Delicious FROYO - 3 gorgeous flavours

The Genius Dessert for weight watchers – Froyo, 3 ways

The dessert world is not a secular place, you know. I didn’t think of it that way until I started on project 50k (my weightloss project). I remember when I waited for dessert course in delicious anticipation. It was my favourite course. Tiramisu or Rum chocolate mousse or pannacota or .. ? I ate but with latent guilt. There aren’t very many options for people watching their weight.   It’s hardest when your friends are eating dessert and they coax you to have a bite too. You have a good mind to snatch the bowl from your friend and gobble it all up. Instead you demurely refuse citing a resolve that you very much doubt and pray that he finishes it up before you change your mind. I can manage most days when I have nothing within reach. But sometimes I just need something sweet and creamy. Enter FroYo or frogurt or frozen yogurt. It’s almost better than ice cream especially when you don’t want something as sweet, when you’d like something more complex, something sweet yet slightly tangy and with that luscious velvety mouth feel. The base for froyo is fresh thick yogurt. Our regular homemade or store bought curd/yogurt is just not thick enough for dessert. So start by straining yogurt to make hung curd/yogurt. Simply place a sieve inside a bowl, line with a cheesecloth and pour yogurt into it. Place the entire set-up inside the fridge overnight. Thick cheese-like yogurt will be ready in the morning. Basic Vanilla Froyo If you want to keep it really simple, add good quality vanilla extract (like Fabflavours, that has a huge variety of flavour options to choose from) and sugar to the strained yogurt and blend. Freeze for 5-6 hours and scoop into bowls for a velvety smooth, creamy, tangy- sweet vanilla fro-yo. I like it at soft-serve stage. So I let it soften a bit before digging in. If you’re in the mood to try new flavours, then give these flavours a shot. I came up with them in a fit of creativity and inspired adaptation. The Fabflavours contest on Home Bakers Guild was the push I needed to dive in and do this. Thank you to Home Bakers Guild and Fabflavours for that! Beet Khova Froyo The inspiration for the beet-khova froyo comes from the beetroot halwa that my periamma made often when we were little kids. The...
almond kheer

Kitchen Bloopers

When Vijay TV has no movie or show for the weekend what do they do? They would play re-runs of their award shows or bloopers from some long-over show. Or they may play “Nanban” or one of Mysskin’s movies. I am going to use the same strategy now since I’ve hardly cooked anything new the last month and a half. I am going to post the not-so-great, work in progress dishes that never saw the light of day on the blog. Not every dish turns out perfect. Not everyone likes every dish. And it is OK. It is ok to fail. It is ok to try things out. There may be some of you who think “Food bloggers can’t go wrong. They’re experts. I can’t try this recipe. It is too difficult/complicated/time-consuming/kids, husband, maamiyaar will not like it.” – Not true. You can never please everyone at the same time. And some of them, you can never please any time. You’ll never know if you don’t try. So just go ahead and give it a shot. On the other hand there may be some of you who think – “Food bloggers are vain, over-achieving braggart bitches.” – Hmm, Well, that’s not totally true. Either way, I just want to let you guys know that food bloggers make mistakes too. I am sharing here some of my not-so-great attempts here. I hope it encourages you to go into the kitchen and try out that cake you always wanted to bake for your kid, the Adhirasam that your paati made when you were a child and you’ve not found courage to try or that garlic pickle you don’t find on store shelves anymore. Classy rum cake turned drunkard Cake The idea was to make a light boozy rum cake for Jagan for his birthday. Jagan being a booze connoisseur would be pleasantly surprised by the wonderfully subtle rum undertones. That was the plan. But I wanted to make sure the rum flavour was not too feeble to be discerned. So I upped the rum measure. I must have used a cup and half of rum for the cake. Jagan later tells me that is “3 large”. The cake turned out moist, fine crumbed even and smacked of alcohol. I served the cake to my Maamiyaar without looking her in the eye, mumbling that it is a “plain mmm cake. No it is...
Banana foster cake

Banana Foster Cake

Every year my sister and I buy shirts for our father’s birthday. Every year he asks us “Why do you waste money on this?” It is his way of saying “Aawww”.   Every year we make a big deal of surprising him. We steal out of the house and when he asks us where we’re going, we explain in elaborate detail where we’re going to buy what for whom while usually we’d say “out” or “shopping”. He knows we’re going to buy him shirts. He has even noticed that we have taken one of his shirts for size reference. He doesn’t show. He plays along. Once we’re back he asks much like Hasini “I know you have bought me shirts. I know.” We act like he is crazy. It is a surprise. Next day we give him the shirts. He says he had known all along. He wears it and finds it is too tight or too large. We go back to the store with him and exchange. This is the birthday ritual.   Another recent addition to the ritual is the cake I bake for him. I bake him a birthday cake, usually a simple, hearty old-school cake without frosting, glaze etc. He refuses to be photographed cutting the cake, scolds us for singing “Happy birthday” and generally fusses around. This year I made banana foster cake. The recipe is from foodnetwork. It is simple, easy and a treat for banana lovers. I love that you brush the cake with rum when it is still warm. It adds a lovely depth of flavour. The caramel and sliced bananas that you line the bottom of the pan with becomes the top once baked and inverted – a lovely molten, crimson top. The cake itself is soft with a beautiful crumb. This is a beautiful cake to bake as a dessert for a party. I wouldn’t make this much ahead of time though as the caramel-banana top tends to discolour a bit when chilled. It still tastes yummy. It just doesn’t look as glamorous.   Enjoy!  
Chocolate truffle cake

Chocolate truffle cake

The inspiration behind this beautiful cake is Jagan. The reason for this beautiful cake is my sister. The creator of this beautiful recipe is not me. Must be a genius at bbcgoodfood who came up with this recipe. Where (Why) do I come in? The maker of this beautiful cake is me. The one who made this cake from start to finish, the one who peeled the parchment paper off an un-chilled super-moist cake before transferring to cake board and paid hell, the one who made indigenous crème fraiche substituting a substitute for a substitute, the one who forgot to add in the said indigenous crème fraiche and then swirled it in the cake pans.  Still, this cake was stunning, in-spite of all the madness. I write this to tell you what not to do in making this gorgeous cake, and to tell you that even the hand-mixer wielding, Amul fresh cream using, birthday baker like you and me can make this cake. And you will be known ever after as the one who makes the best chocolate truffle cake. Recently at a coffee shop, Jagan asked me why I’ve never made Chocolate truffle cake like the one they have there. Why? I didn’t know. So I set out to make one. My sister’s birthday was the right occasion for a Chocolate truffle cake because it was the one coming up next. Then I found this recipe. I figured you couldn’t go wrong with 800 grams of chocolate plus cocoa and more than a pound of butter. I immediately decided this was the recipe I was going to go with. This is my best chocolate cake so far and it is going to be my new most favourite chocolate cake to make for a long time to come. It turned out absolutely fantastic – rich, fudgy-moist and so so chocolatey interlaced with velvety chocolate frosting and finished off with a luscious smooth chocolate ganache. Oh My! Perfection!  Make this for Valentine’s day, for a birthday or for a celebration. It is a special occassion cake.  

Peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting, chocolate ganache and peanut chikki sprinkles

The day I decide to chuck the packed lunch from home, in the mood for a nice fat sub, go straight up and order my favourite sub for once without looking at “The sub of the day” without dillydallying, the group behind me is arguing in great detail about the best deal – “sub of the day as salad + this – that is better than sub of the day + that. You save 10 bucks da machaan”. I didn’t need that. Is that a message? I didn’t need that. I order mine with extra cheese and then add a toastie as well. There, take that! I made this cake for Jagan’s birthday last month. I was just a few weeks into my so called “no-dessert, keep your hands off the extra biryani” diet, I’d eat leftover vegetables or a carrot or some fruit before going hungry to bed and almost getting used to it. Then I made this cake. After everybody had had their slice after cutting the cake, after sharing with friends and family, I still had more than one quarter of the cake plus the trimmed pieces of the cake dome plus some of that over-the-top swiss meringue peanut butter frosting. I didn’t need that. What is one to do? For my nightly supper I substituted the carrot with a super-thin slice of the moist, peanut butter cake. When I was finished with the cake in said manner, I cut up pieces of the trimmed cake and dipped it in the super smooth, luscious peanut butter frosting and ate that up too. I licked the last of the peanut butter frosting. Circumstances… Aah. Circumstances can make even the most determined woman lick peanut butter frosting. What chance do I have? I am not even as determined. This is a special occasion cake I’ll be making several times. It is peanut butter bliss, from the moist, tender, peanut buttery cake to the luscious, smooth swiss meringue peanut butter frosting, a lovely bittersweet chocolate ganache to cut all the peanuttiness and a golden crown of crunchy peanut chikki shards to finish it off. By the way, I am terribly proud of my crushed peanut chikki sprinkles. So easy, so cheap, DIY and looks and tastes wow.Make this cake for a special occasion. Enjoy! Prep time: 15 mins (cake) + 30 mins (frosting) + 10 mins (ganache)Baking time: 30 minsServes:...

Eggless streusel bottomed (really, bottomed; not topped) Apple Cake with brown butter glaze

We are subtracting using figures. Eight kites minus 3 kites. Hasini strikes out 4 instead of 3 kites, realizes the mistake, then looks around for the eraser for the 28th time. I have not been able to explain this phenomenon of the missing eraser. I vaguely remember having the same problem too while writing my record. At the school gate last week, Hasini agitatedly asks for her lunch bag which she is jiggling around while asking for it. I’ve been known to search for my glasses while wearing them. Hasini once went to school without her books. I went for my college practical exam without my lab coat. Hasini likes to narrate stories about her dad, her mom and the chickens at home to her class teacher, art teacher, paatu teacher, and the aunty friends she makes at the beauty parlour while I am getting a pedicure. I tell you stories about Hasini, Yuvi, their homework, the tamil cinema I saw last week (I haven’t? I will soon) and my big bottom instead of the eggless streusel bottomed apple cake with brown butter glaze. It runs in the family. Not surprising that the apple cake turned out streusel bottomed instead of streusel topped. Bundt cakes are inverted; which I realized the minute after I filled the pan with the batter and lovingly topped with the streusel mixture. So streusel bottomed apple cake it was. But I am not complaining. This is the best cake I’ve baked in recent times. This apple cake is one of those classic cakes that are stellar on their own – no filling, frosting necessary to up their taste. I am crazy about the crumb these days. This cake has a beautiful crumb, not too fine but fine enough, moist and perfect. It slices like a dream and tastes fantastic. The brown butter glaze is super easy to make. Just whisk everything together in a pan and heat.  If you’re making the streusel which you should, remember to first layer the streusel and then fill in the cake batter. This cake batter is really thick, almost like cookie dough, so the streusel wouldn’t seep into the batter. Or you could bake the streusel separately on a sheet pan and then sprinkle over the glazed cake. The warm, nutty sweet of the glaze, the mellow, sweet of the apple cake and the crunchy, buttery sweet of the...

Papaya Apple Halwa

If only I were as good a planner as I am a dreamer, I’d have made a Valentine’s day themed post. I’ d have the menu for the entire month printed in a calendar format and pinned to my pin-up board. I’d have gone through my son’s Pre-KG syllabus at the beginning of the term rather than now, 2 weeks before his evaluations. I: Yuvi, young one of hen? Yuvi: Kozhi I: No Yuvi, Kozhi is hen. Young one of hen is chick. Young one of cat is kitten. Young one of dog? Hasini, don’t answer. Yuvi: Kitten? I: No Yuvi, young one of dog is puppy Yuvi: Yellathayum kitten sollalama? (Can we call all the young ones kitten? Please?) I crack up. He prances around thinking he has passed the test, thinking his lessons are over for the day.  I put away the books after one last round of rhymes he recites as he somersaults across the bed. Hasini joins along in the rhyme instead of writing her English essay. The Pizza arrives. We pack up for the day. I decide to be rational and steady and composed and think we can make it if we do little every day. I plan a rich heart shaped chocolate pudding cake for Valentine’s day because I couldn’t make it for the last wedding anniversary or the last valentine’s day. I am out of chocolate. I think I may buy it the day before and just bake this pudding cake off last minute. Without too much fuss, too much pre-planning and worrying. Just do it type. But I happened to not do it. Of late I’ve been leaning away from cake, towards non-fussy luscious halwas and kheers you can just scoop into a bowl, top with some crunchy nuts and call them dessert. And no less sensational. One mouthful of this papaya halwa makes me close my eyes and moan in pleasure. Note that the papaya is the surprise element. But the halwa tastes nothing like papaya. You may do away with the apples and make just a papaya halwa by subbing the apples with papaya. Not the other way around. Papaya haters will love this halwa too. It is an open challenge. Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 35 mins Serves: 8-10 Ingredients Papaya – 1 medium sized, peeled, seeded and diced fine Apples – 3 peeled, cored and grated Condensed...

Kheer Poori

First the score: How many movies did you watch this Pongal? I watched 5-1/2. Not in theatres. On TV. My butt is still sore from sitting all day watching TV. My un-mentioned resolution is to watch more movies, good movies and all of Balachander’s movies. But the DVD player needs to be fixed first. But hey, the mechanic is back. Jagan is back from the US. I hope he has resolved to get the DVD player fixed and along with that the alarm clock and all our wrist watches (I mean all the wrist watches that the family ever owned. I don’t have even one that works. Is that a sign?). I hope he has resolved not to give the gym and personal trainer his annual donation. Hey, it is not easy making resolutions for others. I bought a Vivofit fitness band last week (just like fitbit but this one doesn’t need to be charged with a USB cable! That is way too much work to get a fitness band working) that I’d been eyeing for a long time for myself but gifted it to Jagan very magnanimously only to be told that he doesn’t really like wearing things on his wrist. He brought it home in its packaging. In my long history of gift flops, this one is number one. In another Freudian interpretation, maybe I feel guilty buying it for myself but feel good buying it for him although I subconsciously know that he may not be interested and I’ll get to use it. Did any of us actually use the Vivofit? Ahem… No, not yet. Something that did become a hit was this Kheer Poori. The original recipe is from a beautiful treasure trove of Chettinad recipes called “Chettinad Cookbook”. I picked this book up a couple of weeks back and it has quickly become my favourite reference. I made this Kheer Poori as a “Welcome home” dessert for Jagan and he loved it. It is super simple to make and much quicker than traditional desserts. I like to serve the Kheer chilled with the crisp pooris scattered on top. You could let the pooris soak in the kheer and garnish with a few crisp pooris too. Either way it is luscious. This will make a wonderful ending for an Indian meal. Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time: 20 mins Serves: 4-5 Ingredients – Kheer Whole Milk...

Happy Birthday Jagan! Here’s the chocolate cake you missed

Red beet Chocolate cake with a silky chocolate frosting In Facebook fashion, I am wishing Jagan (my husband) a very, very happy birthday on my blog much to everybody’s “teeth gritting” and “eye-rolling”. I know. To my defence, he’s not sitting next to me and I haven’t asked him to share this post on FB and ‘like’ it. He’s far away in US of A and will miss out my yearly birthday-gift goof up – he is always amused, worried or perplexed by my gifts but never pleased with them. I once sent him for a surprise Spa Treatment on his birthday and he counts it among his most awkward, embarrassing moments to date. I have a knack with these birthday gifts. He’ll also miss my home-made birthday cake which I have a feeling he’s quite happy about. He’ll miss his birthday special menu at home – Dosai, Dosai and Dosai. And he’ll most definitely miss Hasini and Yuvi’s birthday song. I hope being featured on my million-readership blog makes him feel special. And somebody please go tell him to read this post. He doesn’t read my blog (can you believe that!) that often. I didn’t make this absolutely spectacular chocolate cake today. Are you mad? Today is Monday, day 1 of another work week after a crazy weekend and I just about managed to pack a lazy mom’s laziest lunch option of jam sandwiches and banganapalli mangoes for Hasini’s lunch. I made this cake a week back (another blogger thing I forgot to mention in my “Top things bloggers do” post, we’re preemptive). This chocolate cake is the best chocolate cake I’ve made so far and one of the best I’ve eaten. It is moist, just sweet enough and with the lovely creamy chocolate frosting, it is absolutely decadent. The secret ingredient in this absolutely gorgeous chocolate cake that makes it so moist and delicious is red beets/beetroot in it. No typos there. The cake has cooked, pureed beetroot in it. The cake and the frosting are both from Maida Heatter’s cake book.  I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to put the beetroot in this cake. Everytime I readied the beetroots, boxed them and put them in the fridge so that I could pull out and do the rest later (I rarely ever do the full thing – prepping, baking cake, frosting in one shot),...

Pathir Peni | Layered fried Badam pooris

Thursdays are unlucky for me. It is too much of a coincidence really to have the “sweet-talk” with your boss every thursday. I can recall quite clearly lots of bad days and all of them being Thursdays. Now that I have discovered this striking pattern in my stars, I am dreading Thursdays. Today was bad too. I won’t get into the embarrassing details of it but suffice to say that I’d be lucky if I am not made the peon in the upcoming appraisal. I am not going to say this Pathir Peni made me feel better and that Pathir Peni is what you need when you are depressed although I am quite tempted to do that in typical blogger fashion. I made Pathir Peni a couple of weeks back because I had a big box full of almonds that were fast approaching the rancid state and I wanted to put them to good use and also because I was itching for an elaborate, fussy challenge. Be warned: Pathir Peni is not a quick sweet to make, neither is it easy. But it’s not complicated. Now I don’t know what it is. Ok, if you’re patient and willing to spend the time doing each step perfectly without taking shortcuts then Pathir Peni is not a big deal really. Not that I’ve mastered it. But my Pathir Peni was crisp, flaky and just sweet enough and those are the things I am looking for in a Pathir Peni. Pathir Peni is one of those status symbol sweets. If Pathir Peni is served at a wedding, it usually means the family is well off, has good taste and can flaunt it. Same for Nool Peni. Atleast this was how it was in the grand old days. Pathir Peni is making a comeback these days and I’ve now had them more than a couple of times at weddings and other smallish functions recently but in the nouveau wedding banquet fashion of a hundred items served in indistinguishable micro-mini portions, with air hostess style wedding hostesses to open up your little mineral water bottles (I really appreciate this gesture though; I have a tough time usually opening up the bottle mid-way through a meal with Yuvi perched on my lap). The dried little Pathir Peni served in these occasions in styrofoam cups topped with diluted milk is no match for the real thing. If...

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