Honey Almond Meal Cake

To end the last in the series of baked goodies I had to share this beautiful cake recipe that my son and husband both love to have no matter which time of the day I cook it

I usually make it once in 3 weeks, which coincides with the time when my bottle of honey is reduced down to last 1/2 cup. I place an order for a new bottle and promptly wipe down the older one in my cake batter. It has become a ritual at my place to do this. While I make variations to the core recipe but the bare naked one is what I share with you today. You can add fruit juices, nuts and fresh fruits of your choice.

2 cups Self rising flour 
1 cup demerera sugar 
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup almond meal
1 cup butter/ oil
1 tbsp fresh curd 
1 tspn vanilla essence

1) Cream he oil, honey, curd and sugar until it is mixed well. 
2) add the vanilla essence and stir again
3) Now add 2 tbsp of flour at a time and make a smooth batter
4) Pour this batter into a greased or lined 8 inch cake tin.
5) Bake this batter in a preheated oven at 180c for 35 min or until the cake comes out clean with pricked with a knife or tooth pick

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Spiced Semolina Bread

I often prefer flavoring breads and cookies rather than have them plain. Ever since I first made the semolina bread plain, I was hooked on to the idea of making spicy version of the fluffy bread.

This upma flavored semolina bread has become a regular breakfast feature at my home. We have it plain, with tea, with curd , ketchup or just with a dollop of ghee. It tastes simply awesome and always comes out right.

My kid loves having his dishes in the shape of his initials , so it works for me to make this one for his short recess tiffin pack. 

3 1/2 cups fine semolina
1-2 cups warm water
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tspn instant dry yeast
2 tspn salt
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
for tempering
1 tspn mustard seeds
1 tspn cumin seeds
1 tspn soaked split bengal gram/ chana dal
1 tspn soaked split black lentil/ urad dal
1 sprig of curry leaves finely sliced 
1 tspn green chilli paste
1 tspn ginger paste
1 pinch of asafoetida
1 tspn of Vegetable oil

1) Prepare the tempering – heat oil in a small pan, add the mustard seeds. When they start crackling, add the asafoetida and cumin seeds. Next add all the other tempering items and stir it well. Set it aside
2) In a pan, add the semolina, sugar and salt. Mix well using a whisk. Add the yeast, and the tempering.
3) Now add the warm water little at a time. The dough should be soft like chapati.
4) Let this rise on the side for an hour or until it doubles in size. 
5) Preheat oven at 200C
6) Now shape your buns as per your choice.
7) Place them on the baking sheet and bake for 15 min or until it sounds hollow when tapped.

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I am fascinated by compote. It works very well with any base , cakes, pan cakes, custards, breads and even plain chapatis. 

My kiddo is big on fruits too, so this is good treat for him whenever I run out of ideas for his tiffin. While compote is an easy recipe to make you can do away with the long standing in front of the stove top by making this simple bake in tray recipe.

You can also add fruits of your choice I made a large batch before monsoons when fresh cherries were available. Like jams and jellies this can also be stored for many days and weeks. For adults, you can experiment with alchohol of choice as the liquid base – wine or rum are suggested additions. 

Also if you use canned fruits reduce the sugar content….

2-3 cups Apple sliced vertically (deseeded)
2-3 cups Pear sliced vertically (deseeded)
1 cup fresh cherries (pitted)
1 cup pineapple
1 cup prunes
1/4 cup cranberries 
3 cups sugar
5 cups water
1 tspn vanilla (optional)
1) In a large deep baking tray, add the water and sugar. Let it dissolve completely.
2) Now add the fruits to this water. You can let them stand for an hour.
3) Preheat the oven in the meantime to 160C.
4) Place the baking tray in the oven and bake the mixture for an hour or until the water is almost evaporated.
5) Remove and use as a topping on cake or as is.

This stays well for weeks in an airtight container when refrigerated

White Chocolate Rose and Pistachio Cookies

My next theme for the Cooking carnival is making baked goodies for kids liking. I have declared earlier that making cookies is my worst baking fear. There is something about the cookies that fails me. This year I took these little trouble makers by vengeance.

I have not particularly achieved complete success but am pretty happy with the results. There are days when I flip over the cookies to find a burnt base on other I feel the perfect crunch….these days will also pass just the way I overcame my fears with bread..

There is one version of cookie that always works for me..the chocolate based cookies. I made these cookies a day after I made my blondies (recipe to be uploaded). I am fond of white chocolates, cranberries, pistachios, almonds a lot…but this time I also added gulkand. It lifted the plain cookies to another level of happiness….Do try this version which will please both the big and young equally..

2 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour 
1 1/4 cup softened butter 

1 cup white chocolate chips melted

1/4 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup soft brown sugar 
1 tspn baking powder 
1 tspn baking soda
1 tbsp Gulkand/ Crushed Rose petals 
1 tbsp crushed pistachios
1/4 cup warm milk (optional) 
1) Cream the butter and sugar together using a whisk until it is light and fluffy.
2) Add the flour, baking soda and powder and mix well.
3) Add the chocolate mixture and mix well.
4) Now add the gulkand and pistachios. If the batter is not soft enough then you can add some milk.
5) Roll them out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes of choice.
6) Place on a greased baking sheet 
7) Bake for 10-12 min in preheated oven at 180C

Let them cool down.

These stay good for weeks

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Policha Laadoo/ Malida/ Leftover Chapati laddoo

Now this recipe is all over the blogosphere. Each part of India thrives on this dependable sweet recipe both as a quick fix or as a complete meal.

My boy is not a great fan of this dish as yet and I think the primary reason for this is because most times we have phulkas made at my place which are not a great option for making these laddoos. The taste comes from a neatly slow cooked tasty chapati.

Nevertheless both me and DH enjoy this on and off. While I had tons of laddoo recipes to share the reason to share something that does not qualify for a recipe is to emphasise on the underlying kid centric theme.

There is some connection with ghee that Indian mothers share. It instantaneously satisfies the worrying mom about having fed good food to the little tummy. 

5-6 left over chapatis
1 cup grated jaggery
2 tbsp clarified butter/ ghee
1/2  tspn cardamom powder
nuts of choice (optional)
1) In mixie blitz the chapatis to make a coarse powder of the chapatis.
2) Add the ghee , cardamom powder and mix well
3) Now start rubbing in the grated jaggery to form a pliable dough
4) Form small laddoos and garnish with nuts 

Eat same day considering this is already a leftover makeover

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Rava Laddoo

When I was rolling these laddoos, I was thinking about the script for my post. I dont know whether this happens to my other blogger friends.

As a kid, when I started doing small chores in kitchen in attempt to help my mom, I remember me and my sisters used to pretend to host our T.V. show and enact out the action as if we had audience listening over.

I know a lot of my friends did that too. So while I was rolling these laddoos….this is what I was thinking… I have been raving a lot about my ability to make 2 laddoos – which is something I go after when I have to prepare my sons dabba in a jiffy. So this time, I actually made just about that quantity.

While rolling the laddoos…which are mini laddoos for record…I kept thinking about how I never get satisfied with the shape of the laddoo. I know a lot of friends who think why bother to shape the food when eventually it will end up in your stomach broken down. My mother was different though, she always insisted on shaping the laddoos right, there was never a short cut allowed. She insists even now that food needs to look right first.

 This is what went through my mind – and now over to the recipe…

2 cups Fine Semolina
1 cup freshly grated coconut
1.5 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 cup clarified butter/ ghee
1 tspn cardamom powder
nuts to garnish
1) Lightly roast the semolina to get rid of any moisture from it on very low flame.  
2) In a nonstick pan, heat the ghee till it is piping hot, now reduce flame and add the semolina. Keep stirring continuously.
3) In 8-10 min, the rava will start smelling aromatic and also have a golden hue. Add the grated coconout and continue stirring until the coconut is nice roasted. Take off the flame and let it rest
4) In another pan, mix water and sugar and bring it to a running boil.
5) After 3-4 min you can test the sugar syrup for stickiness, if the sugar stick to your fingers and forms a thread when fingers are pulled apart you can take it off flame.
6) Add the cardamom powder and semolina mixture and mix well.
7) Grease your palms with ghee and start forming laddoos when you can manage the heat.

1) Roasting the semolina right is important so be patient with that process
2) If the mixture is to stiff then add a couple teaspoon of warm milk.
3) If the mixture is too dry then slightly warn it on stove top. 

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Khajoor Choco Laddoo/ Dates Chocolate Laddoo

My younger sister made these for my little one last month using a lot of dry fruits. I went ahead and made a twist by adding some chocolate flavor to mask the dates a little. It came out awesome. I made some variations by placing crushed beetle leaf, gulkand and cherries for some in the centre.

All variations were welcomed by DH. Little one kept asking me whether these are maushi wala laddoos or you made them again….to avoid his stereotyping efforts, I coated them with silver warq.


2 cups seedless dates
1/4 cup dried figs
1 cup crushed mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios)
1 cup melted dark chocolate
2 tbsp gulkand/ rose petal relish
1 tbsp crushed beetle leaves (optional)
2 tbsp clarified butter/ ghee
Edible Silver foil

1) Blend the dates, crushed nuts and figs with the ghee to make a sticky dough. Rub your palms and finger with some ghee to remove the pulp in a plate.
2) Add the melted chocolate to this mixture. Stir it well using a fork. Now let it stand.
3) Start rolling them into small balls. In the centre you can place the stuffing of your choice, gulkand, beetle leaf or cherries or anything else you fancy.
4) Roll them into smooth balls 
5) Apply the silver warq on top to jazz it up. 

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