Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chocolate Cheesecake Slice

This is another delicious and wickedly indulgent treat that is best cut into fingers. I decided to bake this cake as soon as i saw this recipe in the book "Fresh Baked" with a lovely picture. This recipe is very quick with very easy to follow instructions and the result is in front of you. Its got a nice chocolate base topped with a lovely satiny cheesecake layer which is again decorated with a lacy melted chocolate. Any favorite chocolate biscuits can be used for the base. I used butter biscuits coated with dark chocolate which went very well with the cheesecake layer.

Use the exact sized baking pan for the recipe mentioned as this effects the thickness of the cheesecake. I also used a weighing machine to weigh the ingredients which gave me the perfect result.

Chocolate Cheesecake Slice
from Fresh Baked

preparation time: 20 minutes
cooking time 50-60 minutes
serves: 12-16


250 gm (8 oz) Chocolate biscuits (any of your favorite)
100 gm (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
50 gm (2 oz) dark chocolate
500 gm (1 lb) cream cheese
150 ml (1/4 pint) sour cream
3 eggs (i used large)
125 gm (4 oz) caster sugar (powdered sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Put the chocolate biscuits in a food processor and process until smooth, then stir into the melted butter until evenly combined. Lightly oil and line a 18 x 25 cm (7 x 10 inch) cake tin with baking paper, allowing the paper to overhang the edges. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread flat. Chill while preparing the topping.

Put the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until it has melted. Keep warm. [If the chocolate turns too thick, add few teaspoons of sour cream to slightly liquidity it so that it would be easy to drizzle over the cheesecake layer. I filled this chocolate - sour cream mixture into a small zip lock cover. Made a small hole in the corner and this ended up with a very clean , hazel free drizzle.]

Put the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a clean bowl and, using an electric beaters, beat together until smooth. Pour into the tin and drizzle over the melted chocolate, using a skewer to create a swirling pattern over the creamed mixture.

Bake in a preheated oven 150 deg C (300 deg F), Gas Mark 2, FOR 50 - 60 minutes until the mixture is firm, remove from the oven and leave to cool. Chill for 1 hour, then carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin and cut it into fingers.

Enjoy with a cup of hot coffee!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Puran Poli

Puran poli is one very popular Indian festival sweet dish. Its basically a soft dough filled with a sweet lentil mixture , rolled and fried. Puran poli usually uses jaggery as the sweetner but here i've used sweetened condensed milk which gives a lovely milky sweetness.
I made this dish for the diwali festival, a festival of lights. I also wish all my Indian readers a very happy and safe diwali.

Now for the recipe you'll need..


200 gms All purpose flour (maida)
3 tbsps fine semolina
1 tbsp rice flour
pinch of turmeric
pinch of salt
200gms (2 cups) raw chana dal
1 tin (400gms) Sweetened condensed milk (milkmaid)
pinch of cardamom powder
Ghee or neutral oil for frying
water for dough


For the puran mixture:
Wash and cook chana dal in a pressure cooker with 4 cups of water. Give 4 whistles and let the steam escape before you take off the lid. Let it cool. Drain the water completely.

Grind the chana cal to make a thick paste. Transfer the paste to a non-stick pan. Add the sweetened condensed milk and cardamom powder and cook till the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan. Keep aside. This is the puran mixture.

To make the dough:
Combine all purpose flour, semolina, rice flour, turmeric, a pinch of salt with enough water to form a soft pliable dough.

Divide the dough into 10 equal parts. Also divide the puran mixture into 10 equal parts.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a small disc, stuff each rolled disc with the puran mixture, enclose the stuffing with the dough from all the sides and flatten it lightly with both your palm. Now place this stuffed dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll it again to form a little larger discs. Use as much little extra flour required for rolling. This helps the dough to move easily on the counter.

Preheat a non stick pan or tawa. Place each rolled disc one at a time and fry each side by brushing little ghee or oil on both the sides till golden brown spots are formed on the surface. Follow the same with all the remaining dough and puran stuffing.

Serve hot or warm with a spoonful of ghee on top.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Strawberry Muffins With Cream

Muffins belongs to the 'quick bread' family as indeed it takes hardly few minutes to prepare and bake and the results are yummy and tasty. Strawberry muffins are the ultimate thing to bake when you have strawberry's left out in the kitchen. These muffins are moist, not too much of sweet and can serve as a great treat for your guests or for yourself. Any berry, be it, blueberry or raspberry can be substituted for strawberry's. These studded berry's with every bite give a lovely tangy taste with the cake like crumble. Hmm.. it tastes yummy!

Now for the recipe.. This recipe is adapted from "1 Mix, 100 Muffins"..(A must have for muffin lovers)

Makes 12 regular sized muffins


Oil or melted butter to grease the muffin pans or use muffin papers

150 gm Strawberry's (around 6 medium sized), finely chopped
280 gm All purpose Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Salt
120 gm Sugar
2 large Eggs
250 gm Whipping Cream
6 Tbsp Sunflower oil OR 90 gm Butter, melted and cooled
5 drops Vanilla Aroma

To decorate:
125 gms Creme double
12 small strawberry's


Preheat the oven to 200 deg C. Position rack in center of oven. Line the muffin pan with paper liners or grease with butter or a vegetable spray. Set aside.

In another large bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and set aside. Stir in the strawberry's and sugar.

Lightly beat the eggs in another bowl. Add in the whipping cream, sunflower oil and vanilla aroma.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are just combined. Do not over mix the batter or the muffins might turn tough.

Fill each muffin cup about two thirds full of batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins have turned golden brown and spring back with a touch.

Let the muffins stay in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

Whip creme double until stiff with a little confectioners sugar if desired and spread it on the cooled muffins and decorate with the whole or sliced strawberry's.

Refrigerate until u serve. Serve chilled or at room temperature without the cream.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Paneer Jalfrezie (Creamy Cheese with Red Onion and Bell Peppers)

The word Jalfrezie, a coined term that originated in Indian restaurents catering to the English, has come to mean many things. Some associate it with "chiles-hot," while to others it indicates the inclusion of bell peppers and onions as key ingredient that contribute to the curry's gusto. So this recipe is an old English favorite curry.

Serves 6

2 tbsps oil
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium-size green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsps finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 cup tomato sauce, canned or homemade
1 tbsp Balti Masala
1 tsp salt
2 tbsps finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
8 ounce Paneer, cut into 1-inch cubes


Heat the oil in a wok, or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and ginger, and stir fry until the onion is light brown around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomato sauce, balti masala, and salt. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until a bit of oil starts to form on the surface and sround the edges, 5 to 8 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup of water and the cilantro. (The water thins the curry to accommodate the cheese.)

Gently fold in the paneer, raise the heat to medium-high, and simmer, uncovered, stirring every so often, until the sauce starts to thicken, 10-12 minutes. Then serve.

Balti Masala (Fennel-Flavored Toasted Spice Blend)

A Hindi/Urdu word for "bucket" is balti and here it's not a vessel for cooking. This is a coined terminology that originated with an enterprising Pakistani restaurant owner in Birmingham, England, and ended up back in restaurants in India. The food is actually cooked and served in a karhai, not a bucket: a karhai is the Indian version of the wok. Wherever it came from, some of the spices used in this blend are typical in Pakistani cooking. This blend can also be substituted for Kashmiri garam masala for equally satisfying results.

Makes 1/3 cup


2 tsps fennel seeds
2 tsps coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
3 fresh or dried bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks (each 30inches long), broken into small pieces
2 tsp cayenne (ground red pepper) or can substitute red chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg


Preheat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add all the whole spices (reserving the cayenne and nutmeg), and toast, shaking the skillet every few seconds, until the fennel, coriander, and cumin turn reddish brown, the mustard, cloves and bay leaves appear brittle and crinkly, and the mixture is highly fragrant, 1 to2 minutes. (The nigella will not change color.)

Immediately transfer the nutty smelling spices to a plate to cool. (The longer they sit in the hot skillet, the more likely it is that they will burn, making them bitter and unpalatable.) Once they are cool to the touch, place them in a spice grinder or coffee grinder, and grind until the texture resembles ground black pepper. (If you don't allow the spice to cool, the ground blend will acquire unwanted moisture from the heat making the final blend slightly "Cakey".) The ground blend will be a deep reddish brown and the aroma will be sweet and complex, very different from those of the pre-toasted or post-toasted whole spices. Stir in the cayenne and nutmeg.

Store the mix in a tightly sealed container, away from excess light, heat and humidity, for up to 2 months. (Also refrigerating the blend adversely affects its flavors.)

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