In the last few weeks I tried a couple of new recipes, noted down exact quantities of all the ingredients for a few tried and improved recipes by my mother and made them, dutifully took their pictures and never found inspiration to write about them and post them. Was I a  victim of winter blues or did I lack the discipline required to gather my thoughts and put them on a piece of paper or was I overworked and tired or was I just being lazy and opted to sit back and relax and catch some tube time.  In fact, it was a combination of everything. Today however I decided to fight the winter blues and present a potpourri of recipes.

The first recipe comes from Ruth Reichl’s ‘Gourmet Today’.  I am a big fan of her writing and have read all her books. These toasts are simply addictive; I made them over Thanksgiving break and my kids chose them over pumpkin pie.

Toasted Anise Seed Cake Slices

 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 ¾ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

3 eggs

¾ cups white sugar

5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 ½ tsp anise seeds, finely crushed. I put them in a ziplock bag and ran a rolling pin on them.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly butter and flour a 8 1/2 X 4 ½ inch loaf pan.
  3. Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a bow.
  4. Beat eggs and sugar in a mixer till tripled in volume,
  5. Stir flour in the egg mixture in three batches mixing after each addition.
  6. Stir in butter and anise seeds.
  7. Pour the mixture into loaf pan.
  8. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or till the top is golden brown.
  9. Cool for five minutes in a pan and then invert the loaf on cooling rack and cool it for 35 minutes right side up.
  10. Preheat the oven to 400 degree Farenheit.
  11. Trim the ends of the loaf and cut into ½ inch thick slices. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for about 5 more minutes till the toasts are golden brown.

I have tried my hand at puris quite a few times, but mine were never picture perfect and never soft like my mom’s. So during my mom’s last visit I noted down the ingredients and whipped a batch of impeccable puris.


1 cup wheat flour

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp besan

2 tbsp thin rawa

2 tbsp Rice Flour

2 tbsp. oil

  1.  Mix all the ingredients except oil in a medium bowl. Add as little water as possible to make a firm dough. Knead till it becomes soft adding oil in the end.
  2. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Make  balls little bigger than marble size and roll the puris in into 4” circles.
  4. Heat enough oil in a kadai to submerge puffed up puris.
  5. Fry the puris one at a time, holding the puri down till it puffs up, turn it up and fry for few more seconds.


Basic Buttermilk Muffins from Deborah Madison’s -Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It is one of my favorite cookbooks and I have hadd 100% success rate with all the recipes. 

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¾ cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/3 cups buttermilk

1/3 cup oil or melted butter.  Butter yields a moist crumb.

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit.
  2. Butter the muffin pan.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients a bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl beat the eggs lightly.
  5. In a measuring cup pour the melted butter and add buttermilk stirring at the same time. You will find the buttermilk curdling to a consistency of a cottage cheese.
  6. Now Add this mixture to eggs,
  7. Add sugar and vanilla and add dry mixture stirring just enough till everything  is mixed together.
  8. If desired you could add cupful of chopped fresh fruit or dried fruit or chocolate chips. My family always votes for chocolate chip muffin.
  9. Fill muffin cups to the top with prepared mixture and bake for approximately 25 minutes.

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