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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

" Baked Aubergine with Cheese and Tomato relish"

Italian food is one of the most beautiful form of Baked or Light savoury dishes.The use of vegetables, meat with a combination of herbs and olive oil makes it highly nutritious and delicious. A simple pasta and a glass of wine can be the perfect evening meal for your special occassions. Nothing can be more romantic than serving an Italian meal to your loved one on that special day. 
This weekend I made Spinach Pasta with Baked Aubergines. Today I am sharing the recipe of Baked Aubergine with cheese and tomato relish. 
Surprise your loved one with a little bit of jazz, a glass of wine and Baked Aubergine with Pasta dish.

Enjoy this recipe and I'll wait for your feedback and comments !!!

" Baked Aubergine with Cheese and Tomato relish"

Ingredients : 

Aubergine/ Big Brinjal - 500 gms ( cut into round slices )
Cornflour 3 tbsp
Salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil  4-5 tbsp
Onions 2 finely chopped
Garlic cloves 6-7
Tomato puree 1 cup or 3 finely chopped tomatoes
Mozzarella or processed cheese 1 cup grated
Italian seasoning or Oregano 1 tbsp
Chilli Flakes 1 tbsp

  • Preheat the oven at 180*C for ten minutes before baking
  • In a wide bowl mix cornflour with salt and pepper to taste. Add water and make it in a thick paste.
  • Heat olive oil in pan. Dip the Aubergine slices in the cornflour paste and fry in the hot oil till crisp and brown. Remove on a kitchen paper and keep aside
  • Add garlic to the pan and fry for a minute till it browns a little and the aroma comes in. Add onions and fry till light pink in colour. 
  • Add tomato puree and stir well. Add salt as per taste ( remember that even aubergine& cheese has salt so adjust accordingly)
  • Once the puree becomes thick add oregano/italian seasoning and chilli flakes. Mix well.Remove from heat
  • Now in a ovenproof dish, put a little tomatoe sauce on the bottom. Arrange the fried Aubergine slices on top of the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce on top of the Aubergine slices. Garnish with grated cheese on top.
  • Bake in the pre heated oven for 15-20 mins till the cheese has melted.
  • Serve hot with pasta of your choice.
Note : This goes well with Fussilli or Penne pasta. If you dont intend to fry the Aubergine and looking for a more healthier version then bake the slices in the oven for 40 -45 minutes. You will have to drizzle olive oil and salt on the slices and cover it with foil and then bake to get crisp and fully cooked slices.

Friday, 24 August 2012

"Baked Vegetables with Cheese"

Continental cuisine is one of my favourite things to make and eat at all times. Every multi cuisine restaurant survives on a mix of continental and theme food.  The dishes are superbly baked and dressed with beautiful sauces and herbs. The flavours of continental cuisine are not overpowering, not spicy and not bland at the same time. They are a perfect balance of different ingredients which act wonderfully together.We can call this type of cuisine as light & heart which is loved by both vegetarians and non vegetarians.
I like to make a continental dish as a side when I am serving curries and spicy food to guests to balance the flavours. Today, I'll share the most common and preferred dish from the Continental world. 
This is the recipe for Baked Vegetable with cheese. You might know it as Vegetable au Gratin or simple baked vegetables or continental vegetables. The main ingredient for this dish is the White Sauce which is also known as the Bechamel sauce.

"Baked Vegetable with cheese"


For the white sauce :
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp plain flour 
2 and 1/2 cups milk - slightly warmed
salt and pepper to taste

For the vegetables :
8-10 french beans - diced long
1 carrot - diced in round pieces
6-7 florets of cauliflower - cut small
1/2 cup cabbage - shredded
1/2 cup shelled peas
1 potato - cut into small cubes
1 small capsicum - chopped
8-9 baby corns
2 green chillis - chopped ( optional - if you like spicy )

For topping :
1 cup grated Parmesan or processed cheese
1 tomato sliced

  • Preheat the oven at 180*C for ten mins before baking
  • To prepare the sauce melt butter in a thick bottom pan, add flour and keep stirring on slow flame till it becomes little pink in colour
  • Add the milk slowly and keep stirring to avoid any lumps. (You can use a whisk to make it smooth)
  • Keep stirring and cooking till it becomes thick and gets a smooth consistency.
  • Add salt and pepper powder and mix well. Keep aside.
  • Wash all the vegetables and boil them in a pressure cooker ( one whistle) / a deep pan filled with water for 10 mins  / in a microwave for around 5 minutes till they become soft and slightly cooked 
  • Seive the vegetables and once dried add them to the white sauce and mix well. ( Do a salt check at this time as the quantity has increased after adding the vegetables. Add more salt and pepper if required). Add green chillis and mix well.
  • Remove the mixture in a oven proof dish.
  • Top it up with the grated cheese and decorate with tomoto slices.
  • Bake for around 15 minutes in the preheated oven till the sauce bubbles and the cheese has melted
  • Serve hot with garlic bread or as a side dish.
Note : 

You can choose and try this recipe with other forms of vegetables as well. The other option is to add pasta or macaroni to make it a complete filling dish. 

Monday, 20 August 2012

"Classic Swiss Roll"

After a short dose of Indian sweets and desserts, I am back to what i do best - Baking :)
This time I tried my hands on Swiss Roll. Its a beautiful rolled cake which is so soft and tender that it makes you want more and more with every bite. The round slice which looks like a ribbon roll filled with creams and colours is an absolute rich and beautiful creation.
I made the classic swiss roll recipe with cream & jam filling and it tasted absolutely divine. So, here's the recipe and I hope you will make this simple yet gorgeous baked delight.
Happy Baking !!!!

"Swiss Roll"

Ingredients :

75 gms flour plus extra for dusting
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla essence
90 gms caster sugar plus extra for dusting
3 tbsp strawberry/raspberry/apricot/mango jam ( you can use any fruit based jam or reserve )
300 ml whipped cream
2 tsp warm water
little melted butter for greasing

  • Preheat the oven  to 190*C for ten minutes before baking.
  • Lightly grease a Swiss roll tin with butter and arrange a butter or baking paper covering the base and sides.Grease the paper slightly with butter and flour.
  • Beat the eggs with an electric hand mixer or beater till light and fluffy. Add sugar and keep beating till it has increased in volume and becomes smooth and pale.
  • Add warm water and vanilla essence. Add flour in small quantitiles and fold it very gently using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, trying not to knock out the air whisked in already.
  • Pour the mixture in the prepared tin evenly
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes till its well risen,golden brown and the top springs back when touched. Insert a tooth pick and check if its cooked from inside
  • Place a large sheet of baking or butter paper on the kitchen slab. Dust it with lots of caster or icing sugar.
  • Slowly invert the cake tin on the paper and leave for few minutes. Now lift the tin and paper slowly from the top of the cake
  • Cover the cake with a damp towel for 20 mins till it cools down. This will prevent it from cracking.
  • Whip the cream with little caster sugar and make it smooth and fluffy. If the jam is hard and brittle, soften it with little warm water before spreading
  • Once the cake is cool, spread jam on the top of the base. Spread a layer of whipped cream . Make sure both these layers are not covering the corners or sides of the cake. Leave some space on all four sides while spreading
  • Now with the short paper side towards you,start folding the cake slowly till it becomes a complete roll. Hold the paper and press the cake with it to avoid any cracks or breakage.
  • Lift the roll and place it on the serving plate, dust it with icing sugar.
  • Chill for few hours, slice it and serve.
Note : Important tips while making the Swiss roll : Beating eggs and sugar properly helps in making the cake and well risen. While rolling the cake you need to hold the paper tightly and press and push the cake slowly. The cream needs to be firm and smooth, if its runny, it will cause problems while rolling and will ooze out of the roll completely. 
If you dont get double cream or whipped cream, then you can use the tetra pack cream ( Amul ). The trick is to put the pack in the fridge for 2 hours. Remove , cut the top of the pack, drain the water which forms at the base of the pack, remove the cream in the bowl and place it in the freezer for half an hour before whisking. Add caster sugar and it will becomes firm and smooth for filling in the roll.
You can use any filling of your choice, fresh fruits whipped with cream and sugar, chocolate ganache icing,nuts and berries, etc. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


"Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge... At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom".
Jawaharlal Nehru

15th of August, Indian Independence Day. Patriotism celebrated with flag hoisting ceremonies, National Anthem and traditional festivity. On this Independence day, I am sharing a sweet recipe which is loved by every Indian , Rasgullas.
Soft and mushy white Rasgullas which are filled with the sweet & mesmerizing flavours of India.

Do try this recipe and enjoy it with your family and friends. 
Happy Independence Day !!!!!


Ingredients :

4 cups milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 cups water
2 and 1/2 cups sugar
few drops of rose essence
few saffron strands

  • Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan, add lemon juice and stir it till it curdles completely ( the cheese will seperate completely from the transparent liquid)
  • Drain it in a sieve and wash the paneer/cottage cheese with running cold water thoroughly
  • Dry the mix in a muslin cloth or sieve for an hour
  • Knead the cheese in a soft and smooth dough and make small round balls of the mixture and keep aside. Ensure the balls are crackfree and of a smooth consistency.
  • In a pressure cooker, add sugar and water and bring it to a boil
  • Add saffron strands and paneer/cheese balls and close the lid.
  • Give one whistle and then let it cook on slow heat for another 7-8 minutes.
  • Remove the cooker from the gas and let it cool
  • Once cooled, remove the rasgullas in a bowl with the syrup and add rose essence. 
  • Chill it for few hours before serving

Note : you can replace lemon juice with vinegar for making the paneer/cottage cheese. The most important part of this recipe is making sure that the cheese balls are smooth and not crumbly. You can add cardamom powder to the recipe for an additional flavour.Garnish it with almonds, pistachios and rose petals before serving.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Festive Delights -- Gram Flour Ladoos & Saffron Shrikhand

Festival time is just another reason to enjoy sweets. Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. 
The day is marked with prayers, decoration, festive atmosphere and food. 
In Indian houses, there is an array of sweets made out of coconut,pulses,coriander and milk products. Its believed that Lord Krishna loves milk based sweets so its considered auspicious to prepare some on this festive day.
Today I made some Besan Ladoos ( Bengal Gram flour rounds) and Kesar Shrikhand ( saffron flavoured yoghurt)
Both these desserts are simple to make and delicious to taste. Keeping the milk based tradition in mind, I have used by products of Ghee and curd in these sweets.
Enjoy these recipes and have a beautiful Janmashtmi.

"Besan Ladoo"/ "Bengal Gram Flour Rounds"


1 cup gram flour (besan)
3/4th cup powdered sugar
4 tbsp ghee ( clarified butter)
1 tbsp cardamom powder
few roasted almonds - chopped

  • Heat ghee in a thick bottom vessel ( preferably non stick) and roast the gram flour on low heat till the colour changes and you can smell the cooked flour. Avoid burning it.
  • Add sugar and cardamom powder and mix properly. 
  • Remove in a plate and let it cool slightly
  • Grease your hands with ghee 
  • Shape the mixture in small round balls ( ladoos) or flatten them as pedas.
  • Decorate with almonds and serve.
Note : Overcooking or undercooking the flour may lead to problems while shaping them. If the mixture is too dry, you can add a little warm ghee and shape them. If the mixture is too wet and greasy then you can add few tsp of roasted gram flour and shape them.


" Kesar Shrikhand" / "Saffron Flavoured Yoghurt"

1 kg thick curd
3/4th cup powdered sugar
a few strands saffron
2 tbsp warm milk
2 tbsp cardamom powder
Pistachios and almonds for garnishing

  •  Hang the curd in a muslin cloth or in a sieve for 4-5 hours till all the liquid/whey has drained out
  • Dissolve the saffron in warm milk 
  • Mix the hung curd,saffron milk,sugar,cardamom in a bowl. You can whip it or blend it by hand or use a hand mixer till it becomes soft and smooth
  • Place in individual bowls and garnish with chopped nuts and saffron strands
  • Chill in the refrigerator for few hours before serving

Note : You can replace saffron with any fruit pulp like mango, strawberry,raspberry,etc. to enjoy different flavoured yoghurts.