Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mushroom Tart | Baking


What better way to welcome the monsoons than baking a tart !! Rains have started playing hide-n-seek in Delhi now, and we, the rain parched mortals leave no occasion to celebrate the high and mighty rains. 

While savoury tarts are perfect for cold winter nights, they are great company for the rain on your window sill :-)

This tart has a surprise element which adds a new dimension to the flavour. A layer of caramelized onions. The slight sweetness from the onions actually enhances the umami flavour of the mushrooms. 
This is now my new go-to veg tart for friends and family. :-)

Mushroom Tart

Ingredients

For the Pastry

225g All Purpose Flour

100g Butter

1 tsp Powdered Sugar

Ice Cold Water about 1/3 of a cup

For the Filling

5-6 Medium to Large sized Onions (for making caramelized onions)

1/2 cup of White Wine

400 g of Mushrooms

2-3 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup of Cream

2 tbsp of Processed Cheese

1 tsp Chilli Flakes

2 Onions 

2 tbsp of Olive Oil
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Black Pepper Powder

Cheese


Directions

For the Pastry

1. Cut the butter into 1cm cubes and freeze for about 30 minutes.
2. In a blender jar, put the flour and butter alternatingly.Blitz till you get a bread crumbly texture.
3. Transfer in a large bowl and with your hands, bring the dough together. Use cold water but keep it absolutely minimal. DO NOT OVER KNEAD THE DOUGH !! You have to just bind it together.
4. Wrap in a cling wrap and put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.


In the mean time let's work on the filling.

1. Chop 5-6 onions into slices, take a pan, add some oil, once heated add the onions and set them to caramelise.
2. Now finely chop two more onions.
3. Wash and slice the mushrooms.
4. Keep an eye on those onions being caramelized. You don't want them to burn.
4. Take another pan, heat the olive oil and add the finely chopped onions. Saute` till they sweat, add the garlic and saute` a little more till the garlicky aroma rises. Now add the sliced mushrooms and saute` till the mushrooms start to sweat. Add the chilli flakes, black pepper and salt. Give it a nice stir.
5. Now add the cheese and cream, give it a good mix and finally finish it off with the white wine. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
6. The mushroom filling should not be too dry but at the same time not too flowey.


Making the Tart Shell

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C.
2. Remove the pastry dough fro mthe refrigerator. 
3. Between two sheets of cling wrap start rolling the pastry dough.
4. Always remember to roll the pastry away from you and always in one direction. This helps in the pastry to not shrink while baking.
5. Carefully lift it, either on your rolling pin or with the cling wrap in which the dough was being rolled. Place it on your tart tin. Make sure you do not pull it. Gently press it down and trim the excess from the sides.
6 .Poke with the fork in a few places, so that it doesn't puff up while baking.
7. Now cover it with butter paper and place either baking weights or just some beans from your kitchen.
8. Blind bake it for 20-25 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven. Remove the butter paper and the weights or the beans and let it cool down completely.

Assembly

1. Once the tart shell is completely cool, spread an even layer of the caramelized onions. 
2. Now add a layer of the mushrooms. Fill it in, nicely. Place thin strips of cheese on the top and bake at a 180 degree C for about 30 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven and serve hot.


Happy Baking !!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Peach Cobbler | Baking


Summertime is not just about Mangoes and Water Melons, it is also all about stone fruits from cherries, to apricots, to plums and my favourite Peaches :-)



The juicy sweet fruit is typical of summers and always always remind me of the mountains. So with peaches in abundance at home nothing better than creating a dessert. Peach Cobbler !! Yes finally and that too in my cast iron skillet. Yes I'm showing off !! One look at it, and you'll agree it is a thing to show off !! Ever since I started blogging and cooking I saw a lot of recipes being cooked in a cast iron skillet. I wanted it forever. A few months back a friend coming from US was kind enough to carry it for me (inspite all the weight of the skillet) all the way from there, but I got a chance to use it only now :-)






So coming back to the Peach Cobbler, a cobbler is a dish usually consisting of a fruit as a filling with a crumbly topping. It can be baked in a skillet or any oven proof dish. I've made my cobbler in my cast iron skillet, you could also use a pyrex. If not baking in a skillet, please see the notes at the end of the recipe.



Ingredients

For the filling:


1 kg Fresh Peaches, Peeled and sliced

3/4 cup sugar

3 Tbsp Cornflour

3/4 cup butter



For the crumble:

1 cup all purpose Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 cup Sugar

1 cup Milk

4-5, 1" cubes of butter



Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree C.

2. Wash and peel the peaches. Slice them. 

3. Sprinkle the sliced peaches with sugar and cornflour and set aside.

4. In another bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and sugar. Whisk well. 

5. Now add milk to the flour-sugar mix.

6. Place the skillet on the flame, and melt the butter in it. Add the sliced peaches. Mix well.

7. Now add the flour-sugar-milk mix to the skillet and stir till well combined. 

8. Now transfer the skillet into the oven. Top with the cubes of butter and let it take for 45 minutes to an hour.

9. Remove from the oven. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.










Note: 
1. If you are not baking in a skillet, just melt the butter in a pan, pour into your baking dish, add the peaches and pour over the flour-milk mix in it and set it to bake.

2. Peach Cobbler can also be made with canned peaches. For those times when you crave a peach cobbler when these beauties are not in season. Though fresh peaches are any day better.




Happy Baking !!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sundried Tomatoes | How To Series | Kitchen Hacks



Homemade sun dried tomatoes are the best !! And they are so so so easy to make. Not only that, you can also create variations according to your tastes.


So sun dried tomatoes are tomatoes that have lost most of their water content after being dried in the sun for about 4-8 days. After they are dehydrated, they get this very interesting leathery chewy texture with a burst of flavour.

I sundry regular tomatoes as well as cherry tomatoes. They not only add so much flavour and character to pastas but also to salads, especially the cherry sundried tomatoes.
So there are two ways of doing this:

Sun Dried Tomatoes the Natural Way:

1. Chop the tomatoes into wedges or slices.

2. Spread them on a tray.

3. Sprinkle some salt and cover with a muslin cloth.

4. Keep in the sun. Remember to take them inside in the evenings.

5. Repeat this procedure for anything between 4-8 days and your sundried tomatoes are ready.


On the flip side the problems with this method are:

1. Birds can come and ruin the tomatoes.
2. Tomatoes invariable catch fungus.

This works well only when the sun is really really harsh and you live in a place where you get strong direct sunlight for atleast 4 hours a day. With a lot of us living in apartments nowadays, this could get a bit tricky. Plus it is time consuming. If you want you sundried tomatoes for dinner then this is not your method.




Sun Dried Tomatoes in the Oven:

Err....we mean dried tomatoes in the oven or dehydrated tomatoes but doesn't it so completely lose it's exoticness instantly the moment we take away sundried. Hence we prepare them in the oven but still call then Sun Dried tomatoes :D !!

1. Preheat oven to the lowest temperature setting for 10 minutes, if you use a convection oven, even better.
2. Chop the tomatoes into wedges or slices.
3. Line a baking tray with silver foil, and spread them on it. Sprinkle some salt on them.
4. Place it in the oven in the middle shelf and roast for 3-4 hours.


Now in this process you can do a lot of variations:

- While placing the tomatoes on the baking tray, you could grate some garlic on them, and maybe sprinkle some dried oregano or even tuck in a few sprigs of fresh basil. That is why I said you can create your own variations.


Storing Sun Dried Tomatoes:

You can bottle them with or without olive oil.
Or simply ziplock it and put it in the fridge. You can even freeze them after ziplocking it.
I don't freeze it because I make small batches, so I only refrigerate it.

Here I have a bottle of sun dried cherry tomatoes.


Happy Drying !!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lamingtons | Baking


Baking a cake always leaves me smiling !! If I were a doggie I'd be sitting outside the kitchen door waiting for the cake to get done and then wait to get my share !! Yeah that's exactly how I feel when I bake a cake.... the aroma, a butter cakes creates in my house is sooooo soothing, happy, promising and inviting !! The smell of a comfortable bakery. 

Lamingtons originated in Australia, are cubes or square cakes made with either a sponge or a basic vanilla cake, dipped in chocolate icing and dusted with desiccated coconut. They are quick to make, look amazing and leave you with that happy comfortable contentment.



Lamingtons were the daring bakers challenge last month which I so wanted to participate in but could not because of some other issues going on in my life beyond the blog but I could not get over these beauties so they were high on my to do list and here I go today. I like them ! Now I'm waiting for the verdicts from my dad and KJ !! 

Lamingtons



Ingredients

For the cake:

125 g All purpose flour

75 g Cornflour

1 tsp Baking Powder

2 pinches of Baking Soda

4 eggs

1 cup of Castor Sugar

125g of Butter

1 tsp Vanilla Essence


For the Icing


3 ¼ cups icing sugar

1/3 cocoa powder

1 tbsp butter, melted


½ to ¾ cup Milk



Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C. Line a square baking dish with parchment.

2. Sift together flour, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda. Do this atleast 3 times and keep aside.

3. Cream the sugar and butter together.

4. Add eggs one by one into the sugar-butter cream. You need to add eggs one by one to make sure the mixture doesn't split. Add the vanilla essence

5. Once all eggs are incorporated well, add the flour in about 3 batches. 

6. If the batter looks too thick add about 2 tbsp of milk or else transfer into the baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is done.

7. Remove the cake from the cake mould and transfer on a cooling rack. Let it col down completely.

8. Once the cake is completely cool, cut it up into equal sized square pieces. 



To make the icing:

1. Combine icing sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Whisk it well. Add the butter and milk and whisk again. Now put it on a pan of boiling water. Basically we need to create a double boiler here. Make sure the water doesn't touch the bowl on the top which has the sugar and cocoa mix. While on the pot pan of water, whisk the cocoa - icing sugar mix well, till ingredients are well incorporated and you get a thick saucy consistency.

2. In another bowl put some desiccated coconut.

Assembly:

1. Take the cake squared and first dip it in to the chocolate icing. coast well.

2. Now carefully remove from the icing bowl (you could use a fork to do this) and transfer into the desiccated coconut bowl. Coat well again. Make sure the squares are properly coated with the coconut on all sides. 

3. Put on the rack . Repeat this step with all the squares.

Now place the lamingtons on a plate and refrigerate for about 30-45 minutes. Serve.





Happy Baking !!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Pomegranate Molasses | How To Series | Kitchen Hacks



A lot of times baking and even cooking various dishes, from around the world can be challenging especially in India, because of the lack of convenience of finding certain ingredients off the shelves. Either it is difficult to find them or if you find them then they are way too expensive or difficult to source consistently.  
The flip side to this is that we learn how to create these at home !! Isn't that what love for cooking does to so many of us !! Honestly if I know my results are exact to what I can buy in the market, I anyday want to make a dish from scratch; so making such ingredients at home is only icing on cake :-). A few examples of such ingredients are Sour Cream, Half-n-Half, Tahini, a Carton of Buttermilk, Pomegranate Molasses, Sun Dried Tomatoes etc which are either not available or way too expensive.


I ran into one such issue when I was making Muhammara, a Turkish Dip. Pomegranate Molasses is a key ingredient to muhammara and I could not find it anywhere in my city, but I could not get my heart off this simple turkish accompaniment....I just had to make it at home...so with a little research I learnt how to make Pomegranate Molasses at home and voila.....it worked. Worked beautifully !! :-)

So here goes the recipe for Pomegranate Molasses:



Ingredients

1 litre Pomegranate Juice (I used packaged juice. If you are using fresh juice increase the sugar content to 1 cup)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Lemon Juice

Directions

1. Pour the pomegranate juice in a pan and set it on high heat. 

2. Add the sugar and keep stirring till the sugar melts.

3. Now add the lemon juice and continue to stir till the juice thickens into an almost jelly like consistency . The moment the juice coats the back of the spoon, turn off the gas. The molasses is ready.Basically that 1 l of juice should reduce to about 350 ml.

4. Let it cool down completely then transfer in a bottle and refrigerate. Use as required. This stays happy in the fridge for many months.



We learn something new everyday !! Cheers !!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Multigrain Bread | Baking


After all the fun I had, doing the 30days30dips Series, I'm back with baking bread.
This bread has been on my to do list for a while. I love making breads and especially the whole wheat and multigrain varieties. I must confess it took me 2-3 times before getting the mix right. Yes. If I make it pure pure multigrain then the bread becomes too heavy and hard and if I add too much flour I was changing the character of the bread.




When I started doing breads I took it up as a challenge on myself to be able to make the real multigrain or the real whole wheat, because I used to see my mother promptly opt for the branded multigrains or whole wheats thinking she was buying better healthier options. However the truth is that store bought commercial bread (i'm not talking about bakery breads here) only contain 10% multigrains or whole wheat flours. The rest is white all purpose flour. While white breads have the best textures and are really really yummy, they may not always be the healthiest. 
Here I'm not trying to preach anyone the benefits of multigrain or whole wheat over white breads, nor am I saying that homemade multigrain is only multigrains and no flour, but if and when you want to eat a multigrain eat the real thing.




For my multigrain recipe, I use a homemade multigrain flour mix. The details of the multigrain flour will be listed out after the bread recipe.

Multigrain Bread

Ingredients

4 cups or 400 gm Multigrain Flour

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 cup All Purpose Flour

2 tsp Dry Active Yeast

2 tbsp Honey

3 tbsp Milk Powder

4 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tsp Salt

Directions

1. Sieve together the multigrain flour, wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt and the milk powder.

2. Activate the yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water.

3. Once activated, add to the flour mix and rub it through the flour with your fingers. Keep mixing till you get a bread crumbly texture.

4. Now add a little water and start kneading the dough. Add the olive oil and fo on kneading. This dough requires a little more water compared to other doughs.

5. Once kneaded well, this should take about 10 minutes, keep in a dry clean bowl and cover with cling wrap and keep in a warm place for an hour or till the dough doubles in size.

6. Once the dough doubles in size, punch it down lightly with your fingers and give it a light knead.

7. Shape it into a desired shape, place it on a baking tray and let it rest for another 30 minutes. You can sprinkle either poppy seeds or nigella seeds.

8. In the mean time preheat the oven to 200 C degrees for 10 minutes. Now place a shallow tray with hot water at the bottom of the oven, place the grill in the middle rack over the waterbath and place the trays with the loaves. Bake for 20 minutes till the crust browns golden in colour.

9. Remove from the oven and place on cooling rack.

This bread is best served toasted.


Multigrain Flour

2 cup Wholewheat Flour
1 cup Ragi
1 cup Soya Flour
1 cup Kala Chana Flour
1 cup Pearl Millet (Bajra)
1 cup Sorghum (Jowar)
1 cup Oat Flour

Sieve all these flours together and store and use as required.

Happy Baking !!