Friday, February 27, 2009

Mystery mexican flan - CARAMEL CUSTARD

I'm really excited today. Guess why? Did you see a new badge on my page?
Yes, I'm a foodbuzz featured publisher:D Hurrah!
All that excitement apart, let me come back to post for today.

Vinit(for those of you who don't know, he's my hubby) once asked me to " make pudding ". Oh! Let me interrupt a second to let you guys know that this incident, again, is a story from when I was a newly wed. Infact, the story started then and ended only way later.
Ok, now I can continue. we were newlyweds and I attempted various recipes and did everything I could to impress him, not realising that sometimes it was torture [ for him, not me ] . When asked which pudding he, so desperately, wanted, he just shrugged and said "pudding"( like,as if, there was just one thing called pudding in this whole wide world) . So, after a long question and answer session, all I could get from him was that it was a great tasting, yummy, delicious dessert. The name was forgotten and and there were no words to explain the look or flavors of it. He just didn't know how to describe it. Hmmm! What a great way to make a request!
Days and months passed and so did a couple of years.Vinit's request was still pending. I had tried recipes of "umpteen" number of desserts and cakes by then, inorder to verify whether it was " THE ONE " that he longed for , but the answer was always.....No.
One fine day, at the wedding reception of a cousin..... Voila! .........There sat the dessert of his dreams.The one he had yearned for all those years. At last........CARAMEL CUSTARD.Vinit had a twinkle in his eyes and gleamed with joy.
I wondered why it never striked me, all those years, that caramel custard was the answer. Then I realized, we always miss out on the most simple things and look for the most complex. Likewise, I had come across caramel custard many a time, but it was so uncomplicated that I simply decided it just could not be 'THE ONE'.

Finally, with Vinit having found bliss, I was at peace, too, as the mystery was solved. The story ends on a happy note.Vinit has vowed never to forget the name of his favorite dessert , ever again, and the best part is that he has become an expert in making it too. This pudding is truly heaven.

Caramel custard is a mexican flan .I once tried cinnamon caramel custard in a mexican restaurant. It was not to my liking because I felt that the cinnamon overpowered the other subtle flavors in the dessert.So,I have not included cinnamon in my recipe.For all you cinnamon fans out there, go ahead and add cinnamon powder to the pudding along with the vanilla extract.And dust some cinnamon on the pudding before serving.

The snaps from this post are going to participate in the magnificient click contest . Wish me luck:)

INGREDIENTS :(serves 5-6)

For caramel:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tspn water

For custard:

  • 3-1/2 cups of warm whole milk( not hot)
  • 1/2 cup of half anf half or heavy whipping cream
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tspns vanilla extract


  • Boil a pot water. Cover and set aside.(This will be required at the time of baking)
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F(191 C)
  • Have one medium-sized oven-safe bowl ready nearby.
  • Melt 1/3 cup of sugar along with 1 tbspn of water in a small heavy skillet, stirring constantly, until a caramel syrup forms( The sugar will melt and turn golden and then after some more time, it will turn a darker brown.You can see the color of the caramel in the pic. When the caramel color is similar to the color of tea decoction, then the right consistency is reached)
  • This caramel will crystalise very fast. So, pour immediately into the oven-proof bowl and swish the caramel lightly around the bowl so that it coats the sides of the bowl before it crystalizes. See pic.(once it is poured into the bowl,it will crystalise and that's the way it should be)
  • Place this bowl into a larger oven-proof bowl.(As seen in the pic). Set aside. (I've used a large lasagna dish for this)
  • In a seperate mixing bowl, beat eggs well with the sugar till the sugar is dissolved.( takes 4-5 mins)
  • Add 1 cup of the warm milk, and stir briskly. (If milk is hot, it will scramble the eggs. So please make sure the milk is just warm and not hot)
  • Add remaining milk and cream or half and half; add the vanilla essence.Blend well.
  • Strain this mixture through a seive while pouring it into the bowl with the caramel. See pic. (straining is done inorder to remove the fragments of egg that is not dissolved)
  • Note: Fill the bowl only 3/4 way to the top. Do not fill to the brim. So, please make sure that the bowl you have chosen is not too small.
  • Pour hot water into the larger bowl/tray in which the caramel bowl is set. Water should be poured to the level that the inner caramel bowl is immersed half-way in water. This enables the custard to cook evenly in the bottom as well as the top (You don't have to be very accurate with the amount of water you use. A little less or little more water will not harm the pudding)
  • Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (177 C) and bake for an additional 20-25 mins or until a toothpick/knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  • When done, cool the pudding in room temperature for 30-40 mins and then chill in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
  • To unmold, carefully loosen the sides of the custard with knife.
  • Place an inverted dessert plate on top of bowl. Hold tightly and turn plate and bowl upside down. The pudding will turn over onto the plate, caramel side up. The remaining caramel will run down the sides of the pudding. (Do not expect the pudding to hold the exact shape of the mold(bowl). It will flaten out a bit when you unmold it because it is a very soft pudding and so cannot hold it's shape firmly. But it comes out pretty good)
  • Cut and serve along with the caramel sauce.
You might also like to check out these recipes:

Luv 'n' luc'

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Puffy treat - BATTURA

Having invited a couple of friends home for dinner, I planned on making a good, authentic Indian meal. I was an amateur cook and a newly wed then. This was my first attempt, ever, at cooking for anyone other than my immediate family. I phoned an aunt for a battura recipe and decided to go ahead with my plans.The process required a fermented dough which I kneaded. I decided to make hot batturas only after the arrival of my guests. So, I spent half my day decking up my house and the other half, pouring out energy, into making refreshments and other items on my menu.

My guests arrived and having served them a round of refreshments and store-bought snacks, I headed for the kitchen. I thought it would be an easy process but ended up fighting with the sticky dough and I had flour all over me and my kitchen. I, painstakingly, rolled and fried and fried and fried each of the, so called, batturas...............only to end up with something really wierd. It looked like alien food. And the taste?.......... Don't even bother to ask.

I, frightfully, realised, that I may have to organise a naming ceremony for those oil-soaked monsters........Was there going to be a christening that evening? I cringed at the thought of my guests starving. Those wierd things that I had made were just NOT BATTURAS. Just some kind of thick, hard papad which could easily be of use to a dentist to have a patient's tooth removed. My guests were neither dentists nor did they require a tooth job. My heart sank. Moreover, my evening was sabotaged.

Finally, we made other arrangements and ended up eating take-out food. My friends were only too happy to have saved there teeth and escaped my horrendous food. They joke about it to this day. I vowed never to make batturas in my lifetime ever again.

As time passed, my anger towards batturas faded and my tough declarations not to make them again have been broken. With all the food experimenting going-on, ever since, my batturas turn out excellant now and I don't detest them anymore. This is my tried and tested recipe. It is as easy as making simple puris. Follow the steps below and I am sure you will not have the same experience as I did.

So, they say, chole masala is the perfect-partner for battura . A match made in heaven. Go ahead and make any side which you think is a perfect accompaniment for this puffy treat. Paneer shabnam is also a great gravy for batturas.
INGREDIENTS : (Makes 10-14)
  • All purpose flour - 2 cups
  • Yoghurt - 6-7 tbspns
  • Sugar - 1 tspn
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil -2 tbsps(for dough)
  • Luke warm water - 1/2 cup
  • Active dry yeast - 1/2 tspn( substitute with bakin soda)
  • Oil- for deep frying
  • If you are using baking soda, just mix the water, baking soda and all other ingredients together to make a soft dough.
  • If using yeast, add yeast to the lukewarm water along with sugar and set aside for about 10 mins.
  • After the yeast starts frothing, mix it in with all other ingredients and make a soft dough.
    Put dough in a large bowl and cover the dough with a slightly wet cloth or with a plastic wrap and set aside for 3-4 hours for the dough to rise.
  • Now,gently, beat the dough down and divide it into 10-14 equal portions(into the shape of balls).
  • Roll out each ball on a floured surface with a rolling pin.
  • Heat oil to 375 degrees F(191 C) and deep fry the batturas in hot oil-similar to making puris(be cautious of oil splatters)
NOTE:While frying each battura, only when one side is done you must turn it over onto the next side .(At the most, you can turn sides twice).If you keep turning sides, the battura will soak up alot of oil which is not what we want. Bring the oil to the right heat and cook each side of the battura for about 10 seconds.You might like to check out these recipes too:

Luv 'n' luc'

Friday, February 20, 2009

Black forest cake

This cake has its origin in south Germany in a place called Schwarzwald( which means Black forest) and is popularly known as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte literally meaning Black forest cherry torte.The original recipe calls for a liqueur called kirschwasser( cherry brandy). Kirschwasser can be substituted with brandy or rum. I have not used any alcohol in this recipe.For those of you who want to make the original black forest cake, you can add 1 tspn of rum/brandy/kirschwasser to the whipping cream.
This post has the recipe for a basic chocolate cake and black forest cake too. So it's 2-in-1. You can make cup cakes with the same batter.
The snaps from this post are participating in the magnificient click contest
IMPORTANT:If you are using pans of a different size than that specified in the recipe the baking time will vary.So please follow the directions below.
ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Do tooth pick test( explained in recipe below) Cool completely. Frost.
CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Do the toothpick test?( explained in recipe below) Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Ingredients:(serves 12)
For cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tbspn instant coffee powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup orange juice with 1/3 cup sugar dissolved in it.

For frosting:

  • Cream - 2-1/2 cup( 450 ml)
  • Powdered sugar - 3/4 cup
  • Vanilla extract - 1/2 tspn
  • Corn starch - 1 tspn
  • Maraschino cherries- 15
  • Chocolate shavings- 1/2 cup
  • Kirschwassser/brandy/rum- 1 tspn(optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F ( 177 C).
  • Line two 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper or grease and flour them.
  • Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, coffee powder,baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.Mix well.
  • Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed of mixer for about 2 minutes.
  • Add buttermilk.Beat well.This will give you a loose, thin batter.That's the way it is. So no worries.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes. Do the tooth pick test ( toothpick test is explained in my vanilla sponge cake recipe. Click here to see recipe) .If the cake is not done, reduce oven temperature to 275 F( 135 C) and bake for 8-10 more mins. Repeat tooth pick test.
  • Cool the cake 10 minutes in the cake pan. Then remove from cake from pan and cool on wire rack. Cool completely. ( It is very important that the cake is cooled completely before you frost the cake otherwise the cream will melt and run down the cake.)
  • When the cakes are cooled, take each cake and spoon orange juice over them slowly and evenly giving the cake time to soak in the liquid. Be sure to soak the top,sides and bottom of each cake. Let rest for 5-10 mins.
For frosting:
In a separate bowl, whip the cream. When it starts becoming thick add the powdered sugar and cornstarch to it. Whip till stiff peaks are formed(see pic). Add vanilla and kirschwasser(Kirschwasser is optional. I did not use it in my cake).Mix well.
Frost top of one cake. Place the second cake on top of the first and frost the whole cake including the sides of cake. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings made by using a potato peeler on semisweet baking chocolate bar.
  • With the help of a cake decorating cone and tip, you can make swirls of whipped cream to design the top and sides of the cake.
  • Garnish with cherries and more chocolate shavings on top.
Note: This cake must be refrigerated.
You might like to check out these recipes too.

Luv 'n' luc'

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spaghetti with broccoli and spinach in tomato sauce

What's smoking my chimney today? It's Italian food. I love Italian food. Well, who doesn't???
Italians are very warm hearted and that overflows into their food as well. Pizza, pasta, Parmesan topped lasagna, tiramisu, pannacotta and the list goes on and on. Just the thought of these makes me go bonkers.
In Rome, I was surprised at how pizza's were served. They come in the form of sandwiches. One square slice of pizza topped with another inverted slice. Yes, that's the way it's served in Rome.It tasted great. They looked sandwich-ish but tasted pizza- ish. This style of serving pizza is good for tourists who just grab and eat on the run. No mess, no fuss.
Anyway, I don't know why I'm harping on pizza when today's recipe is spaghetti served with broccoli and spinach in tomato sauce. In summer I use fresh tomatoes for this sauce. But, in winter, since we hardly get good tomatoes, I opt for the canned ones.

The secret of a great tasting sauce is to cover and cook it for about 20-30 mins on low heat, stiriing occasionally. But if you don't have that much time on your hands, just cook the sauce for 10 minutes.

Ingredients: (sauce serves 5-6 )
  • Olive oil- 3 tbspns
  • Onions - 1 large (sliced)
  • Garlic - 5 cloves
  • Tomato paste - 2 tbspns
  • Diced Tomato - 1 (30 oz.) can ( substitute with 12-13 fresh tomatoes)
  • Carrot - 1 (chopped)
  • Chilli powder - 1 tspn( or to taste)
  • Salt- to taste
  • Sugar - 2 tspns
  • Half and half or cream or evaporated milk - 1/4 cup
  • Vegetable stock - 1/4 cup( can be substituted with water)
  • Dried oregano leaves - 1/2 tspn
  • Basil - 14-15 leaves
  • Grated Parmesan cheese - 1/4 cup
  • Steamed broccoli florets - 2 cups
  • Spinach - 1/2 bunch( chopped)
  • Any variety of pasta - As much as required.
  • Heat oil in large pot on medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute till translucent.( about 3-4 mins)
  • Add carrots and saute another minute.
  • Add the tomato paste and and stir for a minute.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, chilli powder, salt and sugar and mix well. Cover and let it cook on low flame for a minimum of 10 minutes. (The sauce tastes better if it is cooked for 20-30 mins on low flame. If you don't have the time for that, then 10 mins. is sufficient)
  • In the mean time, cook the pasta according to the directions specified on your pasta packet.( All you need to do is boil the pasta in salted water for the time specified on the pasta packet and then strain it. I have used thick spaghetti. I just had to boil it in salted water for 15 minutes. I add a few drops of oil to the salted water to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Stir pasta occasionally while it cooks.)
  • When the sauce is cooked, transfer it to a blender and make a puree.
  • Return the sauce to the pot and heat. ( be cautious as the sauce tends to splatter when the puree is heated)
  • Add the chopped spinach, oregano, basil, half and half or cream and the vegetable stock. Stir well and let it cook for a minute.
  • Turn of heat and add the steamed broccoli. Stir gently.
  • Serve pasta with this sauce and sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Luv 'n' luc'

Friday, February 13, 2009

Raspberry thumbprint cookies

Love is in the air............
I believe that there's love inside every person and the word exists in every language. Malayalam - Premam ,Tamil - Kaadhal ,Hindi - Ishq, French - Amour,German - Liebe ,Spanish - Amor, Italian - Amore, Chinese - I .
Hmmmm!................. I've run out of languages. Can't think of anymore. Just hoping that the ones I've mentioned atleast are right .

If there's a day to celebrate love, why not. Causes no harm to anyone. It's fun.
People have varied views about Valentine's day. Many think it has become a purely commercialized thing. I agree. But, it does not have to be expensive gifts and extravagant displays. Even something simple and sweet will say it all. So, I planned to do a special little something for my sweetheart. I decided to bake my love :) . Made these cookies in advance for hubby dear. And I didn't want to be too cheesy in making heart shaped stuff. So, I drew inspiration from a picture in a cookbook and put each cookie in small, delightful, fluted cupcake-cups. (I was lucky to have found some that matched the color of the jam). Doesn't the pic look adorable? Cute as a button I thought.

Happy valentine's day to all the Romeo-s and Juliet-s out there. Have a fun-filled and romantic day and year ahead. Let me know what you think about Valentine's day.
So, what are you doing for your loved ones??? Just inquisitive ...... ;)

Ingredients :( makes about 20 cookies)
  • Hazelnuts( toasted and skinned) - 3/4 cup ( can be substituted with toasted almonds or walnuts or pecans)
  • Sugar - 1/4 cup
  • Room temperature butter - 3/4 stick (85 gms)
  • Vanilla extract - 1 tspn
  • Salt - 1/8 tspn
  • All-purpose flour - 3/4 cup and 2 tbspns
  • Raspberry jam - 1/4 cup ( can be substituted with any jam you have at hand)


  • Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C)
  • Take 1/4 cup of hazelnuts and chop them into tiny bits and spread them on a sheet of wax paper or a plate. Set aside.
  • In a food processor, process the remaining 1/2 cup of hazelnuts and sugar until finely ground.
  • Add butter, vanilla and salt to the hazelnut-sugar mixture and process again till blended.
  • Add flour and blend till everything is well combined.
  • Transfer dough from the processor into a medium bowl and press it together with your hands.( be cautious of the processor blade)
  • Take 2 tspns of dough in your hand and shape into 1-inch balls( dough maybe slightly crumbly. If it is too crumbly and you are unable to form a ball off it, add a tspn of milk to the mixture)
  • Roll the ball in the nuts that were spread on wax paper or plate.Gently press nuts into the dough.
  • Do the same with the rest of the dough and place about 1-1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • With your finger tip, very gently make a small indentation in the middle of each ball. Fill each dent with 1/4 tspn of jam and bake in the middle rack of the oven for 16-18 mins until golden brown round the edges. ( If you are making smaller cookies, baking time should be decreased. Otherwise the cookies will get burnt)
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Once cooled, you can place each cookie in individual fluted cups to give it that special look.

Have fun!

Luv 'n' luc'

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


This recipe is one of the handiwork of my mother-in- law, whom I refer to as 'Amma' ( I refer to my mother also in the similar manner).
Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese available at all Indian grocery stores. It has a very bland taste and can be homemade by curdling hot, whole-milk with lemon juice and straining it till all the whey water is drained and you are left with just the milk solids.This is later pressed into a box to form a block of cheese. I saved myself the trouble of this process and took a short cut. I opted for store bought paneer.
I cook frequently, infact, on a daily basis and I have noticed that I have days when I'm just unable to decide what to prepare for the day.And there are days when I'm as lazy as a log.(ring a bell?)Well, I use this recipe on one of those days.
In India, Amma(referring to my mother in law here) makes this recipe on days when she wants to finish cooking in a snap. It has very simple ingredients and takes just about 15 mins to prepare. Hubby dear, who is usually finicky when it comes to food loves this gravy and so do I . Saves so much of time. Though a simple recipe, chances are that this preparation will be an instant hit in your home and a frequent dish on your table.Great for when guests turn up too.
I don't like to deep fry the paneer, so I toast it. In that way, I avoid the use of alot of oil.

Toasting paneer:

Toast all sides of the block of paneer on a crepe pan/dosa pan (see pic).When it is seared and golden brown on all sides, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside. (Toasting is done do prevent the paneer from disintegrating when put into hot gravy)

In this recipe, I have used store-bought paneer because it's for a lazy day. Remember? You can make it from scratch too. There are directions for making paneer in my rasgulla post. (click here for recipe). Curry powder is another ingredient in this recipe for which you can either use homemade powder or store-bought. ( click here for curry powder recipe)
Those of you who don't like paneer..... cheer up. You can add boiled eggs to this gravy instead of the paneer. The curry will still taste just great.
Ingredients:(serves 3-4)
  • Paneer - 250 gms (My rasgulla recipe post has the recipe to make paneer. Click here see recipe)
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tspn
  • Green chilli - 1 ( slit)
  • Onions - 1 large (sliced)
  • Garlic - 2 large cloves(finely chopped)
  • Capsicum(green bell pepper) - 1 large(chopped into 1/2 inch pcs)
  • Curry powder - 3 tspns (Click here for recipe)
  • Chili powder - 1/2 tspn( or to taste)
  • Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chopped Tomatoes - 5-6 medium
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar- 2 tspns
  • Sunflower Oil - 2 tbspns
  • Chopped Coriander leaves- to garnish.
Directions :
  • Heat oil in a sauce pan and add cumin seeds and pop a slit green chilli into it( be cautious of splatters).
  • Add garlic and onions and saute.
  • Mix-in curry masala, chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and sugar and saute well.(about 3 mins)
  • Add tomatoes and stir well.Pour in 1/2 a cup of water .
  • Cover pan and allow it to cook on a medium flame for abt 3 mins.
  • Add capsicum and cover and cook for abt 3-4 mins.
  • Add cumin and stir and when the capsicum is cooked turn off the flame.
  • Add the paneer pieces in the hot thick gravy ( since it is toasted it will not disintegrate).
  • Finally add coriander leaves to garnish.
Paneer shabnam is a tasty side for rotis, parattas, naans or...... on lazy days for BREAD :)
Luv 'n' luc'

Monday, February 9, 2009

Plain vanilla sponge cake

When I visit bakeries, I enjoy the smell of fresh baked breads and cakes. My eyes wander across the glass shelves lined with baked goods.Their colors and freshness are sensual.The curly, buttery croissants, breads, slices of cheesecakes and glazed doughnuts .........all so tempting. I would love to own a place, someday, solely dedicated to retailing fresh made desserts and bakes.

I love to bake. One main advantage of baking your own goods and cooking your own foods( as opposed to buying them readymade) is the fact that you know and control the ingredients that go into it. Now, isn't that a relief?

Most people find baking strenuous because the outcome flops. I've had alot of friends ask me for cake recipes and all they emphasize on is "easy". I promised a friend an uncomplicated and almost effortless process and here it is . This recipe is the one I give to most cake virgins. Yes, this cake will do justice to your efforts and make you proud. You can use this cake batter to make cup cakes too.
The key to making a good cake is to follow the recipe exactly.


  • Butter( at room temperature) - 1 stick( 115 gms)
  • Sugar - 3/4 cup
  • Eggs(large) - 2
  • Pure vanilla extract - 1 tspn
  • All purpose flour - 1 cup
  • Baking powder - 1 tspn
  • Salt - 1/8 tspn(optional)
  • Milk - 1/3 cup


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F( 177 C)
  • Butter an 8" round cake pan or line it with parchment paper.Set aside
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Now add the flour mixture and mix
    Stir in the milk until batter is smooth. (Do not over beat the cake batter as it will result in a hard cake) Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Do the toothpick test to see if the cake is done.(See note below).
  • If the cake is not done, reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees F(135 C) and bake for 8-10 more mins.Repeat tooth pick test.
  • When the cake is done, let it rest in the cake pan for 10 mins.Then remove the cake from the cake pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • And tada! You are a great baker.

Note: Take a tooth pick or a knife or a bamboo skewer and poke it till the bottom of the cake.If it comes out clean the cake is ready.If it comes out with wet cake batter, it needs additional time to bake.

luv 'n' luc'

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sugar cookies

I seem to be whining about winter all the time. Why wouldn't I? I hate wearing woollies, socks and gloves even when I'm at home, but chill winter days call for it. Having had snow and rain resulting in ice, my hubby even had his car skid 180 degrees on the highway. But, thank goodness! He was safe.

The rains, snow and winds continue and enduring all this bad weather makes me grumble, grumble, grumble.
With all this wet, dreary weather, what one desperately needs is a dose of comfort food. Although stews and soups are probably the perfect remedy, all I wanted was an excuse to stand near my hot oven even though my heater worked incessantly to raise the temperature at home. I ended up making sugar cookies. Just one piece was enough to lift my spirits and satiate me but it was otherwise for hubby dear ..............he devoured a dozen.

Ingredients:( makes 30-35 cookies)
  • All-purpose white flour - 3 cups
  • Baking powder - 3/4 tspn
  • Salt - 1/2 tspn
  • Butter - 1 cup( 2 sticks)
  • Sugar - 1 cup( plus more to sprinkle on top)
  • Egg - 1 large
  • Milk - 1 tbspn
  • Vanilla extract - 2-1/2 tspns


  • In a bowl stir together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • In another mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar till creamy.
  • Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat well.
  • Add the flour mixture to make a smooth and slightly stiff dough.( If it is too soft, add upto 3 tbspns more of flour)
  • Let dough stand for about 5 mins
  • Divide dough into 2 and place each portion between 2 sheets of wax paper. Roll out each portion of the dough till about 1/4 thick. (wax paper prevents the dough from sticking while rolling out. If you don't want to use wax paper, roll out on a floured surface)
  • Now, place each portion of the rolled dough along with the wax paper on 2 baking sheets and freeze for 25 mins.( or refrigerate for 45 mins)
  • Preheat oven to 375 F( 191 C)
  • Grease a baking sheet.
  • Take one portion of the chilled dough, remove wax paper and use 3-inch cookie cutters to cut the cookie and place the cookies 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
  • Bake for for 8-10 mins.
  • Take the tray from the oven and sprinkle some sugar on the cookies. Bake for 1 more minute.
  • As soon as they come out from the oven, let the cookies rest for 2-3 mins on the cookie sheet.
  • Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.
  • Repeat the same process with the remaining dough.

Luv 'n' luc'

Monday, February 2, 2009

Soup for the soul - Sweet corn chicken soup

Winters in Missouri, where I currently live, are unpredictable. Funny, because sometimes temperatures are as high as 10 degrees Celsius in the midst of January and sometimes they dip to minus. Like last week, it was ruthlessly cold. Temperatures sank to -15 degrees Celsius. But, the sun peeped out this morning and that made my heart light. Somehow, sunshine brightens up my day even though the temperatures don't. But,the forecast says by midday, dark clouds will hurry-by and speedily bury the sun. No silver lines.The weather is so untrustworthy.I decided not to let mother nature spoil my spirit and bring me down. I just wanted to keep going.
The first idea that came off the top of my head was soup. We (soup and I) decided to pair up against the cold. It was a day saver. A hot cuppa soup can warm you from the inside out. My favorite soup for many years has been sweet corn chicken soup and I order it as often as I can in any restaurant which serves it. When making this soup at home, I realize how that it's also easy to fix and feeds your soul.

This soup is everything you expect and more. Incredibly yummmmm..... and you will be hooked forever. Ofcourse, it tastes smooth along with surprise bites of chicken and sweetness from the corn. It is an extremely light soup, light on your tummy and guilt free comfort. It is perfect to curl up on the couch to on a dreary winter day.
Ingredients:( serves 2)
  • Sweet corn kernels - 1/4 cup or cream of corn - 1/2 can
  • Chicken stock - 350 ml
  • Corn flour - 2 tspns
  • Garlic- 2 cloves(chopped)
  • Ginger - 1/4 inch piece(chopped)
  • Oil- 1 tspn
  • Shredded broiled chicken - 50 gms
  • Egg white - from 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • In a medium sauce pan, saute ginger and garlic in oil.
  • Add chicken stock and boil. After 3-4 mins, strain the stock through a strainer and discard the ginger garlic pieces. Return the stock to the sauce pan and turn-on the heat.
  • Add corn kernels. Stir and cook for 2 mins.
  • In a small bowl, mix cornflour well with 1/4 cup of milk. Add it to the chicken stock.
  • Stir constantly.
  • Beat egg white and stir it into the soup. Stir well so the the egg white scrambles in the soup.
  • Add pepper, salt and the cooked chicken shreds.
  • Serve hot with a couple of drops of soya sauce and green chillies in vinegar.
Luv 'n' luc'


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