chocolate-cookies
biscuits, recipes

15 minute Extremely Chocolate cookies

You know what happens when you take a lazy nap after a decadent Sunday afternoon meal? You just might wake up with a deep craving for chocolate cookies.

I stumbled onto this recipe blindly. It makes soft, chewy cookies like Fox’s if you ever had those. These are dead easy to make and the secret is just good ingredients mixed with the least bit of effort. Perfect dark chocolate satisfaction with a mug of warm tea! Continue reading

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bread, recipes

London Muffin’s Custard Bread (Japanese Cream Pans)

One of the many tasks that I have set for myself is to try and recreate my favourite foods. London Muffin is a tiny Korean bakery in Koregaon Park, Pune which serves the most incredibly soft bread. Here I discovered a heavenly combination of two of my most favourite foods: custard and white bread.

London Muffin’s Custard Bread is like a soft flat dinner roll which has been folded in half and trapped a generous helping of subtle, milky custard. I wondered if the bread was baked with custard or did they pull out the bread mid-way to fold it up with some custard. So after a few Google searches I came across the recipe for Japanese Cream Pans and I hope the Monthy-Python-esque comedy of a Korean bakery named London Muffin making incredible Japanese Cream Pans is not lost on you. Continue reading

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bread, recipes

The best homemade thin crust pizza

Making your own pizza base is such a liberating feeling. It’s pretty simple and really quick. After the first time you will really look forward to doing it again and again. With this recipe you can make a brilliant thin crust pizza which is crisp yet chewy and tastes as good as that of a fancy Italian restaurant.

I have been dying to try out our new cake mixer. We couldn’t find the fancy Kitchen Aid one but we got one by Sogo which is just the same! It doesn’t really take time to hand-mix the pizza dough but I thought I would try it out in the new stand mixer.

sogo-stand-mixer

The ingredients:

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 tsp active-dry or instant yeast
  • 1 ½ cups of flour (maida)
  • ½ of wheat flour (atta)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsps salt
  • ½ tsp of sugar

Let’s get cooking:

Mastering yeast is pretty straightforward. Dry yeast or instant yeast is available at most supermarkets and probably the bigger kirana stores. Blue Bird’s active dry yeast is pretty good and easily available.

blue-bird-instant-active-dry-yeast

Pour the water in a mixing bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and dissolve the yeast, salt and sugar. Just stir it around until everything has dissolved.

Now add the flour and start combining. If you are using the stand mixer then start off on 2 for a few minutes and crank it up to 3 for few minutes more. Add the glug of oil just as you are about to form a dough ball.

Knead it a couple of times and leave it. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it to rise for an hour. You can use the dough straight away as well as it will rise a bit as it bakes but rising it aside helps to improve the texture and flavour.

rising-dough

After an hour knead the dough a little bit and again cover it with cling film and leave it for half an hour. At this point you can also bung the dough into the fridge if you want to use it later.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface. While baking it’s going to rise and double so you can decide how thin you would like your pizza. I would recommend rolling it out to an 2 mm thickness to get a crunchy yet chewy consistency. While rolling if the dough starts getting sticky then you can dust it with more flour.

I decided to top mine with some pasta sauce out of a jar, topped with some chicken salami and grated cheese. Sprinkled some oregano and basil and finished it off with a light drizzle of olive oil.

Preheat your oven for at least 15 minutes at its highest temperature and bake the pizza till the crust starts turning brown which should be in about 30 minutes.

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bread, recipes

Three Cheese Scones

It was a holiday and we ended up watching ‘The Help’ on TV that morning. As a rule I have stopped watching depressing movies because they seem to drop me in a funk for days. But this is a beautiful and inspiring movie which will nevertheless leave you in tears. I wanted to whip up some comfort food but didn’t want to go to all the trouble of frying up some chicken.

It’s been a long time since I made scones. My mom used to make them with dark raisins for tea. I thought I will try out a deep, cheesy version. You can use any kind of hard cheese for this recipe. I had some Parmesan, Mont Gomery Jack and good old Amul lying around. Sharp Cheddar works superbly to give you that deep indulgent cheese flavour.

Ingredients:

2 cups maida

1 cup of grated mix cheese (any type of hard cheese, not mozzarella-types)

1 tsp ground black pepper (ideal if you make it fresh in a pestle and mortar)

1 tbsp of granulated white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ cup regular Amul butter

½ cup milk

Let’s get cooking:

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and the sugar. Cut up the butter in cubes and add it to the flour.

flour and butter

Now you need to use forks or knives to cut the butter into the flour. Don’t use your hands because the warmth will melt the butter. I used a large spoon to cut and squish the butter into the flour. You end up with a mix which kinda looks like breadcrumbs.

crumbed-flour

Add your grated cheese and pepper. You can also add a tablespoon of herbs like chives or oregano. You can also substitute the pepper for red chilli flakes for more heat. Mix it well so that the cheese is evenly distributed throughout the flour.

Add some of the milk and start stirring the flour to combine it into dough. Add more milk as required but the goal is to make rough dough. It shouldn’t be too moist. Do not over stir it. It should just come together (this is very tricky so go slow with the milk. I ended up with just a little more milk in my dough this time as you can see in the picture below).

Lightly flour a flat surface and roll out the dough to form a log of about 3 inch diameter. Cut slices of about an inch thick. If you have a round cutter then you could roll out the dough to an inch thick and cut out circles. Brush the tops with some butter or milk.

dough-balls

Line a baking sheet with some foil or parchment paper and place the scones. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C for about 20 minutes or till they lightly brown.

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ice-cream, recipes

Salted Caramel and Old Monk Ice-cream

The heat is rising in Agra. It’s about 45+ degrees C during the day. Way more than we have ever experienced. Ever so often I venture out onto our balcony just see if anyone gets out in this heat and am always surprised to see people out and about. Don’t their shoes and slippers melt?

I decided to make a boozy, creamy indulgent ice-cream to celebrate our first weekend here in this new city. The secret to make a no-churn ice-cream is alcohol. Since booze doesn’t freeze it’s great to keep the ice-cream light and moist. Pair your liquor with the correct flavours and you have magic in your mouth!

Salted caramel is an acquired taste because it’s very unusual to taste something which is simultaneously sweet and salty. The darker the caramel the more pronounced it is and higher on the bitter scale. The ever so wonderful Old Monk dark rum goes really well with anything sweet and is absolutely fantastic in this ice-cream.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups of regular sugar
  • 2 cups (half litre) of whole milk
  • 100 gms of regular salted butter
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) of cream
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of Old Monk dark rum (or any other brand)

Let’s get cooking:

Prepare the container

We have to chill the ice cream so take an old ice-cream tub or take a cake pan. Pour in half of the milk (1 cup) and place it in the freezer till we prepare rest of the ice-cream.

Caramelising the sugar

Sugar burns very fast so once it starts melting watch it very carefully. The darker the caramel the more bitter and pronounced it will get so I will suggest that you keep it a medium dark brown (like the colour of honey) unless you really like dark caramel. Molten sugar is really really hot. And it sticks. So be very, very careful. If you do manage to splatter some on your skin then dunk it in cold water.

To caramelise sugar take a heavy sauce pan and spread the 2 cups of sugar evenly. Keep it on a medium flame and wait for the edges and the middle to start liquefying. Move around the sugar so that it doesn’t burn. Soon the entire lot will melt and start darkening. As soon as it is medium brown turn off the heat.

caramelizing sugar

Making the custard Add ¾th of the rum, all of the butter and salt and stir it in. Add the cream and whisk it till everything combines.

addcreamandbutter

Pour in the rest of the milk and stir to combine. As and when the caramel seems to harden you can turn on a medium heat to soften it.

addmilk

Lightly whisk the yolks. Ladle some of the caramel mix into the yolks and whisk. Make sure the mix isn’t too hot and the eggs don’t scramble.

whiskeggs

Pour the eggs into the caramel mix and start cooking this custard on a medium heat. Whisk or stir continuously so that lumps do not form. Soon the custard should thicken a bit. Take out the tub from the freezer and pour the custard into the cold milk.

mixmilk

Pour in the rest of the rum and whisk to combine. Cling wrap the container or put on the lid and put it back in the fridge for a couple of hours. The ice-cream does not need churning or whisking but do check up on it every half hour. If it looks like it’s hardening up too much then give it a quick whisk to break up the ice.

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