Almond Flour Banana Cake(Gluten-free) with Chocolate Ganache

If you have some overripe bananas and you’re wondering what you can make with them, this recipe is easy, healthy, and tastes amazing.

I’m sure everyone has a repertoire of banana recipes to make – banana muffins, pancakes, ice-cream, etc. However, you might want to add this recipe to it too. It’s light and moist, no added oil plus the chocolate ganache takes it to the next level!! To be honest, the cake is not sweet enough for me but the chocolate ganache makes up for it. It’s velvety and chocolatey – absolutely yummy. Bananas and chocolate are a great flavour combination.

I used jaggery because I think bananas and jaggery go so well together. I chose to make a syrup with the jaggery and incorporated that into the cake batter. You can use a food processor, blender or stand mixer to make this cake. The chocolate ganache is also very easy to make. I chose milk chocolate as it’s my favourite but if you want something more healthy, you can use dark chocolate. I used fresh cream for the ganache but you can also use almond milk or even some espresso to make it more interesting.

Try mixing nuts or chocolate chips into the batter or swap the ganache for any other frosting that you like. This recipe is so versatile. You can even turn them into cupcakes. Do let me know if you make this cake.

PREP:  15-20 minutes  COOK TIME:  35 minutes 

Ingredients

3 medium ripe bananas

3 eggs

3 tbsp jaggery

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

21/2 cups blanched almond flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 tsp baking soda 

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

For the Chocolate Ganache

11/2 cups milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup cream

Instructions

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Mix the jaggery with a tablespoon of water and heat gently until it is completely melted. Strain and set aside.

Combine the bananas, eggs, jaggery syrup and both the extracts in a food processor or a stand mixer. You can also use a hand mixer. Blend until the mixture is really smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl – the almond and tapioca flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Blend the mixture until the ingredients are combined – do not overmix. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 35 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake – it’s best to set a timer. Cool completely before adding the ganache.

Melt the chocolate chips and the cream together in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. The bowl should not touch the water. When the chocolate is completely melted, take it off the heat and cool for a few minutes. Pour it over the cake and smooth it out using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Refrigerate until the ganache is set. Slice the cake into 12-16 squares. Enjoy.

 

Strawberry Savarin

Strawberries are just divine. They burst with flavour when you pop them into your mouth. I can’t think of anything better than strawberries and cream on a hot summer day. It’s my favourite dessert. These berries are organic and they taste so much better and more natural than the hybrid variety. I’m sad that we don’t get them throughout the year.

I have made this Savarin several times. A Savarin is actually a brioche dough baked in the shape of a ring. It’s where bread meets cake! I once made the recipe from the queen of cakes – Rose Levy Beranbaum. It took two days but the result was superb. She recommends resting the dough overnight in the fridge and does not use instant yeast. I have used instant yeast for this recipe, which is quite easy. Don’t worry if the dough is wet. It all turns out perfectly in the end, I promise you. It’s quite simple to make and the syrup has to be poured on the savarin and left aside for a few hours. The best way to do this is to unmould it first and put it back in the mould after some time. I made some holes in the cake bread and then poured the sugar syrup over it.

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I used rosewater to flavour the syrup and the cream. It was a refreshing change from the usual rum or vanilla. Rosewater and strawberries turned out to be a lovely flavour combination. You can also fill the savarin with Chantilly cream and serve the berries on the side. Either way, it’s just delicious. If you want to make something special, then this savarin will be perfect. As you can see in the photo below, the texture of the Savarin is great.

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 4050 minutes TOTAL TIME: 2 hours

Ingredients

135 gms plain flour

3/4 ozs instant yeast

15 gms caster sugar

2 eggs

3 ozs warm milk

40 gms butter

Pinch of salt

Syrup

120 gms sugar

1/2 cup water

1-2 tbsp rosewater

Crème Chantilly

Instructions

Grease a 7 inch Savarin pan.

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar, beaten eggs and yeast to the warm milk and mix well. Tip the mixture into the centre of the flour and beat for about 5 minutes. A stand mixer is a good option, but if you don’t have one, then just beat well with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave to prove in a warm place until it doubles in size – around 40-50 minutes. Cream the butter and salt and beat it into the yeast mixture with the remaining sugar. Beat for about 5 minutes and pour the batter into the prepared pan and prove until the mixture reaches the top of the pan – around 15-20 minutes. Preheat the oven at this point to 200C, while the dough is proving. Bake for 20-30 minutes until well browned.

While the Savarin is baking, prepare the syrup. Dissolve the sugar in the water and boil steadily for 5 minutes. Flavour with the rosewater and set aside.

Loosen the savarin from the pan and turn it out carefully on to a wire rack. When it is still warm, put it back into the pan and make small holes with a toothpick. Baste the savarin with the syrup until the cake is completely soaked through. Leave it in the pan for 4-5 hours or overnight and turn it out carefully on to a serving plate. Fill the centre with the strawberries and serve with Chantilly crème.

Jackfruit Seeds Hummus

The internet is buzzing about the benefits of jackfruit. Did you know that the seeds are also highly beneficial to health. I have grown up on jackfruit seeds curry. It tastes delicious – a lot like chestnuts actually. Many health experts feel that these seeds should be a part of our daily diet. They contain zinc, vitamins, and fibre, which builds for stronger immunity. They can be roasted and eaten as a snack too.

Since we are in the middle of a pandemic, a healthy immune system is a must. This is the perfect time for you to experiment with these magical seeds.

This hummus is delicious with pita bread, tortilla chips, veggies, crackers, etc. You have to peel the seeds after boiling them and then blend with the other ingredients. I hope you will give it a try. This makes about a cup of hummus.

PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup jackfruit seeds

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tsp lemon juice

3 tsp tahini

Pink salt/Kosher salt

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus extra for garnishing

Sumac for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Wash the jackfruit seeds well. Cover with enough water in a small pan and boil until the seeds are cooked through. Drain and cool. Peel the seeds by removing the outer skin.

Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until the mixture is smooth and creamy, using a little iced water to achieve the consistency that you desire. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with the remaining olive oil and sumac powder.

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower

Hello everyone. I’m not able to post as often as I wish because of some health issues. I do miss it though.

I love Sticky Cauliflower but the original recipe has a lot of oil. This one requires less oil and the cauliflower is baked without compromising on the flavour. I used a mixture of breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs and they tasted great. The soda gives the batter a very light texture. It’s not very time consuming either. You can prepare the sauce while the florets are baking. I reserved some of the sauce and spooned it over the steamed vegetables while serving.

I used broccoli and carrots to garnish but you can use whatever vegetables you have. A healthy alternative and one that the whole family will enjoy. Do give it a try.

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PREP: 40 minutes COOK TIME: 25-30 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients

For the crumb mixture:

1 cup dry breadcrumbs

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 tbsp flour

1 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp pepper powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp salt

For the batter:

1 cup flour

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp fennel powder

!/2 tsp red chilli powder

1 bottle soda/sparkling water

Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce

1/4 cup vegetarian oyster sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp sriracha sauce

2 tsp vinegar

1 large cauliflower, broken into florets

3 tbsp olive oil

Thinly sliced green onions, grated orange zest and lightly toasted sesame seeds

Steamed broccoli and carrots

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all the ingredients for the crumb mixture and mix well. Set aside.

Combine all the ingredients for the batter. Use just enough soda to obtain a thick batter for dipping the florets. It should coat the florets but should not be too thick or too thin. Dip the cauliflower in the batter and then in the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat for all the florets and place them on the baking sheet. Drizzle some olive oil over them and toss to coat. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown. Turn the florets midway if necessary.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small pan and cook over low heat until just warmed, about 5 minutes. Transfer the florets to a large bowl and spoon about three-fourths of the sauce over them. Toss gently to coat them well.

Serve the florets on a large platter with the steamed vegetables of your choice. Sprinkle the orange zest, green onions and sesame seeds on top.

Easy-Mix Fruit Cake

Every now and then, I get this yearning for fruit cake. There’s nothing like a slice of cake to keep your troubles at bay!  This quick and easy mix recipe is super easy and oh, so delicious! It’s perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.

I used up some mincemeat that I had made in 2019. It was still so good and smelt fabulous with all the rum in it. For those of you who don’t eat eggs or have an egg allergy, you could substitute flax eggs instead. Flax eggs result in a “gluey” substance similar to egg whites. There are many recipes for flax eggs online.

One of the main ingredients in this recipe is condensed milk. That’s another thing I just love. It always comes in handy to have it, especially when you run out of milk. Or having a spoonful of it – now that’s something we are all guilty of!

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Each oven is different and my cake was done in 11/2 hours. So, be careful and check the cake after one hour.

I had some of this cake left over and I stored it at room temperature in an air-tight container for about two weeks and it was as fresh as the day I made it. That’s saying something in the heat and humidity of Chennai.

PREP: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 2 hours

Ingredients

4 cups mixed dried fruit

1/2 cup water

1 cup self-raising flour

1 egg

400 gms sweetened condensed milk

Instructions

Line the base and sides of an 8 inch round cake tin with 3 layers of parchment, making sure that the paper is 2 inches above the edge of the tin.

Preheat the oven to 160C.

Place the fruit and water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute uncovered. Remove from heat and cover. Cool to room temperature.

Stir the remaining ingredients into the fruit mixture and spoon it into the prepared pan. Bake in the oven for about 2 hours. Cover the cake lightly with foil and cool in the pan.

Spinach and Mushroom Roulade

Hello everyone. I was on a short vacation and it was such a relief to be away from the heat and humidity in Chennai. However, I’m back home and here’s my first post.

Eggs are the star in this recipe. Did you know that eggs have been used in the kitchen since Greek and Roman times? Early Egyptians, Persians, Romans and Greeks considered eggs to be a symbol of the universe and continuing life and represented the sun of spring. Though I missed posting for Easter, it is spring now and it’s always wonderful to cook with this classic ingredient.

This delicious roulade is perfect for breakfast and brunch. It’s crisp on the outside as it is baked twice. The air is trapped inside and so it rises again on the second baking. It is fluffy and moist on the inside. 

This is actually a swiss roll soufflé. It is easy to make and the filling is flavorful and tastes really yummy. You can use any ingredients that you have in your pantry for the filling and whatever cheese you have as well. I used Parmesan and Mozzarella but Cheddar also works well. Goat’s cheese is also a tasty alternative.

PREP: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 30 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

11/4 cups milk

1/2 cup flour

2/3 cup butter

100 gms Parmesan cheese

4 eggs, separated

21/4 cups fresh button mushrooms, sliced

275 gms spinach leaves, chopped roughly

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp green chillis, chopped finely

1 tsp garlic powder

3 tbsp creme fraiche

100 gms Mozzarella cheese

Salt and ground black pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a swiss roll tin with parchment, making sure that the edges rise above the sides of the pan.

Place the milk, flour and 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan and bring it to boil over low heat. whisking continuously until thick and creamy. Simmer for about 2 minutes and then mix in the Parmesan and half of the mozzarella. Cool for 5 minutes and then beat in the egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk the egg whites in a glass bowl until soft peaks form. Fold the whites into the cheese mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, level gently and bake for 15 minutes until the top feels just firm. Remove from the oven and cool for about 10 minutes.

Dust a sheet of parchment with some of the remaining mozzarella cheese and carefully invert the roulade onto the paper. Remove the lining from the base and carefully roll it up in the paper and set aside to cool completely.

To make the filling, melt the rest of the butter in a pan and reserve about 2 tablespoons. Add the cumin seeds and then the green chillis and garlic powder. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Cook the spinach in a separate pan until it wilts and then add it to the mushrooms. Be careful not to cook the mushrooms or the spinach too much. Stir in the crème fraiche. Season and cool. Preheat the oven to 190C.

Unroll the roulade and spread the filling. Roll it up again and place it on a baking sheet. Brush with the reserved butter and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower and Broccoli Crust Pizza

Since both Broccoli and cauliflower have the same origin, I decided to combine them in this delicious and healthy crust for pizza. You can have pizza everyday if you make it this way. It’s really simple. 

The health benefits of cauliflower and broccoli need no introduction. I used a small quantity of low fat mozzarella cheese mixed with the base and on top. Just shape the dough, top it with tomato sauce and your favourite toppings. 

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The base will not be as firm as regular pizza dough but it’s delicious. 

This recipe makes about 6-8 slices of pizza.

PREP:  25 minutes  COOK TIME:  30 minutes

Ingredients

1 medium cauliflower

1 medium broccoli

2 eggs

1/2 cup + 3 tbsp low fat mozzarella cheese, grated

!/2 cup tofu, cubed

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp peanut butter

1 tsp red chilli flakes

5 tbsp tomato sauce

1 small onion, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Prepare a baking tray by lining it with parchment. Preheat the oven to 200 C.

Combine the soy sauce and peanut butter. Add the tofu and mix well. Set aside.

Remove the stalks from the cauliflower and broccoli. Reserve them for something else like soup. Steam the florets until they are tender. Blitz them in a food processor and strain through a cloth. Make sure that all the water has been removed. 

Break the eggs into a bowl. Add the salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Beat well and add the cauliflower mixture to it. Add 1/2 cup of the grated cheese and mix well. Turn out on to the baking tray and shape into a round or square with the help of a silicone spatula and the back of a spoon. Make sure that the edges are slightly higher. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon the tomato sauce on the base and spread it out. Add the onions, tofu cubes and any other toppings that you like. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.

 

 

 

 

Caramelized Onions and Mushroom Tarte Tatin

I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t love a pie! Pies are not only delicious to eat but it’s also wonderful to cook them for your loved ones. Sweet pies are just heavenly topped with cream or ice cream but the savoury ones are bursting with flavour too. Pies topped with mashed potato or with another layer of shortcrust pastry are just so satisfying. Not to mention tarts, quiches, turnovers, samosas and even pies made from pasta are all rich and comforting.

The tarte Tatin is named after the Tatin sisters who invented it and served it in their hotel as it’s signature dish. When you think of a tarte Tatin, one immediately thinks of the classic apple tart. But they are wonderful with other fruits as well.  I have used a savoury version to highlight the manifold delights of this superb French classic. You can use any vegetable that you want or currently have in your pantry.  I had a lot of mushrooms and decided to use it with caramelized onions. I used fresh button mushrooms and some dried shitake ones as well. The sweetness of the onions combined with the spices was perfect!

To speed things up, I cooked the mushrooms and onions in separate pans at the same time. I served this tart with a simple yoghurt dressing. Just mix Greek yoghurt with some crushed garlic, chopped fresh coriander/mint and a squeeze of lemon juice. 

Puff pastry tastes great in this recipe as opposed to the traditional shortcrust pastry. Readymade puff pastry is very quick and easy. If you have unexpected guests and want to showcase your cooking skills, this dish will definitely do it.

PREP:  30 minutes  COOK TIME:  60 minutes  SERVES:  4-6

Ingredients

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp olive oil

500 g onions, sliced

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp dark brown sugar

400 g button mushrooms

4-5 dried shitake mushrooms

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin powder

Salt to taste

250 g readymade frozen puff pastry

Instructions

Wipe the button mushrooms gently with a clean, damp cloth. Cut them into slices and set aside.

Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl. Heat 2 cups of water to boiling point and pour over the mushrooms. Cover with plastic wrap to stop the heat from escaping. Soak for 20 minutes.

While the mushrooms are soaking, heat a large heavy based frying pan and add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in it. Add the onions and saute for about 20-30 minutes until very soft and translucent. Stir in the salt and pepper and keep stirring for another 5 minutes until the onions are golden and caramelized. Set aside.

Make the mushroom filling separately. Strain the dried mushrooms and preserve the water. It tastes wonderful in soups and even to just cook your rice or vegetables in. Chop the mushrooms. Heat the remaining butter and oil in another frying pan and add the button mushrooms and dried mushrooms. Saute for about 5-10 minutes until they soften and add the red chilli powder, salt and cumin powder. Mix well and cook until they are completely done. Mix the caramelized onions into the mushroom mixture. Cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of about 3 mm. Cut a circle that is slightly bigger than the diameter of the frying pan that you are going to use. Place the onion-mushroom mixture on the frying pan and lay the pastry over it, tucking the edges snugly over the filling, down around the inside of the pan. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes. Carefully invert the tart on to a serving plate or wooden board. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve hot.

Pear and Pistachio Ganache Mille- Feuille

What could be better than making this lovely mille-feuille for a special occasion? Crisp layers of puff pastry with juicy pear and a delicious white chocolate pistachio ganache – It just melts in your mouth!

Readymade puff pastry makes this an easy option. I made the pistachio paste from scratch because it’s not available here. I got the recipe from here https://www.sweetandsavorybyshinee.com/homemade-pistachio-paste/. It was really good. Instead of the usual Creme Patissiere I opted for a white chocolate ganache for the filling and mixed it with the pistachio paste. It blended perfectly with the pears. I used regular baking chocolate and I was happy with the result. You could use Guittard if it’s a special occasion. 

There are many good white chocolate ganache recipes available on the web. It’s also really easy to make either by the stovetop method or by microwave. However, this is the recipe that I used – https://letthebakingbegin.com/white-chocolate-ganache/.

I cut out the pastry heart shapes before baking them. This makes it much easier to handle and assemble. I hope you enjoy making them. This recipe makes around 7-8 mille-feuille pastries.

PREP:   15 minutes  COOK TIME:  30-40 minutes  

Ingredients

250 grams puff pastry

1 large pear, thinly sliced

1 cup white chocolate ganache

5 tbsp pistachio paste

Green food colour (optional)

Icing sugar 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Blend the white chocolate ganache with the pistachio paste and a drop of green food colouring, if using. Transfer this mixture to a piping bag and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. 

Roll the puff pastry to a thickness of about 2mm using a little flour to dust the surface and cut out the heart shapes. Use the remaining pastry in the same way. Prick the pastry with a fork to prevent them from rising. Line a baking tray with parchment and place the heart-shaped pastries on it. Cover it with another piece of parchment and place a baking tray over it. Bake for about 20 minutes rotating the tray halfway to ensure even baking. The pastry should be golden brown in colour. Remove the tray from the oven and transfer the pastries from the parchment on to another tray. Let the pastry cool completely.

To assemble, place some pear slices on top of a pastry and pipe some pistachio ganache on it. Place another pastry on this and repeat the same process. Top with another pastry heart and dust with icing sugar on top. Assemble all the pastries this way. 

 

 

Millet Pancakes with Grilled Pineapple and Date-Tamarind Sauce

Amaranth is a psuedocereal, which simply means that it is a seed which acts like a grain. It has been cultivated for about 8000 years.  It contains all nine essential amino acids and is a protein powerhouse. It contains lunasin, a peptide believed to have anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventive diseases. It has a distinctive peppery taste with a pleasant aroma of grass. 

I combined amaranth flour with powdered oatmeal and coconut flour for these pancakes which are both vegan and gluten-free. It’s an ideal breakfast option and it’s quite filling as well. The grilled pineapple and the date-tamarind sauce paired beautifully with the pancakes. It was sweet, sour and salty, all at the same time! And very delicious.

This sauce is usually made in India to go with chaats, which are savoury snacks or hors d’oeuvre, available all across the country in roadside stalls, food carts, restaurants, etc. It’s a combination of several things blended with different chutneys and spices, sometimes with yogurt and topped with crisp vermicelli called sev and freshly chopped coriander leaves. It’s an amazing explosion of flavours in your mouth. 

You can mix the batter and let it sit overnight in the fridge to speed up the cooking process. Coconut oil exudes a wonderful aroma while cooking and it also complements the pancakes and pineapple. The spices are also quite subtle and you can taste them on your palate. A very simple and comforting dish.

PREP:  20 minutes  COOK TIME:  20 – 30 minutes  SERVES:  4

Ingredients

11/2 cup old fashioned oats, powdered

3/4 cup amaranth flour

3/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp flaxseed meal, mixed with 6 tbsp hot water

2 cups coconut milk/almond milk

Coconut oil

2 tbsp organic brown sugar (optional)

Salt to taste

For the pineapple

1 pineapple, cut into cubes

2-3 tbsp coconut oil

For the Date-Tamarind sauce

250 gms dates, seeded

75 gms tamarind

50 gms jaggery

1/4 tsp black pepper powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cumin powder

Instructions

Prepare the pancake batter by mixing the oatmeal, amaranth flour and coconut flour with all the dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil and the flaxseed mixture and mix well. Add the coconut milk to the flour mixture, adding water if necessary to make a thick batter. Set aside.

Wash the tamarind well and combine it with the dates in a small pan. Add just enough water to cover them. Add all the other ingredients and cook over medium heat until the tamarind and dates are cooked thoroughly. Cool and blend into a paste. Strain and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a pan and add the pineapple pieces. Toss them in the oil, turning them if necessary until they are a golden brown in colour. 

Heat a non-stick pan and add some coconut oil. Pour the batter and spread lightly to make a thick pancake. Cook until the edges start browning and flip them over and cook the other side. Make all the pancakes and serve hot with the grilled pineapple and the date-tamarind sauce.