Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Microwave Lemon Cake

I mentioned in an earlier post about the BBC GoodFood magazine that I thoroughly enjoy reading, and how my hubby dear surprised me with an annual subscription when we moved to the US two years ago. More on the story here…That subscription ran out and then with the new baby and house, we didn't renew it.

A month ago, I opened the mailbox and there it was, the magazine. As I had started blogging, he surprised me with yet another annual subscription. Was I thrilled or what.

This lemon cake (although called as a lemon pudding in the magazine) is perfect when you don’t have enough time to prepare and bake, but want a quick sweet fix. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and 4 minutes to make. And best of all it is made in the microwave and not in the oven.

  • 100g/4oz Caster sugar
  • 100g/4oz-softened butter
  • 100g/4oz self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest of lemon (I used zest of orange)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp lemon curd

Mix the sugar, butter, flour, eggs, lemon/orange zest and vanilla together till creamy, then spoon into a medium microwave proof-baking dish.
Microwave on high for 3 minutes, turning half way through cooking, until risen and set all the way through. Leave to stand for a minute.

Meanwhile, heat the lemon curd for 30 seconds in the microwave and stir until smooth. Pour all over the top of the cake and serve with a dollop of whipping crème, scoop of ice cream or just as it is.

Lemon curd is not readily available in some countries, and I have had some request for the recipe to make Lemon curd. Also, you could substitute Lemon drizzle for Lemon curd, which is an easy option and requires only two ingredients. :-) The recipe for Lemon curd and Lemon drizzle follows.

Lemon Curd

  • 4 lemons, rind and juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 110g/4oz butter
  • 450g/1lb sugar


Grate rind of lemons and squeeze out juice. Put sugar, rind and juice, butter and beaten eggs into a large basin on top of a pan of simmering water. Stir with a wooden spoon until thick and curd coats the back of the spoon. Pour into warm sterile jars, cover, seal and label. Refrigerate.

Lemon Drizzle:

  • 50g/2oz icing sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice only

Make the lemon drizzle topping by mixing together the sugar and lemon juice.
Spoon over the cake.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tuna pinwheel

Click: FLOUR

By September 2008, my four year old will be in kindergarten. The thought of packing her lunch scares me. It got to be something that can be eaten easily, is tasty and appealing to the eye and, of course, delicious. Hmm!
Sandwiches are an easy option – easy to make and easy for a kindergartner to eat.

So other than those good old chutney sandwiches, what else? Tuna came to my mind as that is what I eat when I need something quick on the run. Here is a healthy tuna sandwich, sans mayo but with spices.

  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • Pinch of fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • 2 cans of tuna in water (drained)
  • 3-4 sun dried tomatoes in oil chopped
  • Few sprigs of coriander leaves chopped
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp of coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan and add the fenugreek seeds. Within a few seconds it will emit its aroma, add the sliced onions and sauté till translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and sauté for a few seconds. Add the tomatoes and sauté till the tomatoes are mushy and the oil starts to separate. Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes and turmeric, chili and coriander powders. Add the drained tuna and salt. Saute till the moisture from the tuna evaporates. Add the chopped coriander leaves. Let it cool.

To make the pinwheel
Take the slice of bread and flatten it with a rolling pin.
Remove the crust. Spread the tuna mixture on the bread and roll it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Brown Butter Sandwich Cookies with Rosemary Caramel

Three out of the four in our family have a sweet tooth (can’t say anything about the fourth one yet, he is not even one, we’ll have to wait and see). We have chocolates, kajukathlis and pedas (Indian sweets) in the fridge and freezer, candies and cookies in the pantry and pies on the kitchen counter. There's seemingly a sweet treat on every corner of the kitchen. When it looks like our sweets stash is diminishing, I bake even more. If I ever feel guilty, I soothe my conscience with my belief that I bake 'cause I like baking.

I got this recipe from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. I didn’t make the caramel as I had a jar of dulce de leche that was waiting to be finished. So these cookies were a perfect way to finish them.

The butter in the cookies make it really soft and rich, the caramel makes it chewy and gooey and the savory taste of rosemary gives these cookies a new dimension. These cookies won’t stick around for too long.

For the cookies:


  • 1 cup/2 sticks butter, divided
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
In a small saucepan, over low heat, heat ½ cup butter until nut brown in color, (after foaming subsides) being careful not to burn. Remove from heat to cool.

In a bowl cream together remaining ½ cup butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add brown butter and mix well. Add flour, baking powder and mix until blended. Flatten dough into disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill dough until firm, around 1 hour or more.

Pre heat oven to 350F/180C

Roll out dough and cut into small (2 inch) scalloped rounds with a cookie cutter. Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet, around 8-10 minutes, or until edges begin to brown.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Rosemary Caramel:
  • ½ cup butter
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1-cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Melt butter over low heat in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Place sprigs of rosemary between 2 sheets of waxed paper and pound until flattened.
  3. Place the sprigs in butter and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove the sprigs from butter. (At this point, I used 3/4 cup of Dulce de leche from the jar *)
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Increase heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling, stirring frequently until caramel reaches 242F(use a candy thermometer) remove from heat.

Spread the rosemary caramel on a cookie and top with another. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.

* The recipe above calls to use a candy thermometer. If you don't have one and don't want to invest in one, then there are a couple of other ways to make Dulce de leche. A recipe and link follows.


225g/8oz light brown sugar
142 ml pot single/light cream
50 g/20z butter, cubed
100 ml water
1/2 tsp salt

Put the sugar and 100 ml water in a heavy based pan, heat gently until the sugar dissolves, turn up the heat until it turns dark amber. Stir in the cream in four additions until smooth and shiny - take care as it will bubble up. Melt the butter with the sprigs of rosemary in a different pan(follow the steps 1-3 from the recipe above). Stir in the butter and 1/2 tsp salt to the caramel. Spread over the cookie and top with another.


Please see David Lebovitz's recipe.

Friday, February 8, 2008


This is one of my favorite teatime snacks, I used to have it at my gujju friends' place when I was growing up in Mumbai. It also used to be my favorite shopping snack, ie, my snack of choice when out shopping.

I tried making Khandvi a few times at home, whenever I craved for it. However, to my disappointment, it was always a big flop. I could get the taste right, but would never be able to roll it. In the end I would eat the shapeless flops as they were.

The key to making Khandvi is to get the batter to the right consistency and to get it to roll (like a Swiss roll). So since this month, Gujrati cuisine is the theme of Regional Cuisine of India (RCI) (hosted by Mythili @ Vindu), I thought this is the perfect time for me to give this yummy dish a try. I started my search online to get the right recipe. I came across this recipe from the easy cook book blog by Preeti and Sachin. I used garlic red chili paste instead of ginger garlic paste.

Khandvi has a soft texture that melts in your mouth. The buttery taste comes from the yogurt; the chili paste gives it a mild kick. The sweet crunchy grated coconut along with the mustard and fresh coriander makes this dish perfect for a teatime snack.


  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup besan/gram flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp hing/Asaefoetida
  • 1 tsp garlic and red chili paste
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • a pinch or two of dried red chili flakes (optional) or few green chilies slit horizontally
  • 2 tsp grated coconut
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • Chopped coriander

Use a balloon whisk to beat the yogurt, water and gram flour. Make sure there are no lumps in the batter. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Grease 2-3 plates or thali’s and keep aside.

Heat the batter in a pot(preferably a non-stick) on a low flame. Stirring continuously (I used my trusty silicone balloon whisk). Stir it for around 7-8 minutes until the batter thickens and starts to coat the whisk.
Spread the mixture on the greased plates in a circular motion (as when you make a dosa). Let it cool. It is important that the mixture should be cool - around 10 minutes. This is where I was impatient and went wrong when I made it earlier and the whole thing flopped.

Roll the Khandvi and cut it in bite size pieces. Arrange them in a serving dish.


Heat oil and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the chili flakes (optional). Turn off the heat and pour over the Khandvi. Garnish with gated coconut, sesame seeds, and chopped coriander.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Death by Chocolate contest

I have entered my easy Cheats Version of Molten Chocolate Cake as my entry to Death by Chocolate contest. Click here to see my entry. With the election fever going on...All I can say is Ladies and Gentlemen please vote for me. Please visit the site below to vote, all you need to do is register. Thanks.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Murangakkai(drumsticks) Theeyal

Many households in Kerala are self-sufficient when it comes to fruits and vegetables. If you have some land around your house, you are sure to find not only coconut trees, but also trees/plants bearing papaya, guava, jackfruit, gooseberry, mango, chicoo, banana and drumsticks.

Keralites tend to use coconuts in every which way possible. Tender coconut, grated coconut, dried (copra) coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk, etc. The other tree that is used just as much is the Moringa pterygosperma, M. oleifera or otherwise know in Malayalam as Murangakkai (drumstick). This bean is long, and its rigid pod grows on a tree rather than a vine. It's hard, green outer covering is rigid enough to earn its common name of drumstick. Both pods and leaves are relished in Kerala. Drumsticks are delicious when cut into finger lengths and cooked in a spicy gravy.

Theeyal is a traditional Kerala dish, the coconut and spices are roasted and then ground to a paste. You can make Theeyal with any vegetable you prefer. The gravy has the sweetness from the coconut and a slightly sour flavor from the tamarind which balances the kick you get from the dry chilies and peppercorns.

  • 14oz/400g Drumsticks (string & cut into 1 ½ pieces) *
  • 200g/7oz Potatoes (cut into quarters)
  • 200g/70g Shallots sliced
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 ½ oz Tamarind pulp
  • Salt
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp Coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp peppercorns
  • 2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 Dry red chilies
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 Dry red chilies
  • Few curry leaves.
Cook the potatoes with a little salt and turmeric powder till they are ¾ cooked. Now add the drumsticks and shallots. Cook till the drumsticks and potatoes are cooked. You may need to add some more water. Keep aside.


Heat a pan and dry roast all the ingredients separately over low heat till it emits its own aroma. Transfer to a blender; add a cup of water and pulse to obtain a coarse paste.
Remove and keep aside. Heat oil in a pot and stir fry (bhunno) over a medium heat till it acquires gravy of Khoya consistency and completely devoid of moisture. Add this masala to the potato and drumsticks. Bring it to a boil. Stir in the tamarind pulp; bring it to a boil again. Simmer it gently till the potato and drumsticks are cooked. Adjust the seasoning.


Heat oil, add mustard seeds, when they begin to pop, add the dry red chilies, when their color changes add the curry leaves. Take it off the heat and pour it over the curry. Serve it hot with rice.

* Since I don’t get fresh drumsticks in the Indian/Asian stores here. I have used frozen drumsticks.