Saturday, December 31, 2011

Vanilla Sponge

2011 ends in a few hours ................and I have made no plans for the night and no resolutions either. Instead decided to bake a Vanilla sponge cake first then assemble it into a Gateau. Now, what is a Gateau????
Gâteau is the French word for cake. It is generally a more delicate and complex confection than an American layer cake, with a génoise base and a cream or buttercream filling. It can be light or rich, rectangular or round, and often has fresh decoration such as fruit or whipped cream that makes it perishable. Gâteau can also be very elaborately decorated with spun sugar and chocolate.Source


  • 1 Cup + 2 tablespoons All purpose flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsps fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsps vanilla sugar
  • 6 tablespoons warm milk
  1. Sieve flour, baking powder - three times. If making a chocolate sponge , just replace the 2 tablespoons of flour with cocoa powder and sieve.
  2. In a stand mixer beat the eggs and salt, gradually add the sugar and beat until they turn pale. Add vanilla sugar and lime juice , continue beating until creamy and the mixture has soft peaks.
  3. The sifted flour would be very light , hence add spoon by spoon and fold into the cream gently, so that it does not lose its volume.Add milk and fold well.
  4. I have used a springform pan here and lined it with wax paper.Just place the paper at the bottom of the pan to be safe ,but don't grease the pan with butter. Pour out the batter .
  5. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees celsius ( gas oven) and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes max. Check if  a skewer comes out clean. Take it out and let it rest for another 20 minutes. Pass a knife around the pan and declamp it. set it to cool on a wire rack.
As the cake cools on the rack, I shall get ready with the butter cream filling.
To be continued..........................................................

Baked Chicken

It is so easy to bake these chicken drumsticks with right amount of spice and seasonings - marination time is all that it takes........

What i usually do is - I mix them all and place them in the baking pan  and set aside .
All we need is :

  • 5- 6 chicken drumsticks

  • half a cup of yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons of chicken masala ( store bought)

  • 1/4 tsp kasoori methi

  • salt as appropriate

  • 3 teaspoons mustard oil

  • 2 small onions cut into cubes

  • 1 potato cubed or cut into wedges

  • Garlic whole

  • 2 tablespoons of barbeque sauce

  • Mix the chicken masala, salt , kasoori methi into the yogurt and add the mustard oil & the barbeque sauce.
    Slit the chicken drumstick, leaving the skin on is optional - I have tried both ways and it tastes better with the skin on. Coat the marinade on the drumsticks and toss the cubed potatoes in it.
    Line the baking pan with an Aluminum foil and place the drumsticks - fit in the potato cubes, place the cubed onions in the available space and do the same with garlic as shown in the pic.Remember , do not peel garlic.
    Cover the pan with another aluminum foil and set aside for an hour or two. Preheat oven and set it bake for about 45 minutes. Take it off the oven , remove the foil and bake again. At this point the garlic and potato would cook in the chicken juices.
    When the juices get absorbed, switch off the oven and switch on the grill for another 5 minutes or turn it off when the onions start browning.
    Serve hot with rotis or bread and garlic sauce.

    Friday, December 30, 2011

    Methi Paneer Biriyani

    When kids are home, cooking is always a challenge. So, lunch for the day was Methi Paneer Biriyani. With a bunch of ingredients at hand , an easy dish to put together. A lovely lunch on this winter afternoon.
    • 3 Medium Onions sliced
    • 3 Green chilly chopped
    • 2 tsps Ginger Garlic paste
    • 1 Bunch Fresh Methi leaves chopped
    • Some fresh coriander leaves chopped
    • A few mint leaves chopped
    • Spring onion for garnish
    • 1 small tomato chopped
    • 1 cup yoghurt
    • Salt as appropriate
    • A tsp of turmeric
    • 2 tsps of Biriyani masala
    • 200 gms Paneer cubes
    • 1 large potato boiled & cut into cubes
    • Half a cup of frozen peas
    • Whole masalas - cloves,cardamom black and green,cinnamon,pepper corns,Jeera and saunf
    • 2 cups basmati rice
    • water 
    • oil 
    • Ghee,melted butter or shortening
    So, we start in this order:
    1. Heat oil with a tsp of shortening and toss in the whole spices , as they crackle add sliced onions and saute them till they turn pale. Now add ginger garlic paste.Fry until the onion starts to brown. Add tomato,green chilly , turmeric powder and salt. Cook well until the oil separates.
    2. Over to the greens - add chopped methi leaves and stir for a minute, then add coriander and mint leaves.Let them fry well as they have to get over the raw smell.
    3. Add biriyani masala ( I have used the brand Eastern) and yoghurt. Mix well , add water to get them all into a gravy consistency, adjust salt. Now add potato cubes and let it cook for 2 minutes, add paneer cubes and the frozen peas. Lower heat and let it simmer. If at this point, the gravy is sour add 2 tsps of brown sugar or  a tsp jaggery to balance the taste. If the gravy is not spicy enough add pepper powder to adjust the spice. Sprinkle a pinch of kasoori methi,take off the heat and keep it covered.
    Wash and soak the basmati rice, while the water is set to boil. Add whole spices such as cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom and whole pepper to the water along with salt and two tablespoons of lemon juice.
    Add rice and let it boil, ensure that it cooks to a point where its is half cooked. Drain rice immediately.
    In an oven proof bowl, spread half the rice for a layer, sprinkle biriyani masala, few drops of ghee or melted butter, some fried onions and a few mint leaves. 
    The next layer should be the gravy that is let to rest. Spread it over the rice evenly. Top it up with the remaining rice and repeat the same garnish.Also add on fried cashew and raisins too.
    Cover the dish with a cling film and microwave on high for about 6 minutes. Else, bake it in a preheated oven for about 10 - 15 minutes. This process helps to cook the rice completely and ensures that they do not turn sticky.
    Serve with  a garnish of chopped spring onion, coconut chutney and yoghurt salad.

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Lasagna - My way :)

    LASAGNA - is comfort food for me. Not that it is any easier to make, the process itself is stage wise just as it is layered to bake. Every layer is special....and when the kids love it - I can be dead sure there won't be any leftovers.
    The pantry clean up exercise was on and as a result, some store bought stuff/packs got used up. 

    There are varied recipes for lasagna & have tried many versions that I found online.But for now,this is how I made it, hence the title.
    This is Bechamel, that I made as instructed on the pack to make the white sauce. Add a dash of grated nutmeg to it. set aside. Keep it covered, whisk in between so that it doesn't gather a thick layer.

    Step 2: THE RED SAUCE
    • Pound together a 1/4 tsp each of fennel & cumin seeds.Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add the powder to it. Now add about 4-5 cloves of chopped garlic and 3 medium sized onions finely chopped.Saute until they turn pale.
    • Add a teaspoon of tomato paste,mix well. Add 2 medium sized tomatoes finely chopped. Add salt as appropriate and let the tomatoes cook well.
    • Now add 300 gms of minced chicken, on high heat cook well.This doesn't take long as the mince cooks real fast , add 3 tablespoons of tomato and basil sauce. Garnish with crushed pepper and chopped parsley or fresh coriander.

    Step 3: THE LAYERING
    •  Boil water with salt in it and add the lasagna sheets to it. I usually cook this till the sheets loses the stiffness. Remove and place them on a kitchen towel to dry out the water on the sheets.The sheets would cook completely while baking between the layer of sauces and cheese.
    • I have used a square shaped oven proof dish and smeared it with butter at the bottom. First layer is the red sauce. Place the lasagna sheets to fit the dish. 
    • Cover the sheets with a  layer of white sauce - Two tablespoons of Sun dried tomato Alfredo sauce & sprinkle Parmesan cheese on it.
    • Fill in the red sauce as it covers all sides, lasagna sheets, white sauces and Parmesan cheese. 
    • Now for the last layer of red sauce - use it completely- cover it up with grated mozzarella cheese & sprinkle dried oregano on it.

    Preheat oven at 180 degrees celsius ( on a gas oven) and set it to bake for about 15 - 20 minutes. Once the cheese has melted - switch off the oven and switch on the grill , keep a watch - till the cheese starts to brown , not more than 4 minutes.

    Let it rest for another 15 minutes before serving. 

    I could not manage more pics of the servings as my son gets quite restless when I take pics - he just can't wait.............yet that's the slice.!! 

    The love for lasagna started from reading Garfield, I found this cute pic from Google images and the Garfield quote I quite remembered :) His quotes and the related expressions are always cute !
    When the lasagna content in my blood gets low, I get mean.
    I link this post to Christmas Delicacy hosted by Julie & Bake with your Heart hosted by Khushi.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Awards !!! - My first one :)


    I was just looking up my blog and I found a comment from Julie who blogs at Erivum Puliyum  to pick up an award from her page.
    Awards/recognition - not just boost ones confidence ,they make you feel special as well.
    This is my First Award and am so so happy ! Thank you Julie for the constant support and making my day u !!
    Seasons Greetings and Congratulations to the other award winners too !
    Julie is hosting her first event (ongoing) - Christmas Delicacy

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    White Cup Cakes

    I got down to peep into my pantry and found that it required some clean up.Stacking and storing bothers me so much that I do this often so that nothing piles up. The outcome of the exercise were some decorated cupcakes  like these......................

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Cooking well means ......

    With due permission from - Savour the Senses I repost this cute lil poem........
    I have pinned it up on the soft-board on my kitchen door too. 
    Cooking well means…

    You will never go hungry.
    You might be labeled a “foodie”.
    The kitchen is your studio and food is your medium.
    You’ll always find the way to a man’s (or woman’s) heart.
    You can see beauty in a potato.
    Going to market is your idea of fun.
    You share a connection with the earth and the seasons.
    Your mantra is a dish is only as good as the ingredients you put into it.
    You have a weakness for sharp cutlery.
    And maybe fine cookware too.
    You understand salt.
    You revere the egg.
    And can transform it in countless ways.
    Your friends will always accept your dinner invitations.
    But they might be afraid to invite you over for dinner. No matter how appreciative you may be.
    You taste as you cook.
    And clean as you go.
    You have a strong opinion about certain cooking shows. (You know what I mean.)
    It might be hard to get into your skinny jeans.
    You can find inspiration in a recipe.
    But you don’t have to follow it.
    Someone else should volunteer to do the dishes.
    You use all your senses.
    You pay attention to the details.
    And you follow your instincts.
    You can stand the heat.
    You transform necessity into pleasure.
    You have a sensual side.
    You know the finer things in life.
    You season with love.
    Sharing is in your nature.
    You bring people together.
    You and your loved ones will always be nourished and comforted, body and soul.

    Makes sense, doesn't it?

    Pickling Lime

    Last Friday I picked some cute looking lime from the supermarket. They are always handy,and usually are not available when we really need them:) And there have been times when I have kept them stored in the fridge and completely forgotten about it :(  
    Therefore I decided on pickling them while fresh before they fade out of my busy memory!
    I cut the lime into wedges and cut then up further into idea of filling the bottle I have chosen for it to stay.Just tossed in some bird chilly for taste. Fill the pieces into the bottle with salt in between.

    Bottled on 09.12.2011
    What I will now do is shake this bottle everyday......for about 2+ weeks.
    The bottled lime as on 31.12.2011

    This could be used for making lime pickle later on.......

    Coriander - Mint Chutney

    There was a time when I made this chutney & replaced it everytime it got over. Then ,I kinda got over it.....just to brush my memory I made this again :)

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Pineapple Upside Down Cake

    This is one cake I have always looked up with awe:) am not a daring baker........I have this weird habit of pushing certain recipes for a later day and some I just bake with a rush of blood.This is one such example. Have seen a lot of pics but never tasted here is my first attempt - my way :) Love pineapple...and the simplicity of this cake.

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Pan Fried Prawns

    A lazy weekend - lots to do - multitasking galore!! Picked up some prawns on our weekend supermarket trip. There is someone here who can't resist prawns - my daughter Aditi.

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Marble Cake

    A Sweet Punch theme for this month is " Your Choice" - and I chose the Marble Cake. I just love this cake - the way it is - its always Yummmm....

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Fooderati Arabia

    Fooderati Arabia - in their own words is :Food Bloggers in the UAE, banded together with their common love - and in most cases - obsession with eating, cooking, photographing, reviewing, shopping, debating, and doing everything else imaginable in the universe of food!

    Now how did I get there?????  Well, I read an article What's all the blog about? in the November issue of the Aquarius Magazine ( a Gulf news Publication).

    I looked up the food blogger Sally Prosser's page,loved it  and posted my comments.In her reply she invited me to join this groupon facebook.

    My request was duly accepted by Arva Ahmed ...........and here is what she posted on facebook wall.!!

    We rejoice if you're a new blogger from Dubai. We go crazy ballistic if you're one of those rare new bloggers from Abu Dhabi. And if you're a food blogger from Fujairah...


    Vidhya, you're our first Fooderati in Fujairah (God that sounds so good.), and we're all revved up to read all about your curries, snacks, cakes, cookies and everything else that you've dished out on your blog. You DO have the discipline and what it takes to be a blogger, and you (and those cheesy chicken curry puffs) are gonna fit right in with Fooderati Arabia!

    Welcome to the group Vidhya, you and your blog A Portion to Share have officially brought Fujairah into our Fooderated Union!

    Fooderati - welcome cheer...and standing ovation please. and yes, you're being watched ;)

    [Sally - thanks for connecting us to our first Fujoodie.]

    Boy - isn't the title Fujoodie - cute !! :) am feeling like a princess already.........reading this and a string of welcome comments from fellow members...........

    There is this one person Karishma who blogs on EFFORTLESS COOKING.EASY BAKING. We met by chance by me liking her facebook page....we exchanged mails and discovered we were related:)
    It was she who truly pushed me to blog or to put it rightly - she gave me the confidence to start a blog,which i did very reluctantly in May 2011. ...and haven't looked back:) Thank u karishma !!!
    It was a task finding the right name and then when I looked up the page turned up in took me sometime to get the page in place and I still have a lot to do. I have made some good friends around the globe.............and now around the region too........
    My husband ,kids and me have lived in Fujairah since Nov 2001. And we have seen it grow step by step over these years. Four years ago, we started a small Company - Green Solutions Environmental services - an environmental consultancy business. We lost ,we gained,we taught, we learnt....its been a great experience. 

    We decided to slowly expand our office to Sharjah, the name for the trade license ( as per the rules here ) got confirmed this morning................and we got the name we wanted to retain.

    In the evening I get this recognition as a first  food blogger from Fujairah in the group Fooderati Arabia.......

    Viju,my husband celebrates his birthday today....."Happy Birthday Vee"

    So...........quite a happy day !! looking forward for more:)

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Coffee and Banana Custard

    This is a layered custard pudding, with  a handy ingredients or sometimes from leftovers while making fruit salad or banana pudding or banana cream pie. A store bought custard powder would also do but I always make mine.....

    Club Penguin Cake

    CLUB PENGUIN is a very popular role playing online game, a big hit with kids. It annoys me to see them play but at times I let go as it is also a phase that they have to outgrow on their own.Hence the theme  for my son's birthday cake...........