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Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Pat-a-Cake" - Chocolate Fudge Cake with Cream cheese+Ricotta cheese icing

All of last week and this week, both 'M' and 'E' had holidays. We did not travel anywhere, but did a lot of eating, relaxing , watching movies and sleeping! That is all what you are looking forward to ...at times!
So.....in the holidays..'M' had been asking me that he wanted to bake cake either for Christmas or New years. Due to my laziness, I kept postponing it.....will do it later..will do it tomorrow...were my answers.

Finally....he took the initiative...got a 'Betty Crocker' mix and baked a cake all by himself at 10 pm on 30th night!!! Now that's the Spirit! I was really proud of him!
Next day it was upto me....to do the rest.....icing ...decoration and make it look prettier! The cake came out really good ( Betty Crocker and 'M' you are the best!) ....and we further enhanced the moistness with a 'Spray' of coffee ( recipe follows) and the 'Icing on the Cake' was a creamy delicious blend of Cream cheese, Ricotta cheese and butter...and sugar! We enjoyed this dessert on New Years Eve along with some Good Friends, Laughter and a Game of Cards!

For the Cake
1 packet Betty Crocker 'Chocolate Fudge' cake mix

For the 'Spray'
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1tsp sugar
1/2 cup water

For the Icing:
3/4 packet of 8 oz Cream cheese
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
3tbsp butter
3/4 - 1 cup powdered sugar ( add as per the sweetness desired)
2-4 tbsp milk
1tsp vanilla extract
Maraschino cherries
Few brown M and M's
1 and 1/2 Hersheys Dark Chocolate bar Grated/ Curled

1) Bake the cake as per directions on the packet. Let it cool completely.
2) Boil 1 tsp coffee in 1/2 cup water and sugar for 5 mins. Let it cool.Fill the coffee in a 'spray' bottle.
3) Cut the cake carefully into 3 layers with a big knife or cake layer cutter.Place all three layers on different plates.Place the last /bottom layer on the stand you want to present the cake on.
4) Spray the layers generously with coffee mixture.Let it soak for 15 mins.
5) Mean time, mix together cream cheese, ricotta cheese, butter, sugar,vanilla and whip well with hand blender or a stand mixer. Mix till well blended, smooth and creamy.Add milk to adjust consistency.
6) Spread the frosting on the bottom most layer.Spread with a spatula evenly.
7) Place the next layer on top and repeat the same.Place the third and final layer and generously cover with the icing. Spread evenly and smoothly.

8) Grate/ curl Hersheys Dark chocolate Bar. Put the chocolate curls on the edge and sides of the cake.

9) Decorate the center with cherries and M and M's.
                            Enjoy the ULTIMATE  moist ....delicious .....creamy...chocolaty cake !!!

Happy New Year 2010!

 Wish You All a Very Happy New Year filled with ...


                                  Good Friends

                                       and Yummy Food!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Everyday Cooking"- Sabudanyachi khichadi /Sago Stir Fry

One of my most favorite foods....and how did I not blog about it for soooo long?????? Haven't met a 'Maharashtrain' yet ...who does not like 'Sabudanyachi Khichadi'. It's everyones favorite! Though everyone might have a little 'choice'  how they like it done. Like my sister..prefers it not so well done. She says the Sago should still look little 'Whitish'. Others may like it cooked well..where the Sago turns translucent.I like mine...in the mid-way.Not so white but not totally translucent either. There is a 'technique' involved.Perfect soaking of the sago, the way to stir fry it, how long to cook it....  The Sago should be cooked.... but not so much that it starts to stick together and become rubbery and chewy.So making 'Proper' Khichadi is an 'art'! Each individual sago pearl should remain separate....That's the perfect version!

Sago khichadi  is mostly made during 'Fasts' ( Hindu religious fasting).....but can be enjoyed on any occasion ...as in our home.'M' and I both loveeeeee this khichadi. It is our weekend breakfast/Brunch. We have always loved the way it is made for 'fasts' and haven't really tried adding any other ingredients like...onion/ mustard seeds/ turmeric etc. We like the way.....just as we have had it throughout our childhood.
Here is the recipe of our childhood.....adulthood...all time favorite!!!
1 cup soaked sago(method follows)
1/4 cup boiled potato chopped
1/4 cup crushed roasted peanuts (coarse powder)
2tsp cumin seeds
2-3 green chilies cut
1tbsp ghee ( for the 'real' taste) / oil / butter
sugar (1/4tsp or so)
Cilantro, fresh grated coconut, lemon juice for garnishing

1) Wash Sago with cold water twice. Drain 'almost' all the water off.Keep little water in the sago (may be 1/4 inch on top of soaked sago).Let it soak for 4-5 hrs or overnight(preferably overnight).The Sago should plump up and look like individual pearls.It should not be 'wet' to touch.
2) Heat the ghee in a kadhai, add cumin seeds, chilies and boiled potatoes.Fry for 1-2 mins.
3) Add the soaked Sago, peanut powder, salt. Mix well on medium flame.
4) Keep stirring to avoid lumps in the sago. Add sugar(just little  for taste)When the sago starts turning little translucent, turn off the heat.Otherwise it will start clumping together.Take off the heat.DO NOT COVER SABUDANA KHICHADI WITH LID while cooking.It will become sticky.

5) Serve IMMEDIATELY...nice and hot ...topped with cilantro, fresh coconut and squeeze of lemon juice.
6) It is also served with cool 'cucumber raita'- Finely cut cucumber in Yogurt .
 (A famous dish is Pune is called 'Kakdi Khichadi' meaning 'Cucumber and Sago Khichadi'). This place that makes and sells it....makes hundreds of plates of this 'Maharashtrian' favorite everyday.....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Appetizers"- Thai Stir Fried Tofu

I am like the person who can eat 'Everything'...well almost! What I mean is...I like to try different foods and my palate is appreciative of various tastes. My little 'E' is learning to eat different foods and getting to know different tastes. I am surprised ( touchwood!) he even likes vegetables like cabbage, eggplant, cauliflower that I did not care for when I was a kid!!! I have seen, he likes well seasoned food......may that be Indian,Italian,Chinese or anything else. I was sure he wouldn't like plain Tofu or things like Tofu milkshake. So I made this tangy yummy appetizer and he loveeeeddd it! (Ofcourse without the peanuts...coz he gets a rash sometimes after eating peanuts)

1 cup 'Extra firm' Tofu cut into bite size cubes
1/4 cup Onion cut into bite size chunks
1tsp Pad thai sauce
1tsp soy sauce
1/2tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2tsp ketchup
1/4tsp red chili paste/hot sauce/red pepper flakes
1 pinch black pepper
1tbsp coarsely crushed peanuts
cilantro for garnishing

1) Dab the cut tofu on paper towel to remove extra moisture
2) Heat little oil in non stick flat skillet. Lay the tofu on the heated oil.Let it brown on one side.Then turn on other side.
3) Add the ginger garlic paste, onions and stir fry on high heat.The onions should remain crisp.
4) Add all the sauces, black pepper and mix well.Turn off heat. Check for salt (as soy sauce is salty)
5) Garnish with peanuts, cilantro.
5) Serve warm as appetizer or as a side dish along with Fried Noodles/ Rice etc.