Thursday, April 30, 2015

Heavenly Devil's Food Cake

Lets do this today!

Lets all indulge in a guilty pleasure. A pleasure so rich, so sinful, so chocolate-y, so mmmmmmm..... The only sin is- not eating it. 

So while browsing through my instagram, I came across this photo of a beautiful chocolate cake. There are 100000s of them out that, and I kid you not, all of them look exquisite! But this one picture- one shot of a cake, had me hooked! I kept browsing through, ignoring my primal urge to jump in the kitchen and go make it that very instant. But like the saying goes, I can resist everything but temptation; I came back looking for it two days later. Unfortunately I couldn't find that perfection of a photograph. 

With that little voice beckoning me, urging me, tempting me to indulge in this sinful treat, I headed to my kitchen a week later, resolved to recreate the magic of that picture I had seen. 

So here it is! The magical Devil's Food Cake. Indulging in one guilty slice at a time! *wink wink*



Serves: 6 big slices

Complexity: ***

Time taken: 2 hours including cooling time

You'll need

1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup of butter
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
1 cup water
100 gms semi sweet dark chocolate, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch of love

For Frosting

200 gms of dark semi sweet chocolate
100 gms of cream

Method

You'll need two lined and greased baking tins of the same dimensions.Square or round, its all the same.

We need to let our frosting cool for a couple of hours. So we'll begin with that. Take your dark semi sweet chocolate and cream in a bowl and give it 40-50 seconds in your microwave. Stir it with a spatula till the chocolate is melted and combined with the cream. Place the bowl in the fridge to cool and set a little.



In a large bowl (I used a food processor), take your sugar and butter and cream it till its fluffy.



Add in the eggs- 3 of them! 



In goes the vanilla. Give it a good whizz so the batter becomes light and airy.



Now I completely forgot adding the chocolate till the end. Don't be like me. Thanks. The cake Gods will be very happy if you add the chocolate at this stage. So in goes the melted chocolate and the cocoa powder. I've seen that if I use only cocoa powder, the taste doesn't get very rich. This picture is before adding the cocoa powder and after adding the flour and baking powder. 



Add the instant coffee granules and water. Or you can also dissolve the granules in water and add them together. You're the creator of your batter.



Add in the dry ingredients now. So in goes the flour and the baking powder. Give it all a whizz till everything's combined. 


The batter is quite runny as you will see. The consistency of condensed milk. 



Scrap the sides of the mixture so that everything's mixed properly. Divide the runny batter in the two lined and greased cake tins. 



In your pre-heated oven, place the cake tins for 30-35 mins till your cake testers come out clean. Have your oven at approximately 180-190C.



Remove them from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes before taking them out of the tins and allowing them to cool on a wire rack for atleast 30 mins. I like the invert my cakes while letting them cool. 



Look how moist they are!! 



Remove the frosting from the fridge 5 mins prior to spreading otherwise it will be tooo thick to spread. Take one cake, top side up, and spoon 1/4th of that rich chocolatey ganache over it. Spread it as evenly as possible. Also since I got a little too busy licking away the yummy chocolate that I forgot to take pics of this step. Next place the other cake, top side down, on the frosted cake. Press gently. Spread the rest of the frosting on the cake- the top and the sides. 



Your cake's done! Check out the luscious ganache



The devil's food cake. Rich, moist, sinful and oh- so -chocolate-y!! Cut up a slice (pic has been been taken by my mobile cam in natural lighting at 7 in the evening, forgive me for the quality) 



A slice of this and I think I'll have to give up my sweet cravings for a week! Or maybe not! 



Share your cake with love. 



Indulge! 


Here's the aftermath! Going, going n gone!! 






Monday, April 20, 2015

Spiced Watermelon Mocktail

Time for summer-y drinks to keep the heat at bay! Finally!! 

In the mood to bring a little bit of fun and excitement to my kitchen, I came up with this oh-so-darling combination. Sipping it made me feel like I was at a fancy resort somewhere sitting on poolside with a big straw hat, my legs knee deep in the water. 



But thats not it! I needed to spike up the spicy quotient! You'll see when we get there!! 

I love making granitas of this stuff too. Will post a pic soon when I make it yet again. Makes for excellent slushies and best part is that it is kid friendly. Let that not deter you though. If you want to make this into a cocktail, I reckon a shot of gin, or some watermelon vodka would do great. 

In case you're not familiar with 'Kokum', let me introduce you to it. Garcinia indica, a plant from the mangosteen family, commonly known as kokum, is a fruit bearing tree that has culinary, pharma and industrial uses. (source: wiki)

We have been using Kokum in our kitchens since generations. Its a vital part of the local Gujarati cuisine. Kokum renders a sweet tangy-ness. To make the best possible use of Kokum, you need to plan ahead though. It gives best results when soaked overnight. So on to the Spiced Watermelon Mocktail! 

Time taken: overnight prep+ 20 mins

Serves: 4

Complexity: **

You'll need:

1 Watermelon (deseeded or seedless preferably), chilled
3-4 dried kokum fruit
2 cups of water
1- 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp black salt/ pink salt
1 tsp freshly roasted cumin powder
salt to line the glass rim
slit green chili (de-seeded if you will) 
pinch of love

Method

You can make the Kokum water in a large batch and use it as you please. Thats what I do. So just take some dried Kokum fruit in a bowl



Add 2 cups of water to it, cover and let it steep overnight. 



The next morning you'll see the colour of the water has changed to this deep amber tone. There might be some impurities on the surface of the water but thats okay. 



Next pour the contents of the bowl in a pan so you can boil it all properly. 



On a high flame for a couple of minutes and the water should be boiling.



To strain that amber coloured liquid, take a bowl, place a clean muslin cloth over it. And then place your big sieve over that muslin cloth. This will help strain out the teensiest impurities



Plonk the soaked Kokum over the self made strainer and let it filter out on its own. 



See how clear and beautiful it is! 



While it is still warm, add in the 2 tbsp of sugar in it. This just helps balance out the extreme tangy-ness.



Next, because you're really adventurous, take a few drops of this kokum water and place them on ur tongue. I dare you not to squint! ;)

For the mocktail, In a big jar, take around 5-6 tbsp of this Kokum water, for a whole watermelon, around 8-9 cups of chunks. You can add more later if required. We only need a low hum of a tang instead of overpowering the watermelon-y flavour.



Next add in the freshly roasted and powdered cumin and black salt. 


I didn't take a pic of the black salt and I'm inserting a picture taken from google for those who don't know what it is. 



Meanwhile, cut up your watermelon 



Take chunks of your watermelon and place them in the blender to make a puree. 



Whizz whizz whizz. And the puree is ready!



Time to strain in the watermelon. 



What I did was I strained half the watermelon puree



and added the pulpy half as it is. Love how the pulp adds texture to the drink. Add in your pinch of love. Give it a taste and adjust the taste if required. 



The jar all ready for consumption! To serve, line the rim of the glass with a little bit of lemon and then coat it with salt. Pour in the juice. 

Split a gorgeous green chili lengthwise and perch it on the rim of the glass so it floats around in the mocktail. Add in a couple of icecubes if you need. The more the drink sits, the spicier it becomes. Kickass!! 



Red beauty. I also added a wee bit of ground cumin on the edges, just to bring out the mellow spices a little bit. 



Indulge! 










Friday, April 10, 2015

Mushroom Crostini

Finally!! Summers are here!!

In the midst of winters, I crave summers and as soon as spring ends and summer starts, I can't wait for it to be cold again! Now its not possible that its just me who feels like this, is it?!

Apart from the weather-y woes, I haven't had the time to cook a lot lately. But when I did have the time, these, my darlings, HAD to be shared with you!

You've seen how the world dancing championships go.... perfectly rehearsed, choreographed to the T; so as the audience you can understand the flow, the rhythm, the beauty of it all. Practice makes perfect. And this Crostini, my dears is perfection indeed. Its like that dance you get to see. The harmony, the balance of flavours, the play of textures is divine. 

The bread lightly toasted with herbed butter, the meaty mushrooms sauteed in a butter and balsamic reduction, the bright, and creamy pesto topped off with fresh ripe tomatoes! Can't get enough of it really!



Bruschetta is a favourite summer treat! I've shared with you previously Bruschetta Platter, Bruschetta al pomodoro and gourmet Bruschetta. You know how obsessed I am with rustic Italian food!

Most days of the week, I eat it as my lunch. Its pretty light and filling at the same time. So easy to make and takes about 15 minutes to make which is a bonus! Here's the recipe then


Serves: 4

Time taken: 15-20 mins

Complexity: **


You'll need

1 + 1 tbsp herbed butter (plain butter + garlic, salt, oregano/ basil)
2 cups mushrooms
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
salt and black pepper
1 pinch of dried oregano, use fresh if its available
1 loaf of sourdough or baguette (I had a garlic bread loaf at home which I used)
Pesto (for my recipe of pesto, go here)
1 tomato, diced
Pinch of love
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Method

First things first, cut your bread into 1"thick slices. Cut on the diagonal so you get maximum surface area. Heat a skillet on medium low flame. Add 1 tbsp butter on it



Let the butter melt fully




Place the sliced bread on the butter and let it toast for 5-7 mins on a medium low flame.



Meanwhile, start slicing your clean n dried mushrooms. You don't have to be too particular about it. Just don't slice them too thin or they won't be able to retain their shape when you cook them



The bread should be toasted by the time your mushrooms are sliced. Take the bread off the skillet. You just want the surface to become slightly crunchy and golden in colour. Bruscare- the word which gives the name to bruschetta means to slightly char.



In the same skillet, on low flame, add in the second tbsp of butter. If you're using plain butter, now is the time to add in the garlic. One clove of garlic finely minced would do the trick.



Allow the butter to melt




Add in the 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar to it and increase the heat to high. Let the BV reduce for a minute or so. This is how it looks after reducing.



Throw in the sliced mushrooms in the skillet.



Add the salt and pepper



Follow it up with a little more oregano, just to bring out the flavour. You can even go with basil, thyme or rosemary. You pinch of love goes in now too.



Saute this on a medium flame for about 4-5 minutes. This is after 2 minutes. See the moisture from the mushrooms. That needs to almost dry out.



These look dry enough. Remove from the heat.



To build your crostini/ bruschetta, take that slightly charred bread. Spoon over generously that bright n fresh pesto. Pile on those delicious meaty mushrooms. Top it off with tomatoes.



Take a bite!



Look at the beautiful layers



How enticing this looks! And how easy it is! Funny how everything works out perfectly in my world.



Indulge!