Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chocolate Ginger Cake with Custard Sauce - Happy Birthday Hubby :-)

Time is just flying and how... We are keeping busier than usual, there is a lot going on but we are loving every bit of it. 


Christmas is just round the corner and we have already started celebrating. Cakes, Scones, Cupcakes...oh the list is endless. Today is my dear hubby's birthday and I pampered him with a grand breakfast and made this cake for him. We both are die hard chocolate fans and we do love ginger a lot and hence this was the perfect cake for his birthday. 


The cake is soft, moist and simply yumm. Ginger adds it own zing to the cake and together with custard sauce it was indeed very satisfying. The best and the most important thing is that the birthday boy was more than happy and that definitely made me a little extra happy :-) 



Ingredients

4 tbsp heaped - whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tbsp - oat flakes
6 tbsp - honey
6 tbsp - sunflower oil
1 1/2 tsp - baking powder
3/4 tbsp - cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
100 grams - chocolate 55%, melted and cooled
1/2 tbsp - crystallised ginger, chopped
2 1/2 tsp - dried ginger powder (saunth)
1/2 cup - gingerale

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease a 15 cm round cake pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, oat flakes, baking powder, cocoa powder, crystallised ginger, dried ginger powder and salt. 
  3. In another bowl, mix well the honey and oil.
  4. Add the melted and cooled chocolate to the flour and rub lightly with finger tips until it resembles bread crumbs.
  5. Add the honey and oil mixture and then add the gingerale and mix lightly for a couple of minutes.
  6. Pour the batter into the greased pan.
  7. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for approx 40 minutes.
  8. Let the cake cool in the pan.
  9. Unmould and serve with custard sauce. (warm up the cake slice for a few seconds in the microwave and serve- tastes yumm)


With or without the warm custard sauce the cake tasted great...


Sending this cake to Suma's Bakeomania and Jyoti's Winter Warmers

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and loads of fun. We are going on a small holiday over Christmas, so will be with you again in a week or so.


Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chyawanprash (Spiced Gooseberry Conserve/Jam)

Life is like a roller coaster ride with it's ups and downs. After some tough times a few month's ago, this month really cheered us up. One of our deeply heartfelt wishes, which we had been hoping for and working towards for a long time, is coming true this month and we are floating in happiness.

As I said in my last post, December is a month of celebration for us and this little accomplishment adds to our celebrations :-) One must work hard to fulfill a wish and that's what we have been doing this month and, I didn't get much time to update my blog. But, I do have a great recipe to share today. 


Chyawanprash is a versatile herbal tonic prepared according to an ancient Ayurvedic formula with multiple health benefits. Used by people around the world today, and especially in India, it is a proven energizer, immunity booster and preventive tonic.

Chyawanprash is a mix of up to 49 ayurvedic herbs (or even more!) with gooseberries (amla) as its main ingredient. Of course, I didn't have all the spices and herbs so just used what I had available in my kitchen. We loved the taste and my hubby has already asked me to make it again and that's always a good sign and definitely makes me happy :-) 


For more info please refer to this site here.


Ingredients

500 grams - gooseberries (amla)
600 grams - sugar (may increase upto 750 grams)
3/4 tsp - clove powder
3/4 tsp - cinnamon powder
1 tsp - cardamom powder
3/4 tsp - black pepper powder
1/4 tsp - nutmeg, grated
1 1/2 tsp - dried ginger powder (saunth)
25 - 30 strands of saffron
edible silver foil to garnish

Method
  1. Put the gooseberries in a pressure cooker. Add enough water to cover the gooseberries and pressure cook them for 4 whistles/ring or until the gooseberries are soft. Drain the water and remove the seeds from the gooseberries.
  2. With a mixer, puree the cooked gooseberries.
  3. Add the pureed gooseberries in a large cooking vessel and add the sugar to it.
  4. Place the vessel on a medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil under constant stirring.
  5. When the sugar melts, add the spices and mix well.
  6. Cover the vessel and reduce the heat to low and let the mixture cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be careful, the mixture splutters a lot!!!
  7. When the mixture thickens a little, do a saucer test, (as you would when making jams). If not ok, then bring the mixture to a boil and check again.
  8. Fill the conserve/jam in a sterlised jar. Cover the lid when the jam is completely cool.
  9. Shelf life of this jam is 2-3 months.

We have 1 teaspoon of this delightful jam/conserve every morning with a glass of warm milk and some blanched almonds. A healthy start to the day. 




Enjoy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Papaya Corn Soup

December is my favourite month. I love the festivity in the air, the falling temperatures, the snow, the fragrances and flavours of winter, of Christmas. I love the enthusiasm on peoples faces while shopping for Christmas presents for their loved ones. I love seeing children buying Christmas trees with a huge grin on their cute faces. A glass of warm punch or mulled wine at the Christmas Market to warm one up... Oh!!! I love December...and yes, also for another reason: both my husband and I are december babies and we also celebrate our wedding anniversary in December, so that's another reason for me being biassed towards this month :-)

We generally don't need a reason to celebrate but when one has so many reasons to celebrate and to enjoy, there is automatically little control on the taste buds and on the calories. So this year, I am being a little clever and trying to have tasty but healthy food whenever I can - hoping that I would feel a little less guilt when I do indulge (don't know actually, if it makes sense or not but whatever...) 



So here I am with a warm, comforting, aromatic bowl of Soup. It's very healthy as well as filling and delicious. What else could one want?

Ingredients

1 - raw papaya, medium size, peeled and seeds removed
1 cup + 1 1/4 cup - water
1/2 cup - corn, boiled
3/4 tsp - cumin powder
1/2 tsp - rock salt
2-3 - lime leaves
salt to taste
lemon juice to taste 
a pinch of sugar

To garnish

coriander leaves
chilli threads (optional)



Method
  1. Pressure cook the roughly chopped papaya pieces with the lime leaves in 1 cup of water for 3 whistles.
  2. Discard the lime leaves and puree the boiled papaya with a hand mixer.
  3. Add the 1 1/4 cup of water (more or less depending on how thick you like your soup), corn, black salt, cumin powder, salt and sugar and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and mix well.
  4. Garnish with the chilli threads and coriander leaves and serve hot. 


Enjoy!

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