Wednesday, October 20, 2010

COOKING is FUN...!!!

For someone who has spent many hours of life, thinking about food, seeking out as many different flavors as I could possibly fit into my waking hours. It fills my life with delightfully yummy memories.
As all foodies know, food is the last frontier. We may not all be able to go out and discover a mountain, track a river, or journey into space, but we can all embark on a journey to uncover new flavors and textures, open doors or should I say open mouth to new worlds and new ideas and new cuisines and introduce peoples and cultures.
We can get back some of the wonder and joy that are the natural companions of a child trying things for the very first time.
You know something guys, on learning how the rest of the world eats, we learn how it lives.
I think we owe it to ourselves to make sure it isn't all about chips and burgers and sodas and colas… its far more than that… and if nothing else, then we owe it to our taste buds.

It's a simple funda for me, if we are indeed the sum total of what we
eat, then eating a wide variety of foods makes us more interesting,
while a receptive, monotonous diet results in us being a bit boring
and the yawny kinda Mr.Simpson!!!

So, what I wanna promise you all here is, that I am gonna offer you thousands of world recipes … A RECIPE FOR EACH DAY!
Exciting! isn't it! And, I wanna stop you from being the same old
boring, fat, couch potato simpson gorging on chips, pakodas, colas or
pav-bhaji!!!
A celebration doesnot equal to a cola and pav-bhaji……. please guys,
change the concept……
Let's explore, let's dive into the world of food…………………………
and I promise you that next time onwards your thali will be filled with world cusine!!!

So, Cheers and Happy Cooking!!!
Amrutha Langs

BAKING

When we talk about baking, what comes to mind is cakes! & then the
likes of pastries, puffs, breads and so on…
Baking is not just about cakes and cookies, and it's a wide range of
yummy treats, both sweet and savoury...
But when it comes to baking at home, most of us are scared to try out
the technique of baking. Though not difficult, one needs to be precise
in measurements, the right utensil, the right ingredients, the right
oven… everything counts and is important when it comes to baking.
Cooking is not scray because you can keep peeping into it, as and when
required, whereas, baking is in the oven… where once a thing is gone,
it's gone, and then all one can say is "ab sab bhagwan ke haat me
hain" …
hahaha
Don't let this situation happen!!! ever!!! believe me, its not just
"bhagwan ke haath me…" it is in "your own hands"… as I mentioned
earlier, just the right amount of everything, is what you need…. and
Voila, c'est prĂȘt!
Here are some tips which will come handy to you when you are baking something…
and do you know something – BAKING – is an art if mastered – can
create miracles! People will keep wondering how the cake or the
brownie you made is so deliciously yummy or how the bread you baked is
fluffy and the smell in the kitchen at the time of baking ….
hmmmmmmmmm … believe me! it's divine!!!

Firstly getting an oven… Well, in India, you have some great brands
today, but don't just go by the brand look out for the product as
well… any OTG should bake a decent cake.
Well, baking a cake or trying out baking in microwave is a bit of a
"no-no" if you ask me… as microwave won't give you the right amount of
browning or the crisp or hard factor may at times lack. So better,
bake in OTG ovens.
Next, having a good set of ovenable vessels like the cake tin, muffin
tray, bread tray, etc…
Don't forget to get a nice big glass or porcelain bowls – always
remember when you sift the flour, you need to create air in the
dough/batter, while baking, then the desired product will be attained…
Having a nice whisk, a hand blender/whisk (electronic) will help in
beating the eggs and the batter.
A wooden and a plastic spoon / spatula is a must.
A brush to butter the tins, or may be croissants before baking.
Once you are ready with the oven and these basic utensils … always
follow a few rules while baking –
Always sift flour, salt, baking soda, soda-b-carb, powdered sugar
before using it.
Act quick after adding baking soda / soda-bi-carb.
Do not waste any further time, be quick and put in the oven, as it
starts reacting with the other ingredients immediately.
Always use big bowls to beat eggs / to mix the dough / batter, again
this helps in creating air.
Pay attention to the temperature mentioned for the respective recipes,
like for e.g. bread needs warm and cozy temperatures once the dough is
kneeded, whereas the pastry sheets need to be chilled after rolling
out the dough into sheets.
Maintaining respective temperature helps a lot.
Always remember to preheat the oven before using it, generally the
Indian OTGs have a preheating time of 10mins at 250 degrees C (it may
vary, do check with your oven before setting time and temperature)
While putting on racks in the oven- always remember use central or top
rack (shelf) for baking… centre rack gives ochre – brown color whereas
the top rack will give you the browning!
Once the baked item is done and out of the oven, place it over the
cooling rack (which is provided with the oven) and first try putting a
skewer in your product(cake/bread - but don't poke a skewer in a puff
pastry ... )
and see if it comes out clean, if it does, it means its cooked, now,
let it cool a bit (for about 5-10 mins) and then cut the baked
product.
If you wanna decorate your cake with icing then let your cake cool
completely then start the decorations.
If you have made biscuits or cookies, once cooled store immediately in
air-tight containers.
Once you can master a set of weighing scales, and keep in mind these
tips, then you have all the skills you need to bake... so get that
pinny on and start baking!
Hope these tips will help you all in baking, and hope the next time
you bake, you will not say… "yeh bhagwan ke haath me hain" …
remember: "its in your hands…"
treat it as a life plan……....

Happy Baking!!!
Amrutha Langs