Rich Carrot Cake

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The winter season….. ahh! what I like most about it is lovely colourful vegetables. My little one is very fond of carrots, loves to eat red juicy carrots raw as snack, more than cooked. Moreover, in this part of Asia carrot is cooked, in fact simmered in milk for hours to make ‘Halwa’, a dessert! I grew up eating loads and loads of carrot halwa everyday during winters.

So the other day I planned to make halwa ‘ for my kids and therefore grated about a kilogram of red juicy carrots. But my little one insisted on cake, any type of cake.

“Well then” I said “cake you must have for dessert!” I found this really easy recipe in my old notes (a diary where I have been making notes for past 19 years! Must admit it has torn apart but I still love to write in it…..it’s precious!!!)

What I like about this recipe is that it’s light and nutritious as you use whole meal flour and lots of dry fruits.

So here we go with the recipe:

Ingredients:

Grated carrot 200g

Whole-meal flour 200g

Sugar 175g

Sunflower oil (any cooking oil) 150 ml

Two large eggs, whisked

Grated coconut ½ cup

Chopped walnut ½ cup

Or/and chopped pistachios ½ cup

Sultanas ½ cup

Zest of one orange

Cinnamon powder 1 tsp

Baking powder 1 tsp

Baking soda 1tsp

Instructions:

  • Whisk sugar and oil together until it looks light and seems mixed thoroughly.
  • Separately mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon powder and sieve it to add in some air.
  • Into the liquid mixture now add beaten eggs slowly while whisking.
  • Next add in all the dry ingredients one by one and fold in well until it’s all mixed thoroughly.
  • Transfer the mixture into greased and lined baking tin and bake in pre-heated oven at 175oC for 40- 45 minutes or until cake leaves the side of the tin.
  • Remove from oven and let it rest for about five minutes before removing from the tin.

I believe it tastes much better the next day if one has patience to keep it for a day (or children allow it to rest!!!) with some whipped cream.

 

 

 

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Almond and Orange Cake

First time I made this cake was about 6 years ago. I kept making various desserts for my guests and family and almost forgot about this one. Recently when my kids asked me to make something fruity and flavorful I opened my old diary where I use to make note of each and every dish that I would serve to my guests while I was in Sri Lanka, and guess what I stumbled upon this one. Now in past two weeks I have baked it three times and I guess it is high time that I share it with you.

Ingredients:

50g breadcrumbs

200g castor sugar

l00g almonds, ground

1 ½ tsp baking powder

200 ml sunflower or vegetable oil

4 eggs

zest of 1 large orange

zest of ½ a lemon/ lime

Syrup:
Juice of 1 orange

Juice of ½ lime

80g sugar

2 cloves

1 piece of star anise

Cooking time: 40 – 50 minutes

Preparation time: 10 -15 minutes

Note: For this recipe do not preheat the oven.

Temperature: 190oC or 375oF or Gas mark 4

Instructions:

  • Grease and line a cake tin (8 inch or 20cm)
  • In a large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the ground almonds, sugar and baking powder.
  • Add the oil and eggs to the mixture and beat well.
  • Stir in the orange and lemon zest.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
  • Put into a cold oven and set to heat to 190C (375F /gas mark 5).
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is a rich brown and a skewer/ fork inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the tin then turn out onto a plate.

Method to prepare syrup:

  • Bring all the ingredients gently to the boil in a pan stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Simmer for 2 minutes.

You can prepare the syrup while cake is baking.

  • Pierce the cake with a skewer/ fork while still warm and pour the syrup over it.
  • Leave to cool spooning the syrup over the cake every now and then until it is all soaked up.

Serve it with whipped cream.

Moist Egg-less Chocolate-Almond Cake

In the months of October- November every year, most of the Indian households observe religious rituals for their ancestors and then nine days fasting and of course after that celebration for Dusshera and Diwali begin. During most of this period many families completely go vegetarian avoiding eggs as well, and so is the case in my family, well..………. for few days!

I have been trying different recipes, with our own variations in each (I say ‘our’ as my elder daughter has been helping me here) to get the perfect recipe for egg-less cake.  We finally arrive at the one which we baked on my husband’s birthday. I would also like to mention here that this recipe is especially for our youngest member in the family, a little princess, who is allergic to eggs and I am sure she is going to enjoy it too!

Moist Egg-less Chocolate- Almond Cake:

Ingredients:

 All Purpose Flour – 2 cup

Baking Powder – 1 and ½ tsp

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – 10 tbsp

Almond powder – 1 tbsp (optional)

Castor Sugar – 1 and ¾ cups (grind granulated sugar in a grinder)

Vegetable oil – 1 cup (sunflower oil)

Hot Coffee – ½ cup (2 tsp of coffee in ½ cup of hot water)

Milk – ½ cup

Natural Curd/ Yogurt – ½ cup

Almond essence – 1 tsp

Natural vinegar – 1 tsp

Instructions:

 Preheat the oven to 180oC, at least 8-10 minutes before baking (This is the time when you mix all your ingredients together). Lightly grease the cake tin and line with a parchment paper.

  •  In a large bowl sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, almond powder and sugar. Make a well in the center. Add all the wet ingredients one by one.
  •  Beat the mixture using an electric mixer on low speed for 2-3 minutes until the dry and wet ingredients are well combined. Do not over beat it.
  •  Pour the batter in the prepared tin. Tap the tin to spread the batter evenly.
  •  Bake in the pre-heated oven or pre-heated pressure cooker for about 30 minutes. Check the cake with a skewer or fork.
  •  Take it out of the oven, and allow it to cool. After about half an hour remove the cake from the tin and let the cake cool completely before you dig in.

As I mentioned earlier, I baked it on my husband’s birthday, children couldn’t wait for it to cool down completely, so we hurried him to cut it while it was warm. It tasted great….. moist and spongy without icing! So go ahead, bake one and enjoy the way you want it!!!

Home-style Tandoori Chicken

Recently a friend was visiting from Mumbai with her four-year old son. Her son is extremely fond of tandoori chicken. I had prepared home-made spaghetti with lots of veggies and tomato sauce, which did not appeal the little boy as he wanted only chicken. I had four whole skinned leg pieces of chicken in my refrigerator that I could use. I was short of time to marinate chicken but still tried and guess what …it turned out to be one of most amazing chicken dish I have plated out!
So here we go with the recipe for it:

Ingredients:

4 pieces of skinned chicken leg
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or malt vinegar
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tbsp grated or crushed ginger
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 and ½ tsp garam masala
2 tsp salt, or to taste
Cooking oil
Fresh coriander sprigs for garnish
Slices of cucumber, red (Spanish) onion, tomato and lemon, for garnish

Instructions:

• Wash the chicken thoroughly removing any fat using salt and a pinch of turmeric in water.
• Make 3-5 slits on the surface of the chicken legs, deep enough to see bone inside, on both the sides. Set aside on a kitchen towel.
• Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in a big bowl. Add chicken legs one by one in the bowl while rubbing the marinade well into the meat through the slits.
• Cover it and leave in the refrigerator for 15 minutes (Well I did so as I was short of time, you can keep it longer, may be for an hour or so ……. No hard rules on that)
• Now you have two options,

  1. you can either bake it in the oven at 450F for 30 – 35 minutes covered with aluminium foil, just remember to drizzle with about 1 tbsp oil after transferring it into a baking dish (and then brown it under the grill) or
  2.  if you don’t have an oven you can fry it in the pan, and this is how you do it.

• Heat a non-stick heavy base pan with some oil. Wipe off the marinade from the leg pieces.
• Shallow fry one by one, each side of the leg to get a brown color by keeping it on one side for at least 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
• Once all the leg pieces are done, keep them on one side on a plate.
• Add the marinade to the pan. Bring it to boil while stirring continuously and then add all the chicken leg pieces, coat with the sauce (marinade), cover the pan and slow cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until the meat starts leaving the bone.
• Garnish as you like and serve hot with Naan bread, or chapattis.

This chicken does not look like that traditional red colored one, in fact it has some gravy as well, but believe me it tastes great and is very light with all the flavors and aromas of tandoori chicken.