookies immediately onto a cooling rack, they will all too easily tear. let them rest for at least 2-3 minutes.

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and finally this!

Dunk into milk, crumble over ice cream or just apply to face as is, they’re fantastic either way..and..and oh so gorgeous. The sides are slightly crispy, the center chewy, the chocolate chunks absolutely blowing these darlings into another dimension.

Ingredients

butter:  110g

white sugar: 70g (about 1/3rd cup)

brown sugar: 80g (a little less than 1/4 cup)

egg: 1

vanilla: 1 tsp

flour: 150g (1 and 1/4 cup)

baking soda: 1/2 tsp

salt: 1/4 tsp

dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa): 70g (1/2 cup)

white chocolate : 70g (1/2 cup)

Preparation instructions:

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) into a separate bowl and set aside.

In a clean bowl, add in the softened butter and the sugar and cream until they’re light and fluffy. Crack in the egg and add in the vanilla extract and beat again for about a minute.

Add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Tumble in the chocolate chunks and stir again until all chunks are just incorporated into the mixture.

Cover with a cling film and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30-45 minutes.

layer your baking tray with parchment paper, and using an ice cream scoop place them at least an inch apart, since these cookies will spread.

bake at 180℃ for 12-14 minutes, until the edges just start to slightly brown.

Let them rest for a few minutes before you transfer them to cool on a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container and they should disappear by the end of day.

DSC_1024now you seriously gotta make these. Enjoy!

 

 

Chocolate chip cookie bars


DSC_0878So here it is, the most luscious enemy you’d want to feast on. Chocolate chip cookie turned into bars; so now not only do you get to eat a cookie, you get to eat it in a crispy thick slab of voluptuous bar. It’s rich, moist and crunchy, loaded with chocolate.. in all it’s an orgy of scrumptious exquisiteness. You might die eating it, but oh! what a happy death will it be. I do not recommend making a lot of these, because sweet and rich as they are, they’re also too easy to eat, and while your mouth might say no, your soul will want it all. I promise!

What’s more, it’s tinted ever so lightly with salted peanuts, and this sinful pairing of sweet and salt will definitely bring all the boys to the yard. So let’s get cracking!

DSC_0828nbasic chocolate chip cookie ingredients: butter, flour, vanilla, chocolate chips, salted peanuts, egg, salt ,baking soda,light brown sugar, regular white sugar.

DSC_0830no heavy machinery needed. A friendly steel bowl and wooden spoon will do the trick.

DSC_0831cream the butter for about a minute. it’d help a lot if your butter is at room temperature.

DSC_0832in with the sugars..the white

DSC_0833and the brown.

DSC_0834beat it again till it takes on a fluffy appearance or looks something likes this. You needn’t worry about going wrong. it’s a forgiving recipe.

DSC_0835pour in the vanilla.

DSC_0836crack in the egg

DSC_0837and beat again.

DSC_0838dump in the dry ingredients. This is flour, salt and baking soda.

DSC_0839mix it all in till it just comes together.

DSC_0840finally the salted peanuts

DSC_0841….and the chocolate chunks.

DSC_0842mix until well combined and keep aside for a minute.

DSC_0844prepare your cake tin. I lined it with aluminium foil and buttered it generously.

DSC_0846pour it in, or rather gloop it in and level the top using back of a spoon and bake at 180°C for 35 minutes, or until the top is crisp and burnished and cracking brown.

DSC_0851like so! beautifully brown and crunchy looking. Let it rest and cool completely.

DSC_0859cut into bars and apply to face.

Ingredients:

flour: 130 g (1 cup)

salt: 1/2 teaspoon

baking soda: 3/4 teaspoon

butter: 110 g

white granulated sugar: 100 g (1/2 cup)

light brown sugar: 70 g (1/3 cup)

vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon

egg: 1 large

bittersweet chocolate: 60 g

dark chocolate : 60 g (or use any combination you want)

salted peanuts: 20 g (3 tablespoons)

Preparation instructions: cream room temperature butter until light and airy. add in the sugars and beat again until fluffy. add the vanilla extract and egg and beat again for about a minute.

Add in the dry ingredients except chocolates and peanuts and mix well together. Finally ad in the peanuts and chocolates and mix until just combined.

Prepare a cake tin of choice preferably square and line with a buttered aluminium foil. scoop in the cookie dough and even out the top to make it flat. Bake at  180°C for 35 minutes or until the top looks crisp and the batter has risen a bit.

Let cool completely before slicing into bars.

This recipe is not only easy to put together but also all too easy to devour as I already mentioned. So instead of making some mere cookies, glitz it a bit and turn into bars.

DSC_0865enjoy!!

Chocolate mocha marbled bundt


DSC_0827I’m sorry if this sounds like a mouthful, but calling this magnificence a mere cake, would be like calling the ‘Taj Mahal’ a mere tomb. Did I go too far? It doesn’t matter, because what really matters is this cake, its refined elegance, sophisticated marbling and luxurious taste.

One bite and you’re in bundt heaven. Superb taste, beautiful crumb and criminally fun to put together.

This is the kind of cake (gasp! dies) that you could serve for dessert with a scoop of ice cream, or with coffee, cut into sort of thin slices, as I did.

In fact I had made it for a big party I had in my house, and served it as a post dinner accompaniment to coffee, since most of my Chinese friends are not very big on desserts, but Coffee! they love, and as I keep getting requested to make my regular vanilla cake, I decided change it a bit and turn it into something more exotic.

DSC_0747mnothing too strenuous. Just good quality dark chocolate, instant coffee granules, salt, baking powder, butter, strong cooled coffee (the real deal not instant coffee this time),eggs, vanilla extract (I’m using my own,DIY) , flour, almond meal (grind some almonds in a grinder, jeez), sugar and milk.

DSC_0750ok, this is my bundt pan, fairly basic, fairly average, fairly good! We need to prepare this and yes you can use any other regular baking pan except it won’t be as exquisite.

DSC_0751first we need to prepare this pan so that our cake comes out in one perfect shape. brush with some melted butter.

DSC_0752paint it well, all the nooks, the crevices

DSC_0753all the walls.

DSC_0754sprinkle in a bit of flour. We’re taking precautions and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that my love.

DSC_0756move around the pan in all directions so the flour sticks to the butter. Move that real well. turn it up, turn it down, turn it round and round and round, or just make sure it’s coated well

DSC_0758like so…. now forget about it for a while.

DSC_0761take a big bowl and dump in your flour

DSC_0765and almond meal

DSC_0766and salt

DSC_0767and baking powder…and phew!

DSC_0768mix it well and forget about it for a while.

DSC_0769in a separate bowl too sizes too small add some butter to the chocolate

DSC_0772then the coffee granules (the instant kind)

DSC_0773then your strong brewed coffee, the real kind

DSC_0775melt in a microwave in 30 second bursts, or melt in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. I shifted mine into a bigger bowl because things were getting pretty cramped. Now forget this for a while.

DSC_0778in a separate bowl, add the sugar to the butter which should be soft btw.

DSC_0780and beat together for a couple of minutes until they’re kinda fluffy.

DSC_0781add in the eggs one by one, beating briefly after each addition.

DSC_0783Once all the eggs are beaten in, you will end up with something like this.

DSC_0785add in your vanilla and beat for another half a minute or so.

DSC_0786now add your flour mixture and milk alternately. The flour mixture should be added in three stages and the milk in two, and the beginning and ending should be with the flour mixture. Got it? ok beat in 1/3rd of the flour mixture.

DSC_0787then half of the milk, then 1/3rd of the flour mixture, then rest of the milk and finally  last of the flour mixture, and beat until just combined. This alternating stage is important so that you don’t end up over beating the batter.

DSC_0788the mixture will look like so, specked with almond meal. Do not over beat the batter at any stage or your cake will be tough and you’d hate it and blame me.

DSC_0789now bring back your chocolate mocha pool of sin.

DSC_0790Take a little less than half of the vanilla batter

DSC_0791and add it into this chocolate coffee pool of love and mix together very briefly

DSC_0793to get this.

DSC_0795now bring back your bundt pan and do this

DSC_0796then this, basically alternate between the batters

DSC_0797to form this

DSC_0798then take a tooth pick or a knife or in my case and offset spatula and swirl it lightly in the batter. Don’t Jackson Pollock this! You need to be gentle about it or the marble pattern will be all kinds of evil. But of course it’s your cake and you do what you want!

DSC_0799so mine looked something like this. Bake at 180℃ for about an hour

DSC_0801to get this! Let it cool in the pan for a while

DSC_0802and with all that greasing and flouring, it will come out like a song! Look at this! oh my, oh dear, oh wow! Carry this triumphantly to a table full of people, and see how quickly they whip out their phones to instagram this baby!!

DSC_0807marbled pattern in my cake.

Ingredients

Flour: 350g

Almond meal: 70g

baking powder: 1 teaspoon

salt: 1/2 teaspoon

butter: 210g + 2 tablespoons

dark chocolate: 90g

strong coffee: 60mls(1/4 cup)

instant coffee: 1 teaspoon

sugar: 230 g

eggs: 4

vanilla extract: 1 tablespoon

milk: 250mls (1 cup)

Baking instructions:  butter the bundt pan and dust with flour to coat completely and shake off the excess flour. Keep aside

Mix together the flour, almond, salt and baking powder.

combine the chocolate, 2 tablespoons of butter, instant coffee and coffee and melt in a microwave. I did in 30 second burst mixing after each, until nicely melted and combined.You can also melt in a heatproof bowl over gently simmering water. Microwave is just easier and less fussy.

In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. beat in the vanilla extract. add the flour mixture in 3 portions and the milk in 2, so the beginning and ending should be with flour mixture. Beat only until just combined.

Add a little less than half the vanilla batter into the melted chocolate coffee and mix.

Start layering these 2 batters into the bundt pan as you wish. You can alternate them as I did, or even layer them separately with chocolate layer sandwiched in between vanilla.. Once done you can take a knife or a tooth pick and gently swirl it through the batter.

Bake at 180℃ for about 60 minutes. You might want to increase the time depending on your oven. Just keep checking by inserting a tooth pick, if it comes out clean, the cake is baked.

Once done let it cool for at least 10-15 minutes. Unmoulding would be very easy if you’ve greased and floured the pan well.

This cake will be your pride and joy and the centre piece of your party table.

DSC_0827enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Orange torte (gluten free)


DSC_0660I was dying to make something citrusy, something with a bright yellow colour, something that would remind me of sunshine and fill the house with summer smells of freshness.

I love desserts that have a citrus note to them and this torte was no exception. This sunny disc of luscious flavours is a gluten-free torte which I adapted from Stephanie Jaworski of joyofbaking.com . she has such a wonderful collection of fabulous recipes and it’s all explained in such perfect details that it’d be impossible to go wrong, and this torte was no exception. I came across her clemetine torte and knew that I had to make it.

I just want to emphasize on the luxuriousness of this cake and that it’s one of the best things to come out of my kitchen. It’s pure tasteporn..I mean it.

DSC_0622cSince this is an orange torte you need oranges, almond flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract (I used a vanilla bean), sugar and eggs.

Before I start, I’d like to mention that these oranges need a good boiling because you want these golden beauties soft, soft, soft. I boiled these oranges a day in advance, and boiled them for about 1 hour until they were soft. Let them cool and store in fridge to use next day.

Also a word on almond flour/meal- please don’t get put off or think ‘meh this needs almond meal, who’s got that’? well I didn’t. I simply made it at home by blitzing almonds in a grinder until it resembled flour. It took me about 2 minutes. You can do it and you should, because this cake is extraordinarily delicious and moist and dense and orangey and you’d probably go to hell if you didn’t try this recipe.

ok moving on..

DSC_0623take a clean blender or food processor

DSC_0624throw in your oranges

DSC_0625crack in the eggs in the most clumsy fashion

DSC_0626add in the vanilla (I’m using a vanilla bean, but please use good vanilla extract if you want, I just happen to have a truckloads of these beans)

DSC_0627Once it’s all in

DSC_0628blitz to mix. It will turn into a golden pond of citrus love in a matter of seconds.

DSC_0629admire your handiwork and realize it resembles a milkshake and that you’re lactose intolerant..shed a few tears and get back to work.

DSC_0630in a separate large clean bowl.

DSC_0631dump in your almond flour/meal (whatever you call it)

DSC_0632add the sugar

DSC_0634in with the baking powder

DSC_0635don’t forget the salt

DSC_0638it’s all heaped in. good!

DSC_0639mix using a wire whisk. It’s just easier

DSC_0640mix well like so. I put a spoonful in my mouth and it tasted great already.

DSC_0641Now tip in your orange+egg+vanilla mixture

DSC_0643mix until it all comes together. Don’t be too vigorous.

DSC_0644let that rest a bit and prep the pan. Take a springfoam pan and using its base as guide, cut out a round piece of parchment paper. It’s not geometry, you needn’t be precise. (Again, don’t be put off by this step. It takes a mere minute and it’s important for the cake)

DSC_0645take a bit of melted butter and spread on the base of the tin.

DSC_0646like so.

DSC_0647this enables the parchment to stick better. Flatten it out well so that there are no air bubbles.

DSC_0649Brush the sides as well. I took an extra precaution and lined the base with aluminum foil to prevent any leakages. I have trust issues with this pan, and in return it doesn’t love me back.

DSC_0650Tip in your batter. Tap it a bit and bake @ 190℃

DSC_0652take it out after and hour. Check with toothpick in case it comes out clean and LET IT COOL COMPLETELY! I’m sorry for yelling but this how I yelled at the man who kept trying to eat it.

DSC_0660once completely cooled, very carefully and gently remove the base pan and peel off the parchment paper. Just be a little cautious. It’s a wonderfully moist cake so don’t be too heavy-handed with it.

DSC_0674cut yourself a piece and fall in love.

Note: this cake tastes best after a couple of days of making, and for best results you have to let it be undisturbed overnight.

Ingredients

Oranges : 450g (boiled until soft, best to do a day in advance)

Eggs: 6

vanilla extract : 1 teaspoon or vanilla bean.

Almond flour/meal : 250 g (if you can’t buy it, then grind the same wight of almonds until it resembles flour)

Sugar: 230 g

baking powder: 1 teaspoon

salt: a small pinch

How to: In a blender or food processor, blend in the oranges, eggs and vanilla.

In a separate large bowl mix in the almond flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Pour in the batter and mix well.

Line your springfoam tin with parchment paper after greasing the base and sides. To prevent leakages line the outside base with aluminium foil.

Pour in the batter and bake at 190℃ for 45-60 minutes. Check with toothpick to see if it’s baked. Mine took one whole hour.

Note: Around the 40 minute mark I covered the top with aluminum foil as it was getting a little brown.

DSC_0672Here’s another delicious picture. Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Baked potato fries


DSC_0929

Potatoes!! Is there anything as comforting, as loving, as selfless, as versatile, as sexy, as sensuous as potatoes?? No, the answer is no!! Potatoes love you back they understand your feelings, they believe in giving and they care.

Sadly with modern times now, these beautiful spuds of love have been maligned as fattening food.. gasp! people are told to steer clear of them if they want to lose weight.. I say, what rot?? It’s not true. Potatoes aren’t bad for you, you’re bad for potatoes. Who thought of loading them with MSG and packing them into airy bags? you did! who thought of over salting them to the point of oblivion?? you did!! So please do not blame these humble vegetables for making you fat. Blame yourselves. Fried food WILL fatten you, it does not take a rocket scientist to know that, but when you bake these beauteous vegetables with the right amount of love, they love you back.

Case in point are these baked fries. They require no effort but give you all the love you need these winter months. Not only do they satisfy your spud cravings but they also don’t make you feel bad about it.

So for those moments of anguish when only a potato will do, bake these fries and get caught in the rapturous greed of smug satisfaction.

DSC_08521Just potatoes, garlic, olive oil (any oil really), mixed italian seasoning, paprika and sea salt.

DSC_0854before you start, line your baking sheet with foil.

DSC_0855wash and peel your potatoes. Remove any eyes and anything weird you don’t like seeing on your fries. You can keep the skin on the potatoes if you wish, just wash and scrub them really well.

DSC_0858Since my potatoes were not exactly equal in size, I cut mine to make three roughly equal sized potatoes. You don’t have to do this if your vegetables are symmetrically proportional.

DSC_0861I cut each potato segment into three, because I don’t exactly like very skinny fries, but if you do, please go ahead and make them as thin as you like.

DSC_0862So many potatoes.

DSC_0866I cut each segment in three’s.

DSC_0869I had almost equal sized fries, those which were a bit thick I cut them to size. Nobody messes with the size okay!

DSC_0870Into a pot of cold water to rinse away the starch. Let these be for a while now.

DSC_0871Now about their massage oil. Peel your cloves of garlic and mince them fairly well or chop, whatever you prefer.

DSC_0872add the seasoning mix. I’m using dry simply because It’s too cold and I have no fresh herbs left, but if you wish you could as easily use them fresh. Dried is just easier. These mixed Italian seasonings are pretty nifty.

DSC_0875in with the paprika. As little or as much as you like.

DSC_0876a glug of oil. This is about a tablespoon, but you could use more, you could use less.

DSC_0879stir with a spoon of choice until all is well combined.

DSC_0880Drain the potatoes and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or cloth of your choice.

DSC_0882give them a good pat. You want them completely dry.

DSC_0883tumble onto your lined baking sheet

DSC_0885make sure there isn’t a single wet spot. (snigger)

DSC_0887pour over the massage oil and this gets a little messy because you need to use your hands to evenly coat them

DSC_0888like so. Make sure the oil is distributed evenly and that every piece is well bathed.

DSC_0889sprinkle on the salt and into the oven at 200℃ for 35-40 minutes.

DSC_0906this is what they looked after 30 minutes of baking and the kitchen was smelling so divine. Garlic infused herbal incense. I was mesmerized and hungry.

DSC_0914

like this at 38 minutes of baking, and I turned on the broiler for about 2 minutes because I was getting impatient and I love it when they turn golden and crisp on the top.

DSC_0924like so!!

How were they? what can I say? see for yourself. They were beautiful, they were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I gave them a final sprinkling of salt before I served them.

DSC_0929A flask of masala tea and potato fries.. what more can I ask this winter?

Ingredients

Potatoes (as many as you want)

Garlic- 2 to 3 cloves

Italian seasoning – 1 teaspoon

Paprika – 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste ( I used 1 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt)

Olive oil/any vegetable oil – 1 to 2 tablespoon

RECIPE: Line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Wash and peel your potatoes and cut each into 3 segments and each segment into two or three fries, depending on how thick or thin you want them. Soak them into a bowl of cold water to remove excess starch.

Into a separate bowl, mince your garlic, add in the Italian seasoning, paprika and oil and mix well.

Drain the potatoes and dry thoroughly.

Tip them on your aluminium lined baking tray and pour over the prepared oil mixture and coat every fry with the mixture, making sure they’re all evenly coated.

bake at 200℃ for 35-40 minutes until deeply golden. Depending on your oven the baking time will vary. In some ovens it might take longer in some lesser, so keep an eye.

Enjoy!!

 

Garlic basil focaccia


DSC_0616Focaccia sounds like an enigmatic lover. It’s the kind of romantic name that would roll off my tongue after going easy on the wine, when in the throws of passion I’d utter in a husky femme fatale voice and say ‘oh focaccia my love, I have killed Valentino to be with you forever’ or something idiotic like that.. except Focaccia isn’t some  chivalrous lover, it’s a chivalrous carb form, a wondrous bread if you must. A sort of flattened bread, slicked with olive oil and a treat to end all treats. Much like focaccia the lover, you’d want to take this bread back to bed with you.

Wonderful as it is, I decided to up the ante by adding in hints of garlic and basil, seeing that harsh winters were not too kindly with my basil plant I decided to experiment with focaccia and the results were nothing short of magnificent. It was delightful and not too overwhelming. The best part however, was that it was easy to make.

Not too fussy and without too many ingredients

DSC_0475Flour, sugar, yeast, salt, olive oil, basil and garlic.. also water which I forgot to picture.

DSC_0477Chop the garlic and basil not too fine.

DSC_0478we begin with the garlic part of focaccia and I do this by making some garlic oil. I didn’t want to put bits of garlic in my bread as I want the garlic flavors, but not too pronounced. Heat some olive oil in a pan or vessel of choice.

DSC_0480add in the chopped bits of garlic

DSC_0485let the oil heat up slowly sizzling the garlic

DSC_0486slowly as the oil heats the garlic will start oozing its flavours.

DSC_0487like so..

DSC_0488and when it just starts turning brown you turn off the heat because they will keep getting darker in the hot oil.

DSC_0489at this moment when the oil is really hot you also add in the chopped basil

DSC_0490 the basil will sizzle with the garlic and you’d wonder why this aroma has never been used for creating incense sticks.

Leave it to cool and start with prepping flour for the bread.

DSC_0491sugar into a cup

DSC_0493followed by warm water

DSC_0494followed by sprinkling of yeast. leave it to proof for about 10 minutes and enjoy the proofing show from afar without disturbing it please.

DSC_0495Use a big bowl or vessel of choice for the initial mixing of the flour. here is the flour in question.

DSC_0497sprinkle in the salt.

DSC_0498and mix and create a crater of sorts in the middle. This is where our liquid items will go i.e the yeasty water and the oil, and speaking of the oil..

DSC_0499aha!! it has cooled down and now we just have a small task at hand.. we need to get rid of these bits of garlic.

DSC_0500I use chopsticks, but please feel free to use fingers, spoon, fork.. it’s your oil.

DSC_0501chopsticks are efficient. this is in essence very good aromatic and strong-smelling garlic oil with a hint of basil. here is where I realized I need MORE BASIL!!

DSC_0502Back our yeasty water. see how well it has foamed.

DSC_0503Water into the flour

DSC_0504Garlic basil oil into the flour and get a mixing

DSC_0505mix with yer hands until it all just comes together.

DSC_0511you need space for kneading.. so dump it on a very very clean surface and start kneading.

DSC_0513I knead by pushing the dough forward and pulling it back. This is where I thought would be a good time to add some more basil.

DSC_0516Basil meet dough. Dough meet basil.

DSC_0517cover and knead

DSC_0518like so

DSC_0519and like this

DSC_0520keep kneading to form a smooth ball. I worked on this dough for about 10 minutes. It gives you serious muscles but if you’re not a fan of working out then by all means use your muggle gadgets.

DSC_0525Now this dough, like any other yeast dough needs to rest. I used the same bowl from the initial mixing and poured in some oil, because we do not want our lover to stick do we?

DSC_0527coat the entire dough with the oil and you can see that it’s a beautiful soft dough.

DSC_0528Cover and let rest for at least 1-2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. If your house isn’t warm enough it might take longer but don’t fret.. it will get fatter.

DSC_0530there!! so big, so beautiful. Flecked so daintily with basil.. sigh!!

DSC_0531Now retrieve a pan or tin from the abyss of your pantry which you’d want the focaccia to bake in. Oil generously!

DSC_0533Pull your risen dough out of its hibernating vessel. You don’t need to deflate or anything, because we will soon be puncturing its smooth exterior with much-needed dimples.

DSC_0534Plop it on the oil.

DSC_0535and using your fingers, spread it to fit into the pan.

DSC_0537Like so. You only need gently coax it with your fingers and this smooth dough will fit beautifully. If you want a very fat focaccia please use a smaller, less wider pan.. however I like them lovers a bit lean so…

DSC_0539Now we oil it more, because it’s focaccia and it needs the good stuff. be sure to use good olive oil all the way.

DSC_0540Massage in the oil gently.

DSC_0543Cover well with a cling film and let rest again for another 45 minutes or until the dough has visibly risen and puffed up.

DSC_0544like so.

DSC_0546It needs some more olive oil. Don’t be shy and spread on. Don’t forget this is focaccia not some virtuous salad, so spread on the oil and do not feel ashamed.

DSC_0547like so. Make sure all it’s pretty dimples have some amount of oil pooling in it.

DSC_0549scatter some sea salt on top and now it’s ready for the oven.

DSC_0550Time for celebration!! a jubilant slab of exquisite focaccia to be feasted on. devour with your eyes for now and let cool a bit.

DSC_0566while it cooled I brushed some more olive oil because why not?

DSC_0608

There you go!! Dip in some more olive oil and enjoy!!!

The garlic and basil flavors were not overwhelming but very mild and subtle. If you want bigger flavors, by all means increase the garlic and basil amounts.

Ingredients

Strong bread Flour 250g (about 2 cups)

Warm water 200 mls (about 3/4th cup)

Yeast 1 teaspoon

Sugar 1 tablespoon

Salt 1 teaspoon

Basil 10-15 leaves or more for stronger basil flavour

Garlic 1 clove (more if you want a stronger garlic taste)

Extra virgin Olive oil 75 mls (5 tablespoons) + more

Sea salt (optional) 1 teaspoon

Recipe:

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the chopped garlic until it starts turning brown. Turn off the heat under the oil and add the chopped basil. Let cool. Once cooled discard the garlic and retain the basil.

Mix the sugar and warm water and add the yeast. Let it start foaming on top. It takes about 5-10 minutes.

In a separate bowl add the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast water and oil. Mix until it starts clumping together and knead to form a smooth dough. In case the dough is too dry add some more water a little at a time. Knead for at least 10 minutes until the dough is very smooth and slightly springy to the touch.

Let the dough rest in a well oiled bowl for at least 1-2 hrs or until it has doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, tip it out on a well oiled baking sheet of your choice and spread using your fingers to give it the characteristic focaccia dimples.

Smear some more oil on top and cover with cling film and let rest in until puffed up (about 45 minutes)

Once it’s risen pour some more oil ( about 3-4 tablespoons) on top and let it pool in the focaccia dimples. Sprinkle some good sea salt on top or regular salt or none if you wish.

Bake at 190℃ for 25- 30 minutes or until the top has turned golden and the bread has risen gorgeously.

Let cool for a bit and brush again with some olive oil.

Serve with hummus (see recipe here) or just plain olive oil.

I eat mine with butter 😉

Enjoy!!

DSC_0616

Lemon bars


DSC_0472These winters when the sun is scarce and sky seems frozen, these lemon bars will inject that bit of sunshine and tang to your day. I had earlier been of the view that chocolate heals all ills, chocolate is the universal answer and that chocolate gives meaning to your life… however once I made these bars I realized It’s actually these sweet lemon bars that can actually bring about world peace. No seriously, its true!! These lemon bars aren’t just good they are dazzling with sexy oomph!

They are super chic, exquisite and the taste is like a mouthful of magnificent citrus love. It makes no sense because these bars make no sense. They are so ridiculously good, very zippy, tart, sweet and rich all at the same time. You have to MAKE THESE to believe it, and you’d say, that crazy internet girl was right about this one.

The best part about these is that they are easy to make. Not fussy like a lemon meringue pie. Easy to put together and easier still to eat. But careful, these yellow babies are rich!!

These bars are made of a shortbread base and a mouth-watering lemon filling. Here is how its done.

For the shortbread base

DSC_0402very easy. Just three ingredients. Butter, sugar and flour.

DSC_0403In a clean bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar, until it’s umm creamed. It should resemble something like this or better.

DSC_0405Add in the flour and beat again

DSC_0406until it just starts clumping together. Once it starts coming together we stop.

DSC_0407Tip this shortbread mixture into a baking vessel of choice. Mine happened to be a square silicon mould (7 x 7 inches).

DSC_0409spread it around as well as you can and bake at 180℃ for 15-18 minutes or until the sides just start turning a shade brown.

DSC_0417like so. Leave this to cool and prepare the filling.

DSC_0414The filling is fairly straightforward. Just eggs, lemon juice, sugar, lemon zest and flour.

DSC_0420we start with eggs

DSC_0421followed by sugar

DSC_0423then light mixing.

DSC_0424and some lemon zest

DSC_0427add in the lemon juice

DSC_0428finally in with the flour and a good beat up.

DSC_0431Mix it until it looks something like this, which means stir without caution for a couple of minutes and you’re there.

DSC_0433tip this batter in the now cooled shortbread base

DSC_0435making sure it’s evenly spread and bake at 175℃ for 18-20 minutes

DSC_0439My oven got a little too hot, hence the tan, but if you think the top of the bars is getting browned too quickly then just tent it with silver foil. This tan is not going to affect the final outcome because it’s just pleasantly golden not overly burnished, so don’t worry. You will know the top is done when it’s just set and there’s a slight jiggle to it.

You have to let it cool complete before you do anything to it. Mine took about 45 minutes.

DSC_0441pass some powdered sugar through a sieve.

DSC_0444blanketing completely

DSC_0446cut into squares and thank Ma nature for creating lemons.

DSC_0448I cut mine into fairly small bars, simply because these are so rich and so sweet and citrusy that it’s all too easy to eat them.

You wouldn’t believe the smugness you’d feel after making these, because they come out perfect every single time, even if you’re making these for the first time. They work great as desserts and taste unexpectedly delicious. Make these Now!!

 

Recipe

For the shortbread

butter 110 g ( a little less than 1/2 cup)

powdered sugar 30 g (about 2 tablespoons)

flour 125 g (about a cup)

– In a clean bowl cream together the butter and sugar using a hand mixer.

add in the flour and beat until it just starts to come together.

Tip into a baking dish and evenly spread to form a base.

Bake at 180℃ for 18-20 minutes or just until the sides lightly brown

allow to cool.

For the lemon filling

Eggs 2

sugar 170 g (a little less than a cup)

lemon juice 70 mls (2.5 tablespoons)

lemon zest 1 tablespoon

flour 30 g (about 2 tablespoons)

– In a clean bowl beat the sugar and eggs until smooth.

add in the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Pour over the now cooled shortbread base making sure it’s evenly spread out.

Bake at 175℃ for 18-20 until just set with a bit of jiggle. If the top starts getting too brown, tint with a foil.

Allow to cool completely and sift some powdered sugar on top before cutting into bars.

DSC_0454You do not want to miss this.

Enjoy!!