Tuesday, December 31, 2013

       Pizza is a baked pie of Italian origin consisting of a shallow bread-like crust covered with seasoned tomato sauce (Pizza sauce), cheese, and often other toppings such as sausage or olive. The word pizza is believed to be from an Old Italian word meaning "a point".


       Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, round bread typically topped with a tomato sauce (Pizza sauce), cheese and various toppings. The modern pizza was invented in Naples, Italy, and the dish has since become popular in many parts of the world. 
 
      An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria". Many varieties of pizza exist worldwide, along with several dish variants based upon pizza.




INGREDIENTS:

For Pizza Bread Base:
All-purpose flour/ Maida-3 ½ cups
Dry yeast-2 teaspoons
Lukewarm water-1cup
Milk-1cup
Salt-1 teaspoons
Sugar-2 teaspoons
Olive oil-3 tablespoons


For Chicken Topping: (For 3 Pizzas)

Pizza Sauce - 6 tablespoons
Marinated chicken- 3/4 cup
Capsicum, chopped- 1
Onions, chopped- 1(optional)
Jalapenos- ¼ cup
Olives-  ¼  cup
Mozerella cheese (grated)- 200 grams/ approximately 1cup


PROCEDURE:

Pizza Bread Base:

  • In a bowl take the lukewarm water and add the sugar. Then sprinkle the yeast and allow fermenting for 8-10minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a large bowl mix flour, salt and 1tablespoon of olive oil with hand.
  • Then add the yeast and milk little by little and make sticky dough.
  •  Then transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead and massage the dough for 5mts and make like chapatti dough.
  • Transfer the dough to the greased bowl cover and keep for 2 hrs to ferment and rise in a warm place.
  • After 2hrs the dough would have doubled its size. Knock down the dough by punching the dough.
  • Cover and keep aside for 30 minutes.
  • Punch the dough and cut the dough using knife into equal 3parts.

 
Chicken Pizza:

  • Cut the chicken into small pieces/ strips.
  • Marinate chicken with chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, salt, lime juice and allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough into a floured surface and stretch the dough using hand into a circle or rectangle shape as you wish with little raised edges.
  • Prick the base with skewer/fork. Now brush the base with olive oil.
  • In pizza base apply a two tablespoons full of pizza sauce and spread evenly around the pizza leaving a centimeter at the edge of the pizza.
  • Keep the grated cheese around the pizza and arrange the marinated chicken evenly on top of that.
  • Keep capsicum, jalapenos and olives in between the chicken evenly.

  •  Preheat the oven to 180oC. Transfer the pizza to baking tray or pizza pan and bake till the cheese is melted and the base becomes crisp.
  • Note: If you feel the dough is too dry add little more milk. If it becomes watery dough add some more flour and knead well.
  • Keep the filling as you wish. You can add chopped onions as well.
  • Cut the chicken into small pieces which will allow to cook well when when the pizza base is cooking.

Makes 3 small sized pizzas.

  

Monday, December 30, 2013

       This Pizza Sauce is easy to prepare and so tasty and flavourful. This sauce is really ultimate; it is  better than all pizza sauces i have ever tried and tasted till date flavour wise and also taste wise.

       Pizza Sauce is a tomato based sauce. Tomato paste, onion and garlic come together and seasoned to get a flavorful, homemade pizza sauce. This creates a slightly sweet, mild spicy, intense tomato sauce. It's also good served with pasta.



INGREDIENTS:

Olive oil- 1 teaspoon
Butter- 1 teaspoon
Bayleaf-1
Fennel- 1 teaspoon
Onion, chopped- ½ cup
Celery, chopped- ¼ cup (optional)
Garlic, finely chopped- 1 clove
*Tomato paste- ¼ cup
Tomato sauce/ Ketchup- ¼ cup
Tomato, blanched and peeled-1 big
Parmesan cheese- 1 tablespoon (optional)
Dried oregano- 1 teaspoon
Salt- ¼ teaspoon
Sugar- ½ teaspoon
Pepper- ¼ teaspoon (according to your spice level)
*If you do not get tomato paste, increase the number of tomatoes added to make tomato puree as three numbers.





PROCEDURE:
  • To blanch the tomato, give the tomato a cross incision and cook in a boiling hot water till soft. Peel the cooked tomatoes and puree it. (If you do not get ready made tomato paste, blanch 3 tomatoes and puree them)
  • In a large pan, melt butter with the oil. Add fennel seeds and bay leaves.
  • After a minute add the onion and half cook them, now add celery and garlic and saute until soft and transparent. 
  •  Add tomato paste and cook for a minute. Then add the pureed tomato and stir until well.
  • Add tomato sauce and balance the taste with salt and sugar.
  • If the sauce is too thick add some water and season with pepper.
  • Grate the Parmesan cheese and simmer for till nice flavor arises about 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf and puree this into a fine paste if you like or use as such.
  • Now the pizza sauce is ready to be spread on your prepared pizza dough.

  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

        A pancake, also known as a hotcake or flapjack is a thin, flat, round cake prepared from a batter and cooked on a hot pan. In Britain it is made without a raising agent, and is similar to a crepe. In America, a raising agent is used (typically baking powder). The American pancake is similar to a Scotch pancake. These pan cakes are light and fluffy served as a breakfast.

       We can call this dish as “American uthappam”. Preparation is same as that of our uthappam. But the ingredients are different. They use all purpose flour instead of rice and egg instead of urad dhal.  Uthappam needs fermentation and pan cakes are instant preparations using raising agent.

       They may be served at any time with a variety of toppings or fillings including jam, fruit, syrup, chocolate chips, or meat. In America, they are typically considered to be a breakfast food.



INGREDIENTS:
All Purpose flour/ Maida/ Self-rising flour*-1 cup
Salt- ¼ teaspoon
Sugar- 2 tablespoons
Milk-1 cup
Egg-1
Butter- 5 teaspoons
*Baking powder- ½ teaspoon (Use if you are making with all-purpose flour)
Pancake syrup/ Honey- 4 teaspoons
Strawberry/Banana- few pieces



PROCEDURE:
  • In a bowl, break an egg; add sugar and salt; beat well till frothy using a ladle or whisk. Then add the milk and mix well.
  • Now add the all-purpose flour and baking powder. Add quarter cup at a time  and mix together, without any lumps.
  • Keep it aside for 10-15 minutes. 

  • Add half teaspoon of butter in a pan; Pour a ladle full of batter onto a hot pan. Don’t spread it. Flip pancakes when the edges appear cooked. Serve immediately drizzling Pan cake syrup or maple syrup or honey with chopped fruits like strawberries/ banana or blueberries.
  • Makes 5 Pan cakes. 


     

Friday, December 27, 2013

        An apple pie is a fruit pie (or tart) in which the principal filling ingredient is apples. It is sometimes served with whipped cream or ice cream on top, or alongside cheddar cheese. Pastry is generally used top-and-bottom, making it a double-crust pie, the upper crust of which may be a circular shaped crust or a pastry lattice woven of strips; exceptions are deep-dish apple pie with a top crust only, and open-face Tarte Tatin.
 

      Here I have made apple pie in a basket look alike shape.  You can cover the filling with a normal rolled pastry and prick them at the centre to allow the steam to escape and allow the pie to cook inside. I have used Granny's Smith Green apples for this recipe you can make this with any apple which are crunchy and acidic.



INGREDIENTS:
For Short Crust Pastry:
All-purpose flour- 2 cups
Salt- ¼ teaspoon
Icing sugar- 4 tablespoon
Unsalted butter, slightly cold-200 grams (1 cup)
Egg yolk- 1
Cold water- 4 to 5 tablespoons or as required

For the Apple Filling:
Apple, chopped -2 (crisp and acidic cooking apples like Grannys Smith, Golen Delicious…etc)
Raisins- 3 tablespoons
Brown sugar- ½ cup (can use normal white sugar also)
Cinnamon powder- ½ teaspoon

For Brushing the shell:
Egg white-1
Apricot Jam, melted - ¼ cup


PROCEDURE:
  • Combine together, all-purpose flour, salt and icing sugar. Add butter and mix gently using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. For a well inside the crumbs and add egg yolk and sufficient quantity of ice water, mix gently until the dough just comes together. Knead the dough until you get a smooth dough. Divide the dough into two parts and wrap with cling film and chill in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 180oC.
  • Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until 3 mm thick and keep inside the base and cut the extra hanging pastry. 

  • In a bowl mix the chopped apple, raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Fill the base with the apple filling up to the top and level with this using a spoon.

  • From the remaining pastry using pizza cutter or knife cut some long strips, to keep on top of the base to shape a fruit basket like appearance. 
  • Brush the top with egg wash using a pastry brush. Transfer the tins to oven and bake till the surface turns golden.

  • Melt the apricot jam in oven for 30seconds or in a small pan over the stove heat till the jam melts. Brush the baked apple pies with melted jam using a pastry brush.
  • Serve with whipping cream, ice cream or cheese.
  • Makes 1 large pie or small 4 pies.

 



      

Thursday, December 26, 2013

      Potato wedges are a variation of 'French fries'. As their name suggests, they are wedges of potatoes, often large and unpeeled, that are either baked or fried. They are sold at diners and fast food restaurants. In some regions of the United States, potato wedges are known as “jojos”.


     I have tried these potato wedges with a 'thyme' flavour. You can make these fries simply salted. Easy to make recipe. Kids would love the wedges. Can be served as a starter or evening snack.


INGREDIENTS:
Potatoes- 4
Corn flour- ¼ cup
Pepper- ½ teaspoon
Salt- to taste
Thyme- ½ teaspoon (optional)
Oil, to drizzle- 1 teaspoon
Oil- to deep fry


PROCEDURE:

  • Boil or Pressure cook the potatoes (say 75% cooked) around three whistles on medium flame.
  • Cut the potatoes into wedges(as shown in the photo). First cut the potato in to equal halves. Then halve the each half into 2 equal pieces. Then further halve the pieces to 2 more halves. You would have now got 8 wedges from a single potato.
  • Sprinkle the potatoes with pepper,salt, thyme and little oil if you like and mix well.
  • Coat the potatoes with corn flour.
  • Deep fry this potatoes in smoking hot oil till 'slight golden colour'. Drain them and fry them in batches. When you fry the last batch the first batch will be ready to be fried again.
  • Then once again fry the fried potatoes till 'crisp and dark golden'.
  • Serve with Ketchup or Mayonnaise.

       

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!! and cannot extol the utter glorious of this pud too much, I know that you’re unlikely to get through most of it, even half of it, at one sitting. Even though the steaming time is a bit lengthy (6 hours), the end result of this pud is very satisfying. You must now understand the reason behind my delayed posting. Phew, this pudding does take some time.

Christmas pudding is a type of pudding traditionally served on Christmas Day (December 25) as part of the Christmas dinner. It has its origins in medieval England, and is sometimes known as "Christmas Pudding" or just "pud". The pudding is composed of many dried fruits and is held together by egg and suet (beef/mutton fat), sometimes moistened by treacle or molasses. Also, flavoured with cinnamon,  nutmeg,  cloves, ginger, and other spices. But my version is alcohol and suet free.


     Initial cooking usually involves steaming for many hours. To serve, the pudding is reheated by steaming once more, and dressed with warm brandy which is set alight. It can be eaten with hard sauce, brandy butter, rum butter, cream, lemon cream, custard, or sweetened béchamel, and is sometimes sprinkled with caster sugar.
       

     The pudding is aged for a month or even a year; the high alcohol content of the pudding prevents it from spoiling during this time. Make and freeze the Christmas pudding for up to 1 year ahead. Thaw overnight at room temperature and proceed as recipe on Christmas Day.

       I wanted to try this recipe for a very long time & that too alcohol free. Since i have not used alcohol i have done it the same time. Here in place of Pedro Ximenez Sherry (which is white wine that is normally used) i have made use of red grape juice & in place of vodka (poured over pudding and flaming vodka) i have replaced with lime juice in the pudding mixture (to get soft pudding). If you wouldn't mind alcohol, you could still use the original spirits.


      If you are planning to consume it on the same day a of 5 hours steaming is enough, but is you are planning to make it ahead & consume it after some time, steam first for 3 hours remove the aluminium foil & the parment paper then keep in a cool, dry place till the planned date, then steam it for 3 hours on Christmas Day. You can use any dry fruit of your choice like sultanas, raisins, black currants, prunes, dates...etc.

     Do not be upset, you will not get any smell like baking of cakes when steaming. Once you remove the foil & parchment Oh My God the smell of the pud so..... amazing.




INGREDIENTS:
Raisins(black) - ½ cup
Dates, Chopped- ½ cup
Prunes, Chopped - ½cup
Red grape juice- ½ cup
All purpose flour- ⅓ cup
Bread crumbs- ¼ cup
Vegetable shortening/ Butter- 75grams (1/3 cup)
Dark brown sugar- ⅓ cup
Cinnamon powder- ½ teaspoon
Cloves powder- ¼ teaspoon
Baking powder- ½ teaspoon
Lemon, zest- 1
Lemon juice- 2 teaspoons
Egg -1 (replace with 2 tbsps beaten yogurt for egg less version)
Apple, grated-  ¼ apple
Honey -1 tablespoon


PROCEDURE:
  • You will need a 700ml-1 litre heatproof plastic/ ceramic  pudding basin/bowl, and also a sprig of holly to decorate.
  • Three hours’ steaming both first and second time around should do it. After it’s had its first steaming, and is cooled, follow with the with the same steaming instructions for Christmas Day.
  • Put the raisins and prunes, dates into a bowl with red grape juice, swill the bowl a bit, then cover with clingfilm and leave to steep overnight or for up to 2days in fridge.
  •  When the fruits have had their steeping time, put a large pan of water on to boil, or heat some water in a conventional steamer (here I have used idli steamer), and butter your heatproof  pudding basin.
  • Take a piece of wax paper and grease that too to cover the cake (nonstick lid)
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy then add the brown sugar beat well till creamy.

  •  Then add the egg and beat well. After that add the fruit mixture kept for steeping. Add the all purpose flour, cinnamon, cloves, lemon zest and juice, baking powder, apple, honey and bread crumbs. Combine all the ingredients, and stir well.
  • Scrape and press the mixture into the prepared pudding basin, squish it down and cover with the buttered wax paper. Then wrap with a layer of foil and tie tighly with a string, so that the basin is watertight, then either put the basin in the pan of boiling water (to come halfway up the basin) or in the top of a lidded steamer (this size of basin happens to fit perfectly in the top of my idli steamer) and steam for 3 hours, checking every now and again that the water hasn’t bubbled away.

  • When it’s had its 3 hours, remove carefully without burning yourself and, when manageable, unwrap the foil, and put the pudding in its basin somewhere out of the way in the kitchen or, if you’re lucky enough, a larder, until Christmas Day.


  • On the big day, re wrap the pudding (still in its basin) in foil and steam again, this time for 3 hours. Six hours combined cooking time might seem a faff, but it’s not as if you need to do anything to it in that time.
  • To serve, remove from the pan or steamer, take off the foil, put a plate on top, turn it upside down and give the plastic basin a little squeeze/ tap the ceramic powl to help unmould the pudding.
  • Put the sprig of holly on top of the dark, mutely gleaming pudding.
  • Serve with the Eggnog Cream, or Custard which you can easily make - it's the work of undemanding moments - while the pudding's steaming.




    

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


A mince pie, also known as minced pie, is a small British fruit-based mincemeat sweet pie traditionally served during the Christmas season. Short crust pastry filled with rich, sticky and spiced fruit filling. The fruit filling mainly made using dry fruits such as sultanas, raisins, currants, cranberries etc. They have not full casings but little stars as lids, which makes them look beautiful and taste flatteringly light.

You can use good shop-bought mincemeat  and ready to roll short crust pastry if you want, to make it in a jiffy. But I'm hoping you might give my new Cranberry-Studded Mincemeat a go, which is made from scartch. It tastes both rich , boozy, fresh and fruity.



INGREDIENTS:

For Short Crust Pastry:
All-purpose flour- 2 cups
Salt- ¼ teaspoon
Icing sugar- 4 tablespoons
Unsalted butter, slightly cold-200grams
Egg yolk- 1 large
Cold water- 4 to 5 tablespoons or as required

For the Dry Fruit Filling:
Mixed dry fruits- 2 cups (raisins, cranberries, sultanas…etc)
Apple juice- ¼ cup
Brown sugar- ½ cup
Orange zest- 2 teaspoons
Orange juice- ½
Cinnamon powder- ½ teaspoons
Mixed spice powder- ¼ teaspoons (coriander seeds, cinnamon, clove, dry ginger, pepper, nutmeg - each 1 teaspoon powdered)



PROCEDURE:
  • Combine together all the ingredients for the filling in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.

  •  Reduce the flame to medium and allow to simmer until the dry fruits turn soft and the water content is almost completely absorbed. Allow this to cool completely.

  • Combine together, all-purpose flour, salt and icing sugar. Add butter and mix gently using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Form a well inside the crumbs and add egg yolk and sufficient quantity of ice water, mix gently until the dough just comes together. Knead the dough until you get a smooth dough.
  • Divide the dough into two parts and wrap with cling film and chill in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
 
  • Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until 3 mm thick and cut the base using a round cookie cutter.

  • Take one round base in the hand and fill with 1 to 2 tsp of the fruit filling. Press the stuffing with fingers and form cup shape. Gently press this into the muffin tin. Cut star shapes also from the remaining dough and keep on top of the pies.
  • Preheat oven to 180oC.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until the base hardens and the base cooks well.
  • Allow to cool and dust with icing sugar on top if you like.
  • Makes about 15-18 mini pies.


Monday, December 23, 2013

      Butter cookies are one of the tastiest treats. Easy to make cookies, especially at this festive season. These cookies are shaped with the Christmas art cookie cutters and give a special festive feel. Here I have made only plain cookies. You can ice them or dip them in melted chocolate and decorate with sugar sprinkles as you like.

      If you do not have cookie cutters, roll the dough as a long cylindrical shape and cover with cling film or wax paper and chill them about 15 minutes. then slice them and get round shaped cookies.

      Prick a hole on a side of the cookies before baking. This cookies can be hung on the Christmas tree by inserting a thread on the hole.

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble cookies

INGREDIENTS:
All purpose flour/ Maida- 2 cups
Butter- ½ cup
Egg-1
Sugar- ½ cup
Baking powder- ½ teaspoon
For Marble Cookies:
Cocoa powder- 1 tablespoon

PROCEDURE:
  • Sift the flour together with baking powder.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg and vanilla extract and beat well. 
  • Now add the flour, mix well and make a dough.
  • Divide dough in to equal two portions. One portion will be the vanilla dough.
  • To the other half dough, add the cocoa powder and knead well. This forms the chocolate dough.
  • Wrap both dough in cling film and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • For vanilla cookies, roll vanilla dough in a floured surface. Using cookie cutters cut the dough into desired shapes.
  •  For vanilla chocolate marble cookies take equal size of vanilla and chocolate dough and mix the dough with hand roughly. Then roll this dough using rolling pin. Then cut the cookies into the desired shape.
  • Place cookie on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove cookies from tray and place in cooling rack to cool.
         

Sunday, December 22, 2013

      "Its Fruitful!!! Recipe that will make you rethink fruit cake" is the caption given in a particular  review about fruit cakes.

       Jane Touzalin works in ‘Washington Post Food and Travel sections’. She has written about fruit cakes about how it was prepared in 60’s and 70’s and now how the recipes changed. Now a days fruit cakes are doused with brandy and sometimes tastes too dry. Her review about fruit cakes convinced me to try this cake last year and it was a big hit among our family members. So I planned to make the same cake this year as well  and am now sharing it with you.

       This cake is not chewy, and has no colours; Just dried fruits and nuts. The cake is rich in fruity flavor and the moistness achieved without so much as a drop of brandy. I have followed the exact recipe with small modifications. You can bake this same cake with your choice of dry fruits and nuts.

       

INGREDIENTS:
Raisins, golden- 1 ½ cup
Dried Apricot, chopped- ½- ¾cup
Cherry in syrup drained- ¼  cup
Tutti frutti- ¼ cup (Optional)
Crystallized ginger- ½ cup (could be replaced with finely grated ginger- 2 teaspoons (or) dry ginger powder- 1/2 teaspoon)
Walnuts, toasted and chopped-1 cup
Cashew nuts, toasted - ½ cup
Orange zest-2 teaspoons
Orange juice-2 oranges
Lemon zest-2 teaspoons
Lemon juice-1
All purpose flour/ Maida- 2 ¾ cups
Sugar, powdered - 1 cup
Egg -4 large
Salt-pinch
Butter-200 grams
Vanilla extract-1 tablespoon
Almond extract-1 teaspoon
Pine apple essence-1 teaspoon
Baking powder-1 teaspoon
Baking soda- ½ teaspoon
*You can use self-rising flour for this recipe. If you use self-rising flour don’t use baking soda.

PROCEDURE:

  • Preheat the oven to 160oC. (Dense cakes should be baked for lower temperature for longer period)
  • Grease two 4 ½ inchx8 ½ inch loaf pans with butter and dust with flour (or) line with parchment paper.
  • Can use 20 or 22cm two round cake tins. I have used here one loaf pan of above size and a 22cm round cake pan.
  • Toss the raisins, apricots and ginger in ¼ cup of flour until evenly coated.
  • Add the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat well using electric beater or normal whisk until creamy. Then add the eggs one by one and beat well. Now the mixture looks curdled in appearance. But nothing to worry all will be well.
  • Now add vanilla, pineapple and almond extracts and mix well.
  • Then add the orange, lime juice and grated zest of orange & lime.
  • Sift the remaining 2 ½ cup flour and baking powder and baking soda (add if you use all purpose flour) and add a cup at a time and mix well.
  • Add the nuts and dry fruits.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  • Tap each once again on the counter to remove air bubbles, and smoothen the top layer.
  • Bake for about to 45 minutes-1 hour or more. Loaf tins take more time than round cake tins. (Depends on the size of your pan)
  • Check the cakes are done by inserting a skewer.
  • The cake will be white and might give appearance of being unbaked even though they are not.
  • Transfer to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.
 



   

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