A Special Gift

“I’ve planned a Surprise for you. Be ready by 12 pm” Said my sister last Sunday on my Birthday. Who doesn’t like surprises? I was beaming with excitement on what the surprise might be about.

The 12th hour of the day arrived. I was all ready and we boarded a rikshaw en-route to where the surprise was held. I was clueless and guess my heart decided to be Sivamani, drumming out the excitement. My sister told the location to the driver and it was a short ride. We reached the place and I got a whim of what the surprise was.

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So all these little girls were waiting with equal excitement to celebrate a birthday, which I’m sure might not be happening so much as we do. Yes, it was an NGO kind, Sakhi – Education centre for Girls at Mulund (http://sakhiforgirlseducation.org/). An initiative that is led by Aarti Naik for underprivileged girls who are unable to be enrolled to schools.

So we had my cake cutting there. I was so emotional when all the little angels sang the birthday song. We had pre-ordered Pav Bhaji and we served it to the super energetic kids. Whenever they said, “Dada, azun ek pav” or “Tai, azun bhaji dya na” it was as if music to our ears. After the food, we distributed stationery amongst them. They had springs in their steps and the spark in their eyes, well, ineffable.

All in all, there were about 65-70 girls and after 3 hours, we were left with a deep sense of satisfaction to see the bacchas gleeful and overjoyed. My sister, her best friend, my dad, uncle and aunt were all a part of these wonderful moments. Truly, it was the best birthday present I’ve ever got. Something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life, perhaps also making up my mind to contribute for many such more events.

Little things that we can do…

Bread Pudding

Surplus of bread nearing the expiry date? Bored of sandwiches? Of course there is an option to make bread upma (the recipe for that some other day), but dont want to have anything spicy too? Fret not, we just tried one of the simplest desserts we have ever made – the bread pudding.

Im sure quite a few would have made puddings with eggs and custard and all those things. But here is a variation of what we did and I am sure it cant get simpler than this.

Ingredients:

6 Slices of Bread

3 Cups Milk

Milkmaid as sweetener (We used 1 Cup, yeah, we have a sweet tooth)

10-12 Chocolate Chips

Method:

What’s there to write about the method? 😉

Dice up the bread slices into small square blocks and add it to a large bowl. Add milk and milkmaid. Mix it well.

Pour it into a butter greased microwave baking tray. Add cornflour paste if you like. We didnt. Garnished it with the chocolate chips. And microwaved it in 750W for 15 minutes.

Voila, you get a nice browned up pudding with a tinge of chocolatey flavour too. Light and heavenly!!

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Tomato Soup

Hola folks! So it was a Sunday and my sister and I had this horrible cold and running nose. We thought something hot, but tasty would really lighten our throats. And so we thought of making what mostly everyone would – soup, our favourite the Tomato soup.

Well, before I share how we did it, gotta say it to you that this one probably is the least number of steps that required to do a tomato soup… So like innovative chefs, you really need not follow the recipe to the T (pun intended). Play around.. So here I go..

Ingredients:

4 Medium to Large Ripe Tomatoes

About 15-20 Basil Leaves

2 Tablespoon Sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoon Cornflour

2 Cups water

2 Bread Slices

Freshly ground Pepper

Salt to taste

Method:

Surprised by the ingredients? No cream, no oil, no butter.. Haha.. Just wanted it to be as simple as possible. And as nutritional as possible.

There is a little bit of prep involved. We need to Blanche the tomatoes. So what we did is first boiled up water, with a pinch of salt. Put off the flame, immersed the tomatoes in the boiled water and let it aside for 15-20 minutes.

While we were waiting, we toasted the bread to brown and cut it into pieces for the bread crumbs.

Once the tomatoes are done, if you are super-human, you can peel off the skin off the hot tomatoes, or let it cool and then you can do the same.

Put the peeled tomatoes, preferably diced up, sugar and basil onto a blender and blend it until it is smooth and consistent. A lot of other variations you can add in here to blend based on your requirements, like garlic or sauted onions…But we preferred the simple one.

Prepare a lump free paste out of the water and cornflour. Add the cornflour paste to the fresh tomato puree that we made, salt and pepper to taste and mix it well. We microwaved this for 5 minutes in 750W.

What came out was amazingly delicious Tomato soup with taste and consistency so close to what is made at the restaurant. Of course, ours was a simpler recipe, but it was an wonderfully calm feeling once we had it. So yeah, if you want, top it up with fresh cream or butter and serve hot with the bread crumbs.

Unfortunately, we were too eager to have it and finished it off in 5 minutes tops. So couldnt take a pic of it. Nevertheless, hope you enjoyed the recipe.

Until next, adios amigos!!

ChoCof Cup Cakes

So after ages, it was the Bakery session at RaVini’s Kitchen again. The last me and my sister had baked was in January and in February with one of my closest friends. Nothing much after that. So today, my sister wanted to do something interesting, something fun. So I thought, why not make something new, or rather bake something new. There is nothing more refreshing than a lighter than air, melting in your mouth, sweet and awesome cup-cake. So we decided to go for it…

Note: Let me warn you, what we did was experimental so the quantity of the ingredients used might not really be what we can say as the perfect ones. What I just know that it turned out to be wonderful. Feel free to up or downscale at your instinct.

Ingredients:

1 Cup all Purpose Flour

1 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Melted Butter

1/2 Cup Milk

5-6 Almonds

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

50g – 75g Chocolate (Can be replaced with Cocoa powder)

120g – 150g Coffee Powder (I used Nescafe)

1/2 Cup Milk Maid (Yeah, we just love the Milk Maid..)

Method:

Blend the chocolate, coffee, almonds and sugar together until it becomes a powder. Add milk, milk maid and blend it again. We used the mixer grinder to do it.

Transfer the mixture into a vessel and whisk it to a neat consistency. We used the Boss Blender.

Mix the baking powder to the all purpose flour and sieve it onto the batter little by little. Don’t forget to fold the batter while doing so with a spatula.

Done, we are ready with the batter. Now we just used paper muffin liners onto muffin moulds and baked it in the microwave for 4 minutes, in batches of 4.

Of course, since we wanted it light, didn’t go for anything more over the top. Just let it cool a bit even normal room temperature is fine and enjoy it…

That’s it folks, simple and sweet… 30 minutes of fun, and then you reach heaven. Especially if you are a coffee lover…

Enjoy…

Signing off until the next one…

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Choco Chips Cup Cake

Me’s back. So January has been the Cakers and Bakers at RaVini’s. We don’t specifically have the sweet tooth syndrome, but it’s more of our long pending blueprints for some sweet craziness. So last week we prepared a Blueberry Cheese cake. Nothing I can post about the recipe, since we simply followed Betty Crocker’s cake mix recipe, since making it for the first time. Our recipe for it, perhaps would be for some other day.

And this Sunday, oh yeah, that’s today, we thought of baking the little devils – the cup cakes. And my 14 year old cousin wanted Chocolate, so we planned for a Choco chip cup cake. So here goes –

Ingredients:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 Cup Castor Sugar

3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

1 teaspoon Baking powder

3/4 Cup Yogurt

1/2 Cup Milk

3 Tablespoon Milk maid (Condensed milk)

1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

Method:

Add all the ingredients mix it until it is blended properly. A little bit of extra energy might be required as while adding it might start getting harder before it finally becomes beautifully like the perfect batter. If you want, to ease it up, Yogurt, Milk, Vegetable oil can be whisked separately (you may add an egg if you want) and then mix it to the bowl with the other ingredients – flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder mixed.

You may either grease up Cup-cake moulds or use paper muffin liners, within the moulds. We did not have more than 6 moulds, so we had to bake in batches. Place the paper muffin liner inside the cup-cake mould (oh don’t get confused please, I mean the same when I say cup-cake or muffin). Fill in the batter inside it, don’t fill up to brim though. 3/4th would suffice. Sprinkle with some choco chips on the top.

A lot of people talk about pre-heating, we did not do it. We can do without pre-heating just fine. Place the moulds in a microwave safe plate or large bowl, keep it open and microwave at 450W for about 7 minutes. Take the tooth-pick test, if fine, keep them out to cool and add in the next batch.

Now, remember, when in batches, the microwave already is been running and has some heat trapped. So go lower on subsequent batches. 6 minutes for the next, don’t forget the tooth-pick test.

Once we have all of them ready, we can just garnish with whip cream or  as in our case, plain old Gems. 🙂

Eat it warm, amazing it would be.

Note: Beware of over-heating, you might end up with rocks.. 😉

Tada folks, until next…

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Oreo Cake – With Chocolate Ganache

Hey Guys! What’s up!!

Well, for starters, I’m no blogger. So pardon me if you find any of the stuff I write naive. So, I always have been a keen person to experiment along new cuisines and cruise through adventures of ending up with mind satiating dishes. Only intent being, from kids to elders, everyone to be able to enjoy what is made. My sister always being my side and my partner in crime through the crazy stuff we work out.

Enough about me, let me start up with the first dish that we tried out. Let me tell you, what we make up is not something that is out of the blue, or some stylish signature dish. It is just about how did we come up with a variation of some of the common dishes already made. This one is our version of Oreo Cake, covered with Chocolate Ganache.

Ingredients:

For the cake batter:

27 Oreo Biscuits (Strawberry cream)

1 1/2 Cup Milk

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon Baking powder

1/2 Cup Condensed sugar

2 Tablespoon Milkmaid (condensed milk)

For the Ganache:

200g Fresh cream

10g Dark chocolate

Method:

Powder the oreo biscuits in a food processor/mixer. Add milk, vanilla extract, baking powder, sugar and milkmaid and grind it again. The batter would be velvety and smooth.

Take a microwave safe bowl, add some butter (take your call), and melt it for 5-10 seconds. Use the melted butter for greasing the bowl. Add the batter, microwave it for 5 minutes.

Pull out the bowl (don’t forget to use Oven Meads like Ross did once ;)), prick a tooth-pick into the cake, no it won’t hurt it. If it comes out nicely, then your cake is done. Let it cool. If not, microwave again for a minute and perform the prick test.

Once the cake cools down a bit, just invert the bowl on a nice plate, the cake will slide out. If you think it wont, just take a butter knife and run it around the bowl circumference aiding the cake a bit and then invert it.

Now let it rest. On the meanwhile, take a vessel add fresh cream to it and bring it to medium flame. Oh yeah, before that, ensure you chop down your chocolate slab into small pieces. Feel free to add relish a piece of it 🙂 Now add the chopped chocolate into the cream and stir it until the ganache is nice and shiny. You’ll get the richness of it. Once done, let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Once cooled, pour it over the cake, spread it and take your time to beautify it. Refridgrate it for 15 minutes and your cake is ready to serve.

It totally took us about 45 minutes tops to finish off everything, that includes the waiting time too. Overall, we get about 400-450 grams odd cake with these proportions of ingredients. 🙂

Enjoy yourself, take a break, feel free to add your comments or your variations, may be someday we could try that too. Until next, me signing off –

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