Monday, March 2, 2015


Black forest buns is the recipe chosen for this month in our baking group " We Knead to Bake ". These buns have a filling of cherry compote and crumbled chocolate cake. If you like you can flavour the compote with a little kirsch. In case you cannot find cherries you may substitute it with strawberry compote or cherry / strawberry jam. Vegetarians may skip the egg.
The method of kneading, rolling out the dough, covering it with the filling, and then rolling it back is just like making cinnamon rolls, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. You can also finely chopped nuts (toasting them first improves flavour) or mini chocolate chips if you like.
You can always halve the recipe to make 5 or 6 buns and if so, then roll your dough rectangle out to approximately 11” by 4” instead of 11” by 8”.

For the Dough:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
50 gm butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg (at room temperature, optional)
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
3 to 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:
3/4 cup cherry/ strawberry jam or compote
2 1/2 to 3 cups crumbled chocolate sponge cake

For drizzling:
1/2 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate
You may garnish with Chantilly cream and cherries

To make Strawberry Compote

Strawberries .. 200 gms
Sugar .... 2-3 tbsps (depending on the sourness of strawberries)
Kirsch ... 1 tbsp (optional)


Wash and cut the strawberries. Blend them in a mixie.
Cook them in a thick bottomed pan adding sugar.

Stir continuously until the sugar is dissolved and the texture is thicker. Let it cool. Add the kirsch at after cooling if you like it.

Take half a  cup of lukewarm water and add a little sugar. Sprinkle yeast on top and leave it for 4-5 minutes until it becomes frothy.

Pour the water and milk in a saucepan, and heat on the stove till quite hot but not boiling. Pour this liquid into a large bowl and add the butter. Stir till the butter is melted. Let this mixture cool down till it is lukewarm,

You may knead the dough by hand or in the processor which is my usual preference. Pour the lukewarm mixture into the processor bowl (if using) and add the yeast and the egg. Pulse a couple of times to mix well.hen add about 1 cup of the flour and mix well. Add the salt and more flour, as much as is necessary

 Once the mixture becomes difficult to mix, turn it out onto your work surface. Add more flour and continue to knead for about 10 minutes till the dough is not sticky and elastic.

Place the kneaded dough in an oiled bowl, turning the dough till lightly coated with oil. Cover it loosely.

 Keep in a warm place and  allow to double in volume, for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Crumble the chocolate cake like bread crumbs

Now place the dough on a flat surface and roll it out into an approximately 18” by 12” rectangle (or 9" by 12" if using half the recipe).

Spread the cherry or strawberry compote/ strawberry jam over the leaving a 1/2 inch all around.

Sprinkle the chocolate cake crumbs on top of this.

 Roll the dough away from you, as snugly as possible, starting with the 18” edge like a jam/ jelly roll (as for cinnamon buns). Try to pinch the dough closed as best as possible, or dampen the edge with a little water to seal well.

Cut the roll into 1 1/2" wide pieces with a very sharp knife/ dough scraper. You should have 12 pieces for the full recipe and 6 for half of it.  (I have made half quantity )

Make collars using foil or parchment paper to fit well around each piece to give a good height to the buns  and avoid them from sticking together and flattening

 Place each piece in a prepared collar and then on a greased baking tray..  Cover loosely, and allow to rise, for about 1 hour or till almost double. Brush them with egg white or milk to give a glaze.

Bake at 180C for 25 - 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool completely. Remove each bun carefully from the foil collar.

 Drizzle with melted chocolate and serve. Or you can decorate them with chantilly cream and a cherry on top like I have done.

Note: This recipe makes 12 Black Forest Buns. Just make sure you roll the dough, with the filling, as tightly as you can and well because these buns swell up quite a bit.

Linking to:
We Knead to Bake - Bread # 25 @ My Diverse Kitchen

Friday, February 27, 2015


It is summer here and I am relishing cool salads everyday. Today I tried out this delicious plum salad. Filled the plum halves with crumbled Buffalo Mozzarella cheese and garnished with grapes and rosemary leaves.

Plums .... 2 
Cabbage or lettuce leaves .. 4
Carrot ..... 1/2 (julienned)
Arugula ..... 1/4 bunch (you may use any other salad greens too)
 Buffalo Mozzarella cheese... as needed 
Grapes ... 8 - 10 
Rosemary leaves ... 1 sprig

For the dressing:
Mayonnaise .. 1 tbsp
Honey .......... 2 tsps
Balsamic vinegar .. 1 tbsp
Olive oil ........ 1 tbsp
Salt .... 2 - 3 pinches
Black pepper ... as per your liking.

1. Put the dressing ingredients in a small bottle and shake it up to mix well.
2. Cut the plums into halves and remove the seeds. 
3. Wash the cabbage or lettuce leaves and place them in a serving dish.
4. Spread the washed and drained arugula leaves and julienned carrots on the cabbage leaves.
5. Break the cheese and stuff into the plums. Decorate them with grapes and add few to the salad.
6. Pour the dressing over the salad.
7. Garnish with rosemary leaves.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

PANE SICILIANO ( Sicilian Semolina Bread )

Pane Siciliano is a simple semolina bread crusted with sesame seeds. It goes very well with soup.
On the 13th of December, feasts are held in Sicily and around the world celebrating the bravery of Santa Lucia. One way is by baking a special bread which is known as Pan Siciliano. What is unusual about this bread is that it is baked with semolina ( what we know in India as rava/ sooji). In Sicily (and Italy), the semolina they use for this bread is a specific grind of durum wheat called “semola di grano duro rimacinato” or just “rimacinato”, which translates as 'ground again'. This refers to semolina which is ground once more to break the coarser grain into finer flour.
If you can find rimancinato, then go ahead and use that. Otherwise use the finest grind semolina you can find. There’s variety of semolina that is very fine (still grainy) that’s used for making laddoos, halwa and batters. Otherwise, just run the semolina you have in the chutney jar of your mixer-grinder or coffee grinder till it’s fine.
Though there are a lot of recipes for making this bread in a shorter time, traditionally, this bread is made with a pre-ferment which the Sicilians/ Italians call “cresciuta”. This produces a more flavourful loaf of bread and isn’t all that much more work. This recipe calls for gluten which improves the texture of the loaf. If you do not have it, leave it out. I have not used it in my recipe.

We Knead To Bake #24 : Pane Siciliano (Sicilian Sesame Seeded Semolina Bread)
(Adapted from Ciao Italia - )

For the Cresciuta (Biga/ Pate Fermentee):
 Lukewarm water .... 1/4 cup
Active dry yeast ..... 1/4 tsp
All-purpose flour .... 1/4 cup

For the Dough:
Active dry yeast ..... 1/2 tsp
Lukewarm water (110° to 115°F) ... 1 cup
 Honey ..... 2 tsp
All the prepared Cresciuta
Fine durum semolina flour ... 2 to 2 and 1/2 cups
Vital wheat gluten ... 1/2 tsp ( I skipped it )
Salt ... 1 tsp
Olive oil ... 1 tbsp

A little water for brushing on the bread
Sesame seeds ... 1/8 cup


First make the Cresciuta. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a small bowl and stand it aside for about 10 minutes till it is frothy. Stir in the flour with a fork and loosely cover the bowl. This mixture should be a little wet/ stringy. Leave it in a slightly warm place for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

The next morning, , Dissolve the yeast in the warm water mixed with the honey. Let it stand for 10 minutes till it is frothy.

Add the cresciuta and mix well.

Mix together 2 cups of the semolina, gluten and salt and add it to the bowl with the olive oil. Mix well and then add as much more semolina as is necessary until you have a smooth ball of dough

Add additional flour a little at a time and blend well

Now you have a soft and smooth ball of dough that is just short of sticky.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn it to coat well, then loosely cover and let the dough rise.

This should take about 1 1/2 hours. Now the dough is risen to double its quantity.

Deflate the dough, and knead it lightly.

 Roll it out into a “rope” that is about 30” long.

 Place baking parchment on your baking tray, grease it lightly, and then gently lift up the rope of dough and place it on the baking tray. Curl the dough back and forth on itself leaving a 6 or 7 inch tail. Fold the tail over the shaped loaf. Do not tuck it under the loaf.

Loosely cover and let the shaped dough rise for 2 hours till almost double in size. Lightly brush the top of the dough with water and then sprinkle the sesame seeds over this pressing them in lightly with your fingers.

Pre-heat your oven to 190C (375F) with an baking tray placed upside down in it. Place your baking tray with the dough on the hot tray and bake for about 30 minutes until the bread is brown and done, and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Cool on a rack completely before slicing.
This recipe makes one small to medium sized loaf .

This video of Mary Ann Esposito making the Pane Siciliano with Peter Reinhart is quite helpful -

Linking this to :
My Diverse Kitchen - We Knead To Bake #24 : Pane Siciliano (Sicilian Sesame Seeded Semolina Bread)

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop: February last week @ Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

BUTTER GARLIC PRAWNS ( Valentine's Day Special )

This is a simple and delicious snack and takes hardly any time to prepare it. Since I made it for Valentine's Day I put the prawns in satay sticks in the shape of a heart. You may serve them on a platter too.

Prawns ... 250 gms
Garlic.... 1 tbsp (crushed)
Lemon juice .. 1 tbsp
Kesari / orange colour .. a pinch
Red chilli powder .. 1/4 tsp
Salt ..... to taste
Butter .... 1 tbsp


1. Peel and clean the prawns leaving the tails intact. Marinate them with all the ingredients mentioned except butter.

2. Heat the skillet and add the butter. As it starts melting tip in the prawns. Saute them turning a few times until the colour changes and they are done. (5-7 minutes)

Serve hot.

Friday, February 13, 2015

PANEER CUTLETS (Valentine Day Special )

Made some paneer cutlets for the Valentine Day. Very easy to make and they tasted delicious

Paneer ... 1 cup (crumbled)
Potatoes ... 2 medium
Bread crumbs ... 2 tbsps
Anardana powder .. 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder ..... 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala .... 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder .. 1/4 tsp (you may use green chillies too )
Salt ...... to taste
Coriander leaves .. 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
Oil ... to fry

For dipping:
Corn Starch ... 1 tbsp
APF / Maida .. 1 tsp
Salt .... a pinch
Make a thin batter with all these ingredients adding sufficient water. This helps in giving a crispy texture and the cutlets will not break when you fry them.

1. Boil the potatoes. Peel and mash them.
2. Crumble the paneer well.
3. Mix all the ingredients in the first list except oil.
4. Make heart shaped cutlets using a cutter.
5. Sprinkle some bread crumbs over them.
6. Heat the oil in a pan. Dip each cutlet in the thin batter that you prepared and fry them until crisp.
Serve them hot with any sauce or chutney of your choice.

Linking to Nayna's Event - Let's Cook valentine Special Dishes