Knife Skills

As a child, I remember helping my grandma in the kitchen when she would be making something special for us. I would love playing assistant to her and she would generally ask me to cut vegetables or fruits depending on what was cooking.  She would be very particular about the type of cut for the vegetables, its uniformity and size. Her deft handling of the knife would mesmerise me. She was a stickler for perfection and at that time I would fail to understand why she would insist on the vegetables be cut a certain way.

Why are knife skills so important? Is the food not tasty if the food items are not cut in a certain way? What are the different cutting techniques and what are the common types of cuts and shapes used? Well, these are the questions I will try to answer in this blog. Continue reading “Knife Skills”

Banana Oats Breakfast Bread

Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up in the morning with the sweet smell of a cake or a bread baking wafting through the house? That is what always happens when I bake this delicious and healthy banana oats bread for breakfast. What makes this bread special is very less use of fat in it. (To know more about fats used in baking please refer to my blog on various fats  that are available in the market.)  Inspite of having only 3 tbsp of oil in it, it is so moist and delicate thanks to the bananas and the buttermilk. Buttermilk has naturally occurring stabilisers which help to retain moisture in the cake. Other advantage of having buttermilk is that it is acidic in nature and reacts well with the soda bicarb to produce good leavening. Banana puree is also acidic in nature and together with the buttermilk helps to make the cake light and moist.

Continue reading “Banana Oats Breakfast Bread”

Betty bought some bitter butter…..

Well, wasn’t that an interesting tongue twister we used to have fun with when we were in the school? The bitter part of it was just to make your tongue twist 🙂 Otherwise butter is one of the most flavourful ingredients used in baking in the fat category. Fats can be classified as solid and liquid. Apart from butter, shortening and margarine fall in the solid fat category. Oils that can be used for baking fall in the liquid fat category. In India, even ghee is used for baking and can be counted in the liquid category. This blog is all about the fat ingredients that can used in baking. Continue reading “Betty bought some bitter butter…..”

Is it a Jam or a Marmalade?

“Urgh!!!, Mom, whats with this jam? It just wouldn’t spread! ”, cried out my younger one from the dining table. “And where is the fruit in it?”, added my elder daughter. Both of them were at the dining table buttering their toast and trying in vain to spread the store bought jam over the toast. Now one has got to agree that toast with butter tastes mighty good. But toast with butter and jam is quite scrumptious! And my daughters were used to having home made jams and marmalades made by their granny. My mom-in-law would make really good jams and marmalades with seasonal fruits available like strawberry, orange, mangos, pineapples etc.

Jams and marmalades were introduced to India by British. In Maharashtrian cuisine, we have our own variants called Muramba (मुरंबा) made by boiling sugar syrups to hard ball (पक्का पाक) stage and then adding the fruit to it. There is a very fine line of difference between a jam and a marmalade. According to the dictionary meaning jam is a preserve of whole, cut or slightly crushed fruit, boiled with sugar. And marmalade is a preserve made by boiling the pulp and rind of citrus fruits, especially oranges or lemon, with sugar. So the difference happens to be the type of fruit and the use of rind. Hence, it would be safe to say that marmalade uses the fruits that have very fragrant rind or zest like the citrus fruits. However, in jams also we use the juice of lemon to counterbalance the sweetness of the fruit used. Continue reading “Is it a Jam or a Marmalade?”