30 December 2011

Celebrating First Blog Anniversary with Walnut Cake

One year ago on this day, I decided to venture into food blogging. Never did I expect it to give me so much joy. I still can't believe its been a year of blogging. It has surely made me find and try out many recipes which I'd have never attempted otherwise. Looking back,  it has been an amazing journey so far and I would like to thank all my readers and fellow blogger friends for the wonderful support and encouragement. Thank you all and wish you a new year filled with happiness, peace and togetherness.

Here is a healthy version of Walnut Cake. Walnuts are considered to be the king of nuts when it comes to health benefits especially related to heart and circulatory system. They reduce LDL (Bad Cholesterol) and increases HDL (good Cholesterol ). This is the first time I tried baking with olive oil and was surprised to note that there was no evident taste difference in the cake. (I was pretty apprehensive to use it) :) This reminds me of the famous quote by Mark Twain.

" The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.''

So let's hope to cook, eat , drink and be merry to have a healthy year ahead. :)


Wheat Flour - 1 1/2 cup
Barley Flour - 1/2 cup
Baking Powder - 2 tsp
Cinnamon Powder - 1 tsp
Clove Powder - 3/4 tsp
Nutmeg Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
Eggs - 2 at room temperature
Walnut Chopped - 1 cup
Low fat Yogurt - 2/3 cup
Orange Zest - 2 tsp 
Orange Juice - 1/2 cup
Brown Sugar / Cane Sugar - 3/4 cup tightly packed

For Syrup
Orange Juice - 1/3 cup
Orange Zest - 1 small (1'' x 1'') strip
Brown Sugar/Cane Sugar - 1/4 cup tightly packed
Clove - 2

Preheat oven to 180 degree C for 10 minutes.
Chop the walnuts into small pieces.
Prepare a 8 inch square baking dish with butter  and line it with parchment paper.
Spread the walnuts in it and toast it for 7 minutes. Remove and transfer it to a plate to cool.
In a bowl mix the dry ingredients - Wheat, Barley, Baking soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Cinnamon powder, Clove powder and Nutmeg Powder.
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and brown sugar until smooth.
In a small bowl mix the yoghurt, orange zest and orange juice until smooth.
Add this to the egg mixture stirring well along with olive oil.
Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture in 2 batches. Stir just to blend.
Fold in 3/4 cup walnuts.
Bake  for 35 minutes or until the skewer inserted comes out clean.
In the mean time prepare the syrup.
Combine the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to boil on medium heat. Stir in between.
Cook for 3-4 minutes until it becomes thick syrup consistency. Remove the zest and cloves and let cool.
When the cake is done transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Using a toothpick pierce on the cake at about 18 points.
Brush the syrup on the cake many times making sure that it seeps through the holes made.
Sprinkle the remaining walnuts.
Cut and serve.

Chop walnuts into small pieces else the cake may crumble.
2/3 cups means 2 measures of 1/3 cup or as per British Standards 1/2 cup + 1 tsp
This is a medium sweet cake. So increase the cane sugar to 1 cup if you like it sweet.
Use freshly grated orange zest. Zest is the outer most skin of orange, lime or lemon. Just the colored part and not the white part. Use a zester / just use a sharp knife to peel the outer skin and chop fine.


Sending this to Julie's Event Christmas Delicacy

21 December 2011

Healthy Christmas Pilaf

The countdown has already begun for Christmas. I am sure everyone is busy with shopping and getting ready to welcome guests and friends. There is so much activity around. Love the cold breeze that's the only sign of winter in my part of the world. Just love this climate and the festive season. With 2 celebrations around the corner let's gear up to enjoy every bit of it.

I know it's been a while I have been away from blogging. It's just that my family needed me more and blogging just took a back seat naturally. I am glad to be back but still will not be regular. Kindly bear with me dear readers and blogger friends. I will make up for everything soon.

For the time being let's enjoy this healthy version of pilaf. For all the health conscious friends around the world this is for you. Enjoy!!


Basmati Rice -2 cups
Vegetable stock - 3 cups
Onions - 4 finely sliced
Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
Pistachios/ Cashew nuts - 100 gm
Coriander leaves- 1 cup finely chopped ( loosely packed)
Lime - 1
Pomegranates - 2 medium

To prepare Vegetable Stock
Water - 3 1/4 cups
Bay Leaf - 1
Onion - 1
Garlic - 5 whole
Ginger - 2 cm piece ginger, peeled but whole
Whole Pepper - 6
Carrot - 1/4 cup  chopped roughly

Soak rice in water for 30 minutes and drain.
Halve the pomegranates and set the seeds aside.
To prepare the vegetable stock mix all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain the vegetable stock.
Pour 3 cups of vegetable stock in a kadai/pan. Reserve excess and add if required only.
Bring the stock to a boil and add salt .
Add rice. Do not stir. Cover and cook. When it comes to a boil reduce the flame to low and cook. After 10 minutes or when you see crates formed on top of the rice slowly stir it without breaking the rice. Cover and cook till rice is cooked and fluffy.
Heat a pan and lightly toast the cashews/pistachios. Reserve.
In a pan heat the olive oil. Add the coriander powder and stir well.
Add the onions and lemon juice. Stir fry till onions change colour and looks sticky. 
Add the onions, cashews/pistachios, coriander leaves and pomegranates to the rice and serve hot with Thai style vegetable stew.

If the rice is not soaked for 30 minutes, more stock or water will be required to cook it.
To open the pomegranates without making it messy. Make deep slits from top to bottom on the pomegranates on all sides. Then fill a wide bowl with water. Now holding the pomegranates under water pull it open. Remove the white membrane. Now you will see that the seeds settle at the bottom and the white membranes float. Use a sieve to remove the floating parts. Pour out the water and there you have the lovely red seeds and no mess.

Merry Christmas!