Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sonya's Buttermilk Banana Nut Muffins

Who is Sonya? She is a new friend I have made through the world of blogging. Sonya, an American expat living in the Netherlands blogs on Home Cooking with Sonya. It's hard not to fall in love with her blog(Go, take a look and you will know what I am saying). Her writing, pictures, recipes, I look forward to them everyday. She has been a guiding force for me, encouraging me with her comments on my blogs. Our countries are neighbors and I hope maybe someday we will meet.


        Last month in one of her posts, I had commented that I would try out one of her recipes and would blog about it. Well today is the day. The kids were hungry for muffins, and Sonya's blog had plenty to choose from. With the over ripe bananas lying in the fruit basket, I chose to go ahead with the Buttermilk Banana Nut muffins. Sonya's measures were in cups. I have mentioned before that my cups are more so mugs. So, what I did was transferred all her ingredients from cups into a measuring bowl to make it simpler for my readers. Here goes the recipe:

     Ingredients :

  • 500 gm flour
  • 100 gm sugar
  • 150 gm brown sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  •  250 ml buttermilk
  • 250 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

     Method :
  1. Line a muffin tin with liners. Preheat oven to 180 deg celsius.
  2. Sieve flour and baking powder together and keep aside.
  3. In a bowl combine buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg. Beat well till thoroughly combined. Add sugar and continue to beat. Add mashed bananas and mix well.
  4. Slowly add the sieved flour to the mixture and mix well.
  5. Drop in spoonful of batter into the muffin holder. Sprinkle nuts(I crushed them with my hand) on top.
  6. Bake in oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until done(An inserted toothpick should come out clean). Makes 24 muffins.
  7. Serve warm with tea or coffee.

Sonya didn't warn me in her blog about the heady aroma of baked bananas my house would be filled with. True to her words, they were the softest and moistest muffins we have tasted. It has been pretty hard keeping Anna away from them. Seeing her eat, I am reminded of the Indian advertisement with the slogan "NO ONE CAN EAT JUST ONE". Thanks Sonya for the recipe. I am gonna try many more...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Celery-Apple Salad.


A quick refreshing salad to beat the summer......

Ingredients :

  • 1 head celery or 1 cup carrot julienned(cut into long thin strips)
  • 3 red apples
  • 3 tbsp store bought eggless caesar salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise 
Method:
  1. Wash and finely chop the celery.
  2. Dice apples and mix celery and apples with the salad dressing. Add the mayonnaise. Chill
  3. Before serving, stir in the walnuts.
In Germany, searching for an ingredient can be a treasure hunt in the super markets. Not finding Caesar salad dressing, I knew I would have to make it on my own. Hubby googled the recipe, so I am clueless as to which site he got it from. Here's what you need:
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Blend all of the above in a blender.


Pictured above is celery apple salad and Broccoli fish bake(yet to do the posting).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cappuccino Walnut Cake.


Do you have those days where you have disasters in the kitchen?? Well, I had one today and the worst part was it being my daughter Anna's 8th birthday. I had decided upon the cake two weeks ago. Flavour wise, it was something i had never tried before and the best part was it had to be decorated with flowers.
  
           I baked the cake a day ahead and decided to decorate it today. I got up with all the enthusiasm i had, having already envisioned the cake decorated pretty with chrysanthemums. Having followed the recipe to the T, the preparation of the icing seemed to be going on well, until it separated into water and lumps of icing(the whipped cream had not expired). I was devastated, to add to the disaster i had no extra whipped cream. The worst part about living in Germany is, if you need anything at all, there isn't a single store, not even a single store open for you.

Having never faced disasters I had to come up with some decoration. She was waiting to cut her cake. After quickly googling recipes, I narrowed on a chocolate icing which too didn't turn out the way it was supposed to. It's a mystery as to what went wrong. Nevertheless, I was exhausted with the disappointment, chaos, what with my kitchen being transformed to an utter mess and me sweating like hell(the kitchen right now is a furnace, what with temparature's touching 37 deg celcius), I proceeded with the chocolate icing and finally ended up with the above cake. My chrysanthemum's are still in the flower pot. So, while I go and do a post mortem as to what went wrong, here is the recipe from good Housekeeping magazine. a point to note: The cake in itself was awesome with the combo of coffee and walnuts!!

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 100 gm maida
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 125 gm sugar
  • 1 and a half tbsp instant coffee dissolved in a little milk
  • 3/4 cup walnuts finely chopped
For the decoration:
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
For the icing:
  • 200 gm white chocolate
  • 4 tsp instant coffee dissolved in a little milk
  • 500 gm whipped cream
For the garnish:
Fresh edible flowers or petals.



Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 190 deg celsius. Grease two round cake tins and line the base of each with a circle of greased butter paper. Sift together the flour and baking powder.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar in a bowl, over a pan of barely simmering water for 3-4 minutes until fluffy. Remove from heat, beat till cooled.
  3. Fold in butter, coffee, walnuts. Sift and fold the flour in small amounts carefully but quickly with a metal spoon. Pour into tins. Bake for 20 minutes or till done. Let it cool.
  4. To make the decoration, whiz the walnuts in a food processor with the sugar and cinnamon until finely chopped. Do not overdo it.
  5. For the icing, melt the white chocolate by putting it in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Meanwhile, beat coffee and whipped cream until smooth. Slowly beat in the melted chocolate.
  6. Spread 1/3 icing on top of one cake, sandwich with other cake. Smooth remaining icing on top and sides. Scatter nuts around the sides of the cake. Decorate with flowers.


Luckily, the flavor of the cake was yummy and the family relished it, inspite of me ending up with a different icing altogether!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Choco-Chip muffins!!


Thursday is generally a busy day for the kids and me. What with the three of us having our respective music classes followed by Deutsch lessons late in the evening. Our tutor Frau Maria is a wonderful teacher and am glad that she is able to motivate and teach the children their german lessons well. Right from the start, Maria and I developed an instant rapport and i enjoy the small chats we have in between the classes.


       Maria is a teacher in W├╝rzburg, she teaches by day and tutors expat children till late in the evening. To get to us she needs to spend two hours on the road. I know how tiring it must be for her considering the fact that back home, i was in the teaching profession too, but not tutoring. She comes pretty tired, but her spirit is always high. She is cheerful and has the maximum level of patience with the kids. 



Most of the time I try to bake cakes on thursday knowing that she comes hungry after a tiring day, if not, we manage with some treats from the bakers. I made a simple choco-chip muffin today which she relished so much. I had to convince her that she would not put on any extra kilos if she ate a few!!


Ingredients :-

  • 250 gm flour
  • 100 gms cocoa powder
  • 250 gms brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 gms butter
  • 1 and a half tsp baking powder
  • chocolate sauce
  • half cup chopped almonds 
  • few choco chips
Method :-
  1. Sieve flour, cocoa and baking powder together and keep.
  2. Beat the eggs till fluffy. Add sugar and beat well.
  3. Add the butter to the mixture and keep on beating.
  4. Add the sieved flour little by little and keep mixing well.
  5. Grease a muffin tray and preheat oven to 150 deg celsius.
  6. Drop spoons of batter into the muffin tray, sprinkle choco chips and bake for 20-25 minutes or until done

       


(This was the second batch, forgot the choco chips)

Let the muffins cool for a while. When ready to serve, drizzle some chocolate sauce and sprinkle chopped almonds. The above recipe makes 18 muffins. Enjoy!!