Wednesday, December 29, 2010
On 25th and 26th December-2010, my city experienced the first white Christmas in more than 60 years. It started to snow on 25th night and by 26th December afternoon we got 8 inches of snow. City got covered under thick, fluffy blanket of snow...entire nature got transformed with beautiful glimpses of winter landscapes. Enjoy the immense beauty of this rare white Christmas day by scrolling down few captured pictures.
Self Note :Post published on 01-11-11.
26th morning..my Drive way was fully covered with snow, neighbor's car parked on their drive way.
View from kitchen window.
Roads were not safe to drive.
Water drainage pipe, dripping water from roof formed shiny hanging icicles on bushes.
Left side view of the above picture.
Soft and fluffy Snow covering bare trees.
Pristine White Christmas.
This is my most favorite tall Tree. (You will see it often)
On 28th December, I drove out...Still lot of snow was around.
Snow lingered almost for a week, On 29th morning 9.15 am ... Sun was masked with clouds...Beautiful glimpse, peaceful silent moment was experienced.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Warm Christmas cheers all around city brings very good feeling in heart..it is time that you see lot of love, sharing, giving spirits. Weather is very cold and predictions are made for white Christmas in the city. I decided to bake small batch of simple butter cookies with cardamom and nutmeg flavor. Cookies tasted delicious and aroma of cardamom and nutmeg was very intriguing. I have followed almost same recipe of Desi Nankatai. In India I used to make Nankatai biscuits during Diwali days,dough will be prepared at night and early morning I would take it to local Irani bakery to get them baked, they used to charge just 2 Rs. per tray. Wood fire bakeries gave excellent Nankatai results. Only difference in recipe is Dalda is replaced with butter. Aroma and taste is just like Nankatai but texture gets a bit little harder...may be next time I will use Dalda (vegetable shortening) to get soft Desi Nankatai texture.
Self Note : Recipe published on 01-11-11.
Self Note : Recipe published on 01-11-11.
- 1 stick butter ( 8 Tb.spoon) thaw it to room temperature.
- 1 Cup confectioners sugar - lightly packed
- 1.5 Cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 4-5 Cardamom - finely powdered
- Nutmeg - peanut size piece - finely powdered
- Cashew halves - 15-20 pieces to garnish cookies top
- In a medium size deep bowl place softened butter stick. Beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Scrape all sides and collect all softened butter to the center of the bowl.
- Slowly add confectioners sugar and continue beating until butter and sugar is well mixed and turns into smooth and fluffy paste.
- Sprinkle powdered cardamom and nutmeg.
- Now slowly add all purpose flour and continue to mix with mixer. At this stage it will break fluffy paste and turn a bit dry. Keep beating for about 2 minutes.Keep mixer aside.
- Merge dry dough with hand into ball. If you are unable to form the dough ball then add 1 teaspoon milk and merge. Don't add more than 2 teaspoon milk. Thoroughly massage the dough ball and cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Make 15-16 round balls. You can use tablespoon to scoop dough to make equal size balls. Roll each ball between two palm and slightly press in center, press half cashew nut and place cookies on greased cookie sheet. Maintain over half an inch distance between each cookie.
Cookie baking process :-
- These cookies need attention while baking. Total baking time is around 20-25 minutes.
- Set one baking rack on second slot and another rack in the middle - Pre-heat oven to 325 F.
- Place cookie sheet on middle rack tray and bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Now change oven setting to broil on low. This brings nice golden brown shade, few cracks on top of the cookies. Maintain this setting for just 3-4 minutes and quickly shut off the oven. (At this stage you need to keep attention..the moment you see enough brown shade on top, move cookie sheet to lower rack.)
- Move the cookie sheet to lower rack and continue baking for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven..cool them and enjoy Butter cookies.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday 10th December, Since morning I kept delaying my bank visit..around 4.30 evening suddenly I left home. Bank is just one mile away from home, I finished my work in five minutes and headed towards home...Sun was setting and I witnessed a beautiful intriguing sky splash...I do often see unique splashes of clouds and sky but this one was extremely catchy...and worth capturing...I quickly made right turn into parking lot of the grocery store, pulled over and captured this cloud beauty from cell phone camera. I rushed to home to enjoy some more glimpses from different angle.
If you carefully watch all the pictures, you will find 2-3 long smoke trails created by small flying planes..that sure added more magical touch. I enjoyed this blessed spiritual experience for about 20 minutes..Please scroll down to experience.
First picture taken from Grocery shop Parking lot.
I drove further towards home and this is second capture.
Third picture taken with cell phone camera.
After reaching home I captured this picture with Digital Camera.
Second Capture with Digital camera
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
After making this first eggless cake, today I tried another eggless cake without using Maida (all purpose flour), combination of wheat and rice flour is used. I generously enriched cake with Akrod (walnut), Apricots and golden raisins. Coconut milk was used along with regular milk to form the Cake batter. Baked cake looked rustic and traditional, it got nice dense, a bit crumby texture and fruity taste. Cardamom aroma along with rice and wheat flour gave a very bold desi taste to the cake. I made few mini cup cakes, one loaf and round shape cake. This is wonderful baked Holiday Dessert.
Self Note : Recipe published on 01-11-11
Self Note : Recipe published on 01-11-11
- 1 Cup wheat flour - roasted until aromatic
- 1/2 cup rice flour - roasted until aromatic
- 2 Tb.spoon rava - roasted until aromatic
- 2 Tb.spoon soy flour
- 12 Apricots cut into tiny pieces (1 cup tightly packed yield)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 stick butter + 1.5 tbsp extra to roast flour ( you can use ghee for roasting flour)
- 3/4 cup coconut milk ( used Renuka Brand)
- 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
- 1 heaped Tb.spoon golden flax seed meal (regular is fine too)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup regular sugar
- 8-10 cardamom - finely powdered
- 1/2 T.spoon baking soda
- 1/2 T.spoon baking powder
Cake making Process :-
- Roast wheat flour, rava in a heavy gauge pot on a medium heat by adding 1.5 tbsp Ghee or butter. You need to stir frequently. After 6-7 minutes add rice flour and continue roasting until mixture of flour changes to slight darker shade and releases nice toasty aroma. It takes total 10-12 minutes.Mix cardamom powder in roasted flour and Keep it aside to cool.
- In a small glass bowl add 1 heaped tbsp flax seed meal with 4 tbsp water. Heat in microwave for one minute.Set aside liquid to cool.
- In a deep bowl add softened stick of butter - beat it for 1 minute. ( I used hand mixer)
- Add boiled flaxseed meal liquid - beat along with butter for 2 minutes.
- Add coconut milk - beat for one minute.
- Slowly add brown sugar - beat until incorporated. 1.5 minutes.
- Pour in milk - beat for one minute.
- Now add regular sugar + 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda - beat until all mixture turns light and fluffy - 1.5 minutes
- Slowly start adding roasted flour + soy flour and continue beating for 1 minute..make sure all flour is properly combined.
- Mix Apricot, walnut, raisins - Fold in with spatula until evenly distributed. Scrape down all sides of the bowl with spatula and give one quick beat with mixer for 30 seconds. Cake batter is ready to bake.
- Scoop the batter into greased cake pan and smooth the top. Gently tap the pan 3-4 times on counter to set batter without any loops / bubbles. You may sprinkle few walnut pieces on top.
- Bake in a pre heated ( 350 degree F) oven on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes. To check for doneness, insert toothpick in the center of the cake; if the toothpick comes out clean, take the cake out and allow it to cool.
- I poured remaining cake mixture into small loaf pan.(4x8) It took 20 minutes to bake @ 300 degrees F. Once toothpick came out clean, I left cake pan in oven for another five minutes and then removed out of oven. Also I made 12 tiny cup cakes. It took less than 20 minutes to bake cup cakes. You may have to increase bake time based on the type of cake pan you use and quantity of batter you fill in the pan.
- After cake is cooled down cover it with plastic cling wrap to keep moist. Enjoy this cakes as a great holiday treat or dessert.
Some more Pictures ....
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, 4th December mother nature blessed our city with seasons first snow flurries which left over an inch thick fluffy accumulation of snow. May be we will get 3-4 times more snow in this winter season. This was perfect dose of snow because within few hours it stopped snowing and by night roads were clear for travel, schools didn't close, every one was back to work next morning. Around noon time shower of flurries started and continued till late evening. A true heavenly experience..My pleasure to share those beautiful snow captures with you all...Enjoy!!
Around noon it started to snow.........
In few hours it accumulated almost an inch of snow.This view is from kitchen side.
Weber's Charcoal grill got covered with snow.
My Rosemary Herb plant in the pot....
Same spot where I had taken few fall pictures.
Fluffy soft snow covered all plants and trees and ground.
Simply enjoy these following 3 pictures of the circle.