Feb 19, 2015

3 Layer Rosette Cake

You don't normally need a reason to bake a cake. 

But when you have two good reasons, there no second thought but to bake a cake. 

So, this Valentine's Day, we were meeting with friends and were going to do a double whammy celebration of a retirement party as well as the hallmark Valentines day. So, once I decided there's going to be a cake, the dreams piled up. It had to be a layer cake. There ought to be at least one red velvet layer. And then I needed a design that would fit both the occasions. So Roses it had to be. I've never done a rosette cake and was a little intimated. I made sure I had the number of  a couple of bakeries nearby for back up just in case I had to place a last minute order. 

I don't have a step by step picture of baking each of the cakes and the frostings. But I'm going to give you links here - I referred to the JoyofBaking site for the recipes. I've always had good results with her recipes and was happy this time too. Then are you asking why is it that I blog about this? Because prettiness should not be contained within picasa albums. It should be shared. And it should be put on the internet. That's why.


Here's a peek into the gorgeous layers inside. Start on the with a chocolate cake topped with a mocha frosting. Then comes the red velvet with a cream cheese filling and topped off with a vanilla cake and the entire thing got a layer of frosting on top. All that was left was piping the roses on top. 

And then of course it was time for a photoshoot. I don't think any of my cakes got this much pampering done. This one had good karma maybe.

Seriously, have you see a rose and candles as a prop for a piece of cake? Thanks to my crazy friends for setting this up for a shot! 

Here's a side story. Originally I had planned to do a layer of strawberry cake in place of the vanilla you see above. I followed Paula Dean's recipe but maybe because of the fresh strawberry used, the center of the cake sunk like the titanic. How Sad! But the rest of the cake was wonderful indeed and tasted amazing. So, I used a little round cutter and cut out the sides and piped on some cream cheese filling on top. This was gone in a jiffy. I should plan to make more of this soon when strawberries are in full season. 

That's the end of a totally self absorbed-show off-superficial cake post. More Later!

Peace Out!

Jan 20, 2015

Daal Kachori/Puri

Wishing all my readers a Very Happy New 2015! 
Hope life treats you all great and provides you with opportunities to do some amazing stuff. Have you written down your goals and aspirations. If not, do it. Goals not written down are just dreams. 

Starting off the year here with one of my favorite high protein packed recipe. Even though its a ever so slightly laborious process, the end result is worth it. You could make this small in size and call them kachoris or make them flat and big and call them puris when fried or daal parathas when done on a tawa. That's the kind of versatility this dish has. I sometime also like to just make the filling and add it to vegetables very similar to south indian paruppusili. So depending on how creative you feel, go ahead an customize this your way and enjoy it. 

Start off with soaking the different lentils together. I used 1 cup of urad daal, 1/4 cup of moong daal and 1/4 cup of pink masoor. Again, feel free to mix this up based on what lentils you have. This recipe is very flexible that way. Wash the lentils and soak them for about 2-3 hrs.

Start off with getting the basics ready. Some fine chopped ginger, garlic, green chillies and also about 1 cups of onions.

Drain the soaked lentils and then add them to a mixer or blender.

Top off with some coriander seeds, cumin seeds and a couple of pepper corns.

Grind to a smooth paste. Add a few drops of water for grinding if required but do not make it watery.

When that is ready, switch on the stove and then in a wide pan, add a few drops of oil and then add the following seasoning and then the chopped ingredients.

Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin - 1 tsp
Chopped Ginger
Chopped Garlic
Chopped Green chilli
Asafoetida - a pinch

Let everything above splutter and fry for a min and then add the onions. Cook till translucent.

When the onions are done, add the lentil paste to it and immediately turn the heat down so you don't end up with a sticky pan.

Let this cook for about 10-12 mins. Add the following - 
Salt - to taste
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - a little pinch

Keep stirring every few mins so they don't stick to the bottom. At first, this will seem like a sticky mess. But just hang in there and have faith. It gets better. 

It will start balling up and becoming dry. Switch off and let sit in pan for a few mins until you get the outer cover ready.

For the cover, knead 1 and 1/2 cup atta with salt, pinch of turmeric and a pinch of chilli powder - like how you would knead rotis. But don't make it very soft. You need a hard dough so knead one like that!

Make medium sized balls out of the dough and get ready for filling.

Here's the filling and it looks all set. Like I said at the beginning, this filling is so versatile, you can even add this to veggies (works great with green beans, carrots, cabbage etc), or make parathas with it or make kachoris or puris with it. Or even make rice flour cover and steam it like kozhukattais. In other words, this is an all in all azhagu raja filling! If you don't know what that means, call me and I'll explain it.

 Roll out a roti. Stuff this in the middle and pack it up and roll it again gently to make a stuffed small puri sized piece.

Fry in hot oil until the puri is done golden brown on both side. Remove and drain excess oil. If you are making parathas, cook on medium flame on both sides till well done.

And there people is a simple, plain old kachori packed with my love and goodness and served with mint and date chutnies.

 Feeling very creative? Add some whisked dahi, top off with chutnies and sprinkle some sev and make a kachori chaat.

 This is just to show you how it looks inside when thick and also thin. The top two layers are a thick kachori type and the bottom ones are more puri like. Of course I prefer the thin puris.

Serve hot and enjoy some warm puris on a rainy evening. Perfect for winter weather. And protein packed as well. 

Enjoy. Peace Out!