A day ago, my kitchen looked like it was going to burst out of its belongings. And there’s nothing I hate more than a cluttered kitchen. But the paradox here is I love buying things. I keep adding on to my repertoire – pots, pans, glass jars, crockeries, and the list goes on. And don’t get me started on my baking equipment. I have more than extra of almost everything in the baking department. The problem is there’s no space.
Category Archives: Cookies
The macaron-phobe has finally become a macaron-pro. I know, modesty isn’t one of my strongest suits, but hey, this is a moment I’m really proud of. The amazing thing with confidence is that it allows you to experiment, break a few rules. And I want to share the fruits of my success with you.
One more week and I’ll be blogging from Madras. I am counting every single day. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I can’t wait to get away from the rains. I need some sunshine. I need to overdose on South Indian food. Just the thought of going back home is comforting.
I should probably stop daydreaming so much about home and all those yummy things I’m going to get to eat. I should probably talk about something of higher pertinence, perhaps this little town called Shrewsbury in England.
Because I’m a baker, you might think that my kitchen is always stacked with goodies. On some days yes and on some days no. I also make things that don’t necessarily have a long shelf life and let’s be honest, a girl can only eat so much cake (yes, even for a sweet addict like me)!
As a baker, I have to evolve, learn and unlearn techniques (I don’t mean to sound all corporate), you know what I mean. For that, I realize I have to first start trying out new ingredients uninhibitedly.
Eleanor Ozich’s little girl developed a condition called Gut and Psychology Syndrome which resulted in eczema and mood fluctuations. That was Ozich’s clue to adopt simple and clean eating and thus was born http://www.petite-kitchen.com/ If you look at the kind of stuff she’s been able to produce with gluten-free alternatives, you will be amazed, just like me; glance through her autumn cake of hazelnut, orange and fennel seeds to get an idea.
Baking in Bombay during summer is no cake walk. For one, everything melts twice as fast and if you have to roll out any kind of buttered dough, well, all the very best.
There’s the seething temperature and added to that is the oven that’s preheating. Half way through your preparation in the kitchen, you realize you’ve sweated buckets full. It’s not pleasant, but I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do.
So I’ve found a middle ground; somewhere in the midst of all that kneading and rolling, I quickly escape to my air-conditioned bedroom, bask in the cool air for a couple of minutes and then hurry back to the kitchen; I don’t want my cake batter or cookie dough to be unattended for a long time.
Baking these cookies was one such not-so-pleasant experience, because once I picture a dish in my mind, I want the outcome to be exactly that. What was meant to be pinwheel cookies, turned out to be “ear” shaped biscuits –rolling the dough and shaping it into a log tightly needs utmost deftness as it is, and thanks to this weather, it became something like a biscotti log.
Even though they came out as little elephant ears, I put my temptation to redo them to rest because I thought they looked pretty damn cute anyway. Little pink elephant ear biscuits might be the next in thing in the baking world for all I know! :p
- 250 g (2 cups) plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 125 g butter, softened
- 125 g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp rosewater
- A drop of red food colouring
Makes 30 cookies
- In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and beat further. Add rose water and beat again.
- Fold in the flour and combine till the dough comes together. Divide the dough into two equal halves. To one half add the red food colouring. Knead the dough till the colour gets incorporated thoroughly.
- Between two sheets of parchment paper, place the pink dough. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle of ½ inch thickness.
- Roll out the plain dough in the same way. Cover the rolled out pink dough with the plain dough sheet. Trim the edges with a pizza cutter.
- Roll the dough away from you into a tight log, like a sausage. Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- After chilled, cut the log into 1 inch thick pieces (see pic above).
- Place the pieces on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
I have come to the realization that I am in love with chocolate and mint combination, I know, have woken up late. May be I should stock up my cupboard with After Eight, for when I have post-dinner sweet cravings, I can tuck away a piece or two.
So I looked through my baking bible, Baking with Julia (by Dorie Greenspan) and decided to make Marcel Desaulniers’ Chocolate Mint Nightcaps. He is apparently the self-described Guru of Ganache and when I saw his recipe to making the perfect ganache, I wasn’t at all surprised. I also realized that all this while, I have been doing the wrong thing with ganache.
What goes on in the mind of a food blogger? A question I’ve always wanted an answer to. I religiously follow some amazing food bloggers, listen to what they have to say and get inspired day after day.
Sometimes, when I wake up not knowing what’s going to be my breakfast, I skim through blogs and just like that, 30 minutes later, I have a plate stacked with golden brown pancakes on my table. The word amazing doesn’t quite cut it.
Of course, there’s lunch and dinner too; there are about a few hundred tried and tested recipes of chana (chickpea) masala on the net, all carefully experimented by food bloggers and posted in detail for people like you and me.
I have this peculiar habit, a quirk if you will. I somehow, chance upon the rarest of rare things through say Google, and I don’t sleep till I lay my hands on them. Well, okay, that is a bit of a stretch, but they are almost, always present in my mind, till I see them in front of my eyes. I categorize them as “rarest of rare” considering they aren’t easily available in India. These “things” I am referring to are predominantly related to food, perhaps an ingredient, or a kitchen gadget.
For instance, I had my friends bring me a bottle of Kirsch (cherry brandy) when they visited Europe. Having gone through an ordeal of recipes that struck a rather delicious image of scarlet-cherries steeping in Kirsch, I had to have it. Speaking of which, I also have amaretto and crème de menthe on my wish list; although I happened to find this fabulous recipe for homemade amaretto on shutterbean, who by the way, happens to be one of my favourite food bloggers – so do stop by her blog if you haven’t already. I have come to own my precious madeleine molds through one such unflinching quests and there will always be such never-ending quests in my journey as a baker.
Petite things can be daunting. It doesn’t matter how many reassuring blogs of detailed, step by step, macaron troubleshooting guides you have gone through, how many little notes you have made at the end of every failed attempt, so much so that over time, all of your refrigerator magnets have stacks of little macaron-making notes beneath them. And in my case, it didn’t even matter that I had attempted making macarons 12 times; I still didn’t manage to get them right. It still beats me how such a small, wonderful thing which technically has all of 4 ingredients, can be so excruciatingly painful to make.