Category

Baking

Indulgent Hot Chocolate Mix “Blustery cold days should be spend propped up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a pile of comic books.”
Bill Watterson

Hot Chocolate Mix. This mix took a long time coming. I’ve been thinking of making it forever yet for some reason winter never really ‘arrived’, if you know what I mean. Until mid January this year, we’ve had an alarmingly mild winter. It saw the mustard fields flower before time, and other such signs that could spell disaster for winter crops and the months ahead. Then thankfully a cold spell arrived just in the nick of time. Shudder to think what might have been had we not seen these last few weeks of the below 7C temperatures.Hot Chocolate Mix And that prompted me into action. The kid that loves a good hot chocolate, yet labels on hot chocolate mixes alarm me. The fine print reads a lot of stuff which shouldn’t really be in a comfort drink, leave alone in the body. It also seems oxymoron to buy something which is possibly the easiest and quickest to create at home. Hot Chocolate Mix Good quality ingredients will give you the best hot chocolate mix ever. All you need is a sturdy food processor which is probably part of every kitchen today. My thermomix whirs into action for things like this. Till today, it’s been my best kitchen buy ever. Sturdy, dependable and fun to use. Of course this mix can be made in any dry grinder too. Hot Chocolate Mix If you want to do it by hand, do try and grate the chocolate as small as possible to allow quick dissolving. Else by the time you stir in the hot water, the drink might well become cold chocolate. Not a bad idea for cooler days when they come!!

Recipe: Indulgent Hot Chocolate Mix
your picture

Summary: Indulgent delicious Hot Chocolate Mix. Ready in minutes, this is great comfort food to have on hand in winter. It  seems oxymoron to buy something which is possibly the easiest and quickest to create at home. Good quality ingredients will give you the best hot chocolate mix ever. All you need is a sturdy food processor.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 200g milk powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped

Method:

  1. Place chocolate and brown sugar in bowl of food processor and process until powdered.
  2. Add cocoa powder, milk powder and insides of scraped vanilla bean. Process again for a minute or so until well blended.
  3. Transfer to a clear airtight jar.
  4. Use approximately 4 heaped teaspoonfuls for a mug of hot chocolate. Place mix in mug and top with boiling hot water. Stir until smooth. Top with cream or marshmallows as desired.

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti “Make half your grains whole grains.”

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti … a nice way to feed the blog in the new year, a tad late perhaps. Life has been a bit of a whiz, things that happen often least expected, yet as they say, life goes on. Every time I thought I’d post on the blog, something new happened. Then I suddenly discovered a shop in the neighbourhood selling locally sourced buckwheat groats. Pretty mundane and boring for most of the world, yet almost a mini celebration for me.Buckwheat groats Buckwheat groats are gluten free seeds from a plant related to rhubarb. The outer husk is pulled away and the grain-like fruit is harvested and eaten. Buckwheat is very nutritious, making it popular in many nations across the globe. Buckwheat provides complete protein, including all the essential amino acids. These soft white seeds have a mild flavor, but when toasted or roasted, they have a delightfully intense flavor. Groats can be steam-cooked like rice for salads and side dishes or ground in your own mill into fresh flour. The robust flavor of this quick-cooking gluten free grain is perfect for salads, soups and cereal. Use buckwheat groats in any recipe that calls for whole grains.

buckwheat groatsFood connects are strange! These heart shaped seeds had me mesmerized. I still remember my fascination with this pseudo cereal when our Ukrainian friend fed them to our 6 month old daughter every morning in Moscow way back in 1996. She always talked about how good they were as cereal, how they had been brought up on them etc.  I’d heard a load about them, read a bit about them, often wondered if I should order them online, yet laziness got the better of me. Then the day I saw them on the shelf, they were mine in a heartbeat. I was so excited, so raced home to first get a close look at them babies! Chocolate buckwheat groats biscottiRather lost at sea with my new ingredient,  it was back to the google gods for help. I soaked some overnight and thought I’d do a salad with them. Left them to drain the next morning, and was making a batch of biscotti, and then thought why not? Why ever not can I steal some groats into my biscotti, and that’s just how this Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti came to be. The biscotti turned out to be quite good if I may say so myself. Attracted a lot of interest from a very curious dog too!

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti A few days earlier, in the first week of January, I was contacted by the the local TEDx team here inviting me to host a TED talk. Did catch me by surprise, and it took me a bit to figure out if I was good enough for TED. Well eventually after much nervous mulling over I said yes  and got together  a small talk. Deeba Rajpal TEDxFor the uninitiated, the TEDx Program is designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences. TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading.”

Be local, stay seasonalMy talk was in a light vein touching upon my graduation from refined foods to whole foods, briefly touching upon my journey from college to food blogging, recipe development and food styling. The mainstay of the conversation was of course to rethink what’s on our plate, and try and look beyond foods with no nutrition and empty calories. Not the words of a food researcher or historian, just ideas from someone who enjoys getting good healthy fresh food on the table.

Just desserts, wholefoodsThe audience was great, so enthusiastic and appreciative, that I think most of the nervousness melted away! I think they did hear me out to the very end, as my last slide mentioned this biscotti, and that I was carrying some in my bag just in case someone wanted a nibble. Sure enough, once I left the auditorium, there was a line of kids from the audience outside. One sweet lad hesitatingly asked, “Ma’am, you said you had biscotti in your bag. Do you?”

Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti The rest, as they say, was history! The same evening I received a mail from a smart  bespectacled young lady from the audience, praising the biscotti, discussing recipes, and asking for advise! My closing line at the talk was meant to be “If you can inspire even one, you have left a mark in this world.”. I think I missed the line out there as the talk was extempore, but here it is anyway! I guess I left a mark!

Recipe: Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti your picture

Summary: Crisp, chocolaty, satisfying and wholegrain, this Chocolate buckwheat groats biscotti is healthy delicious. Keep it on hand for a quick nibble! Makes approximately 30 cookies.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus resting time
Ingredients:

  • 150g wholewheat flour
  • 50g oats
  • 60g buckwheat groats, soaked overnight, drained
  • 75g dark chocolate, melted
  • 50g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 15g yogurt
  • 50g butterscotch chips or chocolate chips
  • 15g brown sugar for topping

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease a heavy duty cookie sheet, or line with parchment.
  2. Stir together the wholewheat flour, oats and groats in a bowl. Reserve.
  3. Place the melted chocolate, butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until mixed. Add the dry mix and mix on low speed until it all comes together. Add the yogurt if required. {The biscotti dough is meant to be quite firm}
  4. Stir in the butterscotch/chocolate chips, or walnuts if you like.
  5. Bring the dough together with your hands, divide into 2 and shape into logs.
  6. Transfer to prepared tray, spritz gently with water, and sprinkle over with brown sugar.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes until the logs are firm to touch.
  8. Take out from oven, and reduce the temperature to 160C.
  9. Slice the logs thinly, about 1/2″ slices, and lay flat on the cookie tray.
  10. Return to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes until firm. {return to the oven if they feel a little soft. Biscotti should be firm and dry}
  11. Cool completely on cookie rack, then store in an airtight box.

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Savoury Braided Bread ... with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoes“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.”
Robert Browning

Savoury Braided Bread with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoes. In my little corner of the world, home baked bread doesn’t get tastier than this. It’s been a while since I baked bread. Getting onto the KitchenAid Culinary Council got me back to doing something I enjoy loads, baking bread. Just the ease of a dough hook of the KitchenAid stand mixer that works magic inside one big bowl, leaving you hands free to add things at will is a liberating feeling.

Step by step - Savoury Braided Bread ... with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoesI had a field day adding my favourite flavours to the bread. The base dough was deep deep garlic and olive oil of course, two of my most favourite flavours in the world. Then I added more flavours to the bread after the first rise, which happened in the bowl of the KA itself. It’s this very convenience that won me over. Threw in some cheese and sun dried bread, another quick knead with the dough hook to mix in the new additions, and voila! Silky smooth dough ready to braid.

Savoury Braided Bread ... with garlic, rosemary and sundried tomatoes Of course you can just shape the loaf if you like, but for me the eternal charm lies in adding some drama to the bread. A twist to the visual effect. A loaf is pretty enough, but a braid is more fun and prettier. It’s also easier to tear apart and devour.

Recipe: Savoury Braided Bread
your picture

Summary: Delicious part whole wheat Savoury Braided Bread where the mixer does all the hard work, literally all in the same bowl. It leaves you all the time in the world to gently braid the silky smooth dough to offer a show stopper loaf. With Christmas holiday colours of red, green and white, this vegetarian bread is bursting with flavour and goodness. Fresh bread will never be the same again! Makes 1 X 12″ loaf. Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour plus rising time
Ingredients:

  • Dough
  • 250g plain flour
  • 100g whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 tbsp dried instant yeast
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch sugar
  • 200-250ml buttermilk
  • 40g extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g cheddar
  • Filling/Topping
  • Few sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 25g sundried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped {reserve a few bits of tomato for the topping if you like}
  • Himalayan sea salt for topping
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over

Method:

  1. Place flours, yeast, salt, sugar, minced garlic and dried herbs in bowl of Kitchen Aid. With the dough hook attachment on, run KA on speed 4 for 30 seconds to mix.
  2. Add 200ml buttermilk and olive oil and work dough hook until the mixture comes together and a sticky dough forms. Place the shield, and pour in more buttermilk if required.
  3. Continue to knead to dough for a further 5-6 minutes on speed 5 until you get smooth silky dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Drizzle the ball with olive oil, turn over, cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for the dough to double. It should take a couple of hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 250C.
  6. Once the dough has risen, grate the cheddar into the bowl and add the sundried tomatoes. With the dough hook, mix in the cheese and sundried tomatoes on speed 4 for 30 seconds to incorporate.
  7. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface. Knead for 30 seconds to being together. Divide into 3 parts, and roll into 10-12″ long ropes.
  8. Braid the ropes into a neat little loaf, tucking the ends in to hold the braid. Spray a KA jelly roll pan with olive oil {or lightly brush} and gently transfer the braided dough onto the baking pan. Sprinkle over with Himalayan sea salt, sliced garlic, reserved sundried tomato and sprigs of rosemary.
  9. Bake at 250C for 10 minutes, then reduce to 200C and continue to bake for approximately 30-40 minutes until golden brown, and hollow when tapped underneath. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil as soon as it comes out.
  10. Serve warm with extra virgin olive oil to dip into.

Don’t miss a post
Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

%d bloggers like this: