During late night Twitter surfing after work, waiting for the drop cab, I saw this post of a photograph of baked buns filled with something that looked like eggs. A colleague asked me something in the meanwhile and when I got back to Twitter, the post had got buried under 100s of new ones and I never had the time to fish it out.
But the image stayed with me. My son loves burgers and I try making them at home for him. I had some buns lying in the fridge and thought of giving it a try. Out came the eggs and salamis from the refrigerator, and also some frozen peas, and mozzarella cheese, and my super breakfast dish was ready in 15 minutes flat. I posted a photo on a Facebook page for home cooks and boy, it was a hit! Within hours, I had people telling me they already tried the recipe, albeit with their own innovations, and loved it.
Here goes my recipe…
Food for thought: Omelet in a bun
Burger or any other buns: 4
Onions: 1 , small (diced)
Chicken/pork salami: 2 pieces (chopped)
Boiled peas: Half cup
Salt and pepper: To taste
Mozzarella cheese (grated): Half cup
Preparation: Preheat oven at 175 degrees C. Gently whip the eggs with salt, pepper, onions and salamis. Grate the cheese and set aside. Take the buns and scoop out a chunk from the middle of each of them. Now, pour the egg mixture into the holes. Sprinkle some cheese on top and put it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or till the cheese melts.
Last words: It’s an experimental dish and there is nothing that you cannot alter. An alternative way to make it, which I am definitely going to try out next time, will be to pour the eggs and other ingredients separately, instead of mixing them. The yolks will stand out in that case and should give more character to the dish. And yes, as far as the baking time is concerned, you can always reduce or increase it suiting your taste, depending on the way you want your eggs to taste — chewy or gooey
My 2-and-a-half-year-old son loves cakes. And I do not need a better reason to bake them. I have become so regular with cakes that my kitchen perpetually smells of the utterly-butterly calorie bombs. Well, maybe that’s exaggeration, but I do end up baking cakes once every fortnight if not week.
An unfinished bottle of wine had been lying in the closet for a long time and I decided to use it in the cake I was going to bake this time. I looked up on the Net for recipes and opted for a soaked cake for the simple reason that I did not want to completely deprive my son of it. I used the same batter to bake some extra that I did not soak in wine.
The recipe that caught my eye was one made with brandy. But I decided to substitute it with wine. Also, it was an almond cake, but I used vanilla instead. You can find the original recipe on allrecipes.co.uk.
So, here goes the recipe of the cake that earned me quite a lot of praise at a Sunday gathering.
Food for thought: Wine soaked sponge cake
Flour: 400 g
Sugar: 400 g
Butter: 225 g
Eggs: 4, separated
Milk: 250 ml
Vanilla essence: 4 teaspoons
Water: 450 ml
Red wine: 125 ml
Preparation: Preheat oven to 150C. Grease and flour your baking tin and set aside. Beat the butter and 250 g of sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, blending them well into the butter mixture. Add the flour alternately with the milk. Pour in the vanilla essence. Once your batter is ready, beat the egg whites in an absolutely dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Now, fold in the egg whites into the cake mixture. Don’t mix too vigorously, but ensure the egg white has evenly blended with the batter. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the preheated oven until a skewer inserted into it comes out clean. It may take around an hour or so, but do check before that if it’s ready. Turn off the oven when it is and let the cake cool completely.
In a pan, bring the water and 150 g of sugar to boil (for at least 10 minutes). Reduce heat and add the wine and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence. Let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes and then remove from heat. Allow the syrup to cool down to room temperature. Now, prick holes in the cooled cake and then pour in the wine syrup all over it. Let it rest for some time and your wine-soaked sponge cake is ready to serve.
Last words: For best results, make sure the eggs you are using are in room temperature. Also, it’s better to use powdered sugar for the cake. It turns fluffy with butter faster. You can use granulated sugar for the syrup.
The Philadelphia cream cheese my brother brought from the US two months back was still resting in my fridge as I was still contemplating what to make with them. It was Christmas time soon and the heavenly Red Velvet Cake I had recently tasted at Elma’s Bakery cafe in Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village was still fresh on my mind. So the cream cheese had to go into my Red Velvet Cake, I decided.
I scanned through a number of recipes on the Internet to find the one I could try at home. I did find some, but I still had to compromise on certain ingredients, which I could not manage to stock. Vanilla beans were over, so had to do with the essence. Couldn’t find Dutch-processed cocoa powder, so used regular cocoa. Didn’t have liquid colour, so had to use dry powder. But it had a disastrous effect, with the cake turning orange, though the packet said ‘RED’, yes in all CAPS.
The colour fiasco notwithstanding, the taste was good, and the way it should have tasted. Here is the recipe.
Food for thought: Red Velvet Cake
I was in a mood to bake something different, something savoury. And I did not want to go by any established recipe. It had to be something original; it was my own ‘invention test’ (MasterChef hangover, can’t help).
I looked around the kitchen and the fridge and collected a few ingredients to start with — flour, eggs, boneless chicken, onions buttermilk et al. As I got on the job, the list went longer.
When I put the dish in the oven to bake, I was wondering if I wasted my one hour. But then, with so many good ingredients, a good amount of effort and above all a good intention going into it, the result could not be bad, could it?
Why don’t you check out for yourself?
Food for Thought: Chicken Bread
Flour: 1 cup
Butter milk: 1/2 cup
Brown sugar (ground to dust): 2 tea spoons
Olive oil/butter: 1 cup
Boneless chicken: 250 g
Ginger: 1 inch, chopped
Garlic: 3-4 cloves
Green chillies: 1-2, chopped
Dried oregano: 1 teaspoon
Chilli flakes: 1 teaspoon
Baking powder: 2 teaspoons
Sant and pepper: To taste
Processed cheese: 2 cubes
Olives: 4-5 (optional)
Preparation: Cut the chicken into small pieces. Heat oil in a pan and fry the onions till golden brown. Add the chillies, ginger, garlic and the chicken and cook it dry with salt, pepper, oregano and chilli flakes. Once the chicken is cooked, grind it and set aside. Sift the flour with baking powder, and mix in the brown sugar and salt and beat it smooth with the oil. Now whisk in the egg, butter milk and add the ground chicken mix and continue beating. If the mixture is still too thick, add another egg or soda water. Mix in the cheese cubes cut into small pieces. Once the batter is ready (it should fall from a spoon in dollops), pour it in a greased cake tin and put it in the oven preheated at 180 degrees C. Bake for around 30-40 minutes, or till the upper crust is golden. Keep checking by inserting a toothpick.
Last words: You can use grated cheese too, but the chunks taste heavenly when you bite into the bread. When the cake is in the oven and is only half-ready, and the upper crust is still soft, you can take it out and sprinkle sliced olives and chopped garlic on it, before putting it back. The olives and garlic will remain on the surface this way and you won’t need any special garnish for this savoury cake.
I OWE my love for baking to MasterChef Australia. Before that, cakes or nankhatais were all that I would put my oven to use for. If my horizon has expanded, it is all thanks to MasterChef Australia.
I was actually thanking the Star World show last week when I confidently served freshly baked shepherd’s pie to a guest and had him floored. Ah the creamy and cheesy and silky mashed potatoes that melt in your mouth, making way for the spicy meat underneath it to be savoured — this is one dish that makes my holiday.
The shepherd’s pie I make is inspired by the recipe of the one-and-only Gordon Ramsay. I am calling it ‘my’ because I use chicken, and not lamb, because chicken cooks faster and time is something short in supply thanks to my 11-month-old who demands all my waking hours when I am at home. Also, I have to use dried herbs because I just don’t know where do you get fresh ones.
Here goes the recipe.
Food for Thought: Shepherd’s Pie
Ingredients (for the mash):
Potatoes: 4 (medium)
Cream: 2 tablespoons
Butter: 2 tablespoons
Egg yolks: 1
Parmesan cheese: 3 tablespoons
Ingredients (for the filling):
Ground chicken: 250 g
Carrot: 1 (grated)
Onion: 2 (grated)
Capsicum: 1 (grated)
Dried rosemary: 1 tea spoon
Dried thyme: 1 tea spoon
Garlic: 4-5 cloves (minced)
Tomato: 2 (ground)
Red Wine: 1/2 cup (optional)
Chicken stock: 1/4 cup (optional)
Preparation: Peel the potatoes and mash them into a smooth paste, adding salt, pepper powder, cream, butter and the egg yolk. Clingwrap or just cover the bowl and set aside. In a pan, heat olive oil and throw in the grated onions, followed by the grated carrot and capsicum, garlic and the dried herbs. Cook for a while and add the ground chicken. Now put the tomatoes, followed by the wine and the stock. Add salt and pepper and cook till it reduces and completely dries up. In a greased oven-proof dish, layer the bottom with this meat. Now, spoon the mash on top of the meat and spread it evenly. Sprinkle grated cheese on the top and poke holes using a fork. Send the dish into the oven pre-heated at 200 degrees C and bake for 20-odd minutes, or till the top is brown. Serve hot. It tastes so yummy that I salivate as even I write about it. Thank you Gordon Ramsay for this!
Last words: To avoid lumps in the mash, grate the boiled potatoes instead of mashing it manually. Feel free to go without the wine and the chicken stock, use water instead. And just in case you were thinking what to do with the separated egg white, here is a suggestion: add it to the meat mixture, it will only add texture to the taste. You will love it.