Many Layer cake/Tree cake

Some days you see a picture and it stays in your mind. This picture then wants you to move ahead and give your best shot at achieving it. For me it was the picture I saw on SBS.com. This cake is a work of art and has so many delicate steps that the time at hand seems less. 2.5 hours to achieve the symmetrical layers is no joke. It is sheer love.

You shall need [Recipe adapted from SBS.com]

10 egg yolks
1.5 cups caster sugar
250 g butter, plus extra, melted (optional)
2 tsp natural vanilla extract
8 egg whites
1½ cups plain flour, sifted
3 tbsp cocoa powder mixed with 3 tbsp warm water

Method:

  • In a bowl, add the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar. Beat it till it is nice fluffy and frothy.
  • In another bowl, beat the butter and 3/4 cup of sugar until it is pale and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and mix well.
  • Now in a large dry bowl, whisk the egg whites till they form stiff peaks.
  • Add the remaining sugar to the whites and mix gently.
  • Mix the egg yolk and butter mix. Fold in the sifter flour.
  • Now take a little of the whites and mix in the yolk, butter and flour mixture.
  • Now pour all the yolk mix in the whites bowl and fold it through without knocking out much air.
  • Divide the batter in two equal halves. I used 1/2 a cup measure to equally distribute.
  • Mix the cocoa and water mix in one of the batter.
  • Pre heat an oven to 160C.
  • Grease a springform pan and add a layer of butter paper/parchment paper on the bottom. [I used a 7″ pan]
  • Now pour 1/3 cup of the vanilla batter and swirl the tin to spread evenly.
  • Bake for 12 min or until the sponge springs back at you.
  • Take it out and put 1/3 cup of the batter and repeat the process.
  • Keep a brush and melted butter at hand to grease the edges each time before adding another layer. This will make sure the cake comes out clean.
  • Once the last layer is baked, insert a skewer in the center and confirm the done-ness.

Multi layer cake2 (1)

  • Let it cool to touch and remove from the pan.

Multi layer cake 4

  • Cut and serve with love.

Multi layer cake 1 (1)

Cheers,

Pallavi

Restaurant Review: Pizza Express- Powai #RnMOnAskMe

What do you do when your friends are coming back to town after a year stint abroad, you eat pizza. 🙂 We had not been to Pizza Express and after hearing the awesome reviews, there was no reason to wait.

I had the Ask me app downloaded on the phone. All we had to do was a quick search based on location and the intuitive search shall yield results.

askme2 askme1

The location of choice was Powai and the place to eat was Pizza Express. A classy, upscale pizzeria with an attitude to match with the pizza quality. However please note that this place is not ONLY into pizzas, they make kick ass pastas, desserts and appetizers as well.

The menu is extensive and for pizzas we have two crust choices: Romana and Classic. Romana is Thinner, bigger and crispier.

Here is what we ordered:

Verdure in the Romana Crust- Verdure is one of their best selling pizzas. It is made with char-grilled veggies, Grilled tomato, mozzarella and pesto as the base. The best thing about this one is the sweetness of the peppers and zucchini on that gorgeous crust. We loved it so much that we had to order two of these. 😉 The loaded pizza has all the good things in life ❤

pizza exp 2 (1)

Quattra Formaggi in the classic crust- This classic four cheese pizza. Mozzarella, gorgonzola, emilgrana and fontal make this oozy gooey pizza. The crust to topping ratio is fabulous. This 8 piece pizza shall happily satiate the cheesy lovers.

pizza exp 3 (1)

Dough Balls- This was one of the specials they had, dough balls risen to perfection and served with pesto, soft butter and sun dried capsicum sauce. Yumm yumm yummm…. The gorgeous and generous olive oil in the sauces get soaked in the warm dough balls. It was absolutely beautiful. We wiped the plate clean in 5 minutes.

pizza exp 1 (1)

Pasta Siciliana- This one was to die for as well. The spicy eggplant, basil, tomato, chilly and baby mozzarella wrap the penne pasta with perfection. The spice level  was not too high  as well. I had never tried eggplant with pasta before and trust me it could not have been better. The eggplant breaks down and makes a wonderful compliment to the tomato. Thankfully the dish is not acidic at all because tomatoes do that to the pasta. Sorry for now putting up a pic, we were just in a hurry to gobble it up 🙂

Tropical Mocktail- Watermelon, mint and lemon is a basic mix that we make at home as well. So there was nothing more happening in this one.

They serve gorgeous desserts as well. We didnt get to try it but I hear the banoffee pie is to die for. They also have a dessert platter with cheesecake, fudge cake and tiramisu.

My only regret would be that they didn’t have salads. What kind of Italian pizzeria does not have salads? It was really shocking as we had gone there for lunch and it was a weekend too. They should have been well stocked [at all times in the real world] .

So here is my rating:

Ambiance- 4/5

Food- 4/5

Address:

G-14, A-Wing Ventura, Hiranandani Business Park, Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076
Phone:022 6166 9088
‘I’m participating in the #RnMOnAskMe activity at BlogAdda.
Cheers,
Pallavi

Paneer Methi Paratha – Cottage Cheese Fenugreek Leaves Flatbread

My earliest memories of food have been with Parathas, All sorts, aalu, mooli, gobhi, paneer, missi roti, dal paratha, leftovers paratha… Oh so many.

Most of the lunches at school were parathas too. 🙂 Here is my fav version.

Paneer and Methi 🙂

You shall need: [serves 1]

75 gms crumbled Paneer [put the paneer on a cloth and let the excess water come off]

1/3 cup finely chopped Methi leaves/Fenugreek leaves

Salt to taste

1 tsp coarse Anardana powder

1 tsp lemon juice

Chilly powder to taste

1/2 tsp dhaniya powder

1/2 tsp roasted jeera powder

Paratha dough [wheat flour kneaded with oil, salt and water to a nice and tight consistency. let it rest for 20 min]

Oil

Spatula

Ghee

Dry flour

Rolling board and pin [chakla belan]

Tava [flat griddle]

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix the paneer, methi, salt, chilly powder, lemon juice, salt and anardana powder.
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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
  1. Take a golf size ball of the dough. Roll it using some flour.
  2. Apply some ghee in the center and place half of the paneer mix on it.
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  1. Wrap it in a parcel and roll it again.
  2. Heat the tava and add few drops of oil on it.
  3. Place the paratha on it and cook it on both sides.
  4. Add little oil as need be.
  5. Be sure to cook the paratha on medium flame.
  6. Serve with love
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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Cheers,

Pallavi

Herb Crusted Paneer [Without bread crumbs]

All these food shows on TV show some version of crusts being used on different ingredients. What has been stopping people to use different things to make the crust – other than Bread crumbs.

To be fair this was not the first thought that came to me :P. I was out of bread crumbs and was too lazy to make fresh one. So I googled “Crust without breadcrumbs”; all the results were telling me was “How to make breadcrumbs”. So I thought lets atleast read a recipe and then decide how to tweak it.

First thought for the base came to me was salted peanuts. Second thought was blanched almonds. Third was rolled oats – coarsely chopped. And I promise the final one was Wheat/oat bran. So I used the bran for this recipe because there was a box that was just lying around :P. I have been using this bran in chapatis and parathas but since husband didnt really like it, I use it only for mine.

Let us get to making this gorgeous paneer. 🙂

You shall need: [ serves 1]

75 gms paneer [2 chunks/slices of the size that you like]

4 tbsp oat bran

3 tbsp chopped fresh herbs [ I used corriander, Basil and mint]

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp red chilly flakes

1/4 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup milk

Oil

Shallow non stick pan

Spatula

Two small plates/shallow bowls

Method:

  • Mix the bran, herbs, lemon juice, flakes and salt in one plate.
  • Pour the milk in another plate.
  • Cut the paneer in the slab of the size that you like.
  • Dip the paneer in milk, on both side.
  • Move it to the bran herb mix.
  • Cover it generously and press some mix on it lightly ,as well.
  • Heat the pan on a medium low heat until it is nice and hot.
  • Add few drops of oil. Once it is hot enough, lower the paneer in the pan and let it stand there for a few min. Do not move it to check.

crusted paneer1 (1)

  • Once you can see brown edges, add a few drops of oil on the uncooked side and flip it gently.
  • Press it gently to make sure the crust cooks well on the other side as well.
  • Transfer on serving dish and serve with a lemon.

I ate it with a methi roti and added a tsp of cheese spread on it, turning the paneer and roti into a burrito-ish.

Notes-

  1. Next time I will like to add a few nuts to the bran as well.
  2. In case you do not have fresh herbs, go ahead and use the dried ones- but fresh ones are more preferred. 🙂
  3. Adding more oil is not necessary, trust me. Your pan needs to be good, though.
  4. Adding a few drops of milk on the crust [while adding the crust on top of the paneer] will make sure it sticks well.

crusted paneer2 (2)

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Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

Cheers,

Pallavi

Pear Salad with Sweet lime/Mausambi Juice dressing

What a party in my mouth this one was ❤ This healthy salad has very less oil and is gorgeous to serve and even travels well [pack the vinaigrette separate]. 🙂

You shall need: [serves 1]

100 gms Salad leaves of your choice [Personally I love a mix but yesterday I had only iceburg] – tear it up

1/4 cup Pomegranate Seeds

1 medium size pear [peel and chopped]

Juice  of 1 Sweet lime/Mausambi

1 tsp Lemon juice

1/4 tsp Red chilly flakes

1/2 tsp Olive oil

1 tsp Fennel seeds

Salt to taste

Method:

  • In a small bottle, add the sweet lime juice, lemon juice, flakes, salt and fennel seeds.
  • Shake it well and  keep in the fridge – This one can stay for upto 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container
  • On a bowl, put the salad leaves, pear and pomegranate. Sprinkle dressing as need be and devour with love.
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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Cheers

Pallavi

Healthy Broken Wheat/Daliya Snack

So you are sitting in the living room and staring at the gorgeous stuff that people that people click with their magical little boxes called camera. While you can sit there and feel about you not having the patience to do the same or you can work your magic in creating something you are proud of you.

I am of the latter kind. While I feel terrible at times for not paying enough attention to these details like presentation and story telling. So is it the ingredient that keeps me going, YES. I am a loyalist when it comes to food habits. I have always been a fan of the broken wheat/bulgur. My healthy eating days are here to stay so I have been giving this gorgeous ingredient a spin of all kinds.

You shall need: [Makes about 20 small balls]

1/2 cup broken wheat

3 cup water

1/4 cup chopped fresh corriander leaves

2 tbsp bajra/jowar/ragi/besan/while wheat flour [I used Bajra Flour]

Salt and red chilly powder

juice of half a lemon

Oil

Peniyaram pan/non stick pan

fork

bowl

Spoon

kitchen towel

Sieve

Method:

  • Wash the broken wheat 2-3 times.
  • Soak it in 1 cup water for 20-30 min.
  • Bring 2 cup water to a simmer and add the broken wheat [minus the soaking water]
  • Reduce the flame to medium and stir using a fork occasionally.
  •  Once it cooks, it will be double in volume and the water will almost be gone. – say 12-15 min or so
  • Put the wheat in a strainer to get rid of extra moisture.
  • Cover the strainer with a tea towel. Stir it with fork a few times till this cools.
  • Move the wheat to a bowl once it is cool to touch.
  • Add the flour, salt, corriander, lemon juice and red chilly powder. Taste to adjust the spice.
  • Heat the pan and add a drop of oil in each slot.
  • Using a spoon, scoop the mix and make tiny balls of it.
  • Put these in the pan and let them brown well on all sides.
  • Once done, serve with love.
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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Cheers,

Pallavi

Instant Ragi and oats Dosa

The frantic rush to fix a breakfast gets to me sometimes. But then missing ingredients also has the same effect. I wanted to eat rava dosa but there was no rice flour 😦

Hence look around and find what all is available, do a quick calculation in the  head and voila breakfast is ready.

So why should we eat ragi? Here are top 5 reasons:

  • Controls Blood sugar
  • Assists in weight loss
  • Relaxes muscles
  • Fights Anemia
  • Great source for Proteins

And why should we eat Oats? Here are top 5 reasons:

  • Enhances Immune response
  • Acts as a natural laxative
  • Reduces risk of cardio vascular disease
  • Controls Blood pressure
  • Lowers Bad cholesterol

You shall need: [Feeds 4]

3/4 cup Ragi Flour

1/3 cup Whole wheat flour

1/3 cup Fine bulgar/daliya

1/2 cup oats – measure first then whiz them in a mixer to make a powder.

1 medium onion chopped finely

2 green chillies finely shopped

2 cup buttermilk [I used about 100 ml of Amul spiced butter milk as well] – mix 4-5 tbsp of curd with 1.5 cups of water

Salt and pepper to taste

Oil

Non stick pan

Whisk

bowl

Spatula

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.
  • Mix using the whisk.
  • Add the onions and green chilly.
  • Pour the butter milk in the mix. We want a runny mix, like that of the rava dosa/crepe.
  • Keep it aside for 5-10 minutes.
  • In case the mix looks thick, add little water to get it to the consistency we want.
  • Heat a non stick pan and put 2-3 drops of oil on it.
  • Pour a ladle-ful of the mix on it. Flatten it well.
  • Flip it using the spatula.
  • Cook well on the other side as well.
  • Serve hot with your favourite chutney.

dosa ragi1

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Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Cheers,

Pallavi

Barley Risotto

Oh what thunderous response this one got me, day before. 🙂 Thank you for the love, people. Barley is great substitute for rice in your life. It is a little tricky looking seed but it does wonders. I adapted this recipe.

You shall need: [Serves 2]

1/2 cup.. Pearl Barley- soaked for 20 min in warm water- discard the water and place it on a tea towel to remove the moisture

1.. small onion chipped fine

3 cloves of garlic – minced

2 tsp… olive oil

1.4 cup white wine- optional*

1.. medium carrot diced small

1… tomato- de-seeded and chopped small

1/4 cup… blanched peas

1/3 cup… paneer [soft] or ricotta- make a paste with the cheese spread [Homemade ricotta cheese recipe coming soon]

1 tbsp… cheese spread

salt and pepper

3 cups… stock [I used the home made beets stock]

cheese [Optional]

1/2 cup… milk

Method:

  • In a pan, add the oil. Once it is heated, add the onions.
  • Once they are nice and translucent. Add the garlic and let them get the oil and onion flavour on them.
  • Add a little salt at the point.
  • Add the barley and let it toast for a few minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Add the carrot, wine and one cup of stock.
  • Reduce the flame to medium and let it absorb the stock.
  • Add another cup of stock when you see the grains are dry-ish.
  • Repeat the process until all the stock is over.
  • Add half of the paneer-cheese mix and the milk.
  • Check the grain, it should not be mushy but should be fully cooked.
  • Add the peas and tomatoes and cover with a lid.
  • Cook like this for 5 min.
  • Mix some cheese through, right before serving.
  • Serve hot topped with cheese and paneer.

barley risotto1 barley risotto

Cheers,

Pallavi

Vegetable Stock with Beetroot

Vegetable stocks are super easy to put together. All you need is a little patience, veggies and flavor choice. I always make fresh stocks and not use the shop bought ones or cubes.

The quickest way is to use a pressure cooker and a more elaborate way shall be to make it in an open pot. Whichever way you choose, the most crucial element is to caramelize the vegetables in oil and spice profile of your choice.

Since I was using beets, I used some thyme, garlic,fennel seeds and bay leaf.

Here is all that you will need:

1 tbsp… flavour-less oil

2… small onions – Quartered

250 gms… bottle gourd – chopped

2… Medium size carrots

2… medium size beets- peeled and quartered

100 gms… snake gourd

5-6.. florets of cauliflower

5-6… florets of broccoli

1/2 … green apple

Salt

1 tsp… fennel seeds

1 tsp.. thyme

3 … cloves of garlic or 1 tsp roasted garlic

4.5 cups of water or enough to cover the vegetables and going an inch above them

Equipment:

A heavy base pan

Big Spoon

Muslin cloth and colander

Method:

  • Heat oil in the pan. Add thyme, fennel, bay leaf, onion and garlic.
  • Once they change colour, add carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, gourds, apple and beets.
  • They will try to stick to the pan once they being caramelizing.
  • using the spoon move them often.
  • Add some salt to ensure the moisture escapes.
  • Once you see a nice char add water.
  • Bring it to the boil and reduce the heat to medium low.
  • Let it bubble for 1.5 hours.
  • Strain the stock using the colander and cloth.

The stock can stay up to 10 days in a refrigerator. Fill it in a clean dry jar and use later.

stock1 stock2

Cheers,

Pallavi