Orange Sesame Seed Cake /Bread

I saw this recipe this morning and I just had to make it. A small issue I faced was I neither had lemons nor poppy seeds but the bread had to be baked.

So I replaced lemons with orange and poppy seeds with sesame seeds and I was ready! I did turn out quite good though it felt more like a cake than bread i.e. it was slightly dense and not airy & light like a bread. But it tasted well and so this is a good recipe by itself.

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Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds

1 small egg

1/8 cup oil (I used sunflower oil)

1 cup cold milk

1 tbsp orange juice (I used 100% Tropicana)

1 tbsp zest (I added another 1/4 tsp since that was all I had left of my zest)

For the glaze

1/8 cup sugar

1 1/2 tbsp orange juice (again Tropicana 100%)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C

2. Grease a pan and put a parchment paper (optional) at the bottom

3. Mix all the dry ingredients (totally 8 of them)

4. Whisk the egg

5. Add oil, milk and juice to the egg

6. Mix the egg mixture with the dry ingredients with a spatula. Don’t over mix

7. The mixture will not be too watery or too stiff. Somewhere in between

8. Pour this batter in the pan and bake for 40 minutes.

9. As the baking is in progress, mix the sugar and orange juice for the glaze.

10. Slightly warm the mixture and mix till the sugar dissolves. It won’t take you more than 2-3 minutes.

11. Once the toothpick comes clear of the cake, remove it from the oven

12. Poke holes with a skewer one inch apart and pour the glaze on the cake immediately.

13. Wait for 20 minutes before cooling it on the wire rack.

Notes

1. You can use fresh orange juice as well.

2. Nutmeg powder can be replaced with cinnamon powder

3. You can replace milk with cold water as in the original recipe. I used milk because I had it and not cold water

4. Anytime you make a cake that requires a glaze, it is an essential part and cannot be done away with. If you do not want to add the glaze then you need to increase the sugar portion of the cake else it won’t taste as good.

5. I figured I may have over mixed and hence the dense nature.

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Banana Bread

I know…I name my blog as ‘Bread Therapy’ and then don’t post any bread recipes. Stupid, eh?

So this one is my first own recipe…a one that I came up with! Yay!

I did bake banana bread from few other websites, mostly this one. I wanted a no egg no baking powder banana bread recipe because all I had with me was some all purpose flour and few overripe bananas. This recipe is easy and very tasty.

But after making it a few times, I started thinking on how I could try to make it a little bit healthier. I wanted to reduce the butter and sugar. I thought that substituting oil would help replacing butter while a little honey with the natural sweetness of the bananas should take care of the sweet part. Also I thought of adding egg which would substitute the sugar’s function of giving the bread structure.

So I came up with this one-

Ingredients

3/4 cup All purpose flour

1/4 cup Whole wheat flour

1 egg

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 cup oil (I used sunflower oil)

2 tbsp honey

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

4 medium sized bananas

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 175 C and grease the bottom of a pan

2. Mash the bananas thoroughly and keep aside

3. Beat the egg lightly and keep aside

4. Mix the flours, salt, baking soda and cinnamon powder together

5. Add oil and honey to the flour mix and blend well

6. Add the egg to the mixture and blend well

7. Add the bananas to the mix

8. Bake for 30-35 minutes till the toothpick comes clean

Notes

1. This recipe is work in progress.

2. It was airy and not dense. It coloured well. The texture seemed good.

3. I think it needs more salt – maybe 1tsp

4. It could use some flavour – could make it sweet with figs / dates

5. The batter seemed a little dry. The bread also was dry the next day. Maybe increasing the oil to 1/6 cup would solve this.

6. I beat it with a hand whisk. Maybe a hand blender would have given it a better consistency.

Will keep updating this…. If you try any variation of this, do let me know…

Instant Raagi Dosa

As promised, here is the recipe for Raagi Dosa. Its healthy and tasty – a rare combination which I hold dear. The fun part of this recipe is it can be varied and ingredients replaced as per availability. So here goes –

Ingredients

1 cup          Raagi flour

1/4 cup      Rice flour

1/4 cup      Wheat flour

1/4 cup      Buttermilk

1/2              Medium sized onion

8-10           Whole black pepper

Coriander leaves

Salt to taste

Water

Directions

1. Mix all the flours together.

2. Pour in the buttermilk and some water to make it a runny batter. It should be like the rava dosa batter.

Raagi Dosa batter

3. Add the salt, onions, black pepper, coriander leaves

Raagi dosa batt

4. Your dosa is ready to be made. It does not require any sit-in or resting time. It is truly an ‘instant’ dosa.

5. Pour the batter on a hot tava just like a rava dosa. Make an outline with the batter and then fill it in so that the entire thing can be taken out as a single piece.

6. Add oil on the edges and flip after a minute to cook the other side as well.

Raagi dosa

Enjoy!

Notes –

The rice flour and wheat flour are interchangeable. You can substitute one for the other. The wheat flour is the healthier option while the rice flour is the tastier option. So I have used a mix of the two.

If you don’t want to add the onions, pepper and coriander to the batter at the beginning, you can add them to individual dosas once they have been poured on the tava. But add these before the oil so that they will get the time to set into the dosa.

If your dosa turns out a little dry then it either needs more water in the batter or it needs to be taken out sooner from the tava.

You need to mix the batter before pouring for every dosa since it tends to sit at the bottom of the vessel.

The colour of the dosa depends on the flour mix. If you use more wheat then the dosa color would be darker as compared to using more rice flour. My dosa is colored darker because of the colors of the ragi flour (I have a dark pink colour flour…was a gift so I am not sure what and why)

What I learnt this week – My baking station

So I thought I should pen down stuff I have learned and am learning during this arduous and exhilarating journey of becoming a baker!

I am a newbie and by that I mean, I started baking around a month ago. Yeah! Total newbie 🙂 So I thought I could pen down stuff as I am learning and observing them which could help others and me in future. So this part of my blog is titled ‘What I learnt this week’. It may not be a weekly post because I don’t bake so often as to have enough to write every week. Also, I don’t make soooo many mistakes a week. Not that bad…

So I thought I would start with my baking station. I am kinda proud of it 🙂 Even though you are a newb, there are quite a few things you would need and can’t replace or do without. Some investment is needed….

Firstly, you need an oven. Obviously! Mine is a Morphy Richards 28 litres and I am quite happy with it. My family presently consists of my husband, my ten month old daughter and me. So I guess this size works for me. IF you have a large family or you plan to bake in huge quantities, you may need to look at bigger sizes.

The best birthday gift from the husband

An oven mitt and potholder are required to be able to pull the baked goods from the oven since it would be very hot. You could use a kitchen cloth but it needs to be very thick or folded into many layers. I think a mitt is better since its safer and there is no chance of you hurting yourself in any way.

My Baking Station1

You would need a few mixing bowls in 2-3 sizes. I have five bowls in five different sizes. You can actually make do with 2 or 3. But an indulgent wave blew me to buy so many. I have three bowls in stainless steel which are comfortable since I don’t have to worry about them falling and breaking. Then I saw a few baking videos and programs and fell for the elegant looking glass bowls and bought two of them. But now I do find it easier mixing in a glass bowl when I use a hand mixer. My stainless steel ones are more open which causes the sugar or flour to fly away whereas the glass ones have a straighter wall causing less dispersion of the ingredients.

Glass mixing bowls

You would also need baking dishes. These can be glass, aluminum or conningware or ceramic. The choice is yours. Just note that baking is faster in aluminum as compared to glass or ceramic. So you may have to keep it for a little longer in the oven. If you would be more comfortable with following the recipes exactly then you are better off buying aluminum dishes. I have couple of them in glass (a square and a round), one ceramic (loaf tray) and one aluminum (bundt).

You would also need a sieve to sift flour, icing sugar, etc.

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Measuring cups and spoons are extremely essential. You can try all you want to work around this but that is not going to be successful. Baking, as they say, is a science and 1 tsp means 1 tsp and not nearabouts 1 tsp. Small errors like that lead to disastrous consequences and is not worth it. I would recommend you to have two sets of the measuring spoons. It is very useful when you have to measure out dry and wet ingredients and you can use one set for each without having to wash and clean them.

Measuring Cups

I also have a measuring jar which helps to measure liquid ingredients when given in mls instead of cup measurements.

Measuring Jar

I recently picked up a weighing scale and I must admit it is very easy to measure ingredients by weight as compared to cups in which you need to be extra careful about how much you put in the cup and level it. I bought this on Amazon for around Rs.300. It can measure in both gms and oz upto 7 kgs. I definitely won’t need more than that. It is working fine so far and I have no complaints.

Weigh Scales

You would also need a whisk. I already did and so did not have to buy one specifically now.

A very simple but extremely useful tool is a rubber or silicon spatula. It is very essential for mixing the dry and wet ingredients in a recipe. You would mix with a whisk but a spatula helps getting all the flour stuck to the wall of the mixing bowl and ensures an even mixing of all ingredients. I read that a silicon spatula is better than a rubber one. But I am quite pleased with a rubber spatula. Please note that a wooden or steel one won’t work out because you need the spatula to bend in order to pull in all the flour.

Spatula

I bought a hand mixer but it is not an essential IF you are willing to beat eggs and cream butter and sugar with a hand whisk. It takes a lot more time and would be tough to mix but if you are up for it then a regular hand whisk should be fine. I have a Morphy Richards hand mixer and it is quite satisfactory

Hand mixer

 

This sums up the stuff on my baking station. It is not a short list but most of them are stuff you can’t do without. I will update this if I figure out any additional stuff.

Happy Baking!

Update – I bought these silicon cupcake moulds. They are ok not great. One issue is that some of them start tearing after being used 4-5 times. Also the shape does not always hold. I am thinking of buying a proper cupcake mould. That should hopefully work better!

Cupcake mould

I am also looking for a wooden chopping board. Not an essential but it looks really good. So if anyone knows where I can find it in Bangalore or online, please drop in a line……I’ll dedicate my next baking project to you 🙂

Groundnut Chutney

I am always on the lookout for instant chutney recipes that do not include coconut. I like to make chutneys fresh and use it up instantly. I try as much as possible to avoid refrigerating chutneys. It reduces the flavour and is not as good as a fresh offering. Since I need to feed the husband breakfast at 7, I need to have instant quick fix stuff to make. So I came up with this one –

Ingredients

1/4 cup peeled roasted groundnuts

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 1/2 inch ginger

1 small piece tamarind

1-2 dried red chillies

Salt

Water

Directions

If you do not have roasted groundnuts, you can dry roast groundnuts for 2-3 minutes. Once cooled, peel the skin and use. Grind the groundnuts first to a coarse powder. Cut ginger, garlic and red chillies to small pieces so that they can be ground faster. Add them to the groundnuts. Tear the tamarind into two or three pieces. Add it along with salt and water. Grind all to a smooth paste.

If you have tamarind water (possibly left over from making sambhar or rasam) you can add that instead of the tamarind piece.

I like a strong garlic flavor and so I use 4 cloves. You can add or reduce it as per your taste. Add one red chilly first. If it is not spicy enough you can add the second one.

You can also temper the chutney with mustard seeds and / or curry leaves. I am not a big fan of tempering and so I do not do that.

Groundnut chutney

You can have it with all types of idlis and dosas and other south indian breakfast items. I am having it with Raagi Dosa. Will post that recipe soon! Happy Grinding!

Banana Dates Smoothie

I had posted this as part of the NaBloPoMo for May which had the theme of ‘Nourishment’ in my other blog. But I guess this would be a good fit here.

Today I have a yummy recipe for our nourishment – Banana Dates Smoothie

Ingredients
4 ripe bananas
4-6 dates seedless or de seeded
1-2 tbsp honey
2 cups cold milk

Put all of the above in a blender and blend into a yummy smoothie. If you don’t have cold milk, you can add ice but that dilutes the taste of the smoothie. The amount of honey depends on the sweetness from the banana and dates. If the two are sweet enough, you can avoid the honey all together. It’s better to use honey as compared to sugar because it is good for health. But if you don’t have honey, you can use sugar.

 I plan to try the banana smoothie with dried figs next time. Will post how that came along!

Rava Kesari for infants

I have a ten month daughter who is primarily responsible for my new found love for cooking and baking. Today I introduced her to rava and I can safely say it was a moderate success.

My funda is usually to introduce her to new food by mixing it with something she already eats and loves. This makes the introduction easier and does not have me running to alternatives.

So what I did today –

1/4 cup Rava

1 cup Water*

3 tsp Sugar

1/2 tsp Ghee

1-2 Bananas

Roast the rava in 1/4 tsp ghee till light brown. Mix water and sugar and put it to boil. Once the water is boiled simmer the flame and add the roasted rava spoon by spoon. If you add it at once, the water will boil over and overflow from the vessel. Mix the rava and the water till it achieves a paste like consistency. Switch off the gas and add the remaining ghee. Mash the bananas in a cup or bowl. Add the rava and mix.

If the consistency is too hard then add some water so that it is easy to feed your little one. Since my daughter loves banana, I added that to the rava. You can even boil and mash an apple and add it to the rava.

* Water is usually taken at 2 to 3 times of the quantity of rava depending on the rava quality. It is better to boil little more water than needed. If the rava is not fully cooked in the water (2 times of rava) then additional water can be added.

Hope you enjoy!

Via Milano – brunch review

This weekend, the husband, daughter and I were to head to Mysore for a long awaited weekend trip. But due to various reasons, we did not. The husband, in his brief guilty conscience, promised me a delicious lunch of my choice. Poor guy! He spoke to soon.

After spending extensive time on the internet, particularly the various restaurant review sites, we were undecided. Suddenly, the husband had a flash. He remembered that his colleague has suggested an Italian place which had a good buffet and the name of the restaurant began with a ‘L’ or an ‘M’. He did not remember anything else, not even the location. Me, the genius, ‘Googled’ and ‘Googled’ till Google almost gave up. Finally I discovered Via Milano and the husband’s memory agreed it to be the one. We made reservations for the Sunday brunch.

Via Milano is in Koramangala, near Sony Centre on the third floor. One of my must haves in a restaurant is good parking space. You would laugh if you are not a resident of Bangalore. Else, you would completely understand. Well, this one has valet parking. Good beginnings! Thanks to the traffic, we reached more than 20 minutes late but they were nice to keep our reservation.

Once, they saw my little girl and her pram, they showed us to a corner where we could keep her comfortable and also not be in the way of the other patrons. That was a relief. I feel mighty uncomfortable if I need to keep adjusting the pram for others to move about. The large glass walls gave us a good view of the street and we settled down comfortably.

God! I have written more than a page and still not a word about the food. Damn me!

Anyways, we had the option of choosing between the brunch with or without alcohol. Driving plus daughter does not bode well for a meal with alcohol. So the husband and I settled for the mocktail meal. Between the two of us, we tried 4-5 mocktails, all of which were good. But, it was kind of surprising that every one of them had pineapple in them which set me wondering about people who don’t like pineapple. I did, so no worries there. The appetizers were plenty and visually very appealing.  They had bruschetta, baked and stuffed mushrooms, eggs, hummus and pita bread and a large variety for toppings including dry fruits, fried garlic, etc. I was wondering why was hummus and pita bread a part of an Italian spread. But then, I love both of them and hence decided to eat without getting into too much detail. The non-veg section had prawns, chicken, fish, etc. I don’t eat them but they did look delicious.

The next on the menu was the pasta. They only had three varieties which were the more common ones – spaghetti, penne and fussili. I was looking for more variety. The vegetarian toppings were totally yummy. I had broccoli, corn, olives, mushrooms with the white sauce. I am kinda proud about my white sauce but this one was simply out of this world. The husband, though was loyal to say mine was better.

The pizza was a thin crust one with cheese and tomatoes. It was also very delicious  and I had over three slices. Guilty pleasures! The main course consisted of khus-khus rice with mixed vegetables, lasagna and eggplant broccoli roll. I did not like the rice dish too much. Not that it was bad but the others were much better. The lasagna was succulent and well cooked. The eggplant broccoli roll was outstanding. It was a simple dish with fantastic results. I plan to try making something similar at home. Fingers crossed.

We could hardly eat anything after this heavy a meal but it also seemed like a sin to miss out on the desserts. So we called for those as well. The dessert platter had vanilla panacotta, chocolate mousse and tiramisu. The vanilla panacotta was nice but not exceptional and seemed a little bland or it could just be my anti-vanilla bias talking. The mousse was light, airy and melted in my mouth. It was not too sweet and one did not feel like one had actually had the dessert. The tiramisu was fresh and soft and a dream finish to an awesome meal.

A quick word about the service – The people at Via Milano were extremely friendly and informative. Despite it being a buffet, they took pains to actually walk me through the dishes enquiring about my preferences and making smart recommendations. The service was quick for the made-to-order items as it was for the bill. They were even nice enough to enquire if I needed a juice or something else to give my daughter. Haven’t seen this kind of attention in a long time now. Definitely a kid friendly place!!!

Another fun aside was that coincidentally most of the other tables also had at least one kid. So, it was fun mingling around with other patrons.

All in all, it is definitely recommended to visit Via Milano for a happy Sunday Brunch!

Via Milano

Adayar Ananda Bhavan – a breakfast review

The husband and I like having elaborate breakfasts on weekends and holidays. Since that involves too much work for me and not as much ‘holiday’ we outsource the breakfast.

Today, we checked out the Adyar Ananda Bhavan at Kadugodi,Whitefield. We reached there at about 8:45 am and it was fairly crowded. They have two floors – the ground floor is the sweet and snack stall as also the self service section whereas the first floor is the air-conditioned restuarant. Since the ground floor was almost full and we had our 10 month daughter with us, we decided to go to the first floor. It was our first time here though the husband and I have been regular at the A2B restaurants in Chennai when we were there. Hence, our excitement at seeing one opening so close home at Bangalore.

We decided to try the mini tiffin so as to get an idea of all the items at once and also some variety. The mini tiffin platter has one each of idli,vada,masala dosa and one serving of pongal and rava kesari. These were accompanied by sambhar, coconut chutney, coriander chutney and onion & tomato chutney. Quite a complete breakfast! These were a visual treat to start with in a neat stainless steel plate with a banana leaf on it.

What I liked – very tasty food.

What I did not like – None of the dishes were hot. It does not make so much of a difference with pongal or kesari. But when a vada or idli is not hot, it kills much of the fun of eating them. The ghee in the kesari was overflowing and so it was with the pongal. The chutneys and sambhar were good.

We washed down this large breakfast with some coffee. It was very strong – just the way I like it. But that may not be what suits everyone.

We also picked some murukku and mixture on our way out since we got quite nostalgic about the Chennai outlets.

One of the highlights of this place is the parking availability. The building has an underground parking which is a blessing in Bangalore.

All in all, it is a good place to visit.

We went a couple of weeks later with my mother-in-law and niece. This time we sat in the self service section on the ground floor. Had a good time then too. The food is consistent to say the least!