Oven Dried Citrus

Here’s the simplest recipe of all times, and also the most beautiful one by far. We’ve all cooked a lot during the lockdown and in the post lockdown phase and now we’re just ordering in and eating out like before. There was a feeling of being grounded every time we entered the kitchen and then a sense of achievement when we walked out with a dish we’d never tried before. So, to keep the touch with our kitchen and regain that sense of accomplishment, we’ve come up with a new 2-step recipe that requires no time and adds a lot of value to whatever you make.

Here’s a gorgeous gem of a recipe. Made with things that are always around in the kitchen. It’s more of an idea than a recipe.Oven dried citrus fruits are the modern rustic decor for cakes, cupcakes, cocktails, teas and dessert and cheese platters. Its absolutely gorgeous and just as is, it does the trick. Exuding glamour and packed with flavour, try these out now before your next get-together or food photoshoot. use it as a garnish or add it to your hot & cold beverages for that unique flavour. Beware… this one’s a crowd pleaser!

To begin, you’ll need lemons and oranges. This is your only ingredient!

You can use regular lemons, eureka lemons, Amalfi limone, Meyer lemons, lime, or mediterranean lemons. Any variety thats available to you or whichever you like better flavour-wise. As for oranges – regular orange, tangerine, clementine, mandarin or satsuma. We can’t name them all because each is known by different names regionally. As long as its a citrus fruit with a similar texture, it will bake well and using the same recipe.

If you want to know about some specific variety, leave a message in the comments below and we’ll reply back.

Wash and dry the lemons and orange. Preheat the oven to 100 C. Slice the lemons and oranges into about ¼ – ½ cm thick slices.

Spread them evenly to place on the wire rack of your oven. Ensure you don’t overlap them.

Line an oven tray with baking paper. Place the wire rack in the center of the oven and the lined baking tray below it to catch any drippings.

The citrus slices dry depending on the thickness of the slices. The thin ones would be done in about 1 ½ hour and the thick ones will take between 2-2 ½ hours.

Remove the ones that are done using tongs and leave to cool on the counter.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe: Oven-dried Citrus

Ingredients

3 Lemons
1 Orange

Method

  1. Wash and dry the lemons and orange. Preheat the oven to 100 C.
  2. Slice the lemons and oranges into about ¼ – ½ cm thick slices.
  3. Place on the wire rack of the oven. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
  4. Place the wire rack in the center of the oven and the lined baking tray below it to catch any drippings.
  5. The citrus slices dry depending on the thickness of the slices. The thin ones would be done in about 1 ½ hour and the thick ones will take between 2-2 ½ hours.
  6. Remove the ones that are done using tongs and leave to cool on the counter.
  7. Store in an airtight container.

This is a no-work recipe so we insist – please please please try it! And when you do, don’t forget to share it with us. It makes us enormously excited and motivated to creating more innovative recipes. You can tag us on instagram (@theculinaria) and facebook (@theculinaria) and we’d love to share your creations with our network.

Mango Pie

Story of Mango Pie:

Think of a superrrr-duper easy dessert, with very few ingredients,does not use fattening stuff, HEALTHY, refreshing and absolutely delectable. Could you come up with something? Well… we have! Here’s an astonishingly quick, healthy, fruity and delicious dessert – THE “Mango Yoghurt Pie”. The only pie you’ll want to make over and over again.

We, at Culinaria, usually call it the Mango Shrikhand pie. Shrikhand is a refreshing Indian dessert, low fat and healthy because it’s made with yoghurt. Usually it is eaten by itself but here is a pie version of it using mangoes, making it the most delectable dessert for summer. Think of it as Mangoes and cream but in its healthiest form!

Process:

The ingredients for this are the simplest of all. Some digestive biscuits, powdered sugar and butter for base & mango and yoghurt for filling and decorating.

Hung Curd Process:

To hang the curd, put a muslin cloth on a large sieve and put the sieve on a pot.

Tie a knot with two diagonal corners of the muslin cloth to form a bag.

Put a wooden spoon on a deep pot and tie the cloth bag onto the wooden spoon with the remaining two corner.

Let it stand for 1-2 hours. make sure the cloth is not touching the water in the vessel below. We want to take the liquid out of the curd to get a thick cream cheese-y textured curd. if you’re in a hurry, after about 30-40 minutes, you can also squeeze it by hand. But longer is better! In summers to prevent the curd from getting sour you can put this whole apparatus in the refrigerator

Pie Crust:

In the meantime, take the biscuits and powdered sugar in a grinder/processor. Pulse it or grind it, as per choice. You can even use a rolling pin to do this. We just want a crumble.

Add melted butter to it and mix well.

You will need a loose bottom pie dish for this. That helps in un-moulding the pie. If you don’t have one its alright. You can even set it in a shallow wide bowl and scoop it out like a pudding while serving. Transfer the biscuit mixture and spread evenly.

Mango Yoghurt Filling:

Roughly chop 1 mango and purée it.

Add powdered sugar and mix well. You can adjust it according to the sweetness of the mangoes.

Squeeze the curd gently to remove remaining water, if any, and unfold the cheesecloth.

Add it directly to the mango purée.

Mix it with a whisk until smooth. Check for sugar/sweetness at this point. Keep in mind that the remaining mangoes will go on top so don’t make it very sweet now.

Transfer the mango curd filling into the pie dish.

Spread it evenly and gently.

Garnishing & Serving:

Cut the remaining 2 mangoes into slices lengthwise and start arranging from outside to in. Overlap the next slice slightly on the previous one and keep going like a spiral till you reach the centre. For the last one take a thin slice, roll it and put in the centre like a rose.

Garnish with unsalted pistachios or mint leaves and chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or best overnight.

To Unmold:

Put an inverted glass on the kitchen counter. Put the pie dish on it and gently but firmly try to pull the outside ring downwards. It may be difficult because of the biscuit base but eventually it will come off easily. The base of the pie dish and the pie is what will be left on top of the glass. Put the pie along withe the base on a plate and serve immediately, before it starts becoming runny.

Recipe: Mango Yoghurt Pie

Ingredients:

150 gm digestive biscuit
10 tbsp icing sugar
80 gm butter
800 gm yoghurt
3 mangoes, peeled
1 tbsp unsalted pistachio nuts

Method:

  1. Hang the yoghurt overnight in a muslin cloth.
  2. Using a rolling pin crush the biscuits to a coarse powder.
  3. Put the biscuits and powdered sugar in a food processor and crush them. Or transfer to a zip lock and crush using a rolling pin.
  4. Melt the butter and add to this mixture.
  5. Transfer the biscuit mixture into an 8-inch round loose bottom pie dish. Spread it evenly up to the edges and press it all over firmly. Refrigerate for 1 hour or till set.
  6. Cut 2 mangoes into thin long slices. Take the remaining 1 mango in a food processor and puree it.
  7. Take the hung curd in a bowl. Mix in the mango puree and 7 tbsp of powdered sugar. Spread this mixture evenly over the set biscuit crust. Arrange the mango sliced evenly over the shrikhand as shown above in Garnishing & Serving. Chill it in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours or best overnight.
  8. Slice and serve.

Options:

  • If you want to set the shrikhand perfectly then dissolve 1 ½ tsp gelatine in 3 tbsp hot water and add to the shrikhand before spreading.
  • You can also add a layer of whipped cream before putting the mango slices.

Cherry Pound Cake with Olive Oil

Story of Pound Cake:

Pound cake is the BEST cake in the whole damn world! If there was a masterpiece among cakes, this would be it. A Pound cake is called so because back in the days it was made with exactly one pound each of butter, flour, sugar and eggs. In French its also known as quatre quarts which means “four fourths” although pound cake is of British origin. Traditionally it only comprised of these four ingredients and had a more rounded, balanced and slightly heavier texture and flavour owing to the eggs and butter. With time liquids were added to the recipe for moisture and later leavening agents to make it lighter.

The version we know today is delicious. Its our go-to cake for almost everything – tea time, dessert craving, packed lunch dessert, school tiffin portion and gifting! There’s absolutely nothing else thats as satisfying as this cake. We have also added fresh cherries because they’re in season so… why not?

Process

The ingredients are as simple as the cake but we’ve tweaked it a bit. Traditionally a pound cake is made only with butter. Now with our current lifestyles, we knew that you may not want to use 150 gms of butter, so we’ve made it a bit healthier by adding half butter and half extra virgin olive oil. Although healthy and cake shouldn’t be used in one sentence but we know that you’re all looking for foolproof ways to make your tasty food healthy too.

If you want to make a traditional one and want to use only butter then you can just use 150 gm butter and skip olive oil.

For this you will need some pitted fresh cherries. The canned ones are usually pitted but you can easily remove the seeds from fresh ones too.

Preheat your oven and grease and line a cake tin with butter and parchment/baking paper.

For this we begin with creaming the butter and sugar. Since we’re using butter and oil, put them in a large bowl and beat with sugar till a bit creamy. You can do this with an electric beater too.

When turns lighter in colour add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Then add 1 tsp vanilla essence and mix. Add the flour and baking powder.

Mix well. You will notice that the cake batter is more glossy than usual and has a texture like mayonnaise. Its alright! This is due to the olive oil which forms an emulsion because of being beaten with eggs. Thats how traditionally mayonnaise is made.

Now transfer the batter into a cake tin and put the pitted cherries on top and push them into the batter. Push some towards the bottom, some midway and let some be on the top. They’ll give the cake a beautiful look once baked. Put the cake in the preheated oven to bake for

Cherry Compote

While the cake is baking, lets make the cherry compote. We’ll only need cherries and sugar.

For this you will need to remove the seeds of the cherries.

Take the pitted cherries and sugar in a pan on medium heat. Cook for 5-10 mins.

Smash them a little in the pan while cooking.

When you slice a pound cake you’ll notice its unique shape, risen in the centre and usually with a crack.

Serving Suggestions:

You can serve it warm on its own too. We used the cherry compote which we made earlier, to go with it like a jam on toast. Its almost a Victoria’s Sandwich if you top it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Another great way to serve this is, put a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and top it up with the cherry compote. It tastes divine and people will love you for serving them this delicious Cherry Pound Cake.

Recipe: Cherry Pound Cake

Ingredients:

3 eggs
150 gm castor sugar
150 gm all purpose flour
75 ml extra virgin olive oil
75 gm butter, softened
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
100 gm fresh cherries, pitted/deseeded

For Cherry Compote:

150 gm fresh cherries, pitted/deseeded
20 gm castor sugar

Method for Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven at 175° C. Line a loaf tin with butter and baking/parchment paper.
  2. Take the butter, olive oil and sugar in a large bowl and cream until light and fluffy. You can use an electric beater, whisk or a stand mixer. When its lighter in colour, add the eggs one at a time and beat after every addition.
  3. Add the milk and mix well.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder. Add this to the batter along with vanilla extract. Beat till all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter in the lined baking tin. Evenly distribute the cherries on top of the cake batter and push some into the batter. Bake for 45-50 mins or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. Remove and cool.

Method for Cherry Compote:

  1. Take the cherries and sugar in a sauce pan and cook on low-medium flame for 10 minutes.
  2. Smash the cherries a bit.
  3. Turn off the flame when its slightly thicker but still chunky. Transfer it to a bowl and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice.

To serve, read our serving suggestions above.

Mango – King of Fruits

Mango is a tropical fruit with its origin from India and now it has reached many parts of the world. It is a soft fleshy fruit with a very thin skin. The flesh is juicy, sweet and sour with a distinct flavour of its own and varying from lemon yellow to dark orange yellow in colour. The skin is usually green when unripe but varies from yellow to orange and red. There is a big white seed in the centre which is discarded on cutting. Mangoes are a very high source of vitamin A. There are many varieties of mango, Alphanso from India being one the most popular ones. In India, mangoes are very popular and a much awaited fruit during summers. Special Mango festivals are organised throughout the country to enjoy the wide variety that is available here.

India is one of the largest producers and exporters of mangoes. Unripe mangoes can be wrapped in paper and kept at room temperature to become ripe. Mangoes are eaten in a lot of different forms. The unripe sour and green mangoes are used to make pickles, chutneys, candied mango strips (aam papad) and an Indian summer drink panna. Ripe, sweet and yellow mangoes are eaten as it is or used to make milk shakes, juices, sorbets, jams, ice creams and desserts. Since mangoes are available in summers, I thought of creating a chilled summer dessert, mango ricotta parfait.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

Also popularly known as chocolate truffle, the ganache is a very easy, delicious and versatile recipe. This one’s a keeper! Use it to ice a cake (vanilla or chocolate or any flavour on earth) or serve it alongside a dessert – the possibilities are endless. So, we’re saying… even if you haven’t tried the other recipes, give this one a go, because you’ll be surprised by the outcome and marvel at the awesome spectacle of your own creation. Yes its that simple and delicious!

All you need is just 2 ingredients!! Fresh cream and cooking chocolate. You can use any cream you like. Fresh dairy cream is also fine but I usually avoid that for a ganache because its moisture content is high and inconsistent. I use the store-bought packaged fresh cream. For the chocolate too, avoid the regular chocolate we eat because the the fat (cocoa butter) can vary and also, because they have some amount of milk (read milk solids) in it and that differ the outcome.

There are two types of cooking chocolate available in the market – Chocolate and chocolate compound. Either can be used. Chocolate is usually more expensive because it has the natural cocoa butter and compound is man-made chocolate so its a bit cheaper. Both can be used for this.

To begin, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a microwave. If using a microwave, heat it for 30 seconds and then let the chocolate stand for 30 seconds. Then toss it with a DRY spoon. Ensure that no water touches chocolate. Then repeat the 30-30 process till its melted. You must never heat the chocolate in one go because chocolate can burn easily.

Keep a whisk or a spoon ready. Heat the cream in a pan. Bring it to a boil and turn it off. Add the cream to the chocolate and whisk vigorously and quickly.

It will start turning glossy and turn darker in colour. Mix till completely blended.

You will have a glossier, darker and smooth chocolate ganache.

The consistency should be thicker than a ribbon consistency. If you store it in the fridge it will get thicker. Suit your requirement.

This is ideal for icing a cake. You can use it with a chocolate or vanilla cake. We’ve tried both and they taste great! Let us know in the comments below how it turned out. Leave a heart if you liked the recipe ❤

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

500 gm dark chocolate
250 gm fresh cream

Method

  1. Take the chocolate in a glass bowl and melt it either on a double boiler or in the microwave. If melting in the microwave then do 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off to prevent the chocolate from burning.
  2. In a saucepan take fresh cream and bring to a boil. Pour it over the melted chocolate.
  3. Using a whisk mix the cream with the melted chocolate quickly till smooth and glossy.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator till it is a little firm.

Chocolate Truffle Cake

Who doesn’t love a decadent chocolate cake with chocolate ganache! We thought we’ll share a quick and easy way of making it, especially because your favourite restaurants and bakeries are locked down and its a great time to explore your skills. We do have a quick fix method for that.

We have our own cake mix brand (The Daily Gourmet) which has been in the market for the last 6-7 years. Gauricka and I use the cake mix all the time for birthdays and anniversaries in the family. Being a baker, everyone expects a lot and sometimes it can be a challenge when you’re crunched for time. Thats the beauty of our cake mixes. They’re not ‘like’ homemade cakes, they are homemade cakes! We use ingredients exactly how you would from your pantry. Then we DONT go ahead and add preservatives, emulsifiers or dough conditioners. We just package it. The best part is we use all-organic flour for it. Which is why both of us use it all the time for our cakes… because we know what we put in it.

So here’s a recipe with the mix. You can use any other boxed mix of your choice or whichever is available to you. In that case make the cake with the respective method and then follow our ganache recipe and icing instructions.

All you need is the cake mix, 2 eggs, 100g butter and 200 ml water. Since I was making this for my daughter’s birthday cake, I used 2 boxes of the cake mix because I wanted four layers of cake with the ganache in between the layers. If you want to do that too, just take two boxes of the cake mix and double the quantity of eggs, butter and water. Make it together in the same manner.

Begin with preheating your oven at 175°C and line a cake tin with parchment or butter paper. Put the eggs, water and melted butter in a bowl and mix.

Empty the cake mix into the wet ingredients and beat with an electric beater for 2 mins on high speed.

If you don’t have one, you can beat with a whisk and mix well for 3-4 minutes. You can also use a stand mixer if you like. The batter will become smooth and glossy.

Transfer the batter to the lined cake tin.

Since I made two boxes, I’ve put the batter in 2 tins. If you’re making one box, then just put it in one cake tin. Each cake can be sliced in the centre horizontally for icing.

A cake that cracks, we call it a happy cake!

Slice the cake horizontally in the centre. You’ll get two layers. You can slice the dome on the top first if you want a flat top. Its your choice.

If you’re removing the risen dome then slice that first and then slice the remaining cake into two equal layers with a bread knife.

if you’re making 2 cakes with 2 boxes of the mix, then slice each cake into two layers. You will have 4 layers of cake.

Place you first layer on the base you will finally serve the cake on. Moisten it with vanilla water evenly.

To make vanilla water, take 1/2 cup water and add 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract. Dissolve 1 tsp sugar in it.

Now whip the chocolate ganache with a beater or whisk to add air into it and make it lighter.e. To make the ganache refer to our recipe for Chocolate Truffle/Ganache.

It will become slightly lighter in colour because of the added air. Just like how coffee changes colour when beaten.

Spread some ganache evenly on the moistened layer. Add the next layer of cake on it and repeat the vanilla water and ganache process.

Spread the ganache evenly on each layer after moistening. It is important that you spread it evenly and gently press the next layer in place. That way you wont get a leaning tower of Pisa 😀

Finally, put your last layer in place. I usually prefer to keep the base layer of the cake (that was in contact with the cake tin while baking) because its smooth and even. You top will come out more even.

Moisten this one too with vanilla water. Then spread the final layer of ganache. You can cover the sides if you want a finished look or leave it open and only spread it only on top for a naked cake look. That rustic effect looks beautiful too!

To finish it, I took a star nozzle and just piped these florets straight on top, keeping the piping bag perpendicular to the cake at 90° so that the nozzle has a bird eye view of the cake.

My daughter likes Oreo biscuits a lot and demanded that her cake should have some flavour of it, so I decided to crush them and throw them on the sides of the cake. It gave a mud pie look to the cake. You can choose to finish the cake whichever way you like.

Just look at that muddy wall of the cake… I want to dig in right away!

This cake would need time to ice and then chill in the fridge for several hours so that the layers can set well before cutting. Therefore, you should have some time in hand when you make this.

I added some cake toppers because my daughter was suddenly crazy about flamingos. You can add anything like this which matches your theme and create a pro level cake at home. No need to run to bakeries any longer 🙂

If you have any questions regarding the steps and the recipe, feel free to leave a message in the comments below and we’ll get back to you. Happy baking 🙂

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake

Ingredients:

1 Pack The Daily Gourmet Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
200ml water
2 eggs
100gm melted butter
1 recipe Chocolate Ganache (click here for recipe)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line an 8-inch round cake tin.
  2. In a bowl mix the water eggs and butter. Add the contents of the pack and beat.
  3. Pour the batter in the lined tin and bake in a preheated oven for 40-45mins or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  4. Remove from the tin and cool completely before icing.
  5. Slice the cake into 2 horizontally. To moisten the cake mix a little sugar, vanilla extract and water and spoon over the first layer of cake.
  6. Using a hand beater beat the chocolate ganache for 4-5 minutes till it becomes lighter in colour and airy in texture.
  7. Spread some whipped ganache and put the other layer of cake. Moisten this layer with the vanilla water and spread some ganache over it. To finish cover the whole cake in ganache and using a piping bag create any design of your choice on top.
  8. Chill well in the refrigerator. Take it out 30 minutes before serving to bring back to room temperature so that it softens.

Mac n Cheese Gratin

What come to your mind when we say comfort food? A bowl of something warm and easy to put together which you can have sitting in your pyjamas while binge-watching your favourite series on Netflix on your couch! Well… if this setting matches what you’re thinking, then we have the perfect dish for you – MAC N CHEESE AU GRATIN!!
You can make this in a jiffy and the best part is that this comfort dish is also worthy of being served to guests for entertaining. Its easy, can be made in advance, has the easiest ingredients and delicious! It’s an all-weather and any-time-of-the-day dish. The Americans swear by it and on our trip to the USA, we tried it at many restaurants, cafes and diners. Though the best one we tried was from the Beachers Cheese Shop at the very famous Pike Place Market in Seattle.

If you are a food enthusiast and ever happen to be in Seattle, you must visit Pike Place Market. Its literally a wonderland for those who put food above all else. While I was there, I tried this mac n cheese from the Beacher’s cheese shop where they were making fresh cheese and then fresh mac n cheese with that divine cheese. It really was the best!

Process

You literally need just home ingredients for this scrumptious dish. We’re using elbow shaped pasta, butter, milk, onions, cheese, flour and regular bread.
We have used homemade bread. If you want to try the recipe of our homemade wholewheat bread click here.

To begin, bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water. Add the pasta to the water when it comes to a boil. Cook it till it is a little underdone. The rest will cook in the oven. Drain the water and keep aside.

In a saucepan take the butter on medium flame. Add the onion and garlic. Cook till it turns a little pink.

Add the flour and keep stirring. Cook the flour for 1-2 minutes. Reduce the flame to low and add the milk and stir constantly. Make sure you remove all the lumps. Increase the flame and cook stirring till a thick sauce is formed. Remove from the flame.

Add ¾ of the cheese to the sauce along with salt and pepper. Keep aside. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Take the bread in a grinder and grind it to fine coarse bread crumbs. To the bread crumbs add the remaining cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix well and keep.

Then add the boiled macaroni and basil to the white sauce and mix well.

Transfer the macaroni mixture to an oven-proof dish.

Sprinkle all the bread crumb mixture over the Mac N Cheese evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes till it is golden and crisp on top.

Look at that beautiful golden brown and crispy layer on top. Thats a perfect gratin, which is usually a dish made in a shallow baking dish with a crusty top with either cheese or breadcrumbs, and sometimes both.

This dish actually originated in England and first appeared in a cookbook by Elizabeth Raffald in 1770, The Experienced English Housekeeper. Then it travelled to Canada with British immigrants and today its very popular in Canada as well. In fact the Canadians are the largest consumers of Macaroni and Cheese. Its arrival in the USA was however a different story. Thomas Jefferson and his chef came across it in Paris and loved it. He then imported a machine for making the macaroni pasta and even served it at a state dinner. Thats why its a dish that fits any occasion, you see! Today every country has its own version. The white sauce itself is a French recipe called the béchamel sauce and the french have their own version. This is a recipe steeped in history, culture and many cuisines.

Serve it warm! Don’t forget to tell us in the comments below if you liked the recipe and the little details of its origin.

Recipe: Mac n Cheese Gratin

Ingredients

30 gm Butter
3 tbsp Flour
3 Onions, chopped finely
8 cloves garlic, chopped finely
500 ml Milk
250 gm Elbow /Macaroni pasta
150 gm Cheese, grated
2 bread slices
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8-10 leaves basil, chopped
Salt
Freshly Crushed Black Pepper

Method

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water. Add the pasta to the water when it comes to a boil. Cook it till it is a little underdone. The rest will cook in the oven. Drain the water and keep aside.
  2. In a saucepan take the butter on medium flame. Add the onion and garlic. Cook till it turns a little pink. Add the flour and keep stirring. Cook the flour for 1-2 minutes. Reduce the flame to low and add the milk and stir constantly. Make sure you remove all the lumps. Increase the flame and cook stirring till a thick sauce is formed. Remove from the flame and keep aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C. Add ¾th cheese to the sauce along with salt and pepper.
  4. Take the bread in a grinder and grind it to fine coarse bread crumbs. To the bread crumbs add the remaining cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and keep.
  5. To the sauce add the macaroni pasta and the basil leaves. Mix well and arrange in a baking dish. Sprinkle all the bread crumb mixture over the Mac N Cheese evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes till it is golden and crisp on top. Serve immediately.

Eggless Chocolate Banana Cake

Chocolate and Banana is an eternal combination. They compliment each other so well, that the first thing that comes to your mind when you want to cook with bananas… is chocolate! We’ve already posted a recipe for a Caramelised banana upside-down cake and now we’re sharing an eggless recipe for those of you who choose to bake without eggs.

The ingredients for this are very basic. Flour, butter, sugar, milk, baking powder, cocoa powder, vanilla extract/essence and 2 bananas.

To start, preheat your oven at 180°C and grease and line a loaf tin with baking or parchment paper.

Take the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl.

Cream the sugar and butter for 5 minutes and then keep aside.

In another bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and keep aside.

Mash 2 bananas nicely with a fork and keep aside.

To the creamed butter and sugar, add the mashed bananas, dry ingredients and vanilla essence/extract.

Beat for a minute till the batter is glossy.

Transfer the batter to the lined loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Leave it to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting. Eggless cakes tend to stick together if you cut it while its still very warm.

Dust it with some icing sugar if you like and serve it with tea or coffee. You can also serve it with some ice-cream.

Go ahead and try this recipe! Don’t forget to tell us if you like it 🙂

Eggless Chocolate Banana Cake

Ingredients

150 gm All-purpose
Flour150 gm Caster Sugar
150 gm Butter, softened room temperature
40gm Cocoa powder
2 Bananas, ripe
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract or Essence
50 ml Milk
Icing Sugar for Dusting

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line an loaf tin with baking paper or parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl beat softened butter and sugar for 5 min. In another bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
  3. Mash the bananas in a bowl and keep aside.
  4. Add mashed bananas, milk, flour mixture and vanilla extract. Beat for a minute till smooth and glossy.
  5. Pour the batter in the lined cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 mins or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cake to cool for 15 mins and then remove from the cake tin.
  7. Dust with Icing sugar and eat warm.

Italian Eggplant Ricotta Rollatini

Since we are on an Italian spree, we thought we’ll give you all a recipe thats refreshing, not overdone and can be made with simple ingredients from our kitchen staples. We hate it too when one has to go from store to store for some really exotic and inaccessible ingredients.

So, if you ever thought… what do Italians eat for a meal, other than pasta – then it is probably this! There are numerous other similar recipes which we will bring to you really soon.

For this you need 3 basic garden fresh ingredients. Spinach, tomatoes, long eggplant/brinjals and garlic. Other than this, we will be using 3 types of Italian cheeses.

There’s no Italian meal without a cheese. Primarily, we need ricotta, a fresh Italian cheese. You can either use store-bought or use our ricotta recipe. Other than that we have used parmigiano reggiano for the flavour and mozzarella for that stringy topping.

If you don’t have parmigiano reggiano, you can simply use parmesan. The difference is that parmigiano reggiano is the original cheese from the Italian city of Parma near Rome. Only cheese from Parma can be called parmigiano reggiano as it comes under the Protected Designations of Origin (PDO). They have laws guiding the ageing and the cheese-making process. Similar cheese from any other place outside of this city can be called parmesan but should be made in a similar way.

In this picture we are with Federica Corradi and her uncle Leonardo Corradi in their cheese factory in Parma.

So if you get parmigiano reggiano its definitely from Parma because nobody else can call it that. We learnt this during our visit to Casearia Corradi, a family-run cheese factory in Parma, Italy. In the picture above, you can see the many wheels of parmigiano reggiano being aged as per the lawful guidelines for cheese-makers in Parma.

Take the pureed and sieved tomatoes in a pan. Let it bubble and cook for 20-25min or till they have reduced and changed colour like in the pictures above. Remove from flame, add garlic, salt and olive oil. Then leave to cool.

To blanch the spinach, boil water in a saucepan, put the spinach leaves in it for 2-3 minutes and then strain. DO NOT COVER while blanching. Once blanched, chop it roughly to get minced spinach.

In a bowl, take the chopped spinach, ricotta cheese, parmigiano reggiano, salt and pepper. Make a mixture and keep aside.

Slice the eggplant into long strips like in the image above.

Drizzle with salt and olive oil and grill on the pan till they’re slightly cooked and start turning golden.

Put the filling on one end of the eggplant strip and roll it up firmly. Spread some of the tomato sauce on the base of a baking dish. Arrange the eggplant rolls in the dish.

At this stage preheat your oven at 190° C.

Spread the remaining tomato sauce over the eggplant rolls. Cover them evenly.

Tear the mozzarella cheese and top it with that.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

Take it out of the oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve hot while the cheese is still melted and soft.

Recipe: Italian Eggplant Ricotta Rollatini

Ingredients

500gm Long Brinjal/Eggplant
250gm Spinach
1kg Tomatoes
125gm fresh ricotta cheese, or half of our homemade ricotta recipe
100 gm Mozzarella Cheese
50 gm Parmesan Cheese/cheese, grated
8-10 cloves Garlic, minced
15-18 Fresh Basil leaves
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt
Freshly crushed pepper

Method

  1. Puree the tomatoes and strain them to remove the seeds and peel. Cook the tomato pulp on medium heat for 20-25 minutes or till it has reduced to half. Add the minced garlic, salt and 3-4tbs olive oil and leave to cool.
  2. Blanch the spinach in boiling water and drain to remove all the water. Chop it roughly to get a minced spinach. To the fresh ricotta add parmesan cheese, blanched spinach, 2-3 basil leaves chopped, salt and pepper. Mix well and keep aside.
  3. Slice the brinjal as thin as possible lengthwise. Drizzle with some salt and olive oil to coat well. Grill on a hot pan on both sides till golden brown and soft. Keep aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190°C. In a baking dish put a layer of the tomato sauce. Put a little cheese filling on the brinjal and roll it up. Arrange these over the tomato sauce in the dish seam side down.
  5. Finish off by pouring the tomato sauce over the rolled brinjal. Tear and put mozzarella cheese over it and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and put the basil leaves on top. Serve immediately.

Lemon Basil Sorbet

This recipe for sorbet is straight from our heart to yours, via Capri! This is truly and completely inspired by our trip to the Capri island in Italy. It was a hot summer afternoon and after a cruise from Amalfi early morning, we had just reached Capri. We took a funicular to reach the high street area which was at a higher altitude. When we got out of the station, it was the burning 12pm heat. What do we see next… a roadside stand with luscious Amalfi lemons hanging. We knew we were going to get our elixir of life here, and so we did. It was a lemon sorbet slush!

These are the pictures of the exact place we tried it and got inspiration for this Italian sorbet. The lemons in Amalfi and Capri are truly a sight to behold. They’re large and juicy and have the unique limone shape. They are sweet and the peels too are edible.

This is an exquisitely refreshing thing for a hot summer day during holidays. Give yourself a break… a lemon sorbet break. So, here’s recreating a memory!

This is a 3 ingredient dessert. So get in your kitchens and get going.

Take sugar and water in a saucepan and turn on the gas.

Let it bubble for a while till it turns into a smooth sugar syrup.

Let the sugar syrup cool down.

Add lemon juice, zest and a few basil leaves to it once its completely cooled down. If you can’t find basil, try it with mint leaves.

Put it in an aluminium cake tin preferably. A steel box will also do. Cover and freeze it for 5-6 hours.

Take it out once its completely frozen.

Scrape it and put it in your food processor or blender.

Put as much in the blender as can fit. Put in some basil leaves and ice. You can skip the ice if you want it softer. Blend it .

Once its churned, transfer it back to the tin. Again, cover and put it back in the freezer for 8-9 hours or best overnight.

Scoop it and serve immediately. Garnish it with fresh basil leaves or lemon twists.

This sweet and sour sorbet with an enhanced flavour of basil is truly Italian and perfect for any time of the day.

If you don’t find basil, you can also try this recipe with mint. For kids you can put it in popsicle moulds when we’re freezing it the second time.

Recipe: Lemon Basil Sorbet

Ingredients

150gm castor sugar
300 ml water
8 lemons
15-20 basil leaves / mint leaves

Method

  1. Take the sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer on medium flame for 10 minutes to get a sugar syrup.
  2. Leave the sugar syrup to cool to bring it to room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile zest 4 lemons and take out juice of all 8 lemons.
  4. Mix together sugar syrup, lemon zest and lemon juice.
  5. Stir well and add a few leaves of basil (not all basil). Pour this in an aluminium tin and cover. Freeze for 5-6 hours.
  6. Remove from freezer. Scrape all the mixture and put in a blender with remaining basil leaves. You can add 3 ice cubes to keep the mixture chilled in the blender.
  7. Churn well and pour back in the tin. Remove the ice cubes if they remain un-churned.
  8. Freeze covered for 8-9 hours or best overnight.
  9. To serve scoop and enjoy immediately.