February 27, 2008

Banana bread

I am very enthusiastic when it comes to trying out different recipes, especially if it involves baking. Most of my days are spent wrestling with a toddler at home and doing just enough cooking to get by. Occasionally, a day comes along when I cant seem to sit still and have enough energy to try out some of the tempting dishes from the Internet. One of the easiest and healthy recipes that I've tried is for banana bread. The recipe is from joyofbaking.com. The golden- brown bread with chopped nuts and moist bananas make the bread so tempting, you just have to take a bite..Mm Mmmm... Happy baking !!

Recipe (Makes one 9" by 5" loaf bread):

All-purpose flour - 1 and 3/4 cup
Large ripe bananas - approx 1 lb or 1 and 1/2 cups mashed or 3 nos
Granulated white sugar - 3/4 cup
Eggs - 2 lightly beaten
Walnuts or pecans - toasted and chopped - 1 cup (optional)
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Ground cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Melted unsalted butter - 1/2 cup


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease a 9" by 5" loaf pan and keep aside.

Toast the nuts by placing them on a baking sheet and baking for 8-10 minutes. Coarsely chop.

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nuts.

In a separate bowl combine mashed bananas, melted butter, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla.

Lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, until just combined and the mixture is thick and chunky.

Transfer the mixture into the loaf pan and garnish with banana slices or untoasted nuts.

Bake until the bread is golden brown and a tooth-pick inserted into the centre comes out clean (approx 55-60 minutes).

Cool on wire rack and remove from the pan.

Slice and serve! Bread-elicious!!


1. The pictured bread was done in about 45 minutes. It is advisable to check for the done-ness before the given baking time (55-60 min).
2. Chopped nuts in the recipe is optional. The picture shows a few almond slivers on top, added before baking.
3. The batter should not be over-mixed or made smooth. Over-mixing results in tough, rubbery bread.

February 16, 2008

Pan-Seared Top Sirloin Steak with Jus

Steaks are great for a romantic dinner or for a grill party with friends. During winter, spending time outdoors grilling a steak in your backyard can be a bit overwhelming. One of the best alternatives is to pan-grill the steak. I found an excellent recipe on video.about.com by Chef John and tried it out on Valentine's day as a surprise to my husband. I should say that it turned out real nice for my first attempt at preparing a steak. To watch the original video, click here. I hope everybody will try this out... Have a sizzzzling dinner!!

Pan-seared top sirloin steak (Serves 2)

Top-sirloin steak - 8oz - 2
Clarified butter - 1-2 tbsp
Seasoning - Black pepper and salt


Heat a heavy pan on high heat till its very hot.

Prepare the steaks on a seperate plate by seasoning them with salt and pepper.

Add clarified butter to the hot pan.

Place the steaks into the pan. Bring the down the heat to medium high. Do not move the steaks for about 4 min.

Turn the steaks over and again leave the steaks for about 5 min on the second side.

Keep the steaks for about a minute or two before serving so that the juices within the steaks get time to settle.

Serve the steaks topped with jus, sauteed onions and mushrooms, with mashed potatoes and steamed mixed vegetables as sides.

For the pan jus (juice):

Water - 1/2 cup
Worcestershire sauce - 1 tbsp
Balsamic vinegar - 1 tbsp
Ketchup - 1 tbsp


Mix the ingredients together and set aside.

Once the steaks are cooked, add the sauce to the pan over high heat.

Scrape the bottom of the pan so that the caramalised meat on the pan is released into the sauce.

Reduce to half over high heat.

Shut off the flame and add the natural juices released from the resting steaks.

Whisk in a tablespoon of cold butter.

The jus is ready to be served with the steaks.


  1. To clarify butter, microwave 2 tbsp of butter until melted and remove the foam on top of it. The liquid underneath is the clarified butter.
  2. The time of grilling depends on the size and thickness of the steaks.
  3. The given timing makes a medium rare steak. Adjust time according to your preferred doneness. Other steak seasonings can also be used.

February 15, 2008

Butter pudding

My penchant for sweets are a bit on the "strong" side. A small piece of any one of those sweet indulgences will make just about any meal wholesome and interesting. Simple changes in the "presention" of these desserts go a long way, making them unique and appetizing, each time over. I also believe that you cant go wrong while making these sweet creations!! The above reasons make me all the more excited in whipping up a variety of desserts as perfect endings to our family dinner. This pudding is a very simple one which can be put together in under 10 minutes. It is not very rich and wont make you feel guilty while having some. I would not consider this to be a substitution for the more elegant caramel custard pudding, but is definitely enough to create sweet sensations in your mouth!

Recipe (Serves 2)

All-purpose flour/ Corn flour (any of these, or both) - 1/4 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Sugar - 3 tbsp
Egg - 1
Butter - 1 tbsp
Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Raisins/ Cherries/ Dates/ Cashews - chopped 1/2 cup


Mix the flour and sugar in a small bowl and make into a fine paste using either water or milk.

Beat an egg and add into the flour-sugar paste and mix well. Add a small pinch of salt.

Boil a cup of milk in a sauce-pan.

Add the mixture of flour and egg to the boiling milk and mix well. It will get thick immediately. Stir well for a few minutes.

Add butter to it and switch off the flame. Mix in the vanilla essence.

Add the chopped dry fruits or nuts to this mixture. You can also make plain butter pudding without any mix-ins or reserve them entirely for garnishing once it is set.

Wet the mould with water and dont dry it. Pour the pudding into the wet mould and allow it to chill in the refrigerate for an hour or more.

The moulds can be individual bowls or a single bigger one, which can then be divided and served.

Transfer the pudding to the serving plates, decorate according to our taste. Chopped dry, or fresh fruits and nuts can be used for decorating.


  1. The pudding pictured was made as a plain butter pudding and decorated with almond slivers and jelly beans.

February 14, 2008

Tasty Italian Treat : Pizza

Italy is the birth-place of many of the best things in the world. Italian masterpieces range from art to automotives to beauty to the best of all, Italian food. Needless to say, pizza is one of the most loved and sought-after Italian foods. As everyone must've guessed by now, I looove pizza. It is such that it can be tailored to individual tastes by choosing and/or changing the toppings. Its been my dream to create one which would atleast remotely resemble the actual culinary masterpiece!! The challenge lies in making the crust from scratch. I recently happened across a recipe for pizza dough on food.about.com, tried it out, and loved it. If you would like to watch the original video, click here. I am posting the recipe here along with my own tips. Hope everyone will enjoy making it as much as I did !!

Pizza dough (Makes a 12" pizza)

Yeast - 1tsp
Hot water - 1/2 cup
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
All-purpose flour - 1 and 1/2 cup
Rosemary - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp

Toppings -
Pepperoni/sausage/chicken/olives/onions/bell peppers/mushrooms
Pizza/pasta sauce - as needed (store-bought)
Mozzarella cheese - 4 oz cut into very thin slices.


Dissolve yeast in the hot water, and leave to rise for about 5 min.

Add salt and rosemary to the flour, and mix.

Once the yeast is dissolved, add olive oil to the yeast-water mixture.

Add the liquid ingredients to the seasoned flour. Knead well to form a soft dough.

Now coat the bowl with oil and place the dough and rotate it so that the dough is coated on all sides with oil. Cover the bowl with wet paper towel/ kitchen cloth

Keep in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough doubles in size.

When its doubled, push down the dough to release the air, and knead well.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Roll out the pizza dough on the work surface using a rolling pin, both well dusted with flour and transfer onto a pizza pan. Add the pizza sauce, toppings and cheese.

Bake for 15-20 min until the cheese melts and the crust becomes brown. Slice and enjoy piping hot !!


  1. Vegetable oil can be used instead of olive oil.
  2. The dough can be made without adding rosemary, or with other Italian seasonings.
  3. Spray some oil on the pizza pan. After the pizza has been transferred to the pan, allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before baking and fork it ( pinch holes on the bottom and sides using a fork).
  4. Pre-cook the crust without toppings for about 5 minutes.
  5. Spray the surface of the lightly baked crust with just a bit of olive oil.
  6. Cook the pizza with toppings for about 10-12 minutes. Add cheese as slices or juliennes rather than grated.
  7. The pictured pizza has pasta sauce, pepperoni topped with a few slices of cheese, then green bell peppers, black olives, onions and finally a layer of thinly sliced cheese on top.

February 13, 2008

Simple egg fried rice

To start off my blog, I am posting a very basic and simple recipe for egg fried rice. This recipe is a quick, easy change from the routine menu and offers a delightful twist in your meal !!

Recipe (Serves 2)

Long grain / Basmati rice cooked - for 2 people (about 3 cups)
Carrots - 1 medium sized - cubed or approx 15 baby carrots
Celery - 2 stalks - chopped
Green peas - about 3/4 cup
Capsicum - a quarter - cut into squares
Eggs - 2
Oyster sauce - 2tbsp
Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 1 or 2 pods - chopped fine

Cook and chill the rice, preferably overnight.

Heat the skillet on high heat and add oil. High heat is advised so that the vegetable are fried and cooked, rather than getting steamed, becoming overcooked and watery.

When the oil is hot, add the carrots and the chopped garlic. Saute for a few minutes stirring continuously to prevent the garlic from burning.

Now add the chopped celery and mix well, stirring for a minute or two. Do not overcook.

Add green peas and mix together. After a few minutes, add the capsicum pieces. Stir them around for just a couple of minutes, so that the capsicum remains crisp.

Once the vegetables are cooked to your personal preference, add the chilled rice and mix until it is heated through. Push the rice and vegetable mix to the sides and make space in the center to scramble the eggs.

Add a bit of oil in the center, and scramble the eggs.

Mix-in the scrambled eggs with the rice-vegetable medley.

Combine the oyster sauce and soy sauce in a bowl, add to the fried rice. Toss to coat or mix well.

Serve hot. Enjoy!!! :-)


  1. The pictured fried rice was made using basmati rice.

  2. Any type of protein (shrimp, chicken etc) can be added to the recipe to make a tasty non-vegetarian fried rice, or drop-out the eggs for a simple vegetarian fried rice.