Sunday, September 26, 2021

Homemade fig Jam



This post is so special to me. This jam is made from fresh figs from my neighbors backyard. I plucked each fig, cleaned, chopped , cooked and canned in 2 hours. This is the best jam I ever made too. Canning is very interesting if you do it right. The key to safe canning is two factors - acid and heat. Botulism simply can’t live in an acidic environment. The acid in jam comes from the fruit itself as well as added acid like lemon juice (some fruits are acidic enough on their own, but some need a bit of extra help in the form of lemon juice or other added acid).

Ingredients

30-40 Fresh Figs
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Honey
2Tbsp Lemon Juice (Juice from one lemon)



Directions


Step 1 : In a Dutch oven / wide nonstick pan add the cleaned and chopped figs(Do not add water) . Cook in low - medium flame for 15-20 minutes.

Step 2 : Add Sugar and honey and continue cooking. Mash them to break down into tiny chunks.

Step 3 : Cook till they are really thick. Add lemon juice , cook for a minute and turn off the flame.



Enjoy,
Lena

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The easiest One Bowl Chocolate cake with the best Chocolate Buttercream ever !!!!


Happy Fall Everyone!!!

I love all seasons, but the first day of fall is something to be remembered. It's the promise to a change, the promise of cooler, beautiful weather, colorful leaves, and lots of fun fall activities to cross off our bucket list. After a long gap, I started taking my guitar lessons again. We had an amazing Summer harvest for last couple of months, and now as Fall teaches us, I should let go off the old ones to make space for the new fall garden. Sometimes I'm too tired after work, long drive, busy traffic, but it all fades in background when I come home. I will just sit on sofa for a while, and Rashmin will make an expresso or Rithika will make an orange juice for me. Thats enough for my kick start. When you count your blessings, you will understand you're actually doing more than great. We have a camping trip this weekend, Rithika has fall break next week, I will start my fall garden in 3 weeks, and we want to do a movie night in our backyard too. See, I have my never ending list for this fall :)


Best chocolate cake ever



The best chocolate cake with Chocolate buttercream

Prep time : 20 mins, Cooking time : 30 mins, Yield : 2 - 9 inch round cake layers
Recipe courtesy : Hershey's

Ingredients

2 cups white sugar

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

½ cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Directions

Step 1 : Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.

Step 2 : In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.

Step 3 : Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe for thick and creamy Chocolate buttercream frosting
Preperation time : 10 Minutes, Recipe Courtesy : sallysbakingaddiction

1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (41g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 full minute. Add 1/4 cup more confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick. Taste. Beat in another pinch of salt if desired.
Use immediately or cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the frosting on medium speed for a few seconds so it’s creamy again. After thawing or refrigerating, beating in a splash of heavy cream or milk will help thin the frosting out again, if needed.

Enjoy,
Lena

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Purple Dream



I’m going to call this cake “Purple Dream”. I created this 3rd Birthday cake for my friend’s daughter. This cake has a special place in my heart because I baked it with the the birthday girl at her home (Yes, A three year old little chef as my assistant )❤️❤️. We created a mess in her kitchen but it was a memorable experience. She cracked the eggs , beat the butter , baked the cake , made buttercream... I can’t wait for next year to create her 4th birthday cake. Love you Ishya and I wish you a very happy birthday ❤️❤️❤️ 


This is a Vanilla  Butter cream (yes, my go to 1-2-3-4 cake), with Vanilla Buttercream, decorated with rice paper and edible gold leaf.


Enjoy,

Lena

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Best Fried rice Ever!!!


 Serves :   5 Adults

Ingredients : 


Basmati Rice : 1 1/2 cup, cooked and cooled (See Notes*)
Vegetable Oil/ Saffola / Canola oil : 3 tbsp +1tsp
Eggs : 4, Optional
Beans : 4, Finely Chopped
Carrots : 2, Finely Chopped
Celery : 1 rib, finely chopped
White onion : 1/2 Cup, Finely chopped
Cabbage : 1/2 Cup, Finely Chopped
Spring Onions : 2, Finely Chopped
Capsicum : 1, Sliced
Green Chilies : 2, Finely chopped
Ginger : 1 inch piece, Finely Chopped
Garlic : 9 cloves, Finely Chopped
Soya Sauce : 1 1/2 tsp
Salt &pepper to taste
Sugar : a pinch to sprinkle in the end
Curry powder : 1/4 tsp to sprinkle in the end (My secret ingredient to make perfect Fried rice each time)

Method :

1. Beat egg with 1tbsp water, enough salt and pepper. Heat 1tsp oil in a kadai/ wok/ non-stick pan and  add the eggs and cook till they are soft and fluffy. Transfer to a plate. Now add remaining  3tbsp oil and add ginger, garlic and green Chillies. Now add  all vegetables in following order onion, celery, beans, carrots, cabbage, capsicum, and half of spring onion. Saute on medium to high flame.

2. After 2-3 minutes add enough salt and pepper powder. Now add cooked rice 1cup at a time and combine well.  Once you finish combining the entire rice with stir fried veggies,  fry in high flame for 4-5 minutes. Add soya sauce and mix well. Sprinkle crushed pepper, curry powder and sugar. Mix together and close the pan with a tight lid. Turn off the gas and serve immediately. 

3. Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve hot with gobi manchurian / Restaurent style chili chicken / pepper mushroom fryChilli Mushroom / Pepper Chicken.

Method for cooking rice / noodles for Chinese Cuisine

Wash and soak rice for 20 - 30minutes. Now drain  the rice using a colander. Take a large kadhai / saucepan/ cooker  and fill the vessel with 3/4th of water (around  8-10 cups) and bring to boil. Now add enough salt and then add drained rice. Add 1/2tsp of refined oil and wait till the rice is 90%cooked. Take care not to overcook the rice. Each grain of rice should be separate. When it's done strain using a colander and Spread on a wide plate. This is a crucial step in making fried rice. If you are not spreading the rice to cool, the bottom layer of rice will get overcooked  and you will get mushy fried-rice. Allow the rice to cool for several hours.

Note : Make sure you are making fried rice with cooled rice. you can make rice before 4hrs  or previous day you make the fried rice. 


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Enjoy,
Lena