Bakery

Doodle for your dad !!

Yes, a father’s day post !! I usually encourage people not to get stressed about the mother’s day, father’s day etc etc. These days are simply too much too handle. Especially in my house where no one is emotionally driven to buy gifts for one another for a particular day. It could be lack of planning or we are completely impromptu. I mean I can randomly go and buy something for my mum, but if you ask me to plan a gift days ahead of mother’s day – I suck . So, over the years we have given up on ourselves and just do it only when we happen to remember the occasion. We miss a few and we celebrate a few.We have no family traditions set in stone  – which is sort of a tradition now 🙂

So couple of years ago, I was in the mood and started researching cakes for dads. And I stumbled over this amazing doodle cake idea and it was too pretty to pass it off. It was personal, looked gorgeous, handmade and involves kids. What more does a dad want? I made a chocolate cake, well it’s really my son’s favourite flavour but this was when he was just 4, so thats fine. This year he has kindly agreed to help me make a lemon drizzle which is dad’s favorite:) . Your kids will love making this for the pappa and will also be able to express their feelings better in the pictures. Just get some edible pens from any craft shop or ebay, cover dad’s favourite cake with fondant and get doodling!! It’s  as simple as that. If you are not making the cake then I am sure you can easily find plain fondant cakes in any supermarket and you can personalise it with the pens.

Doodle cake

Doodle cake

Chocolate Cake :

I used a simple chocolate sponge recipe. It is a usual tried and tested sort of recipe which everyone seem to like. It’s got a chocolate frosting which is again, everyone’s favourite. Cover it with fondant and doodle away with edble pens which you can easy source from any craft shop like amazon ! !

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Father's day cake !

Father’s day cake !

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Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns..Hot cross buns , one a penny two a penny hot cross buns !! We all grew up with this nursery rhyme. Although, we at home never baked them and hardly had them in India, the great British legacy left the idea of fancy hot cross buns in our heads for years. It’s weird how only a nursery rhyme makes you nostalgic of food which you never had when you are actually reciting it to every visitor your dad had, at every family gathering and of course in the school. I think that comes naturally to parents to showcase their child’s ‘talents’. Every time I do it now, I don’t even realise that half way through pestering the poor kid to sing and dance and then I feel stupid about it, and immediately retract to try to change the subject:)

Any way back to baking business, this is the first bake in my new kitchen and newish oven and so I am very pleased with the results. Especially when the bake looks like what it is intended to be and the family approves it, there’s nothing like it. I managed to make my batch of hot cross buns just in time. Easter Sunday breakfast feels complete with a heap of gorgeous buns, generous helping of butter and a tall mug of Black coffee – shouldn’t that be a definition of holidays?? I have researched on so many recipes for hot cross buns. You see with  some bakes , I don’t mind experimenting with flavours but I also don’t want to take it too far that it looses its respect as a traditional bake. You want to keep the speciality/traditional status of the bake in tact and that is a very hard balance to maintain. I hope you do give it a try, and like it .

HOt cross Buns

HOt cross Buns

Source : This recipe is a mix of Paul Hollywood, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson 🙂

Ingredients :

Strong White Bread flour – 500 grams Plus extra for dusting(I used waitrose organic )
Sugar – 50 grams
Salt – 1 Tsp
Easy bake Yeast – 7 grams
Milk 250-300 ml
Egg – 1
Glacier Cherries – 40 grams
crystallised Ginger – 20 grams
Dried raisins – 30 grams
Powdered Cloves – 1 1/4 Tsp
Nutmeg powder – 1 1/4 Tsp
Sunflower Oil – 3 TbSP

For the cross:

White Flour 4 TBSP
Orange Zest 1 Tsp
Sugar 1/2 Tsp
Butter 1 Tsp

For the Glaze :

Golden Syrup 2 TbSp
Orange 2 Tsp

Hot Cross Buns REady for the Oven

Method :

Warm the milk and keep aside .

Mix Flour, salt, sugar and yeast and make a well in the middle. Add the milk and egg. Mix well .
Bring the dough on to a floury surface and knead the dough really well. Initially the dough will be very sticky but as you work it through it should become more and more easy to handle. Use both hands all your strength and make a good smooth bouncy dough. Leave it to prove for an hour.

Once the dough has raised and doubled up in size, add the dried fruits, spices clove and nutmeg powder and mix well until all the fruit and spices are evenly distributed.
Leave this dough to prove again for an hour or till it is risen double its size.

In an hour, take the dough out , without knocking too much air, make small balls maybe size of a squash ball (sorry for the randomness of bringing up squash, but what I want to say here is the ball needs to bigger than a ping pong ball and smaller than a tennis ball and I actually looked it up to see which ball is in the between and it was squash ball 🙂 ) Lay the balls on prepared baking trays.

In a small bowl, add 4 TBSP of flour, little sugar, orange zest, about 1 tsp Butter and make a dough with water. Roll the dough flat, and using a knife cut long strips.Take the buns out from proving and indent cross on the buns using a knife. Place the stripes you made out the dough on the buns making the cross.

Pre heat the oven to 120 degrees and place the buns in the oven for 15 – 20 mins. Remove and serve with some butter!!

Hot Cross Buns

Glazing the buns :

Make the glaze ready for the buns. Take a small sauce pan , add 3 TBSP golden syrup, Some Orange Zest and heat it until it is all melted. Using a brush. glaze the buns generously and have them with your favourite cuppa!!

Hot cross buns
Variations & Tips:

  • Traditionally Hot cross buns have nutmeg and cinnamon. But I chose cloves as the main spice since I like the sharpness in it. I loved it with cloves and honestly I feel cloves are so underrated.
  • I got a new microwave which has a dough proofing option. I proved the dough in the microwave for the first time rather reluctantly but I am very pleased with the results. It does take an hours time but I guess we can be sure it will rise in that time unlike the natural proving which depend on the temperature. If you want to really save the time, prove the dough overnight and skip the second prove. Should work just fine. I skipped second proof so many times in bakes.
  • Oil your bowl and the cling film when you prove the dough to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl.
  • I don’t like my buns overloaded with fruit so I used them cautiously, but if you like them go for it and add a few more of those dried fruits.
  • I chose , glacier cherries , crystallised Ginger and Raisins. These can be substituted with any dried fruits you like. A few of them you might like are mixed peel, cranberries, dried cherries, Apricots
  • To keep the fruit in your bun plump and juicy , soak them in water or any juice for couple of hours.
  • I did use egg wash half way through the bake for more defined colour. So after 10-12 minutes, quickly apply the egg wash on your buns and return to bake for the next 5 minutes. Applying egg wash at the beginning browns the buns quickly and makes it hard to judge if the bake is done.
  • For the cross, you can also make a more runny mixture, and pipe the cross on the buns instead of rolling the dough and laying out the crosses on the buns.
  • Again, experiment with glaze. Jam glaze is another option to make those buns sticky and give them a shiny look. if you do not have Jam or golden syrup, Just make the glaze with sugar and water. Works just fine.

Enjoy your cuppa with Hot Cross Buns

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Plum Jam

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Hey hey my lovely readers. I hope you all had a great summer. Mine has been amazing because I took a break from work, from blogging, from even house keeping 🙂 to spend the summer holidays with my son. I have had so many instances l couldn’t be around for him. Although, my gorgeous little boy (ok lets call him GLB) never complained, it does hurt when you have to miss a christmas production at school, or a concert because of work. So, to compensate all that, this summer was filled with multiple visits to various museums, lots of tennis, park visits, visits to ice cream parlours and numerous sleepovers with his cousins and friends. Ofcourse, I kept out of sleepover’s …err most of the time :). This super indulgence has gone so far, that now my GLB suggested that I should go back to work and also thought it would be good if the work hours are longer so he can spend some time with his friends. Oh well, kids are kids, they don’t understand the sacrifice we parents make. Staying at home and trying to be with them 24 hrs is not easy Hehe 😛 …(actually it is fun !!) . Ok so one of our summer outing was pick your farm. Now, kids love picking fruit an veg. Even the one, they don’t enjoy eating. It is a fun excercise for them and then the real test is when we are back home, you have plan all your meals for the next 20 days around the fruit and veg you brought home. Something like that happened to us. We picked huge quantities of plums. 3 Kilos to be precise. Now for first 1 kilo, I have managed to stuff it up my husband in the form of fruit and smoothies. He is our food disposal system most of the time. The rest of the plums, are going too ripe, so I had decided to go Jamming …which of course was a lot of Jam but everyone loved it.

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Now for the part of making the jam. I have used the most easy method I know. My mum’s mantra for Jam is equal amounts of sugar and fruit. But, if she was making this Jam she would have pealed the plums, but I didn’t bother. They were too many of them. But trust me, it is just fine…if you don’t have the time or patience, just leave the skin on.

And for the sugar, normal sugar is ok to use but it is easy to find Sugar with pectin in the super markets these days. It speeds up the process and thickens the Jam quickly. Pectin is a jelling agent that is found is citrus fruits. So, if you can’t find sugar with pectin, just add a little extra lemon juice to compensate. Now for the procedure :

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Ingredients : 

1 kg Plums (Yield will be  close to 1.5 kG)

1 Kg Sugar with pectin  (if you don’t have pectin – then add about 1 TBsp. lemon juice)

25 grams unsalted butter

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Method: 

Halve  the plums and remove the seed. Put them in a deep pan on medium heat to cook slowly. Once they release all the liquids in them and start to cook completely, add the sugar and lemon juice. Let the mixture cook again on medium heat untill all the sugar is dissolved.

Keep stirring occasionally making sure the jam at the bottom is not getting burnt. After about 10 minutes, reduce the heat to low and leave it to cook again for 10 min. The jam should start to thicken at this point. Leave it to cool and repeat the process two more times of bringing the jam to boil on medium heat and cooling it down.

I do not use the thermometer to check the setting point etc. I don’t have the tools and everyone has their own preferences when it comes to how think or runny Jam should be. I check the consistency of the jam when it gets to room temperature. It should be obviously start to look like …’Jam’, and when you run your finger through it should form a definite line. If you are in a hurry to do this test, then just pop a spoon of the mixture in a bowl, put it in the freezer for a min and check the consistency. If you are not happy with the consistency, just place the Jam back on heat and bring to boil again untill you get the desired thickness.

I hope you like my a little tedious but easy peesy summer fruit Jam recipe and I really would like if you try it and share your thoughts on this post.

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Cafe Mocha Cupcakes

Coffee is one of the few things that tastes great both hot and cold. The chilled frappuccinos in hot summer and piping hot cuppas in the more chilly weathers just lift your mornings. Coffee was not one of my favourite beverages until 2005. It was only a ‘cool’ thing to do during the happy college days. Coffee shops were then the most favoured hangouts.  They used to be perfect both to catch up with friends and for those cheeky mini dates. Your group is cool if you hang out in coffee shops. It’s romantic to chat away with boyfriend  sipping cold coffee. And thanks to these coffee shops, sitting alone with a book and a huge cuppa is no longer weird.  I never liked the hot coffee though. Just for the fact that they had steaming milk in them and although I love cold milk I’d literally throw up if I drank boiled milk. And coffee in India is mostly served with lots of milk. So, in one way it is a good thing I didn’t drink as much coffee as everyone around me did and so I didn’t get addicted like many others.

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 ‘I am very efficient at work. I have never missed a coffee break’  

Coming to London, and having looked at a completely different way to consume tea and coffee without boiling the milk lead the way for me to give caffeine a try again. Initially I drank to literally have a coffee break and to stroll away from my desk. Then I fell in love with the fresh aroma of coffee and now I kind of relish a nice big mug of black coffee almost every day. Having said that  I am fine if I don’t get one for the day. I think I am fortunate in that way.

cupcake

I was to make some cupcakes for the BBPC #2 assignment and looked up for some nice cupcake recipes. As usual I was running up to the photo submission deadline and the focus was on the photography (cough cough) Yes…Me and photography …..  I chose a very simple coffee cupcakes recipe. But I was more than pleased with the result. I took them to work and three people commented that I was in the wrong profession,  Bless ‘em.  The recipe was adapted from here, I did add this and that, here and there till I got some not so strong coffee flavoured cupcakes with just the right amount of coffee and chocolate in the butter cream icing.  And you know what I am pleased with the pictures too thanks to BBPC. I submitted the below picture for the assignment.

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To make 6-8 of these gorgeous cupcakes you will need : 

100g Sugar

100g Unsalted butter

2 eggs

100 grams self raising flour

2 Tsp Espresso (I used Precol medium)

Coffee beans for garnishing

For the icing : 

120g Butter

120g Icing Sugar

1 1/2 Tsp Espresso

75g Melted Chocolate

Method: 

Pre heat the oven up to 180 degrees.

Beat the Sugar and butter until fluffy.

Add the eggs and beat them.

Slowly start adding the flour and the espresso.

Mix everything well and spoon them into the cupcake cases. These will rise well so only fill the cases about half way. Bake them in the oven for 15-20 mins and Let them cool

For the Icing:

Mix the butter, and icing Sugar

Add the espresso

Add the melted chocolate and beat well.

Finishing:

Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes and decorate with coffee beans and serve, Trust they are simple but have a very luxurious and elegant taste.

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Pull Apart Garlic Butter Bread Stuffed With Chedder Cheese

Another amazing baking challenge by Manujla Kanted from Desi Fiesta  via Homebakers Challenge . And I am posting this after months past the challenge deadline. Well I tend to get on the baking bit quiet in time but writing it up and posting take a million years for me because I hardly get those intimate few hours in front of the computer in my typical day when I can concentrate on writing. I am not complaining because, this is because I am slacking but because I am occupied and often that means spending time with my family and spending time with my son. I relish those two precious hours we get to spend together everyday between 6pm to 8PM till it is his bed time. Stories from school, reading books, dinner time and board games makes me content. I wish I could spend more time in the day like that but at the same time I also think, running the rat race all day is what makes these two hours so special. So, again no complaints. Now, coming to the bakers’ challenge, here my take on it…

Bread is something you start relishing even before you start making it. I enjoyed the whole process of baking this particular bread. Kneading the dough with warm melted garlic butter is magic. The aroma lifts you into a fairy tale….until  your hands start cursing you for starting it (if you are not using a fancy kitchen aid appliance) . But, The magic resumes and the fairy tale is back once the bread is in oven and your whole neighbourhood is filled with the aroma. You are sitting there with a  cup of tea eagerly waiting for the bread to rise, turn golden brown and become the spectacular centre piece on your dining table.

I was overwhelmed by all the pictures posted online of stuffed breads or pull breads. They looked very complicated and something which requires craft. But, I soon realised the water roux method to bake the bread is quiet simple. The cheese fan as I am, I had to incorporate some cheese and garlic in the bread which is just AWESOME.

bread 3

You will need these ingredients:

Water roux:

1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water

Main Dough:

2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 Tsp. sugar
1/2  Tsp. Salt
1 1/2 Tsp. Dried Thyme
100 ml of water plus 2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 Tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 Tsp. yeast
3 Tbsp. butter melted
1-2 Garlic cloves

For stuffing :

Lots of cheddar cheese chilled and cut in cubes

Method :

Prepare the rough mixture by combining the rough ingredients in a small pan and stir it on medium flame untill  the mixture is bubbling. immediately remove from heat and leave it to cool.
Crush the garlic cloves into the butter, add thyme and leave it aside to mix it to the dough later.
Pre heat the oven to 350F and grease your pan.

In a big bowl add all the ingredients and start mixing them including the garlic butter. knead well untill the dough is soft and easy to handle. Let the dough rest for at least 20 minutes. Knead the dough again and divide the dough into balls.  flatten the dough balls, place a nice big chuck of cheddar cheese in the centre and seal the ball. Repeat for all the balls. Place the balls in a pan of your choice, either a loaf tim or a cake pan and bake for 20 minutes. let the bread slightly cool and it should come of the pan straight away. Share the pull apart bread with the family and enjoy!

bread 1

With the same dough I also made a sandwich kind of load with mozzarella cheese. Just Roll the dough into a thick rectangle and cut it into slices. Drain the mozzarella pieces well, otherwise  your loaf will be soggy. Seal the sides and place it in a loaf tin and bake for 15 minutes or untill its golden brown. Trust me it was very delicious and was a hit on the table.

mozzerella loaf

Home bakers challenge

Scrumptious Pooranpoli Cupcakes

Deserts are the way to celebrate any occasion and if that’s cupcakes then it can’t get better. But hey, It CAN get better when they are shared with fellow bloggers and when you get to taste quiet a selection of them. It gets even better when you are feeding your brain aswell in the process by learning how to photograph those delicious cupcakes. That is exactly what had happened at the bloggers buzz photography club session which was led by Nisha Thomas of  Look who’s cooking too and hosted by Suchismita Mazumdar of Kitchen Karma .  A very informative session which had focus on diffused lighting and post processing. The videos for the post processing  are up on Blogger’s Buzz  website which, for me, is a feast. I have been cupcake fed all the tips and tricks of using lighting for your advantage and of course lot’s of insight on how to finish up your photo using picmonkey.

Here are some photos I clicked during the session and have been processed using picmonkey. 

Rose petal cupcake                      Beautiful Cupcakes by Vinnetha Sush of  Ruchi

chocolate cupcakes           Delicious Cupcakes by Manjiri Chitnis of Sliceoffme also

Also Joined by Vaishali of Cloves & Capers

It was ‘world cupcake week’ and we were asked to bring some cupcakes to photograph. I had this fusion cupcake concept in mind for a while now and I thought , who else could be better judges than some of the food blogging experts. The whole idea was inspired from the pooranpoli or bobbattu which is a paratha stuffed with sweetened yellow lentils. This is a must for us, in the family for Diwali. I remember my grandmother used to soak the plain flour dough in oil in the morning and make the pooranpoli in the evening after we returned from the community diwali celebrations. I never used to like the stuffing which is too sweet for me. My granny always made a couple of plain ones with very little the stuffing and my brother demanded for the stuffing on its own. So, that compensated the amount she had to cook. The pooranpoli’s also have a very significant flavour of cardamom.

This fusion cupcake has got almost all the major ingredients and especially the cardamom and the yellow lentils. I started off with the basic Hummingbird cupcake recipe but, by the time I developed the entire recipe, the ingredients and the measurements have changed. I used mascavado sugar which gives you really earthy flavour which most of the Indian deserts have.

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To make 12 these amazing cupcakes you will need:

For cupcakes:

140g  Plain Flour
160g Dark Mascavado Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
40g Unsalted Butter
1 Tsp cardamom Powder
110ml Whole Milk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the Lentils and creamcheese Frosting

30g Yellow lentils boiled and mashed (drain all extra water)
150g Cream cheese
300g Icing Sugar
20g Unsalted Butter

Method:

For the cupcakes: Combine the flour, butter and the mascavado sugar. Don’t worry if the sugar is slightly lumpy. It will caramilze and give a very good texture to the cupcake. Add the cardamom powder, baking powder, salt and give it a quick mix.
In a separate bowl, combine milk vanilla extract, egg and start adding the flour mixture slowly while beating the mixture in medium speed.
Line the cupcake tray and fill the cupcake cases half way. Bake for  25 minutes or untill the skewer comes out clean when you run it through the cupcake. Cool the cupcakes.

For the frosting : Beat the Icing sugar, butter and cream cheese untill well combined and add the smoothly mashed lentils and mix it.
Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes, and wait for the compliments and praises!!  I have even caramalised some lentils after dry roasting them and sprinkled them on one of the cupcake. They were crunchy, delicious and make a great garnish for your cupcake.

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Red Velvet Cupcake with Creamcheese Frosting

Forenote: Red velvet cupcakes are like fairytale for me. They are the best and you can please pretty much anyone with one of them.

This recipe is inspired from the famous Hummingbird bakery recipes, but I have altered the measurements of cocoa and some other ingredients a bit to cater to more generic tastebuds.

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Course:  Snack/Desert

Skill Level:   Medium

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes

60 g unsalted butter

150 g castor sugar

1 egg

8 -10 g cocoa powder

20 ml red food colouring (preferably liquid)

½ tsp vanilla essence

120 ml buttermilk

150 g plain flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp bicorbonate of soda

1 ½ tsp white wine vineger

For the cream cheese frosting :

300 g icing sugar

50 g unsalted butter

125 g cream cheese (I used Philadelpia)

Method:

Using a hand held mixer, mix the sugar and the unsalted butter and once both the ingredients are well combined add the egg and continue to blend the mixture on high speed for 3 mins. make a pste of the red coloring liquid, cocoa powder and vanilla essence and add it to the sugar mixture. Mix it well till the red colour is evenly spread. Add about half of the butter milk followed by half of the flour and mix on medium speed and continue to add the rest of teh buttermilk and flour to make a dough with nice smooth consistancy. Add salt, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and beat on high speed for 3 -4 mins. Divide the mixture into paper cases filling them upto two -thirds, in a muffin tray and bake them for 20 mins at 160degrees in the oven. use a tooth pick to check if the cup cakes are cooked, the tooth pick should come out clean. Leave them to cool completely before handling them.

Blend the butter and sugar in a seperate bowl for the frosting adding  the cream cheese untill all the ingredients are well combined. Spoon the frosting on to the cupcakes. You dont have to be neat because the rough peaks of frosting on the cupcakes give a rustic look to the cupcakes.

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Decorate the cupcakes as you like but they are fantastic as it is. I just sprinkled some cake crumbs on  top which looks great.

Let me know how many hearts have you won with this delicious cupcake!