Friday, December 25, 2009

Florentine cookies

I made florentine cookies last night on Xmas eve, for Xmas. These cookies are basically nuts in caramel! I covered half of it with Ghirardelli melted bitter sweet chocolate chips, and they look beautiful and taste delicious!

My hubby was really sweet to take care of the baby, while I baked these cookies! Its been great to be back to cooking/baking!!:)


6 oz. sliced blanched almonds
4 oz. pistachios(shelled and peeled)
4 oz. hazelnuts
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
2/3 cup granulated sugar
125ml/4 fl oz. heavy cream

2 cups good quality bittersweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes until the nuts are golden brown, turning them occasionally to ensure even browning process.

In a medium saucepan, on low heat, put the butter, sugar, cream, honey and let the butter melt. Now turn up the heat to medium and let the mixture boil without stirring until it starts bubbling and reaches a temperature of 245 degrees on the thermometer. Turn off the heat and add the roasted nuts into this mixture. Mix well and combine all the ingredients.

Now,I used 2 baking methods as seen in the picture. 1) I spread the mixture on a baking sheet with the silpat mat, and used a teaspoon(very little) to put the mixture keeping a good distance apart since the mixture spreads. It forms a brittle shape. 2) I put them in muffin moulds, after spraying with pam spray and a very thin layer, no thicker than the nuts themselves.

Next, bake it in the oven for 15-18 minutes near the top of the oven, until the mixture begins to bubble and boil and turns golden brown. Let this cool completely, and remove from moulds and the silpat mat.

Now, melt the chocolate chips in a medium bowl in the microwave, for 30 seconds each time and stirring it each time, for about a minute and a half, until the chocolate chips have melted completely. While this is still hot, dip half of each cookie in the mixture to coat it beautifully with the chocolate.

Now, place them on the parchment paper on the baking sheet and put it in the freezer for a couple minutes, until the chocolate sets. They are ready to eat!!! :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

California Crepe

California Crepes = Crepe with Avocado!:P I came up with this crepe filling, and my hubby and I love the combination! Its avocado, tomatoes, spring onions and grated jack cheese! YUMMM!!!! :) They are very satisfying and tasty as hell! :)

I am really bad with adding pictures, but now I have the iphone making it easier to add pics! Here is a pic of the crepes we had for dinner last night ;)

An interesting fact about crepes, is that, different countries have different versions of crepe as part of their food, for eg, french have crepes, indians have dosas, ethopians have injera!! Just like different countries have a version of the fried rice, like India has pulao or biryani, Spain has paella, Asian countries have their version of fried rice!


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tomatoes finely chopped
3/4 cup pepper jack cheese coarsely grated
1 avocado finely chopped
2-3 spring onion sprigs finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste


In a bowl, mix the water, milk, egg and melted butter, and beat it till the mixture is blended.

In another bowl, add the buckwheat flour, all purpose flour, and salt and mix it till blended. Now add the egg milk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk till it is well blended and smooth. The consistency should be like cream consistency. Let it sit for an hour.

Heat a pan on medium heat. Splash a few drops of water, and if the water sizzles and evaporates immediately, meaning the pan is hot. Now, melt a little butter on the pan to coat the entire pan.

Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter in the middle of the pan and swirl the pan to coat the entire pan so that the crepe is thin. Let it cook for a couple minutes till you see tiny bubbles popping up. You can lift the side to see the bottom changing color.

Turn the crepe, and reduce the heat a bit. Add the pepper jack cheese over half the crepe, add in the tomatoes, avocados and spring onions evenly. add salt and pepper. Cover the crepe, and let it cook for 2 minutes. Flip the crepe and press on it and once the cheese has melted, its ready to eat!:)


I realised that I had put up the recipe of oondhiyo, but NOT shrikhand! Cant have oondhiyo without shrikhand, can u!?!? Its oondhiyo season in India, and hence the shrikhand recipe :) This is the way my mom made it, and it turns out silky and smooth, and its perfect! I do NOT like shrikhand from indian stores, coz they make them too sweet!

Here is the recipe!


1 container Pavel yogurt
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon finely ground cardamom(from pods)
a pinch of saffron
fine slices of a few almonds and pistachios for garnish


Using a muslin cloth, add the entire container of yogurt into the cloth, and use a large strainer to drain out all the water in the yogurt. Keep it this way for a couple of hours.

In a small pan over medium heat, add in the saffron, and let it crisp up for a couple minutes, until the strands break. This ensures more flavor and a deeper richer color. Add the saffron pieces to the yogurt, once all the water is drained, into a big strainer. Add in the sugar as well. Now strain the entire yogurt mixture into a big bowl to ensure it is smooth and silky. Mix in the cardomom powder as well.

Put in the final product in a serving bowl and garnish generously with the almonds and pistachios! Enjoy :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Minestrone Soup

This is MY version of the Minestrone Soup. I love the way it turns out, and its my favorite Sunday night wintry comfort food with a tomato, basil pesto, mozarella cheese panini! DELLLISH!! :) I have adapted my aunt's recipe, and I dont know anyone who does not like this soup!

Minestrone soup consists of some sorta pasta, like rigatoni or elbow pasta, but I dont put any. Also, it consists of cannellini beans, but I use black beans instead coz of preference.

Here is the recipe!


1 carrot, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 zucchini cut into bite size pieces
2 small potatoes cut into bite size pieces
2-3 celery stalks, cut into bite size pieces
3 cups spinach leaves
1 medium sized onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 can of black beans
1/2 can of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon of herb du provence
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 cup good olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

Parmesan cheese for garnish


In a medium pot, at medium heat, add the oil and butter, and let the butter melt. Add the onions and garlic and saute until golden brown. Add in the carrots, zucchini, potato, celery and saute for a couple minutes. Add the salt, pepper and herb du provence and saute it for another couple minutes. I add a lot of pepper coz I love the peppery taste in the soup.

Add about 3 cups of water, and add in the spinach at this point, since spinach wilts very quickly. Add in the black beans as well. Let the soup come to a boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes and then turn the heat to low.

The soup is ready to comfort you ! :) Garnish with the parmesan cheese before serving.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Ganache

Day: Thanksgiving 27th Nov 2009
Dessert preparation: Amisha :)
What is for dessert? : Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Ganache!

I am writing on this blog after a long time since my pregnancy and having the baby! It feels good to be back. :) So thanksgiving was yesterday and I decided to make dessert. I was making cheesecake for the second time, but after a long time, and was afraid how it would turn out. Luckily everything went smooth and I was very happy with the end result! :) I hope to make many more cheesecakes ;)


For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the filling:
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee
1 3/4 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

For the ganache:
1/4 pound semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream


To make the crust:
Place the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and cinnamon in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until combined. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, chop the bittersweet chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the espresso and stir until just melted. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.

To make the filling:
Cream the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and almond extracts and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, and the cooled chocolate mixture. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door opened wide for 1 1/2 hours. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature, until completely cooled.

For the ganache:
Finely chop the semisweet chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the cream and stir until just melted. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving. Drizzle the ganache over the top of the cheesecake. Put chocolate shavings on the top of the cheesecake for decoration! :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bateta Kanda Poha

This was our snack coming home from school, and we loved it! It always came out so soft the way mom made it. Am glad I can replicate it :)) Here it goes:


1 cup thick poha(flat rice)
1 small potato finely diced
1 small onion finely diced
1 green chilli finely chopped
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Put the poha in a small bowl, and add about 1/2 cup of water and make sure all the poha is soaked and wet. Keep it aside. Drain out excess water.

In a small pot, put the oil, and let it heat up on medium heat. Put in the asafoetida and mustard seeds and let them splatter. At this point, add the onions and saute them till translucent. Then add in the tiny diced potatoes, and saute them for 5 minutes, until soft.

At this point, add in the green chilli, red chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder, and saute the onion-potato mixture for a minute. Now add in the thick poha, and saute to mix it all well. Dont overmix it!

Add in the lemon juice and cilantro.

You can add a little bit of sugar. Thats the way I like it :) You can even add peas, or peanuts or both!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies

This was another cookie recipe I tried during Xmas, and I loved them! The combination of Pistachios and Cranberries go so well with the xmas theme! I would love to try making biscotti with these ingredients. Put this in my list for the following xmas??? :)

These cookies are so glittery looking with the red and green specks, and it just makes it look so festive!! I got this recipe from Gourmet Magazine, where they did an article on the featured cookies every year in the month of December, right from 1941!!! Impressive isnt it!!? I was so blown away with the entire cookie collection!! I hope to try each and every one of them some day !! :))


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
1/2 cup shelled pistachios (2 1/4 oz; not dyed red)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (1 1/4 oz)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup decorative sugar (preferably coarse)


Make dough:

Stir together flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
Beat together butter, granulated sugar, and zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until dough just comes together in clumps, then mix in pistachios and cranberries. Gather and press dough together, then divide into 2 equal pieces. Using a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper as an aid, form each piece of dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Square off long sides of each log to form a bar, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until very firm, at least 2 hours.

Slice and bake cookies:

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Brush egg over all 4 long sides of bars (but not ends). Sprinkle decorative sugar on a separate sheet of parchment or wax paper and press bars into sugar, coating well.
Cut each bar crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, rotating bar after cutting each slice to help keep square shape. (If dough gets too soft to slice, freeze bars briefly until firm.) Arrange cookies about 1/2 inch apart on lined baking sheets.
Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are pale golden, 15 to 18 minutes total. Transfer cookies from parchment to racks using a slotted spatula and cool completely.

Cooks’ notes:
Dough bars can be chilled up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil, 1 month (thaw frozen dough in refrigerator just until dough can be sliced).
Cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days.

Star Anise Cookies

I have been wanting to try making cookies with anise as the ingredient and what better time to try them than Xmas! This was another of the cookies that I baked for Xmas, turned out great! I loved the smell and the flavor of anise, especially when the cookies are baking. The smell is divine!! In this recipe, they use sugar to coat the cookies, I used colored sugar to coat it. Gives it a real nice color and touch :)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon aniseed, toasted


Preheat oven to 325°F.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into small bowl. Beat butter and 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl until light. Beat in egg yolk, brandy and aniseed. Add dry ingredients and beat just until smooth dough forms. Spread remaining 2 tablespoons sugar on small plate.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Using 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Gather scraps, reroll on lightly floured surface and cut out more cookies.

Place cookies 1 at a time on sugar on plate; transfer cookies, sugar side up, to 2 ungreased baking sheets. Bake cookies until bottom and edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack; cool. (Cookies can be prepared 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)