Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A simple pound cake

These pound cakes are perfect for all occasions. Tea time, picnic, guests or if you are just bored, you can gulp in a piece of this cake.  This recipe is good and the outcome satisfying. One can understand that if the outcome is good, the tin gets emptied in no time else we would have to keep reminding or maybe serve our family members to get it finished. It has happened many times in my  household too. I have a beautiful cooking range with grill and gas oven. Since my baking and other recipes were done in the microwave, did not bother much to utilise the gas oven. Instead, that portion of the cooking range served as an instant storage. When searching for a good pound cake recipe, came across a lady who had baked in a gas oven to perfection. I wanted to give this a try and succeeded, now planning to give microwave baking a respite.

This recipe is adapted from  Rosa Levy Beranbaum of Cake Bible. I found her recipe very interesting as it does not follow the usual butter sugar mix. A very simple way of mixing the dry ingredients with the wet ones and the end result is amazing.


Self raising flour- 1 1/2 cups
Eggs - 3
Butter -185 gms.or 13 tablespoons
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Milk - 3 tbsp
Baking powder 1 tsp
Salt -1/4 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1 1/2 tsp

Preheat the gas oven for 15 minutes. In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt and the baking powder) and keep aside. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla and keep aside. To the dry mix bowl, add the butter and one third  of the egg milk mix. Blend well. Gradually add the egg mix in two additions beating the mix well in medium speed after each addition. Spread on a cake pan and bake for around 45 minutes in gas oven. I kept in the middle tray which avoided burning of the top layer and ensured uniform baking. Timing of baking would differ in the  normal oven. If the toothpick comes out clean , then the cake is done. Cool it well before slicing. This would help you get very clean slices without the cake crumbling.

Enjoy this simple cake, can add nuts and raisins too to enhance the flavour.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chayote/Chowchow/Bangalore Kathrikka kootu

Our daily meal consists of a veggie and  dal with rotis or rice. This is a 'must' thing everyday and there are a few additions, for sure in every meal apart from the standard dal and sabji. Sometimes I prepare plain dal thadka but most of the time, it would be some vegetable with dal. I would add Ash gourd, Snake gourd, Pumpkin etc to the dal and prepare kootu. Yesterday I was able to find some fresh Chayote in the market and the sabji I prepared turned out to be too tasty. A simple yet tasty recipe would definitely be liked by all.


Chayote -2 chopped into cubes
Toor Dal - 3/4 cup cooked
Chenna Dal - 1/4 cup cooked
Sambar powder - 3/4 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Tomato - 1 big chopped finely
Jeera - 3/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a sprig

Cook the Toor dal and chenna dal. Chop the chayote into small cubes and boil it with Sambar powder, red chilly powder, turmeric powder and salt. Once done,add the mashed cooked dal and mix well. In a small kadai, poour a tablespoon of oil, add mustard seeds and jeera. When it splutters, add curry leaves and finally chopped tomatoes. When the oil leaves the kadai, pour this  to the vegetable and mix well. Yummy chowchow kootu is ready. It goes very well with rotis and rice too.

Ending with a humorouse Robert Frost quote:
There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won't, and that a wife who can't cook and will.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The irresistable Paani puri

I doubt if there is anyone in this Universe who dislikes Paani puri.  Known by various names like Puchkas and Golgappas, this is a complete treat on its own.  Kudos to the creator of this awesome chaat and one can go on with puris after puris as it is very light on the stomach too.  It is an art to break a small portion of the puri, fill it with all goodies and dip it straightway in the paani and gulp it.  This is one such dish where even the elite and sophisticated stuff their mouth with the puri without giving it a delicate bite.  To be frank, the roadside ones are quite delicious and if one is not too fussy about the hygiene part, I would recommend to give it a try.  Each one has their own filling and now there are flavours of Paani too like Nimbu, Adrak, Pudina exclusive etc etc.  But, I personally prefer our good old original flavour.  Here goes the recipe.


Puris -20 nos.
Potatoes - 4 to 5 (boiled and mashed)
Black chenna - 1/2 cup (Boiled)
Assorted Sprouts - 1/2 cup
Boondhi - 1/4 cup
Coriander leaves - finely chopped
Onions - finely chopped (optional)

Ingredients for 'Paani'

Mint leaves - 1 cup chopped
coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Tamarind - 1/2 cup
Jeera - 1 tsp roasted  powder
Black salt
Normal salt

Sweet Chutney preparation

Dates - 1 cup
Jaggery - 1 cup
Tamarind - 1/4 cup
Chilly powder - 1 tsp

Paani preparation: Squeeze out the pulp from the tamarind after soaking it in 3/4th cup of water.  Strain the water through a fine sieve to obtain very clear water without any sediments.  Blend this pulp with Coriander leaves, Mint leaves, Adrak, Jeera till it is done.  Transfer this mixture to a big vessel and add about 5 to 6 cups of water. Add black salt and check the taste.  This paani is to be chilled for a couple of hours at least, for the flavours to blend in nicely.

Sweet chutney preparation:  Deseed the dates and add it alongwith tamarind, jaggery and set it to boil in 3 cups of water. Add the chilly powder and salt and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes till a thick concoction is obtained.  Sieve the mix and check for taste.

Stuffing preparation:

Boil the potatoes, mash and add salt.  Sprout lentils of your choice. Boil kaala chenna with salt and set aside.  Salted boondhi, finely chopped coriander leaves and onions to be kept ready.

Paani puri :

Crack open the puri and make a hole of diameter 3/4 inch.  The first item to enter would be the potatoes, then the sprouts, black chenna, salted boondhi, coriander leaves, half teaspoon of sweet chutney and the onions.  Now, this stuffed puri has to be dipped in the Mint paani and to be consumed immediately.  To be prepared fresh as and when one is ready to eat.

It was fun with each one enjoying their puri according to their taste.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mirror, mirror on the wall, Who in the land is the fairest of all???

How many of us gaze and begin  a touch-up as soon as we see a mirror in front of us, unmindful of the place???  I am sure, all of you would be nodding your head, of course, with a smile on your lips.  This is but natural for all of us  to ensure that we look good at all times. 

This reflex action is not restricted to humans alone.  Even cats, dogs and birds react when they see their reflection in a mirror.  I have witnessed many instances when a sparrow keeps banging on the mirror upon seeing it reflect. 

I have seen many completing their final touch-ups in their car, I do so :):) The elevator (lift)  is another vital source which provides ample time to adjust in the absence of fellow members with you inside.  In shops, one can see the dresses displayed on oneself to  verify the suitability of color.  In some Chennai sari shops, they drape you with the sari to view in the life-size mirrors and to get approval from almost everyone present in the scene. 

Each of us feel that we look good inspite of our flaws.  To set right the flaws, we resort to make-ups and enhancements in the form of mascara, kajal, lip colors etc etc..  To perform the above acts, we take refuge in a mirror.  A lady in particular, would love to have a full size mirror in her house to get a full image.  Most of us would be carrying a palm-size mirror in our hand bags and this has come in several shapes now.   Nowadays, I see men too getting addicted to mirror gazing !!!!!!!

I would  recall the Scooty Pep advertisement in the television where the model would be adjusting her lipstick looking at the nearby car window and the person inside the car wondering what was happening. It was a good ad.

Vaastu experts have their say of the directions of the placement of mirrors in the house for maximum benefits.

It would not be an exaggeration if I say that 'Mirrors are humans best friends'. How often do u see yourself in a mirror during the day??????
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