Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Perfectly Delicious Start for a New Daring Baker

Hello Everyone,
I am delighted to announce that I have successfully completed my very first Daring Bakers Challenge. I have been a silent admirer of this great blogging community since I began my blog in December 2007. Baking and I have a long and happy history. I began baking fairly regularly when I was in high school - cakes, biscuits, pastry, bread! My love affair with baking continued well into my University years, when the demands of career and travel left me with little time to boil an egg, let alone bake. Slowly, yet steadily now and with much encouragement from my husband :) I am returning to this great passion - and so I welcome Daring Bakers into my life!!

Here's my experience with the very first challenge. A couple of weeks before the challenge was posted, I ran across Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours at my local library. Browsing through, I found several recipes I was keen on trying. However, as we were expecting visitors from out of town in March, I knew there would never be enough time to get started. And then I thought I'd better wait for the recipe from the Daring Bakers, and focus on my very first challenge. To my complete and utter delight, Morven chose a recipe from the very same book!!

The Perfect Party Cake was simply a breeze to bake. Its one of the simplest recipes I've seen and without doubt a guaranteed success. Its also incredibly versatile, and given citrus addition to the batter makes it a wonderful base for any recipe requiring a slab of cake! A few notes on the process:

  • I did bake the cakes the day before I iced them. They stayed well overnight.
  • I put both lemon and orange rind in the batter and as a result got a wonderfully fresh flavour in the cake!
  • The icing is fresh cream. It turned out delicious, except that I am not so fond of vanilla essence and I doubt that I will use it again to flavour the cream.
  • I filled the cake with home-made cranberry and apple preserve which gave a great tangy taste twist to this otherwise sweet treat.
  • Finally, the blueberries and blackberries on the top were perfect to give both a fresh look and taste to the cake.

So, presenting Berry Delight with Cranberry Preserve, my version of Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake. A big Thank You to the Daring Bakers for organizing this event!! P.S. For the original recipe, look here March Challenge and Blog on....

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

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dreamy Vegetarian Pizza

So, I was surfing the internet for interesting food events.... Yup, feels like I have been doing a lot of that lately!! But then there are so many wonderfully enthusiastic chefs out there, each dreaming up new ways to challenge our skills and creativity!! I still continue to be quite literally gobsmacked at the variety and range of food events online.

Anyway, the first site to pop out from the blogosphere was Stephanie's blog announcing a Pizza Party. Just perfect I thought. And then, almost simultaneously - what exactly is a pizza? I mean I know what a pizza is, I have eaten it often enough, I bake it at home quite frequently - and yet - what is a pizza?? Quite simply, a pizza as we know it today is an Italian open pie usually made of thin bread dough spread with a spiced mixture of a.k.a tomato sauce and cheese. According to the Smithsonian, the pizza could be said to be a descendant of the focaccia or bread rounds covered with herbs and spice which made their debut in Naples around 1000 years ago. Essentially a peasant food, it was a way of recycling leftovers by placing them over thin crusts of dough and the baking them. Indeed there was no tomato on the earliest pizzas as Europeans came to know of this beautiful fruit sometime in the 16th century, and it was added to the pizza only subsequently.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Khaman Dhokla | Savoury Steamed Chickpea Dumplings

As my husband and I simply adore Khaman, I thought this might be the best treat to share on International Women's Day 2008. Thanks to Zorra, the web today has been flooded with warm, fragrant, and delicious messages of awareness and love!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Pasta with Chickpeas and Parsley

There is nothing quite like having a few recipes for quick and easy one dish dinners handy. Amongst my favourite recipes is Pasta with Chickpeas & Parsley. This is a deliciously spicy pasta with a tremendously hearty flavour. Its completely no-fuss to make. It was perfect for our move last week - fast to make and truly yummy!! 

Monday, March 3, 2008

Gujarati Kadhi | Sweet-Sour Buttermilk Curry

Hey Folks! I'm back after a short hiatus. February was supposed to be our home moving month, with the actual move planned for the end of the last week. However we had some rather unexpected warm and sunny weather on the weekend of 23-24 February. Given the 100 plus inches snow that we have plowed our way through since the start of this year, the ray of sunshine seemed promising, and indeed too good to pass up. At the very last minute we decided to take advantage of this good fortune that nature had sent us and move a week before planned. There was some unfinished maintenance at our new home, yet we decided to chance it :)