Friday, October 5, 2012

Moving on to new blog!

Yup..I'm moving on.. 
Moving on to my new blog..

I started this blog with ambitious intentions and I guess I kinda fell short of it.
So after more than 2 years of not blogging, when I wanted to return, I couldn't relate myself to this blog.

So I'm starting a new blog, which is much simpler,cleaner and fresher.
Its again a food blog, but with simple intentions, simple expectations and more than that, it is and it will be the reflection of my style of cooking, baking and more..

I'm a bit sad to move on from this blog, but at the same time, excited about my new space.
So hope to join me over on

Sweet & Spice Life

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Almond Cake with Orange Marmalade

A year back, I made my first tart, Bakewell Tart. Everyone loved it especially the almond frangipane layer, which was almost like a sponge cake. I kept thinking about making the tart again, but then it didn't happen for a long time. Now when my friend Sobha's birthday came, I knew the time was right. But this time I didn't make the tart, but a cake made of the frangipane. And I'm calling it as Almond Cake. I even spread orange marmalade between the layers. And it was DELICIOUS ! :-)

Recipe inspired from Bakewell Tart

For the Cake:
Unsalted Butter - 250g
Icing Sugar - 250g
Eggs - 6
Ground Almonds - 250g
All purpose Flour - 60g
Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
Orange Marmalade to spread between the cake layers

For the Icing:
Heavy whipping cream - 250 ml
Icing sugar - 2-3 tbsp
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  • Butter and flour two 9 inch round pans
  • Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is pale yellow in colour and very fluffy. 
  • Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. 
  • Now add vanilla extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. 
  • Spoon in the ground nuts and the flour to the mix.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pans and bake for about 30-40 min or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. 
  •  Allow to cool.
  •  Whip the cream with the sugar until it's thick.
How to assemble:
  •  Place the first cake and spread Orange Marmalade.You can go as thick or thin as you want.
  • Place the second cake and spread the whipped cream over the cake.
  • Spread it evenly on top of the cake and also on the side.
  • Decorate with orange slices

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Orange Tian for Daring Baker's

The bitterness of winter is gone and flowers and blooming every where. Its' spring now. Let me bury the bitterness of  unfortunate events and carry forward to a new day. After all that's what life is all about. 

Being said that, Daring Bakers came at the right moment.And this time it was Orange Tian. What's a Tian? I have absolutely no idea what it is  but then this is what daring bakers is all about. Sure, its' all about Oranges, but its a unique dessert, a mix of citrus fruit with  whipped cream and crunchy cookie as a base. The first attempt on  my pate-sablee  (its more like cookies) was a disaster, it was too thick to be used as a base. Nevertheless it was a good snack. I had to re-do it and this time it was perfect.So here is my orange tian.

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris. 
This dessert consists of three layers(Pate Sablee with Orange Marmalade,Whipped cream, Orange segments)  and a caramel sauce.

Pate Sablee:
Egg yolks at room temperature - 2
Sugar  - 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
Vanilla extract - ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter - ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons
Salt - 1/3 teaspoon
All-purpose flour - 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons
Baking powder -  1 teaspoon
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt so the butter should integrate into the flour
  • In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the flour mixture.
  • Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.
  • Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.
Freshly pressed orange juice -  ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons
1 large orange used to make orange slices
Cold water to cook the orange slices
Pectin - 5 grams
Sugar - Use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked
  •  Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.
  • Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.
  • Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.
  • Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).
  • Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.
  • In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).
  • Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.
Orange Segments:
For this step you will need 8 oranges.
Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

For the Caramel:
Sugar- 1 cup
Orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons
  • Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.
  • Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.
  • Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. 
  • When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.
  • [Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]
Whipped Cream:
Heavy whipping cream - 1 cup
Hot water - 3 tablespoons
Gelatine - 1 tsp
Confectioner's sugar - 1 tablespoon
Orange marmalade (see recipe above)  - 1 tablespoon 
  • In a small bowl, add the gelatin and hot water, stirring well until the gelatin dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. 
  • Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. 
  • Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. 
  • Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.
  • [Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]         

Assembling Orange tian
  • Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.
  • Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.
  • Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.
  • Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.
  • Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.
  • Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.
  • Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
  • Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
  • Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. 
  • Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Berries in a Pie

New year is a time to make a fresh start, do the undone and make things better. 2009 was a year of highs and lows for me in my culinary expeditions. Even though I discovered my passion for all things culinary, I let myself slip into monotonous life, doing the ordinary most of the time and being lazy too. 
Of course there were some highs, like learning the tricks of cake decorating which literally opened my mind to a new world,self- learning some techniques and for the first time I have started my own cookbook collection. 
So anyways this year I have made up  my mind not to let self-inhibitions take my culinary spirits away and never let any thing come in between me and my baking!! Period!!

I started off my new year with mixed berries pie. Yeah, it is not a berry season right now,but we always have strawberries or blackberries in our fridge. So why not make pie.I decided to make a lattice top for my pie. I have seen the lattice top in magazines and cookbooks, but haven't had the courage to try it. That's when I saw Elise Bauer's Simply Recipes which has an excellent step by step instructions on how to make a lattice top pie. It was like a photo diary that I never thought this was so easy and fun thing to do.

For the dough: 
Recipe adapted from Le Cordon Bleu's TheCooks Bible

All purpose flour - 200g
Cold Butter - 100 g
Salt - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Egg - 1
Ice cold water - about 2 tsp

  • Sift the flour, salt and sugar. Cut butter into small chunks.
  • Rub in butter into the flour. Once done it should look like a course meal.
  • Add egg and enough water to make the dough (Note: I didn't use the water since adding egg itself gave the right consistency.)
  • Divide the dough into half, wrap and chill it for minimum of 30 min.

For the Berry Sauce:

Strawberries, hulled and halved - 1 cup
Blackberries - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cornflour - 2 tbsp

  • Mix cornflour with desired amount of water to make a smooth paste.
  • Place strawberries,blackberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Heat it for 5 minutes and then add cornflour mixture.
  • Cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened and heated through. Set aside.
How to make the pie:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree F .
  • Roll out half of the pie dough and lay it in the dish.
  • Using the back of the finger, press the dough into the dish. Trim the excess.
  • Roll out the remaining half of the pie dough and make the lattice top as demonstrated here
  •  Brush the top of the pie with egg wash (1 egg beaten with a small amount of water)
  • Bake the pie for 45 min to 1 hour and till the top becomes golden brown.
  • Allow it to cool completely before digging in.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cranberry Orange Nut Cake

Few weeks back, while we were on a trip, I happened to eat an orange-cranberry muffin. I was awe-struck by the richness of the cranberry and the tanginess of the orange and yet the simplicity by which the two flavors merged. Once we were back, I decided to make it. I thought of making a cake rather than a muffin. Searched in internet and got one simple recipe. I tried it was a hit. I tried the second time,even more applause. So here goes the recipe..

Adapted from seasonal recipes website.
All-purpose flour - 1-1/2 cup

Butter, softened - 1 cup

Sugar - 1 cup
Eggs - 4

Baking powder - 2 tsp

Salt - 1/2 tsp

Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

Almond extract - 1 tsp

Milk - 1/3 cup

Cranberries halved - 2 cups
Almonds toasted - 1/2 cup
Grated zest of 1 orange
Icing sugar

  • Pre-heat oven to 300 F. Grease and flour a cake pan.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the cranberries, almonds, orange zest and 1/2 cup flour. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in vanilla, almond, and eggs, one at a time. Set aside.
  • In another mixing bowl, stir together remaining flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in cranberry mixture.
  • Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely.
  • When completely cool, wrap cake in aluminum foil and store in a cool place for a few days to allow it to soften and the flavors to mingle.
  • Before serving, dust with icing sugar.
  • For best flavor, make this cake a few days before serving.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

This time, it was truly a challenge, since it was about making Puff pastry,something which i always ate, but never even thought of making it. So when it's time to make it, I plunged into it .
As always, my friends came along to help me and boy, it was fun. I made two savory filling - with chicken and tuna. But I have only tuna snaps to show you, since my chicken filled puffs finished as soon as I made.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Marshmallow Cookies for Daring Bakers

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.
Well, DB wanted all of us to make marsh
mallows.It would have been a truly exciting challenge if I could make my own marshmallows. Unfortunately, my other commitments took my time which was set aside for my baking sessions. But then, as always DB had given an option of making cookies with store bought marshmallows and I made the cookies in an hour with lot of help from my friends :-)

My friends joined for the cookie making session. So this time around,unlike others, I had company and let me tell you, it was much more fun. The cookie itself was
so yummy to eat. So, of course once it came out of the oven, we gorged couple of hot ones. The rest went for marshmallow topping. Into the oven for 5 min and out came some gooey gooey marshmallows cookies..