Sunday, January 31, 2010

Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars

The January 2010 Daring Bakers were presented with one of the most interesting challenges to date: Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars. Graham crackers are quite readily available in the supermarkets here and so are the English-style digestives - while the former is perfect for milk, the latter were made for a cup of hot tea! Both, of course, are quite commonly used as a biscuit base for pies and cheesecakes. As for Nanaimo Bars, I had encountered a version of these some time back in England, where goodie bags from Canada made some of my lovely Canadian friends ecstatic :)
Nanaimo Bars are a classic Canadian dessert created in Nanaimo, British Colombia. Pronounced as Nah-nye-Moh, these very rich yet addictively delicious bars have 3 layers: a base containing graham crackers, cocoa, coconut and nuts, a middle custard layer, and a topping of chocolate.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ragi and Zucchini Chila | Finger Millet Pancakes

We like our breakfast around here - especially so on the weekends when its more relaxed and I can be more experimentative!! Newspaper in one hand, tea cup in another, sunshine streaming in the kitchen window. Newspaper you ask - yes, well we must be the last of a rare and quickly disappearing breed of newspaper subscribers - though I must admit we get only the weekend papers. But then - what's a weekend without the paper!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spicy Carrot, Spring Onion, & Black Sesame Rolls

After many many months I am back to baking regularly - breads, cookies, cakes, bakes, you name it!! Somehow I think winter and baking go really well together. The other day I had planned on Pav-Bhaji for dinner. Though I generally make my own pav bread - the store bought rolls just don't cut it - I wanted a to try a more nutritious version of the same. After a bit or research and some creativity, here is what I came up with!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato & Jalapeno Dip

Pretzels, the snacking variety, have never been a big hit with me. Whenever I tried them, I always felt that they were too salty, to malty, too hard!! Of course the liberal use of MSG in snack products has kept me always away from most of them for a while now. And this includes many processed foods in the organic, vegan, and gluten free aisles in various markets. Shocking, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Daring Cooks January 2010: Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce

Satay or sate is a popular street food dish consisting of sliced and marinated chicken/other meats/tofu, skewered on the midrib of a coconut leaf, and grilled or barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire. These tasty morsels are then served with a variety of spicy seasonings and dipping sauces.

It is unclear where exactly Satay originated but it is very popular in most SE Asian nations including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. Did you know that Satay has multiple variations depending on the marinade uses, method of cooking and the dipping sauces provided!!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cream Scones with Dark Raisins

Cream Scones are the ultimate treat!! A quintessential part of the tradition of English Tea they are often served with clotted cream and a variety of fresh fruit jams and lemon curd. The best cream scones in England are found in the summer in the many tea houses that dot the pretty villages of the Shire counties!! The very very picturesque Cotswold's is famous for its cream teas and probably the best place to enjoy a pot of afternoon tea, freshly baked scones, and home-made strawberry jam.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pepper n Lime Cake with a Lime Glaze Icing

My first experience with an olive oil cake was when I made my very first Sauternes cake. The divine combination of the fragrant Sauternes wine and the spiciness of the olive oil just captured my imagination and subsequently my palette. Since then, I have rarely hesitated to experiment with olive oil in my baking. I developed this version of the olive oil cake a few weeks ago after two deeply frustrating attempts at following a recipe that was meant to give me a stunning chocolate cake!! Being an intuitive cook I just knew that something was not quite right - but then the recipe came from what is widely considered a well-trusted source. Anyway, after I chucked 2 cakes in the bin, I went back to my own judgement and vowed not follow recipes after all ;)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tangy Orange and Fig Smoothie

The holidays this year were fun, busy, exciting, busy.... need I say more :) We had family and friends over almost every weekend in the last 2 months and the Christmas break was no exception. We had a falafel lunch on the 25th - I made parsley hummus, fresh falafel, and home-made pitas. The day before I made a gorgeous three fruit marmalade, and baked a beautiful and crumbly olive oil cake. Freshly squeezed juices and blended smoothie heaven - mmmmm - what more can one ask for at the end of a long, full, and exhausting week.