26 December 2011

Spreading Christmas Cheer - Chocolate Cake!

I always bake for Christmas and since I was travelling this year, I picked an easy & never-fail Smitten Kitchen recipe - Everyday Chocolate Cake that I could recreate with minimal ingredients in my friend's kitchen.

I used Scharffen Berger Chocolate and it turned out fantastic. The only thing I added was the Chocolate frosting on top that was melted chocolate - Half & Half - Dark rum + Grand Marnier. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the cake with the frosting, but I can confirm it was a hit! How can you go wrong with chocolate and alcohol! ;)

I wish all of you Happy Holidays and a very happy New Year!  Cheers!

02 December 2011

Lauki (Bottle guard) sabzi

This is my friend's Sudha's recipe - she is an amazing cook who reintroduces me to traditional Indian vegetables and cooking each time I visit her. This recipe is so simple and tasty - I went from not cooking with bottle guard at all to making this atleast once a month! :)

Serves 2 (with leftovers for lunch!)

1 bottle guard (Lauki) - peeled, de-seeded and chopped into 1 inch cubes
Green chillies - 4 or 5 slit
Milk - 1/2 cup
Ground peanuts (pwd)- 2 tablespoons
Cilantro - chopped for garnish
Water - 1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
EVOO - 1 swirl of the pan

Combine the following powders in a cup -
Chilli pwd - 1 tablespoon
Turmeric pwd (haldi) - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander pwd (dhania) - 1 teaspoon
Cumin pwd (jeera) - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala - 1 teaspoon
Hing - a pinch
Salt - to taste

In a pan, heat the oil and add mustard seeds. Once the mustard splutters, add the cumin seeds & slot green chillies. As the cumin browns, add the powders you have already combined in a cup while also stirring the mixture. Don't let the powders burn, but let them cook for a min or so while constantly stirring. After a min, add milk, water, ground peanuts(pwd), water and the chopped bottle guard. Cook covered for about 20 minutes - when cooked the bottle guard pieces should be still al-dente and not too mushy!

Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve hot with rice/roti !