Thursday, October 28, 2010

Butter Sponge Cake

The name reminds me of the cake I had eaten a couple of times as a kid,  from a famous bakery by the name Butter Sponge in Bangalore. There is one by the same name now, am not sure if its the same one though.  Naive me had then thought that the vanilla loaf cake was a bread and how amazed I was by the super delicious tasting 'bread'. But back then, in our sleepy hometown, even cakes sold in the bakeries did not hold much appeal as they were too sweet or were slathered with the over sweet, greasy butter cream..aaagh!!! So it was not all that of a pleasure to eat cakes. We would prefer eating the other savory stuff on the few occasions we would eat bakery stuff.... If we can't get fat eating cakes, let us get fat eating puffs... makes sense right?? lol!!

I had bought a baking book from a railway platform while traveling almost 8 years ago. I did not have an oven , but would just read the book now and then. I have baked a couple of cakes from this book before I got seduced by the glossy glamorous books. The author calls this cake a Butter Sponge Cake and I was tempted to try this out to see if the results would be as good as the name sounds. And I must say, though it was not a buttery butter sponge, it made a delicious, wonderfully light textured tea cake.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Orange Bread

Well, yes, you could say I am on a 'caking' break. Cakes and More hasn't seen a cake this month, the 'More' taking up the space happily. I have baked a couple of cakes, but nothing new, so nothing to blog about.
With the son becoming more chubby, me on a diet, the hubby on an enforced diet (enforced by yours truly, without any doubt) whatever cakes I bake, is restricted to a slice or two for the kids and the rest shared with neighbors, and friends. Well, the itch to bake a new cake will soon resurface and I promise a shining new cake here soon...

I have been trying out breads, the healthier way to scratch the baking itch. Baking breads, I must tell you, has been like an edge-of-the-seat thriller in a way. You guessed it -Yeast features in this one. If you live in India, trying to learn baking bread with our locally available dried-active yeast, you can relate to my banter here. My inexperience apart,  poor quality of yeast has been a contributing factor to the 'Ooops' factor in my breads. I have had to discard the yeast mixture 4 times on one occasion as the yeast did not quite proof..oops, rise to the occasion. So while my yeast is proofing, I pace back and forth, will it froth well within the critical 10 minutes, or will I have to start all over again..?? The 'phoren' yeast is supposed to be much more potent, it WILL froth for sure in 10 minutes and froth even when close to the expiry date. Guys in the US and elsewhere - how I envy you!!

I will be getting my bag of goodies from the US shortly and you bet yeast is going to be one of them. My sister got me a packet of instant yeast called Gloripan from General Food Additives, Seshadripuram. I was so excited,  I just had to fit in baking a bread on the same day as I had to bake 3 cakes in my 14 liter OTG for a celebration in our office. And am I over the moon the yeast proofed its worth:-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Low Fat Microwave Potato Wafers

A serious foodie on a serious diet is good news to the rest of the weight-watching foodie clan. Now tell me you don't agree with me!! At the cost of being repetitive, we foodies gotta eat good grub, even on a diet. I for one can never remember a time when I have felt like not eating, save just a couple of times(thankfully!!) when I was carrying my son. I want to shamelessly tell you that my appetite remains normal even when I am angry or sad. Or unwell.  Really!! As a kid I remember asking my Mom to prepare Pudina Raitha, Huli Nucchu( a kind of porridge) etc whenever I was unwell. But eat well, I surely would:-). I dread times when I fall sick when I am not in my kingdom, my home. People tend to automatically assume that since I am not well, I may not have a normal appetite. When the truth is I feel like eating more than I would normally eat - raised BMR due to higher body temperature or something. Sad situation now, isn't it?? 

When I was a kid, if my Dad sensed I was angry, he would first ask me if I had eaten. If the answer was negative, he would insist that I first eat and then we talk about whatever was my grouse. Now hubby follows suit and it works. Well, most of the times:-)). Point to be noted, a hungry me - not a pleasant person to live with. Me on a pleasantly full tummy- hey can take on the world!! 

I have knocked off about 6 kgs recently and have another 4-5 kgs to go before I end the last weight-loss programme in my life ever. (Hope I don't ever say this in another post anytime in the future). If you have been on a diet, you would know, its quite difficult to sustain the motivation to resist eating junk for prolonged periods. And low fat /zero fat versions like these Low Fat Microwave Potato Wafers can be real saviors when the craving for potato chips hits!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Guest Post On Nachiketa's Blog - And An Award

'Dessert Crazy' gets a new definition when you meet Nachiketa! What else would you say when someone works a really really hectic schedule, travels half way across the city to reach office, comes back home to bake 265 brownies till morning?? She baked sugar-free brownies as 'prasad'. You are amazed now aren't you?? If you haven't done so already, do drop by Nachiketa's blog to drool over a really huge array of - desserts - of course!!  

She invited me to write a guest post for her and I was happy to do it for her. Hop on to her blog to see my guest post here. Thank you so much Nachiketa!!

This is a guest post for Nachiketa of The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa. You can also Catch her on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts Join her page and leave a comment to become eligible for her special Giveaway prize.

 Am very happy to have received an award from Sayantani who blogs at A Homemaker's Diary. Thank you so very much Sayantani!! Its been great to know you and virtually feast on the delicious Bengali spread you dish up. Hope to meet up sometime soon!!

 Its my turn to pass on the award, something I find it an extremely tough thing to do, given the number of inspiring blogs and amazing bloggers around.The award is passed on to

1.Champa Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen
2. Mallika  Veg Bowl 
3. Madhuri Cook-Curry Nook 
4. Jyothi Panchpakwan
5. Radhika Food For 7 Stages Of Life
6. Spice SpiceBuds
7. Nachiketa The Variable- Crazy Over Desserts
8. Shweatha Experiments,Emotions,Experiences With Food

Please do accept!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Low Fat Milk Ganache - Cheat To Indulge!!

Do you believe in low-fat food? My answer is yes and no. I believe only in relatively low fat food. Oh yep, let me apologize at the beginning of this post if I sound like a sermonizing dietitian, since I am not one. A dietitian I mean:-). Having a tendency to gain weight easily, lose it slowly, a couple of lessons I learnt during the course of weight loss are something I am not going to forget in a hurry.

One of those lessons is, its NOT fine to eat as much food as you like as long as it is healthy, when you are on a weight loss programme. This is applicable specially to sweets and desserts which are usually made with All Purpose Flour or Maida as the main ingredient, are loaded with sugar and at least some quantity of fat thrown in. Well, sometimes the sugar is replaced with an artificial sweetener or honey or jaggery making this a 'healthy and sugar free' sweet. Honey and jaggery may have more nutritional value as compared to sugar, but honey they are definitely not calorie free!! And when you eat a sugar-free dessert, your calories from sugar are reduced in the dessert, but the calories and fat from other ingredients in the dessert are not zapped away!!!

The point I am trying to communicate is, be vary of  low fat food. Its great to eat low fat food, but is really helpful only when you eat the same in normal or small quantities and only as frequently as you are allowed to indulge. Do not binge on low fat food as you will not lose weight. If you have to lose weight, you have to create a calorific deficit. This is created when you take in less calories as compared to the calories you burn. That is when you can lose weight. That is the reason you are supposed to eat even vegetables and salads in the prescribed quantities as as advised by your dietitian. And end of my boring little speech..

So, ladies and gentlemen.. prehsenting.. a relatively Low Fat Ganache which I insist you try for sure, but treat yourself to a small portion. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

No-Knead Whole Wheat Date & Walnut Mini Buns

I was never much of a bread person till a few years ago when I started on a weight loss programme. The dietitian I was consulting figured that I had been having too much of  food with high Glycemic Index, hence was not losing  as much weight as I should ideally have. One of the breakfast options was whole wheat bread slices with any protein as its partner.  I have been eating bread quite regularly since then, more for the convenience factor than anything else. So when I made idlis or dosas or poha etc for the rest of the family, I would make do, no, I still make do with bread as my breakfast. Bread often finds its way into my kids' snack box as sandwiches, goes in their tummies as a slice of toast with milk in the morning school rush. To cut the long story short, bread is quite indispensable to me!!

Being more of a cake baker all these years, the idea of home baked bread  has opened a whole new world to me. Attention folks!! Eating bread does not have to be monotonous or boring, you don't have to eat tasteless 'varieties' of  store bought bread paying fancy prices. You can bake your own healthy gourmet bread at home, yaaaayyyy!! And to my delight, I am discovering the possibilities are infinite and limited only to your imagination.

If you are not new to my blog, you would know that I have started baking breads only recently. My last couple of bread experiments with whole wheat were not exactly super successful. The right amount of kneading being one of the key factors resulting in a light bread, a no-knead bread gives the new baker better chances at success. So when I saw this recipe on Champa's blog, it instantly went into my new 'Breads' folder in my bursting 'Baking' folder.

Read on to know how I made 'No-Knead Whole Wheat Date & Walnut Mini Buns'