Thursday, 11 December 2014

Rainbow Swiss Roll

So it is our 7th Anniversary today. Seven years of togetherness, love, laughter, desperation, anxiety, enthusiasm and much more. While I have known him for 14 years now, it only seems like yesterday when we first met and even though our definition of love has changed with time, I still get perplexed and anxious whenever he is not around me. We may not be the perfect partners but we love to spend our lives together and enjoy the little joys of life , including our munchkin!
He often complains that I do not love him anymore and so do I. But at the end of the day, both of us know that however we might fight and argue over petty things, our love will sail us through and keep us together for all times to come. 
And as the rainbow depicts the seven colors of life and how, even though different, all the different colors contribute equally to make the rainbow look as beautiful as it looks, I dedicate this Rainbow Swiss Roll to our 7 years of togetherness and many more to come! Love you! 

4 large eggs separated (it is best to separate eggs when they are fresh and cold out of the refrigerator; once separated, bring them to room temperature before starting the procedure)
1/4 tsp salt
A pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
3/4 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanila extract
5-6 different gel based colors or food coloring powder (it is advisable to avoid using liquid food colors as they will liquify the batter. However, if using, then add in moderate qty so that the batter does not lose its texture)
Piping bags

For the filling
4 cups icing sugar 
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp butter (preferably unsalted) cut into squares
120 ml milk at room temperature

P.S.: This is a standard chocolate sauce recipe. The excess sauce you can store in the fridge for later use. You can also use any filling as you wish like fresh fruit jam, whipped cream, etc. 

Take a 32x23 cm flat baking dish and grease it. Line the dish with parchment paper in a way that there are no bubbles or raised edges. It should be as smooth as possible. This will help you get a smooth wrinkle-free base once baked. The greasing of the bottom of the pan before lining helps keep the parchment paper in place. 
Now, take the bowl of egg whites (which you had separated while the egg was still cold from the fridge and brought to room temperature) and ensure that there are no drops of yolk or dirt in it. Add the salt and cream of tartar (if using) and beat them to stiff peaks but not dry. Takes about 10 minutes in the electric beater with the paddle attachment. To test if your egg whites are done, simply turn the bowl upside down and the entire mixture will still hold together without any spillage!
Now beat the egg yolks till creamy. Add the sugar little at a time and beat till a pale thick and creamy batter is formed. This will take another 5-10 minutes. I usually first beat the egg whites till stiff and then use the same attachment for the yolks. It is okay to have whites mixed in the yolk but strictly no for the reverse. Hence, if you intend to use the same attachment for both the whites and the yolks, you must always beat the whites first. 
Now sift the flour and baking powder. Add the vanilla extract to the batter and beat for a second until combined. Now, add the sifted flour to the batter in two batches and mix till smooth and no lumps remain. 
Now add this mixture into the egg whites and start folding in a single direction till the batter is well combined but not over mixed or deflated. You can also do the reverse and add the egg whites into the batter. Either way, we need to achieve a smooth batter. 

Now divide this batter equally into five bowls and add the food coloring of your choice. Take care to use different spoons for each bowl and not to mix and match any of them. That will spoil the color of the batter. The amount of coloring used will depend on how deep and distinct you want your rainbow to be. However, care must be taken while using liquid (water-based) coloring which might liquify the batter more than required. 
Now, fill the various colored batter into individual piping bags and keep them ready. 

Meanwhile, start pre-heating the oven at 180 degree celsius for 10 minutes. 

Make a small cut at the tip of the piping bag and start piping out a straight line kind of bar onto the prepared baking dish, one color at a time. Repeat till all the colored batter is used up. Do a double lining when you are done with a single layering. Take care not to overlap though. 

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Check at 10 minutes and then again in 2-3 minutes. A minute over baked and you are sure to get cracks on top while rolling as well as hard edges. 
Immediately remove from the baking dish and onto another parchment paper of the same size. Roll the swiss roll along with this parchment paper and let it cool. This will help gain its shape. When just warm, unroll it gently and spread the filling without spoiling the bend and roll up again.

 This time without the parchment paper. Once rolled, cover it up with the paper loosely and let it cool completely on a wire rack. 

Slice when cooled. You can also chill it and bring it slightly back to room temperature before serving.

For the filling
Melt the butter and mix all the ingredients together till smooth and creamy. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Mango Pudding/ Fruit Pudding

This has to be the easiest and the simplest pudding I have ever made and it stands high on the yummy quotient too. A friend recently shared it on a food group (CaL, as you know) and I just knew I had to make this. I have made it with Mango puree as we have fresh mangoes from Thailand available in the supermarket these days but this pudding can be made with any other seasonal fruit like strawberry, litchi, and the like. 

2 tsp gelatin
1/2 cup hot water
2 mangoes diced and blended in a food processor
1/2 cup condensed milk (I used low fat)
10 ice cubes (approximately)

Put the gelatin in a small bowl, pour in the hot water and set aside until the gelatin dissolves, approximately 2 minutes.

Cut mango in pieces and blend in a blender till very smooth. 
Mix the mango puree, condensed milk, and ice cubes.
Pour the gelatin mixture into the mango mixture and mix well till the ice melts. 
Pour into mould of your choice and set it in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours. 
Garnish with a few pieces of mango and enjoy!!!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Christmas Rum and Raisin Cake

Christmas parties were not very common for us while in India as we had mostly Indian friends around. In Singapore though, we have a mix of friends from all countries and one such family recently invited us for dinner. As a custom, in India we always used to carry some sweets or similar when we visit anyone and knowing that it is a Christmas special dinner, I planned a special homemade Christmas hamper for the hosts. This Rum and Raisin Cake was a part of the hamper and was quite a yummy inclusion   Here is the recipe for you all to try!

2 cups raisins chopped
1/4 cup dark rum (I used a spiced Caribbean rum)
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp orange rind
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanila extract
1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup extra light olive oil or any other refined oil
1 cup milk (I used 1/2 cup skim milk and 1/2 cup full cream) at room temperature
For the Glaze
1/3 cup fine sugar
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp corn syrup (honey can also br used)
2 tbsp rum
Powdered sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)

Take the chopped raisins in a jar and pour the rum. Close the lid and shake it well. Soak it for a minimum of 24 hours-48 hours, shaking in between. The more you soak the better will be the flavor. If you are pressed for time, you may soak it on the same day for a minimum of 4-6 hours and then slightly warm the mixture in the microwave and let it cool before starting the rest of the process. 
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and keep aside. 
Cream the butter and sugar together till light and smooth. Now add the rind, oil, and vanilla extract and whip further. Now add the eggs one at a time, whipping after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Fold in one direction till all the flour has been well incorporated without any lumps. Now fold in the raisins along with the residual liquid, if any. You can also add some chopped citrus peel if you wish. 
Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree celsius. Grease a 10" bundt pan with oil or cooking spray and pour the batter into it, evenly spreading the top. 
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If you see the top browning too fast and the inside not yet done, cover the top loosely with an aluminium foil and reduce the temperature to 160 degree celsius and bake till done but observe closely so that you do not burn the cake. Once done, remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan. 
Now gently transfer the cake to a wire rack and prepare the glaze. 

Take sugar, water and corn syrup/honey in a bowl and bring it to a boil on stove top while stirring continuously and till the sugar dissolves. Remove from flame and add the rum. 
Apply this glaze on the warm cake on all sides (top and bottom) with a brush in regular intervals till the cake cools down completely and has absorbed most of the glaze. You can reserve the glaze for use later on with your ice creams. You can garnish the cake with some powdered sugar or enjoy a slice as is!! Both ways, it is super yum!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Eggless Wholewheat Spiced Muffins with Flaxseed

Eggless baking is quite a challenge for a baker who does not have any restriction of baking with eggs. However, the question is often raised regarding the appropriate egg substitute. While I have done some eggless baking with yogurt and the results were also fantastic, flaxseed powder is an alternative that bakers usually suggest and which I had never tried. So today as I was standing in my kitchen wondering what to bake for my week's breakfast, I decided to experiment with this egg substitute. I have used all least expensive and simple ingredients in this recipe as I was not too sure of the results and was all set to trash it if required. You can use this as a base recipe and modify the recipe with ingredients of your choice. The texture and taste was at par with any other bake made with eggs and after tasting cakes made with yogurt, I would definitely recommend using flaxseed powder as a substitute instead of yogurt. 

1 cup plus 1 tbsp wholewheat flour
1/3 cup honey (I added 1/4 cup honey and realized it wasn't too sweet)
1/4 cup extra light olive oil
2 tbsp flaxseed powder (I am substituting 2 eggs with 2 tbsp flaxseed powder)
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanila extract
2 tbsp candied citrus peel chopped (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp or more ground cinnamon for sprinkling

Take 6 tbsp room temperature water and dissolve the 2 tbsp flaxseed powder. Let it stand for 3-5 minutes. 
In a bowl, beat the honey and oil till smooth and creamy. Add the vanila and stir. Now mix the flaxseed mixture, which would become gooey by now, and stir well till incorporated. Now fold in the 1 cup flour mixed with the baking powder and baking soda and stir till no lumps remain. Add the milk and add the remaining 1 tbsp flour. Mix well. You may add another 1/2-1 tbsp flour if you find the batter too runny which should otherwise be lumpy and drop consistency. Add the chopped citrus peel and mixed spice and stir well till combined. 
Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree celsius. Line a muffin tray with liners and drop spoonfuls of the batter till 3/4 full. The batter rises beautifully and so leave enough space for the muffins to rise. 
Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top of each muffin and bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes till a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top is slightly golden. Remove from oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before storing in air tight container. Serve warm with a dollop of butter and some fruit preserve. Enjoy!!