Panna Cotta and Florentine Cookies

This month’s daring bakers challenge was PANNA COTTA & FLORENTINE COOKIES
I didn’t lose any sleep over this month challenge as I have already tried my luck with Panna Cotta a few times .I chose to go with my favorite ,tried n tested ...Mango panna cotta

The Florentine cookies came out soo well and were a perfect treat for my sweet tooth.
Thanks a ton Mallory for throwing such yummilicious challenge on us.

Here goes the recipe

For the Panna cotta
1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 gm) granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1. Pour the milk into a bowl and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
2. Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes.
3. Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn't boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
4. Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly.

Mango Gelée
1 cup Mango Puree
3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
1/4 cup (60 gm) sugar
1½ teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1. Sprinkle gelatin over water.
2. Place mango puree and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer until sugar has dissolved. Now mix the gelatin into the mango mixture and stir until gelatin has dissolved.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool 

To make the Panna cotta more colorful, I split the Mango Gelee to half and added 2-3 tablespoon of whipping cream to one batch.
So now I have two batches of Mango Gelee ,one in a lighter shade and one on the darker yellow shade.

Half fill the glass or ramekins with Vanilla panna cotta. Now add 2 table spoons mango Gelee followed by another 2 tablespoons of mango gelee with cream.
Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.

For Nestle Florentine Cookies
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups quick oats
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup All purpose flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup [I used light corn syrup as I was out of dark corn syrup]
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1½ cups (9 oz) dark chocolate

Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). Prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
2. To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
4. While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl).
5. Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean).
6. Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate.

Muringa Ela Curry/Drumstick leaves in Lentils

Drumstick tree is one of the most versatile tree, the good news being all parts of the drum stick plant are edible:-) Starting from the leaves/flowers and of course the drumsticks
Back home in Kerala we had two trees in backyard. The tree was quite big but poor guy was not at all strong …very weak I must say
Every monsoon a big branch falls off and we would end up in drum stick diet for next 3 days

My mom who is the queen of creativity manage to include some part of the fallen drumstick branch in all 3 meals for next few days.Starting from Drumstick leave dosa to drumstick leave thoran n curry and even drumstick leaves ada.This one is from her Drumstick recipe collection:-)

Here is what you need
1/3 Cup Toor Dal
1 Cup Drumstick leaves
½ tspn turmeric powder
Grated Coconut ¼ Cup
Green Chilies 2
Salt to taste
1/2 Cup water

For tempering
2 tspn Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1 Dried Red Chilly
2 shallots chopped finely.

Clean the lentils and soak for about15-30 minutes.
Pressure cook the lentils with water and turmeric powder till the lentils are soft and cooked well.
Add the Drumstick leaves to the cooked lentils and cover and cook over low flame for 10-15 minutes.

Grind together the Coconut, green chilies and add the mix to the drumstick leaves gravy
Once the gravy starts to boil, switch off the flame.

Meanwhile make the tempering by heating the oil in a wok, followed by adding mustard seeds and red chilies.
Once mustard seeds start to sputter add the shallots and sauté for a minute or two
Add the tempering to the curry and give it a stir.

There you have a nutritious muringa ela curry..

This is my entry to this month's Kerala Kitchen event hosted by Ria

Chocolate Butterscotch Fudge

I have this habit of picking baking ingredients whenever I am travelling.I make it a point to go to local supermarket and dash directly to baking section and pick a few stuff…
So now my grocery cupboard is almost filled with baking stuff and I have pledged not to go to Phoon huat until I finish at least half of it.[Phoon huat is one of the popular shop for baking and confectionery ingredients here in Singapore..]
As I started sorting out the ingredients, I saw two packs of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips ..Almost forgot when and where I picked them..
Hmm..shud I make Chocolate brownies and Butterscotch blondies..???
After pretty long thinking, effort estimation and partner survey I decided to go with a simple recipe where I could use both:-)

Rich, creamy, and decadent, Chocolate Butterscotch fudge !!

This is one of the easiest and simplest fudge recipes I have come across..
My hubby who is a big fudge lover totally adored it….needless to say I loved it too:-)

Here is what you need

1 Cup Semi sweet or Bitter chocolate Chips
1 Cup Butterscotch Chips
1 Cup condensed milk[ I used the low fat condensed milk]
1/ 4 Cup Chopped Pecans
In a pan mix one cup chocolate chips and 1/ 2 cup condensed milk.
Heat it over low heat , stir well until the chocolate is melted.
Add in nuts and give it one more stir.
Now pour the melted chocolate in a square pan lined with parchment paper.
Tilt the pan slightly so that chocolate is evenly spread
Let it rest in refrigerator for 20 min.
Meanwhile mix the butterscotch chips and remaining half cup condensed milk in a pan and melt it over low heat .

Once the chocolate layer is hardened a bit, pour the melted butterscotch and tilt the pan so that it is evenly spread over the chocolate

Let it rest for 4 hours , I chose to let it rest overnight and cut it the following day.
Off this goes to Food palette series brown

Gujarati Dal from Sukham Ayu- ICC February

This month Indian Cooking challenge is an authentic Gujarati Dal, from the Cookbook Sukham Ayu,  by Jigyasa Giri & Pratibha Jain.

It is quite flavorful ...spicy, tangy with a pinch of sweetness.A perfect accompaniment for rice..

I am trying hard to get my hands on the actual book since I have read a lot of reviews about this book from my fellow bloggers..

So here goes the flavorful dal recipe
Recipie courtesy : Sukham Ayu

Split red gram (Toor dal) ½ cup
Turmeric powder ½ tsp

Tamarind pulp -2 tablespoon
Dry dates -2
Yam - 1 inch cubes- ¼ Cup
Groundnuts 1 tbsp
Green chilies 2, chopped fine

Ginger 1 inch piece, chopped fine
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Salt to taste

For tempering
Ghee 1 tbspn
Mustard seeds ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds ½ tsp

Cumin seeds ½ tsp
Asafoetida powder ¼ tsp
Curry leaves 5-6

Wash and soak the lentils for 20 minutes.Now pressure cook with 2 Cups water and turmeric powder for 20 min till the dal is cooked until soft.
Give a good mash to the cooked dal.

Add all ingredients except the tempering ingredients and half cup water to the cooker and simmer for another 20 minutes.

In another wok , prepare the tempering. Heat ghee, once hot enough add mustard and fenugreek seeds.
Once the mustard seeds start to sputter and fenugreek seeds start to turn brown, simmer the flame .Add the cumin seeds, Asafoetida and curry leaves

Pour the tempering to the dal.

There you have a spicy dal

Sticky Toffee Pudding

When I was browsing through the International Cooking section in Library I saw this small cute book called, Easy British cooking by Ryland Peters and Small
As always I flipped to dessert section which had THE best desserts..Lip smacking, I must say

Can you guess what I did next? Went straight to Super market and picked ingredients for 3 of the desserts from that book!!!
I decided to try the sticky toffee pudding first..
Let me warn u, you better double the toffee sauce; else you will have to make it again:-) Its that yummy..
The hot pudding with the toffee sauce is the best dessert I have made till date!!!

Here goes the recipe

For Pudding
175gms Dried Dates-Chopped
300 ml boiling water
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
50gms Butter
175 gms Caster Sugar
2 eggs
225 gms Plain flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder

For Toffee sauce
100 gms Brown Sugar
50 gms butter
200 ml Cream

Preheat the oven to 180 Degree
Add the boiling water and chopped dates to a bowl. Stir in the baking soda and let it soak for 15 minutes
In a mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, vanilla extract and mix well.
Add in the eggs and continue to beat for a minute or two until well mixed.
Don’t worry about the texture, it won’t be fluffy..
Sift the flour and baking powder and add the flour mix to the mixing bowl.
Add the date’s mixture in two turns and mix well. The batter will be a bit runny

Pour the batter into a baking dish, you can use ramekins, muffin tray or a simple round pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes till the skewer inserted comes clean.

While the cake is baking, let’s make the toffee sauce.
Mix all ingredients in a pan and heat in low heat until melted and smooth.

Serve the pudding with warm toffee sauce and enjoy the feel of the delicious dessert melting in ur mouth..

Off this goes to Mita's Monthly Mingle event guest hosted here
And to BEST ‘WESTERN’ DESSERT EVENT hosted by Priya
And the AWED -British event Hosted by Revathi
And Celebrate Sweets - Warm Desserts event hosted by Priya
And Delicious Desserts event hosted by Ally

Eggless Bread Pudding [Low fat version]

I have read somewhere that All good things in life are either expensive, fattening, bad for your health or illegal…Soo true isn’t?

That sure is the case for most things I love to eat…the first 3 at least:-)

It was during one of the departmental Coffee talks at work that I first had the taste of Bread pudding.
Of course I have seen it in dessert menu for a zillion times, but never bothered to order it thinking “how good can a bread dessert taste!!”

Usually during coffee talks they serve my favorite Cheese cake…So as usual, I skipped the finger sandwich, noodles and went straight to Dessert table to grab my dear cheese cake.
Grrrrrrr….it was not there…instead they had bread pudding…
Ok, at least something sweet is better than nothing, so I grabbed some…

After having my first spoon…my eye virtually popped out….it was that damn good. Creamy, buttery n melting in my mouth
Needless to say I have second..third……and …servings:-)
Man…I can’t forgive myself for ignoring this loveliest dessert for soo long…

So I decided to make the so called low fat and eggless version…

Here goes the recipe
8 Slices of bread [I used the Braided Oats bread]
1 Cup Milk
2 tspn Flax seed meal
2 tbspn Maple syrup
1 tbspn butter
Raisins and Nuts to taste. [I used about 1 table spoon raisin and 2 table spoon chopped nuts]

Cut the bread slices into two
In a shallow baking pan, arrange the bread slices in two layers
Now mix Milk, flax seed meal, and maple syrup and give it a stir.
Pour the milk mixture over the bread.
Using a fork, immerse the bread into the milk.
Keep aside for 30 minutes, till the bread had almost absorbed 80% of the milk.

Top with raisins and chopped nuts. Drizzle butter on top

Bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 min at 350 Degree

Top with more maple syrup and enjoy it either warn or cold..

Off this goes to A.W.E.D-British hosted by Revathi and DK

Celebrate Sweets - Warm Desserts hosted by Priya and Nivedita

Delicious Desserts hosted by Ally

And Cooking With Seeds event hosted by Priya

Angel Hair Pasta with Homemade pasta sauce n Mushrooms

I was not a big fan of Spaghetti until recently
However during the past few vacations and official trips I end up eating Spaghetti every other day…No no..Not because I love it... that was the only veggie option in menu ..
Not that I am a ho ho vegetarian….I have to admit I have eaten fair share of meat mistakenly. Please note MISTAKENLY!!
I have eaten Veggie burger..which turned out to be Chicken burger..
Veggie dumplings…which I got to know had meat inside and I never dared to ask what meat was inside
Veggie soup ...again some unknown meat inside..

Anyways coming back to pastas ..coz of eating so much Spaghetti, I am starting to have a liking towards it and all pastas in that family..

So here is one of my newly found love…Angel Hair pasta….
My love for this pasta starts right from the name…Angel hair…Can the name get any cuter than this?

Here goes the recipe

For Pasta Sauce
2 tomatoes blanched
1 Small white Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1-2 tspn Dried Basil leave
1-2 tspn Dried Oregano
1 tspn Dried Rosemary leaves- Totally optional, since I recently got one pack and wanted to try it on some recipe, I am adding it:-)
1 Table spoon Olive Oil
Salt and Fershly Ground pepper to taste.

200 grams Angel hair Pasta

Heat the half table spoon oil is a Wok and sauté Garlic, Onion and spices for 2-3 minutes
Now add all ingredients including blanched tomatoes in a blender and give a quick blend

Cook the Angel Hair pasta till al-dente as per the package instructions
Drain the pasta in a Colander. Do not pour cold water on top. When pasta is hot, it will absorb more flavors..

Meanwhile heat the remaining half tablespoon oil in wok ,add the mushrooms n cook it for 3-4 minutes.
Add the sauce,salt,pepper and drained pasta .Toss well.

Just before serving add the freshly grated parmesan…

This is my entry to this weeks Presto Pasta Nights

Braided Oats Bread

It’s been so long since I baked bread. The last time I tried was an year and a half back , I tried to make a French loaf and needless to say it was a disaster..
Now with the new member in my Kitchen- KitchenAid, I decided to try my hands on bread baking again[Yes yes, I got one last week…yeyyyyyyy can’t stop smiling]
I decided to go with the simple and easy Oats bread recipe which I had bookmarked sometime back
Here is the original recipe from Palatable

The recipe is super simple and the bread was really soft and tasted great..

So here goes the Braided bread
Recipe courtesy : Palatable

2 Cups Bread flour +2 table spoons
1 ½ tspn Active yeast
1/ 2 Cup rolled oats
1 tablespon ground flaxseed
2 Tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon sugar
150 ml milk
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoon water

Mix the yeast, 3 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes

Mix the butter, sugar and milk in a bowl and microwave it for 10-20 seconds till it is just warm.

In the mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Attach the dough hook and give a mix.
Now slowly add the yeast mixture and mix at speed 2.
Continue to mix and add the milk mixture.
Knead for 5 minutes till the dough is soft.

Alternatively you can mix all ingredients and knead well with hands till dough is no longer sticking to your hands.

Cover and let it rise for 30-40 minutes till the dough rise to twice the original size
Punch down the dough and give it a quick knead

For making braided bread, take out 3 equal portions of dough, 150 gms each
Now roll the balls into a long tube shape about 5-6 inch and braid it. There are plenty of videos in you tube showing how to braid the bread.
Rest of the dough you can make buns or rolls as per you creativity.
I chose to make Kaya buns and Nutella rolls.

Cover the shaped dough using a damp cloth and let it rest for 30-40 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes till the top is browed lightly.

Off this goes to this weeks Yeastspotting

Sesame balls

Yesterday marked the first day of Chinese new year….. the Year of Rabbit.
Xin Nian Kuai Le—may this year of rabbit bring in Joy, happiness and prosperity to you all…`

So I decided to celebrate the New Year by cooking one of my favorite Chinese snack, Sesame balls
I have tasted two versions of sesame balls,one filled with red bean paste n the other with cooked mung beans..
I am sticking with Mung bean filing ..

The crispiness from Sesame..Chewiness from the Glutinous rice..and the sweetness of tastes soo yumm when you bite into this delectable snack.

Here goes the recipe
1 Cup Glutinous Rice flour
3/4 Cup water
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Spilt Mung beans
1/4 Cup White sesame seeds
Oil for deep frying

Bring the water to boil and add 3 tablespoon of brown sugar and stir well
Transfer the rice flour to a bowl and make a well at center
Pour the water and slowly mix in using a spoon.
When the dough has cooled down a bit ,knead well with hands till it form a soft dough.
Cover and let it rest

Meanwhile cook the mung beans with 1/3Cup water and 1 table spoon brown sugar.
I pressure cooked the beans .Once its cooked mash it well and form a paste.

Take a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Push your thump into the center of the ball and make a deep hole
Fill the hole with mung bean paste and seal it and roll to a ball.
Repeat the same for rest of the dough

Spread the sesame balls in a parchment paper
Wet your hands and slightly moisten the rice balls and roll it in the sesame balls
Gently press the rice balls down when you are rolling in sesame seeds. This is to make the sesame seeds stick well to the rice balls.

Heat the oil in a deep pan. You should have enough oil so that the rice balls are completed immersed in oil

Drop 3 balls at a time and fry it in medium low heat
Keep rolling the balls using a spatula so that all sides are browned well.

Once cooked through ,the sesame balls will starts to float 
Now it’s time to transfer the balls to a kitchen towel to absorb excess oil..

Oats n Brown rice flakes Porridge

Lemme repeat the same slogan “Including oats in your diet provides a very long list of health benefits”. Wana know more?Check it out here

Today, I will stick to the conventional Oats porridge with a small Indian twist..
I am going to add Brown rice flakes /Aval/Poha..
Brown rice flakes are rich in dietary fiber and highly nutritious.

My mom have this habit of bringing a huge box of grocery items whenever she is visiting us..
I have to say I don’t have to go for grocery shopping for next 3 months. She makes sure that she fills up all my kitchen cabinets with Kerala groceries:-)
She had bought one pack of brown rice flakes, apparently home made at my dad’s ancestral place..
It was sadly sitting in my cupboard I decided to add it in the porridge..:-)

And the result…we just loved it:-)

Here goes the super simple recipe
1/4 Cup Instant Oats
1/4 Cup brown Rice flakes
3/4 Cup Soy Milk or regular milk
2 tspn Brown sugar
1 table spoon Chopped nuts

Mix Oats, Rice flakes and milk in a microwave safe bowl
Microwave it in medium-high for 3 minutes till the oats are cooked
Add in the chopped nuts and brown sugar .

Yup thatz it!!!you can scoop in now:-)

Sending this recipe to Healthy Recipe Hunt - Riceflakes event hosted by Kurunji

And to Cooking With Whole Foods - Oats hosted by Priya and Kiran

It’s raining awards….

This morning I woke up soo bouncy n cheerful….its start of our 4.5 days weekend.Yeyyyyyyyyy
Happy Chinese new year to you all.. Gong chi fa chai

And now comes the icing on the cake…I received not one but two awards from Krithi,Proud author of Krithis Kitchen
Thank u dear …hugs hugs:-)

One Lovely Blog Award

Here are the rules for this award:
1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers. Please don't leave it general and just invite all your blogger friends to collect the Award. It's always nice to be nominated so please do the favor and nominate 15 bloggers to share the Award with.
3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they’ve been chosen

Stylish Blogger Award

Here is what we can do to share and keep the loop going
1. Thank and Link Back to the Blogger Who Awarded You With The Award
2. Share 7 Things About Yourself
3. Award 15 Recently Discovered Great Blogger
4. Contact The Bloggers and Inform Them of The Award

 Now goes the 7 things abt me…
  1. I love to blog hop and see all amazing blogs out there.I always bookmark the recipes I would like to try and you don’t want know how long is the bookmarked recipe list:-)
  2. I can watch cooking shows all day everyday…even if it is in some alien language , I can still watch it
  3. I love to bake…but hate the cleaning afterwards
  4. I have a very very sweet tooth. We even have a dessert lover group in my office .I just love our dessert expeditions trips from food courts to The Line in Shangri-La..
  5. I am a fruit lover …yes yes even Durians..
  6. I love the rains..the sight ,the sound and the smell..…thatz one best thing I love abt Singapore, we get rain round the year
  7. I am a very fussy person. Things shud b in place and order.I can’t sleep with dirty dishes in sink no matter how tired I am:-)

 Lemme keep the ball rolling by passing these lovely awards to fifteen of my blog friends…
  1. Soumya
  2. Suhaina
  3. Mehnaz
  4. Padhu
  5. Rose
  6. Sangeetha Nambi
  7. Kurinji
  8. Sayantani
  9. Satya
  10. Vandana
  11. Reshmi
  12. Sujana
  13. Rani
  14. Shanavi
  15. Shanthi
@ Ladies… you all have such lovely blogs and I am sooo happy to meet you all thru ur blogs…

Please keep the ball rolling and pass on the awards to your fellow blog friends..
Here is what you need to do:
1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers. Please don't leave it general and just invite all your blogger friends to collect the Award. It's always nice to be nominated so please do the favor and nominate 15 bloggers to share the Award with.
3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they’ve been chosen


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