24 December 2009

Cant-stop-eating this Green beans salad

When it comes to green beans, French beans or farasbi as it is called locally, I haven't messed around much with them. Beans usili, a Tamil stir fry dish made with crumbled dal, which is a hot favourite at home always gets the vote and therefore other beans dishes rarely stand a chance. If I'm too lazy to prepare the elaborate usili, then a simple beans curry it is. I usually reserve a handful of beans to use in Khichdi or pulao. This time the beans were so tender and fresh, so I thought how about a salad, especially as the main course of the dinner was decided to be Rajma patties / burgers. I must say the salad brought a lovely freshness to the dish and we regretted that there was only so much to go between the two of us. A loaf of freshly baked whole wheat bread from Ofen (recommended to us by Arundati) sliced up and it was a memorable dinner for two.

Green beans salad served with rajma patties and fresh whole wheat bread

Green beans salad
Time taken - Around 20 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients
200 grams fresh tender green beans
1 L water
1 tsp salt

Dressing - shake up the following in a clean jam jar

2 garlic pods, peeled, smashed, chopped fine
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp English mustard
1/2 tsp salt

Directions
  1. Bring the water to boil with 1 tsp salt.
  2. Meanwhile wash beans well. Top and tail them. Cut diagonally in half to make spears.
  3. Add to water and boil for 4-5 minutes until half cooked yet crisp.
  4. Drain. Reserve water to use in soups, rasam or to cook dal. Wash drained beans in cold water and drain again. Mop dry with kitchen towel.
  5. Just before serving, toss beans well with dressing from the jar. Serve immediately.

Currently, two batches of fruitcake have been baked, the eggy version using Raaga's 20 year old recipe and the eggless version by substituting eggs with yogurt. Both have turned out good and are ready to be gifted away to some lucky (if I may say so) people :)

Happy Holidays everyone and wishing you a Merry Christmas!

16 December 2009

Twinings Orangey Blast Cake and a mistake that tasted so good

22.10.2010
Edited to add another recipe of this cake with a mixture of whole wheat, cornmeal and rice flour.


[L-Rice flour cake, Top- AP flour orange cake, Bottom - Gorgeous crisp crust of rice flour cake]
Sorry again for the long interval. I have finally settled down into a new city and settled enough to resume blogging. Hopefully it was the final long break from doing what I so love doing.
After having collected a good bit of orange zest, I wanted to prepare an eggless orange cake since a long time, and finally I found the occasion for it. The hubby wanted to take it to a breakfast potluck and I volunteered 'poha' and cake. Saturday morning seemed like a perfect time to get baking. After having gone through several recipes, I zeroed in on Shammi's orange cake, minus the filling.
I used the Twinings tea bags - Fruit Bliss Infusions instead of the orange juice, so started by brewing a very strong tea with two tea bags in 1/2 cup of water, squeezed the life out of the bags, extracting every bit of flavour from them and let it cool.
Since I was baking after a long time, I decided to do it in a better fashion than the usual hasty way I like to bake, this time sifting the dry ingredients diligently, even at that time I didn't realize that something was wrong. Finally mixed the dry and wet ingredients, tons of fresh orange zest and the zingy fragrances were already making me dizzy. Finally, I couldn't resist and I dipped a finger in the batter to taste the yumminess and it hit upon me that this batter is too coarse and powdery in my mouth. In a panic I picked the flour packet to read the label, it said 'Rice Flour'. By then it was too late to do anything but bung the cake tin into the oven and silently mouth some prayers to goddess Annapoorna that it at least turns out edible. It turned out more than edible, in fact it tasted like a gourmet version of our favourite fried Tambram delicacy 'Adhirasam' - orange adhirasam! The crust was crisp as though it had been fried and it tasted fantastic.
Finally when I made the correct version with all purpose flour, we still wanted to reach out for the crunchy orange rice cakes.
I love using these fruity tea brews in cakes, there's one pack of Vanilla-Blackcurrant that going be used soon! Just 1/4 cup of orange juice, zest and the orange tea made this a fabulously flavourful cake, giving it a big orangey blast that we just loved. The correct version was much appreciated at the potluck :)
Here's Shammi's recipe with my modifications.
Orangey Blast Cake
Orange Cake
Makes one 8" round cake
Perfect for tea-time or even breakfast
Time taken - Under one hour
Ingredients
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp soda bicarb
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup strong orange tea ( made from 2 bags of Twinings Orange, Mango and Cinnamom flavour)
1 tbsp orange zest, plus some more cut up peels
1/4 cup chopped up raisins
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease an 8 inch round baking tin.
2. Sift together the flour, soda bicarb and baking powder.
3. In another bowl, cream together the oil, sugar and yogurt.
4. Add the juice, tea, orange zest, flour and raisins - mix well and pour into the prepared pan.
5. Bake for about 35 minutes or till the cake tests done. After some ten minutes, remove onto a wire rack and cut when completely cooled. Serve with tea :)
After having baked this cake twice in two days, I have nearly memorized the ingredients - which means I'm going to making this more often!
This is Shammi's second cake recipe I have tried this month, the first one was Eggless Carrot Banana cake that I selected to bake for my son's first birthday on 4 December. He ate a whole slice, and was willing to eat more had we let him, which leads me to believe that he quite liked it :)
Cya around folks, this blog is going to alive and kicking now on! [Now that I have made this announcement publicly, I had better live up to it :P]