Saturday, August 29, 2015

Banana Choco-chip Pancakes

Pancakes. You know how I love them. I'm sure you remember that from the Lemon cranberry pancakes I had made earlier. And I love Banana. Remember my gorgeous Banana Cake?! I wanted to combine them both to make me some pancakes! 

Its been long since I made those. 

No, I haven't stayed away from pancakes for that long. I'm human after all. 

Yes, I keep making them like once a month maybe. I can't stand the buckwheat or bran or whatever healthy stuff they make it up with so I stick to the regular cast of flour and butter and eggs. Which is why I try and have them once in a while. 

And don't be mislead by me. When I'm not cutting into those syrup laden fluffy pancakes, I indulge in a doughnut or a cake or a cookie. 

Hold on, this isn't a confession box, is it?! Don't you know me already! I'm one of those people who try and eat healthy and then slip up about twice during the week. The only problem is I merely have to inhale food. Are you one of those too- inhale food and pile on the weight?! Damn metabolism! 

Anyhooo... I didn't mean to make you feel guilty even before you had a chance to taste these. I mean these pancakes are absolutely ridonkulousy incredibly good. Their texture is what I look for in the pancakes everywhere. Sheer perfection is the only word that comes to mind. Fluffy, soft, spongy and light. And their taste, I mean the classic combination of banana and chocolate chips, makes my heart sing with joy! So worth the calories they come with! You please go ahead and substitute the flour as you will. Use whole wheat if it makes you feel better, use buckwheat if it helps you sleep easy at night, or go flour free if you want to. Even leave out the eggs if you are into eggless pancakes. But IF you are a pancake puritan like me, just give into this recipe and live your life as God intended you to! Trust me. Here we go. 

Serves: 2

Time taken: 20 mins

Complexity: **

You'll need

2 tbsp butter, softened / melted (preferably salted)
2 tbsp light brown sugar (use white is brown is unavailable)
1 banana, preferably with a spotty peel
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1 heaped tsp of baking powder
3/4th cup of milk + couple tbsp
2/3rd cup or 4-5 tbsp of dark semi sweet chocolate chips
pinch of love


In a bowl, add in the butter and sugar together. Use white sugar by all means, I prefer brown sugar for that extra depth of flavour it adds and make everything taste caramel-y. 

In a separate bowl, break your banana into smaller pieces. The ripeness of the banana can be concluded by the spottiness on the banana peel. And the sweeter the banana, the better your pancakes will taste. 

With a fork, mash them all till they turn into a puree like this. Baby food, blechh. Just add that to the butter and sugar and combine it all together. 

The butter/ sugar/ banana mix all ready. Make sure that there are no major banana lumps there. 

Crack open an egg and add some vanilla to the mix. I always use vanilla when I add eggs. I think its a psychological thing because I don't want to smell the eggs in any of my desserts. You can totally give the vanilla a miss but I don't know why you'd want to.

Dump in the flour and the baking powder on to the mix. Also add in the chocolate chips to the mix. Just begin to fold this with the wet ingredients in the bowl. 

When everything starts to clump together, slowly pour the milk in a steady stream as you continue to whisk everything together. Don't add all the milk altogether in the mix. Sometimes you need a little more, sometimes you need a little less for that perfect batter consistency. The batter should not be very thick or thin and if there are tiny lumps in there, its okay. Don't worry about them. And please forgive my air headed-ness. I totally forgot to click a picture till the time I poured the last of my batter and then realised I had no picture of the pancake batter. Yikes! 

Next have your griddle or pan or skillet heating on a medium heat. I like to make pancakes on the tiniest amount of butter. You can use oil or that non stick spray to prevent the pancakes from sticking in the skillet. Spoon over some pancake mix in the pan. The batter usually gives me 4 pancakes of about 4" in diameter. Pretty sizeable I'd say. 

When one side is cooked, you'll see bubbles forming on the top surface, flip the pancake over carefully. about 30 seconds more on this one and then flip. 

Look its perfectly golden on the other side. The chocolate chips have melted into the pancake- just how I like it! And there is a subtle sweet aroma of bananas caramelising in the air. Mmmmmmmmm I know my day's going to be awesome! 

Pile on the pancakes and chop some bananas over them and scatter some chocolate chips or some butter. I just went with plain ole syrup and my scrumptious breakfast was ready! 

A tower of unabandonned happiness (is that even a word?!) Who cares?! I was singing with joy. 

And I slices into the fluffiness .......and those melted chocolate chips

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever." I didn't mean to quote Keats on you but I couldn't help it. This pancake has made its way in my heart forever and ever n ever. 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Loaded Cheesy Olive Bread

Right off the bat, this is once in a while treat. Its loaded with butter and mayo and cheese. 

The world is a better place because of butter. And cheese. Also mayonnaise. 

Taking a moment to thank the people who come up with such 'stuff'. 

So the other day, I wanted some comfort food. I had a bread lying in the house and in a moment of weakness my mind concocted(read : remembered) this recipe. Its easy with banging flavours. Would work excellent as a side or an appetizer. But you know me, this was my lunch. I felt a little guilty after I ate about 4 pieces of it (not really) but ohhhhmyGawwdd!! It was so delicious that I had a couple of leftover pieces again for the next meal albeit with a bowl of soup. 

Thus was the story of the yummy day. Its so easy that I feel embarrassed to even call it a recipe. Here's how it goes. And don't even think of using any condiment along with the bread, cause you won't even need it! Ha! 

Sidenote: My mouth waters at the mere mention of this gorgeous flavourful Cheese-y, olive-y bread! And I soooooo want to have it now!! 

Serves: 8-10

Time taken: 30 mins

Complexity: **

You'll need

1 baguette or something similar
1-2 heaped tbsp of good quality Mayo
2-3 tbsp butter
2/3rd cup of monterey jack or pepper jack or any melty cheese
1/3 cup cheddar or 1 tbsp of parmesan
1/2 cup black pitted olives
1/2 cup green pitted olives
3 spring onions, sliced thin
1 small red bell pepper, diced small
freshly cracked black pepper
pinch of love


We'll first begin by chopping the olives. I had to pit the black olives. One wrong can of olives and my life spiralled in the extra effort zone. I mis read the label and got the whole black olives. Anyway, have your green and black olives ready on the cutting board. 

Take a big knife and go on a chopping trip. You need the olives to be almost quartered. 

Next, in a bowl, take the heaped tbsp of mayo. Please use the real stuff here, not the low cal version or the egg less version whatever that is. The Food Gods will thank you. Also if you use more off the rich trio- i.e. mayo, butter and cheese, the richer your bread will be. I however was a little scrooge-like and everything still turned out great! 

Add softened butter to the mayo. I used a herbed butter but you can use just plain salted butter and add a couple of spices like oregano/ parsley/ basil later

Add in the Monterey jack cheese or any cheese that completely melts

The cheddar. If you were using parmesan here, use is sparingly otherwise everything would become too salty. 

Add in the thinly sliced green onions

Next add in the red bell peppers. Dice them as small as you can, it will be easier to manage on the bread later. 

Now add in the olives, all at once. Olives are pretty salty on their own which is why we won't be adding any extra salt to this. Mix it all together. 

Crack some black pepper over the mix

Next add in some fresh herb like basil or parsley in the mix. I added in some basil chiffonade. It adds that fresh flavour to the cheesy bread. Clearly I was leaning towards Italian flavours. Let this mix sit in the fridge for about 15 mins so that the flavours get to know each other better. You can make this a day ahead as well. Even better! 

Pre heat your oven at 150C or 300C. Take your baguette/ roll of bread. I had a herbed bread at home and I used that. I'd have preferred for the bread to be a little crustier. Next time, maybe! Halve that length wise and place it on a lined baking tray which makes the clean up easier. 

Spoon over half the mix on each bread halve. Pile it on. Be generous! Place in the oven for about 10-12 minutes till the bread forms a harder crust and the cheese has all melted and turned golden and bubbly. 

Remove from the oven carefully and allow to cool for a couple of minutes 

......Before you start cutting it into about 1 1/2" pieces. My my my... Hellooo lovaah! 

Ready to serve. Come to mama!! 

Just look at how amazing this is... the beauty of that crust and that melted cheese that has made its way deep in the bread. (Ree thank you for this goodness!!) 


Monday, August 24, 2015

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

It can't get more retro than this. 

You know how much I love Cakes that need no fussing over. The whipping up of the frosting and then decorating and all that jazz. I like to aim for simple elegance. This.Is.It y'all! 

A cake that you know has been around for generations. The moist crumby texture enhanced with a bottom layer of sweetened caramelised Pineapple and those tiny little red cherries to make it all the more retro. Flipped over and boom! Pineapple Upside Down cake at your service. 

I had made this cake  for the first time about 2 years back and never got around to sharing it here. So I HAD to make it again just because I had a can of pineapple slices in my fridge that was soon going to be past its expiry date. 

Ohh shoot! Was I not supposed to divulge that detail?! I probably should have written a better excuse than using up that can but oh well... I know you won't judge me for my honest confession. Thats what I love about you guys! You always accept me for who I am. Lucky me. 

I used half the batter to make 6 Tropical Pina Colada Cupcakes. Do check them out! 

**Special Note: I am writing the recipe here that I use for making only the pineapple upside down cake. So please do not get confused by the pictures. Just use the quantities that I have specified below and you should have a perfect cake. 

Serves: 6

Time taken: 50-60 minutes

Complexity: *** 

You'll Need 

100 gms/ 1 stick butter + 50gms butter
3/4th cup brown sugar + 2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp sugar
3/4th cup flour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of love
Pineapple slices


Take your cake pan or skillet which ever you are using for the cake. Place in the 2 tbsp of butter in the pan over medium heat. 

Let the butter melt and add in the 2 tbsp of light brown sugar in it. Allow the sugar to melt completely. 

The mix will start to bubble in a minute or so and start deepening in colour. 

When it turns a good shade of golden brown remove it from the heat and allow to cool. 

After about 10 minutes or so, start arranging your pineapple slices and cherries like in the pan. 

Preheat your oven at 150C or 300F.

You can make this cake manually with a whisk, in a food processor or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. I used a food processor. We need to first cream the butter and sugar. Combine the 3/4th cup of brown sugar with 2 tbsp of white sugar and dump it with the butter. Whisk till the sugar is all melted for about 2-3 minutes. 

The mix should be light and fluffy like this. 

Add in 2 eggs and vanilla. Thats right, you see 3 but add 2! This batter was for more than just the upside down cake. 

The batter should be frothy and bubbly now. Incorporating air this way ensures you have a light cake. 

In a separate bowl, whisk and combine the 3/4th cup of flour and 1 tsp of baking powder. Add that to the wet ingredients. Gently fold it in so it is well combined. Please do not over-mix or the cake will be bread-y in texture. The batter is now ready. You can chose to add crushed pineapple to the mix if you chose. 

Transfer the batter to the baking pan with the pineapple and caramel. Make sure you fill about 3/4th of the pan not more cause the cake will rise. 

Smoothen out the top as best as you can. Tap the pan on the counter to get rid of the air bubbles. Place it in the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes till the cake is set. Insert a toothpick in the middle and if the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready. 

My home was smelling amazing by this time. The aroma of caramel permeating and I could smell that pineapple grilling. Ohh yumm!! I knew I was in for a treat! After removing the cake from the oven, let it sit in the pan for 5 minutes till it gets a chance to set. Too long and the caramel will stiffen and your cake wont come out of the pan. The beauty of this cake is that as it cooks it starts to pull away from the edges of the pan. Take a look at this, the edge has come away from the pan.  

After allowing to rest it for 5 minutes, invert the plate you'll be serving your cake in over the cake pan. 

Deftly and carefully, flip the cake pan and tap the bottom so the cake loosens and comes out on the plate. Voila!! 

Pineapple upside down cake is ready! 

A glistening top as promised. The best part is the dark caramel-y bit right here near the cherry! This tastes like pineapple and toffee and cherry.... It was to die for! I ofcourse scooped it out as soon as possible and ate it up! 

Cut through very carefully. If you haste the cake will fall apart. Allow it to cool down a little first. I know how difficult that can be. I was literally tapping my foot restlessly cause I wanted to jump right in! 

Gorgeous perfection. And that crumb!! 

The cake was so moist, so soft, so spongy because of the air we incorporated earlier. Incredible really! 

Make it asap please. It really is one of the best cakes ever. Indulge! 

This is from when I made the cake for the first time ever. Another picture with a flash on- Yikes! What was I thinking!