M&M Illusion Cake

Well, school has opened. It’s been three weeks now. Kids are settled and everything is running smoothly. And I now I have some spare time for myself and for my blog which I was missing so much. It’s been two months since I had posted anything. However, during these two months ( kid’s summer vacation) I made tons of goodies and all my pictures and recipes are laying in my desktop. I will be posting them nearly soon.

Last week of August we celebrated our daughter’s birthday. Obviously her BFFs were with her to celebrate. Few days ago before her birthday she requested me to make an illusion cake for her. I normally bake cake for my kid’s special days. I feel satisfied when I cook for them.

I know all kids love M&Ms. So I had the basic idea to make three layers cake with butter icing and dropping the candies from the top layer but I was not sure how to make the wrapper suspend on the cake. So after some research I found a wonderful link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQkvBLu2aT4 .

It explains very clearly how to make the cake. To give my daughter a surprise, I made  a checkerboard with chocolate butter cream. The outer cake icing was made of white butter cream.

When I brought the cake out, my daughter’s friends were awestruck and everyone wanted the slice which was fully covered with M&Ms. My daughter delighted and said it was the best cake ever.
Illusion M&M cake

Delectable Alcoholic-free Jelly Shots

One day my daughter came from school and announced, “Mom, starting today I won’t be eating jello anymore because it comes from animals.” I respected her decision. But soon, days passed by I forgot all about it! One day, I thought of surprising her with her favorite jello pudding. But, when I served it, she reminded me that she can’t have it. How forgetful I’d been! I was feeling so guilty- but like all other Super Moms I thought of a quick fix. I searched my pantry and I found pectin. I had oranges too and I knew that pectin acts as a food thickener. Can I make a jello out of it? Absolutely! The end result was different but very tasty. It was not jiggly like jello but more like jelly in consistency. But hey, who cares? It was outstandingly tasty and this simple dessert brought a million dollar smile on my baby’s face. She hugged me so tight. The little things really do matter in our life.

Here is my recipe:

shot jello

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup Fresh Orange juice
1 Tblsp Lemon juice
1 tsp chia seeds
1/4 cup sugar ( add more for more sweet)
1 Tblsp Ball Low sugar pectin

Method:
Soak chia seeds in 1/2 cup water for 30 mins. Drain chia seeds after 30 mins.
Mix orange juice, chia seeds lemon juice and pectin and boil for 2 mins. Add sugar and boil to a rolling boil for another two minutes.
Pour into shot glasses. Refrigerate until it’s firm. Serve with whipped cream.
It sets faster than jello.

*Vegans can serve with whipped coconut cream.

Indian Espresso Coffee

Espresso means coffee brewed with the force of small amount of water passing through the ground coffee beans. It is very thick in consistency. The average serving of coffee is as of a shot glass. But Indian espresso is totally opposite. It is made of whole milk, instant coffee and sugar.

In southern region of India, every house has the brewing smell of coffee early in the morning. We Indians are very good at adapting everything. We can adjust easily or can modify things efficiently. Lets go to the past…when India was colonized by British rule. They started Tea plantations in the hilly areas of the eastern India. At that time Indians had never heard of tea– what is this damn thing? But, well, they planted it anyways.( Do not worry we are not studying history here he..he). People used to see the British madam brewing tea with water, serving their husbands in fancy tea sets. Hmmm… Maybe we should also try how does it tastes… So we came with a great idea… add little bit of milk and some spices and voila! It tastes so good, heavenly. Now, Indian chai is world famous.

Similarly we gave coffee a new uplift… Coffee was brought to India by a traveling Sufi in the 17th century from Arabia. He was said to have started the first coffee plantain in southern India. Now southern India is one of the major exporter of coffee in world. Chikmanglur coffee is one of the finest coffee in India.

I am not making coffee by the traditional method where you have to stir coffee and sugar with spoon for 10-15 mins (that requires a lot of muscle power). But now we have so many modern gadgets, bless! Don’t worry, it still tastes just as yummy!

Ingredients:

6 oz whole milk

1 Tblsp water

1-2 tsp sugar(as per taste)

2 tsp good instant coffee

Frother

Method:

Microwave water in a cup for 40-45 secs. Add coffee and whip with the frother till it’s double the amount. It should be frothy and all foamy.

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Boil the milk with sugar. Now add milk in a slow flow to the coffee mixture and with other hand keep whipping with the frother.

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When the coffee is all foamy and light, it is done. Sprinkle some coffee granules on top. Serve hot.

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Yummm!

 

My next post will be on Indian Tea.

Scrumptious Vegan Banana Bread

A very easy vegan/dairy free recipe.

 

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Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas

1 cup light/dark brown sugar

 1 1/2 cup wholewheat flour

1/2 cup unflavored oil(sunflower/safflower/vegetable)

1 Tblsp Flax seed meal blended with 3 Tblsp of  lukewarm water

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp allspice powder

1 tsp lemon juice

Method:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Mash bananas properly. Sieve all the dry ingredients. In another bowl blend all the wet ingredients and then add all the dry ingredients. Gently fold the batter.If the batter seems too dry, you can add 2-3 tsp of water. 

Bake it in the prepared pan for 50 -60 mins. Check the bread by inserting toothpick, if the toothpick comes clean then it is done. If not then bake for another 5 mins. 

Cool and serve.

 

Coffee flavored Almond and Coconut Milk Panna Cotta

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Panna Cotta is a very simple Italian set dessert which simply melts in your mouth. 

This is a dairy free recipe and very easy to make.

Ingredients:

1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 cup cold Whole coconut milk
1/3cup +2 Tblsp sugar
1tsp Vanilla extract
1 envelope unflavored gelatin( I used Knox brand)(for vegans: agar agar or plant sourced gelatin)
2 1/2 Tblsp of Instant coffee granules (add more if you like strong coffee flavor)

Method:

Boil almond milk for 10 mins. Keep stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Mix sugar, coffee and vanilla and let boil for another one minute. Switch off the burner.

While the milk is boiling sprinkle gelatin on cold coconut milk for 5 mins to proof. After 5 mins of proofing add hot milk over the gelatin mixture and mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps. Use beater to make it airy.( You can add more sugar if you like more sweet but at this stage add fine powdered sugar and mix properly)

Pour into ramekins and refrigerate for 4-5 hrs.Serve chill.