My new love – Home made easy Bread rolls

Have you ever been in Love?? How do you know you are in Love? I guess the heady feeling that you get when you see the object of your affection. The feeling of ecstasy when you see them for the first time the terrible sense of despair that you feel if they don’t look fine and the first kiss that you share is something that can keep you buzzing for a long time. 

I can say I am in Love and madly so. I am in love with baking Breads and cannot get enough of them. Anshie from http://www.spiceroots.com/ and Apolina from http://bombay-bruxelles.blogspot.com.au/got me hooked to Baking Breads and I haven’t looked back since. I have been learning and practising with the same recipe again and again to ensure that I perfect it. And I can safely say that I have been doing well. I am still not sure if I can call this Bread perfect but it is close enough to warrant a place on this blog for everyone to try. 
Apolina shared this recipe with me and I have made Rolls and Loaves with it by just changing the shape of the Bread to get what I want. I have been so happy with the way the Bread looks that my heart sings with joy. Every few days when I bake and see the dough rise I feel more confident in myself and my ability to become better at what excites me. 
One thing I must say is that although Bread making is not rocket science it does require a lot of patience. Waiting for the Yeast to froth, the dough to rise can be mind numbing. But when the Bread starts to bake and the whole house smells all warm and beautiful it is all worth it. 
I have actually started writing down my own variations of this recipe in my very first recipe book and it is such a huge thrill that I cannot explain.


Here is the recipe: (Preparation time 2 hours, makes 12)

500 gms or 4 1/2 cups Plain or Bakers flour 

12 gms Instant Yeast 

1 tsp Sugar

1 tsp Salt

150 gms Milk (Milk makes the Bread really soft)

150 gms Water

1 Egg White or 1 Tbsp Milk or 1 Tbsp Butter to coat the Bread to give it a shine


Take 50 gms warm Milk and 50 gms warm Water and mix them together. Add the instant Yeast in this and cover it, leaving it aside for 15 minutes to let the Yeast froth. I find this to be the most difficult process as Yeast is temperamental and the frothing depends on various factors. The water has to be warm enough for you to dip your finger in it and not hot because hot water will kill the Yeast. If the weather is too cold the Yeast will not rise. So you have to be really careful with this. I have had to throw the Yeast mixture a few times and start over again to get it to froth.

While the Yeast is frothing in a large Bowl add the flour and make a well like space in between. Once the yeast is ready add Sugar in the Yeast and mix it well before pouring it in the well you have created. Add the Salt on one side of the Flour. Do remember that Salt is the last thing that should be kneaded in the dough as Salt will kill the Yeast action if added too quickly.


This is the most important part now as you have to start kneading the dough. You will notice that the dough is really sticky at this stage. Slightly warm the remaining Milk to knead the dough.


As you knead you will notice that the dough will loose the stickiness and become elastic. Kneading is the most important process for getting the perfect Bread as it helps to form Gluten. 

When kneading, you develop gluten by stretching out the proteins present. Additionally, kneading stimulates the molecules to collide, provoking a chemical reaction. Further, while kneading, you form an ordered cohesive mass. Successful kneading results in the formation of a uniform substance. Subsequently, the gluten develops both homogeneously and through cross-linking. This results in very strong loafs that have good mechanical strength and properly rise. Source http://www.livestrong.com/article/503667-how-is-gluten-formed/ 
I spent around 10 minutes kneading the dough really hard or as Apolina says “greasing my elbow” till it is not sticky anymore and looks soft and smooth. 
Cover the dough with a thin slightly wet kitchen napkin or cling wrap and leave it to rise in a dark place for atleast 1 hour till the dough doubles in size.


This is how a well risen dough looks. I feel like a proud mother everytime the dough rises well. What I have also noticed is the more I knead the better the dough rises. 


You will notice that the dough is stretchy at this stage again. Get it out of the bowl and put it on a work bench and knead for 3 – 4 minutes again. You can now make different shapes out of this dough.

If making rolls place them at a little distance on a tray lined with Baking paper or just lightly greased with Butter/Olive Oil. If you want to make a Loaf this recipe will make 2 medium sized Loafs. Keep the dough to proof again without covering for 40 minutes. 


If you are making rolls you will notice that the dough will rise and the rolls with stick together. You can tear them apart easily.
While the dough is rising pre-heat your oven for atleast 20 minutes at the highest temperature. I cranked it up to 250 degrees.  The oven has to be really hot before you pop the dough in it. Just before you put the Bread in the oven brush it with Milk/Egg White/Butter. You can sprinkle some Nigella/Sesame seeds if you want to decorate the Bread. Once you put the bread in let it bake at the same temperature for 3 minutes before you turn the temperature down to 220 degrees. Bake the Bread for 15 minutes till nice and brown. Resist the temptation to open the over door till the bread is done.


One way to know the rolls are ready is if you tap them and they make a hollow sound. Let the rolls cool before you serve them. The rolls will stay fresh for atleast 3 days. I love to serve them with warm Butter or Jam. They are a perfect accompaniment to soup or a nice Chicken Curry. 


Here is a picture of the loaf that I made on “World Bread Day” using the same recipe just adding some Olive oil and Rosemary while kneading. Beautiful isn’t it 🙂 No preservatives, no additives just plain simple Bread made with love and care. Trust me once you start making Bread at home you will never buy it from a store again.



So I tamed the Yeast beast – Pumpkin Dinner rolls

I have fallen in love with baking Breads. Last week baked my first No knead bread and I was itching to try something new but was looking for some inspiration. Then one of the members on CAL announced the “Tame the Yeast – Beast” event inviting all professional and amateur bakers to make different kinds of Bread.
 
Having tasted my first home-made bread I was really keen to take part in the contest but was not sure what I wanted to bake. Moreover I was really busy at work and finishing some other tasks so did not have a lot of time to spare.
 
I was discussing this with a few friends from CAL and “A” suggested that I try “Squash Rolls” as they were extremely easy to make and would hardly take any time. I also had a nice big piece of Pumpkin in my fridge so really I did not need any further encouragement.
 
“A” has a lovely food blog of her own and she specializes in Kashmiri food. I love the pride she takes in her cooking and the fact that she makes sure that everyone who knows here gets a little bit of her love for food. Here is a link to her lovely blog and the recipe that I followed: http://www.spiceroots.com
 
 
The rolls were soft in the center and melted in our mouth. I also gave a few to our neighbor for their breakfast and good some great comments from them. A huge thank you to “A” for sharing this lovely recipe with me, looks like I will be making this again.
 
Pumpkin Rolls (Makes 12)
 
Recipe:
 
1 cup Milk
 
1 cup Pumpkin (roasted, the steps to do it are listed below)
 
½ cup unsalted Butter
 
1/2 cup Sugar
 
1 Tbsp Salt
 
1 Tbsp Yeast (I have used Instant)
 
1/2 cup Water
 
1 Egg
 
6 cups All purpose Flour
 
1 tsp Olive Oil
 
For the Glaze (Optional)
 
1 Egg white

Add the chopped Pumpkin in a Pan or roasting tray with the Olive oil and let it roast/cook till the Pumpkin is soft and mushy. Scoop the flesh out and keep aside 1 Cup for the rolls and let it cool.

 
Warm Milk in a bowl and add the melted Butter to it.
 

To this mixture add the Sugar and let it dissolve completely. Now add the Yeast and keep the mixture aside for around 15 minutes till the Yeast starts to froth. (if you are using instant yeast so can just add the Yeast straight to the dough with the Milk and Butter and skip the frothing process)

You must ensure that the Milk is Lukewarm and not Hot else the Yeast will not froth.

In another bowl add the Flour, Salt, Egg and cooled Pumpkin.
 

Now add the Yeast mixture and start making a dough using the water if necessary. Don’t get scared by the color your rolls will turn out to be Golden beautifully.

Once the dough is ready cover it with a cling film and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place. I put the bowl in my oven which was switched off.

You will know the dough is ready when it doubles up in size. Now on an even surface thickly roll out the dough using a little flour if you like.

Using a sharp dry Knife cut the dough into small shapes and roll them into medium sized balls. Cover them with a cling wrap or dry cloth and let them rise for another 30 minutes before you bake them.

Lay the rolls on a non stick baking tray. At this stage you can lightly brush the rolls with Egg whites to give them a beautiful glaze. I missed this step and felt that the rolls looked a little dry.

 
Bake them for 20 – 25 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180 Degrees C  or till they look beautiful and Golden and they sound hollow if you tap them.  I thought they tasted really good for the first attempt. I can say I am not scared of the beast anymore and surely looking forward to baking again.
 

Bake together event – My first amateur Pistachio cake with Honey Butter cream frosting

This Saturday I took part in a “Bake Together” contest on Chef at Large. The contest was inspired by a Cake that A had baked. The subsequent collective gasps of appreciations made her create this contest where all bakers and non bakers (like me) were invited to Bake a beautiful decadent Pistachio Cake with a Neo classic Butter cream. 
The cake looked easy but the Butter cream gave me the shivers because I have never made frosting before. Infact I don’t even like it and very rarely do I eat cakes that have frosting. So I was really lost at what to do. 
A being the perfectionist that she is posted links to the original recipe http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120742534 and also gave us a video link of how to make the perfect Butter cream by Rose Levy Beranbaum http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0JoNwGYbWI&lr=1 encouraging us to give the cake our own little twist. I watched the video again and again getting nervous and terrified with each passing day as I was sure I would not be able to make the Butter cream icing. 
I revealed my fears to M, who had encouraged me to bake my first Muffins and being a sweetheart that she is. She gave me an easy Honey Butter cream recipe for the frosting which she promised was easy and divine. So I decided to give it a try. After all what was at stake besides from the fact that my amateurish skills of trying to be a baker. 
Once I started to bake I started to get into the grove and realised how easy it was to Bake the cake and frosting. So I decided to blog about it to encourage others like me who are as scared of baking to atleast give the recipe a try. 
You don’t have to make the frosting if you do not want to but it does give the cake a beautiful layer and tastes delicious even if I may say so.

Here is my take on the recipe which I have tweaked to bring out the taste of the Pistachios.

2 large eggs at room temperature


2/3 cup, divided, sour cream (you can use hung curd instead of Sour cream if you wish)

1/2 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract


1/2 teaspoon Almond essence

1/2 cup Pistachios

1 cup caster Sugar


2 cups cake Flour (I could not find Cake flour so used 2 cups Plain flour minus 1 Tbsp and then added 1 Tbsp Cornflour to it)


1/2 teaspoon Baking powder


1/2 teaspoon Baking soda


1/2 teaspoon Salt


12 tablespoons unsalted Butter, room temperature

Roast the Pistachios on a low flame in a non stick pan. Blitz them in a grinder just once to get nice chunky pieces. You can grind them into a fine paste but I wanted to have the bite of Pistachios in my cake. 

Coat the baking pan with Butter and line it with non stick baking paper and keep it aside while you get the Cake batter ready. Also ensure that you preheat the over at around 175°C.

In a bowl add the Eggs, 3 Tbsps Sour Cream, Vanilla Extract and Almond Essence and whisk gently till all the ingredients have combined together. 

Keep it aside till you get the other ingredients ready.

In another bowl add all the dry ingredients Flour, Sugar, baking powder, baking Soda, Salt and Pistachios and mix them gently.


Add the butter and the remaining sour cream. Mix using an electric beater on a  low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-1/2 minutes. The mix will start looking like a Cookie dough mixture. 


Start adding the egg mixture gradually to the flour, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. The batter does not look the normal Cake mixture so don’t get scared. Add a dash of milk if you think the dough is too hard. 

Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a spatula.

 
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes till cooked. Test with a skewer to ensure the cake is baked well. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes and the unmould and let the Cake cool completely. You can serve the cake the way it is with a Dollop of Cream sprinkled with some blanched Pistachios or you can make the Butter cream frosting. 


Honey Butter Cream frosting

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1/3 cup of all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups of whole milk

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons of honey

In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add milk and cream to the saucepan and cook it over medium heat, whisking initially to combine and then every few minutes as it comes to a boil. After about 10-15 minutes it will have thickened to a glue-like consistency.

Pull it off the heat and transfer into a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment (I just transferred it to a normal bowl and used an electric beater)

Beat on high speed until the outside of the bowl is cool to touch. This takes about 7-9 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low and add the butter gradually. Ensure it is fully mixed in and then bring the speed up to medium-high and mix until the frosting goes fluffy and light.

Add the vanilla and honey to the frosting and mix until uniform.

When the cake is completely cool, spread a little butter cream on top of the Cake. Coat the top and sides with the slivered or chopped pistachios. Put the cake in the fridge so the icing can set before you serve. 


 A told me that the original Neoclassic Butter cream makes the taste even better. Maybe I should try that the next time eh !!!

Mixed Berry Muffins to celebrate my 50th Post

Today’s post is special because it is my 50thpost. I started this blog a few months ago to share my love for fast and simple food, and I am glad I did! I still have a long way to go to make the blog better, take decent pictures and write well. 

I still don’t own a fancy camera, nor do I own any funky utensils/crockery, so you may see me using the same stuff again and again. I don’t claim to be a writer or a cook. I write what comes to my mind (usually rubbish) and I cook what I can after I come back from a hard day at work. My food is a mix of Indian and western cuisine, and heavily depends on my mood. I refrain from cooking really elaborate dishes and try to stick to food that can be prepared quickly, using whatever is available in my pantry. 
So I thought maybe I should try something special for my 50th post. I thought about what I should cook, but just could not make up my mind. Finally my friend M from Chefatlarge.in suggested that I should try and make my very first Muffins. Now M is an accomplished baker and from what I have heard, she bakes delicious cakes. I have never tasted her food because we live in two different continents. However, from the pictures and collective admiration that she receives from everyone who tastes her cakes, I know the lady knows how to bake. We have never met each other or even spoken on the phone, but there is a connection and we just bonded from the first time we chatted on FB. 
I think everyone who bakes, bakes Muffins sometime or the other. And I am no different and have always wanted to try but somehow never managed to get down to it. M gave me an easy recipe for Mixed Berry Muffins and I instantly wanted to bake them.
So before I post the recipe I want to send out a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to read my blog and leave their comments (any blogger would tell you how encouraging it is when someone takes a moment to write a note on your blog), and a big shout out to M, who pushed me to broaden my horizon. I do not think I would have ever made my first Muffins if it was not for her. Also hugs to K and R who always take the time to edit my blog and correct the numerous grammatical mistakes I make.
Here is the recipe:

Makes – 8
Prep and Cooking Time – 60 Minutes (15 minutes to prep and the rest for you to sit down and read a book while the Muffins bake in the oven)

2 ½ cups plain Flour

¾ cup Caster sugar

1 tablespoon Baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking soda

A pinch of Salt

1 cup whole Milk

2 large free range Eggs

1 tsp pure Vanilla extract

85 grams Butter 
100 grams berries of your choice (I used frozen Blackberries and Blueberries. You can use Fresh as well if available in market)
Heat Butter in a bowl and keep aside. Place all the dry ingredients in one bowl – Sugar, Salt, Flour, Baking powder and Baking Soda together.
In another bowl beat the Eggs, Milk and Vanilla essence using a fork.


Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture and beat well until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter looks smooth.
I did the mixing using a spatula and it took me around 4 minutes. You can also use an Electric Beater if you want however remember not to over work the batter. 


Fold the Berries gently in the batter. 

Spoon the batter gently in buttered moulds or Muffin cases ensuring you don’t fill it to the top as the Muffins will rise. Decorate with some berries on top and Sprinkle some caster Sugar before you bake them in a per heated over at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or till the Muffins are Golden brown on the top and bounce back when touched.
The Muffins are not too sweet and with every bite you can taste the tartness of the Berries which is incredible.  
I know I still have a long way to go and I hope I can continue learning and improving my cooking skills. To quote Robert Frost:
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep”
 

A cake for a win – Cinnamon Tea Cake

Personally I don’t enjoy Golf, for me it is a complete waste of time. I cannot imagine why would anyone want to spend hours walking and chasing a ball. However being married means being a team and it also means that you sometimes have to do something that makes the other person in the marriage happy and ticking. 

Usually when D goes to play I just make his breakfast and see him off but as he has been playing in a local tournament this month I have been caddying for him. Believe me being a caddy is tough work as not only do you have to carry the heavy Golf bag all day from one Tee to the other, you have to also wake up early on a weekend and then stay cheerful to boost the morale while climbing up and down the course.
Therefore it is natural to celebrate a win after so much of hard work. But today we were tired, having started the day at 5.00 am and then walking continuously for 4.5 hours without any break. Despite the tiredness I felt I should do something special to go with the hot cup of tea we both were craving for. D has a sweet tooth and anything sweet has him grinning from ear to ear. So I thought of baking a Cake.

Lately I have started developing confidence in my baking skills. Moreover baking is becoming a stress buster for me. I really enjoy putting everything together. So I searched for an easy Cake recipe and chanced upon a very pretty Cinnamon tea cake one.
I was however worried that the results won’t be good because of two reasons. One due to the fact that there were a few conflicting recipes that I came across which gave me different measurements of the same ingredients. So I was unsure of what the end result would be. 
Another issue was that I wanted to try a new way to line the baking tray for an even textured cake. I had visited a Food and Wine show 2 days ago where I attended an impromptu workshop on baking. The chef (or was it a cook…: P) on the show showed us this innovative way of lining the baking paper on a tray to get great results. However she had made a flourless cake and the cake I wanted to bake had 2 different types of flours. So naturally I was on tenterhooks.
https://mail.google.com/mail/images/cleardot.gifBut thankfully my fears did not materialize and I had a happy husband by the time I had finished baking. 

Here is the recipe: (Takes around 50 minutes including prep time)

180g unsalted Butter
3/4 cup Caster sugar 
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract 
2 Eggs 
2 tsp ground Cinnamon 
1 1/4 cups self-raising Flour 
1/4 cup plain Flour 
1/2 cup Milk 
Add the Butter, Vanilla extract and Sugar in a bowl together and beat till all ingredients are mixed together. 

Now add the Eggs one by one and beat till soft and creamy. 
  
Sift in both the Flours and Cinnamon together adding the milk in batches as you add the respective flours and mix slowly till the batter has formed a smooth paste.
Coat the baking tray/pan with Butter and then cover it with non stick baking paper cut into strips. This will ensure your cake has a smooth even texture and does not burn around the edges.
Pour the batter in the tray and place it in a pre heated oven at 180 Degrees for 1 hour or till cooked. 
Mix some caster Sugar and Cinnamon together and sprinkle it on the Cake before serving. 
The cake is soft and wonderfully delicious. The best thing about baking this cake is when you open the oven door to remove the cake, the smell of Cinnamon escapes the oven and engulfs your house with warmth. Hope you enjoy baking it 🙂 

A Coconut and Chocolate Melt cake for a stormy winter night.

The weather is scary today. There is a storm and hail warning issued by the weather bureau asking people to stay indoors. It is only 6.00 pm and it feels so dark and gloomy which is so depressing. 

All I want to do is snuggle up in bed and drink something hot and while I am at it, I also want to eat something gooey and soft to eat. There is nothing even remotely gooey in my fridge except the dodgy looking tomato which cannot be eaten. 
I then started to look around and stumbled upon this Chocolate cookbook that A had given me when she had visited me in Perth. Now I am not a Chocolate person at all. I had my own Chocolate making business in a past life in India and I made so many handmade Chocolates that it just put me off eating them forever. 
But today for some reason this dull dreary weather is making me crave for some Chocolate. Thankfully like any good budding Cook I have some Cooking Chocolate & Coco powder always in my pantry.  So I start skimming through the book looking for some easy and quick Chocolate recipes to make and I found a beautiful Chocolate and Coconut melt Cake recipe that looked so delicious and simple that I had to try it. 
Moreover it also had a very simple Icing which I could make without any hassles. Now people who are reading my experiences in baking know how much I hate to make Icing. But I do get my backside kicked by Dean who hates his Cakes without Icing and makes it a point to tell me so everytime he sees my posts.
When I first came to Perth, I was lucky enough to stay with Dean, his lovely wife Lesley and there beautiful daughter Liv. Lesley was my manager at that time and was not only a good boss but turned out to be an amazing person. Their family was kind and loving to me when I was alone and helped me settle in Perth. So this post has to be dedicated to them as I can never forget what they were for me when there was no one.  
The recipe for the Cake:
250 gms soft unsalted Butter
¾ cup Coco powder
1 ½ cup Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1 ¼ cups self raising Flour
1 ½ cup Desiccated Coconut
1 tsp Baking powder
¾ cup Milk
  Mix the Butter and Sugar in a bowl together and mix gently till smooth.

Add the Eggs and blend whisk till everything is blended perfectly together.

Now add the Coco powder, Coconut, Flour and Baking powder and mix slowly folding all the ingredients together. Add the Milk to ensure the smooth consistency without being too runny.

Pour the ingredients in a baking tin lined with non stick baking paper and some butter.


Stick the tin in a oven that is preheated at 180 degrees for 1 hour or till the cake is cooked.
For the Chocolate Glaze icing:
150 gms Dark cooking Chocolate (I have used Chocolate buttons)
½ cup Single cooking cream


 
Donna’s recipe calls for making the Glaze in a saucepan over low flame. However I did not have a saucepan, so I chucked the Chocolate chips in a measuring bowl.
I then poured the cream on the Chips and stuck it in a microwave for 3 minutes till the Chips had melted.
The glaze has to be thick so it can coat over the Cake. 


Coat the glaze over the cooled cake evenly and stick in the fridge to set. You can also use this cake in Ice creams and Milkshakes if you wish.


I love to serve this cake a little warm with Vanilla Ice cream. It is deliciously soft and chocolaty and the Ice cream just elevates the taste.


The Coconut and Lemon surprise Cake – Another masterchef inspiration

So as you know I have been watching Masterchef lately. One of things that I noticed which was common among all the contestants except Julia was the fact that they hate making Desserts or get the creeps everytime they have a Dessert challenge.
Mind you I don’t blame them as Desserts can be difficult to make and I realize that they are not my forte either. Infact I cannot make or have never made any Desserts except the odd Cake or Cookies. So lately when I have some time to spare (which is never) I have taken to reading more about Baking on various Blogs and cookbooks and seriously there is a world of information out there. I now have a few favourite Bloggers whose recipes I use every time I want to bake something new and whose posts I religiously follow.
And as I try and experiment I have noticed that the quality of my baking has improved. Mind you there is a lot to learn and I don’t think I can go to pass these cakes in front of a Dessert chef without being lynched. But they taste pretty darn good for a novice which gives me encouragement and hope that I can get better. One of the key steps to baking is ensuring that you stick to the measurements in the recipe to get the perfect outcome else it can be a bit messy. I have also realized that having a good Oven is a blessing as far as baking is concerned. I do wish to one day buy a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl but till then I use my handheld electric mixer to blend all the ingredients to perfection.
So today I have baked a Coconut Lemon Syrup cake to encourage the inner baker in me.
This is a Donna Hay recipe and is very easy to make as long as you stick to the exact measurements. She has used a Lemon Syrup to dress the Cake when cooked but I have skipped it to avoid the Sugary sweetness. I  love to eat this Cake warm instead of straight from the Fridge. The lovely Coconut and the hint of Lemon work together like magic. I was very pleased with results, one of the best cakes I have made so far.

IMG_3422
Here is the recipe (cooking time 45 – 50 minutes)
150g Butter (Unsalted and Soft)
1 cup Caster Sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated Lemon rind
3 Eggs
1½ cups desiccated Coconut
1½ cups self-raising Flour
 ¾ cup Milk
Lemon syrup
1 cup Caster Sugar
¾ cup Water
2 tablespoons Lemon juice
1) Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C. Add the Butter, Caster Sugar and Lemon rind in a Bowl together.
2) Use an Electric Beater to mix them together till nice and smooth. You can also use a Wooden Spatula but be ready for your hands to hurt later with all the mixing.
3) Now add the Eggs and whisk. Look at the beautiful Yellow color.
4) Add the Flour and the Coconut and mix, gradually adding the Milk to ensure the paste is smooth and consistent.

5) Pour the mixture in a baking cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper

6)  Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked at a 180 degrees pre heated Oven. Cool cake in tin.

For the Lemon Syrup :

Combine the Sugar, Water and Lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Pour over warm or cool cake

I did not make the Syrup but if you are entertaining and want to serve this Cake to guests I would recommend you make the Syrup. It just brings out the Lemon flavor really well. It really takes the cake to another level.

The Idiot’s way of making Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking is an Art and unfortunately I am not an artist. I cannot bake to save my life. Not that I do not have the passion for it but growing up in a middle class family we did not own an Oven. It was a luxury which we could not afford. That did not stop me from trying to make Cakes.  I used to try baking cakes in a Pressure Cooker by adding some coarse mud in it and putting the cake tin on top of the mud. This ensured that the bottom of the Cake did not burn. It was rudimentary but somehow managed to do what it needed to do. The cakes however did leave a lot to be desired. 
Now I do possess a very good oven and for a while I have wanted to learn baking to do justice to the beautiful Oven.  But for that I need time which unfortunately I don’t have a much of.  The internet is however a great teacher with lots of websites and food blogs teaching you how to bake. And one of my favorite food websites  is of “Donna Hay”.  www.donnahay.com.au/recipes-home 
She is an amazing cook and cooks really simple and fast food that can be prepared with minimum fuss.  Absolutely my kind of cooking.
  
I stumbled upon a recipe of Chocolate Chips cookies on her website and decided to give it a try. Now the idiot baker that I am, I did not put a lot of thought in the way I was baking which lead to a few baking errors. however the Cookies did turn out to be really good and tasty. So here is the idiot’s recipe for making Chocolate chip cookies. 
Recipe:
180 Grams unsalted butter
2 cups plain flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
2 fresh Eggs
¾ cup Brown Sugar
Baking Chocolate Chips (Donna’s original recipe calls for Chopped dark Chocolate but I have used Chocolate chops)
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
                                 
Blend the Sugar, Vanilla extract and Butter together in a bowl using an electric mixer. 
 
Add the Eggs one by one to the mixture making a soft doughy paste. 
                                        

Add the flour & Baking powder and mix again.

                                

Add the Chocolate chips to this mixture now and fold them in. 
                                 

Make small balls of this dough and place on a non stick baking paper.Press the dough a little with your palm to make them into flat discs.

                                
 

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes in pre heated oven at 180 degrees C. The heady aroma that came out of the oven almost made me giddy.  Do remember to let the Cookies cool down before you eat them.

Observations : I expected the dough to be like Roti dough but it was soft and sticky. I did follow the recipe properly and the Cookies turned out to be very good but I felt that they were not very Sweet and also they were soft and crumbly and not as hard as store brought cookies are. 
So the next time I may increase the quantity of Sugar and bake for a little longer.
Another thing I did not realize was that the Cookies would expand in the tray and because I had placed them so closely together they were stuck together. So a few lessons learned here.  Hopefully the next time I make them I would do a better job meanwhile you enjoy the recipe.