Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gingerbread House - Daring Bakers Make a Home

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

There were 2 recipes provided for this challenge - I chose Y's recipe for the gingerbread and used a simple sugar syrup for assembling.

Preparation Time for Y's Recipe: 5-10 minutes to mix the dough, 2 hours to chill, 5 minutes to roll, 10 to cut and 15 minutes to bake. Estimated 4-7 hours from start to finish including chilling.

Equipment Needed:
Stand or handheld electric mixer (not required but it will make mixing the dough a lot easier and faster)
Plastic wrap
Rolling pin
Parchment paper
Baking sheets
Cardboard cake board or sheet of thick cardboard
Foil, if desired
Small saucepan
Small pastry brush (optional)
Piping bag with small round tip, or paper cornets if you're comfortable with them

Requirements:
1. Everything needs to be edible - no glue or inner non-food supports allowed.
2. You must bake the gingerbread yourself, whichever recipe you choose. No graham cracker houses please!
3. You must use some sort of template. If you don't use ours, take a picture or link to what you do use in your final post. It doesn't have to be super technical - Anna didn't even measure hers, she just cut out shapes from parchment and made sure the edges matched up.
4. Your house must be able to stand on its own. If you want to go adding balconies with candy stick buttresses or whatever go right ahead, but the main house itself must be free-standing.

Variations: You are welcome to use either recipe we tested, depending on your taste or what is available where you are.
Obviously, you are also allowed to use any sort of candy or sugar decorations you wish. You can even make your own candy to decorate the house! You may give your house any theme you'd like - you don't have to stick to the traditional Christmas house. We are providing a rough template but feel free to find or make your own (there are a lot of great books out there with tons of fun blueprints and ideas). Some books you may want to check out:
Gingerbread: Things to Make and Bake by Teresa Layman http://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-Things-Make-Teresa-Layman/dp/081093367...
How to Build a Gingerbread House: A Step-by-Step Guide to Sweet Results by Christina Banner http://www.amazon.com/Build-Gingerbread-House-Step-Step/dp/0981580610/re...
Gingerbread Houses by Christa Currie http://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-Houses-Christa-Currie/dp/0385472676/re...
The Gingerbread Architect: Recipes and Blueprints for Twelve Classic American Homes by Susan Matheson and Lauren Chattman http://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-Architect-Recipes-Blueprints-American/...
Gingerbread Houses: Baking and Building Memories by Nonnie Cargas http://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-Houses-Baking-Building-Memories/dp/087...


Scandinavian Gingerbread (Pepparkakstuga)
from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, room temperature [226g]
1 cup brown sugar, well packed [220g]
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups all-purpose flour [875g]

Method:
1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
2. Cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.
3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.
4. [I rolled out the dough on a floured bench, roughly 1/8 inch thick (which allows for fact that the dough puffs a little when baked), cut required shapes and transferred these to the baking sheet. Any scraps I saved and rerolled at the end.]
5. Preheat the oven to 375'F (190'C). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Simple Syrup:
2 cups (400g) sugar
Place in a small saucepan and heat until just boiling and the sugar dissolves. Dredge or brush the edges of the pieces to glue them together. If the syrup crystallizes, remake it.

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2012. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Vegetable en Croute

The December 2009 Daring Cooks Challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.

I made one with stir fried button mushrooms, fresh herbs, and a jalapeno jack cheese-cream cheese blend! Here you go.


I found this quite similar to the Savoury Vegetable Puffs that I made last December. A firm favourite with diners in many an Indian cafe, I have also found the latter to be more spicy and will go well with a cup of sweet tea. The Vegetable en Croute on the other hand is defiantly main course and would go well with a green salad or a simple soup like my Watercress & Potato Soup.

Vegetable en Croute: The Recipe

Preparation time: Total prep time incl. cooking for the mushrooms is 50 minutes
Shortcrust pastry : 50 minutes

Ingredients:
5.2 oz mascarpone or cream cheese
0.6 cup watercress, rocket (arugula) and spinach
17.6 ounces shortcrust pastry
3 cups button mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp grated jalapeno jack cheese

Method:
  1. Heat the oven to 200°C/390 F. Put the cream cheese in a food processor with the watercress, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green puree. Season well.
  2. Cut the pastry in any shape desired, 2 per patty, so you can wrap the vegetable and sauce in it completely (approx. 2-3 mm thick) and lay it on a buttered or oiled baking sheet (it will hang over the edges). Put the mushrooms in the middle. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the watercress mixture onto it. Sprinkle half the hard cheese. Place the second piece of cut pastry on top - press and seal. Trim off any excess as you need to. Using a fork, prick the pastry all over to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the off-cuts to disguise the join if you like.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. Serve with a fresh green salad. I made 2 individual sized patties.
Shortcrust Pastry
Making your own shortcrust pastry as it is very simple to do! Just make sure to not add too much water as that is the key to having a successful shortcrust pastry. Watch this video to check the correct consistency of the dough Making shortcrust pastry

Ingredients:
3.2 cups of plain all purpose flour
7 ounce cold butter
pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you have a food processor you can use that as shown in the above video.
  2. Stir in the salt, then add 2-3 tbsp of water and mix to a firm dough. Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface. Wrap in cling film and chill while preparing the filling.
  3. For best results make sure the butter is very cold.
All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2012. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cannoli for Thanksgiving!!

The Daring Bakers November Challenge was Cannoli. my nearest connection to to Cannoli has been the crazy and ever popular TV show: Everybody Loves Raymond!! Who can for get the episodes when his mother 'pops in' with fresh home made cannoli for her darling boy next door :)

A.W.E.D. Malaysia - The Roundup

The roundup for A.W.E.D Malaysia is here!! Both sweet and savoury contributions have come in. I would like to thanks everyone who participated and contributed to this event. Do stop by at each of these entries to get the full flavour of Malaysian cooking :)

First, from Priya @ Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes comes Vegan Cucur Kodok or the very delicious Malaysian Banana Fritters to the uninitiated!!

Next comes Curry Puff from Usha Nandini @ Usha Nandini's Recipes. Usha Nandini notes that the Curry puff is a cousin of samosa from Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. It is a "Fill-It-Yourself" snack due to its choices of wide varieties of fillings suitable to your taste.

Jill @ Smart Green Gourmet writes, "Inspired by fellow bloggers Annarasa and D.K., I'm trying out some Malaysian cuisine this week as part of the A.W.E.D. (A World of Epicurian Delights) event hosted by Annarasa. Beautiful, flavorful Malaysia inspires a soup loaded with flu-fighting foods, the perfect quick fix cure for your change-of-seasons cold." The soup in question is the Malaysian-Inspired Sweet and Sour Tofu Soup.

Sudha @ Malaysian Delicacies sends in the very lovely looking Pressed Rice, Vegetable Stew with Groundnut Gravy . Beautiful rice dumplings steamed in banana leaves are served with a thin coconut milk gravy stew, and groundnut sauce!! Mmmm - you don't want to miss out on this one.

Alesia @ Alesia The Home Cook has made one of her favourite desserts for A.W.E.D Malaysia: Sago Gula Melaka. Alesia write that she loves this dessert as it is easy to make and it's not time consuming at all. Further the ingredients can be obtained at almost every Asian stores. This is a wonderful dish as it combines the tasteless yet springy sago with the fragrant coconut milk and the sweet aromatic gula melaka.

Sweatha @ TastyCurryLeaf sends in Gendan Kasturi or Sweet Mung Bean Fritters made Malaysian style!! A very simple recipe with a very satisfying taste.

Swathi @ Zesty South Indian Kitchen sends in the delicious Kuih Dadar or Coconut Pancake! Swathi selected this dish because it resembles a breakfast dish common in her home town Kerala, India. She says this dish is usually popular in malls, food courts, and street vendors in the mornings or night. Needless to say Swathi is a big fan of street food which she quite rightly observes is often tastier that food at restaurants!!

DK @ The Chef In You sends in her contribution with Roti-Canai. A flaky and soft albeit rich bread, this is a delicious recipe that DK explains in no less than 2 variations!!

And finally one from yours truly!! Steamed Malaysian Dumplings to be found @ my blog Annarasa - Essesence of Food. These are a family favourite and a regular at my home. Try them, you will love them.

If your contribution is missing from this roundup, please email me and I will add your entry here pronto.


All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oven Toasted Pepitas


Having carved our very first Jack-o-Lantern this year, I was left with a lot of Pepitas a.k.a fresh pumpkin seeds.

I love toasted pumpkin seeds and they used to be fairly easily available in India. In fact they were a staple snack during the winter months. While we get pumpkin seeds here, they are usually unpeeled in very small batches - besides their skin is pretty tough, they can never be a hit on family game night!!

Here is a great time-tested recipe for making your very own oven toasted pumpkin seeds. They are crunchy, fragrant, spicy, and munchie - need I say more:) Well, I could add that pumpkin seeds are protein rich and packed with nutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese!! They are anti-inflammatory, great for your bones, and can contribute to lowering your bad cholesterol.

Ingredients:
1 batch pumpkin seeds around 2 cups)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, to taste
Black Pepper coarsely ground), to taste

Method:
  1. Scoop out all the seeds from the pumpkin. Discard as much of the flesh that comes attached with the seeds as possible by hand.
  2. Place the seeds and any flesh you are not able to remove in a large bowl. Pour running cold water over them till the bowl is full. Rub the seeds between the palms of your hand, then pull the seeds out into another clean bowl filled with cold water. Repeat until all the goop is off the seeds and the seeds feel squeaky clean.
  3. Place the seeds with 1 tsp salt in boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain the seeds and pat dry. Leave out to dry completely for 2-4 hours.
  4. Season with olive oil, salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Turn out evenly onto a cookie sheet. Toast in a 350F oven for 15-20 minutes or depending on the quantity until they are golden and fragrant.
These lovely snackers can be served immediately, they taste divine when warm. If they survive, cool completely, and store in an airtight container for later. If storing for longer, make sure you stick them in the freezer!!

This recipe goes out to Yasmeen @ Health Nut for her ongoing event: Health Nut Challenge 3: Healing Foods.

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Steamed Malaysian Dumplings

Here's my contribution for A.W.E.D. Malaysia: Steamed Vegetable Dumplings served with a spicy ginger sauce. These dumplings are really delicious and they are a favourite at our home. As it is really easy to get dumpling wrappers here, I make them quite often. Besides I love my bamboo steaming basket, which I purchased a couple of years ago at a tiny but exceedingly well-stocked Asian store, run quite coincidentally by a Malaysian family!! Here is the recipe.


Ingredients:
1/2 cup carrots, minced
1/2 cup bok choi, minced
1/2 cup zucchini, minced
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp white pepper powder
1 teaspoon rice wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 inch grated ginger
1 pack potsticker/dumpling wrappers

Method:
  1. Combine the chopped vegetables, ginger, and all seasonings together. Set aside to marinate for at least half an hour.
  2. To make dumplings, take a wrapper. Then place a small spoonful of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Using your finger, pat a little warm water around the edge of the skin. Fold the dumpling, seal the edges.
  3. Repeat the same for the rest.
  4. Place the dumplings in a bamboo steamer (lined with fresh cabbage leaves). Then steam for 10-14 minutes. Serve immediately with your favourite dipping sauce.
A.W.E.D Malaysia this month is hosted by this blog - Annarasa-The Essence of Food. A big thanks to everyone who has participated and sent in lovely recipe for this event. The round-up will be posted shortly.

Vegan Recipe

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 20013. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Almond-Mandarin Macaroons

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Badam Burfi | Home-Made Almond Fudge

Saturday, 17th October was Diwali, the festival of lights!! We were lucky this year not only to lay our lands on diyas - earthenware lamps, but also on some sparklers. The latter are usually hard to come by here, and I have found that they were not even sold at Asian stores. This year, however, my local Indian grocer was truly well stocked!! He even had Murtis of Ganesha and Lakshmi for puja - delightful!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vegetarian Vietnamese Pho & Dessert Wontons

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

Great recipes!! Made this tonight for family and friends who are visiting!! Both did very well. Photos follow in a few days:)

Thanks Jaden for these lovely recipes.

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Announcing: Visit Malaysia via A.W.E.D.

Durian (Durio Zibethinus) by Hoola Van Nooten (fl 1863-1885), ca. 1863

This month my blog hosts A.W.E.D. This event created is the creation of fellow blogger DK. You can find DK @ Chef In You where you will also see the background to this event, you can stop by and sample the cuisine of over half a dozen countries, and see past and future hosts for A.W.E.D.

This October, A.W.E.D will visit Malaysia. The beauty of Malaysian cuisine is that it has something for everyone. It not only reflects the diverse population of the country, it also borrows across cultures making much of everyday food multi-ethnic. The local Malaysian food is deeply influenced by food cooked in Indian, Chinese, and Thai homes. Broadly there are five identifiable cuisine types found in Malaysia: Malay, Malaysian Indian, Malaysian Chinese, Mamak, and Nyonya. Rice, vegetables, fish, meats, and fruits make the staples of Malaysian cuisine. A rich and aromatic Indian style spice paste called a Rempah tends to define most dishes. A Rempah can be prepared fresh or can be bought dried. It is sauteed in oil in the first phase of cooking.

I invite all food bloggers and food lovers out there to join me this month in celebrating Malaysian cuisine. Create and post your favourite and/or most delicious recipe that features a Malaysian recipe. The dish can be spicy, savoury, or sweet, but it must be embedded in Mayalsian cooking.

Email the entry to me at: annarasa@gmail.com along with your name, name of your blog, name of your entry, the url link to your entry, and a short description of your creation. You can share any facts you have learnt about the recipe of your choice, your ideas, and thoughts about it and if you like its history. Let us know if this is the first time you decided to give try cooking Malaysian food! The possibilities are endless. I do have one request though. This is a vegetarian blog, and so I would be happy to welcome all vegetarian recipes.

Now for a few rules regarding A.W.E.D. Malaysia:
  • This event runs from 12th October 2009 - 12th November 2009.
  • You can send in as many entries as you like to this event.
  • You can send in recipes that you might have submitted to other events also.
  • Any recipes from your archives can be accepted ONLY if they are updated and re posted especially for this event. Please do not send in links to an old post.
  • Non-bloggers are welcome to join in. Just send in your recipe to me with a photograph if you have one and all details mentioned above, and I will add it to the round-up.
  • If you would like your foodie colleagues and friends to know where you are located, you can add your City, Country to your entry. This is entirely your choice.
  • It would be lovely if your entry is accompanied with a photograph. Preferred size of photograph: 350 pixels wide.
  • As mentioned above, do describe your creation - just a couple lines telling us about the recipe you have chosen to enter into A.W.E.D. Malaysia this month.
  • And don't forget to link your entry this announcement and to DK's blog @ Chef In You.
  • The badge for A.W.E.D Malaysia is the the Durian, which is considered to be the 'King of Fruits' in Malaysia. Show it off on to your post.

So what are all you foodies out there waiting for? Let's get started - we are off to Malaysia this month:)

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baked Vol-au-Vent - Daring Bakers September

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' Challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sunflowers!!

I grew sunflowers this summer :)
And here they are gracing my dining table!!!!


Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!!

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2013. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Indian Dosas with Kayi

Debyi from Healthy Vegan Kitchen was the host for the September 2009 Daring Cooks challenge. She decided on Indian Dosas from the refresh cookbook by Ruth Tal. Here is my version of the Dosas made very simply with a batter of rice and tamarind. The curry has potato, beans, peas, and fresh corn in a simple coconut-chili sauce.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Think Spice.... Think Bayleaf: The Roundup

Its roundup time again!! This time its Think Bayleaf for Think Spice!! I was hoping to get this round up blogged sooner but unfortunately there was a rather low turnout for the event. This led me to consider extending the deadline for it. However just on the day that I wrote to Sunita @ Sunita's World about this, I was quite horrified to discover that she had blogged her last post and was planning to give up blogging, maybe not forever, but for a considerable period of time. She also mentioned giving up Think Spice! This sobering news held me back and after some consideration I decided against extending the deadline and wait a while before posting the Roundup. By the way, sometime last week I learnt that Sunita is back to blogging now and I am hoping that she will keep Think Spice going for a long long time:) Meanwhile, here are the lovely recipes!!

Sudha @ Malaysian Delicacies sent in Honey Rice Honey Rice which she describes as a simple rice dish using honey and bay leaf. Sudha always use bayleaf for my cooking and though show does so for non vegetarian dishes she finds it very useful for flavouring vegetables stir fry recipes too!!




Priyasuresh @ Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes made Nasi Lemak or Malaysian Coconut Rice.

Minu @ Chettinad Fiesta sent in the delicious Chettinad Cauliflower Soup/Broth. Minu says that this recipe is a Chettinad specialty. She notes that this soup is delicious because of the spices used. In fact it is the bayleaf that balances the fragrance of the spices used and makes it unique.

A big thanks to everyone who sent in an entry to this event - If I learnt anything from hosting this month, it is that bayleaf is a much underestimated spice in our pantries!! Just adding a small leaf does wonders to soups, lentils, vegetables, of course rice!! Try it - you won't be disappointed:)

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August Daring Bakers: Sheer Decadance with Dobos Torte


The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Here is my version of it. I made a Chocolate Buttercream, and sandwiched it in a vanilla sponge. There is a hint of coffee liquor in the caramelised nuts on top of the cake - mmmm:) I made a very small cake - just one serving each for us! I figured that this would be about enough, besides I don't like to keep creamy cakes in the refrigerator - I don't have a sweet tooth and things just tend to vegetate there until its time to chuck them out - I really did not want to do that to this lovely torte!!
Great recipe - its a keeper. Next time I have guests I know what to whip up!! Thanks Lorraine and Angela.

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2011. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fragrant Tomato Pepper Rice (for the Daring Cooks), Or so I Thought

Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes the host for August Daring Cooks Challenge chose a Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés, a contemporary Spanish Chef. Though I am a great fan of Spanish cuisine and a devoted follower of food trends across the globe, I knew instantly that this recipe was not for me:( Sorry Olga, this is a vegetarian blog!! But, hang in there, I did want to do the challenge, and so I immediately set out to make some creative changes - here is the result.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kheer for Krishna Janmashtami | Kheer Recipes

Rice KheerMilk and milk products rule on Krishna Janmashtami. After considering some options I decided to go for the traditional Kheer - rice pudding with Saffron and Cardamom!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July Daring Bakers - Milan Cookies, My Way


The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

As we could decide which of the 2 recipes we wanted to indulge in, I chose the Milan Cookies. I made only 1/3 of this recipe. The cookies came out beautifully. Thanks Nicole for this great pick :)

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, The Food Network

Ingredients:
12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon extract
1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour

Cookie Filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 orange, zested

Method:


  1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
  2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
  3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
  4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
  6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
  7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
  8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
  9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
  10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.
All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

MLLA 12: And the Winner Is....

I know everyone has been waiting eagerly for this post!! MLLA 12th Helping has a winner. It is Deepti of Dipskitchen. The winner was the result of a random drawing via an online name generator. The prize selected by Susan for this month's winner is a Ritz 5-Piece Egyptian Flat Kitchen Towel Set. Deepti, many congratulations. Do choose the colour of the kitchen towels and contact the creator of this event Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook at: thewellseasonedcook[at]yahoo.com at your convenience :)

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An Invitation to Think Spice.... Think Bayleaf


This month I am hosting Think Spice..... This event in the foodie blogosphere was thought up by Sunita of Sunita's World. It aims to bring spices - those lovely fragrant, pungent, vegetable based substances that made the world go round - centre stage! Bayleaf is the spice of my choice this month and I invite all you food bloggers and food lovers out there to join me in celebrating its contribution to global cuisine.

Create and post your favourite and/or most delicious recipe that features the aromatic bayleaf as a key spice. You can use it in any form you like - whole in the form of pieces or leafs. The dish can be spicy, savoury, or sweet, but one should get a sense of bayleaf is what makes this dish special. Email the entry to me at: annarasa@gmail.com along with your name, name of your blog, name of your entry, the url link to your entry, and a short description of your creation. You can share any facts you have learnt about bayleaf, your ideas, and thoughts about it and its uses. Let us know if bayleaf is a part of your spice cabinet or if this is the first time you decided to give it a try! Do you use bayleaf only for cooking or do you find it useful in any other way too..... the possibilities are endless. I do have one request though. This is a vegetarian blog, and so I would be happy to welcome all vegetarian recipes.


Now for a few rules regarding Think Spice.... Think Bayleaf:
  • This event runs from 10th July 2009 - 9th August 2009.
  • You can send in as many entries as you like to this event.
  • You can send in recipes that you might have submitted to other events also.
  • Any recipes from your archives can be accepted ONLY if they are updated and re posted especially for this event. Please do not send in links to an old post.
  • Non-bloggers are welcome to join in. Just send in your recipe to me with a photograph if you have one and all details mentioned above, and I will add it to the round-up.
  • If you would like your foodie colleagues and friends to know where you are located, you can add your City, Country to your entry. This is entirely your choice.
  • It would be lovely if your entry is accompanied with a photograph. Preferred size of photograph: 350 pixels wide.
  • As mentioned above, do describe your creation - just a couple lines telling us about the recipe you have chosen to enter into Think Bayleaf this month.
  • And don't forget to link your entry this announcement and to Sunita's blog @ Sunita's World.
  • I have created a badge for Think Bayleaf. Show it off on to your post.
So what are all you bloggers waiting for? Let's get started - its bayleaf time this month:)

Drawing Courtsey: from William Woodville, Medical Botany, 1793

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vegetarian Fish Sticks Anyone?

This month's Challenge came from Sketchy @ Sketchy's Kitchen. The Challenge was: Skate, traditional flavors powdered (slightly altered). Given that this is a vegetarian blog, I knew from the beginning that this Challenge was going to need some creative alterations!! before I go into what I did, I'd like to acknowledge that the original recipe comes from Grant Achatz, found in the Alinea cookbook.


I made the fish sticks at home with barley, potato, and all the seasonings recommended by the recipe. I served it with a mushrooms, bok choi, peas, and corn seasoned with herbs and black pepper. Recipe to follow :)

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007 - 2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

MLLA 12: Warm Welcome to New Bloggers

This is the last in the roundup series for MLLA 12. Thanks for participating and making this event such success :) I hope that I have not forgotten anyone, but if you don't see your entry here, do alert me via email asap. I plan to announce the winner of MLLA 12 in the coming week!!

Shaista @ Mixcalculations is a new food blogger. Her entry is Arhar or Toor Dal. She says that she loves having variety of daals, with roti or rice or just as it is. Toor daal is one legume that which she cooks most often. It is super easy to make, nutritious and saves time if you are in a hurry.

Jaya @ Jayaspace is also a newbie to the blogging world. She writes: "I have grown up eating various beans -- moth, moong, black eyed peas... Love them for their taste and nutrition and cook them at least once a week in my house". Though this is a very simple and very common recipe, Jaya says Moth/Matki Usal can be adjusted for taste depending on the garnish and level of spice used.


Meeta @ What's For Lunch, Honey? has dished up Butter Beans and Leeks, which she has adapted from one from Jamie Oliver’s - Cook with Jamie! Meeta says: "These beans and leeks go with just about anything. Fish lovers will find it perfect to trout, wild salmon or tilapia. Delicately baked chicken is with just a simple seasoning of lemon juice, salt and pepper is a wonderful accompaniment. Or as Jamie serves the beans and leeks with steaks".

Location: Weimar, Germany




Jisha @ Kerala Recipes Long Bean Stir Fry (Achinga Mezhkkupuratti in Malayalam) sent in a wonderful recipe of tender long beans stir fried in oil! Jisha says these beans are a favourite with her husband and she prepared this simple yet tasty dish for him.

Location: Charlotte, USA

A wonderfully innovation rice dish comes to us from Siri @ Siri's Corner! Butter Bean Pulao is a quick and esy recipe, and it is needless to say rather tasty. Siri picked up this idea from a colleague at work, and tried it at home with great success.

Location: Washington DC, USA

Katie @ Eat This a lovely snacking idea - Roasted Chickpeas! Crunchy roasted chickpeas are a delicious snack filled with protein. Katie writes that the same can be done with black, kidney and pinto beans!!

Nivedita @ Nivedita's Kitchen has sent in a protein powerhouse for MLLA 12. She writes 14 Mixed Pulses Gravy "is a very healthy food for all ages, especially children. And can be used as main food with chapatis or side dish or an evening snack".

Location ; Hubli, Karnataka, India.

Ann @ Happy and Healthy Cooking send in a simple curry recipe - Satvic Tuesday. Ann notes that Dried peas are excellent source of protein and fiber. To maximise on their nutritive value, Ann tried best to keep this recipe healthy and simple. She cooked the legumes in a Satvic style to aid in good digestion!

Matt Huntley writes: "As summer quickly approaches, the idea of eating a warm and hearty soup seems to steer a lot of people away from utilizing beans in their everyday diet. Because they are so easy to add to any soup or stew, it is easy to forget that beans can adapt just as well to chilled dishes. This recipe features the “earthy” flavor of Blackeye Peas with fresh vegetables, and is tossed in a delicious tangy and spicy dressing". Cowboy Caviar can be found @ @ the Hurst Bean Blog.

Location- Indianapolis

Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook sends in her own recipe Pinto Beans Flameado! Susan writes that "the traditional recipe is known as Queso Flameado (Flaming Cheese) and is doused with brandy and torched before serving". Watch out for the smoke detector in your kitchen if you want to try this one.

Shri @ Tastytouch made delicious deep fried lentil dumplings or Dahi Vada! Shri says her Grandma made the best vadas she has ever tasted. The ideal Dahi Vada should be soft, and spongy, and soaked in seasoned yogurt.

Miri from Peppermill made a Chawli Amti for MLLA 12. Amti is a traditional recipe from the state of Maharashtra, India. "Amti" refers to a lentil curry and is one of the staples served with rice or rotis. Miri says: "This particular recipe uses legumes - I have used black eyed peas, one can also use black chickpeas - sprouted even!. The dried coconut and garlic adds some lovely flavours to this curry"!


All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007-2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.

MLLA 12: Soups, Cookies, and Vegetarian Omelettes

I kick off the MLLA 12 Roundup this morning with 5 further entries from Sadhana & Muskaan of A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine! The first is Jain Chole Puri. Muskaan writes that while Chole Puri is everybodys favourite a Jain style Chole Puri is more 'Saatvik' as Potatoes, Onion, Garlic..etc... are not added to it during the cooking process. She notes that Jain chole tastes awesome, the food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. This meal is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein and Copper, and a very good source of Folate and Manganese.
The next entry
from Muskaan is a delightful vegetarian version of
an Omelette sandwich!! She uses none other than chickpea flour to make these delicious looking omelettes. Muskaan writes that ChickPea Flour (Besan) is also low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Magnesium Protein, Folate and Manganese, and Niacin. Tomato Cabbage Omelette Whole Grain Sandwich looks an absolote treat. Muskaan also made Dahi Vada (Lentil Dumplings In Sweet Yogurt Sauce for MLLA 12.


The following 2 are from from Sadhana is Oats Peanut butter cookie. On their blog, Sadhana notes that peanuts are not true nuts but a member of a family of legumes related to peas, lentils, chickpeas and other beans. They are in fact a very good source of monosaturated fats, the type of fat that is emphasized in the heart-healthy diet. Sadhana has also made a healthy Black Bean Veggie Burger. To know more about these delicious cookies and the burger, visit their blog A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine!

Divya Vikram @ Dil Se.. sends in a lovely third entry for MLLA 12. It is the yummy Moong Dal Payasam. Divya writes that this is a healthy dessert made with moong dal and jaggery. It is usually prepared on special occasions in South India.

Lubna's fourth entry is Capsicum Chana Dal Curry. Do take a peek at her blog Yummy Food for this recipe!

Sweatha @ TastyCurryLeaf blog shows us another way in which the tasty and nutritious chickpea can be used in cooking! Her entry Moroccan Spiced ChickPea Spinach Soup. Sweatha says: "I tried this soup as the original recipe included apricots in the soup which sure add a tanginess. A Hearty and filling and perfectly spicy soup. Chickpeas in soup and sauce form is very welcome and healthy".

Smitha @ Kannada Cuisine made a Batani Saagu for MLLA 12. This is a green peas stew traditionally paired with Idli, Dosa or even Chapati. Cooked potatoes gives body to the dish and tomatoes & green peas adds a sweet accent and of course colour. Lime juice, green chillies and fresh coriander adds flavour and freshness to the dish

Ramya @ Simple Vegetarian Recipes hs sent in Beans Paruppu usili /Beans with cooked Toor Dal This is a side dish and the main ingredient is the widely used legume which is toor dal mixed with beans.


Two more entries from Deepti @ Dipskitchen! The first is Rajma, and the second Urad Chana Dal



Bee and Jai @ Jugalbandi have sent in Papad Palakfor MLLA 12.They write: "This dish was inspired by the Gujarati Dal Dhokli, where wheat dumplings are added to a lentil base. This is easier with ready made lentil wafers (available at any south Asian grocery) added to greens as they wilt down. Lower in carbs and much quicker. Frozen, thawed spinach will work too".

Location: North Western U.S.

Stay linked for more MLLA 12:)

All text and photographs in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright of © Annarasa 2007-2009. All Rights Reserved. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.
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