Monday, February 8, 2016

Chocolate Crazy Cake Recipe

Call it the chocolate crazy cake, the wacky cake, the wowie cake or the depression cake. Call it by any name and the cake still tastes great. Soft, moist, rich and chocolaty. The wacky cake is one that became popular during the depression when ingredients where difficult to come by and so a rich treat with simple and not expensive ingredients is what led to the recipe. For the chocolate lovers at home and my daughter's class this was just perfect. 

With facebook having introduced videos, to me the best thing that has happened are the less than or just over a minute cooking videos. They are done so beautifully and make it look oh so simple that its extremely hard to keep away from trying. Sitting down with the morning cup of coffee and thinking of what to cook for lunch if you are shown a dozen mouthwatering videos, it is really hard. 

The chocolate crazy cake came up on my feed one morning and was one I wanted to try almost instantly. The comments on the recipe said it is certainly worth trying and this is a recipe that is tried and tested and baked my families across the globe for over 50 years. Simple everyday ingredients available in the pantry and hardly any preparation time, I jumped in. Mixed together all ingredients and into the oven it went. My whatsapp friends shared my joy of the wait for the cake to rise and be out of the oven. 

This is a no milk, no eggs cake recipe and so perfect for my vegetarian and vegan friends.  Coming to the recipe generally stuck by the Tip Hero recipe but for a few changes. 
-I realized that I did not have baking soda at hand and so substituted it for double the quantity of baking powder and skipped the salt. 
- I added 1/4 cup more water and a tbsp more of oil than what the recipe called for as while mixing I felt it lacked the required amount of moisture. 
*A friend of mine substituted the amount of sugar with half a can of condensed milk and it turned out beautifully for her. So there is really a lot of twists that can be added to this traditional recipe. 

Coming down to the recipe. 

Ingredients for the Chocolate Crazy Cake
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder (I substituted the 1 tsp of  baking soda with baking powder and skipped the salt)

1 teaspoon vanilla essence
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 and 1/4 cup water

Method for making the chocolate cake:

1-Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Now add the wet ingredients one by one. Mix well with a electric beater or a whisk/fork.
2- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 deg F or 180 deg Celsius for 35 minutes(the baking time might differ slightly from oven to oven and so it would be good to keep a watch after 30 minutes to see if the cake is done). A fork or toothpick inserted should come clean. 
3- Cool and serve. You can serve it with the frosting of your choice(I decided to keep it simple and serve it lain for tea). 
*It came out very soft and moist, however, while still warm the outside seemed a little chewy. It changed to a soft exterior after it cooled down completely and tasted even better the next day. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Green Moong Dal Khichdi Recipe

Khichdi essentially means a mix of everything. It is the perfect dish to make when you want carbs, proteins, vitamins all in a bowl (a quick and easy one pot meal) and wish to just sit back and enjoy.

I am still recovering from a wound of having used the knife the wrong way in a hurry and ending up with 4 stitches on the finger. Last week has been about some ordering from the local restauranats, sister sending packed lunchboxes and hubby and daughter helping around a lot at home. I just could not be sitting around and watching everyone work and so had to get down to some action. A quick simple meal without taxing my poor finger was on the agenda. My bottle of green moong dal was peeping out of the pantry saying yes, it is my turn now:). And so, Green Monng Dal Khichidi it was for lunch with a raita (an accomapaniment with yogurt and vegetables) and a few pieces of chicken reshmi kebab that was leftover from the previous day. A complete meal and so very satisfying to see the family eat a healthy home cooked meal.

Khichdi,to me is a complete meal with rice, dal or lentils and vegetables cooked with very few spices. An anytime go to comfort food. A perfect mix of carbs proteins and all that you need.


Ingredients for the Green Moong Dal Khichdi / Kichdi
Basmati rice(or any other rice of your choice) - 1 cup (washed and drained)
Green moong dal - 1/2 cup (washed and drained)
Jeera or cummin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida or hing - 1 pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Kashmiri red chilli powder - 1 tsp (you may decided to add chopped green chillies instead)
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp (you can use clarified butter or ghee instead)
Onion- 1 chopped finely
Tomato - 1 small(chopped finely)
Carrot - 1 (chopped finely
Garlic - 2 cloves (chopped finely)
Potato - 1 (chopped into small bite sized pieces)
Water - 3.5 cups (you may add about 4 cups if you like your kichdi a little watery)
You may decide to add any other vegetable of your choice too

Method for making Green Moong Dal Khichdi
1- Take the pressure cooker and add the oil or ghee. Now add in the cummin seeds and asafoetide. When the cummin seeds begin to splutter, add the chopped garlic and onions. Saute till the raw smell of the garlic goes and the onions turn translucent. Add in the chopped tomatoes and saute.
2- Add the turmeric powder, salt and kashmiri red chilli powder and saute. You may add a few drops of water to ensure that the masala does not get burnt.
3- Saute till the oil starts oozing from the sides. Now add in the chopped carrot and potato. Mix well. Add the cleaned and washed basmati rice and green moong dal.
4- Add the water. Adjust salt (the water needs to be salty only then the final result have the right amount of salt. Cover the cooker. Add the weight and cook for 10 mins on low heat after the first whistle.
5- Switch off gas. Open the cooker only after 15 minutes.
6- Your kichdi is now ready to serve. You may serve it with your choice of accompaniments like the raita, green mint chutney and roasted pappads. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Kashi Art Cafe Fort Kochi Kerala

Kochi for us is not a city, it is a feeling!!

Kashi Art Cafe. Have been hearing a lot about this beautiful cafe from the lovers of the art world.  I could kind of identify with the feeling as hubby and I have been frequent visitors of Samovar(the Cafe at the Jahangir Art Gallery Mumbai, which is now closed down). It has been on the list for the past few months. Fort Kochi has always been on the map for us, being in love with Jew Town, the art inspirations, the aroma of the spices and the oh so Kochi charm that is has.

One Saturday after lunch and daughter's music class we decided to check out the Kashi Art Cafe that we had heard of. A quaint cafe located in one of the bye-lanes of the beautiful Fort Kochi, Kashi Art Cafe was one that we took an instant liking for.

A beautiful sculpture invites you in the courtyard at the entrance adding that so very arty feel to it. There was this art exhibition titled the Womens Project on at the time , black and white works by two good artistes. We walked past the entrance and found ourselves a seat. Comfortable seating and lovely ambience. The place soon filled up with people of all age groups. From the body language you could tell that most of them were regulars there and there were a few like us who were first timers happy to find a place to sit down and catch up for a while and also have a good bite.

Done in good taste, a simple decor idea with lot of greenery; it has a very art world inspired feel to it. It is the go to place for many artistes in the Fort Kochi area. The staff is nice, served us quickly and also seemed quite used to people sitting around for long doing almost nothing. The staff was courteous without intruding into our space. That was a nice feeling really. 

We were there after lunch and so wanted just something light, the whole idea was to get a feel of the place. Ordered ourselves a fresh lime soda(there is an added flavour of an ayurvedic herb that gives a nice refreshing feel to it), a black tea for hubby and a slice of homemade cake (with dates and walnuts and a generous helping at that).  

Have been told by friends who are regular at the Kashi art cafe that it is a nice place to visit for breakfast. The chicken sandwich and the chocolate cake on the menu is a must try. 

 We were back with a nice feeling of having spent quality time in a lovely place. We will definitely go back again for a good relaxed breakfast or brunch some day. It is nice place to just go with a book or your laptop and get to some good reading or writing in a relaxed ambience.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Strawberry Cake - a Martha Stewart Recipe

A pack of strawberries in the refrigerator and I was juggling with ideas on what to do with them. I decided to do a google search and what came up top on the search was the strawberry cake by Martha Stewart

Now all those who have been reading and staying abreast with the happenings of the food world definitely need no introduction to Brand Martha Stewart. A self styled guru in the world of cooking, entertaining and crafts, her works are truly inspiring. I have been a fan for long and admire her lovely pictures, beautiful creations and tons of confidence. Going through the ingredients they were all simple everyday stuff easily available in the pantry and so I decided to give it a go. I stuck to the original recipe, but for a few minor changes. The result was a yummy moist cake that incorporated so beautifully the goodness of strawberries. 

I loved the contrast of the red strawberries against the pale yellow cake batter. 

An easy recipe, this is one for any baking beginner to put on those mittens and get started. You can be sure of splendid results.

Warm and moist straight out of the oven, half my cake has already vanished:) .

This is my very first Martha Stewart recipe and am happy at the way it turned out. I am sure going to try more.

Ingredients for the Strawberry Cake
All purpose flour (Maida) - 1.5 cups
Sugar -1 cup
Butter - 85 grams(at room temperature)(I used the regular salted Amul butter and so skipped the salt)
Eggs -2 (small)
Baking powder - 1.5 tsp
Milk - 1/2 cup
Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
Strawberries - 400 gms (chop into halves or quarters, mix with 1 tbsp of sugar and keep aside for 10 minutes)
Sugar - 1 tbsp (for mixing with the chopped strawberries)

Method for making the Strawberry Cake
1- Mix together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, milk and vanilla essence and mix well
2- Now add the all purpose flour and baking powder mix little by little.
3- Pour the cake batter into a pre-greased baking dish.
4- Arrange the pieces of strawberries on the cake batter(I chopped the strawberries into 4 and mixed them with a tbsp of sugar and kept aside for 10 minutes to reduce the sourness of the fruit)
5- Preheat oven to 180 deg Celsius.
6- Bake the strawberry cake in the pre-heated oven for 50 minutes at 180 deg C.
7- Cool and de-mould. Slice and serve. You may serve this as a dessert too with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some strawberry syrup. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Restaurant Review : Irish House Kala Ghoda Mumbai

The New year starts with a promise to myself to be here at the blog more often(last year was crazy with the moving and the board exams, so had to be away from blogging for quite a few months). Inspired by Darren Rowse's post on chalking out a blog calender for the year right at the beginning, I have begun work on it. Resolutions resolutions..A trip to the food blogging world is always an overwhelming experience with so many yummy recipes, the tempting pics and perfect food styling. So this year I wish to try out many of those bookmarked recipes from the blogs(my list is just exploding).

The first post of the year is a walk down memory lane. The Irish House pictures have been waiting in the wings for quite a while now. So today when I was browsing through my camera pictures I decided it is now time for them to take centrestage. I don't know if deep down it is a feeling of missing Mumbai that made me pull out these pictures today and write the post. Moving from one place to another sure have their share of goods and bads.

As I sit in my home in the lovely city of Kochi(Kerala) typing away this post on my laptop, the pictures bring back beautiful memories of the magical city of Mumbai and evenings with hubby over good food.

Irish House, for me, is symbolic with good food, service and great ambience. For anyone who has visited this pub once, the place has a pull that will take you back again.They have a good food menu to go with the elaborate bar menu(cannot comment much on that as I stick to my orange juice or the virgin mojito). Lovely ambience with high energy levels is yet another factor that brings people back in here. The coasters and the framed writings on beer and drinks on the wall are catchy and bring on an instant smile.

Youngsters straight from office stepping in for a quick drink with friends before heading home, the corporate managers out on a business cum fun evening, the seniors who love the city and its energy and couples who look forward to spending an evening together, you will find the entire range here.
Nice to watch people and there is so much talking that each person's body language does. Interesting to watch people and how each one behaves and reacts differently in the given set of circumstances.

Stepping into the building that has a small entrance from the sidewalk at Kala Ghoda, I didn't know what to expect upstairs. The small entrance opens into a wide stairway with a huge mirror at one end. The doors opened and I soon realized that what seems to be such a quite entrance actually houses a whole buzzing world inside.

Wooden flooring, dim lighting with the bar area very well lit, comfortable seating (even if you walk in as a large group) makes it a fun place that promises to make it a memorable time for you.

Here are some more captures from Irish House. 

 As I write this post in the new year, Irish House has a whole new menu for 2016 and so there's lots more to look forward to. We tried the fish and chips, the bouquet of fries with the yummy dips, the falafel burgers, spaghetti with chicken, and the moussaka. It was all yumm. Will I go back there again? Yes, anytime I can:)...waiting.