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CHRISTMAS PUDDING - DARING BAKER'S CHALLENGE APRIL, 2010

This is my first Daring Bakers challenge..I was very excited and had fun in doing this, but when the challenge was revealed I was little disappointed because I thought I would not be able to take the first Challenge itself.


The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: Suet.








As the recipe calls for suet which is not suitable for vegetarians. But since Esther gave alternative of using butter it was success...


We had a choice between the traditional suet and butter puddings, but the basic type and cooking method were the same.


I adapted my recipe here. I almost halved the quantity and substituted liquor with orange juice and slightly adjusted the ingredients to our taste. It came out so delicious. I had a very hard time waiting for 3 hrs while it was steaming, before I could taste it. But its really worth waiting.. We enjoyed a lot. This is my Christmas pudding for the wonderful challenge..







CHRISTMAS PUDDING


Serves 4 to 5


Ingredients:


Mixed dried fruit - 1 1/4 cup
Pitted dried dates - 1/2 chopped
Raisins - 1/2 cup roughly chopped
Red glace cherries - 1/4 cup chopped
Dark brown sugar - 1/2 cup
Butter - 60 gms
Bicarbonate of soda - 1/2 tsp
Grated orange rind - 1/2 tsp
Egg -1 beaten
Plain flour - 1/2 cup sifted
Self-raising flour- 1/2 cup sifted
Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
Orange liquor - 2 tbsp










Method :


1.Grease an 4 cup-capacity metal pudding steamer.
2.Line base with baking paper.
3.Place mixed dried fruit, dates, raisins, cherries, sugar, butter and 1/2 cup cold water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
4.Stir until butter has melted. Bring to the boil.
5.Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
6.Now add bicarbonate of soda. Stir to combine.
7.Transfer to a large, heatproof bowl. Cool.
8.Stir in orange rind, egg, flours, cinnamon and orange juice.
9.Spoon mixture into prepared steamer. Smooth top.
10.Cover tightly with Aluminium foil.
11. Place in the pressure cooker or steamer by carefully pouring boiling water to half. Cover pan. Place over medium heat.
12. Steam for 3 to 3 1/2 hrs, topping up with boiling water when necessary.
13.Remove pan from heat. Carefully lift steamer from water. Stand for 10 minutes. Remove lid. Turn pudding onto a plate. Serve with custard.










Note :


1.Wrap pudding in plastic wrap then foil. Refrigerate for 3 months or freeze for up to 1 year.
2.After 3 hrs check whether the pudding is done by inserting skewer or knife, If not done steam for another 1/2 hr.





Verdict :


Everything came out so delicious, Since the dry fruits had already sugar in it, I should reduce amount of sugar when I make next time. As the pudding itself had exact sweetness we did not have it with custard. It was delicious on its own like Christmas fruit cake but very moist and heavenly.

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MATZO BALL SOUP & AMARANTH SALAD

JEWISH COOKING



Jewish cooking shows the influence of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Spanish, German and Eastern European style of cooking. One ingredient mainly you will see in many of recipes are matzah meal. Matzo meal (also spelled matzah meal and matzoh meal) is a food product which is made by grinding matzo bread, a traditional Jewish food. Matzah ball soup is generally a very thin chicken broth (But here I have substituted with veggie broth) with two or three ping-pong-ball sized matzah balls in it. Sometimes, a few large pieces of carrot or celery are added. Matzah balls can be very soft and light or firm and heavy.

We happened to taste this few times and fell love with the taste, So I started making this. Very Easy to make and this matzo meal are usually in stock at stores which carry Jewish foods. The Soup which I am posting today will be fulfilling and comforting dinner with a salad. Over to salad .......

The Salad which I am posting is normal salad with combination of onion, Green bell pepper, tomato, cucumber etc. But the extra and interesting ingredient is the Amaranth or Rajgira. I think it will be familiar if I say the Tamil name too, It is nothing but the "Keerai Pori", which you would have tasted in ladoo or chikki form. Yah this is so tasty. The amaranth grain is widely available here which you can include in many dishes.



MORE ABOUT RAJGIRA OR AMARANTH :

Whole grain Amaranth is an ancient "grain". The name amaranth comes from the ancient Greek meaning "deathless". It was said that this plant promoted a very long life. Note the sanskrit similarity - amara - also meaning deathless. This grain combined with other ingredients makes delicious soups, breads and salad dressing. Rajgira atta is also used for making many dishes , which is made from the seeds of a plant.

There are many members of the amaranth family. Some are grown primarily for their seeds, which are treated as a grain, others are decorative, and some are considered weeds. All are edible. Leafy part is regularly used for day to day cooking and say it has much more nutritional value than spinach.

Ok I am not going to drag anymore....Now its time for the recipe.



MATZO BALL SOUP

Ingredients :

Matzo ball mix - 1 ( prepare the balls as per the instruction given in the package)
Carrot - 1 cubed
Celery - 1 stalk sliced
Vegetable stock - as required
Garlic powder - 1 tsp
Pepper
Salt
Oil - 1 tsp
For Garnishing:
Celery leaves and Parsley few


The cracker which is under the flower pot is the Matzo cracker








Method:

1. Prepare the balls as per the instruction.
2. Heat oil in the pan, add the garlic powder.
3. Add the carrot and celery saute slightly, add the vegetable stock.
4. Once they come to boil add the balls and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Check for seasoning and add pepper.
6. Garnish with leaves.





Note :

1. You can substitute the veggie stock with chicken broth too.
2. Instead of garlic, stock all these ingredient you can add the veggie cubes.
so easy...
3.Amount of stock, no of balls all are according to your wish.





AMARANTH SALAD




Ingredients :

Amaranth grain - Cook in the water, in the ratio of 3:1
Onions - As required (cubed)
Tomato - As required (De seeded and cubed)
Cucumber - cubed
Bell pepper - cubed
Coriander leaves for garnish
Pepper, salt - as required







Method :

1.Once the grain is cooked it absorbs water, cool it and toss with other ingredients.
2. Garnish with Coriander leaves.
3. Serve cold.

WARM SOUP WITH COLD SALAD IS READY !!!!!!

 


Tip :

You can use this grain in making , breads, Roast it and add to the morning cereal. Add with oats butter milk porridge... Tastes good ....

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BASIC PIZZA (THIN CRUST)


Thin crust, Thick crust, Deep crust Pizza, Bread kind surely mine is always thin crust. With so much topping and bubbling cheese. Who won't love home made pizza ? Yah right this is one of my basic dough recipe for the pizza which I am following for few years and another one is same dough recipe which I posted for white bread, the only difference is while making Pizza you need  proof for the second time.   You can click here to view the Basic white Bread recipe. The recipe which I am giving now is good to make 15" size pizza if you are making thin crust , but if your choice is thick crust the size reduces by 2 inch.


BASIC PIZZA DOUGH

Ingredients :

All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cup ( u can use 3/4 cup bread flour + 3/4 all purpose flour too)
Active dry yeast - 1 tbsp
Warm water (110 degrees F) - 1/2 cup
Extra-virgin olive oil - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Honey - 1/2 tsp
Salt- 3/4 tsp

Yellow cornmeal for sprinkling the pizza peel
Pizza stone or round baking sheet



Method :

1. In a large bowl combine yeast with water, olive oil,sugar, honey and stir well to proof ( means the yeast gets activated). After 5 minutes
2.Add salt to the flour mix well.
3. Now add the flour to the yeast mixture and using fork mix well to form a ball.
4. Use the hands to make a dough , you need not knead so long.
5. Just cover the dough by applying little olive oil and cover using the moist muslin cloth or Kitchen towel.
6. Let it sit for 2 to 2 1/2 hrs so that the dough rises double the size.
7. Now dust the surface with All purpose flour and make the dough to disc shape using the rolling pin. Transfer to the round baking sheet.
8.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F(If you have a pizza stone place it on the bottom rack of the oven).
9. I usually bake the crust in preheated oven for about 5 minutes or until slightly browned.
10. Remove from the oven and spread your favorite sauce and toppings.
11. Spread with your favorite cheese, bake it again until toppings are bubbly and crust is nice golden brown. This may take at least 10 - 12 minutes.



If you are using Pizza stone :

1.Follow the above procedure till 9 then.
2.Transfer dough to a pizza peel and top with toppings of choice.
3.Transfer to the preheated pizza stone and bake until crispy and golden brown, usually 12 to 18 minutes (depending on the toppings).
4.Remove from the oven with a metal peel or spatula and serve immediately.



PIZZA SAUCE

Ingredients :

This sauce will good enough for two 15" pizza.

Tomato crushed - 1 tin ( 1 lb)
Mixed Italian herbs - 2 tsp ( oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary etc)
Tomato ketchup - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 2 pod very finely chopped
Onion - 2 tbsp very finely chopped
Crushed red chilli flakes - 2 tsp or according to spice level
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Salt



Method :

1. Heat oil in the pan , add the garlic, onion saute till slight brown.
2. Now add the crushed tomato.
3. Add all other ingredients and let it cook until all the moisture are absorbed.
4. Now put in the blender or soup blender and whip it slightly, don't make it smooth, it has to be chunky.
5. Store in air tight container.


My favorite topping :

Black and Green olives
White onion
Green bell pepper
Artichoke pickled
Tomato deseeded
Mushrooms
Mozzarella cheese
Basil leaves.




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QUINOA PILAF




Everyone of us are very much aware of including grains in our diet. So making them colorful and tastier is very important right. Today I am posting a simple and tastier pilaf using quinoa. Other than making salad in quinoa this is quiet wonderful option of making pilaf too. I have used black quinoa but you can adopt same with white and brown too. Happy healthy eating!!!!!!

QUINOA PILAF

Ingredients:

Quinoa - 1 cup
Water - 1 1/2 cup
Mixed veggies - 1 cup ( carrot, beans, potato, green peas, cauliflower)
Ginger+Garlic paste - 1/2 tbsp
Onion - 1/2 sliced
Tomato - 1/2 desseeded
Green chilli - 3 sliced
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Whole spices - each 1 ( cardamom, clove, cinnamon)
Coriander for garnishing
Oil and salt




Method :

1. Wash the quinoa well. Now boil the measured water in a open pan.
2. Add the quinoa and little salt. Close with the lid and let it cook until all the moisture is absorbed. But keep in the low flame.
3. Heat oil in the pan , add the slice onion, followed by ginger garlic paste.
4. Then add tomato followed by green chilli and vegetables.
5. Saute until the vegetables are cooked, dont over cook it.
6. Now add the quinoa. Add salt and lemon juice.
7. Mix well so that everything has to be blended well.
8. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with raita or plain!!!



Note:

This black quinoa has unique fragrance.

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EGGLESS MANGO ICECREAM WITH SPRING TREATS



Spring in the air..................Yah in my space too. Weekend was totally hanging out of home. The flower show which we went on Saturday was fantastic. Here are some flowers through my lens. My kitchen was also enjoying the spring break for last 2 days. Here is  Yummy mango icecream which is an eggless version. It tastes really rich and delicious.  Hope you all will enjoy my spring treats....

EGGLESS MANGO ICECREAM

Ingredients :

Choose nice and sweet Mango - 1 big
Fresh Cottage Cheese - 175 gms approximately
Thick cream - 1 cup
( You can use heavy cream, half and half anything but in liquid state)
Vanilla Sugar - 1/4 cup it actually depends on the sweetness of the mangoes that we are going to use.



Method :

1. Scoop out the mango and drop in the blender with the cottage cheese, cut into chunks. Blend well. Blend till thoroughly creamy and no lumps remain.
2.Pour the thick cream into a wide bowl. Whip cream and ground sugar.
3. Fold it with the Mango mixture.
4.Pour in a tub or air tight container such as Tupperware and freeze for three hours. Remove and blend with an immersion blender. If not try whisking with a beater till well blended.
5.Refreeze overnight and serve the next day.

Scoop and serve as you like!!!! It will not melt easily because of cottage cheeseI am going to try it out with other fruits too.

 Yummy !!!!!



SPRING TREATS THRU MY LENS

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GARAM BORUGULU(PORI, PUFFED RICE SNACK,MURMURE)




Its already summer vacation for kids in India, I really wish to have those holidays again to enjoy the whole day playing and munching. So many varieties of of home made snacks, sweets will be stocked in the boxes. We used to have restless play from the morning and only rest time is the eating time like breakfast, lunch, snack time in the evening and Dinner. I miss all those wonderful golden days now. Ok coming to the snack time we used to have variety of snacks.. The garam borugulu which I am sharing today is the puffed rice snack.

I don't know exactly why they call with the word 'Garam' may be garam in Hindi means hot you can take it as spicy too. Yah this snack you can make it according to your spicy level and you can call it as South Bhel puri too. Ok whatever the name may be its is one of our favorite snack for everyone almost have everyday with different flavors. There are lot of items that you can do with puffed rice like bhel puri, upma, dosa, seasoning the borugulu, Sweet balls made out of jaggery etc the list goes. This is really interesting and yummy which you can make with 4 different flavors or mixtures. Very easy to make and all you need is Borugulu(puffed rice) in Handy.

1. Beetroot Garam
2. Shallot & Ginger Garam
3. Coconut Cilantro Garam
4. Spicy Garlic Garam




Method for Mixing :

For Mixing all these garams you need

Puffed rice - as required
Coconut oil - Few drops
Roasted gram dhal (Optional)
Your favorite garam - according to your spice level

1.Just in big bowl have some puffed rice and few drops of coconut oil mix well so that all the borugulu is well coated with oil.
2.Add your favorite flavor according to your spice level and mix well. So that everything should be well blended.
3. Serve in a bowl with spoon.. ready for munching!!!!!


You can do all this garams ahead of time or when ever you find time. Store in the air tight container refrigerate. This stays good for 4 to 5 days. Use when needed.





Beetroot Garam :

Beet root - 1 Shredded (use small side shredder)
Shallots -5 or 6 very finely chopped
Green Chilli paste - 3 tsp
Salt
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp or according to your taste
Coriander leaves - little chopped finely for garnishing

Method :

1. Mix all the above ingredients until well blended.
2. Store in the air tight container.


Shallots & Ginger Garam :

Shallots - 1 handful
Ginger - 1/4 inch
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Salt
Green chilli - 3

Method :

1. Put all the ingredient in the mortar pestle or in the blender and coarsely whip it.
2. Store in the airtight container.

Coconut Cilantro Garam :

Coconut - 1/4 cup
Green chilli -5
Cilantro - 6 springs
Garlic - 3
Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp
Salt as needed

Method :

1. Coarsely grind all the ingredients in the blender.
2. Store in the air tight container.



Spicy Garlic Garam :

Garlic - 6 pods
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tbsp
Salt
Coconut oil - 1/2 tbsp

Method :
1. First crush the garlic using the mortar pestle and add all other ingredients.
2. Coarsely mix everything and use when needed.




Note :

1. Increase or decrease the spicy and sourness according to your taste.

Tip :

1. You can substitute the Beets with carrot, or mix both.
2. The Beet mixture can also be used as sandwich filling for thattai's. Which is crispy billalu.
3. You can use the coconut cilantro mixture for the side dish for Dosa and Idli too .. tastes yumm.



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SZECHUAN CAPSICUM RICE


Its spring here already, weather is so beautiful. And we are enjoying the weather. Like weather, making food very colorful is also real treat for eyes and good for health too. I planned to do szechuan fried rice, since so many colors of capsicum was there I made the szechuan capsicum rice which tasted so good, as the sweetness of capsicum balanced with spicy szechuan sauce resulted with yummy rice. So here is colorful treats....


SZECHUAN CAPSICUM RICE

Ingredients :

Basmati Rice - 1 cup cooked
Capsicum - All colors 1 cup
Onion - 1/4 cup
Celery - 1 stalk chopped
Spring onion - finely chopped 4 sprigs
Red chilli broken - 2
Soya sauce - 1/2 tbsp
Salt for taste
White pepper powder - just for taste


For Szechuan Sauce :

Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 2 pod
Red chilli - 2
Shallots - 1
Ginger - 1/4 inch



Method :

1. Soak the Red chill in the vinegar for some time and make a paste with other ingredients garlic and ginger.
2. Heat oil in the pan and the broken redchilli, followed by onion, celery and capsicum giving slight toss. Make sure to have the high flame.
3. Slightly saute so that the veggies has to be cooked but should be crunchy and color is not changed.
4. Now add the rice, szechuan sauce, soya sauce, salt and pepper. Give a high toss.
5. Once eveything is blended well add spring onion for garnishing.

Hot and spicy szechaun rice is ready to eat !!!!!!



Note :

Adjust the spicy according to your taste.
The texture of the vegetables is very important for taste. So make sure it is cooked but crunchy.



Tip :

1. Instead of capsicums substitute with vegetables like carrot, cabbage and peas.
2. For making more healthy add the sprouts too.
3. Add scrambled egg, paneer, mushrooms along with veggies for mixed vegetable szechaun rice.

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JELLO WITH MASCARPONE



Mascarpone fresh, rich cow's milk cheese takes different forms with savouries and desserts. Mascarpone with Fruits, Cakes, Jello and as spreads tastes awesome. So this rich cheesy delight taking avatar with jello is here for your visual treat, which is so refreshing with the combination of berry and citrus flavors. Here for making jello I used the instant Jello packets which is made of edible gum not the gelatin which tastes so good and sets fast too.



JELLO WITH MASCARPONE

Ingredients :

Two flavors of Jello packets - I used strawberry and orange


For Mascarpone cream mixture U need :

Mascarpone - 3 tbsp
Grated orange peel (zest) - from 1/2 orange
Gelatin- 1 tsp (unflavored)
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Whipped cream - 1/2 cup


Method :

1. First prepare the orange flavor jello as per the instruction in the packet and fill the bottom of the glass which you are going to to serve. Once it is set.
2. To prepare mascarpone cream, sprinkle the unflavoured gelatin over 2 tbsp of cold water.
3. Allow it to soften for 10 minutes.
4. Now whisk the mascarpone and mix with orange zest, sugar.
5. Heat the gelatin mixture in microwave for 30 seconds or 50 seconds until all the granules are dissolved.
6. Once it is cooled add this to the Mascarpone cream. Now mix in the whipped cream too.
7. Spoon the mixture in the glass for second layer. Once it is set.
8. Proceed with the another flavor gelatin. For third layer, but it has to be completely cooled. for cooling this jello make sure to stir often until it is completely cooled otherwise it sets easily and fails for the pouring consistency.
9. Once all these layers are set, let is cool for few hours.
10. Then its Dessert Time !!!!!!!




Tip :

You can set this layers in big dish, make slices and serve with favorite fruits.




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