April 27, 2012

Spinosaurus Cake!

I made a Spinosaurus cake for my son who is crazy about Dinos. His birthday was filled with  Dinosaur cake, dinosaur presents. What more could he want..

I hope it inspires you to create something for your child's birthday, Enjoy!

April 24, 2012

Irish creme Carrot cake

Here is a rich cake infused with fresh carrots and liquor, then a crunch of almond. I just fell in love with the color and texture of this beauty. A simple yet fabulous glaze makes this cake complete.

What you need: Makes 2-9 inch cakes
2 Tbsp Irish Creme liquor
3 and 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped/slivered almonds
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

 For the glaze:  
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp Irish creme liquor
1 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and set aside.

Grate the carrots and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla.  When the sugar dissolves, add in the flour mixture; combine.

Stir in carrots. Fold in almonds, and finally pour in the liquor. Stir to combine. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

To make the glaze: 
In a medium bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, milk and liquor. Mix with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Drizzle it over the cooled cake. Sprinkle the almonds. Serve it at room temperature. Enjoy!

April 23, 2012

Pan cooked Salmon on spicy Spaghetti

This a wholesome dinner made with pan fried salmon and whole wheat spaghetti.

What you need: Serves 4
4-4oz pieces of salmon
1/2 pound whole-wheat spaghetti pasta
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
2 Tbsp cream cheese
2 tsp chili garlic sauce
2-3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1/2 cup red peppers, diced
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box. Drain, and reserve a cup of the liquid.

In a skillet, warm olive oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the garlic, after a few seconds, throw in the green onions and red peppers. Turn off the heat. 

Add in the cream cheese, chili garlic sauce, salt, and pepper. Pour about 1/4 cup of the pasta liquid. Stir well. 

When the mixture is warm and combined, add the drained pasta. Toss to combine.

In another medium skillet over medium-high heat, add some olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper.

Add the fish to the pan and cook until medium-rare, about 2 and 1/2 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove the salmon from the pan.

Squeeze a fresh lemon on the cooked salmon, lay it over a bed of warm spicy pasta. Garnish it with a generous serving of chopped cilantro. Serve hot. Enjoy!

April 12, 2012

Cocount rum Creme Strawberry cake

Here is a moist, dense strawberry cake soaked in coconut rum goodness and topped with rum infused cream frosting!

What you need: Makes 2-4 inch cakes or 1 regular 9 inch cake
1 and 2/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp or 1oz strawberry flavored gelatin
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup  sugar
4 whole ripe strawberries
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

For the syrup:
Reserved strawberry puree
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water
2 Tbsp coconut rum

For the frosting:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tsp cream cheese
1 Tbsp confectioners sugar
1 tsp Coconut rum
Strawberries and Sweetened coconut flakes to decorate

Sift the flour, baking powder, gelatin and sugar together. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 4 inch round cake pans. Dice the strawberries, add a teaspoon of sugar, and microwave it for a minute. Then puree it in a blender with about 1/4 cup water, set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and beat until light and airy.

Slowly add in the sifted flour into the batter. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree to soak the cake and pour the remaining into the batter. Stir just enough to combine. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before they can be soaked.

Prepare the syrup:
Combine the reserved strawberry puree, and the other ingredients. Stir well until the sugar dissolves. Sprinkle the warm syrup over the cake. Let it soak for about 20 minutes before it can be frosted.

Prepare the frosting:
In a bowl whisk the cream cheese and sugar together. Add in the whipping cream and coconut rum; beat on low speed until it is fluffy and forms peaks.
Frost the cake, and top it with whole strawberries and coconut flakes.

Refrigerate overnight or a couple of hours before it is served. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

Turkey and lettuce wraps

What you need: Makes 6 wraps
6 Whole wheat tortillas or home made flat bread
Ranch or mustard sauce
Paper napkins or clear wrap
6 to 8 large leaves of lettuce
2 whole carrots, grated
1 lb Ground turkey
1/2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
1 cup red onions, diced
1 Tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp paprika/red chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
2 tsp olive oil

Heat a skillet on medium high. Add olive oil and the diced red onions together. As the onions cook, add in the ginger garlic paste and ground meat. Saute until the meat has turned brown. 

Add the spices/powders and salt. Saute for 2 minutes until you can smell the aroma of the spices. Pour in yogurt, and let it cook for a few more minutes, until the liquids evaporate, and the meat is dry and crumbly. Turn off the heat and set aside.

While the meat cools, wash and prep the lettuce; Grate the carrots.

Place each tortilla on a paper napkin or clear wrap that is a little smaller than the tortilla. Start with one or two lettuce leaves, then a scoop of the meat. Cover it with a few spoons of grated carrots.

Top it with a spoon of ranch or mustard sauce. Many like to spread the sauce on the flat bread first and then assemble the rest. I feel the bread gets soggy if the wrap is kept away a while before it is eaten. Having the sauce in the middle will keep the flavor at the core of the wrap.

Make an open wrap by folding the lower edge towards the center.

Starting at the corner of the folded edge, roll the tortilla with both hands, pull the filling along tightly and roll it towards the other end of the tortilla, gathering the filling along the way.

Now roll the paper, or clear wrap the same way, to envelope the flat bread. If you need to pack it to go, be sure to add in a tooth pick to keep the roll intact. Enjoy!

April 9, 2012

Whole wheat cinnamon waffles

Who said waffles were only for breakfast? Whip up this nutritious batch anytime of the day. You can make these waffles using only whole wheat flour. If you like them crisper, add a little plain flour, as in this recipe below. 

What you need: makes about 12 to 14 waffles, serves 4 to 5
1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp baking powder
4 tsp of vanilla sugar or regular sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1  tsp of vanilla if you have used regular sugar
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp vegetable oil or melted butter

Mix all the dry ingredients together, and set aside. 

In a bowl, add milk, vanilla and eggs. Beat until fluffy. 

Add in the dry ingredients. Whisk it until completely mixed. Finally stir in the oil. 

Let the mixture sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Get the waffle iron nice and hot. Spray some cooking spary, pour in a scoopful of batter into it and close it down. 

Wait until all the steam has been let out. About 4 - 5 minutes. 

Serve the warm golden brown waffles with berries and your choice of syrup. Enjoy!

April 5, 2012

Dahi Kheema Kofta / Meatballs in yogurt gravy

One of my personal favorites, aromatic meatballs in a silky yogurt gravy.!

What you need: Makes 12-14 meatballs, serves 4-6
For the meatballs:
2lb Minced/ground lamb/chicken/pork meat
1 hot green chili, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
Salt to taste

For the masala:
2 whole hot green chilies, lesser if you prefer it mild
3 to 4 sprigs of fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp paprika/red chili powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder

2 Tbsp oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 Tbsp tomato puree
2 Cloves
1 Green cardamom
1 fresh or dry bay leaf
1/4 inch cinnamon
1 cup yogurt
Salt     to taste
Some green onions/scallions to garnish

Wash the meat and drain. In a bowl,combine all the meatball ingredients together. Make little balls the size of table tennis balls. Place them on a plate. Wrap them in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

In the meantime prep the onions, and get the gravy cooking. In a blender, grind all the masala ingredients to a fine paste.  Set aside.

In a deep saucepan, heat oil on medium. When it begins to shimmer, add the dry spices. In about a minute, they will release a sweet aroma, toss in the onions, and  ginger-garlic paste. Sauté till onions turns golden brown. Add tomato puree, and wait until it bubbles.

Pour in the ground masala. Cover the saucepan and let the gravy cook until oil separates into the sides of the saucepan.  Now add in the raw koftas/meatballs. Allow it a a good 6-8 minutes until it comes to a boil.

Add in the yogurt, give it a stir to combine all of it. Cover and let it simmer on low for the next 10 minutes.

You may thin the gravy with a cup of water if you like. I personally like the gravy thick, with its smooth and creamy texture.

Take out a meatball and open it up, if it has cooked evenly from the outside to the core, we are ready to serve. Garnish it with green onions, and compliment the curry with brown rice or flat breads/tortillas. Enjoy!

April 2, 2012

Shrimp Manchurian

This is a lip smacking appetizer you can try when you have guests over. You can prepare the shrimp and sauce separately, and combine them just before it is served.

What you need: Served 4 to 6 as an appetizer
3 cups whole shrimp, cleaned, deveined, tail off and cooked
About 2 cup of oil to deep fry

For the batter:
1/4 cup corn starch powder
1/4 cup  flour
3/4 to 1 cup cold water
1 tsp paprika/red chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste

To saute:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp rich tomato sauce
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup colored pepper cut into match sticks
1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp chilli powder
salt to taste

Cook the shrimp in boiling water and 1/2 tsp of salt until it turns pink. Drain and towel dry, set aside.

In a medium bowl, add in the batter ingredients and mix them with cold water to get rid of any lumps. The batter should be fairly thin, so the shrimp coating is crunchy even after it has cooled down.

Dip the shrimp into the batter one by one & deep fry in hot oil. Set aside on paper towels to drain off excess oil.

Heat a wok or saucepan on medium high. Pour in the oil. When it begins to smoke, add in the ginger and garlic, immediately followed by onions. Saute for just a minute. 

Add in all the sauces, and stir the mixture. When it begins to bubble, turn it off. Add in the fried shrimp and colored peppers. Toss them will in the sauce to coat. Garnish the manchurian with green onions. Serve hot. Enjoy!