Sunday, January 27, 2013

Moist Chocolate Cake

"Your hands and your mouth agreed many years ago that, as far as chocolate is concerned, there is no need to involve your brain."
- Dave Barry

Hey everyone!

This is my latest creation... moist chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting... topped with some roasted, thinly sliced almonds and lots&lots of walnuts....

I had come across this recipe while browsing thru Google, in search of the perfect chocolate cake. Got it from
It's almost like brownies with just a little bit fudgey-ness to it....
Eating it alone itself is great... with cream-cheese frosting its heavenly... :)

I've tried this cake recipe with both butter cream frosting and chocolate ganache.
Both tasted great.. but personally I find the cream cheese frosting the best...
My cream cheese frosting came out a little runny, so I didnt feel like decorating much.. just added nuts. I feel the loads of walnuts kinda look like small brown moths or something :P

Here's what all you'll need and how to make the moist chocolate cake:

- 1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups white sugar
- 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
(or substitute by adding 1 tbsp of white vinegar to milk; let it stand for 5 minutes until it thickens)
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
(u could use freshly brewed coffee instead. But as coffee gives me migraines, I optioned for water)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt

How to make:
- Preheat oven to 175 degree C.
- Grease and flour two baking pans(or line with foil or parchment paper) and set aside.
- In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients(flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt). Then add the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Beat for about 3 minutes with a hand beater or an electric egg-beater until its a smooth paste. Now add in the boiling water. Mix well. The batter is supposed to be runny (dont worry)
- Pour the batter evenly between the 2 pans and bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
- It should cool completely before handling or frosting

The cream cheese frosting is an easy enough recipe. Don't know why mine came out runny thou.

- 1 and 1/2 cups cream cheese
- 5 table spoons of butter(softened). Make sure it is soft or else there would be butter lumps in the frosting.
- 5 to 5 and 1/2 cups of icing sugar
- 3 tbsp  heavy cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add sugar 1 cup at a time. Add in heavy cream and vanilla extract. Beat until fluffy. Using an egg beater would give more desirable result.

After you've put on the frosting decorate with whatever u feel like.. chocolate flakes.. fresh fruits... or use nuts like I did...

Enjoy! :)
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My love for everything chocolate...

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands.... and then eat just one of the pieces...  
- Judith Viorst

It started way back.... this love affair...
As long as I can remember, I've always loved chocolates....
Whether it's a chocolate bar, chocolate sandwich, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, chocolate chips, chocolate ice-cream, chocolate-coated peanuts....I love them all...

This does get me panicky at times... because it is fattening...oh yes! verrryyy fattening when consumed in large quantity... and how can you go just half way with a chocolate? Oh no, you have to have it all!! :P
When I take a bite of those creamy caramel chocolates and all that caramel oozes out... how can I resist another bite? Or more to the point, not finish it all??

Hahaha... cutting the theatrics here...
I love chocolates and I did a bit of a research to check how it really affects our body....especially after my recent migraines...

Chocolate is made from the beans of the cocoa tree. The beans can be used to produce a cocoa mass or a cocoa liquor. The liquor can then be used to make cocoa butter and cocoa cake, which can be formed into a powder. A combination of the cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, vanilla and sugar gives us the chocolate...
Adding milk to it give milk chocolate...

What I found about migraines and chocolates: Dark chocolate may trigger headaches in some people. They contain a substance called tyramine, which has been associated with the onset of migraines. But it may differ from person to person...
I do have migraines with dark chocolates! But that's ok. I dont like them much anyway :P

And about gaining weight, it depends on how much you eat. Any food can be part of a healthy diet if consumed in moderation...
It's just that they're so addictive that stopping at one piece is hard :)
The chemical, Phenylethylamine, in chocolate  may be responsible for some of the pleasurable feelings you get after eating chocolate because it releases natural 'feel-good' chemical called endorphins in your brain. Phenylethylamine is released by the brain when people are falling in love... :)

Sounds like its good for the mind and spirit! :)

Now, all I have to do is keep away from dark chocolate and over eating the other kinds :P

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lamb Masala

Lamb masala

Got this recipe from the internet some time back. The best Lamb I have made so far. :)

  1. 1 Kg Baby Lamb on the bone - cut into small pieces
  2. 3 Large onions – thickly sliced
  3. 6-8 Cloves of Fresh Garlic – Crushed
  4. 2 Inch Piece of Ginger – Grated
  5. 1 tablespoon Cumin Seeds
  6. 1 tablespoon Coriander Seeds – Crushed
  7. 1 tablespoon Mustard Seeds
  8. 3-4 pieces Cinnamon sticks
  9. 10 -12 Cloves
  10. 10 -12 Black Peppercorns
  11. 6-8 whole Bay Leaves
  12. Salt to taste
  13. 2 teaspoon Chilli Powder
  14. >1-1½ tablespoon Concentrated Tomato Puree
  15. 6-8 Whole Large Green Chillies
  16. Handful of Fresh Coriander
  17. 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil - I'm not a fan of too much oil. you can reduce the amount if you want.

NOTE: I used a non stick pan –  you can use pressure cooker to cook meat faster.
  1. Heat oil in a pan.
  2. Add all the ingredients except the last 4 items and mix well.
  3. Cook till the meat is almost done.
  4. Give the food a good mix .
  5. Next add chilli powder and tomato puree and mix well.
  6. Cook on high heat for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add green chillies and chopped coriander & mix well.
  8. Serve with Naan or Poori
Usually I'm reluctant to cook mutton/lamb because it has a bad smell. This recipe didn't. I'm sure you will enjoy! You can always adjust the chilli according to your taste. All my dishes are a bit hot. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A treat for the chocoholics.... The Cocoa Brownies...

One of my friend had told me about this blog, Kitchen Boffin, her sis-in-law's blog.
I checked it out recently and I must say its a really nice one...
When I go thru blogs, I like reading what they write... if it was just plain ingredients and the instructions to make it, its ok. Oh, there's nothing wrong with that.... getting right to the point it is. But when u start telling about how u came to making this or how ur family liked it or about taking pics for the blog etc etc, we kinda start liking the writer... and want to read more about what they write.. not just for the recipe :)
And this blog was one of those.... I loved reading her posts.... :)
Check her out if u haven't already :)

Anyway... getting back to cocoa brownies.. I got the recipe from her blog.
It's delicious!
What every chocoholics crave... an extremely chocolatey, fudgy brownie...

Here's the recipe:
- 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 and 1/4 cups of sugar
- 3/4 plus 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cold large eggs right out of the fridge
- 1/2 cup flour
- chopped cashew nuts for garnishing.... (she had used caramelized walnuts/almonds... I didnt have those so I used what I did have.. cashew nuts)

Here's how to bake it...
- Preheat the oven to 160 degree C.
- In a big heatproof bowl mix the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt... and set the bowl in a wide pan of barely simmering water. Stir the mixture from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Now make sure the mixture is warm (not hot)... add in the vanilla extract, eggs(one by one)... and stir till the batter looks thick, shiny and well blended.
- Add flour and stir to blend that in too, completely...
- Cover the inside bottom and sides of a square baking pan with foil paper...
- Pour the batter into it. Sprinkle the chopped cashew nuts on top..
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick plunged into the centre comes out slightly moist with batter.
- Let it cool completely....

And ta-daaaa, its ready!! Cut into squares or diamonds.. as u like....

Hmmm.. there was this issue I had with these particular brownies....


I never had it with any other chocolate cakes or fudges... not even with the death by chocolate cake which was totally totally chocolate...I'm not sure this is coz I'm prone to migraines.... or even if all migraine prone people would be affected the same way I was with these brownies. I think maybe it could be the almost coffee taste these had.... coffee smell and taste gives me migraines.... maybe... or maybe it was just me having migraines for no particular reason...

I didnt know what caused it. Anyway, I cut all the brownies down to 1 inch cubes, packed it up and gave it to my husband to give it off to his office mates...

They are soooo yummy... and anything chocolate always tempt me....
I hate migraines :(.... I made these brownies day before yesterday and have been having migraines for 3 days now... its better this morning.... but not completely gone :(

Maybe having them with vanilla ice-cream might cut down a bit on the intense cocoa taste??

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Idiyappam and Venison

I didn't know how to cook venison, so I decided to cook it like beef. Here is the recipe.



1. 1 kg venison
2. 4 big onions (thinly sliced)
3. 6-8 Garlic (finely chopped)
4. Medium sized piece ginger (finely chopped)
5. Curry Leaves
6. 3-4 Green Chilli
7. 10 pepper cloves
8. 2 cinnamon stick
9. 6 cloves
10. 4 -5 cardamom
11. 1 tsp Garam Masala
12. Salt to taste
13. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
14.  2 tsp chilli powder
15. 1 tsp coriander powder
16. 1 cup water ( Only if you want some gravy)


1. Wash the venison and mix it well with ingredients from  11- 15. Keep aside
2. Heat some oil in a pan and add ingredients from 7 - 10. 
3. When the spices are hot, add the onions and sauté till they are very brown. 
4. Add ginger,  Garlic, Green Chillies and Curry Leaves.
5. Now add the venison mix and add some water.
6. Mix well and cook till the meat is done.

Note: You can add more water if you want it more gravy. Also the chilli can be reduced according to your taste. This is a really hot dish. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tandoori chicken

This was dinner last night....

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken with ghee rice and some sauteed mushroom, lettuce and plain yogurt... :)

Here's what all you'll need for the tandoori chicken marination(for one whole chicken):

- 4 tbsp yogurt
- 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (I make it fresh. Store bought ones have an acidic taste to it which I don't like)
- 1/2 a lemon's juice
- salt according to taste
- 1/2  tbsp pepper powder
- 1 tbsp(add more if u want) red chilli powder or kashmiri chilli powder (gives a red colour)
- 1/2 tbsp garam masala
- 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tbsp turmeric powder
- chicken cleaned and cut into 4 large pieces.

Cut 2-3 long deep slits into each piece of the chicken.

- Now in a bowl mix chilli, cumin, coriander, tumeric, pepper powders, garam masala, salt... all the dry ingredients...
- Add the ginger-garlic paste, yogurt and lemon juice... mix well...
- Check taste and add whatever u feel is missing(chilli powder, salt or lemon juice)
- Coat the chicken all over with it... stuff it into the slits well...

Now this can stay covered in the fridge and you can cook it just before serving food. The longer u keep it marinated, the better it'd taste.

For cooking u could either fry it in a pan with little oil.. or else bake it in the oven at 200 degree C for about 30-35 minutes till the chicken is tender...

(I fried mine. And the ginger-garlic in my marination kinda ruined it by turning black :-| )

Squeeze out some lemon juice onto the cooked chicken and garnish with onion rings, slices of lemon and/or coriander leaves...

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken goes best with rice item... plain rice, ghee rice, fried rice... whatever u like :)

Monday, January 7, 2013


This was breakfast today..

This vellappam is my mom-in-law's recipe... made without yeast...

- 1 cup idly rice (soaked in water for about 5-6 hours)
- 2 tbsps urad daal (split black gram).. also soaked for 5-6 hours
- half cup cooked rice (parboiled rice)
- half cup grated coconut
- 1 and half tbsp sugar
- salt as required

- Grind the idly rice, urad daal, cooked rice and coconut adding enough water to a paste. The batter should not be too thick nor too thin (It took me a lot of tries to finally get the consistency right. The first few times I made vellappam they turned out rubbery)

- Pour it into an airtight container adding sugar... mix well. It should be kept warm for fermenting for about 12 hours. I usually make it around 6pm evening and use it the next day morning 6 or 7 am for breakfast. During winter you could keep the container in your oven with the light on inside to keep warm. Just the light on, dont turn on the heat. If it does not ferment properly then the appam wont turn out good.

- Add salt just before making the appam. Adjust sugar and salt to ur taste...

- Pour a ladleful of the batter into the middle of an appam chatti (You can use any pan u want but if you want the exact kerala style vellappam, then appam chatti it is!). This is how it looks like... with a lid too...

- Hold the sides of the pan and swirl it so the batter coats all sides to form appam.

- Cover it with the lid and cook until the sides turn slightly crispy and brown.
- Check ur first vellappam's taste... add sugar or salt if needed to the remaining batter and then make the rest... :)


It's an easy breakfast.. as long as u have the batter ready the day before... made some potato curry to go with it...

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Banana Meringue Dessert


My aunt had introduced me to this. I almost always make stuff with chocolate in it but this recipe according to my aunt was awesome. My cousins loved it, it seems. No matter what my aunt makes it's always yummy :)

Here's the recipe:

For the bottom banana layer:
- 2 and half cups of caster sugar
- 6 medium bananas
- half cup water

For the Custard Layer
- Sweetened condensed milk (400ml)
- Milk 600ml
- 4 Egg yolks
- 2 heaped tbsp of corn flour
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp oil/butter

For the top Meringue Layer
- 4 Egg whites
- 8 tbsp caster sugar
- Zest of 1 lime

First we make the banana layer
- Add sugar and water to a big deep frying pan on medium flame. Let the sugar brown.
- Peel and cut the banana into 1 inch pieces.
- When the sugar has turned deep golden brown (if syrup too thick add half cup boiling water to thin it) add the banana pieces to it.
- Turn over the banana pieces gently to make sure they cook and soften on both sides. When they turn dark brown all over turn off flame. Pour them into a pie dish and set aside for cooling...

Now for the custard layer:
(You could always use the custard powder pack we get to buy in stores for easy custard. But for this recipe making a custard from scratch is best or else the egg yolks would get wasted. But if u could use it elsewhere, well and good :))
- Mix condensed milk and the milk in a pan.
- Sieve the 4 yolkes into the mixture.
- Add vanilla extract
- Add corn flour and whisk it in until fully dissolved
- Now put it on the stove on high. Stir constantly until it forms thick paste.
- Remove from heat and add butter/oil
- Stir well and gently pour it over the banana layer in the pie dish and let that also cool..

For the meringue layer beat the 4 egg whites into hard peaks using an electric egg beater and add in the sugar and lime zest...

Spoon the meringue on top of the custard layer and spread  well. Use the spoon to make small peaks..

Place it inside a preheated (220 degrees C) oven for 15 minutes. This is only to slightly brown and cook the meringue. Make sure not to over cook.

Annnd it's readyyy!!
I decorated the top with some Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate chips :)


Planning on trying this with pineapple too... :)