Sunday, June 6, 2010

Graduation Cake

I have recently made a few graduation cakes, These 2 were for the same girl.  Her class flower was a white rose with yellow tips, so I made some of those out of fondant.

They were pretty easy to make, just really time consuming!  After I let them dry I took the steamer to them.  It gives them a nice shine and also makes them almost feel like glass.

I then covered the cakes in fondant --I didn't get it quite as smooth as I would have liked, but really I decided it didn't matter too much.  I was making the cakes for them at a loss, pretty much; and most people probably wouldn't notice.  So I went with it.  I didn't feel like peeling it off and starting over.  I also felt like the cake needed a little more.  Something to tie it into the other cake.  So, I added a little more:

I think the yellow helped. 

The next cake I made was a full sheet cake.  

It turned out okay, but I can't get over that I didn't get the seams perfect where I connected the cakes.  Next time I think I will cut off the corners instead of trying to fill them with frosting.  Oh well... live and learn.

A close up of the bulldog I drew on the cake.  

Surprisingly the large cake didn't take me too long to join together and decorate.  Only about an hour and a half.  It was so big though that it needed more support, my dad made me a really nice cake board.  He is such a perfectionist, he even put little legs on it, a support system on the underside, and he varnished it.  I'm lucky to have such a great dad!  

Well, I'm off to do dishes now, the hubby should be back from golfing soon.  I think we're just going to spend time together and watch a hindi movie or something.  We don't get a lot of time to just hang out together, so we have to make the most of it!

The husband with his new golf bag and clubs I bought for him!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fishing Birthday Cake

Just a pretty simple cake with a fondant fish jumping out of the "water". 

My first attempt at making a fondant person.  I need more practice, but I think I'll figure it out.  He's supposed to be fishing.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What I made for Easter...

I, unfortunately, had to work on Easter.  So, the night before I made a couple things for my husband to take to my grandparents' house.  He even got there early to help Grandma get everything ready... isn't that nice?

Anyway,  I decided I was going to make a carrot cake and homemade buns.  I'll post the recipes sometime later (the carrot cake recipe needs some tweaking.  It's not quite the texture I wanted, yet).  ...The buns were absolutely amazing!!!  They were like buttery little pillows of deliciousness. 

Here's some photos!

Almost ready to take out of the should have smelled these!

Piyush and I had to sneak one fresh out of the oven to share...That's when they're the best!


All ready for Easter dinner

Just a really quick decorating job on the carrot cake using homemade cream cheese frosting.

A really yummy carrot!

My grandpa liked the cake so much he had 3 pieces and thanked me for making "real food" and not "that healthy crap."

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Whole Wheat Bagels


I'm not really much of a bread eater, and neither is my husband BUT I love to bake bread.  I also love challenges.  The other day, after a LONG sabbatical from all things baking (I just haven't really felt like it.  There's been a lot going on and I just ignored all things culinary), I decided it was time to try something new.  

I could have baked bread, sure...but I've already done that before.  I needed something more.  After flipping through a few books I had, I decided on bagels! 

I decided to make plain whole wheat, just to see if they turned out.  I also sprinkled a few sesame seeds on top (which I might skip next time.  They smell funny and taste weird when you toast the bagel).

 The Recipe:
  • 3.5 cup bread flour
  • 3.5 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2.25 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp salt (you can change this to your taste)
  • 3g instant yeast (3/4 tsp.)
The Method:

1) Grab your KitchenAid (or a large mixing bowl), and mix all the ingredients together, usually I add all the dry ingredients (minus the salt), then the water.  After I mix together a little I add the salt.  I'm always nervous about messing up the yeast.  Mix on first speed for a few minutes.  The dough should be pretty stiff and should not feel sticky to the touch.  Mix for 3 more minutes (usually I do this part by hand.  I love to knead!).

 When you're done kneading the dough should be very strong.

2) Cover the dough with a towel and let rise for 1 hour.  This dough won't really double in volume, infact you may not see much rise at all.  Regardless, you need to let the dough rest.

3) Divide the dough into 14 (or more) equal portions.  I used my food scale and measured out 3.5 oz.  It's important to keep your dough covered while doing this.  You don't want the outside to dry out and get a little crust on it.

4) Form your bagels.  This isn't as hard as it seems, and unfortunately I didn't take photos.  There are 2 ways.  You could form a ball and poke a hole in the center with your thumb.  Just make sure your hole is big enough.  Or you could roll your dough into a "snake", combine the two ends and join them together.  This is what I did.

5) Place the finished bagels onto a sheet pan covered with parchment paper.  Leave about an inch in between, and cover well with plastic wrap.  You could toss them in the fridge for overnight (or about 8 hours), or you could let rise outside the fridge for about 40 minutes.

6) You won't really notice much rise with the bagels when you bring them out of the fridge, although they might feel a little "springy."  Preheat your oven to 500* and start a pot of boiling water on your range.

7) Time to boil!  Put 3 bagels in the pot, you don't want to crowd them.  Move them around a little, and let boil about 1 minute, each side.  Toss them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  Let them hang out in there for a couple minutes.  Remove them and put them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Decide which side you want to be the top.  Sprinkle that side with seeds (if you want) and then flip it over so the seeds are on the bottom.

 8) Once all the bagels are done, toss them in the oven.  Let them cook for about 5 minutes and then flip them over.  Now the seeds will be on top.  Let them cook another 12 minutes or until they are nice and brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool about 20 minutes.

Eat and Enjoy!!!  They are YUMMY!!!

I like this recipe because I made them myself and I know what ingredients are in them.  There's no weird chemicals and they really taste better than anything you'd get in the grocery store!

 Give them a try!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010



I've been so busy lately dealing with non-culinary related things...I just haven't had the time to post. 

I promise, update coming soon!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Aloo Matar - Potatoes and Peas in a spicy tomato sauce

I just love Indian food on cold days, infact, I crave it.  It warms up the body, fills you up nicely, and makes your house smell absolutely lovely!  This is one of first recipes I learned, and its one of the easiest.  I made it for my in-laws when they were here and they told me that they felt like they were back in India!  That's's that good!

If you're looking for the creamy, fatty, melt in your mouth type aloo matar you would recieve in a restaurant, you might want to keep looking.  There's no heavy cream.  Not even any half and half.  I didn't even use coconut milk! I cut all that out of this recipe because not only did I think it would taste better without all the milkiness, but it'd be extremely more healthy as well.  I promise, you won't even miss the cream!

1 1/2 lbs. potatoes: peeled, diced & boiled
1 c. green peas (I usually blanch these before using them.)
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 tbsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. garlic paste
2 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1 pinch of tumeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 pinch white sugar
1/2 tsp or more garam masala (I usually use a LOT)
1 tbsp. oil
green chile, chopped- to your taste
salt, to taste


1.  Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan or frypan with deep sides.  Add the cumin seeds. 

When the cumin seeds begin to pop, add the onions and green chiles.  Saute until they are translucent.

2.  Add the ginger paste, garlic paste and tomatoes.  Simmer until the tomatoes are cooked are are like a smooth sauce.  Once they begin to break down I usually grab a potatao masher and just mash everything together.  It just helps the tomatoes to break down quicker.  (this photo is before I mashed the heck out of it).

3.  Add the turmeric powder, chili powder, garam masala, green peas and potatoes and cook for some time.

Add about 1 1/2 cups of water and salt to taste.  Allow it to come to a boil, turn the heat down and let simmer for a good 20 minutes or until the gravy thickens to your liking.  The longer you let the curry simmer, the better it will taste.  Add some finely diced corriander, and you're done!

TIP:  If you think your gravy is too thin or that you added too much water, mash a few pieces of the potatoes into it.  This will thicken it up nicely.

You woudln't need to serve this with rice, infact a chapati or roti would be the better choice.  My husband, being Bengali, LOVES rice and has to eat it at almost every meal.  I also served this with Indian spiced chicken legs.  Basically I just marinated chicken legs with a bunch of spices, and it was wonderful!  I'll post that the next time I make it because really I didn't write down what I threw in the marinade.


Tonight we're having Venison, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Baked Salmon with Blackberry and Ginger Glaze... You MUST try this!

I had almost finished this post, and the computer froze on me.  I lost everything!  Piyush informed me that's why they have the "save as draft" button, and I should use it.  Nothing like kicking me when I'm down... lol

Anyway, Tonight I was craving salmon.  I didn't want anything fried, or spicy, or greasy.  I wanted something filling, healthy, and something that would satisfy my sweet tooth.  Usually after dinner I'm left craving anything with a little sugar.  If we eat spice, I have to balance it with sweet.  This is a frustrating problem when you're trying to watch your waist and are attempting to avoid junk (man I like junk...).  Piyush on the other hand hates sweets (or so he says).  He also isn't a huge fan of salmon, he prefers whitefish.  But...I'm the cook!  So, Blackberry glazed salmon it is!  We'll add a little ginger for a fun little kick, and to appease the husband.

You could really use any berry you like, I suppose.  I don't know.  Strawberries would maybe be a little weird, but I think pomegranates would be nice.  And they're in season!  I also think it'd be nice to add some orange zest. 

I served the salmon with some semolina cous cous that I added some garlic, chopped parsley, olive oil and parmesan cheese to and steamed broccoli.  It was a perfect meal!  It's 5 hours later, I had half the serving as my husband (whose plate you see pictured here)...and I'm still full.  I didn't even need any other sweet to end my night!  This was a success and will definitely be showing up on my menu quite regularly.

Baked Salmon with Blackberry and Ginger Glaze adapted from Sunny Anderson's Cooking for Real (She's really the only television cook/chef I actually like on the Food Network)

1/2 cup water

7 ounces blackberries (I used however many came in the box I bought from the store)
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced into coins (I like an extra kick of ginger.  Decrease if you prefer)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/8 cup sugar or to your taste.  Next time I'm going to use Stevia.
Olive oil to grease the pan
Skinless salmon fillets (I used 10 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1.  Wash and dry your berries.  Toss them into a saucepan over medium heat along with the water, ginger and lemon.

Let the berries boil until they turn bright red and break down.  They should begin to form a sauce.  I found this took around 15 minutes.  That gives the ginger some extra time to infuse too, yay!

2. Grab a fine sieve, or some sort of strainer.  Strain the juice into a bowl, pushing the berries through as much as you can with the back of the spoon.

3.  Pour the juice back into a saucepan and over low heat, add in the sugar.  We're going to make a yummy glaze here, folks.  Basically you don't have to do much with it for the next 20 minutes.  Just let it simmer.  You'll want to stir it every once in awhile to make sure it doesn't burn though.  The glaze should reduce to about half the amount of the original juice you poured in.  I just kept it simmering until I noticed it thickened up to a good consistancy.  Taste it!  It's good!!!

4.  Remove the glaze from heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes. You'll notice some lumps start to form, and it almost seems like jelly.  That's okay.  You're putting it on fish that's going to be baked in a very hot oven.  It'll melt down again.  No worries!  Oil the baking sheet and plop the fillets down. Put a little oil on the fish and some salt and pepper to your taste.  After the glaze is cooled, brush some on the fish.  Be generous! Reserve a little to baste.

5.  Bake the fish in a 400 degree preheated oven for about 5 minutes.  After  5 minutes pull it out, it'll look like this:

Turn your oven to broil and brush the rest of the glaze on the salmon.  Let the salmon broil for about 3 more minutes or until the meat is flakey and done.

This dinner was so amazing!  So fast, so easy, and had so much flavor. You should really give this one a go!  I promise you'll love it!

Enjoy!  ...I'll see you tomorrow!