Archive for March, 2011

March Daring Bakers Challenge

I am so glad I joined the Daring Bakers. Each month I learn something new and exciting. The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Life has been really busy off late. We are moving to a new place in a couple of days so the packing has started. Amit and I are both giving our next exams in the PhD journey in April so we are both busy typing out our proposals for the exam. And to top it I have my part-time internship! So busy busy month. Have been a little slow on updating my blog due to all these events which tend to take a precedence over everything else. But the daring bakers and daring cooks challenge is something I promised myself, I won’t miss for anything so here I am typing away to complete the blog on time!

I loved this month’s challenge. It’s a very easy to make recipe and the only tricky part for me as usual was the yeast! My love hate relationship with yeast is slowly turning into a love love relationship! I like that because that means more home-baked breads… While I was thinking about what kind of filling to make, Amit suddenly expressed his desire to have some apple crumble. So I decided that I would make an Apple Walnut filling for the Coffee Cake. So here is the recipe for the Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake with Apple Walnut filling.  You can also make a savory version of this, which I will very soon. Maybe as my first bake at the new place!

I made one loaf of the coffee cake with half the measurements from the recipe given below and it serves 4-5 persons with a few second helpings.

Preparation time:

For the dough:

  • 10 – 15 minutes preparation of the dough
  • 8 – 10 minutes kneading
  • 45 – 60 minutes first rise
  • 10 – 15 minutes to prepare meringue, roll out, fill and shape dough
  • 45 – 60 minutes for second rising.

Baking time: approximately 30 minutes


For the yeast coffee cake dough:

  1. 4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
  2. ¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
  3. ¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼  oz.) salt
  4. 1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons /  7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
  5. ¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
  6. ¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
  7. ½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
  8. 2 large eggs at room temperature

For the meringue:

  1. 3 large egg whites at room temperature
  2. ¼ teaspoon salt
  3. ½ teaspoon vanilla
  4. ½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the Filling:

  1. 4 apples chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  2. 2/3 cup sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1/2 cup chopped walnut

Egg wash:

  1. 1 beaten egg
  2. Cocoa powder (optional)
  3. Confectioner’s sugar (powdered/icing sugar) for dusting cakes



Prepare the dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
  • In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.
  • With an electric mixer on low-speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes.
  • Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the  1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Prepare your filling:

  • Add the chopped apples to a saucepan and add the cinnamon and sugar to it and let it cook. This takes about 15-20 minutes depending on what kind of apples you use. Make sure that the apples are soft and mushy but is still in chunks. You do not want it to get too mushy.
  • Cool this to room temperature before using to fill the dough.
  • Chop the walnuts and set it aside.

Prepare the Meringue:

  • Once the dough has doubled, in a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low-speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque.
  • Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cake:

  • Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Punch down the dough and divide in half.
  • On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle.
  • Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges.
  • Spread half the apple over the meringue and then sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the apple.
  • Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down.
  • If you would like to make a round coffee cake Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal. I made a log shaped coffee cake this time.
  • Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the log or the outside edge of the round coffee cake at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.
  • Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.
  • Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.
  • Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling.
  • These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.

This weekend coffee cake is what we had for breakfast and I must say I am loving it. It all gooey inside and the dough is both fluffy and crunchy. I loved this and am so ready to make a savory version of this very soon. I loved this recipe specially since it’s so versatile – just change the filling and you have a different version of the coffee cake! And once again cheers to all the daring bakers for all the awesome versions of the coffee cakes tried and tested over the month of March. I am sure there are many happy tummies out there, having enjoyed the yummy coffee cakes. And a special thanks to Jamie and Ria for the wonderful challenge this month.

What’s the festival of colors without some Puranpoli…

I am not a big fan of Holi. When I was in high school, I once got an allergic reaction to the Holi colors and have never been able to play Holi again. But that does not mean that I do not enjoy the food that’s made for Holi. I just stay away from the colors. For Amit, Holi is complete only if there is homemade puranpoli and I definitely did not want him to have an incomplete Holi. No colors does not mean no puranpoli. So I decided to make some puranpoli with katachi amti for lunch today. I definitely have my own recipe for the puranpoli but I do not have a recipe of my own for the katachi amti. So I found this recipe on a blog which I really liked and have tweaked just a little bit to my liking. I have linked the blog at the end of my post.

I was able to make about 10 puranpolis with this recipe. But the puranpolis were pretty big about 7 to 8 inches in diameter. And the Katachi Amti recipe makes about 6 small bowls.


For the Puranpoli dough

  1. 1.5 cups wheat flour
  2. 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  3. 2 teaspoons oil
  4. pinch of salt
  5. water for the dough

For the Puranpoli filling

  1. 1 cup chana dal
  2. 1 cup jaggery (more or less depending on how sweet you like it)
  3. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  4. 1.5 teaspoon cardamom powder

For the Katachi Amti

  1. 3 cups chana dal water
  2. 1.5 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
  3. 2 teaspoon Goda Masala / Garam Masala
  4. 2 – 4 teaspoon Tamarind paste
  5. 3 teaspoon Jaggery
  6. 2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds, roasted
  7. 3-4 tablespoon coconut, grated and roasted
  8. 1 piece Cinnamon
  9. 2 bay leaves
  10. 8-10 curry leaves
  11. 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  12. 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  13. A pinch of asafoetida
  14. Salt to taste
  15. 2-3 tsp Coriander / cilantro, chopped
  16. Oil
  17. Water


For the Puranpoli

  • Boil the chana dal in about 4-5 cups of water. You could cook the chana dal in a pressure cooker or like I did in a normal pan with a lid. It took me about 20-30 minutes to cook the chana dal.
  • In the meanwhile I prepared the dough by mixing all the ingredients together except the water. Add the water and knead the dough. Make sure that the dough is soft and easy to roll out. Set the dough aside and prepare the puranpoli filling in the meanwhile. Cover the dough with a moist paper towel or kitchen towel.
  • Divide the dough and the puran / filling into 8-10 equal portions. Take one of the portions of the dough and roll it out 3-4 inches. Next take one portion of the filling and place it in the center.
  • Seal the filling inside the dough by bringing together the sides. Roll out the dough 8-10 inches to form a even poli.
  • Heat the pan to medium high and make the polis by flipping each side about 1-2 times.
  • Once the chana dal is cooked, strain the chana dal and set aside the water. Mash the chana dal in the same bowl on a low flame. Then and add the jaggery, nutmeg and cardamom to it and mix well. Heat the mixture till the puran is a soft and dry but can still be formed into small balls. Let this cool.
  • In the meanwhile make the amti by bringing the chana dal water to a simmer. Add the red chilli powder, goda masala / garam masala, tamarind paste and jaggery and bring to boil.
  • While the water is coming to a boil, grind the roasted cumin seeds and coconut to a fine powder. Add this to the chana dal water once it comes to a boil. Once the mixture has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and let it simmer.
  • Next heat a couple of teaspoons of oil and add the asafoetida, mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  • Once the mustard seeds start to sputter add the cinnamon, bay leaves and curry leaves and let it fry for a minute or two. Now transfer this to the chana dal water and let it simmer for a few more minutes. Now add salt to taste.
  • Check the amti and adjust the spices to your liking. Add more jaggery, tamarind or red chilli powder depending on how sweet, sour or spicy you like your amti. Add more water if it gets too thick. Garnish with the coriander / cilantro leaves.
  • Serve the puranpolis with the amti with a blob of ghee.

And here’s the blog where I found the recipe for the amti:

It felt, oh so good, to have the puranpolis for lunch on Holi. Almost felt like we were back home! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much I enjoyed making and eating it. And Happy Holi to Everyone!!! Spring is definitely here, the tree just outside our patio is all green now, it was barren just a week back! Though this also  means that summer is just around the corner, I prefer to enjoy the weather today when it is just perfect here in AZ.

The Second of a Trilogy

So as promised in my post a few days back, here is the second recipe that I came up with for the shrimp. I guess there are some things from your roots you are rarely able to get away from. Like my love for black pepper. My family is originally from a town called Tellicherry in Kerala. And it’s famous for its black pepper. I never realized that the black pepper from back home was sold at a premium here in the US. You find Tellicherry black pepper in gourmet aisles. And to think of it, my grandma’s home in Tellicherry had a pepper tree that I barely remember. Well I do remember it but I guess it’s only when you can no more see it every summer vacation that you miss it. I really miss those month-long summer vacations in Kerala. My cousins and I have some pretty awesome memories from those long past days.

Anyways to get back to my shrimp recipe, I love pepper and I love using it in most of my recipes rather than chilli powder. I love the spicy hotness black pepper leaves behind in your throat. So if you are not one who loves black pepper, just hold back on the amount you put in. But you may miss out on the essential taste of this dish if you put too less of it. I used sweet sake and pepper as two main ingredients because the final taste that this dish leaves behind is the sweetness of the sake and the hotness of the black pepper. And to add to it, it a pretty quick to make recipe. It took me about half hour to make it, specially since I had deveined, tail off shrimp at home.

I used about 30-40 medium-sized shrimp and it served about 2-3 persons for a very filling meal.


  1. 30 – 40 medium-sized shrimp / prawns
  2. 1 sprig curry leaves
  3. 1 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  4. 18-20 green onions (white part chopped, green part cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
  5. 2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
  6. 2 green chillies, chopped (use more or less depending on how spicy you want the dish, you also skip this entirely and add just the black pepper powder)
  7. 3 teaspoons garlic paste
  8. 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (use normal soy sauce of low sodium is unavailable)
  9. 1 tablespoon spicy schezuan stir fry sauce (you could skip this entirely, I have made it with and without this sauce and both versions taste great)
  10. 1/2 cup sweet sake (you could substitute this with some sort of sweet cooking wine)
  11. 1 – 1 1/2 cup vegetable stock / water
  12. 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  13. 1/2 – 1 cup chopped coriander / cilantro
  14. 2 teaspoons olive oil (you could substitute this with vegetable / canola oil)


  • Heat the oil in a wide bottomed sauce pan. Once hot, add the mustard seeds.
  • Once the seeds start to sputter add the curry leaves and green chilli and stir for a few seconds.
  • Next add the white part of the green onions and stir fry for a couple of minutes, till it softens.
  • Then add the green part of the green onions and stir for a few minutes till it has softened.
  • Next add the garlic paste and fry till the raw smell of garlic and gone. This would take a couple of minutes at the most.
  • Now add the soya sauce, the spicy schezuan stir fry sauce (if using) and the sweet sake and bring to a simmer.
  • Next add the shrimp to this sauce and let it cook. If you want a dry dish without any gravy, do not add the vegetable stock / water.
  • But if you would like a dish with more gravy in it, add the vegetable stock/water depending on how much sauce you would like.
  • Once the shrimp has almost cooked, add the black pepper and the coriander / cilantro leaves and stir it. Let cook for a couple of minutes and take it off the heat.

I served this with some bread, but you can serve it as an appetizer if you reduce the gravy or with rice if you increase the sauce by adding more of the vegetable stock / water. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as Amit and I did. I have made it a couple of times now and this is one recipe that’s quick and easy to make. And I still have the third of the trilogy to post, which I will very soon.


And I just realized that this post is right on time for St. Patrick’s day and what a coincidence that the dish is Shrimp in GREEN sauce!!! So Happy St. Patrick’s day to everyone. Have fun, be safe and don’t drink and drive!

Peruvian Treasures

It’s that time of the month again…. Time for the March Daring Cooks Challenge. Last month was Japanese cuisine and this month it’s Peruvian cuisine. As each month goes by, I am beyond happy that I chose to join the Daring Cooks. I definitely had never before eaten Peruvian cuisine and neither had I got a chance to make Peruvian food. So when the March challenge was announced, I was really excited as it was something really new for me!

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

The Ceviche is a raw seafood dish. I love seafood but am not particularly excited by the thought of raw seafood. And then there was someone on daring cooks, who made the ceviche with tofu. I loved the idea so decided to make vegetarian ceviche with tofu instead of the seafood. As far as the Papas Rellenas is concerned, I made them with ground turkey. I also added half an egg at the center if the Papas Rellenas which again is something that some of the other daring cooks came up with. So here are the recipes for the Ceviche and the Papas Rellenas.

The Papas Rellenas were a BIG hit. It’s also so versatile as you can make them vegetarian, or change the meat to beef, chicken, pork, etc. I am sure I am going to make different variations of this very soon. I hope you too enjoy these Peruvian treasures as much as I did.

Papas Rellenas


For the dough:

  1. 2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
  2. 1 large egg

For the filling:

  1. 2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
  2. ½ lb (250 grams) ground (minced) turkey
  3. 6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives) – I am not very fond of olives, so I skipped this
  4. 3 hard boiled large eggs (halved)
  5. 1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
  6. ½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
  7. 1 finely diced aji pepper (ok to sub jalapeño or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less) – I used thai pepper
  8. 2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
  9. 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
  10. ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
  11. Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:

  1. 1 large egg, beaten
  2. 1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
  3. Dash cayenne pepper
  4. Dash salt
  5. 1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)
  6. Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)


In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling.  While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.”  In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool.

For the dough:

  • Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork.  Remove them from the water and cool.
  • Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).
  • Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

While the potatoes cool down before finishing the dough, you can make the filling:

  • Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the chili pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes.
  • Add ground turkey and brown
  • Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).
  • Deglaze the pan with white wine / stock. I used vegetable stock.
  • Add olives and cook for a few moments longer.
  • Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Forming and frying the papas:

  • Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt.  In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water.  Put bread crumbs in the third
  • Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.
  • Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center.
  • Then place half an egg inside the filling, then place more of the filling over the egg and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling.  Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).
  • Heat 1 ½ – 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 – 190°C).5. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs.
  • Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.  Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides.
  • Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.
  • Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately.

I did not use any sauce, the Papas were really delicious just by itself.

Salsa Criolla


  1. 2 medium red onions, cut in half and very thinly sliced (as half-circles)
  2. 1/2 chili pepper (your preference)
  3. 1 tablespoon vinegar
  4. Juice from 1 lime
  5. Salt and pepper to taste


  • Soak the onions in cold salt water for about 10 minutes to remove bitterness. Drain.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the onions to macerate and the flavors to combine.

Vegetarian Ceviche


  1. 2 lbs. (about 1 kg) firm tofu (white fish (scallops or other seafood may be substituted) for the original ceviche)
  2. 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  3. 1 chili pepper, minced (Aji if you can find it, but Jalapeno or other peppers can sub)
  4. 1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (between 8-12 limes)Fresh juice only, no bottled.  Can use lemons in lieu of limes.
  5. 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (4 grams) (1/8 oz) fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
  6. 1 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  7. Salt and pepper (to taste)


  1. 1 large sweet potato
  2. 1 large ear of corn
  3. Lettuce leaves


  • Boil sweet potato and corn (separately) if using for garnish.  Allow to cool. (Can be done hours or even a day in advance)
  • (Wash and trim your fish if making the original ceviche).  Slice into pieces between ½ inch (15 mm) cubes to 2 inch (50mm) pieces.
  • Place tofu / fish in a non-reactive, shallow pan in a thin layer.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Combine lime juice, chili pepper, coriander and garlic.  Pour mixture over tofu / fish.  Stir lightly to expose all the tofu / fish to some of the lime juice mixture.
  • Put sliced onion on top of tofu / fish as it “cooks”.
  • Let tofu / fish stand for 10 minutes.  Lift tofu / fish out of the lime juice and plate individual portions , garnishing with lettuce, slices of sweet potato and slices or kernels of corn if using.


This can be served either as a starter or as a main dish. I preferred it as a starter and it was an absolutely fresh and light starter.

My Love Hate relationship with Eggs!!!

When I was a kid I used to hate eggs in any form. I just hated them, but then I grew up and started cooking and realized that it was a pretty quick to fix meal. That’s when I decided that I do not hate eggs anymore!!! I am not an egg lover just yet but I do make it more often than not. And it’s not something I shy away from cooking anymore. It amazing how eggs are cooked so different in India versus the US. This recipe is an egg curry which is really quick and easy to make and Amit’s verdict was that it is ‘blog-able’. And add to it I loved it cos thought I do not hate eggs anymore I am still very picky about how they are prepared!

It took me about 30 minutes to prepare this dish and you can eat it with rice, bread or chappatis (indian bread). I would say that it’s a very easy recipe, one which you make when you are really hungry and want something quick to eat.


  1. 4 hard boiled eggs cut into halves
  2. 1/2 onion (sliced)
  3. 1/2 tomato (chopped)
  4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  6. 1 teaspoon chilli powder (increase or reduce to taste)
  7. 1 tsp coriander powder
  8. 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  9. 1/2 tsp garam masala
  10. 1 – 2 cups vegetable stock ( you could substitute with water or any other stock)
  11. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  12. coriander leaves (for garnish)
  13. 2 teaspoon oil
  14. 1 tsp fenugreek leaves
  15. salt to taste


  • Add a teaspoon of the oil and add the onions to the saucepan. Cover and let the onions fry to a dark brown color.
  • Add a few teaspoons of the stock / water to deglaze the pan once the onions are browned.
  • Next add the tomatoes and let it soften for a few minutes.
  • Now remove from the saucepan and transfer to a food processor. Add a 1/4 cup stock / water and process the onion and tomato to a fine paste.
  • In the meanwhile heat the rest of the oil. Add cumin seeds and once they sputter add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder and cumin powder and fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Next add the onion-tomato paste back into the saucepan and mix well.
  • Let it simmer for a couple of minutes then add the coconut milk, the fenugreek leaves and the rest of the stock. You may add less or more of the stock according to how thick or thin you like the gravy.
  • Let the gravy come to a boil then lower the flame and add the halves of the hard boiled eggs.
  • Now add the coriander leaves as garnish and serve hot with any bread / rice of your choice.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. And it took about 30 minutes from start to finish. I prepared the hard boiled eggs while I was preparing the gravy so the eggs were ready to be put into the gravy by the time the gravy was ready. I hard boil the eggs by immersing the eggs in water and placing the pan on the gas. One the water comes to a boil let it keep boiling for about 5 minutes. Then remove from the gas and keep covered for 10-15 minutes. Next immerse the eggs in ice water for 10 minutes before removing the shell.

This serves 2-3 persons depending on the number of eggs you add to the gravy. And remember to add the salt at the end after tasting the gravy specially if you are using stock. As many of the store bought stocks have some amount of added salt in it.

Bye for now and I’ll be back very soon with the March Daring Cooks challenge recipe.

February Daring Bakers Challenge

I have blogged about panna cotta in the past. In fact I have two panna cotta posts, the strawberry panna cotta and a milk chocolate panna cotta. But they have been healthier versions of the panna cotta but this blog is about the original panna cotta, the melt in your mouth kind, the kind you shut out all other senses for…

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Both the recipes are absolutely easy to make even in large quantities and so delicious. I actually rate my recipes by the rate at which Amit finishes the dish. And this one actually was cleaned out in about 3-4 minutes. So now you can rate the dish yourself. Hope you enjoy the recipe and love it as much as I loved it.

I was supposed to post this recipe last weekend but due to my very hectic schedule now, I was able to make the cookies but not the panna cotta last weekend.

Giada’s Vanilla Panna Cotta


  1. 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  2. 1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
  3. 3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
  4. 1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
  5. 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar
  6. pinch of salt


  • Pour the milk into a bowl or pot 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.
  • 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. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).
  • 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.
  • Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
  • Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.

I added a layer of strawberry gelee over my vanilla panna cotta. The recipe for that follows.

Strawberry Gelee


  1. 1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) fruit (strawberries, raspberries, mango, blackberry, etc.)*Note:  Certain fruits interact with gelatin and stop it gelling like pineapple and kiwi etc.
  2. 3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
  3. 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  4. 1½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (3½ gm) (1/8 oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
  5. 1/4 cup triple sec


  • Sprinkle gelatin over water.
  • Place the fruit and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer until sugar has dissolved.
  • Next add the triple sec and let the mixture come to a boil.
  • Now mix the gelatin into the strawberry mixture and stir until gelatin has dissolved.
  • Let the gelee mixture simmer till the fruit has completely disintegrated.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool (close to room temp, again, if you’re planning on layering on pouring on top of your Panna Cotta, a hot mixture will also heat up your chilled Panna Cotta).

I added a few slices of strawberry over the chilled panna cotta before adding the gelee over it.

Nestle Florentine Cookies


This recipe is from the cookbook “Nestle Classic Recipes”.

  1. 2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter
  2. 2 cups (480 ml) (160 gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
  3. 1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) granulated sugar
  4. 2/3 cup (160 ml) (95 gm) (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour
  5. 1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup
  6. 1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
  7. 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
  8. pinch of salt
  9. 1½ cups (360 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) dark or milk chocolate


This recipe will make about 2 1/2 – 3 dozen sandwiched Florentine cookies. You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper).

  • Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5).  Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
  • 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.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate. I did not sandwich the cookies, I just added the chocolate over the cookie to form a hash pattern.

Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I enjoyed making and eating them.