Tag Archives: Muffins

A Happy New Year!

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A very, very Happy New Year to all of you from The Odd Hour Kitchen ūüôā

It has been so very long since my¬†last post¬†that I forgot my password ūüė¶ Silly me!

I have missed logging on & reading all my friends’ blogs, interacting & connecting with folks I’ve never met but yet who are like kindred spirits bonding over our love & passion for food. I have really missed that!

And I’ve missed writing.

So one of my New Year Resolutions, one which I do not intend on breaking, is to be more regular on my blog (at least more than once in 4 months!)… and to remember my passwords!! Fingers Crossed!!

Well one of the main reasons why I haven’t been blogging is that I have been baking… like a lot! I haven’t felt as centered, at one with myself or simply delighted than when I’m in my Kitchen, mixing, whisking, tasting away! I think I may have found my calling.

I took the plunge & decided to take my passion for food a step further… The Odd Hour Kitchen is now a small home bakery¬†ūüôā So with the apron, I now have on a little entrepreneurial hat. And it is such fun! I get to bake all the time, in my Kitchen with my music and spread love & joy through what I bake! All this without the extra calories (& the guilt that goes with it!) from the earlier days, when I just¬†had to bake¬†& whatever came out of the oven went straight to my hips! To be fair, I did share with the husband (who complained about the increasing inches round his waist!), my parents (who honestly don’t need the extra sugar!) & of course eager friends & family. But now with this new “venture,” my food is helping me connect & reach out to so many more!

It started with the¬†Raksha Bandhan festival in August, the day which, according to Indian tradition, celebrates the bond & love between brothers & sisters. The sister ties an ornamental thread or Raakhi¬†on the wrist of her brother who promises to protect her all their life while she in turn pledges to pray for his well being. The brother has to then gift her something pretty, while the sister gets him something sweet… of course, what would an Indian festival be without any¬†mithai¬†(sweetmeat)! There are loads & loads of Indian Sweets…¬†kaju katlis¬†(diamond shaped bites of heaven made with cashewnuts),¬†laddoos¬†(ball-shaped sweets made with different ingredients like chickpea flour, semolina, coconut & of course sugar & clarified butter), I could go on, & on…

But it’s not uncommon to go with chocolates, cupcakes, cookies either. In fact some of my first experiments in baking were nearly charred brownies for my brothers on¬†Raakhi¬†day!

Now, since I don’t burn my brownies anymore, & I have added a few more goodies to my repertoire, it seemed like a great time to open up my Kitchen to more people on¬†Rakshabandhan!¬†So I updated my¬†Facebook page,¬†sent out emails, Whatsapp messages to friends & family & put out 3 products on my menu… bite-sized versions to go with the Indian¬†mithai¬†theme.

And I got a surprisingly decent response & with that the exhilaration of baking to meet orders & deadlines… very exciting! All charged up then, I participated in a Bake Sale & then opened up for¬†Diwali,¬†the Hindu New Year. So far, I’ve been working from festival to festival & with a fairly fluid menu. Of course if somebody calls me & asks me to bake something for them off the menu, any day of the week… I never pass up the opportunity ūüėÄ

I’m hoping to crystallize the menu, get more organized & get myself out there a little better in terms of visibility this new year… & lets see where this goes ūüôā Meanwhile I’m happy to be experimenting, trying out new recipes & baking on request!

So, if you live in Mumbai (or have friends & family that do), & want to indulge your sweet tooth you could call, mail or check out my little online store for comforting goodies.

Here are some of things that I’ve been baking over the past few months.

These CHOCOLATE STREUSEL Cupcakes are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee… not too sweet, with a delicious crunchy chocolate chip topping.

DEVIL’S FOOD CUPCAKES… Rich, Dark, Moist & Mysterious… with a surprise filling in each… Eggless too! For a friend’s dessert night

Light, Melt in Your Mouth… I made these ALMOND SHORTBREAD COOKIES the first time for a friend’s baby shower

This one’s a Gluten Free, Nut Free, Dairy Free CHOCOLATE FUDGE cake… The husband’s childhood buddy & his brother dropped by for dinner & stayed till 5 am! The brother had all these diet restrictions… so this is what I served!

I call these BROOKIES… A Brownie & Cookie Hybrid ūüôā I made these the first time as an experiment on my unsuspecting brothers… it worked! I do them with home made Salted Maple Caramel Sauce & Almonds / Peanut Butter & Snicker Bars / Orange Marmalade

So that in a nutshell is what I have been up to over the past 4 months… with of course a trip or 2 to¬†Jaipur¬†to teach at the school & a visit to Singapore to ¬†see my adorable little¬†babus,¬†my¬†nephews. I do hope to cook more, share more recipes & be around a lot more!

To sign off… Magic, Dreams, Love, the Time to enjoy a good Book, favourite Music or a Quiet Moment alone, the Spirit to give wing to your Creativity, loads of exciting Adventures (inside the kitchen & out!) & of course Joy, Peace & Health…. That’s what I wish for you all this New Year!

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“Holi” Fruit ‘n’ Oat Muffins

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A Belated Happy Holi everyone!

It was¬†Holi¬†on Wednesday… the Hindu festival of colors, the day we welcome Spring & with it blooming flowers, new crops, a newness in the air. Of course in Bombay we skip directly to the searing Summer heat, but still it is one of the City’s favourite festivals.

Image Courtesy bloggermoms.com

The festival of Holi started Tuesday night, with Holika Dahan,with large bonfires lit in every neighborhood & lane in the City. People circle the fire pouring water around it & place coconuts into it. The roasted coconut fresh out of the embers with a little bit of sugar is one of my favourites!

The fire is symbolic of the triumph of good over evil. Each year while growing up, Mom would tell us the story of¬†Prahlad, ¬†who was a staunch devotee of Lord¬†Vishnu.¬†His father, the Demon King Hiranyakashyapu, had been granted a boon that he could not be destroyed by day or night, neither indoors nor out, not on earth or in the sky, by neither man nor beast or any weapon. This made him arrogant & he demanded that all should worship him, & him alone. None were to worship the Gods in Heaven.¬†Prahlad refused to bow down to his father’s will. In a final attempt to stop him from praying to¬†Vishnu, Hiranyakashyapu,¬†ordered¬† Prahlad¬†to be lit alive on a pyre, seated on the King’s sister¬†Holika’s¬†lap.¬†Holika¬†had been given a boon that fire would not harm her. But as he¬†sat on the pyre chanting Vishnu’s name,¬†Holika¬† was consumed by the flames, while¬†Prahlad¬†was untouched. This burning of evil & salvation of good is celebrated as¬†Holi.

Image Courtesy magicalmumbai.com

The next morning Spring is welcomed with the vibrant festival of colours. People throw colored powder, gulal, & colored water on each other. Traditionally the colors were made by crushing dried flowers like marigold & gulmohar. In fact in parts of North India Holi is still played with fresh  flowers. Playing Holi, breaks down or at least lowers all barriers of religion, gender, age as families, friends, neighbours all get together & celebrate.

As kids we would spend the better part of the morning becoming a right royal colorful mess with our friends & neighbours in the apartment complex we lived in. Of course Dad & Dadaji¬†(Grandfather) would be totally paranoid that we would ruin the walls or furniture. We didn’t care ūüôā I loved the colours, even though it was a pain getting it off your skin & hair. We could tell which kid in school had the best time during Holi¬†by the bright red ears or blue finger nails & green peeping through the hair!

Food is, as with all festivals, a very integral part of¬†Holi.¬†At home Mom would make these little dumplings with steamed purple yam (kand) & raisins, with thick sweetened yogurt (shrikhandh or matha). Gujjiyas¬†too are a staple in the North. These are crescent shaped dumplings made with wheat flour & stuffed with grated, roasted coconut & dried fruit.¬†My husband’s family, which is from Maharashtra, make¬†Puran Polis,¬†thin, flat roti-bread stuffed with jaggery & lentils.

Over time, I have stopped getting all colored up at¬†Holi,¬†though I¬†make¬†sure, no matter where I am, to be there for the fire ceremony. For some reason I feel most at peace when I walk around the flames… like I am letting go of all the negativity, the chaos of the year gone by &¬†breathing in the newness of spring, with all its hope & tranquility.

This¬†Holi, I woke up wanting to make something special. But I’m¬†on a diet!¬†All the traditional goodies are banned ūüė¶ So maybe I could make something colorful, symbolic of the festival, yet which fits in with what I’m “supposed’ to eat!

Among other things, I’m “allowed” 2 tablespoons of oats a day with more egg whites than I care to eat, low fat yogurt, olive oil, nuts & fruit…hmmm… well what am I waiting for? Muffins it is!

Since flowers are the basis for all ¬†the color, & hence significant to the festival. I got my little flower shaped muffin tins out with the pretty colored paper cases. The red plums & figs on top make the muffins more vibrant… I hope! In any case you could do this with¬†Whatever’s in the Fridge!

I’m making these for breakfast. The proportions here are keeping in mind my daily allowance of ingredients. So it is¬† a true experiment.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons / 1 cup Oats
  • 1 Egg + 1 Egg White
  • 4 tablets¬†Sugar Free / Sweet ‘n’ Low
  • 2 tablespoons Low Fat Yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 12 Almonds
  • Zest & Juice of 1/2 an Orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 pinches Cinnamon Sugar (my cheat ingredient!)
  • a pinch Salt
  • slices of Figs, Plums, or any other fruit

Method

  1. Grind the oats with the cinnamon, almonds & Sugar Free tablets till it’s a coarse powder.
  2. Add salt, baking powder & baking soda to the oats.
  3. Whisk the eggs & vanilla till frothy.
  4. Stir in the yogurt, oil, orange juice & zest & whisk well.
  5. Gently fold in the oats. Do not over mix.
  6. Pour the batter into the greased & lined moulds.
  7. Arrange the fruit on top & sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on each muffin.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes or till the cake tester comes out clean & the top is golden.

Note

My allowance of the ingredients in the recipe, per day is: 2 tablespoons of Oats, 5 egg whites, 1 cup low fat yogurt, 4 teaspoons olive oil, 6 almonds & 1 fruit.

The muffins aren’t too sweet, so if you like, you could add some honey to the batter.

So this well within what’s ¬†okay for me if I have 1 Muffin a day… Yay!

This recipe makes 4 muffins.

Banana & Strawberry Muffins

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Strawberries Galore!

The guy at the Hanging Garden signal charmed me into buying 4 boxes of strawberries at Rs.100. Of course the “Gujju strawberry lover” that I am, I couldn’t resist the bargain!¬†So here I am with nearly 600 grams of the luscious red fruit and loads of ideas,¬†like this one¬†or¬†this!

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I finally zeroed in on Banana & Strawberry Muffins.

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The combination of these 2 flavours is one of my favourites! The sweetness of bananas with the slight tartness of strawberries… very fresh!

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I decided to go in for an¬†egg-less¬†version because I wanted to bake for a group of 7 lovely ladies I call the Real Housewives of Walkeshwar ūüėČ I am directing a play with them right now. I love their energy & enthusiasm. After juggling their schedules with home, kids, husbands, work & social¬†commitments, they still manage to make time to rehearse with me on a little production they are going to perform at a fundraiser at their children’s school.¬†And these talented women have been feeding me delish & exciting food every single rehearsal! So these muffins are for them. Most of them follow the Jain religion & are vegetarian, hence the egg-less version. I found this recipe on¬†Eggless Cooking.

Ingredients

Wet Ingredients

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  • 1/2¬†cup ¬†/ 120 gm Butter¬†
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt (beaten well)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 large Bananas (mashed)
  • 1 cup / 150 gm Strawberries (chopped)

Dry Ingredients

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  • 2 &1/4 cups / 250 gm All Purpose Flour (Maida)
  • 1 cup / 200 gm Brown Sugar¬†
  • 1 &1/2 teaspoon¬†Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt¬†

Note:

I used¬†Nutralite¬†(a table¬†margarine¬† instead of butter as some very staunch Jains don’t eat butter either & I didn’t want to take a chance.

The batter was too stiff so I added 2 extra tablespoons of Yogurt & 2 tablespoons of milk to loosen it up.

I powdered the sugar so that it would mix easily

I used 1/4 teaspoon salt as I didn’t have unsalted butter.

My Secret Ingredient!

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  • 80 gm White Chocolate (chopped)
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C for 15 minutes. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray it lightly with non stick cooking spray.
  2. Melt the butter and set it aside until it cools down to room temperature.
  3. Beat the yogurt well with vanilla extract & mix it in with the mashed bananas
  4. Add the butter to the above mixture when it is completely cool.
  5. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda & baking powder. Add the sugar & whisk the dry ingredients.
  6. Toss in the berries to the above. Make sure that all the berry pieces are coated with the flour mixture so that the fruit does not sink to the bottom of the muffins.
  7. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  8. Stir in the white chocolate chips.
  9. Do not overwork the batter or else the muffins would become dense.
  10. Fill each muffin cup with the batter using an ice cream scoop.
  11. Bake it for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  12. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack for the muffins to cool before you could remove it from the pan.
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(This recipe makes 16 mid-sized muffins)