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Showing posts from May, 2010

Finally...Brownies!!!

After baking some okay but not great brownies and then hitting a disaster with overly fudgy ones, I have been obsessed with finding a perfect brownie recipe. So I went searching all the usual suspects (aka dessert food blogs) and bookmarked some 20-odd recipes.

I'm trying to avoid chocolate here folks (or so my doctor thinks, ha!) so let's try all 20 recipes doesn't come up as an option. I noticed Two Spoons baking some brownies based on a Julia Child recipe and pronouncing them the best ever. And I thought, if it's Julia Child, it can't be all that bad. So I followed the recipe just as two spoons did, except I halved it.

First you half fill a saucepan with hot water. Add 110 grams butter and 90 grams chocolate to a mixing bowl and place it in the saucepan so it can slowly melt. At this stage, I opened my jar of caster sugar, found it almost empty and panicked. Then I told myself it was okay, the chocolate will take a long time melting and I could get myself some …

Notes from a Wedding : Manchurian

The Indo-Chinese favorite was a best seller at the wedding menu. Our chef made it once without the gravy for appetizers and twice for the main course. One time, I stood by him while he was cooking. You see, I had to. I've followed every recipe known to man, but never managed to cook good Chinese food. Maybe I'd have better luck with this recipe.

First you make the manchurian balls. You need around 2 cups of mixed vegetables chopped really fine. At our home, this included cabbage, cauliflower, french beans and carrots. To this you add a tsp of minced ginger and another of minced garlic. Now add 2 tbsp cornflour, a pinch of white pepper, salt and a tbsp of flour. Mix everything, adding a little more flour if it looks too runny. Shape into balls and deep fry on a medium heat until browned.
Now chop one small onion, half a carrot, a small tomato and 4-5 french beans finely. Grind 4-5 cloves of garlic into a paste (or just get yourself 2 tsp of garlic paste off a can). Heat 2 tbsp…

Notes from a Wedding

To all of you who wrote in with good wishes - thank you. And yes, everything at the wedding was just great and so much fun. Didn't I promise to be back in a week? That's because I had no idea how tiring a wedding in the family could be. Even when, technically, I wasn't doing a thing. We had so many people around the house to help with the guests - extra maids and guards and cooks and what not.

Still, I would need some time to get over the fatigue. So while I am not cooking anything new just yet, I thought you might want to hear about the chef I just mentioned. Yes, to help with the cooking for the guests, we had the chef from one of the clubs in the town work at our home for a week. And wow, what a cook! After every meal, he would have someone trooping into the kitchen to ask for the recipes. Not something he terribly enjoyed. But once I'd shown him this blog and told him that he'd feature here, he was happily parting with his best kept secrets. So, I present to y…

Celebrations

That's my brother, about to be married in a few days.

I'm off to welcome my adorable sister-in-law into the family. See you in a week or so.

Pantry Staples

What do you always have in your pantry. Beans and rice and spices of every denomination are standard in mine, but my answer differs vastly depending on when my last trip out of India was, and where.
My personal benchmark of a well stocked pantry is a situation where I can cook a meal I am happy about without having to step out of the house. Handy in situations when I get into one of these strange moods I was in last night - I don't feel like eating what my cook made out of the last vegetables in the fridge and I don't feel like eating out.

So I made this pasta. Set the macaroni to boil in plenty of salted water. In the meantime, I chopped and pureed two tomatoes in the blender. Before you object, let me assure you that tomatoes are not vegetables in my world - my mom's always told me that they are, like onions and potatoes, a staple. So we stick to pureed tomatoes, and also finely mince two cloves of garlic.

Heat olive oil in a pan, add the garlic and let it brown a little. …

Pesto Rugelach

Sometimes I think of so many ideas at the same time. And then they take such a long time coming. Take this rugelach; I first thought I could make a savory version of this popular cookie back in January 2009. I thought back to the idea often, but it's more than a year later that I am finally baking my pesto rugelach.
The dough's simply 100 gms each of cream cheese and butter, softened then thrown together with a cup of flour in food processor until just combined or mixed with hand until just blended. Chilled overnight, then divided into four parts, each rolled into a circle. I spread each circle with pesto, then cut the circle into 8 wedges. Starting from the base, rolled each wedge into a crescent. Baked at 190C for about 20-25 minutes, my rugelach crisp and golden by then.

If you don't end up eating all of rugelach right away, it might get a little soft the next morning. 5 minutes in a hot oven fixed that for me all right.

Julie and Julia

Thanks to the recent Meryl Streep movie, everyone's heard of our book club's pick for this month. Julie Powell was the first famous food blogger. Back in 2002, when blogging was a relatively new, unheard of pastime, Julie set herself a challenge to cook all the 536 recipes in Julia Child's iconic "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in a year. She then converted her Julie/Julia project into this book.

Now understand that this is an enormous task. Julia Child taught Americans to cook French food, and the copious amounts of butter and cream she threw in every recipe are enough to scare most sane people. Then there are dangerous acts involving live lobsters and whole ducks. Julie surely had a mammoth project, and she tells it in a way that makes it sounds very real.
Yet, in reading the book (as in watching the movie), I found something missing. I thought the book was more about someone bored who's trying to get the spark back in by doing something, anything. A…