Potato Chocolate Cake

Ye. ye. You read that right! Potato in a chocolate cake. It so happened that one evening I dug out many of my old recipe books and scoured around for some interesting recipes. This particular book has and entire section dedicated to potatoes, savoury as well as sweet items. I was so intrigued by this one, potato in a chocolate cake, just didn’t make too much sense. But now that I have tried it, I would highly recommend it and see it made it to the blog.

potato chocolate cake

In my endeavour to stick to  ‘clean eating’ I substituted half of plain flour with whole wheat flour and used olive oil instead of butter. Also replaced castor sugar with brown sugar. The result was fabulous, dense and moist chocolate cake minus the guilt. I think its the mashed potatoes that works wonder. Now that I checked the internet is flooding with recipes with potatoes in chocolate cake and I thought I was the only one. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant discovery as far as chocolate cake goes. Do try it guys!

potato chocolate cake 1

Potato Chocolate Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Baked Goodies - Cakes
Cuisine: Continental
 
A rich, dense and moist chocolate cake.
Ingredients
  • Whole wheat flour - half a cup
  • Plain flour - half a cup
  • Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
  • Baking powder - 1 tsp
  • Milk - 3 tbsp
  • Mashed potato - 1 small potato - boiled and mashed
  • Olive oil - 1 cup
  • Brown sugar - 1 cup
  • Choco chips - a handful - optional
  • Eggs - 2 large
Instructions
  1. Sift the plain flour, whole wheat flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the sugar and olive oil till light and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Now add the sifted flour in two batches and fold into the oil - egg mixture.
  5. The batter will be quite thick at this point. Add the milk and mix well.
  6. Fold in the mashed potato and the choco chips.
  7. Pour the mixture into a 8" pan and bake in a preheated oven for 25- 30 mins.
  8. Baking time might vary depending on the open.
  9. You can frost the cake with simple butter cream and top with some grated chocolate.
 

Pizza/Pasta Sauce – The Easiest Version

There are a few kitchen staples that always come handy while you are at it! In my last post I mentioned how I ensure to have a few sauces and ingredients available in my kitchen always, some I use store bought and some I make at home from scratch. If you have kids at home then this particular recipe of a very versatile and tasty pizza/ pasta sauce will be super useful. Their hunger pangs /demand for fancy stuffs can be fulfilled easily. I have an 8 year old in the house and his sudden cravings for a cheesy pasta or a gooey pizza is met with in a  jiffy. As a mother we worry about too many preservatives in readymade sauces, so it is just perfect that we make a fresh batch of this sauce and store it.

pasta sauce 1

This recipe is by far the easiest version you can find. It has some vegetables to go with the tomato and is oven roasted, so double easy!. I added yellow and red bell pepper as it adds to the taste and texture of the sauce by adding a fresh sweetness in contrast to the acidity of the tomatoes. Season it with herbs of your choice, no hard and fast rule on that and use this sauce as and when you need it.

pasta sauce

pasta sauce 3

 

 

Pizza/Pasta Sauce - The easiest recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
 
A very versatile sauce sans the preservative
Ingredients
  • Tomatoes - 4 large - diced
  • Red bell pepper - 1 large - diced
  • Yellow bell pepper - 1 large - diced
  • Onion - 2 medium - diced
  • Garlic - 10-12 fat cloves
  • Chiili flakes - 1 tsp - optional
  • Oregano - a generous sprinkling
  • Thyme - a generous sprinkling
  • Salt - to taste
  • Olive oil - 3 tbsp
Instructions
  1. In an oven proof dish , mix in all the ingrdients.
  2. Grill in a preheated oven at 200 deg C for 30 mins.
  3. Keep it aside to cool.
  4. Blend into a puree. Strain through a sieve if you desire a silky consistency. I prefer no to do that as it loses out on the healthy fibres.
  5. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.
  6. Keeps well for a week.
  7. Use while making pizzas, pastas or use as spread on your grilled sandwich.
 

Thai Chicken Curry

Weekdays are for quick cooking and if you are tired of the same old chicken preparation, try this Thai Chicken Curry.Thai cooking is fast,fresh and flavourful and that’s exactly what you need to satiate your palate after a days hardwork. One very important lesson I learnt from my past kitchen management is that its always better to plan a rough menu weekwise and I have been following that from the start of this year. I shop accordingly and that ensures there is no wastage. I definitely do not foolow a strict regimen and often work around the dishes according to what my heart desires on that particular day. I am mighty inspired by Jamie Oliver and always try to catch up on his show Save with Jamie, currently on TLC, every weeknight @ 9. His tips are awesome and I do follow them. Like its always good to stock up on some good quality ready made sauces for whipping up quick meals.

thai chicken curry main

I am a stickler for everything fresh but this Thai curry paste is what I always have in my pantry. A few other stuffs that always find a place in my kitchen wardrobe is a good mustard paste, some cream,coconut milk, a pasta/pizza sauce and mayonnaise.  These are my staples to work around with. Now coming to this curry. I tossed up the chicken with some fresh veggies like pepper, broccoli and pak choi , added some readymade curry paste and coconut milk and voila , what you have is a flavoursome healty curry that goes perfectly with rice. Vegetarians, pls omit the chicken and add mushrooms and baby corn, will taste just as awesome.

thai chicken curry

Thai Chicken Curry
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Thai
 
Creamy flavourful chicken broth to go with rice.
Ingredients
  • Chicken - 500 gms - boneless
  • Onion - 1 medium - diced
  • Brocoilli - 1 small head - cut into medium florets
  • Yellow Bell pepper - 1 small - diced
  • Tomato - 1 medium - diced
  • Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tsp
  • Thai curry paste - 2 tbsp. - use any variety, those ready made ones
  • Coconut milk - 1 cup - around 200 ml
  • Basil leaves - a few
  • Lemon juice - half a lime
  • Sugar - 1 tsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Fresh red chillies - 2 nos - finely chopped - use green if red is unavailable
  • Fresh coriander - a handful - chopped
  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Instructions
  1. Keep all the ingredients handy.
  2. In a pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil,toss in the onion with ginger garlic paste. Saute.
  3. Now add the chicken pieces and sauté till golden in colour.
  4. Next toss in the broccoli and bell pepper.
  5. Add the thai curry paste, sugar, lemon grass and basil leaves( if using )
  6. Mix in everything well.
  7. Keep the flame low.
  8. Add the coconut milk, season with salt and let the curry simmer for 5 to 7 mins.
  9. Finish off by adding chopped fresh red chilies,chopped fresh coriander leaves and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
  10. Serve with plain steamed rice.
 

Smoke House Deli – An afternoon at their new menu launch

So the invite read “New menu Launch” at Smoke House Deli and I knew in my heart that I needed to go! Well, let me tell u straight up that SHD has been my favourite even before they opened in Kolkata. On my every trip to Delhi , I ensured atleast one meal there. Ever since they have opened in my city, there has been no looking back. Its unique , delicious and hearty dishes is what makes it as iconic as it is today. The doodle décor, the flavoured water, comfortable loungers is what add to its immense charm. Thus, on a weekday afternoon I found myself indulging in some SHD hospitality along with fellow food bloggers from KFB

shd 1shd 11

The new menu retains all its old favourites but with the addition of a whole new range of dishes, including  sizzlers. There is an entire list to choose from that is definitely going to please your taste buds. There is something for everyone, including your little brats! The additions are wonderfully imaginative and makes you want to try out each one of it. Vegetarians can try out dishes like the Shitake & Field Mushroom Stroganoff with Saffron Rice, Smoked Aubergine Parmigiana or even the Spicy Millets with Vegetable Stew.  Each dish so innovative and bursting with flavours. For the non veg lovers, there is an exhaustive list too ,for instance, the Mustard Chicken Sloppy Joe is what will pep you up after a days hard work along with some refreshing cocktails and drinks.

shd 9

shd 4
Soba Noodles Salad
shd 5
3 way polenta cake with curried chickepeas
shd 7
Lehsun chutney marinated red snapper
DSC_0125
The dessert platter

It was a fun afternoon , where Chef Saurav rustled up a Penne in Tomato Vodka Sauce in a live demo. It was lovely meeting the two dynamic ladies , Manjri Agarwal & Abhilasha Sethia, the force behind the restaurant and the brain behind conceptualizing the new menu. So the next time ,you are in the mood for some lip smacking food, head over to the 5th floor  of Quest Mall and indulge in some Smoke House culinary delights.

They are open from 12:00 pm to 11.30 pm 7 days a week. For reservations call – 033 – 30991012

 

Mutton Galawati Kebab

So the husband is a huge meat lover and kebabs is something we both enjoy. This particular recipe has been on my do list for a while now. I scoured the net for recipes and then developed this easy version that tastes almost like the real ones. The thing is when you eat a particular dish many times, there is a lingering taste that remains and those taste help you develop the recipe in your home kitchen. Sometimes more than following a recipe to the T its best you go with instincts, it works I tell you. Atleast with me , except baking , instincts work best!

galawati main

Like most of the recipes asked to use dessicated coconut, but I skipped that and it worked for this recipe. Just ensure that the mutton mince is fresh and tender. The softness of the kebabs depend on that. Also don’t skimp on the ghee part, its essential to the recipe!

galawati

 

Mutton Galawati Kebab
Author: 
Recipe type: Starters
Cuisine: Awadhi - Indian
 
Succulent mutton kebabs that go well with parathas
Ingredients
  • Mutton mince - 500 gms
  • Onion - 1 larrge - finely sliced - deep fried in oil and made into a paste
  • Poopy seed paste - 2 tbsp.
  • Besan/gram flour - 2 tbsp - dry roasted in a pan
  • Salt - to taste
  • Ghee - 2 tbsp
  • Refined oil - 1 tbsp
  • Egg - 1
  • To be made into a dry powder:
  • Green cardamom - 1tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1 small stick
  • Cloves - 1 tsp
  • Mace - 1 tsp- 1 whole - roughly crushed
  • Dry red chilis - 5-6
  • Black peppercorns - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1tsp
  • Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Instructions
  1. In a blender , put the mutton mince , dry masala powder,poppy seed paste,fried onion paste , pulse in the mixture till very smooth.
  2. Take the mix out in a bowl. Add the egg, dry roasted gram flour and salt. Mix it all up preferably with your hands.
  3. Keep the mixture in the fridge for half an hour.
  4. Heat oil in a hard bottomed pan.
  5. Make small patties out of the mutton mixture and lay it on the pan.
  6. Fry till golden on each side.
  7. Serve with mini parathas, green salad and yoghurt.
 

Strawberry Tea Cake

Make hay while the sun shines! Make strawberry cake while you still get them here! Bad bad Pj but this cake is everything gorgeous. The baker in me loves using fresh seasonal fruits, the Apple & Raisin Tea Cake and now this, it turned out perfect for our tea time soiree.

strawberry tea cake

 

Strawberries are available in abundance, every traffic signal has these guys selling them. But be careful when u pick up a box, there are always a few stale ones hidden under the plump luscious on top. Try and ask your local fruit seller for the Mahabaleshwar variety coz they are the real sweeter ones. This particular tea cake is made with oven roasted strawberries, the process is very simple, find out the recipe below. Enjoy the cake with your loved ones.

strawberry cake

5.0 from 2 reviews
Strawberry Tea Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes
Cuisine: Continental
 
A perfect cake for your tea time fun
Ingredients
  • Flour - 1½ cup
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Butter - 100 gms pack - I used Amul butter
  • Baking powder - 1 tsp
  • Eggs - 3 large - at room temp
  • Strawberry essence - a few drops - optional
  • Strawberries - 1 cup - diced
  • Brown / demerera sugar - 1 tbsp
Instructions
  1. First lets prepare the strawberries.
  2. In an oven proof dish , mix the diced strawberries with brown sugar.
  3. Bake in a hot oven for 15- 20 mins - pref at 180 deg C.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder, keep aside.
  5. In a bowl , cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
  6. Add the strawberry essence if using.
  7. Add the eggs, once at the time, mixing well after each addition.
  8. Now fold in the flour/baking powder mixture. Don't mix too vigorously.
  9. Lastly add the oven baked strawberries, along with all its juices.
  10. Fold in.
  11. pour into prepared tin and bake in a preheated oven for 40 mins or till done at 180deg c.
 

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Buns

Not many of you would know that I have a little vegetable patch in my garden where I grow seasonal vegetables and great pride in. My Instagram followers would know that as I share pictures often of my produces.This winter I enjoyed cauliflower, loads of coriander and a some lovely spinach – free from pesticides, totally organic. There is also broad beans and beetroot that’s growing beautifully, more on that later. The idea was to do something fun and fresh with the home grown spinach and I finally turned them into a stuffing for buns. Mixed with cottage cheese and parmesan , it turned out to a quite a treat for the family.

spinach buns 1Baking  is so much fun, its just that I need to push myself a bit. And everytime I tell myself that I will do it more often. For now enjoy the Spinach and Cheese stuffed Buns. I made them with flour but it will work very well with half flour – half wholewheat flour as well. Next time I am going to try that.

spinach buns

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Buns
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Breads
 
A filling bun recipe that works very well as a breakfast dish.
Ingredients
  • For the filling:
  • Spinach - 1 small bunch - finely chopped
  • Onion - 1 small - finely chopped
  • Cottage cheese/paneer - half a cup - crumbled
  • Parmesan/cheddar cheese - grated - half a cup
  • Pepper - to taste
  • Salt - to taste
  • Chili flakes - a pinch - optional
  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp
  • For the buns:
  • All purpose flour - 2½ cups
  • Instant yeast - 1½ tbsp.
  • Milk - half a cup- a little warm
  • Salt - a pinch
  • Sugar - 1 tsp
  • Warm water - half a cup
  • Sesame seeds - for garnish
Instructions
  1. Making the filling:
  2. In a pan heat the olive oil.
  3. Add the chopped onions. Saute till transluscent.
  4. Add the chopped spinach and sauté.
  5. Next add the crumbled cottage cheese.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and chili flakes if using.
  7. Remove from heat, mix in the grated cheese.
  8. Keep the mixture aside to cool.
  9. For the buns:
  10. In a bowl add the flour, yeast,salt and sugar.
  11. Gently add the milk and start kneading into a soft dough.
  12. Add some warm water if required.
  13. Keep the rough dough aside for 10 mins.
  14. Now take the dough on a flat surface , sprinkled with flour , add the oil to the dough and start kneading.
  15. The dough needs to be kneaded into a smooth springy ball. You need to do it for atleast 5-7 mins.
  16. Take a bowl, grease it with some oil and keep the dough in it covered with a cling wrap. Keep the bowl in a warm place. I put it inside the micro or OTG.
  17. The dough will take almost an hr to rise and would have doubled in size.
  18. Take the dough out on a flat surface again and gently knock out the air. Give it a gentle knead.
  19. Now make small balls out of the dough. Makes approx. 10 balls.
  20. roll it out a little and fill in with the spinach cheese mixture.
  21. pull in the sides and roll into small balls.
  22. Arrange the prepared balls in a lined baking tray , cover with a soft cloth and let it rise again for 30 mins.
  23. Brush the balls with some milk, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in a pre heated oven at 180 deg C for about 15-20 mins.
 

Pumpkin and Leek Soup

My sister in law served up this beautiful Pumpkin soup as a part of her Christmas eve dinner and ever since I have been wanting to do something similar in my kitchen. Now I am a pumpkin lover, as a kid one of my favourite meal would be steamed rice with a pumpkin-potato mash and a dollop of butter. Even now I do indulge in such meals sometime while the boys cringe! Coming back to the pumpkin, soup is the only possible way I can make my 8 year old try it.

soup main

With minimum labour, it turned out to be stellar. Again the flavours are clean and easy and with a little prep ahead, it can be doled out in a jiffy. I used some leeks ,oregano and parsley for it to come together. My SIL puts loads of lemon grass, which goes pretty well too with pumpkin. Well then, a book and a warm blanket is all you need for some delicious me – time. More on me- time in my next post.

soup 1

 

Pumpkin and Leek Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Continental
 
A flavourful pumpkin soup perfect for cold winter days
Ingredients
  • Yellow pumpkin - half a kilo - diced
  • Leek - 2 stems - diced - if not available use 1 medium sized red onion
  • Ginger paste - 1 tsp
  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp.
  • Oregano - as per taste
  • Chilli flakes - as per taste
  • Vegetable Stock - 2 cups or use warm water
  • Salt - to taste
  • Parsely - chopped a handful
Instructions
  1. In a pan heat the olive oil, sauté the leek till transluscent.
  2. Add the diced pumpkin , oregano ,cilli flakes and salt. Saute till the pumkin is soft.
  3. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock, cover ane let it simmer for 10 mins.
  4. Check seasoning.
  5. Remove from heat and blend into a smooth puree.
  6. You can strain it through a sieve for a silky texture but I left it a bit chunky.
  7. Garnish with chilli flakes and chopped parsley.
  8. Serve hot with toasted bread or soup sticks.
 

 

The Peruvian Pop Up @ Swissotel , Kolkata

Sometimes its good to indulge in something without having any knowledge about the same. Being a food blogger, its assumed that we  are this know-it-all breed when it comes to food, but that’s not really the case. We are passionate about food no doubt and leave no opportunity to learn about a new dish, a new cuisine, we are constantly learning , that’s who we are! The same happened to me when I got an invite to preview the Peruvian pop up at Swissotel. Armed with zero knowledge about the cuisine , I landed up at Café Swiss on a beautiful winter afternoon to sample some Peruvian food.The fact that I was meeting all my favourite people at the hotel was an added bonus.

collage 1

The menu comprised of snacks, salads, soup along with the main courses and dessert. Peruvian cuisine is influenced by a variety of other mainstream cuisine and it does borrow from the cuisines brought in by its immigrants from parts of Europe, mainly Spanish and Italian , also Asian influence from Chinese and Japanese cuisine. The original menu has been created by Chef Erika Santa Maria of Swissotel, Lima but developed here by the very dedicated Chef Pranay of Café swiss along with his team.

causa rellena
Causa rellena – Layered potato, avocado and chicken salad

We started our meal with a beautiful layered potato, avocado and chicken salad which Chef Pranay told me is always served at the start of a Peruvian meal. Subtly flavoured, it acts as a palate cleanser. We moved on to a few other entrees like Cebiche de Champignon – a pickled mushroom dish along with Cebiche de Pescado – lemon marinated fish served along with some corn and sweet potatoes. The success of this dish depends on the freshness of the fish and full marks to Chef for delivering something so wonderful. The little apprehensive me when served anything raw , went in for a second helping!

cebhiche de champignon
Cebiche de champignon- pickled mushroom
cebiche de pescado
Cebiche de pescado – lemon marinated fish

The Jalea Mixta – deep fried sea food and Antichichus de Pollo – Chicken skewers came in next, one could clearly see the Japanese influence. Crispy crunchy delight! Aji Amarillo – a kind of yellow pepper grown in Peru is at the heart of most of the dishes. The names may sound a bit alien but trust me once u taste these dishes , you will find so much similarity with the kind of food we eat. Many common ingredients but a different technique to use it, that’s the essence of food and how it binds everyone. The Aguadito de gallina – a hearty chicken soup with rice and potatoes flavoured with coriander was a comforting meal in itself.

jalea mixta
jalea mixta

 

aguadito de gallina

The rest of the meal was equally delicious, simple and yet so nice.Pescado a la Chorillana – fish cooked with onion, tomatoes and oregano and Lomo Saltado – chicken cooked with onion tomatoes and soy sauce served on a bed of French fries! For the vegetarians – Pimentoes Rellenos con quinoa – Capsicum filled with quinoa layered potato , avocado is a great option.

pescado a la chorillana
pescado a la chorillana
pollo a la brasa
pollo a la brasa

pimentos rellenos con quinoa

Our Peruvian lunch ended with a lovely dessert platter which consisted of Arroz con leche – a rice dessert, definitely a twin of our very dear Paayesh. There was Crema Volteada Peruana – Crème caramel with quinoa and Maracuya cheese cake.

dessert platter

The Peruvian Pop up is the brain child of Mr. Marco Saxer , brilliantly executed by his team here. The food is new and delicious and definitely worth a try. It is on for a week from today and dishes are available on a la carte basis. Thank you Team Swiss on behalf of Kolkata Food Bloggers  for this experience.

Cherry Cheese Chocolate Cake

I will begin with wishing all my readers a very happy new year. A new year , a new hope, a new chance , same dreams but a fresh start. A new year with loads of love and happiness and good food of course. Last year wasn’t really how I wanted to focus on this blog of mine. Something that started as a hobby , as a passion but helped me achieve so much recognition and knowledge. I want 2016 to be the year of My Food My Life , where I can take a few plunges that I have been thinking of for a while now. Cooking and sharing continues for sure in and keeping with the tradition sharing this super recipe of Cherry Cheese Chocolate Cake . It was an experiment gone right and I am so happy to share it here.

cherry cake 1

 

Cherry Cheese Chocolate Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: Continental
 
A beautiful chocolate cake that is rich and festive.
Ingredients
  • Butter - ½ cup
  • Flour - ½ cup
  • Cocoa powder - ⅓ rd cup
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
  • Baking powder - ¼ tsp
  • Egg - 2 nos
  • Cream Cheese - ½ cup - whipped well along with 1 tbsp. icing sugar
  • Cherries - a few
Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl , melt the sugar.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, eggs and vanilla essence.
  3. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
  4. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  5. Put dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the batter and swirl it around with a toothpick.
  6. Garnish with the cherries .
  7. Bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 mins at 175 deg C.