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.