Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Decorated sugar cookies-Daring bakers challenge september 2010

I have never baked sugar cookies until this challenge came up.
The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

Baking these cookies was quite easy and wasn't time consuming either but the challenge was to decorate them according to the theme September. For me September is the start of celebration, my hubby's birthday and then start of Navarathri.Celebration means color, decided to decorate it in many hues.

As i wanted to bake eggless cookies, i baked these cookies from Slashfood

These are perfect sugar cookies which we liked to eat without icing.


All purpose flour 3 cups

Sugar 1 cup

Butter 1 cup

Vanilla 1 tsp

Baking powder 1 1/2 tsp

Salt 1/2 tsp

Milk 3 tbsp


Cream the butter and sugar till creamy and fluffy.

Add vanilla and beat again and keep it aside

In a broad vessel, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together,

Add the wet ingredients to this slowly and knead into a very soft dough. Make sure you do not knead it too much

You need to chill this for an hour or so. I chilled only for 30 minutes as my curiosity overtook me:-)

Roll the dough out uniformly , nearly 1/4" thickness on a lightly floured board. Cut out cookies and place them on cookie sheet and bake these at 180C for 10 to 15 minutes( They look pale but will start browning at the sides)

Cool them on wire rack and when fully cooled store them in air tight containers or decorate them as you wish

My daughter had a gala of time helping me decorate these cookies. She loves colors and i can definitely say that she is my INSPIRATION




For the icing i have used eggless version by Veglicious


Icing sugar 1/2 cup

Corn starch 1 1/2 tsp

Milk 1 to 2 tsp

Lemon juice 1 tsp

Food colors few drops

Sift the sugar and corn starch in a bowl.

Add the milk and the colors. Blend into a very fine paste

Put them in the icing bags with the necessary couplers and unleash your creativity.

This icing dries when left in open

For the detailed icing instruction do have a look at Daring bakers challenge page where Mandy has given the detailed instructions

I am going straight to see how the others bakers have decorated.Why don't you join me!!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Desicated coconut ladoo


I had tasted this ladoo at my friend's place when i had accompanied my daughter to her friend's birthday bash.Uma had interestingly shaped it like a mice:-).When asked for the recipe, she readily gave me the recipe as well as a packed box full of these ladoos. It was very tasty. I can still remember the way i grabbed a few:-). Well! she had also mentioned that this recipe was given in the milk maid recipe booklet.But as usual, i had misplaced the recipe and when i did search the web for this i came across this recipe here by Niya prakash


Condensed milk 1/2 tin

Icing sugar 100 gms

Desicated coconut 200 gms

ALmonds few


Keep 2 tbsp of dessicated coconut aside to coat the ladoos

In a plate mix the icing sugar with the dessicated coconut powder

Add the sweetened condensed milk to it and knead it very lightly to form a soft dough

Take a lemon sized quantity of the dough and shape it into a ball/ladoo

Garnish with almonds

This is a very quick , no cook dessert.

Thanks UMA and Niyaprakash

Sending this to SUGAR HIGH FRIDAYS-Bite size Desserts hosted by the very talented Aparna and started by JENNIFER

Do check out Aparna's blog for the roundup which will be posted on 27th for other lovely dessert ideas:-)

till then
happy cooking

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sicilian Caponata

Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant dish cooked with the star ingredient :eggplant" and peppers,tomato and seasoned with capers in a sour-sweet sauce.This is what i found out when i searched the web as soon as Alessio Fangano suggested this as the challenge for September 2010-The four velveteers.
When i announced very proudly that i would cook caponata for my husband(secretly praying that he would praise me for trying out some unknown dish), his reaction was "OH! I AM TRAVELLING- SO GOODLUCK WITH YOUR TRIALS". Well well! i guess he wanted to escape my innumerable kitchen trials and disasters, but guess what??????????HE MISSED THIS:-)

Wow !!! does it not look inviting????????? It was!!!!!!!

Now to the recipe

There are many variations of this vegetarian dish and with the limited supplies that i can get here, i tried out this and am very happy with the outcome.This surely is a keeper


Medium sized eggplant 2 (cut into even small cubes)

Green bell pepper 1

Red bell pepper 1

Yellow bell pepper 1

Onion 1

Tomato 1

Garlic 3 pods

Raisins 1/4 cup

Capers 2 tbsp

Fresh basil 2 tbsp

Pine nuts 1 tbsp

Brown sugar 1 tbsp

Olive oil 2 tbsp

Salt to taste


Dice the eggplant into small even cubes. Add a little salt and keep it aside.After 10 minutes , dry them on a kitchen towel and shallow fry them and keep it aside.

Cut the onions finely and the bell peppers too. Scoop out the seeds from tomato and dice as well.

In a pan add 2 tbsp of olive oil , heat it over medium flame and saute the onions.When they turn translucent add the minced garlic , saute it further for a minute till a good flavor emanates.

Now add the cut peppers and saute till they change the colour and finely add the tomato with the brown sugar and salt

When the tomatoes are well cooked add the fried eggplants with the raisins and cook for another 5 minutes.

switch off the fire and add the capers and Basil

I have not used vinegar since the tomatoes already made it quite tangy

A very simple dish to cook and very tasty too.Tastes very good when served on warm crostini or bread.When you bite into it, there is an explosion of flavors of garlic, basil, pine and you can feel the different texture too. Lovely dish.Thank you Alessio for choosing such a beautiful vegetarian dish

Joining groups like THE 4 VELVETEERS definetely pushes you to try and cook many dishes which we wouldn't venture into otherwise.The 4 velveteers is the brain child of Aparna Alessio, Asha and Pamela who are passionate about different cuisines and food in general. Each month, we will attempt a new dish and share our experiences and the recipes we used. If you’re interested in joining the Velveteers, please feel free to drop by our Google group

Do check out what the other velveteers have created with eggplant

Aparna,s Eggplant and Fig caponata

Sarah's caponata-sicilian aubergine relish

ASHA'S Sicilian caponata over Z'atared Lavash Crackers

Madhuli's Yotam ottolenghi's caponata

Ken's Caponata jam n olive oil financier

Shall update as and when they post on their blogs

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


When Nupur of ONE HOT STOVE announced the event blog bites BB#7,(on the lines of IRON CHEF AMERICA)
she wanted us to cook 2 dishes with a common star ingredient, the next minute i was frantically searching my bookmarked recipes because i had already set my mind on "BEETS".Ask me why?????
Because I never imagined that this root can be cooked in so many different ways until i saw PRIYA'S beetroot kootu and APARNA'S beetroot cup cakes. Wow!!!!! such an versatile root!!!!!Thanks to Priya and aparna, i found two new recipes

The original recipe can be seen here

3 beets chopped

1/4 cup green gram dal

1 tsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp asafoetida

Grind together

Coriander seeds 1 tbsp

Fenugreek seeds 1 tsp

oats 2 tbsp

red chillies 3

Pressure cook the beets along with the dhal and just enough water.

Dry roast the ingredients under the "grind together list", cool and grind it in the mixie

In a pan add a tsp of oil and when heated up add the mustard seeds and asafoetida.

When the mustard seeds crackle add the cooked beets and dhal and let it boil for 3 minutes

Now add the ground mixture to it and add the necessary salt as well.

Let it boil for a few minutes and add the curry leaves to flavour

Lovely red kootu is ready

This tastes very different and very good as well.
This will be a regular in my kitchen. Too good. Thanks a ton PRIYA


I have always wanted to bake a red cake but the red colouring stopped me. Never wanted to use RED after reading the article or even this RED
But Aparna had found another way to colour her cake and i loved this.wOW!!I wonder as to how she came up with this!!. DO READ HER POST FOR THE CHEMISTRY BEHIND THE colouring. Loads OF INFORMATION

Now to the recipe. The original recipe can be seen HERE

All purpose flour 1 1/4 cup

Granulated Sugar 1 1/4 cup

Cocoa powder 1 1/2 tbsp

fresh beet puree 3/4 cup

Lemon juice 1/4 cup

OIL 1/3 cup

Baking powder 1 1/2 tsp

vanilla extract 1 tsp

salt 1/4 tsp


Peel 2 medium sized beets , chop and cook it. I microwaved it for 5 minutes. Cool and puree it along with 3 tbsp of water and keep aside

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt

whisk the cooked beets, oil, lemon juice together.

Mix the dry flour mixture with this, just till the combine together

Line the cup cake moulds

Spoon the mixture into the moulds and bake them at 180 C for 20 to 25 minutes or till done(a toothpick inserted at the center should come out clean)

Cool the cakes and then do the icing though we liked it without any icing

Thanks Aparna for that wonderful post and for the loads of information too.

This goes to NUPUR'S BB#7. Do check out her blog and the round up because you may find new ways to cook the same ingredient!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Manoharam- August ICC


This months ICC was Manoharam. I remember my mom would cook this during diwali but have never attempted to do this.
These recipes are from a cookbook authored by S. Meenakshi Ammal Vol 2 and shared by Lataji

I just followed it the way SRIVALLI had shown us except that the quantity was less


Rice flour(processed) 2 cups

Moong dal flour 1 cup

salt 1 tsp

butter 1tbsp

Jaggery 1/2 cup

oil for deep frying


Mix both the flours with salt. Then add the butter and mix lightly

Add the necessary amount of water to form a soft pliable dough

Make murukkus with the three hole slotted disc fitted murukku press

Deep fry on moderate heat and drain on an absorbent paper

cool and break them into small pieces.

Now add little water to jaggery and boil till the syrup forms hard roll ball consistency

Remove the syrup from fire and add the broken murukku pieces to it

When a little cool, roll them into small balls

Lovely, golden delicious Manoharam ready to be served

I never expected my daughter to like this, but she loved it!!!!!!! Thanks SRIVALLI.
To see a step by step instruction by srivalli click here

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chocolate cookies-Tried and tasted


Cookie fever is back:-). This week again i baked cookies and this time the recipe source is Nags blog. She has such an awesome blog and lovely, delicious recipes.

This recipe again is very easy, not very time consuming.and the original recipe is here


Butter 1/2 cup+ 1 tbsp

Icing sugar 1/2 cup+more for dusting

All purpose flour 1 cup

Corn flour 1/4 cup-1tsp

Cocoa powder 1TBSP+1tsp


Combine butter and sugar, beat well till it becomes creamy

Sift the flours and cocoa powder into it

Gather it together lightly

Knead well to form a soft dough

Shape them into small pedas and arrange them on a greased plate

Bake the cookies at 180 C for 20 minutes.

Dust the icing sugar on it and let it cool

Store in an airtight container
Sending these cookies to PRIYA'S Bookmarked recipes cohosted by US MASALA

and to CHAMPA'S bake off event

Do check out NAG'S blog, CHAMPA'S BLOG AND PRIYA BLOG for other mouth watering recipes and of course the blog of USMASALA



This is my first post after joining daring cooks.
The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Here John challenged us to preserve food either using freezer method or with canning. Since i do not have to canning jar i used the regular freezing method.

The original recipe is here


Apples 12

Water 1 cup

Honey 1/2 cup

cinnamon powder 1tbsp

clove powder 1/2 tsp


Wash the apples, remove the stems and core them. I peeled and chopped them at this stage.

Combine the cut apples with water and cook slowly on a slow fire till it turns soft

Mash the apples very well at this stage

Combine this with honey and the spices and simmer on a very slow flame till done

To test the doneness, spoon a small quantity on a plate, if there isn't any liquid separating then the butter is done.

Remove from fire and cool it

I transferred this to zip lock covers and froze it

This is a spread which we all loved. Without any white sugar and with loads of spices this tastes awesome

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bhendi masala/Okra masala

When PRIYA sent me an invite in FB and asked me if i was joining BSI-OKRA , i immediately said yes because bhendi is very regularly cooked in my house in some form of subzi. One of our favorite is bhendi dry subzi cooked in microwave and the other is this. This goes well with chapathi,pulka.
Adapted from the cookbook of Mrs Mallika badrinath


Bhendi/Okra 1/4 kg

Onion 2 to 3

Tomatoes 2

Green chilli 1 or 2

Cashew 10

Poppy seeds 2tsp

Jeera 1 tsp

turmeric powder 1/4 tsp

Chilli powder 1 tsp

Dhania powder 1 tsp

Garam masala 1 tsp

Hung curd 2 tbsp

Oil to fry

Salt to taste


Cut the Okra into 2 inch (approx) pieces.Slice the onions and cut the tomatoes finely

Deep fry the okra and keep aside.Do not make it very crisp

saute the onions till they turn translucent in the same oil. Let it cool.

In a pan dry roast the cashew and poppy seeds

Grind the onions with cashew and poppy seeds.

In a pan add jeera , green chillies and saute for a minute and then add the ground masala and fry for 3 to 4 minutes.

Now add the dry masala powders and saute for another 2 minutes.

Add the hung curds and fry for a minute .Add some water to makethe gravy little thin

Now add the cut tomatoes and cook with a lid closed for another 3 minutes, Now add the required amount of salt and further cook till a very good flavor emanates

Add the fried okra and coriander leaves and further cook for a minute

serve hot with chapathi or phulkas

Sending this to Priya who is hosting BSI this week BSI-OKRA and started by BIZ

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nankhatai- Tried and tasted

Cookies have been on my baking wishlist since a very long time. Today i decided to bake the traditional nankhatai. While i was searching for recipes on the web i came across many versions of nankhatai such as using ghee, dalda, butter. I will be trying out all the versions later but for today it is nankhatai with ghee.When i looked at Mullai' s recipe i felt it was very easy to follow but could not see the pics of the procedure. I guess we have to log in to see that. I wish Mullai had a blog so that i could see most of her recipes., anyway have left a comment on her space. Mullai if you are seeing this, thank you so much for the fool proof recipe.

The original recipe is here


All purpose flour 1/2 cup

Sugar powdered 1/4 cup

Ghee( kept in the regrigerator for 15 mins) 1/4 cup

Rava 1 tsp

Baking soda 1 pinch

Salt 1 pinch

Cardamom powder 1 pinch


Take the powdered sugar and ghee in a bowl.

Beat it for 5 minutes or till it becomes creamy

Add the maida, baking soda, salt to it .

Gather it together as shown

Knead the dough for a minute into a very soft dough

Let it rest for 20 minutes , and preheat the oven

Grease a cookie sheet and make small even size balls and shape them like peda.

Arrange them on the plate leaving gap in between them

Bake them at 190 C for 12 to 13 minutes. Let it cool for another 15 minutes.

Actually it isn't as brown as in the picture:-)

Store them in an airtight container

Supper yummy, delicious,nankhatai ready, to be served with a hot cup of kaapi:-)

My daughter wouldn't beleive that this was baked at home in a jiffy

Tastes awesome.Crispy on the outside and just melts in the mouth....ummmm MELTING NANKHATAI OR is it MELTKHATAIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!