Orange scented Olive Oil Cake

I don’t own too many cookbooks, all thanks to the power of the internet. But one book i do own is Nick Malgieri’s ‘The Modern Baker’. It’s a great book for anyone who wants to start baking. All through my childhood, I’ve seen my mother bake cakes and cookies with a passion that i was scared to embrace baking myself. Why? Because of a fear i would get it all wrong. Like someone once said, ‘Baking has a science to it’ unlike cooking where you can add a little here and reduce a little there to save a dish.

This cake was an experiment to overcome that ‘fear of baking’ and it is just my first small baby step.

What’s beautiful about this cake is that instead of butter, it uses Olive Oil which gives it a density. The cake has a texture to it, along with the heady flavour of Orange zest which comes together beautifully.

Here’s the recepie:

Ingrediants

3 large Naval Oranges

3 large eggs

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups pure Olive Oil

1 1/2 cups Milk

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp Baking powder

1/2 Baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Also need: Two cake moulds, greased with oil/butter.

Method

Set the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F (180C)

Zest the three oranges and place in a large mixing bowl. The remaining oranges can be used to garnish while serving the cake.

Add eggs to the orange zest and whisk.

Add 1 cup of sugar and whisk for a minute till the mixture lightens.

Continue whisking and add in oil, followed by the milk.

Mix the remaining 1 1/2 cup sugar with the remaining dry ingrediants – flor, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Slowly add the dry ingrediants mix to the egg mix in three seperate additions, whisk smooth after each addition of the dry mixture.

Divide the batter into pre greased two cake moulds.

Bake the cake for about 50 – 55 minutes.

My fool proof check to see if cakes are well baked is called ‘the tooth pick test’. Insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake, if it comes clean with no cake sticking to the tooth pick, your cake is ready.

Allow the cake to cook for 5 minutes in a cooling rack.

Serve this cake with a few slices of oranges and vanilla ice cream.

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Breakfast Blues

Blueberries and Oatmeal

Have you had your breakfast today?

I’m a staunch believer in having the first meal of the day. Even when I’m short of time and running to get to work, i slap some peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat toast and munch it along with the city’s traffic fumes.

So why is breakfast important? After an 8 hour nightcap, your body needs ‘fuel’ to run for the rest of the day. Plus, your first meal, sets the pace for your other meals during the day and your eating pattern too. People who eat breakfast regularly are better at maintaining a steady weight too. Having breakfast also raises your metabolic rate and improves concentration throughout the day.

The benefits are numerable, so have that first bite and get on with your day.

Flowers at noon

A year ago, he quoted Nietzsche to tug at her heart.

He then had to leave,

while she set out to learn a new langauge,

a language he thought in.

Today, they’ve invented their own.

Together.

 

Goodness in a jar

I’m a recent tomato convert, all thanks to Sahar‘s tomato and cheese sandwiches which saved me during a very hungry work day. She slowly proceeded to treat me to more tomato cooked goodness in the form of pasta arrabiata, eggs and tomatoes and much more. I then  worked my way to loving a Bloody May to eventually turned a full-fledged tomato aficionado. These days I’m practically moody, if there are no tomatoes in the fridge.

I’m also more lenient towards dried tomatoes in general, because of its succulent sweet and tangy flavour. Since sun-dried tomatoes require time and patience I scrounged all over the internet for ‘Oven dried tomatoes’. For the version I tried, I kept the spices used basic – salt and garlic pods, so that the tomatoes can be flexible when included in any type of cuisine. The kitchen also smells divine when these fruits are in the oven. Yes, the tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable.

Making this requires a good part of your day, so start early and keep busy.

Oven Dried Tomatoes

*Clean and wash tomatoes and cut them into very thick slices. If you cut them thin, there are more chances of them burning easily. Depending on the size of the tomato, slice them into two-three slices.

* Arrange on a tray and sprinkle some salt and allow the water to drain for about 30 minutes or so.

* Preheat oven to 200F and line tray with baking paper with some olive oil spread on

* Arrange tomato pieces on a tray and bake till the juices have dried and the fruits have shriveled.

*Flip them over a few times and depending on the size of the tomato. It usually takes about 4-6 hours for them to be fully dry.

* Cool the now raisin like tomatoes and store them in a sterilized jar with Olive oil.

* You can add these tomatoes in pastas, salads, sandwiches and much more.

Open Sandwiches with prosciutto and Gouda

I used these tomatoes to make an open sandwich with prosciutto ham and Gouda cheese.

Chilli

The photo above is one of my favorite pictures. This was taken in Kerala, India in the backyard of my grandmother’s garden. The chilli in the photo is locally called Khandari Molagu.  It’s the tiny cousin of the commercially available chilli, and is three times more spicy. The ripe red chillies are pecked on and often consumed by birds. Sometimes, the word ‘Khandari’ is also used as a nickname on a smart mouthed and mischievous person. While growing up, my firecracker of a best friend was called that.

I’ve never leaned much onto the spicy side, since i have such a huge sugar tooth to tend to. More recently my trainer told me to cut down on salt and add pepper or any kind of spice to my food. After some serious research online, i discovered that spice is a metabolism booster. And, if you are aiming to lose weight, the best thing to do is slowly include spice in your food.

I bought a packet of the dried red chilli, at an Asian store close by. It is similar to the ‘Khandari’ variety. Now a days, I throw in a few chillies in salads, soups, mains and pretty much everything.

So, have you got your chilli yet?

2012

So the Mayan calendar says otherwise, but hope each of you have a wonderful 2012. Here’s to luck,love, happiness and some good times!!

The older i become, the more heavy the  resolution list gets. And one of them this year is to get  healthy.

So here’s a photo of how I’ll be sprucing up the food from now on – with a bit of colour!

Christmas in Germany

Christmas, or Weihnachten as it is called in Germany, is a season to make merry, spend money and fatten that tummy. Most cities have ‘Wiehnachten Markets’ which sell christmas items, clothes, pottery, chocolates, food and of course the main attraction the Glüwein stall. I did my fair share of drinking the spiced hot wine this holiday season.

Here’s what goes on in a typical Weihnachten Market.