Sunday, 17 December 2017

Vegan Christmas Fruit Bundt Cake

As you all know, preparation for Christmas has already begun 😊 So Christmas, without the fruit cake is incomplete totally. Though I always make fruit cake for Christmas each year, but this year I thought to make a healthy one and also a vegan version and that too in a bundt pan, isn't so much interesting !! Well It is😊





Basically a Christmas cake can be light / dark, crumbly-moist to sticky-wet, spongy / heavy, leavened / unleavened, shaped as round / square / oblong as whole cakes, cupcakes with icing / glazing / dusting with icing sugar or simply kept plain as it is. A particular favorite of many people is the traditional Scottish Christmas cake, 'Whisky Dundee'. As the name implies, the cake originated in Dundee and is made with Scotch whisky. This alcoholic fruit cake is a light and crumbly cake, loaded with fruits and candied peel (mainly currants, raisins, sultanas and cherries). This Christmas cake is particularly good for people who don't like very rich and moist cakes. In India, mostly Christmas cakes are traditionally a fruit cake with many variants.





My version which I have prepared for this year Christmas celebration is totally a vegan fruit cake and also the flour used is whole wheat flour. Although the Christmas cakes call for soaking fruits in alcohol few days before the preparation, this vegan n healthy one is an simple and instant one, no long prior soaking is needed. So this is the cake for those are in hurry and just forgot to soak fruits in advance. Here I just go with the nuts and dry-fruits which are available in my refrigerator πŸ˜‰, so for nuts I have used cashews, almonds, pistachios and for dry-fruits I have used raisins, cherries, dried apricot. You may use any other nuts and dry fruits of your choice. Also I just select a swirl bundt pan instead of regular loaf or round pan to bake this fruit cake. This vegan healthy fruit bundt cake is perfect for this holiday times and even kids will love it. So lets go in details as mentioned below.




Preparation Time : 20 mins  |  Cooking Time : 50 mins


Ingredients :        

Ingredients
Measurements
Wheat flour
1 & ¾ cup
Baking soda
1 tsp
Cinnamon powder
1 tsp
Orange juice
½ cup
Brown sugar
¾ cup
Apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp
Orange essence
2 tbsp
Oil
1/3 cup
Nut (finely chopped)
(cashew, almond, pistachio)
½ cup
Dry fruit (finely chopped)
(raisin, cherry, dried apricot)
2/3 cup
Hot water
¾ + 1/8 cup
Salt
¼ tsp


Method :
  1. Preheat oven at 170 deg C. Grease the bundt pan well and keep aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, take all the chopped dry-fruits. Pour in hot water, stir using a spoon and keep aside to cool completely.
  3. After completely cooled down, add oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, brown sugar, orange essence to the fruit mixture. Stir well.
  4. Then in another mixing bowl, sieve wheat flour, cinnamon powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Next add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  6. Gently mix everything well.
  7. Now add all the chopped nuts and again gently mix till well incorporated.
  8. Pour the batter into the greased bundt pan and bake for 45 - 50 minutes or till a knife or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  9. Take out from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  10. Then invert and allow to cool completely.
  11. Dust some powdered sugar over the entire cake, slice and serve !



Notes :

  • The fruit mixture should be completely cooled before adding anything to this.
  • Any other dry fruits and nuts can be used.
  • Here only cinnamon powder is used which can be omitted or any other spice powder like clove powder or dried ginger powder can also be used.
  • This cake will taste best on the next day of baking.


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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Lemon Crinkle Cookies




Christmas is coming. Have you all get ready for celebration ?

Christmas is a great festival of the year. Everyone do lots of preparations and decorations of the Church, houses etc some days before the event celebration. There is also tradition of giving gifts like sweets, chocolates, cards, Christmas trees, decorative things etc to the family members, friends, relatives and neighbors. Mainly people start preparations in the beginning of the month December with a big passion. So for celebrating Christmas, how about some melt in mouth egg-less lemon crinkle cookies - a perfect balance of sweet and lemon flavor in cookies along with some pretty cute crinkle effects on top !!





Lemon is one of my favorite fruit. I always try to include this in my diet. So when it comes to a cookie, I definitely cannot wait to grab all at once πŸ˜†. These lemon crinkle cookies are totally egg-free. These delicious cookies are not totally a crispy kind, rather these are soft and fluffy ones but at the same time have a nice crunch like cookies. The name 'crinkle' mainly refers to how the coated powdered sugar cracks as the cookies bake. That means when the cookies are baked, some cracks appear on top and gives a nice crinkled effect over the cookies.




    Appearance wise, these look so much pretty and smell great while baking as well. One can easily prepare these lemon flavored crinkle cookies with available ingredients at home. With the fresh lemon zest, fresh lemon juice and lemon essence any one can definitely find an abundance of lemon flavor. So lets go in details method of preparation of these melt in mouth, super delicious egg-less lemon crinkle cookies as mentioned below.





    Preparation Time : 10 mins | Freezing Time : 1 hr | Cooking Time : 15 mins 


    Ingredients :        

    Ingredients
    Measurements
    All purpose flour
    1 & ¾ cup
    Butter
    ½ cup
    Baking powder
    1 & ½ tsp
    Milk
    ½ cup
    Sugar
    ¾ cup
    Lemon juice
    From 1 lemon
    Lemon jest
    From 1 lemon
    Lemon essence
    ½ tsp
    Salt
    1 pinch
    Powdered sugar
    ½ cup
    Yellow food color (optional)
    3-4 drops



    Method :
    1. First sieve all purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and keep aside.
    2. In another mixing bowl, whisk soft butter and sugar until a creamy texture.
    3. Next add zest of a fresh lemon, lemon juice of a medium lemon, lemon essence and whisk well.
    4. Then add milk, yellow food color and whisk till everything incorporated well.
    5. Now add dry ingredients and mix well. This results in a sticky dough.
    6. Wrap the dough in a cling film and keep in refrigerator at least for 1 hour.
    7. After 1 hour, preheat the oven at 180 deg C and also take out the dough from refrigerator.
    8. In a plate spread powdered sugar well.
    9. Take 1 tbsp of dough, shape as a round ball, roll over the powdered sugar generously so that the dough ball'll be well coated with powdered sugar and finally place over a baking sheet.
    10. Repeat for rest of the dough and arrange all the powdered sugar coated dough balls over the baking sheet having 2 inches space in between.
    11. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or till crinkles appear well over the cookies.
    12. Once done, take out the cookies from the oven, allow to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
    13. Store these lemon crinkle cookies in an airtight container !




    Notes :

    • Dough can be stored for more hours if you are not ready to bake.
    • If the dough is more sticky then add 1-2 tbsp all purpose flour. Also if the dough is thick, then add some tsp of milk.
    • Lemon essence is used here to give some extra citrus flavor to the cookies. But this is optional if not available.
    • Food color is also optional.

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    This 'egg-less lemon crinkle cookie' is contributed for 38 Healthy Wellthy Cuisines where the theme is 'Baking with Fruity Affair'. Here are more similar recipes shared by our Healthy Wealthy Group members as Chocolate Fruit CakeApple Pie Crescent RollsNutty Fruity CookiesPineapple TartsOrange-Cranberry Cream Cheese Pound CakeLemon-Coconut-Blueberry loaf cake and Raisins and Walnuts Quick Bread.

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    Monday, 11 December 2017

    Meetha Oou Khatta | Sweet Elephant Apple Relish

    Odisha - an eastern Indian state, is known for its tribal cultures and its many ancient Hindu temples. Jagannath Temple at Puri which is one of the four great 'Char Dham' pilgrimage sites of India is situated in this state. The simple yet distinctive style of cooking in Odisha has its own identity. Odia cuisine is very simple yet delicious, prepared in very little or no oil which not only enhances the taste but makes them very healthy as well. Odia dishes are mostly rely on local ingredients. Rice (both sun dried and par-boiled) is the staple food of the people in this state. The cuisine of Odisha has a distinctive cooking style and the same is followed in the preparation of the dishes as well.





    The mustard oil is the oil used in many dishes. But for festivals or in temple, only ghee is allowed to prepare any dish. Most common spice used in several dishes is panch phutana or panch phoron which is an equal mixture of cumin seeds, mustard seeds (black), fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and nigella seeds. 
    Well, this is Monday. So the Foodie Monday Blog Hop theme is back and this time the theme is 'Odia Cuisine' which is the cuisine of my home-state Odisha. After finalizing the theme in the group, I have a lot of dishes in mind to prepare. But finally I have ended up with the 'Meetha Oou Khatta' or 'Sweet Elephant Apple Relish'. There are already some dishes from Odisha cuisine which are uploaded in my blog as



     Foodie Monday Blog Hop

    Mainly the oou or elephant apple or dillenia indica is a seasonal fruit, always widely available between post monsoon and early winters. The fruit pulp is sour in taste. So to give any sourness in any dal or curry during winter, this is also used. This is a hard structured fruit which has a no of petals. One has to be really mastered in cutting this hard fruit, because while layering out the petals some liquid releases which is much slippery and there always a chance of injury. Oou khatta is cooked with jaggery or sugar to cut down the sourness if desiring for the sweet version since this is a sour fruit. Also this can be prepared along with tangy mustard-garlic paste to more enhance the sourness which I will post soon in details in another post. This sweet version of oou khatta is one of the dish of Habisha meal ( A meal prepared in Odisha households on each Monday of Kartika month of Hindu calendar which consists of steamed rice (arua arnna), habisha dalma, oou khatta) in Odia cuisine. Though this fruit is not much recognized by most Indians, but this is super tempting relish which can be easily prepared once the fruit is on hand. Lets go in details.




    Preparation Time : 30 mins  |  Cooking Time : 30 mins


    Ingredients :        

    Ingredients
    Measurements
    Oou (elephant apple)
    1 no
    Jaggery (grated) / sugar
    ½ cup
    Ginger (grated)
    ½ tsp
    Cumin seed
    1 tsp
    Mustard seed
    1 tsp
    Red chili
    1 no
    Coconut (grated)
    1 tbsp
    Turmeric powder
    ½ tsp
    Roasted red chili-cumin powder
    ½ tsp
    Oil
    2 tbsp
    Salt
    As needed
    Water
    As needed


    Method :
    1. Clean the oou (elephant apple) well and pat dry.
    2. Cut and remove all petals of the elephant apple (oou) carefully since these petals are bit slippery.
    3. Peel the outer skins out from both sides of each petal.
    4. Then cut vertically each peeled petal into finger sized pieces.
    5. In a deep pan add cut oou pieces, 2 cup water, salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and allow to boil till the oou pieces are well cooked over medium heat.
    6. Turn off heat, drain out and collect all the cooked oou pieces. Keep aside.
    7. Next in another pan, heat oil.
    8. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
    9. Then add curry leaves, grated ginger and red chili. Saute for few seconds.
    10. Now add cooked oou pieces, grated jaggery or sugar, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, salt and mix everything well.
    11. Jaggery or sugar will start to melt. Stir occasionally.
    12. Next add grated coconut, 1 cup water. Give a quick stir and cook for 10 minutes or till there is a thick consistency.
    13. Turn off heat and sprinkle some roasted red chili-cumin powder.
    14. Stir well and serve this oou khatta / elephant apple relish with steamed rice.




    Notes :

    • Instead of cooking the oou pieces in a deep pan, simply these can be cooked in a pressure cooker if there is any hurry.
    • Green chili can be used in place of red chili.
    • The cooked oou pieces can also be crushed by a pestle if desire.


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    Monday, 4 December 2017

    Savory Kordoi | Assamese Star Fruit Shape Fritters

    Assamese cuisine is the cuisine of Assam, one of the north-eastern states of Indian subcontinent. The cuisine is characterized by very little use of spices, little cooking over fire and strong flavors due to mainly the use of endemic exotic fruits and vegetables that are either fresh, dried or fermented. Fish is widely used and birds like duck, squab etc. are very popular, which are often paired with a main vegetable or ingredient. Whole preparations of any dish are rarely elaborate. The preferred oil for cooking of Assamese cuisine is mostly the pungent mustard oil.





    Traditionally, Assamese food is cooked in earthen ware. This method imparts a smell from the utensils to the food itself giving it a distinct flavor. Since the November month is over now, so the theme of Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge for November month challenge was 'Assamese Cuisine' and for this theme my partner was Sharanya Palanisshami who is a lovely blogger. She gave me two secret ingredients as onion and nigella seeds. So using these two secret ingredients I have prepared one of Assamese savory fritter known as Savory Kordoi.



     Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge


    The star fruit is also named as Kordoi in Assamese language. Well, Kordoi is a very popular deep fried star fruit shaped snack which may be sweet or savory in taste. The sweet kordoi recipe, I will post details soon in my blog. The savory one can be prepared using whole wheat flour or all purpose flour. But I have opted here for a bit healthy version although it is deep fried, so used whole wheat flour. These deep fries are generally made during Bihu festival.





    The crispy savory kordoi makes a perfect accomplishment with evening tea during winters or any rainy seasons. These are a quick snack which can be made in a jiffy because all the ingredients like flour, vegetables, spices are very basic and can be found easily in the pantry. So unlike any other deep fried savory snacks, these don’t require so much preparation time. Just knead the dough, roll, cut, shape and deep fry. No extra cooking method like stuffing / chopping / mashing /sauteing etc are included. So lets go in details of this spicy, deep fried savory kordoi made of whole wheat flour.




    Preparation Time : 20 mins  |  Cooking Time : 15 mins

    Ingredients :        

    Ingredients
    Measurements
    Whole wheat flour
    ½ cup
    Onion (finely chopped)
    2 tbsp
    Coriander leave (finely chopped)
    2 tbsp
    Nigella seed
    1/8 tsp
    Cumin seed
    ¼ tsp
    Salt
    As needed
    Water
    As needed
    Oil
    As needed


    Method :
    1. In a mixing bowl take whole wheat flour, finely chopped onion, finely chopped coriander leaves, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, salt and oil.
    2. Rub everything together using fingers.
    3. Then add water little by little and knead to make a firm dough. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile heat oil in a deep frying pan.
    5. After 15 minutes, divide the dough into equal sized balls (approximately 1 inch size).
    6. Take one dough ball and start rolling on a lightly floured surface into a thin disc of 3-4 inches diameter.
    7. Using a knife, cut straight lines keeping in mind not to cut all the way through that means the end of the straight lines should not touch the border of the thin disc.
    8. Next start to make a roll from one end, pinching both the ends of roll to bind.
    9. Now gently push the two ends of the roll so that the middle portion will just plump up.
    10. Deep fry the kordoi till crispy golden brown.
    11. Similarly prepare kordoi from rest dough balls.
    12. Serve hot immediately this savory kordoi with any preferable chutney or sauce !




    Notes :

    • Some grated carrot can be added to the dough.
    • Since whole wheat flour is used here, so these wont stay for more than 1 day. So try to completely have these whole wheat savory kordoi within the day of frying or on the next day.
    • To store for longer, replace whole wheat flour with all purpose flour (maida).


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