Friday, September 28, 2012

'Dive in Five' Homemade Pizza

Yippieeeee Yuppieeee Happieeeeee..... all emotions shrilling with exaltation as I bake my First Pizza with the base as well. In India, I guess 60% people who are 'Pizza-buffs' try baking them at home using the bakery-baked Pizza bases. And how can I forget the way we used to freak upon trying all variations and hit-or-miss toppings on that pancake sized chhotu sa Pizza base. Believe it or not, but the best Pizza to me would always be the Sukhadia Circle wala 'Desi Pizza' with no mozarella cheese, rather processed cheese grated on the top with desi tomato gravy to line. Those days were different; the gust of wind waving the hair and dabbing the cheeks as we rode on Kinetic Honda, staring at all dolled up people taking over our bike, and that free-bird feel that filled the blood with Endorphin, the happy hormone. I still remember the posture in which I would spread my arms like feathers, sitting at the back, next to my darling sis, and feeling those fresh vibes and energy passing through during the ride (though this was occasional; especially done when there was no one on the road to watch such freaks!! :P)
Huuuh, so now it's time to come back to the real world, out of my fantasies and dreams, but yeah, I definitely will do that again with my daughter at least once after she starts riding. :)
Now this Pizza thing actually took my brain to all directions, from creativity to copying, and from experiments to experience. I almost used everything when I made this first Pizza of mine. I copied the basic ingredients and procedures from various sites, jeweled it with some creativity, experimented with multi-grain flour in the next go, and used the earlier experiences on baking to see that the experiment doesn't fail, and when you are this organized and focused, nothing in this world can stop you from reaching the goal. The outcome was flabbergasting! :)
As always, my brain cells were struggling hard to find a good name for the recipe, and finally I settled on this 'Dive in Five' Homemade Pizza because the topping had five major ingredients to fill it with taste and glamor. 


Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Dough Rising Time: 1 hour
Baking Time: 15-20 minutes
Makes 2 Pan Pizzas

 For the Base:
1. Maida/APF: 3 cups
2. Dry/Instant Yeast: 1 and 1/2 tsp
3. Warm Water: 1 cup
4. Sugar: 1 tbs
5. Salt: 1 tsp
6. Olive Oil: 2 tbs + for greasing, smearing and dabbing
7. Cling Film for wrapping

For The Tomato Gravy:
1. Ripe tomatoes: 2 (blanched and pureed)
2. Onion: 1 (finely chopped)
3. Garlic Pods: 5 (medium sized, finely chopped)
4. Olive Oil: 2 tbs
5. Salt: 1 tsp or as per taste
6. Black Ground Pepper: 1 tsp
7. Tomato Ketchup: 2 tbs
8. Oregano: 1 tsp

For the Topping: 
1. Mozzarella/ Pizza Cheese: 200 gms
2.  Tomato: 1
3. Onion: 1
4. Olives: 8
5. Capsicum: 1/2
6. Paneer: 50 gms
7. Oregano
8. Chilli Flakes (optional)

For the base:
  1. Take 1/4 cup warm water (the bowl/cup should be warm as well) and add sugar to it.
  2. Now sprinkle the dry yeast over it and let it foam, say for about 10 minutes.
  3. On the other hand, sieve the flour, add salt and oil to it and mix.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add warm dissolved yeast to it.
  5. Start kneading and prepare a soft dough with it using the remaining warm water. 
  6. The consistency should match that of the dough used for poori/chapathi.
  7. Remember, the dough will loosen and soften after fermentation, so don't keep it very soft. 
  8. Dab your hands with some oil and keep kneading till it goes smooth. Smear the dough with a little oil.
  9. Now place this dough in a greased bowl and cover with a cling film.
  10. Keep this bowl in a warm place (either in sunlight, or in an oven with lights on, or in a bigger bowl of warm water)
  11. The dough will rise to double in an hour. If not, check with the temperature again and keep for some more time.
  12. Now take the dough and punch it down.
  13. Divide the dough in two equal parts and keep the other part covered while working with one.
  14. Take one part of the dough, make a ball and roll it with a rolling pin. Keep the size of the circle slightly bigger than the size of the base of the pizza pan.
  15. If you want, you can stretch the dough using your palms and fingers, too, and thus avoid rolling with a pin.
  16. Now place this rolled dough in the base of the pan and stretch with your hands on all sides to fit in it.
  17. The dough should be stretched up high till the upper rim of the pan.
  18. Dab the base with your fingers so that it doesn't puff on baking.

For the Gravy:
  1. Blanch the tomatoes, peel off and puree them.
  2. Take oil in a pan and heat it.
  3. Add chopped onions and garlic to it and saute till they turn translucent.
  4. Now add the tomato puree followed by the salt, pepper.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes and then add tomato ketchup and oregano.
  6. The gravy is ready to use. Make this during the dough-rising time.
For the Topping:
  1. Cut onion, tomato and capsicum in medium sized pieces.
  2. Cube the paneer and take a boil for them to soften.
  3. Slice the olives into rings.
  4. Divide the cheese cube into two for the two pizzas.
Assembling the Pizza:
  1. Pre-heat the oven at 230 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
  2. Now take the pan with the dough sitting in it.
  3. Coat the base with half of the tomato gravy.
  4. Now grate half a cube of the mozzarella cheese over the gravy and spread vegetables and olives over it.
  5. Now grate the remaining cheese over the veggies and sprinkle some oregano and chilli flakes.
  6. Transfer this pan to the pre-heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes till the top browns.
  7. Take it out and carefully lift the pizza out of the pan.
  8. Cut it into pieces and serve oven-hot with some ketchup and chilli flakes.

  1. The rising of the dough is the most critical here. I hear many friends complaining that their dough didn't rise well and hence the whole experiment crashed.  My suggestion to them is to check with the yeast they are using first because it could be old or not good enough. Secondly, the temperature for rising matters a lot. If you keep the dough in normal temperature, it might not rise especially in winters or rain, so try keeping it either in an already warmed/heated oven for rising or in a warm bowl of water.
  2. You can always play with the base of the pizza. The base could be made 'thin crust' if you keep the dough thin, and this can be made 'deep dish' if you pull the dough high till the upper rim of the pan. 
  3. Also, you can make instant thin crust multi-grain pizza without fermentation, just by using more oil like how we keep for Samosa Dough. I tried this and it came out really well, and will post this sometime later for sure.
  4. The gravy get vary as per your taste. I even tried with coriander chutney to smear on the base and it was yummilicious.
  5. The toppings can go as creative as your mind goes. You could pop in some mushrooms, jalapeno, corn, red bell pepper or other veggies that you love to eat.
  6. Do not overheat. As soon as the top browns a bit, take the pan out of the oven.
  7. My pizza was baked in about 15 minutes. The oven timings may vary according to the type of oven you are using. 

The recipe flies off to:
My event: Cooking Made Easy With Cheese/Paneer
Bake Fest started by Vardhini guest hosted by Archana  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Choco Banana Walnut Loaf

I have been wanting to post this recipe for about a week, immediately after I baked it, but sometimes time and sometimes your inner soul just don't tune well and thus was this delay. I baked this 'first ever loaf' of mine on the last Tuesday when I was expecting some guests for lunch. Along with these cake delights was my first time attempted home-made pizza and then some braided breads on choice. Everything turned out olympian and I was in such an ecstatic mood. I thought to post it the very next day but had some corporate sessions to take over and thus had to sit back for a while. Now before my daughter wakes up from her fairy-tale sleep, I need to complete this and vroooom....publish it! :)


Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 25-35 minutes 
Makes one big loaf that can be gulped down the throat in less than a day! ;)

Info Meter:
  • Walnuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (about 72%) like oleic acid and an excellent source of all important omega-3 essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and arachidonic acids. Regular intake of walnuts in the diet helps to lower total as well as LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood.
  • Eating just as much as 25 g each day provides about 90% of RDI (recommended daily intake) of omega-3 fatty acids. Research studies have suggested that n-3 fatty acids by their virtue of anti-inflammatory action help to lower the risk of blood pressure, coronary artery disease, strokes and breast, colon and prostate cancers.
  • Store walnuts in your refrigerator for up to 6 months or in your freezer for up to one year, and away from foods with strong odors (e.g. fish, cabbage, onions). Nuts can absorb the flavors of other foods.  Heat causes the fat in walnuts to change structure, which creates off odors and flavors. Fresh walnuts smell mildly nutty and taste sweet.
  • Walnuts are the oldest tree food known to man, dating back to 7000 B.C. The Romans called walnuts Juglans regia, “Jupiter’s royal acorn.

1. APF/ Maida: 2 and 1/2 cups
2. Sugar: 2 and 1/4 cups
3. Banana: 1 (robust)
4. Cocoa Powder: 1/2 cup
5. Butter: 3/4 cup
6. Eggs: 3
7. Warm Milk: 1/4 cup
8. Baking Powder: 1 and 1/2 tsp
9. Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
10. Vanilla Essence: a few drops
11. Chopped Walnuts: A handful
12. Salt: a pinch
13. Butter/oil for greasing or cooking spray

  1. Take the Maida/APF, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix them well.  Divide this mixture into two equal parts.
  2. Take the first part and sift it with cocoa powder. Keep the second part as it is and sift it separately.
  3. Grease and dust the loaf tin and keep it aside.
  4. Pre-heat the oven on 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
  5. Take the butter and beat sugar with it till it goes light and fluffy. Do not melt the butter, rather keep it at room temperature.
  6. Beat the eggs separately and blend them well with the sugar butter mix.
  7. Peel off the banana and pulp/blend it to a fine puree. 
  8. Now divide the sugar-butter-egg mix into two equal parts.
  9. Take the first part and  fold in the cocoa-flour, applying the cut and fold method. 
  10. Make sure you get a ribbon consistency while folding it. If you find the batter thick, adjust it with addition of milk.
  11. Now take the second part of the sugar-egg-butter mix and add banana pulp, vanilla essence to it followed by the folding in of second part of the flour/maida without cocoa powder in it.
  12. Chop the walnuts, coat them in maida and mix them gently with both the batters separately.
  13. Now transfer the banana mix/batter into the greased loaf tin followed by pouring in the cocoa mix/batter over it gently.  
  14. Now run a fork gently into the batter in a wave fashion, slightly blending the two different batters. This will help give a marble look/ wave pattern to the loaf.
  15. Now bake this on 180 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  16. Check the loaf after 30 minutes by seeing if the cake edges have left the corners; if so, then insert a tooth-pick at the center and see if it comes out clean. When this happens, your loaf is ready.
  17. Take the tin out and let it cool for 10-15 minutes. Once it has cooled down, invert the loaf on a plate, making sure it doesn't break.
  18. Slice it smooth and enjoy just like that.

  1. Always cut and fold the mixture in a single direction. Cutting and Folding is nothing but mixing the cake in a circular fashion (like how you make a circle) and then cutting this circle into half and again circling. 
  2. Do not invert the loaf before it cools down else it would break. Mine was too soft and spongy and I actually couldn't wait to slice it.
  3. Do not over-bake else the chocolate will burn, and the cake will become hard, too.
  4. It can be stored for 2 days in a cling wrap that doesn't allow it to turn hard even in the refrigerator. Do not keep it outside for long.
  5. Walnuts can be replaced with the nuts of your choice. 
  6. You can adjust sugar as per your taste. You can add some extra sugar to the cocoa mix as well.
  7. If you wish, you could mix the cocoa and banana together and have a uniform loaf. 

This loaf takes off to:
Bake Fest started by Vardhini guest hosted by Archana  
Show Me Your Dessert  by Pari Cash

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cocoa Choco Mini Bites

 One fine day, I stepped into a local kitchen-ware shop to buy some regular steel stuff and unknowingly chanced on these tiddly cute looking moulds. My eyes literally got struck there and I didn't know how to pull my nerves back. I asked the shopkeeper for what they were, and he replied, 'These are aluminum moulds for making sweets'. My first reaction to this was 'wow'! And the next thought to win my brain was that I could use them for making small tarts, chaat papdis and then of course these tiny cake bites. I had been waiting for days which felt like ages, just to bang on these moulds and give my experiments a go-green signal. Finally the day came and I settled on baking some coffee chocolate based mini cake bites. They came out perfect with the coveted texture, the sensuous appeal, and the liberated aroma sought for. I ornamented them with some Hershey's Chocolate Sauce and scrumptious they went. 

Cocoa Choco Mini Bites

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 15-20 minutes
Makes 8 tiny bites

Info Meter:
  • Cocoa beans are the fruit of the cacao tree. Cocoa beans are called cocoa beans and not cacao beans due to a spelling mistake made by English importers in the 18th century when chocolate first became popular.
  • Chocolate is made by grinding the kernels of cocoa beans to a paste called chocolate liquor. This is hardened in moulds to make chocolate.
  • Cooking chocolate is bitter. Eating chocolate has sugar and, often, milk added.
  • Cocoa powder is made by squeezing the cocoa butter (fat) from chocolate liquor and then pulverizing it.
  •  It takes about 400 beans to make a pound of chocolate.
  • Cocoa and chocolate are rich in minerals that the body needs, including magnesium and iron. 

1. APF/ Maida: 1/2 cup 
2. Powdered Sugar:  1/2 cup
3. Cocoa Powder: 1/4 cup
4. Coffee: 1/2 tsp
5. Butter: 1/4 cup
6. Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
7. Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
8. Egg: 1
9. Warm Milk: 2 tbs
10. Salt: a pinch
11. Walnuts: a handful
12. Hershey's Chocolate Sauce
13. Butter/oil for greasing or cooking spray 

  1. Sift the maida/all purpose flour with the cocoa powder, coffee, baking Powder and baking soda/Eno.
  2. Grease and dust the baking tin and keep it aside.
  3. Pre-heat the oven on 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
  4. Take the butter and beat sugar with it till it goes light and fluffy. Do not melt the butter, rather keep it at room temperature.
  5. Beat the egg separately and blend it well with the sugar butter mix.
  6. Now fold in the flour, applying the cut and fold method.
  7. Make sure you get a ribbon consistency while folding it. If you find the batter thick, adjust it with addition of milk.
  8. Chop the walnuts and mix them gently with the batter.
  9. Now transfer this mixture into the greased tiny moulds and bake them on 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  10. Check the cake bites after 15 minutes by seeing if the cake edges have left the corners; if so, then insert a tooth-pick at the center and see if it comes out clean. When this happens, your cake bites are ready.
  11. Take the moulds out and let them cool for 10-15 minutes. Once they have cooled down, invert the mini cocoa bites on a plate, making sure they don't break.
  12. Decorate them with chocolate sauce and go as creative as you can.
  13. Before you grab a piece, make sure it is warm; warm cocoa bites are the yummiest. :)

  1. Always cut and fold the mixture in a single direction. Cutting and Folding is nothing but mixing the cake in a circular fashion (like how you make a circle) and then cutting this circle into half and again circling.
  2. Do not invert the cake bites before they cool down else they would break.
  3. Do not over-bake else the chocolate will burn, and the cake will become hard, too.
  4. You can top the yummy bites with chocolate frills or swirls too.
  5. They can be stored for a day or two, but make sure you microwave them for 15 seconds before giving them the permission to enter your mouth. 
  6. In case you don't have small aluminium tart/cake moulds, then you can always use the regular muffin mould. The only difference being that I got 5 different shapes instead of getting the same boring cuppy ones. 
 “Giri Choco” is a japanese custom which means “duty chocolate.” It calls for employees to give chocolates to their managers as a token of loyalty. :)
This post takes off to:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Announcing Cooking Made Easy with Chocolates/Cocoa

No words, just silence to speak my heart out this time. All that I want to say right now is a big time 'Sorry' for not doing any justice to my series on 'Cooking Made Easy'  for 3 months, but better late than never, so I'm back with a lovely theme for this month, one that all of you will certainly love. Though it's not valentine's that's approaching, nor is this the chocolate day pumping me to go for it, but definitely there's someone who has a penchant for it and I love him more than chocolates even. :P
Now who else could it be than my Darling Hubby. ( I call him Janu, and these days my 2 year old little cuppy cake has started imitating me by calling her dad the same at times; that is of course funny but she speaks it damn sweetly, better than me even. :)) He is a binge eater when it comes to chocolates or namkeen, so I could not think of any theme better than 'Chocolates' for his birthday month. Also, this month happens to be the birth month of my daughter who is a 100% replica of her father, so all the chocolate recipes received are birthday gifts to my two sweethearts, and I promise, I'll try on each and every recipe whatsoever happens. :D

September's Surprise Ingredient: 
Enticing Chocolates/ Cocoa
September 1 - September 30

The rules to participate can be found here.

You can make cakes, chocolates, brownies, tarts, shakes, beverages, choux, pastries, ice-creams, puddings, truffles, pies, custard, yogurt, bars, just anything that has cocoa/ chocolate in it. Get ready to dive in the alluring chocolate pool.

Kindly link your entries using the linky tool below.

Round Up:

1. Chocolate Almond Fudge

2. 2 minutes Chocolate Mug Cake

3. Julia Childs Chocolate Almond Cake

4. Hot cocoa

5. Mocha Snack Cake

6. Decadent Chocolate Fudge Cake

7. Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

8. Eggless Chocolate Sponge Cake

9. Easiest chocolate frosting ever

10. Birthday Chocolate Cake

11. Chocolate-chip Cookie-dough Brownies

12. Choco Pebbles

13. Chocolate Pudding

14. Tiramisu (Eggless Alcoholfree)

15. Cinnamon Hot Chocolate

16. Chocolate Pudding

17. Chocolate Lamingtons

18. Strawberry Truffles

19. Cocoa Choco Mini Bites

20. Eggless Lamingtons

21. Go Nuts With Donuts

22. Cake Truffles and KitKat Crunchies

23. Nutella Chocolate Cake

24. Chocolate Hazelnut Nutella Banana Shake

25. Eggless/ Coke Brownie

26. When Chocolate Meets Yogurt

27. Cadbury Chocolate Cake

28. Ultimate Cream Cheese Cookies

29. Eggless Oreo Cookies

30. Drinking Chocolate

31. Chocolate Oats Bar

32. Tofu Chocolate Pudding

33. Eggless Brownie - Low Fat

34. Eggless Reine De Saba (Queen of Sheba Cake)

35. Italian Dessert

36. Homemade Oreo Cookies : Fauxreos

37. Chocolate Cherry Layer Cake

38. CookieNash -Giant cookies filled with chocola

39. Ultimate Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

40. Creamy Chocolate Cupcakes

41. Chocolate Almond Cake

42. Honey Chocolate Cake

43. Choco Banana Walnut Loaf

44. Pecan Fudge

45. Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars

This linky list is now closed.