Christmas Fruit Cake recipe

It is Christmas season and how could I not bake a cake? I just had to. I had already tried out the fruit cake recipe from 3 weeks ago and it was delicious. So I just had to make it again. I had some palm sugar this time - bought it from the Lumiere organic store near Marathahalli, so I decided to use it. I was a bit hesitant as I've never used palm sugar before. Jaggery in cakes and tea - yes.. but Palm Sugar - NO.. Anyways, I decided to go ahead. Those of you who know me, do know by now that always the recipe will have some twist.

This makes a very large cake.

Ingredients :
1. 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour - for a healthy twist
2. 1/4 cup of maida
3. 1 cup of rum
4. 1.5 cups of chopped apricots, dates(not the dried ones), figs and raisins
5. 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
6. 1/2 cup of palm sugar - you could also use jaggery, see note below
7. 1/2 cup of almonds - ground to a flour - I powdered these with the palm sugar
8. 2 eggs
9. 1/4 cup of milk
10. 110 g of unsalted Butter (softened)
11. 12 almonds for decorating
12. 1 tsp baking powder
13. A pinch of salt
14. Zest of one lemon
15. Juice of one orange

How I made it :
1.  Soak the chopped dried fruits in the rum overnight for best results. 30 minutes will also do.
2. Preheat the oven to 160 degree C
3. Prepare the cake tin by oiling and dusting it with maida
4. Beat/cream together the powdered sugar, powdered almonds and butter.
5. Add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
6. To this add the rum along with the soaked dried fruit and walnuts.
7. Also add the orange juice and lemon zest.
8. In another bowl, mix together the maida, whole wheat flour, salt and baking powder. Pass this through a sieve to incorporate some air.
9. Mix the dry and wet ingredients in both the bowls.
10. Add milk to make the batter smooth.
11. Pour the batter into the cake tin. Decorate with almonds on the top and put into the hot oven.
12. Bake for about 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 140 degree C and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Note : If using jaggery, dissolve the jaggery in as little water as possible and pass through a sieve to get rid of impurities.

Strawberry Smoothie

Strawberries all around... I can't get enough of strawberries, they remind me of my childhood in Ooty where these yummy, red, juicy berries grew in our garden. Unfortunately, with the rapid urbanization of the area around my house, the drains do not hold up :( This totally affected the area where our strawberries used to grow. Hmm, well they are history now.

Anyways, the street vendor tempted me into buying the last box of strawberries and immediately I was thinking "SMOOTHIE".

Ingredients for 2 glasses of smoothie :
1. 12 strawberries
2. 1/4 cup fresh cream
3. 3 tbsp honey - adjust as per sweetness desired
4. 1 tsp flax seeds - for the Omega 3 - can be omitted
5. 1.5 cups of milk
6. 1/4 cup of water

Method :
Blitz the ingredients together in a juicer and serve :)

I could not get any really WOW pictures but the smoothie was truly WOW


Eggless Strawberry Pancakes

Well, it is holidays now and I get really lazy, more so that it is quite cold this year in Bangalore. I woke up and Pras was like "I want some breakfast!!" I had hardly any ingredients on hand to make a healthy breakfast, not even eggs!! I went to open up the fridge and I saw "STRAWBERRIES". Out they came and pancakes were on my mind. Quickly, as almost always, I went to one of my favorite blogs and adapted the recipe from Eggless Blueberry Pancakes by Nags.I also had some condensed milk handy. So I served the pancakes with the condensed milk.

Ingredients  to make 3 pancakes :
1/3 cup maida
1/2 tsp baking powder
Sugar - 1 tbsp as the original recipe. Use more if not serving with maple syrup or sweetened condensed milk
A pinch of salt
2 tsp olive oil
A little under 1/2 cup of milk
A handful or more of strawberries
2 tbsp nutella ( optional)
2 tbsp butter/oil

Method :
Mix together the maida, baking powder, sugar, salt, olive oil, nutella and milk to form a smooth batter. Chop the strawberries.
Heat up a tawa. Smear the butter. Pour on some of the batter on the hot tawa. Once the bubbles start appearing, sprinkle some of the chopped strawberries over the batter. Cover it for about 30 seconds. Make sure the heat is on low. Take off the cover and flip the pancake. Cook until golden brown on the other side. Take off pan and serve with sweetened condensed milk.

This is ready in minutes and is eggless. Do give it a try. It was truly yummy with the condensed milk ;)

Mushroom Bread Burger with baked Mc Cain Smileys

I just love mushrooms since I was a kid. Fortunately, it was one of the things that both my dad and I liked. Usually, we'd be arguing over what was to be made for lunch or dinner cause of our differing tastes. I always preferred roti and sabji and he would prefer south indian meals with rice. I had mushrooms as well as buns the other day and so tried this recipe out. It was scrumptuous. This time, I did not get the buns but had fresh bread at hand, so decided to get experimental.

This recipe is adapted from Mushroom Veggie Burger Recipe. Thanks to Pras for taking this yummy looking picture.

Ingredients :
For the patty
1. Button Mushrooms - 1 packet
2. Onion - 1/2 chopped
3. Garlic - 6 cloves minced
4. Olive oil - 3 tbsp
5. Salt to taste
6. Pepper to taste
7. Oats - 1/2 cup ( I don't know what rolled oats are so just used the Quaker oats that I have at hand)
8. Bread crumbs - 3/4 cup
9. Parmesan cheese - 1/4 cup - I had bought this at acres wild, coonoor. It is also sold at the "Bee Museum" in Ooty.
10. Eggs - 2 beaten
11. Oregano - I did not have any at hand this time
For the burger
12. Tomato - 1 sliced
13. Cucumber - 10 slices
14. Pudina chutney - recipe Mom's pudina chutney
15. Tomato sauce
16. Cheese slices - 5
17. Bread slices - 10
18. Butter

For the patty
1. Heat the oil in a pan. Fry the garlic, onions and sliced mushrooms till all the water that the mushroom leaves out evaporates.
2. Mix the above mixture with the oats, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, beaten eggs, oregano, salt and pepper. Leave this aside for minimum 15 minutes.
3. Shape into patties of desired shape.
4. Heat oil on a gridle/tawa - just enough to form a thin coating of oil on the tawa.
5. Place the patties and let them cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat on either side.
Assembling the "bread" burger
1. Butter 5 slices of bread and heat them on a tawa/gridle till they just start getting brown - this firms them up.
2. On the other 5 slices of bread, spread out the pudina chutney as much as you would like. Place these to warm up on the tawa. Make sure to place the plain side on the tawa.
3. On the buttered side of the bread, place the cheese slice. Place a slice of cucumber and a slice of tomato. Place the hot patty on top. Top that with another slice each of cucumber and tomato. You could add some tomato ketchup. Cover with the other bread slice.

Now, warm this up for 30 seconds in the microwave and serve hot with tomato ketchup. I also added baked McCain Smileys to the plate.  These smileys were introduced to me by a colleague and friend, Rachna Gupta.  She also did suggest using Robin Cuffs N Collars on a stain, which seemed like of oil on my new jacket, which actually works. Now, just as she does, I first use Robin Cuffs N Collars on any stain.
Alright, awright.. enough of rambling..... Go ahead and enjoy this yummy hearty burger.

Rava Idli Cake with Coconut Chutney

I am an ardent follower of a good friend's blog Namratha and I studied in St. Hilda's together and recently we caught up while she was here in Bangalore. I am always on the lookout for good and easy to make breakfast recipes and I've made this one from Namratha's blog earlier too. This time I captured some good pictures - at least I would like to think so :) The main reason why I religiously follow this blog is because the method and ingredients are so much like what I've grown up eating. So here is the how I made my own version of
My husband won't allow me to buy an idli cooker saying that too many pots and pans in the kitchen make shifting houses/places more difficult. So, I make idli cakes ;)

1 Cup rava dry roasted till fragrant
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp chana dal
5 whole cashews cut roughly
1/4 cup oil
1 cup sour curd
1 cup fresh curd
Salt to taste
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 medium carrot grated
1/2 cup peas - if not using the frozen variety make sure to boil them separately before use

1. Heat the oil.
2. Put in the mustard seeds.
3. Once they splutter add the curry leaves, urad dal, channa dal and cashew bits.
4. Once the cashews start to brown, add the rava and salt.
5. Once this mixture cools, add the curd.
6. Oil a vessel. Sprinkle the peas and grated carrot. Pour over the batter.
7. Steam in a cooker for 10-15 minutes till done.


Pav Bhaji

Since I keep trying new stuff, it is a long time before I actually repeat a recipe. Also Pras prefers that I make something new with the same ol' ingredients. I had beetroot which for long was lying the basket. To put it to use, I hit upon "Pav Bhaji". I did refer Mom's Pav Bhaji. Namratha is a fantastic cook. She used to be my classmate and I am proud of what she has achieved with her blog. So here goes - I made it a tad bit different ;)

To be boiled together till mushy:
4 medium sized potatoes - cut into quarters
1 medium sized carrot - cut into roughly small pieces
1 medium sized beetroot - cut into roughly small pieces
1/2 cup of cauliflower florets

To grind into a paste:
4 small to medium sized tomatoes
3 long green chillies - adjust as per taste and hotness of chilly
6 cloves of garlic

Other ingredients:
1 large onion finely chopped
1 medium sized capsicum/green bell pepper finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp Pav Bhaji masala
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp oil
water as required
salt to taste

To garnish :
freshly chopped coriander
chopped onion
1 tbsp butter
lime juice to taste

How I made it :
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil.
2. Add the onions and fry till dark golden brown. You can add more oil to prevent the onions from burning.
3. Once onion is brown, add the bell pepper and green peas. Fry till green peas are almost done.
4. Add the red chilli powder.
5. After 30 seconds, add the tomato paste. Fry till oil separates
6. Mash the boiled veggies and add.
7. Add salt and the pav bhaji masala.
8. Add a little water and allow to simmer for 10 minutes with cover on.
9. Garnish with chopped onion, coriander and a sprinkle of lime juice.

Serve with buttered pav.

Veg Moussaka

I adapted the recipe from It was truly yummy. If only I had a 8x8 baking dish, I would have had great pictures to post too.

I did make a few changes - I did not add the pasta as was suggested and I made the belchamel sauce a tad bit differently. However, I prefer plain belchamel sauce - made up of maida, butter n milk.

1. 12 thick slices of potato
2. 1 large brinjal cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
3. 2 tbsp oil
For the soya layer which replaces minced meat
3. 1 1/2 cup soya granules soaked in boiling hot water
4. 1 1/2 cup tomota puree
5. 1 large onion finely chopped
6. 1/2 capsicum finely chopped - I had this left over from the sandwiches that I made earlier in the week
6. 8 pods of garlic - I used the large variety which are considered more pungent
7. 1 tsp red chilli powder
8. 1 cinnamon stick
9. 1/2 tsp cumin/jeera powder
10. salt to taste
11. 1 tsp oil
For the belchamel sauce
12. 1 tbsp butter
13. 2 tbsp maida
14. 1 1/2 cups milk
15. 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
16. salt to taste - be careful as the cheese and butter are salted generally.
17. pepper to taste

How to make...
1. In a wide pan, heat the 2tbsp of oil. Lay the potato slices and fry till they are 3/4th done on both sides.
2. While the potato is getting done, you can salt and keep the brinjal slices aside so that any bitterness will be removed.
3. Once the potato is 3/4th done, remove and place on paper towels to drain. Fry the brinjal slices in a similar fashion till done. Remove on kitchen towels to drain.
4. In the same pan, add a little more oil. Put in the cinnamon stick. Fry the onions and capsicum till onions are translucent. Add the chilli and cumin powders. Add the soya, after draining all the water. Fry the soya for a minute. Next add the tomato puree. Adjust salt. Fry this till almost dry.
5. In another pan, melt butter. Fry the maida till fragrant. Add warm milk, whisking throughout to make sure there are no lumps. Add pepper, cheese and salt(with care). Once it reaches a sauce like consistency, take off from fire.
6. Now to assemble the whole thing together. Place the potato pieces at the bottom of an oven proof pan. Place the brinjal slices on the top of that. Layer with the soya granules. Now pour over the belchamel sauce. Bake for 30minutes in a pre-heated over at 180 degree C.


Sakkarai Pongal

My sweet tooth got the better of me yesterday and I made sakkarai pongal, which is very simple and easy.

Ingredients :
Rice 1/2 cup
Yellow mung dal - 1/2 cup - dry roasted till fragrant
jaggery - 1/2 cup powdered
coconut milk - 1/2 cup
cashewnuts - a handful - dry roasted
almonds - sliced and dry roasted - a few
water - 2 cups
milk - 1/2 cup
ghee - 4 tbsps

How I made it :
1. Soak the rice and mung dal for about 30 minutes
2. Cook the rice and mung dal with 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of milk - slightly overcook them.
3. Mash the rice and mung dal with a masher or the back of a ladle.
4. Add the jaggery.
5. Once the jaggery melts and mixes in, add the coconut milk.
6. Add ghee. You could fry the nuts in the ghee before adding.
7. Decorate with the nuts and serve.

Tastes best cold. Add elaichi/cardomom pods if you like the taste of those. My hubby detests it like crazy. We constantly argue about this.

Mom's pudina chutney

You will need
1 bunch of pudina/mint
1/2 bunch of coriander leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 medium onion chopped
4-5 green chillies
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger
Salt to taste

Grind all these together, adding as little water as possible. Goes well with Parathas and can be used for chutney sandwiches. Sometimes, I do add this to the biryani masala.

Chutney sandwiches - interesting sandwiches part II

I love my mom's pudina chutney. One very simple and easy sandwich would be the chutney sandwich. It is an ideal picnic option.

You will need :
2 slices of bread
1 stick of butter
1 tsp of pudina chutney

Method :
Spread the butter on one slice of bread.
Spread the pudina chutney on the other slice.
Place the slices of bread over one another. Go ahead and eat!!!

Interesting sandwiches

I almost always experiment with the vegetables that I buy. This time it was with Capsicum. I totally love this vegetable, once liked only on Pizzas.
I bought some eggless mayonnaise from the store nearby and sandwiches it is for breakfast the next morning.

Ingredients :
1 medium sized capsicum chopped finely
1 small sized onion chopped finely
1 carrot grated
2 green chillies finely chopped
2 tsp pepper powder
6tbsp eggless mayonnaise
4 slices of bread

Spread approx 3 tbsp of mayo on one slice of bread. Sprinkle green chillies, capsicum, onion, carrot and pepper over the mayo. Place the other slice of bread over this. Repeat this with the other 2 slices of bread. Toast/grill and enjoy with tomato ketchup.

Banana cake

Jyothi Madanlal January 28 at 9:40am
I adapted the recipe from

1 cup wheat flour
2 large ripe bananas mashed
3/4 cup powdered jaggery
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts dusted with flour to prevent them from sinking in the cake(did not have these that day)
1/4 cup oil/melted butter
1 egg
A pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
Milk - as needed to get the correct batter consistency

How i made it:
Prepare baking tin - line with butter paper or spread butter and dust with flour.
Preheat oven at 180 degree C
Mix together all the dry ingredients - wheat flour/baking powder/baking soda/salt.
Whisk together the banana/butter/jaggery/egg. Add the vanilla essence.
Fold in dry ingredients into the wet. Add the walnuts
Pour into the cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Milk will be required if the consistency is too lumpy/thick

Honey Garlic Grilled Eggplant

I adapted the recipe from http://www
Ingredients :
1 large eggplant/aubergine/brinjal
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of white vinegar
2-3 drops of dark soy sauce
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

How I made it:

  • Cut the brinjal into rounds, about .5cm thick each
  • Smear some salt on either side and leave aside for 15 minutes
  • Pat dry the rounds and keep aside
  • Mix together the remaining ingredients in a bowl
  • Graciously dip the rounds in this marinade and grill/cook on a tawa both sides of the rounds till golden. This was truly delicious. Loved the sweetness of the honey and the sharpness of the garlic.