Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Autumnal Birthday cupcake..or is it a muffin?

Is it a cupcake or is it a muffin? Personally I don't mind eating either - I'd happily shove either (or both) of them with my beloved morning tea/coffee or even after a meal. But there is a difference afterall. Think of cupcakes as mini cakes that are made fancy with some icing on top. Muffins on the other hand are a more healthy, dense, and less fancy cousin. They are typically sans icing, and have fruits and/or nuts as well. Or if it is me, I'd also add in some wheat bran, maybe some
oats or some shredded wheat, maybe some ground flax!

Not today though. Today is one of those days when I cook without all
these goodies. Its just all purpose flour, refined sugar, eggs, and
butter. Yep, all the ingredients for a good and not-so-healthy cupcake.
This is inspired by Nigella Lawson's Autumnal Birthday cake from "How to be a Domestic Goddess". Actually it is exactly the same - but there is no icing, and I put the batter in my muffin tin, rather than a cake pan - simply because it looked better with a cup of afternoon tea.

I had a lot of maple syrup lying which I hadnt quite used up yet. I love maple syrup, but this one was a cheap version - very runny and not the dark amber colour that defines a good maple syrup. But this was all that I could find at my local Migros, and when it is hidden inside a dark brown bottle, you cant really guess what you are gonna get! But with so much of maple syrup in the recipe, and no other flavouring (read icing), these babies tasted a lot like pancakes! And who's complaining. I, for one, love pancakes

Here is the recipe

175 g butter, softened
100 g sugar
3 large eggs
350 ml maple syrup
500 g all purpose flour
175 ml hot water

If you are used to the cups and tablespoon measurements, here is a wonderful link from Diana's Desserts I use all the time! To prepare, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in the maple syrup gradually. Alternate adding flour and hot water, and beat until smooth.

Divide into cupcake tins, about 3/4 of the way up for each. Bake for 14 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack (20 minutes if you use non-stick spray instead of liners).

I sprinkled some chocolate shavings and some chocolate syrup. But they were lovely just on their own. Share

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Life after coffee

Life after coffee

Because there is no life before coffee!

True isn't it? I think I wouldn't be wrong if I say I sleep just to wake up for coffee! (Oh what a loser that makes me!)
But seriously, how many of us can wake up without our caffeine kick? Anyone, anyone?
Yeah, I thought as much.

Some of my fondest memories of college are just hanging around at the coffee shop and chat away into the evenings like nobody's business. It is no different now - I usually go for at least 2 coffee breaks during the day. After all without coffee breaks, there will be no accomplishments now, would there?

I can't even imagine to start writing on the options or preferences to making the perfect cuppa. Automatic drip or French press? Ground or whole bean? Fiery or frosty? Regular or decaf? Americano, cappuccino, espresso, macchiato, mocha, or latte?

For me the type of coffee depends on the mood and the time of the day. A strong espresso does it for the morning, a mild sweet one after a meal and a cold one for those rare hot afternoons. Here is my version of Iced coffee, which I make using the cold brew method which also is less acidic.

I will not touch on the various methods, beans, ways, machines to make coffee. A single post would never really be enough for it all - and it wouldn't be fair either to this elixir. More posts to come in the future. Share

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Orange, Almond and Fennel cookies

Our vacation was almost 2 weeks ago, and I am already hoping we had another one! You know the first thing I did the day I returned to work? There were some 1500 e-mails staring at me, and my colleagues had already given me a low down on the umpteen number of items waiting for my attention! I looked for the holiday calender, and counted the number of days to the next long weekend! :-)
We were spoilt my our moms and grandmoms! I was off my usual "Eat healthy" ramble, and made sure I ate everything that is deep-fried, unhealthy and fatty. As long it tasted great, I was fine!

So coming home was a bit of a wake-up. These cookies are a healthy version - it uses whole wheat flour, and some oil. Here is the recipe - inspired from Sunita's post

2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tblsp of ground almonds
1 tsp of ground fennel seeds
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tblsp of orange zest
5 tblsp of sunflower or vegetable oil
5 tblsp of icing sugar
1/2 C of milk

Some slivered almonds, and fennel seeds for topping.
Mix together the flour, soda, almonds, icing sugar, orange zest, powdered fennel with your fingers until they resemble fine crumbs.
Mix together the milk and oil. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and tip in the milk mixture.
Fold in quickly, with a rubber spatula or fingertips, till just mixed.
Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven at 180 deg c and line a baking tray.
With slightly damp hands, make 25 balls of the dough and arrange them on the tray, a little apart from each other. Flatten the balls a little with the fingertips and press an almond sliver on top. I placed fennel seeds as well - to kind of make a face, but a lot of them fell off :-(
Place the tray in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 22-25 minutes or till the tops are light golden.
Cool on the tray for a couple of seconds and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Reminder - The DMBLGIT for February 2010 is currently on. Please send me your entries Share

Thursday, February 11, 2010

DMBLGIT February 2010 Announcement

Does My Blog Look Good In This is a monthly food photography event that is hosted by a different blogger every month. The administrator of the event is Andrew of and Spittoon and SpittoonExtra. It is open to all bloggers who have posted a photograph with a food or drink connection. Food bloggers submit their best photos from posts they completed during the previous month which are then judged and scored. Winners are made covering three categories (edibility, aesthetics, and originality) plus three overall winners.

This month I have the pleasure of hosting the DMBLGIT. Here is what you need to do to enter.

1)Send a photo that has appeared on your blog during January 2010. The photo should be food and/or drink related.
2)Your photo must be text-free, please.
3)Only one entry per person.
4)The photograph must have been taken by you (copyright is allowed).
5)Deadline for submissions : February 20, 2010.

Send your entry to snacksgiving[AT]gmail[DOT]com with DMBLGIT in the subject line with the following details:

- Your name.
- Your location.
- Your blog’s name and URL.
- The photograph that you wish to enter, of no more than 500 pixels wide.
- Your photograph’s title.
- URL of the post containing the photograph.
- Type of camera used, lens if you wish.
By submitting a photo, you agree to your picture being redisplayed and altered in size on the host’s page and on DMBLGIT page.

The judges will review your entries on the basis of:
- Aesthetics: composition, food styling, lighting, focus, etc.
- Edibility: “Does the photo make us want to dive in and eat the food?”
- Originality: the photograph that catches our attention and makes us want to say wow!, displaying something we might not have seen before.
I will be announcing the judges in a separate post so stay tuned!!

From these categories, the judges will come up with:
- Overall Winner: top overall scores in all three categories combined.
- There are three overall winners for photographs with the highest point totals in all three categories combined, and one winner in each of the three individual categories.

Every photo entry will be compiled on DMBLGIT February 2010 photo album.
Update: The photo gallery can be found here DMBLGIT Jan2010

Well? What are you waiting for? Come on, send me your gorgeous photo entry. And thanks so much for your participations! Share

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Think Vanilla roundup, and we've been adopted!

Just returned from a kind of last minute vacation. We went to India and met our families for a few days - and needless to say, ate like pigs! Since it was a short vacation, our moms were on a mission to feed us all our favourite dishes in that short span - 5 days at my place, and 5 at my in-laws. Of course we didn't complain, although we were eating almost every 2-3 hours! In the evenings, we would go out and eat some more!! Yeah, my jeans do realise that!

I am late in posting the round up for the Think Vanilla event. Unfortunately, I got a lukewarm response - just 5 entries. Hopefully I should have a better response for my next event - Does My Blog Look Good In This (DMBLGIT). I shall have another post on that later today.
Before I get to the roundup - another announcement that I am very happy about. Snacksgiving is being adopted! We shall have a blogger momma - Amanda of What we are eating and "Food Porn Daily". Adopt-a-Blogger is a wonderful program that allows newbies in the blogging world find their place and learn from the veterans. The 4th Adopt-a-Blogger is being hosted by Kristen of Dine and Dish. Thank you Amanda for adopting us!

Below is the round-up for the Think Vanilla event. Thank you to all who participated.

- Stone Fruit Tea Cake (Peach Tea Cake) from Taste Space

- Chocolate Truffle from A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine

- Cream Cheese Brownies from Malaysian Delicacies

- Bannana Buttermilk Pancake from Zesty South Indian Kitchen

- Lemon Yogurt Cake from MySpicyKitchen Share