14 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Orange Marmalade Cake

Come winter's and I would regret not being able to bake. Not anymore!!! :D

This season also takes me down memory lane. Christmas holiday's would mean a trip to Kolkatta to my grannies and along with that eating tons of oranges till one day it dawned upon my aunt that we can bake an orange cake! That's when my romance with orange in the cake started.

Now that I have my own Oven; this Christmas I have attempted my first take at baking a slight variation from that of my aunt's version...I baked an Orange Marmalade Cake! Since it also happens to be my sister's birthday and I have a reasonably good oven I needed not further convincing...

For the cake base:
Orange Juice- 1/4th cup (I used fresh orange juice for my cake)
Grated Orange- 2 teaspoon
Orange Marmalade- 1/2 cup
Maida (refined flour)- 2 1/2 cups
Baking Powder- 2 1/2 teaspoons
Butter- 150 grams
Sugar- 3/4th cup
Egg- 3, separated
Milk- 1/2 cup

For the orange icing:
Grated Orange rind- 2 teaspoons
Orange Juice- 2 tablespoons
Butter- 60 grams
Powdered Sugar- 1/2 cup


Pre-heat the oven at 150 C for 15 minutes. Simultaneously grease and line a 8" square cake tin.

Sift the flour and baking powder together. Cream the butter, orange rind, sugar and egg yolks in a small bowl with an electric mixer or with whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy.Stir in the marmalade. Fold in the sifted flour alternately with the milk and orange juice.

Beat the egg white until they form firm peaks and fold gently into the cake mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35 minutes.

Let the cake stand in the baking dish till it cools slightly. Once cooler run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the mould. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and allow it to coll thoroughly. It should take about a couple of hours for the cake to cool completely.

To make the orange icing, cream the butter and orange rind in a bowl. Gradually beat in the sifted powder sugar and orange juice. Spread the icing over the cooled cake. Decorate as you wish! :)

Blooming on Bainbridge: Tarragon Chicken Velvet Soup

I have begun following this very talented ladies blog and I must say that she is FANTABULOUS!

Sharing a post which I thought is amazing because of the correct use of words and visuals. Check it out...

Blooming on Bainbridge: Tarragon Chicken Velvet Soup: "{I love using recipe cards that I wrote years ago!} Remember that soup? You know! The SOUP I was making after I got a 'talking to'! The soup..."

13 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Baked Mushroom Macaroni

Another winter evening in Mumbai and thanks to all that excitement around the 'nip in the air' syndrome; my family gets a chance to feast yet again! Macaroni n cheese has always been a continental fav but this variation seems to be a bit more healthy.

Macaroni- 2 cups (cooked as per packet instruction)

For the vegetable layer:
Onion- 1/2 cup (1 large sized), chopped
Capsicum (red, yellow, green)- 1 cup (1 small sized of each), chopped
Tomatoes- 1 cup (2 medium sized), chopped
Button Mushrooms- 1 cup, sliced
Oregano- 2 tablespoons
Sliced Olives- 2 tablespoons
Butter- 2 tablespoons
Salt- 1 teaspoon OR as per taste
Pepper- 1 teaspoon

For the mushroom sauce:
Mushroom soup powder- 1/4th cup (readily available in the market. I used Knorr)
Water- 1 1/2 cups

Other ingredients:
Mozzarella cheese- 1/4th cup, grated
Butter- 1/2 teaspoon to grease the baking dish
Sliced black olives- 1 teaspoon to garnish the bake


Preparing the vegetable layer.
Heat the butter in a non stick pan, add the onions and sautee till they turn translucent.
Now add the capsicum, mushrooms and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the oregano, olives, salt and pepper. Cook for 1/2 a minute and set aside.

Preparing for the bake:

Arrange the macaroni as the base layer in a greased baking dish.
Spread the vegetables and layer this on top of the macaroni covering all of it. Now pour the mushroom sauce on top.
Sprinkle the cheese on the bake and set aside.
Pre-heat the oven at 200 C for 5 minutes. Now place the baking dish on the middle grill and bake for 12 minutes.
Garnish with the remaining olives and serve hot with garlic bread or just like that!

12 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Vegetarians Delight Pizza

A chilly Sunday morning, a new oven waiting to be inaugurated and a hungry toddler….yes it is Pizza time at home for us!

While I did take a shortcut by using a ready Pizza base (from the market) I’d advise otherwise; if you really have time and patience to bake it yourself I am confident it will taste even better. Will try it from scratch next time but here’s what I did this morning.


Pizza Base- 8” base
Tomato Puree- 50ml
Green Bell Pepper- 1, de-seeded and sliced into rings
Mushrooms- 6, thinly sliced lengthwise
Beans- 5 stalks, thinly sliced
Carrots- ½, thinly sliced
Spring onion- only the leaves, finely chopped about 3 tablespoons
Black Olives- 2 tablespoons of sliced pieces
Mixed Herbs- 1 tsp
Oregano- 1 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Parmesan Cheese- 50mg, grated
Cheddar Cheese- 250mg, grated


Pre-heat the oven at 250 C on the grill mode for 10 minutes.
Set-up the pizza base; begin by layering the base with tomato puree. Arrange the vegetables on the puree.
Sprinkle the herbs, salt and pepper on top of the arranged veggies.
Mix the 2 types of cheese together and spread it evenly on the veggies.
Garnish with black olives on the toppings.
Place the pizza on a greased and dusted baking/cooking tray in the center rack position.
Change the oven function to broil (only top heating). Broil at 250 C for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot with choice of sauces (Tabasco, Tomato, etc.) and hot chocolate.

09 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Paneer methi butter masala

This is one dish which is ordered out so many times that I have lost count until recently when Satrupa (Food for Thought!) shared the secret to this amazing dish.

There is a slight nip in the air in Mumbai and since we had gaajar halwa for dinner I thought let me try my hand at making it. Am I proud to say that the dinner was a BIG hit? Nooooo!!!! It was a lip smacking dinner!

In my excitement to celebrate this moment I thought I should post it as a part of my Christmas series. It is a very popular dish in India and is a favorite 'order out' menu option. So here you go, make it at home and relish with your dear one's.


Paneer- 250 grams, cubed into 1inch pieces
Onions- 3 large, chopped into small pieces
Tomatoes- 4 large, chopped into small pieces
Ginger- 1 inch, chopped into small pieces (should make about 2 tsp)
Garlic- 6 pods, chopped into small pieces (should make about 2 tsp)
Green chillies- 3, chopped into small pieces
Butter- 1tbsp for masala and another 1 tbsp for finishing touches
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder- 1 tsp
Chilli Powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder- 2/3rd tsp
Kasuri Methi- one handful
Fresh Methi Leaves- 2 cups (approximately leaves from 1/2 bunch of methi gathi)
Sugar- 1 1/2 tsp
Salt- 2 tsp

In a non stick pan drop 1 tbsp of butter. Allow it to heat and slightly brown.
Add the cumin seeds and let it splutter. To this add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute. Add the chopped onions and fry this till the onion turn brown.
Now add the tomatoes, salt, chili powder, chillies, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder and cook this for a couple of minutes with the lid on the pan.
You will notice that the sides release oil. At this point add 1/4th cup of water and allow the masala to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Switch off the heat and allow for the mixture to cool. Once ready puree this in the blender to form a paste.
In the same pan add the remaining butter and let it heat. Add the masala puree, paneer, sugar and the kasuri methi OR fresh methi leaves.
Allow for this to cook for a couple of minutes.

Serve hot with roti, salad and some tangy vegetarian sabzi.

07 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Apple stuffed chicken breasts

Preparing for a christmas eve party and stuffed chicken is a must on the list. Had eaten this dish at a friends and am planning to make it for our little do. Thought I should share it with you...


4 boneless chicken breasts
3 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 apple, peeled and chopped
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Cut a small pocket into the thickest part of each chicken breast and set aside.
  • Fry bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel.
  • Add garlic and scallions to the bacon drippings; saute slightly. Add apple, pepper, salt and thyme and return the bacon bits to pan. Heat thoroughly. Remove from heat and cool.
  • When mixture is cool, add cheese and stuff into chicken breast.
  • Brown chicken on both sides in a very hot fry pan with olive oil.
  • When brown on both sides, place in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- 8 important ornamets for Christmas and it's significance

Digressing a bit from the topic of food I wanted to share the answer to a long awaited query reeling in my head which seems to be sorted now (maybe)...

8 important ornaments for Christmas and it's significance, a click on this link will open the answers! Let me know if you know another story... Would love to deepen my knowledge on the same!
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