Cupcakes are everyone’s favourite and the best part is that they are bite sized (to make us less guilty). Cupcakes are every where! There are dedicated stores only doing cupcakes and you even have cupcake vending machines in America. Have you seen the cupcake wars on television? Originally these cakes where baked in small cups, hence the name cup cake.
If you have been reading my blog you will notice that the use of refined flour is very minimal. I use a lot of wheat flour in my baking and sometimes use ragi or amaranth flour to make brownies or chocolate cake. I use unrefined and sulphurless raw sugar or coconut sugar in my baking. I also keep a jar of vanilla sugar which comes handy every time I bake. Vanilla sugar can be made by adding few pods of vanilla into your jar of sugar. I always tend to forget to add vanilla in my baking but luckily the vanilla sugar always comes to my rescue.
These chocolate cupcakes are eggless and I’ve made them twice already before penning down the recipe here. These are very soft in texture. They seem so easy and seamless to make that your family or friends may not even know if you have added oat flour.
- Measure and mix all the dry ingredients like flour, soda, salt, cocoa powder, vanilla, sugar in a bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to this dry mixture and mix well.
- Pour the cake mixture in the cupcake molds and bake at 160 degree centigrade for about 15-18 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack once done. Makes 24 nos. You could also frost your cupcakes with some chocolate ganache.
The sun plays hide and seek in the absence of rains, reminds me of Bangalore winter more than the monsoon. An evening cup of tea or coffee to enjoy the perfect weather beckons an evening treat! Apple cake is a versatile teacake or a coffeecake like the banana bread. Throw in any ingredient you like and it won’t disappoint you. You can add grated, cut or sliced apples, mixed with flour or placed at top or bottom (for caramelized apple) of the pan. I think I will leave it to your creative senses. I prefer to make my tea cakes simple and the idea of glazing it sounds divine!
You can glaze your apple cake with a simple mixture of coconut sugar, milk or water and a hint of cinnamon or glaze it with some cinnamon spiked cream cheese or cream or some caramel sauce. Oh my! I can go on and on….
This cake is simple to make and calls for only basic ingredients easily available at home. Wheat flour gives this cake a nice nutty and rustic taste. I’ve only used cinnamon and ginger powder to spice up the cake. Coconut sugar gives a nice colour and taste to this cake.
25o gms wheat flour
3 medium sized apples, grated without skin
150 ml olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp rock salt
* You can add more sugar if you like. I was going to glaze my cake hence I used less sugar.
- Measure and mix all the dry ingredients. Keep aside.
- Measure and mix oil with sugar.
- Add egg one at a time to the sugar and oil mixture. Beat lightly until well incorporated.
- Mix the dry and the wet ingredients slowly until well combined.
- Pour it in the desired greased dish.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven, set at 180 degree centigrade for about 30-40 minutes or depending on your oven settings.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with your favourite glaze or topping.
This post has been long over due and I cannot express how much I’ve been pushing myself to write this post. Settling down in a new home and office at the same time can be very exhausting. I’m slowly getting my life back to normal and enjoying meeting new people and learning something new every day.
I happen to know about Martha’s preserves through a friend of mine and was curious to meet the face behind such lovely products. Every product which comes out is dear to every entrepreneur and setting up a business coming from foreign land is not an easy task. Meet Martha Kohlhagen. She makes awesome marmalade and sauces which gives you a taste of a true artisan product sans preservatives.
Martha’s Preserves operates from a 20 acre farm at Bannerghatta. Martha stays and works from her farm. They are a team of 10 dedicated individuals dishing out 10 plus yummy products like pomegranate and orange marmalade, lemon curd, caramel sauce, chocolate fudge, onion relish etc. Martha has a background in food technology and uses her grandmother’s recipe to make these delicious products. She does keep the Indian taste in mind and has created products like chilli pineapple jam. Martha aims to produce quality products without comprising on taste. She says that it takes a lot of care and planning to sort fruits and make seasonal products. Martha plans to increase her reach to other cities too.
What really impressed me about Martha’s preserves is that they not only make unique combinations but also have sauces like caramel sauce, chocolate fudge sauce on offer that make life simple. Some ice-cream and a combo of these two sauces makes for a stellar dessert. However, for those who like a little more salt in their caramel sauce can add some sprinkles of sea salt to round up on the flavours. Martha’s Preserves are a Gourmet range, hence be prepared to shell an extra buck for these artisan products but trust me when I say they are worth it!
Since the time I’ve moved back to Bangalore, I’ve been enjoying avocados. My mom’s neighbouring garden produces some of the best and creamiest avocados that I’ve ever had. Long live thy neighbour! Avocado mousse is so easy to make and can be made guilt-free. The natural creamy texture of the avocado makes all the difference and you won’t miss any cream in your dessert. If you don’t have Martha’s chocolate fudge at home, you could use cocoa powder or dark couverture chocolate (melted). You can also spike your dessert with a teaspoon of brandy! This dessert allows you to play with ingredients and feel free to experiment by adding rolled oats, cashew butter or hazelnut with different flavours or textures.
Ingredients for avocado & chocolate fudge mousse
1 big size avocado, scooped into a bowl
2 tbs of Martha’s chocolate fudge sauce
1/2 tbs maple syrup or honey
1/2 tbs coffee decoction
nuts or cocao nibs for garnish
- Add all the ingredients in a mixer except garnish and make a fine paste.
- Pour the mousse into the desired serving glasses or bowls. Garnish with some nuts and cocao nibs. Refrigerate for minimum of two hours before serving.
- Serve chilled. Serves 2-4.
Note: I layered my serving glasses with some caramel sauce at the bottom to give my dessert a surprise element.
Martha’s Preserves is available at Foodhall.
I’ve been addictive to these blondies and everyone at home just love it! These are made with real nuts and addition of choco chips makes these an heavenly treat.
Baking with nut butters negates the use of butter since nut butters contain their own fat/oil. You can use any nut butter as the main ingredient and these can be made vegan or gluten free or flour-less. Blondies are like brownies but contain less of cocoa or chocolate. As the name suggests, they are brown in colour. They are great as a snack or you could have them as dessert with some ice-cream.
500 gms nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter
2 eggs or 30 gms flax seed powder lightly beaten with 6 tbs of water for egg-less version
1 tsp baking soda
120 gms raw sugar
25 gms choco chips
20 gms nuts or cocao nibs
Note: I usually prefer to add some crunch to my blondies by adding cocao nibs or nuts
- Measure all the ingredients and keep aside.
- Lightly beat two eggs in a bowl.
- Mix the nut butter, raw sugar, soda , choco chips and nuts into the wet mixture very softly.
- Line 10×10 inch baking dish/pan with aluminium foil or parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly throughout.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree centigrade for about 18-20 minutes.
- Once done, allow it to cool before cutting them into desired shapes. Serve warm or at room temperature. This recipe makes about 25 pieces.
An invite to an organic chocolate tasting and a 1 hour drive led me to a quaint cafe at Indiranagar where the tasting was held. A nice breezy evening and conversation over some tea and chocolate made me forget all about the horrid Bangalore traffic. We were all seated in a room and watched David and Angelika educate us about their passion - Earth Loaf.
Earth loaf makes artisan raw chocolate and tea infusions. I was surprised to sip on a glass of pure raw cacao beans infused in hot water that tasted good to my liking. David explained that it is a good energizer and a perfect post lunch drink. Earth loaf also has a blend with Assam tea leaf and cacao beans. David and Angelika come from the background of cocktail mixing. Their true calling for raw organic food lead them to experiment with chocolates. Earth loaf is based out of Mysore and currently David is busy training two women who come to work with him from a nearby Village. It took about two years to source and make their own machinery to produce the finest quality of handmade chocolate, right from scratch. David believes that chocolate is addictive due to its sugar content and he wants his customers to experience the opposite in his product. He believes that by adding minimum amount of coconut sugar, he is giving a pure taste of cacao rather than a sugar overload. David believes that it is more sustainable to go local (Indian) rather than sourcing it from abroad even though he may be tempted to. The raw materials are all procured from South and the ingredients used are minimum.
After all this talk about raw chocolate and cacao beans, many of you must be wondering that what is cacao beans….
Cacao beans are a source of all things chocolate. Cacao beans contain phenylethylamine (PEA), an antidepressant that stimulates the body’s adrenaline and dopamine levels for a dose of happy feelings. So now you know the reason why chocolate makes us happy ;)
Cacao beans may look like an almond and comes with a thin skin covering. This skin can be removed by hand or soaked in warm water to discard the skin. Large processing house use machine to remove the skin covering, David built his own machinery to remove the skin. These beans are then crushed and are called cacao nibs, which is used as a garnish or are processed into making chocolates. Cacao beans is particularly found to be very healthy for its flavonoid content. The darker the chocolate the better flavonoid content is has, which helps to prevent diseases Cancer and Alzheimer.
How is earth loaf chocolate different from the conventional dark chocolate?
Earth loaf chocolate is made with minimum ingredients and doesn’t contain any milk solids. This chocolate is made from pure raw cacao and is also vegan. Most of the conventional chocolates are so highly processed that they tend to lose their nutrients and antioxidants. More on raw chocolate and coconut sugar.
David says that he is trying to set a trend as it is one of its kind in India. I liked the idea of tasting raw cacao and coconut sugar in my chocolate. Right now, I’m enjoying my chocolate with a glass of wine :)
Diabetics has been on a rise and it is essential that we start looking at what we eat in a more organized manner. Today’s lifestyle demands us to focus on our health and take pre-cautionary measures before its too late. I had spoken about GI with regards to natural sugars before and now I will be talking about it more in detail . GI is a term most often used by nutritionist but in today’s date and it has become important for a layman like us to understand the importance of it. Following a low GI diet for a healthy living will help you keep your glucose level in check.
Glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how quickly sugars from food enter your blood as glucose. High GI results in high levels of blood glucose and low GI results in slower absorption of glucose with fewer changes in blood glucose levels. The GI ranking is from 1-100.
Apart from regular exercise, food plays a vital role in keeping us healthy. Today’s post is about low GI foods that are beyond natural sugars. Everything that we eat contains some amount of sugar in them.
Why do I need a low-GI diet?
A low GI diet ensures that you are a more active person. The lifestyle that we have right now as compared to our ancestors is not the same. Our grandparents may seem active even at the age of 80 but there is no guarantee that the same genes will carry on to us. The reason is very simple – lifestyle and introduction of packaged products to make these products last long has become a part of our daily diet. The carbohydrates that our ancestors ate were to basic beans and rice which made it easier from farm to plate due to the lack of refrigeration or processes packaged products. As a result, most of the food that we eat like pizza, burgers, cakes contains the sorts of carbohydrates that break down quickly and release their sugars rapidly into the bloodstream. However, consuming low GI foods will help us keep fit and active.
Risk of consuming high-GI foods
- Weight gain – high GI foods will make you hungry and more likely that you will want to eat again. It also causes blood sugar levels to rapidly rise and fall, which in turn results in craving for sugary and fatty foods. In both cases insulin’s main role is to promote fat storage, which means that the more insulin you have in your body, you are storing excess calories in your body.
- Food cravings and lethargy
- Lack of concentration
- Heart disease
A low GI diet can help
- Obtain a high fibre diet by consuming rolled oats, leafy vegetables, fruits.
- It is naturally more filling and makes you feel full for a longer period of time. Consuming nut butters like peanut butter or cashew butter keeps you full for long.
- Vegetables and fruits are rich source of nutrients and can help fight diseases.
- Higher in essential vitamins,minerals and antioxidants will help your immune system stay strong and healthy.
How to follow a simple low GI diet?
A low GI diet is not that difficult to follow. In India, it is much easier to achieve this as we cook our own food (most of the time).
- Eat different types of fruits and vegetables about 6-7 servings per day as per your liking. Although, some fruits and vegetables may contain high GI, in relaity when eaten in normal quantities they contain small amount of carbohydrate that they have little or no measurable effect on blood sugar levels.
- Eating whole grain foods and cereals with low GI like whole wheat or ragi breads or cookies
- Unpolished rice pulses or lentils
- Nuts and seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids. If you think that nut butters are fatty, think again.
- Eating fish or seafood 2-3 times a week is a good source of omega 3.
- Eating lean meat or chicken, minus the fat and following healthy cooking styles like grilling or barbecuing is best way to enjoy meat and control your GI.
- Snack on low GI foods like fruits, ragi/millet chips or crackers, coconut sugar biscuits or low fat yogurt.
- Replace sugary, packaged drinks with fresh fruit juices or tender coconut water
Following simple steps and taking tab of what you eat can help you a long way. GI-diet is not a fad but a scientifically proven theory. Taking smaller steps and planning your meal by swamping basmati rice with millets or white bread with whole wheat bread will help. Pasta also has a low GI if made from wheat and also depends on the shape, thicker the pasta, lower the GI. Al-dente is the best way to eat pasta and maintains its low GI. The longer you cook the higher the GI it has.
|GI and GL for Common Foods|
|Food||GI||Serving Size||Net Carbs||GL|
|Peanuts||14||4 oz (113g)||15||2|
|Bean sprouts||25||1 cup (104g)||4||1|
|Grapefruit||25||1/2 large (166g)||11||3|
|Pizza||30||2 slices (260g)||42||13|
|Lowfat yogurt||33||1 cup (245g)||47||16|
|Apples||38||1 medium (138g)||16||6|
|Spaghetti||42||1 cup (140g)||38||16|
|Carrots||47||1 large (72g)||5||2|
|Oranges||48||1 medium (131g)||12||6|
|Bananas||52||1 large (136g)||27||14|
|Potato chips||54||4 oz (114g)||55||30|
|Snickers Bar||55||1 bar (113g)||64||35|
|Brown rice||55||1 cup (195g)||42||23|
|Honey||55||1 tbsp (21g)||17||9|
|Oatmeal||58||1 cup (234g)||21||12|
|Ice cream||61||1 cup (72g)||16||10|
|Macaroni and cheese||64||1 serving (166g)||47||30|
|Raisins||64||1 small box (43g)||32||20|
|White rice||64||1 cup (186g)||52||33|
|Sugar (sucrose)||68||1 tbsp (12g)||12||8|
|White bread||70||1 slice (30g)||14||10|
|Watermelon||72||1 cup (154g)||11||8|
|Popcorn||72||2 cups (16g)||10||7|
|Baked potato||85||1 medium (173g)||33||28|
The table shows values of the Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) for a few common foods. GI’s of 55 or below are considered low, and 70 or above are considered high. GL’s of 10 or below are considered low, and 20 or above are considered high
GI ratings for some of the popular foods.
Disclaimer: the above research has been done some through personal experimentation and online research. If you are diabetic, I suggest you consult your doctor for low GI diet.
Spicy peanut butter is the new addition to i2cook family of organic products. After all the hoopla over the peanut butter, at i2cook we introduced something more suitable for the Indian palate. The idea of creating a spicy version of peanut butter was to make it more versatile as a condiment which can be used in both Indian and Western cooking. The best part about this product is that it is made with no added oil. The combination of peanuts and spice is something we Indians have brought up with and you can’t go wrong with the combination right!
Spicy peanut butter can be used to make Thai dishes like Thai peanut dip, pad Thai or chicken satay. It is also great with khakara (Indian crackers) or you could also make peanut chutney by grinding it with some coconut. Since, it is in the wet form, you don’t have to add extra ghee or oil to moisten. You could eat it directly with your dosa, idli or chapathi. It is also great as a spread to make rolls of your desired filling. Needless to say that our spicy peanut butter is also great as a spread for sandwiches.
A note on peanuts: The peanuts are sourced from an organization which believes in organic farming and practises multi-cropping and crop rotation to preserve soil fertility. Since there is absolute no use of pesticides, the farmers use neem and cow urine to keep the pests at bay.
Recipe for Thai peanut dip
10ogms of spicy peanut butter
1tbs of soy sauce
1tsp of coconut or palm sugar
Mix all the ingredients together and add some water for a thinner consistency. Serve at room temperature with spring rolls. You could also use this as a dip to serve with some sliced cucumbers and carrots.