Thursday, 30 September 2010

Peach and Blackberry Crumble Cake

These days weather is changing as frequently as it could manage! It started getting cold, windy, cloudy and rainy ans sunny mornings are becoming a rare sight. It’s all giving me a warning alarm for winter. Before the winter strike us again, let me share this beautiful cake before the summer fruits and berries completely vanishes from the supermarket Aisle. I know it’s way past late to submit this recipe but I could still see blackberries in the shops, so If you could manage to grab some bake this cake. It would make you famous;).

 Blackberries also called as ‘Brambles’ in the UK are deep purplish, soft berries that look like clusters of small juicy balls. Wild blackberries are generally smaller in size and tarter than the commercial ones which are really sweet . When i came across these for the first time, I thought they were something wild and inedible. All I did was plucking and squishing them to squirt out the purplish juice of of it.  And this happned every time I came across them just for the fun of doing it. It was when I saw this gorgeous Blackberry cake prepared by Archana that I realised it was an edible berry. There were loads and loads of them growing wild in the bushes on the way to our local library and my son’s nursery and hence I get chance to pluck few of them every once in a while. As these grow on thorny bushes and there are quite a lot of spooky spiders all around, it was a bit of pain gathering them...There were quite a few peaches sitting in the fridge and quite a lot of wild blackberries which had to sacrifice their freshness in one way or the other. So I threw them into this cake and I am glad I did. As there was a get together that was to be held the very next week I thought of baking a bigger cake to take away for the potluck. Everyone who had a piece of the cake absolutely loved it!

The cake was super moist, perfectly balanced by all means, had the right amount of sweetness, and the crumble on the top gave it a light cookie-like bite. I loved the slight tartness that came through blackberries and the soft and sweet peaches in the cake. My son screamed “Jam” as he took in the first bite! I couldn’t wait for the cake to cool down completely before I cut them, so blackberries were very soft and almost like jam! You can see that in the picture. It had the perfect buttery cake base which was rich and fluffy at the same time. One of the best cakes I ever made! If I make this cake again, I would add more peaches, may be one more as I loved the peaches in the cake much. I personally hate peaches as they are, but when it comes to desserts and sweets, they are real good!!

If you don’t find blackberries try substituting them with raspberries, blueberries or chopped strawberries. I haven't done that, but if I were you, I would do that.  And if berries are inaccessible, add 2 cups of peaches instead of berries and peaches. I am also looking forward to try the same recipe with apples, pineapples, plums etc.

Peach and Blackberry Crumble Cake
Serves 8-10
Baking time: 1 hour 10 minutes


100g soft unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
220g (1 cup) granulated sugar
2 large eggs (133g)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (Maida)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup whole milk
½ Tablespoon vanilla essence
1 cup fresh and firm peach, cut into 8 segments and then halved. (1 large Peach, 140g)
1 heaped cup of fresh blackberries (160g)
1 ½ Tablespoon castor sugar

For Crumble:
45g cold butter, cubed
½ cup plain flour
3 Tablespoon granulated/castor sugar
A pinch of cinnamon powder


1.Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter an an 8 " deep round pan and line it with baking paper.

2.Prepare crumble Topping: In a bowl combine all the ingredients and rub using fingers well to get coarse breadcrumb like mixture. Keep it aside.

3. For the cake: Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. (I used wooden spoon for all mixing).

4. Combine flour, baking powder and salt (Avoid salt if using salted butter); add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix well using a wooden spoon until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured 8 inch pan, preferably spring form tin.

5. Top with sliced peaches and blackberries and scatter crumble topping all over.

6. Bake at 180°C for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack and Garnish with fresh blackberries and sliced peaches if desired.


If blackberries are unavailable, just use peaches. Add an extra cup chopped of peaches substituting for the blackberries.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Lime Rice (Elumichham Pazham Saadham)

Lime rice is also mostly known as lemon Rice where lemon and Lime is considered or mistaken for other. This is a very popular and flavourful rice preparation of Tamil Nadu, South India. It is tempered with lentils, nuts, chillies, leaves etc, leaving behind all its flavours in the rice. It can be served on its own, or have it with yogurt, pickle and Pappadums. You can also serve with some spicy non-vegetarian curries like Malabar Chicken Curry  , Chicken Fry Masala , Beef Ularthiyathu ,  Mutton Buhari , Mutton Ularthiyathu, and my favorite combination  Chicken Chettinadu .

Lime Rice (Elumichham Pazham Saadham)
Serves 6-8


3 cups (600g) Basmati rice (Kolam Rice is used in the traditional preparation.)
Salt as required
Boiling water-
1 ½ tbsp Channa Dal, soaked in hot water for ½ hour *
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 ½ teaspoon ground turmeric **
3 dried red chillies
2 green chillies
2 teaspoon Urad Dal
½ cup broken cashew nuts or peanuts
2 sprigs curry leaves
¼ tsp asafoetida/hing/Kaaram
1/3 cup coconut oil/ghee
2 Tbsp lime juice***


1. Wash rice well. Bring a large pan of water to boil and add required amount of salt. Add rice and cook by keeping the lid open until done. Make sure there is lot of water for teh rice to move around and  take care not to overcook. Drain rice in a large colander.

2. In a large non-stick saucepan (I used the same pan that I used for cooking rice, used it after washing it.) heat oil. Fry broken cashew nuts or peanuts until golden. Take them out using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel. Similarly fry the soaked and drained channa dal until golden and keep them long with fried cashews/peanuts.

3. In the same oil, splutter mustard. Add urad dal and fry till golden. Add curry leaves, red chillies and sauté for few seconds.

4. Add turmeric and asafoetida and sauté for 30 seconds on low-medium heat.

5. Add rice, fried nuts and dal and mix well.

6. Add lime juice and mix well. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes. Serve hot/ warm with any spicy curry or along with curd and pickle.


* Channa dal is normally added without soaking and is hard when fried dry. To avoid the hard bite, it can be soaked for sometime, drained and then pat dried before using.

** You can reduce turmeric to ½ teaspoon or 1 teaspoon to make it less yellowy.

*** Lemon juice can also be added instead of lime. Increase it as per your taste. The amount of lemon juice gives it just a milder lemony taste.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Carrot Halwa/ Gajar Ka Halwa/Gajrela

Hello All,

Hope you all had wonderful Eid with your families and friends. We really had a blast at our friend’s place. It was much more than food and fun. I know it is real late, but let me still wish u all a belated Eid Mubarak.

When it comes to the word Halwa, it literally means something sweet and is made of different kinds of ingredients like flour, wheat, nuts, fruits, vegetables, rice etc..which are either sweetened with sugar or molasses. There are umpteen number of Halwas that vary largely in their texture, colour, taste depending upon the ingredients used and regional diversity as well. Halwas made of flours like gram flour, corn flour, plain flour etc have a glutinous texture while other made with fruits, nuts and vegetables have a slightly crumbly and slightly sticky texture. They are common in Asian and middle eastern countries and are normally served along with afternoon tea or dessert.

Today I am going to share with you one of my family’s favourite dessert recipes – Gajarela which is popularly known as Gajar Ka Halwa or Carrot Halwa. I prepared it again for this Eid after so many years and so I thought I need get it off my drafts. This is a quintessential Punjabi dessert and is ever so popular all over India. It is easy, tasty and economical and you simply can’t go wrong. Ok, grating loads of carrot is a pain, but if you have a food processor, then it would make the job very easy. Gajar ka Halwa is made of grated carrot, milk and sugar and flavoured with a bit of cardamom. It is cooked over a prolonged time to get a consistency that is moist, crumbly and sweet concoction. This would fit perfectly for any after meal dessert and any occasion. You would find thousands of gajar ka halwa recipe on net. But this recipe that I am going to blog about is something that I started making even before I cooked anything on this blog and even before I knew how to cook a decent meal!!I have prepared this for many parties including post wedding functions. I got this recipe from my cousin many a years ago and have been making ever since. Without much ado, and here you go the recipe:

Carrot Halwa/ Gajar Ka Halwa/Gajrela
Serves around 15
1150g grated carrots, 8 medium size (7 ½ - 8 cups)
1*397g tin condensed milk
½ cup – 1 cup water
1 – 1 ¾ cup white granulated sugar (Add according to your preference)
8 cardamoms crushed
4 Tablespoon ghee (Clarified butter) – You may use as less as 1 Tablespoon
A handful of your favourite nuts chopped (I used a mixture of pistachios and almonds. You can use cashewnuts and raisins as well.
A handful of crumbled Khoya (Optional)

1. Pressure cook carrot with ½ a cup of water until cooked well. Open cooker and cook until all water has been absorbed. If using a regular saucepan, add 1 cup of water, cover the pan and cook them until completely soft and all water has been absorbed. (Use a wide pan to reduce cooking time).

2. Add sugar and stir well. Cook until sugar melts.

3. Add condensed milk stir well and cook on medium heat by keeping the lid open until all the water and milk has been absorbed. Add ghee, mix well and cook for 5-10 minutes until you can see oil bubbling on the surface. At this stage, you can cook further to get a dry textured halwa or stop cooking as soon the moisture has disappeared from the mixture and oil starts bubbling to get a softer and moist halwa. The more you cook at this point, the drier the halwa becomes.

4. Add crushed cardamom and khoya (if using) and stir well. I normally don’t add khoya, but if you want to make it richer, you may add it.

5. Spread the Halwa on a steel plate with sides or any and flatten it. Scatter chopped nuts and raisins if using on top and gently press it with back of a spoon. Serve hot, warm or cold or even with vanilla Ice cream.


1.Dont grate the carrot too thin, as it will turn into a mushy carrot or rather a runny one. Use the bigger holes in the box grader or a food processor to make the job even easier.

2. Amount of sugar can be increased or reduced as per need. Start by adding 1 cup of sugar and increase it as per your sweetness level. It can always adjusted at the end, just by adding extra. I always add 1 ½ cup - 1 ¾ cup of super refined sugar for the amount of carrot given.

3. Carrot Halwa can be frozen as well, if it does last long enough to freeze.

4. This recipe can easily be halved. Use ½ kilo of grated carrot and adjust sweetness accordingly.

5. Nuts can be fried in ghee and added as well if you dislike the raw version.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Godambu Kaachiyathu (A Wheat Based Beverage Tempered with Fried Onions, Cashews and Raisins) and a little News!

This year’s Ramadan has been very busy and all my cycle is completely jumbled up. Late breakfasts, late sleep, early waking up and to add to it, lack of sleep too. I couldn’t keep track of my blog or other blogs and have to wait for few more days to get everything back to routine. For the time being, I will share with you one of my most favourite beverages – Godambu Kaachiyathu or Godambu payasam. This is a very simple recipe, very easy to make and tastes quite delicious. Like Musaara Varakiyathu, this is also prepared by grinding skinned wheat and coconut, sweetened with sugar and then tempering it. Tempering makes it all the difference. The taste of ghee, fried shallots, fried nuts and raisins is simply YUM. I guess pearl barley also should work for this recipe as the recipe asks for grinding wheat.

Godambu Kaachiyathu is normally prepared during Ramadan for Iftars. It’s quite a heavy drink so one cup will keep you feeling full for quite a long time. I sometimes have a cup of this for seheri (Early morning feast taken before fasting) as well. Many of Malabar sweet dishes call for the addition of fried shallots. This may be very unfamiliar to many out there or rather weird. But the fried shallots impart a very special flavour that is unique and aromatic and that goes well with any traditional Malabar sweet preparations. You can omit adding fried onions if you think you would hate it, but I still suggest trying it once. I liked the taste of fried shallots even when I had it for the first time, so I tell you, give it a shot. Else You may just add fried cashews and raisins by omitting shallots. And if you are really health conscious, you can simply omit the tempering part completely. The taste will be compromised, but still, it will taste good. My mom also suggested, that this beverage can be made completely out of cow’s milk without adding coconut. You may try that version if you dislike coconut too. Here are couple of other dishes that we add fried shallots or onions: Kadalapparippu Ada , Tharikkanji, Kalathappam etc. This is unsweetend Kalathappam, but even for the sweetened versions we use fried shallots or onions.

Godambu Kachiyathu as many other beverages is served in glasses and is consumed hot or warm. You can refrigerate the leftovers, reheat in microwave or hob and have it the next day too. It can be made thin or thick as per your liking. Below given is the way we like it.

And before going to the recipe Let me also share the happy news of winning a place - Reader's Choice Award in the Food Photography competition held by Leitus Culinaria. Thank you all for the vote and continuous support.

Godambu Kaachiyathu (A Wheat Based Beverage Tempered with Fried Onions, Cashews and Raisins)
Serves 4-6


¼ cup skinned wheat, soaked overnight and drained
2 – 2 ½ cup whole milk (Adjust to your liking)
2 cups water
¼ cup – ½ cup regular white sugar
4-6 cardamoms crushed
1 cup freshly grated coconut

For tempering:

1-2 tsp of Ghee (Clarified butter)
1 tsp finely chopped shallots
3tsp Whole cashews
3tsp raisins


1.Grind wheat and coconut with 1 – 1 ½ cup of milk until smooth.

2. Hold a large sieve on a medium size non-stick sauce pan and pass this mixture through sieve. Squeeze until all the liquid is extracted. You will get a residue consisting of coconut and wheat in the strainer. Pour water into this leftover residue and squeeze again to collect all of the milky liquid in the saucepan. Discard residue.

3. Add remaining milk to the ground mixture in the sauce pan leaving aside ½ cup of milk. Place the mixture on a low-medium heat and cook until it starts boiling, making sure that you stir the mixture continuously.

4. Once it starts to boil, add salt, sugar and crushed cardamoms and gently cook for 2 minutes. At this point of time if you like your drink to be thicker, you can boil for further few more minutes. And if you want it thinner, you can add ½ a cup more of milk that was reserved earlier. Godambu Kachiyathu will get thicker as it sits, so don’t make it too thin as well.

5. In a separate Wok or kadai or a small pan, add ghee. When hot, add cashews and fry till golden. Pick them up using slotted spoon and add it to the prepared hot mixture. Similarly fry raisins till it puffs up and add it to the wheat mixture. Then in the same ghee, add the chopped shallots and fry until golden brown. Add it to the wheat mixture along with the tempered ghee. Stir well and close the lid. This process is called tempering or ‘Kaachal ’ in our place.

Serve it hot, war or even cold. But normally it is served hot, as soon as it is prepared.

This recipe goes for 'Joy from Fasting to Feasting ' hosted by Lubna
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