Tag: Daring Bakers’

June Daring Bakers’: Battenberg Cake

Being Indian I hate wastage. Of any kind. One of the reasons why I gained weight when I came to US (besides, the cliched that I got married) was that I was so used to finish everything on my plate, whenever we went out to eat, I ended up finishing the ridiculously huge portions of food served in restaurants here. Since we stay 4 hours away from all restaurants, doggy pack or to-go was not an option,  and since I had the habit of not wasting, I ate everything. That’s why this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenged proved to be double the challenge it was.

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

I have missed the last two challenges. Although I did a part of the April challenge, I could not get it posted because I was busy with my in-laws visit. Hopefully I should be able to post the recipe soon. ( I seriously have huge backlog!)

Now, I have been eyeing this cake- the Battenberg cake for a while now, ever since I was introduced to the Great British Bake Off cookbook. I don’t have it yet, but amazon’s site has a preview of the book and in that they show pictures of the cake. Since then it’s been on my mind. So when I saw this month’s Daring Bakers challenge, I knew come hay or sunshine, I would make it.

And make I did. Not one but two.

Read the rest of this entry »

March Daring Bakers’: Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

May the odds be ever in your favor!

So, I finally got to see The Hunger Games Movie. After waiting out the weekend for my gang of girls to get back from their spring break vacation so that we could all watch it together, we finally went for the movie yesterday.

And well, I am not sure how I want to react to the movie. I liked it. But, as much as the book? No way.

I do understand that fitting 384 pages in a two hour twenty two minutes movie is a task and while Gary Ross has done a good job bringing Suzanne Collins’ book to the big screen, I somehow feel, had I not read the books I would be a little lost during the movie. Knowing the entire back story was a definite advantage. There were lot of instances, where had I not read the book, I would have been totally confused as to what just happened. Also, I remember rooting for Peeta and Katniss’ love story, but in the movie the chemistry between them left me indifferent to the idea of the two together. If only left to the movie, I would have been on Team Gale for sure.

Since the people I went with had read the books, we knew the back story well, but I would really like to know what the people who haven’t read the book thought about the movie. Do feel free to comment here.

Read the rest of this entry »

February DB Challenge: Healthier Apple & Pear Walnut Loaf

Thank god for the Daring Bakers’ monthly challenges. Thanks to them I have been forced out of my no-blogging rut.

It has been more than a week since my last blog post. So what had been keeping me so busy?

Nothing.

Nothing of importance actually.

If you remember, I swore I won’t take any of my cooking pictures till I get my pending posts up (which obviously are still pending). And since I have not been taking pictures, I decided to take a break from blogging. It can be like a full time job sometimes- cooking, composing, photographing, cleaning up, post processing, writing, posting and then spreading the blog love. Blogging can be like a full time job (an unpaid full time job). Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy it. It keeps me busy. It gets good food on the table. And it teaches me so much. And thanks to it, I have met some really, really talented people.

But sometimes, you need a break from your job no matter how much you love it. And I needed a break.

I thought I would get my pending posts up, but for four straight days I did not feel like opening my laptop. And that is unprecedented (I can’t live without my laptop- so not feeling like working on it was a very welcomed feeling). I really needed that break. But, now I am back! Thanks to the Daring Bakers’ :)!

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

Quick bread is any bread that is quick to make because it doesn’t require kneading or rising time. That’s because the leavener in such a bread is usually baking powder or baking soda, which, when combined with moisture, starts the rising process immediately. In the case of double-acting baking powder, oven heat causes a second burst of rising power. Eggs can also be used to leaven quick breads. This genre includes most biscuits, muffins, popovers and a wide variety of sweet and savory loaf breads.

Read the rest of this entry »

January Daring Bakers: Biscuits

I am two days late.

In posting (before you get the wrong ideas).

I have been slacking with my DB challenges. I was not able to do the last two as I was in India. And this month, even though I could have worked on it, some other things, besides my laziness, kept me busy.

I have been slacking in all my posts and now there is a huge backlog of recipes to be shared. I have resolved this week I am going to try and catch up with some of those pending posts. I will be sharing some seriously good recipes in the coming days. So watch out for this space.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Audax worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

Read the rest of this entry »

October Daring Bakers’: Povitica

The past few weeks have been uber-busy.

Traveling, festivals, dinner parties, marriages and relatives have kept both V and me busy.

V leaves tomorrow for US but I am staying in India for another month and half since lot of my close friends are getting married in November and in December I want to be here in India when a very special guest arrives in our family. 🙂

I have not cooked a bit since I left US for my 3 months vacation in India. I have a feeling by the time I go back I would have forgotten how to cook. We have hardly stayed at home for me to do anything related to cooking. If I have been home, I use that time to catch up on leftover sleep- since everyday we have been sleeping only after 1am and getting up early in the morning and busy with some work or the other the whole day. Yes, things have been that busy!

Luckily, I was able to finish this month’s challenge before leaving US. Its probably the quickest I have done a challenge. Of course later I had to pull a “me” by not drafting the post before leaving. As a result this post comes in a day late, even though the challenge had been completed in the first week of October.

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

Read the rest of this entry »

September Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Croissants

Read the rest of this entry »

June Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Baklava!

Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge.  Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

Like always, I completed this challenge last minute. And since it was last minute, it was hurried, done with zero patience- thanks to the heat, and sans key ingredients that would have made a whole lot of difference to the end result.

By now, I am pretty sure you would have guessed that my challenge outcome wasn’t too great! I goofed up with the syrup as I was too lazy to measure anything for it and just made it with approximations resulting in less syrup to soak all the baklava. Also, I skimped on the butter – which I think resulted in slightly harder and drier sheet layers. The filling did not have pistachios (because I did not have any and forgot to pick them up on my last trip to the store), which I feel, would have definitely added to the flavors in the filling. The phyllo dough though was pretty easy to roll out thin, barring a few sheets that did get tears- but Erica said that’s ok as long as the top layer doesn’t have any holes.

It wasn’t too bad either. But, I don’t think I’ll be trying my hand at Baklava in the near future. This is my second not-so-great attempt at Baklava. The first one was almost a year back but that time I had used store bought phyllo. The Baklava then didn’t turn out too great. This time too the results were just average. Oh! How I crave for the baklavas I had during my Dubai trip!

Read the rest of this entry »

Daring Bakers’ May 2011 Challenge: Marquise on Meringue

Anything that can possibly go wrong, does!

-Murphy’s Law

Well, earlier it was just a feeling but after today, I am positive that I am jinxed.  Seriously, there’s no other explanation for what happened today or actually what happens every time there is something important.

I have been using my kitchen for the past one year without ever encountering any problem. Everything has always worked out smoothly. Everything was working smoothly even yesterday.But the day before I am going to have 9 people (make that 11 including me and Vikram), not only do I have a sprained ankle to deal with (which makes it difficult for me to stand for more then 10 minutes at stretch), a dog to sit for, lunch and dinner to cook for 11 people, besides cleaning and getting the house ready for them, but amidst all this I also land myself a broken stove.

Well actually it did not break, but at the time it sure seemed to me that it did. Our kitchen’s power got cut off and that’s why none of the appliances in the kitchen were working- including the refrigerator- which shutting off in this heat is a disaster in making. To top it all, our housing people could not do anything as it was a problem with the city’s lines- some problem with their transformer. And just when I thought things could get no worse, the whole house’s power decides to go. Now this kind of stuff happens in India and had I been there I wouldn’t be like Why me!Why me! But….

…But this is America and the power never goes off here! So yes, you can’t blame me to think that I am jinxed. Seriously there is no other explanation. And trouble doesn’t happen to me in single folds- I was ok with the dog sitting- I love dogs, so it wasn’t any trouble for me. I was also ok with the sprained ankle- it hurts but its manageable- I would probably get it checked if it doesn’t improve. But, no way am I ok with no power in the kitchen. That’s too much for me deal with when I have so many people coming to my house. Two days before the least of my worries was how are we going to manage with one bathroom for 11 people and today I just couldn’t stop counting my problems.

Anyway, such is my life! Things got on track after a few hours of turmoil. I am late again for posting this month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge (though I had almost finished writing about the challenge yesterday and would have posted it had things gone more smoothly). Out of three challenges that I have completed, two have been posted late! I am one of the worst members ever! But each time I had valid reasons. Once I was traveling and this time, well you all know the story! The fact that I was able to complete this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge is good enough for me. And am so glad I did. V loved it. In his exact words: “I like this DB thing you have got going. I get to eat such wonderful things – names of which I have never even heard before!”

 The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

The compulsory components for this challenge were the Marquise and the meringue. The tequila caramel and spiced nuts were optional. While I could do the caramel (thank god I did because it tastes great!), I did not have time nor the energy to make the spiced almonds as well. I left the challenge for the last minute as I could not find dutch-processed cocoa any where, and finally used normal cocoa- which according to me worked out fine, though I have nothing to compare it to. Plus, I had too much on my cards to complete each optional component. But I will be trying this dessert again and will be trying all the components to make it the outrageously decadent dessert its supposed to be.

Note: I have given the ingredients for half and quarter recipe as well which were given to us by by Audax Artifex. I made only a quarter of the recipe. Read the rest of this entry »

April DB Challenge: Maple Mousse served in Edible Containers

It’s that time of the month again. The Daring Bakers’ challenge time. I joined the Daring Baker (here on referred as DB) gang in February. I could not complete my first DB challenge. For the March challenge I posted late (all DB members have to post their version of the challenge recipe on the 27th of every month irrespective of when they complete the challenge).  So for the April DB challenge, I really had to get it right and that too on time. Luckily I was at my parents house and not traveling so I got the time to complete the challenge.

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blogCheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

You do not get maple syrup where my parents stay and places in India where you do get it, it is pretty expensive. Luckily, my mom had a bottle of maple syrup which she grudgingly allowed me to use, else I would have had to sit this one out too. I did have a lot of ingredient and other technical issues though because of which things I would have liked to make as containers I couldn’t. It was fun nonetheless.

Since I am still learning my way with gelatin, I did experience some problem with the cooking of the mousse and thought it wouldn’t set but the next day when I checked it had set. I made three different types of mousses to go with the different containers I planned. I divided the mousse into three parts and added flavorings accordingly. To one part I added garam masala, the other I left plain and to the third I added instant espresso powder.

I have made sugar bowls (for my homemade coconut ice cream) and bread tartlets (with caramelized onion fillings) in the past which would have made excellent pairings with the maple mousse (though would suggest you to make some changes in your maple syrup if you using the sugar bowls- it would just become too sweet). But since we were not supposed to use anything from previous posts I came up with the following four containers for this creamy, sweet maple mousse.

One, I made with cucumber and carrots, that I boiled and placed on a plate and microwaved between paper towels with a weight on top (to absorb the water that the vegetables have naturally) . The result was this paper-thin vegetable bowls- which were beautiful (The idea for this came from something I read about vegetable papyrus sometime back). I think they are a very easy and attractive way to dress up any appetizer/dessert. The crispiness of the vegetables contrasted well with the delicateness of the mousse. Also, since I read that the mousse will be very sweet (I did reduce the amount of sugar called for), to pair it with the paper thin vegetable bowls I added a heaping teaspoon of garam masala. I think the taste was great!  You could glaze the bowls at time of serving with some maple syrup to give a nice flavour to the bowls.

One could come up with several variations of these bowls. Even orange rind would be a great combo. I wanted to make zucchini paper bowls as well as lotus roots paper bowls since I though they would pair up well with the sweet mousse but finding ingredients where my parents stay was a task. So I stuck to what I had on hand and with the garam masala mousse the cucumber and carrot bowls were great.

My second attempt at edible containers were nest bowls from noodles. I thought the noodles would give an excellent crunchy and salty contrast to the mousse and oh boy I was right. I paired the noodle nest bowls with the espresso mousse. (While photographing I realised that the mousse actually looked like an egg- making it a fabulous addition for an Easter Day spread!). The espresso mousse was divine. Maple and coffee are a wonderful combination.

I wanted to make waffles bowls to pair with the plain maple mousse but since the waffle iron that my mom has, was packed in some trunk in the garage, I was not be able to make them. Also, since I am not a fan of bacon I did not try any bacon bowls- but I am sure those who like bacon would love the mousse with the bacon.

My plain mousse did not set properly, as a result of which I thought of freezing the mixture for my third shot at an edible container. I decided to make some maple mousse filled white chocolate bites. I put a little melted white chocolate in an ice cube tray. Added some mousse and topped with a mix of white chocolate and dark chocolate and froze the mixture. It made delicious bites.

My fourth edible container was a take on fried ice cream- a Fried Maple Mousse. I had some mousse left of each kind. So, I mixed it all up, all the while thinking- what am I doing mixing garam masala plus coffee plus maple syrup- I can’t be thinking straight, can I? Surprisingly, it tasted quite good. And combine this with deep fried goodness- voila! you have a great dessert!

My favorite, purely based on taste, among the four containers was the espresso mousse in the noodle nest bowl. The prettiest, of course, were the paper thin vegetable bowls. My parents and I had a fun time devouring all the versions.

I was blown away by everybody’s creativity for this challenge. Some really awesome and innovative edible containers. The DB group is a talented lot and be sure to check out everybody’s creation on the Daring Bakers’ site.

I am sorry for not having any pictures for the method I used to make each container. It was the first time I was trying each version and was not sure whether I will be able to pull each off. But, I will try to explain it in the best possible way I can.

Read the rest of this entry »