Merry Christmas

I know I haven't been writing much but then I have been busy!
Doing what you ask? Well to be honest a little bit of everything and a whole lot of nothing. Still one can not let this amazing season go by without indulging our palates with some of the seasonal goodies so here goes. 
From my kitchen to yours chocolate dipped doughnuts with sugar star sprinkles!

Get the Doughnut recipe here.

The roast chicken came out fairly well, even if I do say so myself... get the recipe below.

Ingredients :
One small sized chicken
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 tablespoon homemade wine (Use any wine you like)
2 tablespoons soysauce
1 tablespoon  chili sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder.

Add all ingredients to the chicken and keep for 4 hours to marinate.
Then cook on gas till chicken is done.
Garnish as desired.

The Vegetarian Shepard's Pie came out quite alright I did not mash up the lentils so it came out all spotty, but if you mash them well together it will look much better although it doesn't make much difference to the yummy taste .
 Get the recipe for Veg Shepard's Pie here.
Don't get confused, the blog post lists four recipes and the one for the vegetarian Shepard's pie is very much listed in there. Its the last of the four recipes

And of course the cupcakes had to be green. After all it is the season to be merry, and I was not too sure about red cupcakes, although I have been thinking about giving the red velvet cake a shot. Will let you know when I experiment.
Use the Cake recipe at number two in this blog post.Yes its the same one that lists the four recipes above. Happy baking/cooking for the holidays!

So now all I'd like to say is

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

See you all next year!

Healthy Doughnuts! I call them - Atta Donuts

Healthy Donuts! - Ironic or real?
Well it all began when I took a 3 hour Puffs and Doughnut class with Deepa. While I have been making both before I wanted to see if I could get them to look more professional than the ones I do at home. Once I finished the class I began thinking of a healthier alternative. After all so much butter and maida is not great for the bums! I decided to make the doughnuts using atta instead of maida. So here is what the end result was.
Healthy Doughnuts made from Atta

So if that looks good enough to eat I'll give you the recipe and the story behind the single blue glazed doughnut.

For the Dough

200 grams of atta
15 grams of milk powder
40 grams of butter
4 teaspoons of granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast
1 egg
100 ml water
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
Oil for frying

First I warmed the 100 ml water in a cup in the microwave for 30 seconds and added the dry yeast to it. I also added the 4 spoons of sugar to this and mixed well for about a minute till the sugar began to dissolve. Then I put the cup back in the microwave and shut the door (you can put it in any warm place to activate the yeast). It takes about 5-7 minutes for the yeast to begin bubbling.

Second I sieved the atta I was going to use. Since it was fresh I just did it once, but if you feel its not light enough you can repeat this a couple of times. Then I mixed the atta, milk powder and butter till it was bread crumb consistency. This was left aside for about five minutes. (In the original recipe she used 1/2 teaspoon bread improver and needed to rest the mixture for 15-20 mins)

Third I added one egg, the yeast and water mix, and the vanilla essence to the atta mixture. Then I began to knead the very sticky dough. It took about 4-5 minutes to get the whole thing to hold together. Then I placed the dough back inside the microwave while I prepared the ingredients for the topping. (In the original recipe she coated the dough with oil and left it to rise for 20-30 minutes in a warm place)

Lastly I used my trusty old doughnut cutter to cut out the shapes from the rolled out dough. The thickness was about 1/4 inch so as to get a decent sized doughnut in the end. These were fried in oil and set to cool for a while as I mixed up the glaze topping.

For the Topping

2 cups icing sugar
3-4 tablespoons water
few drops of lemon juice
colour optional
sugar strand sprinkles

Mix up the icing sugar, lemon juice and water together till the sugar melts. Its sort of like beating coffee and takes about 3 minutes. The end result should be a rather thick smooth white coloured paste.The paste can be spooned up with ease.

I used the same bowl to stick in the warm doughnuts to glaze one side. While the glaze was yet to set I quickly sprinkled the sugar strands on it to embed them. Then I left them all to set in the box I was going to store them.

The Story of the Solitary Blue Atta Donut

Since I had not used any colour in the rest I wanted to see what one glazed with blue would look like. So I added a few drops of food colour to the icing mix above and then sprinkled it with chocolate strands. Must say it was quite eye catching and I intend to do more with glaze colours the next batch I make.

Cinnabon like Cinnamon Buns Experiment

My friend recently posted a picture on Facebook of some Cinnabon like Cinnamon Buns that she made from scratch at home. They looked amazing and anyone who has tasted them knows that they also taste delicious. So I badgered her for the recipe and she sent me the link to the YouTube video that she used. Now that had a number of things that I do not have handy, so I decided to substitute where I could and see what that would get me.

 I used two cheese spread boxes and regular ration butter, the salted variety, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon powder and regular granulated sugar to make the cream cheese frosting.

I mixed  it all up with my trusty hand blender. And then I put the mixed frosting into the fridge while I figured out what to do about the actual bun.

I warmed one cup of milk in the milk patila and then added two eggs to it to whisk. Also added 1\3 cup melted butter to it and 2 teaspoons of dry yeast along with 4 cups of maida (flour). Then I used the hand beater to mix them all together till it formed a rather sticky feeling dough.

 This dough was then covered with aluminum foil and left to rest for an hour.
Then I made a mixture of one cup of sugar, I used white regular while the original recipe called for brown, and two tablespoons of cinnamon powder.

 Once the dough rose I used a floured surface to roll it out as much as I could and added some softened butter to it. Then I sprinkled the sugar and cinnamon mixture on to it and folded it up like a roll. This was cut into one inch rolls and then placed on a greased baking pan and put into the oven to bake. The original recipe calls for 15 min at 200 degree Celsius, but you may need to tweak that as per your oven.

Once they are baked add the frosting we made earlier on the top and let it soak for a while. Serve warm.

Cartoon Network Birthday Party - Ben Ten Invitations

Its been a while since the Birthday but I've been busy and you can see what all I've been up to here. Still I guess I should share some of the details.
There was no clear theme as we have already done most of the favourite cartoon characters in previous birthdays. Since my son could not decide on one character to base his birthday party theme on, we picked up all his favourite left over ones.
The invites were made using this old spiral diary that he had and was not really using. Or rather had scrawled all over in.

 It had the Ben Ten figure on each of the pages and we used them to make the cards.
 I kept a part of the background as it gave depth to the image. Plus it was easier to use the stuff already there than to make it fresh.

The basic cards were cut out of light green card paper and smeared with some glue before golden sparkles were sprinkled on to them. After that the Ben Ten image was pasted on to the center and there you have it invitation cards ready!

This is what the completed project looked like. The words inside were written by sonny boy and then the cards were hand delivered to all his friends in the colony.

There was a Magic Show by magician Samrat. He did a really good job of keeping the children entertained and even made them play games.

The games included
1. Fire On the Mountain
2. Pass the Parcel
3. Statue Dance
All standard favourites that everyone enjoyed thoroughly.

Cake was Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory. It was a pineapple base three kg cake.

 The giveaways were all Bay Blades. That is the latest craze doing the rounds in his friend circle these days and everyone was thrilled to get one.

Cowboy Themed Birthday Party

It was the birthday of a good friend's son and the theme was a Cowboy Round up. Here's how you can have your very own Cowboy Themed Birthday Party.

The Invitations

Get a golden brown chart paper and cut out horseshoe shapes. Now stick these on to regular chart paper cards that you have cut out already and your cowboy themed cards are ready. Here's what you can use as the text inside.
 Its ( Birthday Kid's Name )'s birthday and you are invited to the Cowboy Round Up. 
Come dressed in Cowboy Hats and Boots and put your lassoing skills to test.
Date :               

The Decor

Use huge cardboard boxes to make three buildings on the street of the western town where the round up is being hosted. These would include a Salon where the cowboys can get their drinks, a stable where the horses can be tethered, and naturally a Jail where the sheriff can lock away the bad guys. Be creative and have fun.

The Games
As soon as everyone comes in hand them over a red scarf to wear around the neck. It will help set the tone for the games to come.

Pin the Flower on the Cactus

This one is the same as pin the tail on the donkey. Get the children to line up for their turn. Blindfold the one whose turn it it and then hand them the flower to pin onto the cactus.

The card paper sheet can be drawn out in advance and kept ready. Use normal oil tack pins for positioning the flower on to the card paper. If you have one handy paste the card paper on a wall, if not just loop it over the back of a chair.

The child who pins the flower closest to the top of the cactus wins the game.

Loop the Lasso

No cowboy worth his salt can be considered a cowboy until he can lasso a couple of heads. So now its time to prove your worth.

Use a regular rope to make a lasso knot and allow the children to do target practice of a head of stuffed sheep or horse.

You can use a rocking horse as the target if you have one. If you don't just use a bolster as the supposed head and let them lasso it.

Ideally give each child three turns to get the lasso on to the head and pull it in.

The Food

The main event at any birthday party is the cake. So the ten gallon hat would make a good option for a cowboy themed birthday party. Its easy enough to sculpt even if you are making it at home. Or go for the cowboy boot complete with detailing and spurs. You could even continue with the horseshoe as the cake, similar to the one that went out on the invitations. Ask your child which one he would prefer.

For the snacks keep it simple. Sandwiches, potato chips, skewer some fruit like apples and grapes onto satay sticks, and add some drumsticks if you are serving chicken. You can also have lamb chops if you are offering non vegetarian food.

The Giveaways

For the return gifts you can give them cowboy pistols and sheriff badges. If you wish you can add to the booty with sweets and candies.

What can I do with Broccoli?

Recently a friend of mine had ample success growing broccoli in her garden. Since its not the most typical of vegetables made in Indian homes, there arose the question - What can I do with broccoli. As always Facebook came to the rescue with a dozen different comments coming up on her query. So here's the list, take your pick.
whologwhy by cc via Flickr

You can...
  •  Blanch it, and saute it lightly with garlic, oregano, and cajun spice in unsalted butter....sprinkle with parmessan cheese
  • Blend eggs, pepper, milk and broccoli - drink the health drink that results
  • A few strips of crispy lean bacon and some smoked chicken could really enhance the flavour of the broccoli
  • Use Broccoli instead of cauliflower - in all recipes using cauliflower! My favorite - stuffed paranthas with broccoli, ginger, garlic, cilantro and masalas.  
  • Sautée the broccoli with garlic and olive oil- add to penne 
  • Add red pepper flakes and little butter along with the garlic and olive oil and add to maccaroni
  • Cheese & Broccoli, match made in heaven..almost !
  • Macaroni in white sauce flavored with spring onions, with a side of broccoli (with garlic and cheese) and sausages.   
  • Broccoli pakodas, use cornflour and maida batter add pepper and salt to taste
  • Steam and add crumbs of fried bacon to it. Add salt pepper to taste
  • Mix of cauliflower and broccoli florets in normal cauliflower veg also tastes good
So now you know what you can do with your broccoli!
Thanks Reena for inspiring this post :) 


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