Friday, December 28, 2007

Caribbean Fruit and Nut Cake - My Version

wc3 This is a Caribbean style Fruit and Nut Cake with Spices. The variation is that the fruit is marinated/soaked in Red Wine/Rum/Brandy and ground corsely into a paste and added into the batter apart from adding the dry fruits & nuts.

For my cake I soaked the dried fruits in Red wine and ground them along with some fruit punch and molasses and preserved it for a year. Yes, I did this last christmas and used that fruit mixture for this year's christmas cake.

The result was obvious...Though I and hubby identified some minors corrections, this tasted good.
wc-w1 Soaking the fruit for a few weeks and baking this cake any where from 2 weeks to 2 months before the occasion and moistening it regularly with a coat of wine, rum etc would do justice for this dark cake.

My cake may not have the exact carribbean recipe, but the concept is very much borrowed(grinding the fruit). Tailored to my taste buds.....hence this is my version of the Dark fruit and Nut cakewc2
Here are the digital steps...

To Beat
2 cups butter(softened)
2 cups white sugar
6 eggs(Increase to 8 if desired)
To Combine
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt
To Add
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp almond extract
1 tbsp lime juice
1 grated zest of that lime
1/4 cup white rum (optional)
1 cup red wine
1/2- 1 cup dark molasses
Dried Fruits and Nuts
1 cup dried fruit(raisins, currants, Sultanas)DSC01500 1 cup Cake fruits + Cherries
1 cup Nuts(Almonds, Walnuts, Cashew, Pecan)
1/2 cup chopped DatesDSC01495 To Grind
1 cup Dried fruits raisins, currants, Sultanas)
1/2 cup chopped Dates
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup frozen Fruit punch

Soak the ingredients to be ground a week before or alteast overnight and grind them coarse add a little fruit punch.
This mixture can be frozen or even just refridgerated well in advance(1 day to 1 year) In my case I had prepared this last christmas.DSC01496 For best results, fruits should be soaked in wine for at least 3 weeks, or boiled in the wine.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 - 9 inch cake pans.

Measure all ingredients and keep them ready, Take
butter out of fridge before an hour to soften it.

Beat butter, sugar in a large bowl until they turn creamy Add in eggs. Beat on low speed of electric mixer until blended, then on high speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Combine and sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, DSC01494 and fold these dry ingredients alternately with liquid ingredients to be added
to the batter mixture. Keep mixing while adding.

Add the ground mixture so fruits and wine. Do not to over-mix.DSC01504 Add all the dried fruits and nuts.

Pour into prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 80 to 90 minutes

Once the cake rises and gets the shape and is almost hard, cover it with foil,
shiny side up, and bake for the remaining time or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
wc9 Additional wine or rum can be brushed onto cake as needed to keep moist.

This is my entry for
Think Spice - Cinnamon, created and hosted by Sunitha of Sunitha's world.
A Fruit a Month (AFAM) Event started by Maheshwari of Beyond the Usual, this month.
AFAM - Dried Fruits is hosted by Lathaji of The Yum Blog
Click - Nuts created and hosted by Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi.
WC11 Did you check for the Galore of christmas Trees here

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Trees and Cakes.

Closer look It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you
"Be of good cheer"
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

It's the hap - happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay, happy meetings
When friends come to call,
it's the hap - happiest season of all.

There'll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting,
and caroling out in the snow.
There'll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories
of Christmases long, long ago.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
There'll be mistle-toeing, and hearts will be glowing
when loved ones are near.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
It's the most wonderful time of the year...Christmas, 2007 is here.....

No Christmas celebration is complete without a Christmas Tree...
There may be million ways to decorate a christmas tree. This year clicked some good ones decorated with a sense of variation..

Pick your fav....

Tree decorated with Crystals... A tradition every year in Eaton Cetnre,Toronto.

Crystal close This is my Fav..Decorated with the Beautiful "Peacocks", India's National Bird...

Peacock1 Decorated with cute
Shoe close Tree decorated with Winter warm Clothing...

Gap Click for more christmas trees taken this festive season,

All I want for Christmas is you...Baby.... all I want for Christmas... is....(Yea, I'm singing my fav Chistmas song here) "My Fruit & Nut Christmas Cake" :

WC12 And last weekend Toronto(Infact most of the Eastern parts of North America) experienced the greatest Snow fall(It's actually the storm) in the past few years.
So it was a perfect site out there... A definte White Christmas...and so decided to click my cake in the background of the Winter Wonderland....hymning the song "Walking in the Winter Wonderland" or should I say "Clicking in the Winter Wonderland", cause I'm going to send this Fruit and Nut cake for the Click event.

wc1 Wait and Watch for the Recipe coming next......

And now... not leaving the kids behinds, here are some Chocolate cup cakes with sprinkles, which my friend who is an amazing baker came home and baked for them.
More over today(Dec20th) is my second son Joel's B'day. He turned two this year.

cc4 I'll post more on these cup cakes next week.

For now enjoy the Festive season and Holidays......

Friday, December 14, 2007

Spicy Sardine Fish Gravy.

collage2 For those of you who come from bay area back home and who eat fish, Sardines(English), Mathi(Tamil) and Kavadalu(Telugu) should be most familar. This is another nutritious fish.

I enjoyed this fish gravy in my childhood several times. I simply used to love this gravy whenever my Grand mothers made it. In my home town " Vizag" we use to get these baby sardines too. Though lot of work goes in cleaning them, this is one fish gravy that I used to crave alot. With the tangy taste of tamarind and spiced up with green chillies and red chilly powder, one has to drooool for this dish.
DSC01206 My grand mothers used to add spring onions(Ulli kada) to this gravy sometimes. A simple variation which really gave a lift to the gravy in flavour. Also sometimes they use to replace the ripe tamarind with the raw one. My, my, what a taste that use to be, still lingers in my mouth. When I visit home, one thing I would want my GM to cook is fish gravy. Specially with the small baby Sardines and the real big King fish.

In Chennai or Toronto, I was able to get only the big sardines. My mom always use to fry this type of sardines. She never made gravy with these. Here we get only the frozen version of these sardines in Asian stores. If the frozen packet is not too old we are lucky to make the gravy straight away. But now a days I started to pan fried the Sardines just with minimal masala, - Red Chilly powder and salt, and then drop them in the boiling tamarind gravy.

sf2 Ingredients:
1 Pkt - Descaled & Cleaned, cut into halves if long.(about 10 fish)

To Pan fry the Sardine:

Marinated it with 1 tsp of Red chilly powder and add Salt to taste.

Seasoning and Masala:
1 Tbsp - oil
1/2 Tsp - Mustard seeds
5 Pods - Garlic finely chopped
1 Big - Onion cut into length wise
3-4 Green Chillies
10-12 Curry leaves
1 big - Tomatoe made into pulp with fingers or 2 Tbsp -Tomatoe Puree

Spice Powders:
1 tsp - Red Chilly powder
1 tsp - Cumin powder
1 tsp - Coirander powder

For the Gravy:

Soak Lemon size Tamarind/Puli/Chintapandu ball in 2 cups hot water

Herbs to Granish:
Finely chopped corainder leaves - a small bunch

collage Procedure:Fry the marinated Sardines both sides for 2-3 minutes in a little oil on a heated pan and keep aside (This is take away the fishy smell in the gravy)

Heat a pot, add oil, when heated add mustard.
After mustard splutters add chopped garlic, fry a little and then add the green chillies, fry, add onions, curry leaves and keep stirring till onions are cooked.
Now add the Tomatoes crushed or the tomatoe puree and cook for about 1 - 2 minutes.
Add all the masalas, mix and cook another 2 minutes or till the mixture leaves the container.
Now sqeeze the Tamarind/Puli juice from the soaked tamarind & water into the cooking mixture.
Now mix this well and bring it boil,
Add the fish and cook another 5 minutes.
Once the gravy seems to attain a good consistency add the coriander leaves and remove from heat.
Sardines and King fish have this amazing property to drink all the sourness from the puli, so leave the gravy aside for about 1/2 hour to marinate the fish with the tamarind.

Serve hot with hot Rice, or Dosas/Idli, or Chapathi/Parota/Roti

DSC01216 This is my entry for Grindless Gravies Event hosted by Sra, cause this gravy, is the simplest with minimum time required to cook and no mixer grinder used. Hope this qualifies!!! What do you say Sra?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Guess What!!!!!

Hi, you Seafood lovers!!!!! Guess what gravy this is? I know this is a very simple one. Just to identify how many of you are familar with this. Please give me the name of it........
Recipe coming sooon....

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Vegetable Stir Fry

Continuing the vegan mood, here is a simple vegie stir fry. Accompanied by any meat or seafood, this is one fresh, healthy and handy vegie dish.

Coming from a Land of Spices, I have never come across people in our country who would make a simple vegie dish like this. Cause we always try to add, some spices or the other to give flavour to our vegie food.

So this can't be an Indian dish. Well though western and simple, it has all the benefits from the vegetables and ease to make.DSC00864
I don't know how many of my Indian foodies like raw vegetables, but I'm not a fan of raw vegies. Back home the only raw vegetables, that we ate where Carrot, Cucumber & Tomatoe. ( I can't remember more at this time) and off course raw onion.

In this part of the world people are so used to eating any vegetable raw. And to help them eat we have these range of "dips" readily available in all the grocery stores. Well, thanks to these dips, I am able to include all kinds of peppers now, in my list because of them.
So to strike a balance bewteen the raw vegetables and the Indian fries (where we cook our vegies so much that I doubt the nutritional value of them after cooking) a simple and quick Stir Fry Vegies come into rescue. Here the vegies are not overcooked at the same time they don't carry the raw smell in them but still be crunchy to give us that full feeling. Yea, replacing the carbs from rice and bread with the healthy vegie is a good way for a balanced diet. All that you need is some good portion of protien to go with it. And the best thing is, since you've cut down on those carbs in your meal, you can treat yourself with a dessert. Sneaky Uhh!!!
Now lets make this dish.
You can have the choice of your vegetables here. I used
Beans can to included to

To Stir fry:
1 Tbsp of Butter.(No magarine please)
Salt to taste.
A good sprinke of Black pepper
A few drops of Soy Sauce( Optional)
You can add any vegetable seasonings like Mrs Dash, if you want to spice it up.(Optional)

Heat up a wok add the butter,
Add the vegies once the butter melts.
Add salt mix well. (If adding soy sauce add very little or no salt)
Saute for 5 - 7 minutes
Add Soy Sauce, Balck Pepper, any Seasoning.
Toss a little and remove from heat, ready to be serve hot with your fav seafood or meat.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Simple Toor dal and a Vegan meal

MD2 (2) All my fellow foodies are coming up with so many varieties of cooking with toor dal. Though I know a few, decided to go simple this time, just the Toor dal takda or talimpu. This does'nt even need a recipe writing.

Though simple this goes so good with just the plain rice with papad or pickle or any sidedish or served with chapati and any sabzi.

And more over November being marked as a vegan month by Suganya of tasty palattes thought this platter with Roti, dal and sabzi would serve it right.

So my Toor dal goes to JFI - Toor dhall event hosted by Linda of Out of the Garden

and the thali of vegan meal goes to Vegan Month event hosted by Suganya, of Tasty palettes

CVPC1 For the sabzi recipe check here or click on the bowl.CV2 (2) For roti, just mix and knead the flour of your choice, Whole wheat/ all purpose etc with a little salt and enough water to make a thick dough, keep aside for an hour and then make lemon size balls and flatten them to desired size and pan roast them on both sides with few drops of oil or butter.

Now for the Toor dal:

To cook the dal
2 cups Toor Dal
4 cups Water
4 pods Garlic
3 Green Chillies slit
1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste(To add after the dal is cooked)

For Seasoning/Talimpu/Tadka
1 Tbp Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Urad dal(optional)
4 Red Chillies broken
1 Small Onion cut length wise
4 Small garlic Pods with skin(Slightly beaten)
A few Curry leaves
A hint of Hing/Asafoetida

Pressure cook dal with all the ingredients to cook the dal.
Mash dal to almost a paste adding required salt once cooked.
In a kadai heat oil and add all the tadka ingredients after the mustard splutters.
Fry a little and then add the cooked dal and mix it thoroughly.
Garnish with Coriander if desired.

Serve hot with Rice or Rotis and Sabzi like down below and enjoy a vegan meal.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Flat Beans/Averai Kai/Chikkudu kai/Papdi Sabzi

CV2 (2)This Vegie which is called Flat beans(English), Averai kai(Tamil), Chikkudu kai(Telugu) and Papdi(Hindi) falls into the list of my favourites.
This is one vegie I used to get scare to clean, cause back home these beans used to have worms inside them. So My GM used to tear open each bean and peep inside to see if any worms are housing there and discard them. Others she use to gently removed the hard fibre and brake them into small peices with fingers.

My GM used to cook it with tomatoes, and my mom used to make this version.
CV1 Available in most of the Indian and Asian groceries fresh or frozen,this is another nutritional vegie.

1 lb flat beans, (Cleaned with centre fibre removed and broken into small peices if fresh or use the frozen ones which are already done)
1 tbp oil
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Urad dal
1 Onion cut length wise
2 Red Chillies broken into small peices
1/2 tsp Red chilly powder
1/8 tsp Turmeric
A few curry leaves
Coriander to garnish
Salt to taste
If interested add 1/2 tsp of Kasthuri methi and 1/8 tsp of Amchur powder for more flavour
CV3 Method:
Heat up oil in kadai/pot. Add the mustard seeds.
After the mustard splutters, add the urad dhall fry a little.
Then add the red chillies saute, and add the onions, curry leaves and fry them till onions are translucent.
Add the turmeric powder, saute.
Now add the cleaned Papdi/flat beans and required salt, give it a nice mix to coat them well with the seasoning.
Sprinkle some water and cook covered with lid till the beans are cooked mixing them in regular intervals so that the beans won't stick to kadai and get charred.
Once almost cooked , add the chilli powder and kasthuri methi and amchur powder, mix, garnish with coriander leaves and remove from heat.
Serve hot with dal and roti/chapati or Rice and sambar.