Apr 23, 2010

Mississippi Mud Cake

When Mishti heard the name of the cake she didn't find it appetizing and  refused to touch it...she thought Mama dear used the messy mud to bake the cake...but when she saw all of us gobbling down the sinful chocolate glazed pieces she forgot all her inhibitions about it and gorged on the cake.
The name reminded me of the novel" Uncle Tom's Cabin"in which the river Mississippi featured and which was our syllabus english book in std 6 .I was so fond of the book that I had read and reread the book numerous times.The character had evoked so much of sadness and sympathy for him in me that I would cry thinking about the agonies,the pain and the suffering that he and the other slaves had gone through.The humiliation and the torture faced by them  was too much for a young reader to handle,may be that's why the story is etched in my memory till date.
Do not judge a recipe solely on its title:).The cake was rich, dark and moist ,the taste was awesome which made us crave for more and more!I made the recipe  a bit healthy by adding oil instead of butter and cream.The topping had less dark chocolate than what the recipe asked for as I had run out of cooking chocolate.So me thinks the cake would have been mercilessly tasty if I would not have omitted the above ingredients.So go ahead with this recipe and let me know how it turned out to be.

You need  :

185 g(6oz)  butter ,softened(I used 4 oz vegetable oil)
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup cold black coffee
4 eggs
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup cocoa pwdr
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking pwdr
a pinch salt
1 tsp Vanilla extract
100 g block cooking chocolate,grated


  1. Put all the ingredients except chocolate into the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed for 1 minute,scraping down the sides of bowl while beating.
  2. Pour into a greased lamington or slab tin(i used a round one) and bake in a moderate(180 deg C) oven for 40-45 mins or until done when tested.
  3. Carefully remove from tin onto a wire cake cooler,sprinkle the grated chocolate over the hot cake.Leave for 1 min and then using a spatula or knife,spread the softened chocolate over.Leave until cold and sprinkle some chocolate sprinklers before cutting.

Apr 13, 2010

Janhi Aloo Posto....Ridge gourd and potatoes cooked with Poppy seed paste

A Oriya recipe finally! The recipe was sitting in my drafts for a long time and I just kept postponing it.Janhi aloo posto is one of my favourites ,the recipe posted here is straight from my mom's kitchen.This curry is a regular side dish in lunch during the summers at my mom's place.Most of the poppy seed based curries are eaten with rice in Orissa as rice is the staple diet here.Till  date I don't enjoy this with Rotis or Chapatis.
Janhi or better known as Ridge gourd in English or Turai in Hindi is cooked with diced potatoes in posto bata or poppy seed  paste or khus khus in hindi.The poppy seeds impart a rich creamy texture to the curry.The ubiquitous Posto or poppy seeds is a very common ingredient in a Oriya kitchen.It is normally ground on a shila bata or a grinding stone which is  a rare thing in modern kitchens now.The paste can be made in a mixer grinder also.
The Ridge gourd is a summer vegetable,with lot of minerals and with absolutely no fat content.It is mostly considered bland and not relished by many.
The mustard oil with its sharp taste and aroma gives a distinct flavour to the curry.In Orissa most of the curries are mustard oil based,even the pakoras or gram flour dumplings are also deep fried in mustard oil.

You Need
Ridge Gourd  - 3 long peeled and diced into 1" pcs
Potatoes      - 2 medium size diced into 1" pcs
Kalonji or nigella seeds ( kala jeera in oriya) - 1/2 tsp
Mustard oil   - 2 tbsp
Turmeric     -1/2 tsp 
salt to taste
Water      - 1cup

 To be ground into a paste
Poppy seeds or posto -3 tbsp
Garlic        -4-5 flakes
Green chilly- 2 long (if you like your curry spicy)

  1. Take 3 tbsp mustard oil in a wok and heat it till smoking point.
  2. Add the kalonji,let it splutter, then add the diced potatoes ,keep it on medium flame while stirring.
  3. When the potatoes are little cooked add the diced janhi or ridge gourd ,turmeric and salt.
  4. Stir  it ,cover and cook till the curry is nearly cooked.
  5. Add the posto bata or poppy seed paste to the curry,the posto can be ground in a mixer grinder with garlic and chilly,the poppy seeds can be soaked in little milk for 15 mins before grinding.
  6. Add the water,stir and let the veggies simmer with the paste till it is semi dry which takes nearly 5-7 mins.
Serve with Rice and  Dal and enjoy!

Apr 4, 2010

Southern Italian Soup and a memorable birthday

When I was a little girl March was the favourite time of the year for me as mine and my sister's birthday fall in this month.As time flew priorities shifted from myself to hubby and now the children and strangely the favourite months have also changed. I still remember those years, the night before my birthday I would have butterflies in my stomach and usually the earliest one to wake up that day, a feeling of insane anticipation.When did that feeling disappear? It's not that I don't enjoy my birthday anymore but I guess, I am not overwhelmed by an uncontainable excitement anymore. Since  my 30th birthday I have started dreading  March as I feel that with each passing year I am losing those golden years of my life. Insecurities!! I constantly keep on chiding myself  to shed these insecurities and cherish old moments and look forward for some new experiences and anticipation in life.
This year was really special and memorable as I had all my near and dear ones celebrating my birthday as  I completed one more year in the span of life, a new milestone towards eternity. My mom, dad, hubby, my children, my sis in-law, my sister and her husband with gifts, surprises, cakes, shopping, treat...my god!....I felt like a little girl again after all those years. Thank you everybody, love you all!!
I am posting one of my favourite,hassle free soups, a Sanjeev Kapoor creation. The soup is full of veggies, screams health, a stomach filler and a keeper for sure. The fresh basil and the celery stalks impart a herby aroma to the soup. This soup has been made so many times as dinner at my place that the recipe is known by heart now. I have tweaked it many a times by adding mushrooms and boiled chicken or with chopped chicken loaf  but the recipe posted here is a pure veg one.
You need:
Carrot  - 1 medium chopped finely
Potatoes - 2 medium diced finely
Cabbage - 1/4 small sized ,cut into small dices
Tomatoes - 2 medium sized
Onion   - 1 medium chopped finely
Garlic   - 4 cloves chopped fine
Celery  - 1 inch stalk chopped fine
Fresh Basil - 6-8 leaves chopped(reserve some for garnish)
Olive oil  - 1 tsp 
Macaroni - 1/4 cup
Veg stock or water - 4 cups (can prepare veg stock with Maggi or knorr cubes)
Salt and pepper to taste, preferably white pepper pwdr
  1. Blanch the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes, peel deseed and puree them.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan,add onion and garlic and saute till translucent.
  3. Add celery, carrot and potato pieces. Stir continuously and cook for five minutes.
  4. Add cabbage, tomatoes and cook stirring continuously.
  5. Add salt, pepper, basil and macaroni, stir and add 4 cups of vegetable stock or water and bring it to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat and simmer till the vegetables are cooked and the soup has thickened.
  7. Garnish with fresh basil and serve hot with some dinner rolls.

You can put dry basil if fresh basil is not available. Enjoy!

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