almond, butter-free, cake, gluten-free

Be Proud…Mace and Saffron flavoured Italian Rice cake – with Almonds (butterless, no all purpose flour , made with Arborio rice)

Mace & Saffron Infused Italian Rice Cake with AlmondsFestive season is approaching and so are the advertisements about what to gift, why this time of the year is special and very importantly – how you need to look your absolute best. Seriously?

Recently I saw an ad, in which a mother is talking about how her child loves to pull her cheeks and after using a certain product the child has been telling her how soft her cheeks have become. My son saw it and promptly asked me – “Do you want me to get that for you Mamma?” He is 4 1/2 years old. I looked at him and asked if he didn’t like my cheeks as is ! He looked amused and responded that they were already soft, but if I wanted them to become even softer, like the Aunty on TV.

Well, where am I going with this ? Here’s my take – we really need to stop such emphasis on physical appearance. And let us stop when we can. Let us draw lines. Let us define boundaries on this one. To not encourage our children when they feel the need to appreciate what we look like. Yes, I want to be well-dressed and looking my absolute best. But I would not want my child to focus on how I can “improve” my physical appearance.

At some base level, it is imperative that a child knows and understands that softer cheeks are good. Infact they are great. But only if one already has them 🙂 Shift the direction of their thoughts to being proud of what you look like already. That will promote a positive body image in them as well.

Bring the festivities on , on that note ! And bake away – a recipe that closely resembles elements of our traditional kheer / rice pudding !

Mace and Saffron flavoured Italian Rice cake – with Almonds ( butterless, no all purpose flour , made with Arborio rice)

600 ml milk

1 tsp zest of lemon

150 grams of risotto rice ( preferably Arborio)

100 gms chopped almonds ( you can use any other nuts that you prefer but those which will go well with this flavour are alnuts, pinenuts, pistachios as well)

3 eggs, separated

85 grams caster sugar

1 tsp finely powder Mace

1 tsp saffron threads ( soaked in 1 tsp milk)

Cook the rice in the milk and the lemon zest till it is cooked well and soft. This should take about 40 minutes and the mixture will be creamy and thick. While it cooks ensure that you stir it well so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Shift this mix into a bowl to cool off well. Prepare a 9 inch springform cake tin by greasing and lining it. Preheat the oven at 160 degrees Celsius. Toast the chopped almonds in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Beat the egg yolks one by one into the rice mixture using the whisk or wooden spoon.  Beat the caster sugar into this mix and add the chopped almonds, saffron threads soaked in milk and the powdered mace.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites into stiff peaks and gently fold them into the rice mixture. Put this final mixture into the prepared springform cake tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin and then cover it and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

Unmould the cake and remove the lining when you want to serve it the next day and dust with icing sugar. Slice and serve.

KD2

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almond, apple, baking, cake, coconut, coconut sugar, healthy baking, wholewheat

Healthy baking exists….and a delicious Wholewheat Apple-Coconut cake ( with coconut sugar)

IMG_6000I had started this post on a separate note. Then something prompted me to re-write it. So here goes…

About evolving times but stagnating taste buds. About oscillating between wellness and rules. Some of the views that I hear as a healthy baker are – healthy baking is a fad or what we consume through our traditional bakes is not harmful or even better, there is nothing called healthy baking.

And in my mind – all I am thinking is, even the best of us can sometimes get trapped in the confines of our own minds, get tricked by our own taste buds, get slowed down by our own lack of courage.

Yes, healthy bakes are an acquired taste, it does not happen overnight, it comes to us slowly. But it only comes to those who approach it with an open mind. Have you given yourself enough opportunities to open your mind? Forget a big change, just try this to start with – instead of beginning with a thought that it can’t taste delicious, tell yourself that it will taste different.  Possible?

Let’s just try and remember that when the world evolves at the pace that it is now, everything has a disruption which leads to the next phase of growth- The same is happening with rule-based baking. We owe it to our family and friends to bake with healthier ingredients, because our lifestyles and the quality of what we are consuming has changed. Rules are good, but work with rules in a way that you put your wellness first and rules second. Not the other way round

So what’s YOUR next step ?

Start with this simple healthy cake – take it one step at a time 🙂

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Wholewheat Apple-Coconut Cake ( with coconut sugar)

1 1/2 cups wholewheat flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

2-3 tbsp honey

1 tsp grated cinnamon powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 large apple peeled, cored, grated

1/2 cup grated coconut

3 eggs

100 gms butter

Chopped almonds

Method

Preheat the oven at 170 C. Grease and dust a 7 X 7 inches square pan. Beat the butter, coconut sugar and honey well till it becomes creamy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Sift the flour, bp and cinnamon together. Add it slowly to the batter while beating at low speed.

Fold in the apple, coconut and almonds gently. No beating is needed at this stage. Pour it into the tin. Bake at the same temperature for 45 minutes or till it becomes golden brown.

Remove from the oven, let it cool off entirely before de-moulding.

 

almond, baking, butter-free, cake, cane sugar, chocolate, eggless, healthy baking, wholewheat

Uncharted adventures, not milestones..and a Wholewheat Eggless, Butter-free Chocolate Almond Cake

This is not a regular Mother’s Day post – I am using this post to simply share my thoughts again – thoughts that I shared when my son ( and I !) turned 6 months old.
More than anything else – what is exactly the same as I re-read this piece from May 2013, is that my little boy is still an adventurer and his mother is still discovering the little joys of uncharted adventures, not milestones !
KD2
From May 2013
“We both turned 6 months old recently, my son…and it surely has been an adventure – from that night of 18th November when you decided to give us indications of your arrival up until now at 11.30 PM when I am sitting and writing this, as you suddenly discover that you want to play with the rattle into the midnight!  Right from that moment I should have known that my baby was an adventurer at heart !

As a mother, let me share with you that it has been a very crazy yet happy half-year: filled with many worried nights, many days of undiluted joy, lots of second guessing myself as a mother and frustrations, of trying to weigh mother’s instinct against experience and expertise, of trying to wonder how does one need to behave when one becomes a mother..but most definitely a half-year with not a single dull moment in it.

But you know what – Thank you for being patient and waiting for me to grow into my role as your Mom…sometimes

I look at you and it seems to me that you understand what I say, you understand when I say I have two other babies –Gunna Masi and Elsu, and smile back. You understand when I say I won’t pamper you silly, but that doesn’t make me love you any less.

Most importantly you understand that seeing how you do on well-defined milestones is not for your mother, for they seem like a checklist to tick on….it is the uncharted adventures that are for me…

Like our first flight together alone means more than when you first rolled over, or our first road trip, our first visit to the children’s home, how you and Elsa started growing comfortable with each other’s presence or even our daily debates about why sleeping in the night takes precedence over playing away!

So here’s not to more milestones…but to more ADVENTURES, my son ! The adventurous journey that started when I became a mother..”

 

Sharing a recipe that marks the first break that I am taking from baking on order, as the Chief Baker of Ovenderful, ever since it started in November 2013.

Wholewheat Butter-free Egg-Free Chocolate Almond Cake 

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Ingredients

1 cup wholewheat flour

3/4 cup cane sugar

½ cup curd

½ cup milk

½ cup boiling water

¼ cup any flavourless oil that is safe for baking

ÂĽ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( use great quality cocoa powder, it makes a world of difference)

Âľ teaspoon baking powder

4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate chunks

1/2 cup chopped almonds and some additional for topping the cake with

Method

Grease and dust an 7/8 inch round cake tin. I used a springform one, but it is not necessary to use only that one. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Sift together the wholewheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder .

Beat the curd, cane sugar, oil and milk. Add vanilla extract and mix well.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ones and mix well.

Slowly add boiling water and mix well ( just use a whisk, no need to beat it) to get a smooth batter. Add the chopped almonds and dark chocolate chunks, fold them into the batter gently. Pour in the baking tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Let it cool off entirely before you remove it from the tin.

almond, baking, healthy baking, jaggery, oats

Why Ovenderful is, where it is today.

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Many of you have seen the kind of note 2017 has started on , for Ovenderful. Receiving such a lot of recognition and appreciation is incredible, but also overwhelming. It also leads to a whole lot of soul – searching , at least for me it did. People will probably say that one should savour the moment – which I did. But when you realize the power of what you created it can be humbling.

The Ovenderful you see today seems to be lit up in all the success – But with all the adulation that has come, each time I have looked inwards to remind myself that this is not a story of Glory , it is a story of Grit.

I don’t say this for any reason except to simply share this experience with more people – many of who are struggling with a small / home based venture. So that they remember to stand tall each time the venture receives a setback and they understand that the sun rises and sets. Today it shines on one and tomorrow on the other – so don’t lose heart.

I baked only to raise funds or for social impact for the initial years – not because I wanted to have a story to tell. But because ,simply put, I believed in them and they in me.

I sold baked goods at prices that were laughable, so much so that those who ordered them told me to rework my prices – upwards. Not because I couldn’t price better but because the idea of completely monetizing what I had realized was a passion, seemed to reduce its value, to me.

So Ovenderful is where it is, only and only because of two things – the unchanging philosophy that it will always stand for social impact alongside being a venture and that it will dare to go where few will ( healthy baking ) even if the orders are few and far between.

And since Ovenderful has been like a baby to me, which I have spent love and time on, to nurture, it is only fitting that I share a recipe that is close to my heart – that of Lactation biscuits, which many new moms have found useful when they are feeding their babies.

Published first on : http://fitmoms.in/lactation-biscuits-recipe/

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Rolled Oats
  • ½ cup chopped Almonds
  • 1 tbsp Flax seeds
  • ½ cup organic Jaggery
  • ½ tbsp Fennel/Saunf Seeds
  • ÂĽ cup Ghee/Butter

Preparation method

  1. Grease a baking tray and keep it ready. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
  2. Dry roast the oats and then grind them coarsely. Add the chopped almonds, flax seeds, fennel seeds to it and mix well.
  3. Add the organic jaggery – either as a powder or in grated form to the above dry mix. Mix it thoroughly to ensure that the jaggery has been spread uniformly. Then slowly add the ghee or butter ( at room temperature and soft). As the dough comes together, do not knead it. Just bring it together and then cling wrap the dough.
  4. Refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Take them out and shape them into whatever shape you prefer and place them on the baking tray. Then bake them at 180 degrees , for 15- 20 minutes.
  5. Allow them to cool off well and then remove them from the tray. Store them in air tight containers.

 

 

almond, baking, biscuits, cane sugar, cookies, healthy baking, jowar, Uncategorized

Christmas Baking Story 2 & Wholewheat Jowar Apricot & Almond Cookies

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What does a child want ? Nothing in the world will be a perfect answer to that question. You will think it will be the “bigger” things – love, security, appreciation, family, education. You will also think that it could be the “smaller” things – toys, chocolates, candies, shoes, clothes.

Well, I am not an expert on understanding children and their psychology, but I think often we overlook the fact that perhaps, just perhaps, a child wants things that are not categorized, things that cannot be slotted into any form of definition.

Could it be a fleeting moment of joy when they see their friends after a school break? Could it be the chance to savour a few minutes of having the slide at the park, just to themselves ? Could it be the thrill of hearing their voices fill up a festive song ? Could it be the anxious anticipation of few seconds from when the school gets over till when they actually see their mother/father across the gate to pick them up ?

Why is my post talking about this ? It is because when I visited Ashraya Initiative for Children( a picture from that visit is shared above), an NGO that works with 200 slum children, with the Pune bakers in December 2016 as part of the “Bake a Sunshine Cake” initiative, I found myself reflecting about what are the things that bring such a warm smile on the faces of children living in abject poverty and why we adults are not able to muster up a smile despite the comfort we live in…

The only answer that connected with me was – because they keep it simple. It is that easy to be happy ! And so simplicity is the approach that I always follow when it comes to my healthy bakes. Presenting one such simple bake here for you to put together easily – Wholewheat Jowar Apricot Almond Cookies.

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Ingredients – 

  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 3/4 cup jowar flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method –

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Mix together the flours, almonds and apricots.

Beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg, beating until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mix slowly and mix without over-beating.

Scoop the dough using a spoon and drop them onto the baking tray, 2 inches apart. Add a chopped almond and apricot on top, and bake them for 15 minutes.

Cool them off and store in air tight containers.

 

almond, cake, gluten-free, Uncategorized

Gluten Free Amaranth Flour Cake

amaranth-cake_759

Amaranth flour – exotic as it sounds, its actually very indigenous and local to India. This is the first plant-based flour I actually tried baking with. I am not exactly certain of why or what made me explore this flour except that I was bored of doing bakes with wholewheat and more wholewheat !

I had moved onto the millet based flour bakes but Amaranth flour opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. The reason for that was – its high protein and less starchy, it is gluten-free and it also works beautifully in vegan bakes as well.

The purist in me wanted to work with flours that are truly or rather naturally gluten-free rather than the packaged “gluten-free” versions of flour.

So when The Indian Express newspaper wanted me to share a unique recipe particularly one that gives insights into how baking can actually be totally healthy, albeit different from what people defined baking as, I knew that I wanted to share this recipe.  So give it a shot and do share how your Amaranth flour cake turns out !

Recipe Ingredients

1 cup – Amaranth flour

1/2 cup – Almond flour

1 cup – Organic jaggery powder

1/2 cup – Oil

2 – Eggs

1 tbsp – Baking powder Continue reading “Gluten Free Amaranth Flour Cake”

almond, tart, wholewheat

Deconstructed Bakewell Tart – With a Whole Wheat Oats Almond Crust

 

As the homes awaken to steaming cups of tea, And the mountain café becomes alive with scents from the oven,
I sat on a table, with a book, a cup of coffee and a fresh piece of pie, The serenity from the mountains settles within my soul, as I gazed at the rising sun…
Continue reading “Deconstructed Bakewell Tart – With a Whole Wheat Oats Almond Crust”

almond, butter-free, cake, gluten-free, oranges

Guest Post for Morphyandme:Gluten-Free Spanish Orange And Almond Cake ( Butter-Free)

This is the first time someone has asked me to write a Guest Blog and so I started this piece in many different ways, before settling down on this being the best way to start! Continue reading “Guest Post for Morphyandme:Gluten-Free Spanish Orange And Almond Cake ( Butter-Free)”

almond, apple, baking, cake, coconut, coconut sugar, healthy baking, wholewheat

Healthy Baking exists and a delicious Wholewheat Apple – Coconut cake(with coconut sugar)

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I had started this post on another note. But then something prompted me to rewrite it in another way, to share a perspective – about different kinds of opinions,  about breaking internal barriers, about evolving times and then some more.

It’s interesting to hear many schools of thought from various bakers – how healthy baking is a fad or what we consume through our traditional bakes is not harmful or even better, there is nothing called healthy baking.

Has happened to me as well – healthy bakes are an acquired taste, they come to you over a period of time. Have you given it that time ? As I think back to my own approach, I know I can say this with absolute conviction – even the best of us can sometimes get trapped in the confines of our own minds, get tricked by our own taste buds, get slowed down by our own lack of courage.

But what if, just what if we opened the window of our mind a wee bit – If we simply make a small change? Instead of beginning with the mindset that they can’t be yum, let’s just re-align our minds to understand that they will be different. That’s it. You have taken the most important step.

 

Because you know what – closed minds will always lead to redundancies – no matter what area of work or passion you follow. Because the world is evolving and if we keep following rule-based baking and do not experiment with healthier ingredients, guess who loses – our family and friends, because they deserve healthier options and as the bakers it is our responsibility to make that change. Yes rules are good, but work with rules in a way that you put your wellness first and rules second. Not the other way round:)

So what’s YOUR next step ?

Blame it on your present lifestyle? You may have done that already.
Change food habits to suit present lifestyle – Have you done this yet?

Assure yourself of how we have grown up with these ingredients? You may have done that already.

Tell yourself that what you eat as you ‘grow older’ should change too –– Have you done this yet?

Oh but you eat all that stuff only of special occasions –You may have done that already.

Oh but you love your tea biscuits daily, so should you change that-– Have you done this yet?

So here’s a recipe to ease you into Healthy Baking (it does exist!)

Wholewheat Apple-Coconut Cake

1 1/2 cups of wholewheat flour

1 1/2 tsp of baking powder

1 large apple, peeled and grated

1/2 cup of grated fresh coconut

1/2 cup of coconut sugar

2-3 tbsp of honey

3 eggs

100 grams butter

1 tsp of cinnamon ( freshly grated)

Almonds ( chopped)

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Method – 

Preheat the oven at 170 degrees C.

Sift wholewheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder and keep aside. Grease and dust a 7×7 square pan.

Mix the butter, honey and coconut sugar with a whisk first then beat them well so that it becomes creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.

Add the sifted flour-bp-cinnamon mix into the tin. Lastly fold the grated apple, coconut and almonds into the batter gently. No need to beat at this stage.

Transfer it into the tin, bake at 170 C for 45 minutes, until it becomes golden brown. Cool it well before de-moulding it.