Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Black & White Wednesday #52

Black & White Wednesday celebrates its first birthday. This event, which is the brainchild of Susan of the Well Seasoned Cook, is a great forum to look at some of the clicks in B&W and which celebrate food nonetheless.

This week's gallery is being hosted by Susan herself. I am sending across this B&W click of one of my favourite glasses. These also featured in the In My Kitchen post for the month.

 Wishing many more solid years to BWW.

In my Kitchen, October 2012

It seems September did not even start and its already October. The past few weeks have been hectic - more mentally than anything else. With so much happening leading to so much thinking, I guess I did not realise where time went by.
It also made me realise that I haven't blogged much. I have a few unfinished draft posts but they are waiting for the pics!

So let me jump straight into sharing with you what is in my kitchen this month. I had participated in this event hosted by Celia last month and I am so happy to join in again.

In my kitchen...

...Is this beautiful runner which was gifted to me last week by my sister in law P. She bought it for me during her recent visit to New Delhi. I immediately fell in love with it the moment I set my eyes upon it. The fabric is tissue and as you can see, it has hand painted flowers running through the center. This runner goes very well with my curtains and beautifully adorns my dining table.

In my kitchen...

...are a bunch of yellow flowers which brighten up the corner next to the sink.

In my kitchen...

...is a "Baby and Toddler Cookbook" by Tarla Dalal who is a noted Indian cookery author. This book was recommended by my colleague M and I have found it extremely useful in introducing solids to my daughter T. The book covers various recipes (Indian and others) suited for babies and toddlers. 

In my kitchen...

...is a set of 4 glasses which my husband and I had purchased together a few years back. We both fell for the circular pattern on the glasses and the only regret was that there were only 4 pieces left when we bought them.

In my kitchen...

...is a new unopened packet of Papdi - Indian wafers made from refined flour and spices and deep fried. These can be eaten directly as a snack or are served with potatoes, chutney and curd to make Papdi Chaat

In my kitchen...

...is freshly prepared "Golden Froth". This very tasty drink was prepared by my sister in law P today afternoon. Will share the recipe soon :)

So what is happening in your kitchen this month? Hop onto Fig Jam and Lime Cordial to share.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Buying Fresh Vegetables Online (in Pune, India): Greenofresh.com

Aah! the convinience of online shopping. And to my list of things I regularly purchase through e-shopping, there is a more recent addition - Vegetables. Fresh Vegetables delivered at my doorstep.
Yes, you heard me right. I now order for my weekly stock of vegetables while sitting at home or in the office and they are delivered to me the next day.

I was introduced to Greenofresh.com through dear friend R. Greenofresh home delivers fruits and vegetables in Pune / PCMC areas and I have been their regular customer for the past five months.
My husband currently has a travel job, and with a new born daughter at home it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to juggle work and home.  And when R told me about this website through which you can order veggies, I could not believe myself. I was initially sceptical about the cost and the quality, but I have not had any complaints so far.

How Greenofresh has helped me:

- The vegetables and fruits are fresh and I have not had any issues in terms of quality. I have loved their leafy veggies like spinach and methi / fenugreek. Button mushrooms are another favourite
- They have a lead time of 1 day. So if you order today, it is delivered the next day. I think the delivery time depends on the city area
- Order confirmation and verification, including delivery time and receipt, through phone calls and text messages
- Payment option is Cash on Delivery which works fine with me
- Their website is well designed and user friendly
- And need I say convinience? Most of the days, I have placed orders after 10pm (after my daughter is asleep).



- They deliver for purchases above INR 100. Since I order in bulk, this has not been an issue for me. No extra charges for shipping
- I have not really done an itemwise cost comparison. So I cannot comment on wheter the price is marked up or not. But to me, it is the convinience which matters more. I have observed that the individual price varies on a daily basis and my understanding is that it would be linked to the market rates

Some challenges:

- Sometimes, ordering less becomes difficult. For most vegetables (barring fruits and staples like onion and potatoes), the minimum quantity that you can order is 250gms. This can be challenging when it is a small nuclear family.
- It needs planning on your part as the delivery is not on the same day. Also, if you are not available at home during weekdays (9am - 6pm), then you would need to plan to place an order on Friday / Saturday.

So, have you purchased vegetables online in your city? How has the experience been?

P.S.: This is an independent review. I have no linkage to greenofresh.com apart from being their regular customer

I would also like to send across this picture to B&W Wednesday # 49. This event has been created by Susan, and is being hosted this week by her.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

In my Kitchen, September 2012

After I resumed blogging after a gap of 2 years, one of the first things was to "roam" around the blogosphere to discover what I have been missing. And during such a "trip", I came across this very lovely blog - Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Celia, who is the proud owner of this blog, does a monthly series - "In my Kitchen". It is amazing to go through this series every month and have a peek into what are the lovely ingredients she has in her kitchen.

I have been regularly reading "In My Kitchen" posts every month, and have been thinking of joining ever since. After spending a weekend clicking photographs, I would like to share a few things in my kitchen this September.

In my Kitchen...
...are a set of Kulhads (traditional handle less terracotta cups). I have got these specifically to serve Phirni which I believe tastes best when eaten straight from an earthenware cup. Hope to blog about it soon.

In my Kitchen...
...are 3 new pickles. My husband is an ardent lover of Indian pickles and loves to pick new flavours from the market. We now have Tenti Dela pickle (fruit of a tropical plant), Jackfruit (gifted to my husband by dear friend R) and Mixed Veg. as you can see that these get consumed fast! These are new additions to an amazing collection of 15+ pickles

In my Kitchen...
...is a box of sweet tamarind which I love (sorry for the bad picture!)

In my Kitchen...
...is a beautiful wooden tray with brocade work. This was a gift from my sister-in-law's family during my brother's wedding.

In my Kitchen...
...is a block print Runner which now adorns my Dining Table (and surprisingly goes well with the tray!)

I hope that next time I will be able to capture much more of what happens in my kitchen every month. So what is happening in your kitchen?

Monday, 27 August 2012

Chocolate Cake: A Guest Post by Tasty Indian Khana

One of the first bloggers I knew and was inspired by was D. This was in 2003, almost a decade ago. She had a "livejournal" which I followed with enthusiasm - not just because the posts were interseting but also because she is a fab writer.

In these 9 years, D and I have moved from "freshly-graduated-MBAs-starting-their-career" to being professionally mature, finding our life partners and discovering various aspects of life along the way. And as you may have guessed, she is one of my closest friends.
She now also has various other blogs which I still follow - the Shoe Blog and more. The most recent one - and I am so happy that she started it - is a Food Blog. Tasty Indian Khana.

D is a fine cook and an amazing baker. Now that she has started blogging on food, I could not have missed the opportunity to feature one of her recipes on my blog. So here it is - a sinful chocolate cake.

Thanks D for sharing this.

P.S. This was sent to me a few weeks ago. Got the opportunity to post it today.

"Good things happen to those who wait"

Around January I started on my quest to get an oven home. Finally, last week, we had a shiny, glorious new oven at home. Oooh was I excited!
However, time is a constraint and finally last evening, when the weather was breezy, with a hint of rain, I decided to christen the oven and made a much loved baked goodie - a chocolate cake!

As far as baked food go, a chocolate cake is a sure shot hit with almost anyone. And, it is simple to make, to boot.
All you need to do is use loads of chocolate, and lots of love. The moment the cake smell overtakes your house, do not, I repeat, do not blame anybody in your family for coming into the kitchen and bothering you before you finish the cake off!

What you need:

For the CakeFlour - 1 1/2 cups
Eggs - 2 large or 3 small.
Butter - 100gms or 1/2 cup sunflower/groundnut oil
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Cooking chocolate - 1/2 block (100gms)
Cocoa powder - 2 heaped tablespoons
Sugar - 1/2 cup (add more if you like your cake sweet)
A dash of milk

Switch on the oven, at 200C or as specified by your oven instructions.
Seive together the flour, cocoa powder and the baking powder. Do this 2-3 times, till the mixture is evenly brown in colour. Keep it aside.
Line the baking pan/mould with a little oil and then dust it with plain flour, till it is evenly coated. Keep it aside.

In a bowl,whisk together the oil and the sugar, till the sugar completele dissolves. The mixture should have a thick consistency.
Add in one egg into the sugar-oil mix and an equivalent amount of flour and slowly whisk it together.

Ensure that you mix it in only one direction. Do not change the direction of whisking, as it somehow reduces the fluffiness of the cake.
Once it has completely dissolved, mix in the other egg and some more flour.
By the end of the whisking, it should be a chocolatey, gooey mixture.
Add in the remaining amount of flour bit by bit till completely dissolved.
The consistency should be runny enough to fall on its own from the edge of the whisk. If its thick, add some milk into it - not too much. And whisk it in.

If you want, this is the time you can add some walnuts/dry fruits into the cake.
Once the mixture is ready, dont let it sit for too long.
Pour it into the baking mould right away. Pour it gently, and let it flow into every nook and crevice. Then, once every drop is transferred, lightly tap the mould on the counter. THis dislodges any air bubbles that might be trapped inside.
Pop it into the hot and ready oven.
Give it 25 mins.

Relish the aroma of a fresh-baked chocolate cake at home. It is a natural perfume to make the whole house smell incredibly good and warm and welcoming.
Towards the end of the timer, dip in either a toothpick or a fork, and if it comes out clean, your cake is ready! (if not, let it stay in the hot oven for some more time)
Bring out the tray, and tap the mould again. This time to dislodge it.
Let it cool for a minute or so, and then tap it out.

Note:To take out the cake, hold a plate of the same diameter as the cake on top of the mould, like a cover. Then, in a quick action, invert it, so that the plate is at the bottom. Tap the bottom of the mould (now at top) with the back of a knife, evenly. The cake should fall into the plate. Transfer it to a wire rack to cool evenly.

To make the chocolatey icing-ganache
Chop the cooking chocolate into small squares.
Put it into a double boiler.

Note:A double boiler is basically a large vessel partly filled with water, and a smaller vessel inside it. The larger vessel is placed on heat, and the hot water heats the contents of the smaller vessel. THis ensures a consistent, low temperature.

Once the chocolate starts melting, stir it around with a spatula, and add either a little cream, or milk.
Let it heat till the consistency is runny. Add in castor sugar, and stir it well, till the sugar is completely dissolved.

Putting the cake together

Keep the cake on the wire rack, or on an icing table. If on a wire rack, keep a sheet under it to catch the falling icing.

Coat the top of the cake with icing and let it cool for some time till its becomes harder.

Decorate with chocolate sprinkles and silver dragees.

Serve, and enjoy!