Sticky Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake

7C2D85A1-74CD-46EF-A1F6-39B86801116F

If you can find heaven in a cake then this is it. Sticky, soft, and everything you’ve dreamed of but never had. This cake has a taste of fresh lemon juice because it is soaked with lemon juice after making it, and the poppy seeds in it taste divine.The combination of lemon and poppy seeds is sooo good. A bit unusual for those who haven’t tasted this combination but delicious still.

I love chocolate cakes and I know so do you, and one of these days I’m going to put up a chocolate cake recipe too, but rich fruit cakes taste so good. We’re having guests over this evening and I’m going to delight them with large chunks of this cake. The last time I made it, it was gone in the wink of an eye. Only the crumbs remained in the plate as proof that there had once been a nice big cake before it was devoured.

I’ve taken this recipe from Dan Lepard’s  recipe.

He is a baker from the United Kingdom and one of my favorites. His cookbooks are my prized possessions and are the jewels of my library.

I put only half the amount of lemon and caster sugar syrup given in this recipe, on the cake, and no additional dredging of caster sugar, but the cake was still scrumptious.

Sticky Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake

Serves 10 to 12

Ingredients

For the cake

225 gms caster sugar

125 gms unsalted butter, softened

100 ml sunflower oil

Finely grated zest of 3 lemons

4 medium eggs

50 ml hot water

250 gms plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

75 gms oatmeal, or rolled oats finely ground

30 gms poppy seeds

For the syrup

150 gms caster sugar, plus extra to finish

100 ml lemon juice

Method

1 Line a deep 20 cm square cake tin with baking paper. Beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest and oil till light and fluffy, then add one egg at a time and beat well. Then beat the hot water into the mixture.

2 Sift the flour, then add the baking powder and mix well. Then add the oatmeal or the finely ground oats and the poppy seeds, and beat them into the cake mixture.

3 Pour the batter into the tin and bake at 180 degrees C / 160 degrees C fan / 350 degrees F/ gas 4 for 45 to 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean, when inserted into the cake.

4 While the cake is warm, heat the lemon juice and caster sugar till the caster sugar dissolves. Poke the cake deep with a fork or a skewer and spread the syrup onto the cake letting the cake absorb it nicely. Once it has cooled dredge it with more caster sugar.

 

Grandma’s Egg Sandwiches

F1033A31-6944-4631-8D81-5D2BAA7AAD0E

Oh, how my nephew loves these delicious egg sandwiches. He says they’re the best breakfast in the whole world. Grandma’s recipe, made with love by my sister for my nephew and her hubby. Whether it’s at home for breakfast or for a picnic, these egg sandwiches are always in demand.

My mom makes delicious food, and I’ve learnt most of my cooking from her, the complex, the artistic, the simple. This is a really simple, easy peasy recipe, but so delicious, the way only grandma can work magic.

Have these sandwiches with tea or coffee for breakfast or with soup for dinner. They can also be made for a party or an occasion. I promise you’ll enjoy the feast.

These sandwiches are ideal for older people too, because they’re so soft and yet so healthy.

Here is the recipe.

Grandma’s Egg Sandwiches

Makes 6 half sandwiches

Ingredients

6 bread slices well buttered

3 boiled eggs, grated

40 gms butter

Some roughly ground pepper

Salt to taste

Method

1 In a medium sized bowl mix the grated egg, butter, salt, and pepper well.

2 Spread a thick layer of the egg mixture onto a slice of buttered bread. Cover this slice with another slice of buttered bread. Make the remaining sandwiches the same way. Cut each sandwich into half to make a total of six sandwiches.

3 If not eating right away, wet a clean napkin, squeeze out all the water and cover the sandwiches and keep in the fridge. However, the sandwiches are best eaten immediately.

 

 

Batata Vada

2F5CCAF0-BED2-485B-BD15-C519687512B0

It is Diwali time. Diwali is only two days away. We deck up in our best clothes, cook delicious food and share it with family and friends. We go to each other’s homes bearing gifts of all kinds, sweet and savory, mithais, dry fruits, namkeen.

It’s always lovely to have family and friends over during the festive season. Our homes are lit up with diyas and pretty rangolis are drawn at the door. We fill up delicate bowls and plates of silver with sweetmeats, first serve them as an offering to God and then decorate the table with them for guests. Atithi Devo Bhava, or, the guest is God is a well known Indian saying. We do treat our guests like God.

This is also a time to reflect, to root out evil, and light up our selves with good, cleanse our souls of impurity, let our hearts and minds soak in the light of the incandescent diyas we light in our homes.

Lets share and care, give love and receive it in return, not take more than our due, and live a life of compassion, love and kindness.

Everyone is doing sweetmeat recipes so this Diwali, which is the first on my blog, I am sharing a savory recipe. Batata Vada. It means crisp potato balls dipped in a batter of gram flour, fried in oil with lots of garlic and green chilly-ginger paste as masala in the stuffing, eaten with a chutney of your liking.

Make it this way to delight yourself and your loved ones! Here is the recipe.

Batata Vada

Ingredients

For the Vada

2 tablespoons oil

500 gms boiled and mashed potatoes

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

8 to 10 cloves of garlic chopped finely or 4 sprigs of fresh garlic chopped finely till the ends.

1 tablespoon of chilly-ginger paste

A nice pinch of asafoetida

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

A sprig of curry leaves

Some finely chopped fresh coriander

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt to taste

For the batter or covering

1 1/2 cups gram flour

A pinch of asafoetida

1 tablespoon oil

A pinch of soda bicarb

Chilly powder to taste

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

Method

1 In a medium sized pan put the two tablespoons of oil on a medium flame. When hot put in the mustard seeds and let pop. Put in the finely chopped garlic and cook till a nice aroma wafts through. Add the green chilly-ginger paste and cook it for a minute. Now add the asafoetida, turmeric powder and stir for a few seconds. Add the  curry leaves, fresh coriander, lemon juice and salt and mix in the mashed potatoes. Stir the mixture well to blend in all the spices and herbs.

2 Make 10 to 12 balls from the potato mixture and keep aside.

3 Mix all the ingredients for the batter with a little water to make a batter of flowing consistency. Keep the batter a little thin to get a crisp and light outer cover for the vadas.

4 Heat the oil for frying in a deep bottomed pan. Dip the potato balls one at a time in the batter and drop gently in the hot oil. Fry till golden brown. Remove and serve hot with a chutney of your liking.

 

 

 

Candied Walnuts In A Jiffy

C3187891-86F9-4D44-BB75-9B2BD039BDF4

We’re getting into the Diwali spirit here in India and then Christmas will be at our doorsteps in December. Time to celebrate! Today I’m posting an easy and delicious recipe. Candied walnuts. These are great as a Diwali or Christmas gift. They’re even good to munch on during the festivities or to add to a salad or eat topped onto ice cream. The recipe is inspired by the one in the blog Natasha’s Kitchen

When I was in the fifth standard in St. Mary’s School in Poona, one of my friends used to get walnuts mixed with sugar in her tiffin and share them with me. I loved eating this terrific combination. My friend’s mother packed this yummilicious tiffin and she knew I shared it with her, so she would send enough for the two of us. I was in boarding school and this was magic.

That’s where I got the idea for candied walnuts from. So I was thrilled to find this recipe in Natasha’s Kitchen. Easy, fast, it only takes about five minutes to make, and yummy. No egg whites to coat with, no baking, nothing, it’s so simple. And …..it works out much cheaper than store bought candied walnuts. And… of course, Homemade!

Just remember to keep your kitchen tools handy while making these because the walnuts could burn if you’re not watching.

You can store the caramelized walnuts for about a week in an airtight container, but they’ll disappear very quickly.

You can use this recipe to candy pecans too.

Here’s the recipe

Candied Walnuts

Makes approximately 1 cup

Ingredients

1 cup walnuts quarters

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon white unsalted butter

Method

1 Heat a skillet to medium heat. Put the walnut quarters, sugar and butter into the skillet and stir continuously until the butter and sugar melt and the walnut pieces are well coated. This will take approximately 5 minutes. Make sure you stir the walnuts otherwise they will burn.

2 Once coated with the sugar, quickly remove them and put them on parchment or baking paper, and immediately separate the walnuts. Do this fast or you will be left with a lump of sugar coated walnuts.

3 Put them in a bowl to cool and eat them right away or store in an airtight container.

 

 

 

Gur Papdi

21789349-5903-4D54-BA8C-8F448D7CF7AD

Gur Papdi, also called Gol Papdi or Sukhdi is a Gujarati sweet, made with jaggery, ghee and whole wheat flour and flavoured with cardamom powder and garnished with slivered nuts. It is delicious and healthy, and is eaten as an everyday sweet in homes and sometimes becomes a special sweetmeat for festivities too.

You can have loads of ferrero rochers and lindts and godivas but the good old desi Gur Papdi is delightful to bite into with its rich, aromatic whole wheat flour and cardamom flavors. Each time I bite into it, it brings back memories of midnight feasts at my aunty and uncle’s place where we cousins would sneak to the fridge at night, and gobble up all the goodies that were there, and often my aunt would store Gur Papdi to serve us as a dessert with lunch, but it would all be gone when she opened the fridge the next day.

I’m lucky with those midnight feasts I still have all my teeth intact, but I’ve certainly had to ‘brush up’ my teeth hygiene in these last few years.

Here’s the recipe

Gur Papdi

Makes about 15 pieces

Ingredients

100 gms whole wheat flour

6 tablespoons ghee

125 gms jaggery

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

Some slivered almonds for garnishing

Method

1 Heat the ghee in a deep bottomed pan. Cook the whole wheat flour in the hot ghee over a low to medium flame till brown and aromatic. Remove from the stove.

2 Add the jaggery and cardamom powder to the hot ghee, whole wheat flour mixture and stir with a spoon and mix till the jaggery has melted completely.

3 Now overturn the mixture onto a greased 6 inch thali and while still warm cut into diamond shapes. Garnish with the slivered almonds.

4 When cool store in an airtight container.

 

 

 

Banana Bread

 

905B4827-C2A7-4544-A106-F6D0390F4A39

Now, I’ve eaten many banana breads and cakes but this one steals the show. Really, I mean it. It’s for no small reason that Nigella Lawson is called the queen of home cooking. Nigella ‘awesome’ Lawson for that’s what I call her, is just great when she shows us ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’. That’s the name of her baking book from where I made this recipe. It totally bowled me over. Did you know she’s not a professional chef? She’s a self taught home cook. Read this dazzling article and those of you who dislike the name of her book because it sounds weird, you may think, will change your mind.

And here’s her recipe for Banana Bread that’s so aromatic when you bake it that it makes your mouth water, not to mention that eating it will tingle your taste buds. It’s a nice large bread, and you can cut out big chunks for yourself, the kids, family and friends.

Sometimes, because ovens differ in their heating, and every oven has a nature of its own, go by instinct. When the cake begins to give out a delicious aroma, check if it’s ready, even if it’s before time.

Here’s the recipe

Banana Bread

Ingredients

100 gms sultanas

75 ml bourbon or dark rum

175 gms plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon soda bicarbonate

1/2 teaspoon salt

125 gms unsalted butter, melted

150 gms sugar

2 large eggs

4 very ripe bananas( about 300 gms without skin) mashed

60 gms chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

23 x 13 x 7 cm loaf tin

Method

1 Put the sultanas with the dark rum to boil. When the liquid starts boiling, remove from flame and stand them for an hour or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Then drain.

2 Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C or gas mark 3.

3 Put the plain flour, baking powder, soda bicarbonate and salt into a medium size bowl and mix with a spoon to combine well.

4 In a large bowl, mix the sugar and melted butter and beat until blended.

5 Put in the eggs one at a time, then add the mashed bananas.

6 Stir in the sultanas, walnuts and vanilla extract.

7 Add the flour mixture, one third at a time, stirring well after each addition.

8 Scrape into a greased loaf tin and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hour. When a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean it’s ready.

9 Leave in the tin or on a rack to cool before cutting into nice big chunks and enjoying.

 

 

 

Dahi Bataka

24C0CAF8-8C95-4C26-A842-2A381BAE20F1

Dahi Bataka or potatoes in a curd or yoghurt gravy. This dish is one of my family heirlooms. It comes down from my great grandmother to my granny to my mom and now I’ve noted it down so that family and friends can read it and make this delicious recipe. Perhaps other Gujarati homes also make it, but this is our way and I hope you like it.

Whenever I make this dish, the aroma wafts into the outside of my home, and people passing by wonder what delicious stuff is cooking. The dish is simple to make, like most of the food I put up on my blog, but let me assure you, it tastes divine with hot chapatis or parathas.

I don’t make my dishes too spicy but you can add more chilly powder or green chillies if you want to make your dish spicier.

Here is the recipe.

Dahi Bataka

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

500 gms potatoes boiled in salt water and chopped in to medium size pieces

3 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste

3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon chilly powder

A nice pinch of asafoetida

1 cup or 200-250 gms beaten curd or yoghurt mixed with half cup water

Salt to taste

A few sprigs coriander finely chopped to garnish

Method

1 Heat the oil in a deep bottomed pan. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and let them begin to pop. Now add the ginger garlic paste and a little water and fry for 2 minutes till a nice aroma emanates.

2 Add the chopped potatoes and fry for 2 minutes. Add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilly powder and asafoetida. Toss and mix and cook for 3-4 minutes. Mash a few of the potatoes while cooking.

3 Now add the beaten curd and salt to taste and cook on a low flame but don’t allow the dish to boil.

Serve hot garnished with fresh coriander.

63778A5A-8362-47BD-8444-4C8E6EF75C18