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Flower Shaped Savory Decorative Bread

Flower Shaped Savory Decorative Bread

Flower Shaped Savory Decorative Bread

Our food habits have changed so much after we had kids. V and I grew up eating rice for lunch and dinner. But when Ishaan turned one, he preferred chapatis over rice. So I started making chapatis regularly. But we still had rice every day. Now after Ayaan was born, I had to come up with dishes that did not take a lot of manual work. We have started eating more salads, burgers (homemade, healthy ones), pastas, grilled fish/chicken etc, anything that saves me time. Sometimes dinner is ready in less than 30mins. There are two days a week when Ishaan does not have any classes in the evening when I can make chapatis or spend a little more time in kitchen. While trying to come up with more easy recipes, I realized making bread was actually much easier compared to making chapatis. Most of the hard work is done by my KitchenAid stand mixer. I just have to shape it and bake in oven. So I am making sure atleast one day of the week we eat pizza or bread. That is how it started and now I am totally into bread making!. My latest creation was this pesto filled flower shaped savory decorative bread.

Pesto Filled Flower Shaped Bread16

From last few months, I was noticing amazing breads baked by Finla and Aparna. I finally asked Finla about these breads and she pointed me to the FB group We Knead to Bake started by Aparna. Here the members bake one bread every month, Aparna posts the recipe every month and everyone bakes it and posts it on a set date. It was just the thing I was looking for. I requested to join the group and Aparna was very kind to accept it. This month the members were asked to bake a savory decorative bread. I googled for ideas and this nutella bread caught my attention. It looked so beautiful and easy to make. I used store bought basil pesto instead of nutella because my child loves basil pesto.

Pesto Filled Bread - Savory Decorative Bread

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 2 breads (serves 3 each)

Serving size: 

Calories: 

Fat: 

A savory decorative bread that is layered with basil pesto and mozzarella cheese. It is full of flavors because of pesto between all the layers
Ingredients
  • For bread
  • 2 and ½ cups wheat flour (atta)
  • 1 and ½ to 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 packet (2 and ¼ tea spns) active dry yeast
  • 1 tea spn honey
  • 2 tea spns olive oil
  • Salt
  • For Stuffing
  • Butter
  • ½ cup basil pesto (or any strong flavored chutney)
  • ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • Cherry tomatoes (optional)
Instructions
  1. Microwave water for about 20 secs (or just heat it up till it is lukewarm).
  2. Add honey and active dry yeast and keep it aside for about 10mins till the yeast activates (the mixture becomes frothy).
  3. Add salt, olive oil and wheat flour. Mix till all the wet ingredients are incorporated into flour.
  4. Now add all purpose flour, ½ cup at a time till it forms a uniform and non sticky dough.
  5. Take a tea spn oil in a bowl, keep the dough and swirl it around to coat the dough.
  6. Cover with a damp towel and keep it aside for around 1 hr till dough is doubled in volume.
  7. Punch down the dough and cover it back.
  8. After around 1 hr, it would have doubled again.
  9. Punch it down and knead it to make a smooth ball.
  10. Preheat the oven at 350F.
  11. Cut into two equal parts. Save one for later.
  12. Make 6 equal balls from one half. Roll each ball into a 8-9" disc.
  13. Take one disc, spread pesto and mozzarella cheese on pesto.
  14. Keep the next disc on top. Spread pesto and mozzarella cheese on top.
  15. Repeat till all discs are done.
  16. Cut and decorate as shown in pictures (or refer video).
  17. Mark a round in the center. A glass can be used to do this.
  18. Then with a sharp knife, make 16 cuts from the circumference of the circle to the edge like shown in picture.
  19. Carefully lift two adjacent pieces and twist them in opposite direction. Then stick the ends together.
  20. Top with cherry tomatoes.
  21. Cover the bread with damp towel and leave it aside to rise for another 45mins.
  22. Brush with butter or eggwash (eggwhite + little water) and bake at 350F for about 30mins or till bread is baked through.

 

Pesto Filled Flower Shaped Bread17

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eggless cardamom cake

Eggless Cardamom Cake

Some of my friends surprised us on our anniversary last month with a cake. It is such a great thing to take out some time from our busy schedule and have fun with friends, at the same time making someone feel very special. One of my friends had her birthday last week. We decided to surprise her by showing up at her place with a cake and food. Since she is a  vegetarian, I decided to bake an eggless cardamom cake.

I am little bit intimidated by eggless cakes. I usually bake cake with eggs, somehow I feel the eggless cakes become more dense. Whenever I have to bake an eggless cake, I usually bake date cake. I have baked this for my friends many times, so I wanted something different. When I was looking for the recipe, I came across Madhuram’s eggless vanilla cake. It looked very interesting. from there, I got to the original recipe from AllRecipes. I followed that version mostly with some minor modifications. As mentioned in many comments there, I used cake flour – all purpose flour + corn starch mixture. I replaced vanilla with freshly ground cardamom. The aroma of the cake was divine. When it was baking, my entire apartment filled with  sweet cardamom aroma. The cake was not too fluffy like a cake with eggs, but it was soft and very tasty. I added a layer of strawberry jam in between two layers of cake for some extra taste.

eggless cardamom cake13
I used cream cheese – butter frosting to decorate the cake. Instead of using the whole milk, I added cream. I also added a pinch of  cardamom powder to the frosting. The frosting tasted so great and went well with the cake. I made the chocolate flowers and leaves using modeling chocolate. The recipe and  method to make the modeling chocolate and roses can be found at Veena’s art of cake. (OMG, I am in love with that site, just check out all her tutorials!. I have learned so much from her in last few weeks). I mixed some of that melted modeling chocolate and mixed with frosting to write Happy Birthday on the cake.

eggless cardamom cake11

My friends loved the cake. My efforts paid off. A big hats off to my 4 month old to let me work on the cake!.

Pictorial :
Peel and powder cardamom. Sieve together all purpose flour, corn flour, baking soda and baking powder.
eggless cardamom cake1eggless cardamom cake2
Take butter, orange juice, condensed milk and cardamom. Beat well to mix. (It is a good idea to beat butter first and then add other things to avoid splattering!). Then slowly add the flour mix a little at a time and mix well.
eggless cardamom cake3 eggless cardamom cake4
Add the batter in a greased pan. The batter is pretty thick, but it will bake beautifully. Bake in preheated oven.
eggless cardamom cake5 eggless cardamom cake6
Let the cake cool and then cut horizontally. Spread some strawberry jam in between(optional).
eggless cardamom cake7 eggless cardamom cake8
Keep the top layer. Make the icing and decorate the cake (optional step).
eggless cardamom cake9eggless cardamom cake10

Eggless Cardamom Cake

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8

Serving size: 

Calories: 

Fat: 

A very fragrant eggless cardamom cake, that is flavored with Orange juice and freshly ground cardamom
Ingredients
  • 2 and ½ cups cake flour (see notes below)
  • 2 tea spns baking powder
  • 1 tea spn baking soda
  • 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ⅛ tea spn freshly ground cardamom powder
  • 1 cup butter (I used salted butter)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven at 350F for about 10mins.
  2. Grease a baking dish with butter and flour, keep aside.
  3. Sieve together dry ingredients - cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and keep aside.
  4. Take condensed milk, orange juice, cardamom powder, butter in a bowl and beat till mixed.
  5. Add the flour mixture a little at a time and mix till combined.
  6. Bake at 350F for about 40-45mins till a tooth pick inserted in the center comes clean.
Notes
I did not have cake flour. So I made it at home. Take 2 and ½ cups all purpose flour and take out 5 tbl spns from from it. Add 5 tbl spn corn starch to it. I used a 8" pan which became a tad smaller. 9" pan as specified in original recipe would be perfect

eggless cardamom cake12

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Green Peas Usal (Usli)

green peas usal

green peas usal

We get frequent requests from our readers to post some very simple recipes that even beginners can cook. We normally cook many such dishes every day, but when it comes to blogging, we start thinking if it is really worth posting?. But now we are going to make a conscious effort to post such recipes here. This is a very simple green peas usal(usli) that my sister prepares frequently.

Green peas is very seasonal here. Frozen peas are not available in market in our place. So when we visited our daughter, this was one of the dishes I made frequently. It is a simple dish where every ingredient gives a nice taste to the dish. When frozen peas are used, it gets ready within few minutes.

Pictorial:
Add mustard, cumin seeds, green chillies/red chilli powder, turmeric to hot oil.
green peas usal1  green peas usal2
Add green peas, little water, salt, cover and cook till peas are done.
green peas usal3 green peas usal4
Garnish with coconut and coriander leaves
green peas usal5

Green Peas Usal (Usli)

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 4

Serving size: 

Calories: 

Fat: 

A simple and easy usal with green peas and few spices
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh/frozen green peas
  • 1 tea spn cumin seeds
  • 1 tea spn mustard seeds
  • 3-4 green chillies or ½ tea spn chili powder
  • A pinch turmeric
  • 1 tbl spn coriander leaves
  • 1 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
  • Oil
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Heat oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds. When they start popping, add green chillies or chilli powder, turmeric.
  2. Add green peas, a little water, salt, cover and cook till peas are done.
  3. Take off heat, now sprinkle coconut, coriander leaves. Serve hot with chapatis.

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Spinach – Cumin Seed Bread

spinach-cumin seed bread

spinach-cumin seed bread

One of my goals for this year is to learn bread making. I have tried my hands at baking bread many times, but I still feel it is one area of cooking that I have not explored much. So from last few weeks I have been trying breads at home. I am very happy with the results so far. Now I am all ready to try some different kinds of breads. Last week I tried this Spinach – cumin seed bread and it came out very very delicious. It could be served on its own but I prepared tomato-mozerella panini and it tasted heavenly. Some of my friends asked about the recipe, so I thought of posting it here.

V gifted me KitchenAid stand mixer last year and I made the dough in it. You could definitely make it without hand mixer but the mixer makes it easier. I feel it is much easier to make breads at home compared to making chapatis which takes a lot of manual work for me.

Here is a very good tutorial that I watched which helped me while baking this bread.

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 and 1/2 cups (approx) all purpose flour(maida)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 packet active dry yeast
1 tea spn honey
1 and 1/2 cups water
1 and 1/2 packed cups spinach (I used baby spinach)
1 tbl spn olive oil
Salt (approx 1 tea spn)
1 tea spn cumin seeds
1/2 tea spn pepper powder
1 tbl spn butter for brushing

Method:
spinach-cumin seed bread1 spinach-cumin seed bread2

Take 1/2 cup luke warm water and add the yeast and honey to it. Leave it aside for about 10mins till the yeast becomes active.
spinach-cumin seed bread3 spinach-cumin seed bread4
Grind spinach to a smooth paste using remaining 1 cup water.
spinach-cumin seed bread5 spinach-cumin seed bread6 spinach-cumin seed bread7
Add spinach, cumin seeds, pepper powder, salt, olive oil to yeast.
Now add 1/2 cup wheat flour at a time till well mixed. Add parmesan cheese and mix.
At this point, start adding all purpose flour 1/2 cup at a time. Based on lot of factors, it may take from 2 to 3 cups of white flour. For me it took 2 and 1/2 cups to get a smooth dough.
Knead the dough very well for about 10-15mins. I let the stand mixer run for about 7-8mins.
spinach-cumin seed bread8 spinach-cumin seed bread9
Take the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel (I just left the dough in stand mixer bowl covered with wet towel). Leave the bowl aside for about 2hrs till the dough doubles in volume.
spinach-cumin seed bread10
Now punch down the dough (no need to take it out of the bowl, just punch it to remove the air). Leave it covered for another 1hr till it doubles again.
After it has doubled again, punch it down again and mix well to get a smooth dough.
spinach-cumin seed bread11 spinach-cumin seed bread12 spinach-cumin seed bread13
Shape it into desired shapes. Keep on a parchment paper and cover with the towel again. Leave it aside for 30mins till the bread has risen again.
spinach-cumin seed bread14 spinach-cumin seed bread15 Aayi's Recipes
Preheat the oven at 350F. I used a pizza stone in the oven.
Melt the butter and brush it on top of the bread. Slide the parchment paper in the oven on top of the pizza stone.
Bake at 350F for about 20mins, pull it out and brush with butter. Put it back in oven and bake till done (It took total of 30mins for me). Immediately brush the top with remaining butter (this helps in keeping the top little soft).
Let it cool for about 15mins and then cut into desired pieces.

Makes 2 loaves

spinach-cumin seed bread17

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eggless banana cake
My 4 year old is having his summer holidays. That means continuously trying to find something to keep him busy.  Sometimes when I run out of things to do, he gets some TV time. Few days back when he was watching Daniel Tiger, where the tiger makes a banana bread. So the child wanted banana bread. I waited for few days till I had some over-ripe bananas which are hard to eat. So I baked this for him.

Now, I am not sure why this is called Banana bread. When I read wiki, banana bread had the same characteristics as a cake, only thing was it was baked in a bread loaf pan. Anyway, I decided to use both names here.

From many days, I wanted to bake something that uses honey instead of sugar. Also, to make it a little healthy, I thought of using all wheat flour (I used chapati atta). It was not overly sweet, but was absolutely delicious.

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup oil
2 big cup over-ripe mashed banana (1 cup after mashing)
1 tea spn vanilla extract
1 tea spn baking soda
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 tea spn butter and little flour for greasing the pan

Method:
Preheat the oven at 350F for 10mins. Grease a bread loaf pan with butter, sprinkle and spread flour. Keep aside.
Sieve together flour and soda.
Mash the bananas and add honey, milk, oil, vanilla extract. Beat well till everything is mixed.
Now add flour a little by little mixing all the time. The batter is very runny, but it will bake beautifully.
Spread half the almonds in the bottom of the prepared pan. Now pour the batter, spread remaining almonds on top.
Bake in the preheated over at 350F for about 30-40 mins till a knife/toothepick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the pan once it cools down a bit. Tastes great warm or cold.

Makes about 8 pieces
Preparation time : 50mins

 

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Spinach Chakli

spinach chakli
When my children were growing up, I frequently made chaklis and other deep fried dishes. After they moved out to go to college, I hardly made any deep fried dishes. Sometimes we buy ready made munchies to eat with evening tea. At Kumta, we get chaklies of many different varieties. One of our favorite is Spinach chakli. When we were visiting Shilpa and her family in March, we thought of trying to make these at home. They came out so well and tasty. I made a big batch of chaklis before leaving for India.

Ingredients:
4 cups (approx) or 1/2 lb baby spinach
2 tbl spns urad dal
4 cups rice flour
1 tea spn white sesame seeds
2 tbl spn (approx) water
6 tbl spn butter
1 tea spn cumin seeds
Oil
Salt

Method:
spinach chakli1 spinach chakli2

Roast urad dal till it is brownish. Make a smooth powder.
spinach chakli3 spinach chakli4 spinach chakli5
Grind spinach with minimum amount of water(approx 2 tbl spns) to a smooth paste.
Now mix the paste with all other ingredients(except oil) to a dough.
spinach chakli6  spinach chakli7spinach chakli8
Make chaklis using the chakli press.
spinach chakli9 spinach chakli10
Deep fry chaklis.
Store in a air tight container.

PS: First time we tried, we used more butter. Everyone loved the texture and taste but they were breaking very easily. Next time we tried, we used less butter and they were harder but still very good. So use between 1/4 cup(4 tbl spn) to 1/2 cup(8tbl spn) butter based on your liking.

spinach chakli

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Gadbad

gadbad
There are only few dishes/recipes which are associated with place so well such that they become synonymous with that location over a period of time. Ask anyone from Mangalore to Goa coastal belt, which is the most revered ice cream of that region – response cannot be anything other than “Gadbad”. If answer is different, perhaps they are not from this coastal region!!

This ice-cream was ‘the option’ when we had our cousins visiting us during childhood. The procedure to prepare being laborious, we always chose to visit Kumta to relish. In those days, there were few options- one on car street and other being near bus stand. However today there are many more options, oldies still being favorites.

In Hindi language Gadbad means ‘mistake’. In Konkani or Kannada it loosely translates to ‘in hurry’. Apparently the name originated because workers at ice-cream parlor could prepare this in hurry by mixing and matching ingredients, that are available to them…easily!!

For a very long time, I had been asking Shilpa, why there is no ice cream on this site. So, when I had to choose one, Gadbad was my very first choice – the ice cream that I liked all through my life, the name which many have admired and acknowledged their love with a smile(if they know what it means) , the preparation which is not very different from sundae varieties available with several brands in major towns. However after trying ice creams across many countries, this humble preparation from my native region of India still stands as favorite. It is available in any ice-cream parlor of even a Tier2 town of this region, sitting in menu cards, so gracefully. At Kumta’s ‘new Simla ice cream parlor’, in month of May 2014, this just costed Rs 30. A royal serving, but a humble preparation that would contain almost everything that is in ice cream parlor!!

As mentioned earlier, this is not a unique recipe by itself, but the way it is served makes it unique. The contents will always have 3 flavors – rose or strawberry being one, pineapple or mango generally being another and vanilla being there almost every time. Along with these go- easily available fresh fruits of coastal region, tooty-frooty(ready made jelly made up of Papaya) , rose syrup and crowning glory would be a cherry. It is served always in a tall glass with much longer spoon and it is this part which makes it such a brand and so special. As per a Kannada weekly, this was invented in Mangalore and became a cult over a period of time in surrounding region. No more details are available on origin of this.

Though name loosely translates to ‘in hurry’, if someone is planning to prepare at house, this ice cream neither can be prepared in hurry nor one can have it in hurry!! However it is so delicious that you would not worry about efforts that go in!! While preparing at house, I have ensured to the best possible extent, to use natural ingredients. Ready-made ingredients are used only when alternate option was not available. As it is mango season, I decided to use mango ice-cream as one of the options, rose ice-cream as another choice as rose syrup was available and also because of its eye catching color in overall presentation. Vanilla ice cream is prepared using easily available ice-cream mix.

Procedure for overall ice-cream preparation with refrigerator:
Vanilla ice-cream:
Ingredients:
Weikfield Freeze Ice cream mix powder
½ litre of milk

Method:
Empty the contents of packet in ½ litre of milk
Heat to boil for 2 minutes with constant stirring till it becomes homogeneous mixture
This mixture is cooled and poured into container.

Mango ice-cream:
Ingredients:
2 cut mangoes or mango pulp
2 ground cardmom powder
½ litre of milk
2 tbl spn fresh cream
2 tbl spn of sugar

Method:
Boil milk and bring to room temperature
Mix all ingredients
Blend well to get homogeneous mixture
Pour above mixture into container

Rose flavored ice-cream
Ingredients:
2 tbsp Rose syrup(ex. FineLife’s Rose sharbat syrup)
½ litre of milk
2 tbsp fresh cream
2 tbsp of sugar

Method:
Boil milk and bring to room temperature
Mix all ingredients
Blend well to get homogeneous mixture
Pour above mixture into container

Common procedure to make ice-cream using refrigerator:
gadbad1 gadbad2 gadbad3

Select coolest position for deep fridge (freezer). Keep the same in at least ½ hr before keeping ice-cream containers.
Leave containers in deep fridge for around 2-3 hours.
Take them out, blend them separately using a blender.
Ensure you take out froth if any, as that crystallizes. You will not get desired texture if you leave froth as it is. Keep them back in deep fridge.
Repeat above procedure at least 3 times, till you find desired texture so that you can scoop out.
While keeping it for the last time, either close the containers with lid or with plastic sheet. This is to ensure it does not freeze.

It is advisable to leave sufficient head-space so that freezing can be avoided. You may also prefer freezing bags instead of regular containers.

Warning: Keeping glass Containers in deep fridge is unsafe, as glass may break.

Ingredients for garnishing:
Fresh cut fruits – banana, mango, pomegranate
Dry fruits – grapes, cashews, pista
Tooty frooty, cherry and rose syrup

Method for serving:
gadbad4 gadbad5 gadbad6

Take a tall glass. Place a scoop of rose flavored ice cream.
Add fresh cut fruits.
Add scoop of mango ice cream.
Add dry fruits.
Add vanilla ice cream.
Garnish with rose syrup and Tooty frooty.
Top it up with a cherry.
Serve with long spoon so that one can reach bottom of glass easily!!

gadbad

 

 

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beetroot salad
Some of these kind of recipes are not “Aayis recipes” in strict sense. These kind of dishes are quick to prepare and very helpful for office goers when they return and obliged to cook. They are ready almost in no time. It is non-traditional in the sense, perhaps invented as per need but quite healthy as no oil involved and no cooking needed. In other words, perhaps these kinds of dishes will become ‘Aayis recipes’ of next generation!! This one comes into our family from one of our cousins and off late a regular side dish.

Ingredients:
4-5 green chillies
One beetroot (approx 1 cup grated)
A bowl of curd(yogurt)
2 onions
Salt

Method:
beetroot salad1
Slit green chillies, chop onions, add half tea spoon of salt and mix well.
beetroot salad2
To this add grated beetroot. Mix curd and serve. For few minutes you may keep in refrigerator if required. However any dish that has salt and raw chopped onions is likely to leave out water. So it is best to serve once you mix.
This goes well with dal rice.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 10mins

PS: – If you do not like raw onions, leave it out and add a seasoning could be added to the above to give it a different taste. To make the seasoning, heat a little oil, add mustard, when it starts popping, add urad dal, curry leaves and little asafoetida. Pour this over the salad.

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Cookies And Cream Cake

cookies and cream cakeToday is my wedding anniversary. It has been 10 years since we got married. It has been a significant year for me, first Ayaan was born in March, then my parent’s 40th anniversary in May(although I could not celebrate with them since they were in India, I was still very excited), our 10th anniversary and a milestone birthday for aayi in August!.

Before kids were born, we used to celebrate this day, but now it has become another normal day. We wish each other and that is it. But this year, I wanted to celebrate it. We have been so busy taking care of our kids and V’s work, we forget to take time and enjoy. I wanted to create something that would remind us all the fun times we had. So I created a photo book for V that had all the good memories from our 10 years together. I spent hours looking into HUGE pile of pictures to pick these. It was such a wonderful experience for me. Then I wanted to make a cake for us – I don’t know when was the last time I baked a cake for our anniversary!. So I baked this.

Cookies and Cream – I purposely picked that flavor. Many years ago when we came to US, whenever we visited any icecream store, I used to pick the shakes they have instead of icecreams. The sizes they offer here are too big for us even if we both share!. So a shake was a better option for me. Somehow I loved the cookies and cream flavor. Since then, I would pick the same and ask V to try it. After asking a few times, V tried once and he was also a convert. Since then, he buys ONLY cookies and cream shake. Whenever we get icecream at home, it is always this flavor. We are kind of obsessed with it!!. Yes, we know it is high in calories and not a very healthy stuff, but we visit icecream store only 4-5 times in a year, so I am ok with it. So it had to be cookies and cream cake!.

The cake came out great. I could have spent more time on decorating the cake, but I had to squeeze the time for cake between my 3 month old’s sleeping schedule. I was happy to finish the cake before V came home. My 4 year old loved to help – I am sure few cookies went into the little tummy before they reached the cake. He kept saying it was his and his little brother’s “annivercity”, so he will cut the cake :)). It was supposed to be a surprise for V, when little dude realized that, he wanted to call pappa and tell him about surprise. He told V as soon as he stepped in the house :) and he cut the cake yesterday itself. We were very happy to see his excitement.

I used a basic white cake recipe from epicurious and made up the cream part. It is heavy on calories, but amazingly tasty.

Ingredients for cake : 
2 cups all purpose flour
1 and half cups sugar
1 tea spn vanilla extract
2 tea spns baking powder
1/4 tea spn salt
6 large egg whites
1 and 1/2 sticks butter (1 stick is 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup milk
9 Oreo cookies

Method:
cookies and cream cake1 cookies and cream cake2

Grease a cake pan with butter and flour and keep aside. Preheat the oven at 350F for 10mins.
Mix flour salt and baking powder in a dry bowl.
cookies and cream cake3
Separate the eggs. Discard the yolks (or save for something else). Mix the egg whites, vanilla and milk in a bowl. Beat until they are mixed. Keep aside.
cookies and cream cake4 cookies and cream cake6
In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar till they are mixed. While beating slowly, add a little milk mixture and flour mixture into it till all the flour and milk has been incorporated. Do not over beat.
cookies and cream cake7 cookies and cream cake8
Take the Oreos in a ziplock bag and beat it with a heavy object till they are crushed.
cookies and cream cake9 cookies and cream cake10
Now add this to the cake batter and mix very carefully.
cookies and cream cake11
Add the mixture in the pan and bake for about 35mins or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cake cool completely.

PS: I did not have white sugar with me. So the color turned slightly brownish. Use white sugar for  light colored cake.

Ingredients for Cream:
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
1/2 cup butter(at room temperature)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tea spn vanilla extract

Method:
Take all the ingredients and beat well until it is fluffy and light.

Assembling the cake:
Take 8 Oreos in a ziplock and crush them (make sure they don’t become a powder).
cookies and cream cake12 cookies and cream cake13
Cut the cake horizontally and spread cream over it. Then spread some cookie pieces on it. Then spread another layer of cream. Cover with the second piece of cake. Cover the cake with cream and decorate it as required.

cookies and cream cake14

Makes 12 big servings

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zunka
Zunka is a popular Maharashtrian dish and it is also very popular in Karnataka-Maharashtra border area. Though I got exposed to several dishes when I was studying at Belgaum, this Zunka is something I could never appreciate till I got married !! The dryer version of Zunka has a texture and husky smell of Chickpeas flour(Besan) which kept me away from this.
The credit of making me like this dish goes to Rashmi, my wife. When she decided to prepare this for first time, I remember telling her, there are very few dishes on earth that I don’t like and Zunka is definitely one of them. However my opinion got changed when I tried this ‘watery version’ of Zunka. The texture and taste of this is quite different from traditional thick one and perhaps that results in a different appeal. But please note that thicker version is more popular and if you visit restaurant and order for this, you are most likely to get the traditional one(and this is not that version).

Ingredients:
4 tbl spns besan (bengal gram flour)
1 cup chopped onions
½ cup grated coconut
1 tea spn mustard seeds (rai/sarson)
1 tea spn cumin seeds (jeera)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
5 slit green chillies
1/2 tea spn turmeric powder (haldi)
2 tbl spn coconut oil(or olive oil or any other oil)
Few curry leaves
Salt and water to taste

Method:
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Mix besan in half cup of water and stir to ensure no lumps are formed and keep it aside(Most important step to get consistency and uniform taste).
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Heat oil in a thick bottomed vessel, add mustard seeds.
When they start spluttering, add asafoetida, curry leaves, pinch of turmeric powder and green chillies. You may add 1 tsp of crushed ginger(not added in pictures) and jeera and fry for a minute.
Add onion and fry till it becomes translucent stirring occasionally.
Mix earlier dissolved Besan to this.
While stirring, add a cup of more water. This is desired to get right texture and especially if you don’t like smell of Besan flour.
Add salt as desired. Add grated coconut.
Aayi's Recipes
Bring it to boil and keep stirring till gravy thickens. Do not attempt to dry out additional water. The real skill and perfection of this dish lies here.
Serve hot with rice or jawaar or baajra rotis. Pictures shown here are with rice rotis.
This dish has to be spicy and milder version may not go well with rotis.

PS: There are various other versions of this in terms of ingredients and texture. You may use red chilli powder instead of green chillies or along with them. You may add crushed garlic. Instead of opting for semi-gravy texture, you may go for thick paste.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 20mins

Update: Thanks to comments from readers. I have updated post to bring in more clarity between Zunka and its ‘sibling’ Pitla. In my family and amongst my relatives this version is known as Zunka. However I did cross check with some of my Marathi speaking relatives and they clarified that patal(thin) version of Zunka is known as Pitla. Since this is more of Maharashtrian dish, I would give due credits while naming. Hence I have updated the title as well.

 

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