Homemade Nutella

Homemade Nutella

I haven’t come across a person who does not like Nutella (me included) and it would sneak in the cart during our grocery shopping. But, recently I have started to check the ingredient label of all the packaged food we consume, to be more aware of what we are putting in our body. Nutella is a chocolate hazelnut spread but I was shocked to find that the main ingredients comprises of sugar and palm oil. Yes it’s true . . . You can read more about it here and here.

I did not want to continue eating such unhealthy stuff when it is so easy to make you own at home and it’s healthy too. Homemade food allows you to have more control over the ingredients, the taste is authentic and it’s free from artificial preservatives and additives. I used it as frosting on my chocolate beet cupcake.

Homemade Nutella

Ingredients

1/2 cup roasted and skinned hazelnuts

50 gms melted dark chocolate

A generous pinch of salt (I used Fleur De Sel)

2 tbsp honey

Roast the nuts till golden brown and fragrant.

Remove skin. Use freshly roasted nuts to make butter. Do not use previously roasted nuts . . . . you will end with mess only.

Put in mixer jar (I used small chutney mixer jar) and process. It will get powder in few seconds . . . keep processing . . . . and processing for about eight to ten minutes. The nut transforms itself from powder to blobby mess and then with further patience finally it releases oil and transforms into luscious butter which would be almost liquid consistency, but don’t worry, it’s how it should be.

Remove the nut butter into a container.

Add salt, melted chocolate and mix well. Lastly add honey and mix well. The consistency of butter changes after the addition of honey and now it should look like soft spreadable butter.

This homemade Nutella stayed well for two weeks at room temperature in Mumbai.

Notes:

  1. Always use freshly roasted nuts. Almost slightly warm to touch.
  2. Adding sweetener to hazelnut butter makes it firmer.

Homemade Nutella

Chocolate beet cake

Chocolate beet cupcake

Yes! You heard it right. . . . .  And you cannot taste beet at all.

I have always encouraged Avvi to know what he is eating and enjoy the natural taste of fruits and vegetables. But, beet root is one of those vegetable which Avvi doesn’t eat easily so I try and sneak it in some form. I have been thinking to make this cake for a long time now but . . (Ah! life has so many ‘buts’) . . . . . suddenly last Sunday he insisted that he wanted to bake and his energy was so contagious that I quickly checked my ever growing “recipes to try” folder and decide on this one. Chocolate is his preferred flavour, so it did put a smile on his face.

This is a fudgy cake and would taste great with some vanilla ice-cream.

Chocolate beet cupcake

Ingredients

3/4 cup beet (boiled with skin and then grated)

Dry Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour (I used organic flour)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients

1 cup plain thick curd

3/4 cup powdered organic jaggery

1/4 cup neutral oil (I used Rice bran oil)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Sieve the dry ingredients couple of times.

Mix all the wet ingredients till the jiggery dissolves completely.

Combine dry ingredients with wet gently to form a homogenous batter.

Add grated beet to the batter and fold gently.

Fill the cupcake liners till 3/4th full and place it in the oven. Bake at 170 degree centigrade for 25-30 mins till the skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Mine took 28 mins and I got 13 medium sized cupcakes.

Remove from the oven and place the cupcakes on wire rack to cool completely. I frosted these with some homemade Nutella and sprinkled chocochips on the top.

Note : This is a fudgy cake and does not rise much.

Easy Red Sauce for Pasta

Easy red pasta sauce

When you want to make something quick and easy which feels elaborate, then this is it.

This is my version of quick and easy pasta sauce. This can be made in advance and freezes well. This is well received in my nest and I hope you all too enjoy it too.

Easy red pasta sauce

Chopped onions and tomatoes

Ingredients:

3 medium onions

6 medium ripe red tomatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp Mixed dried herbs

1 inch piece ginger

3 big cloves of garlic (optional)

Red chilli flakes as per taste

Salt as per taste

1tsp sugar

Clean onion and tomatoes and cut them in chunks.

Heat olive oil in thick non-reactive bottom pan and add onions and fry them a bit. Add chilli flakes, dried herbs, chopped ginger and garlic and sauté.

Next add in the tomatoes and cook till they are done. Adjust salt and add sugar. Mix well and let it cool.

Take the cooled mixture in chopper and blitz for a few seconds till you get a chunky gravy consistency. Remember to pulse in seconds and keep checking else you will have a smooth paste.

Use it for making pasta or cool completely to store in the freezer for couple of weeks.

Easy red pasta sauce

Chocolate Hazelnut (Ragi) Cupcakes

“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.”
― Nathan Morrison

Chocolate Hazelnut Ragi Cupcakes

Chocolate Hazelnut Ragi Cupcakes

I am a self-taught baker and the internet has been of immense help, but nothing has helped me more than failure. I have made a lot of mistakes . . . . some silly, some due to oversight, some due to lack of knowledge and some due to carelessness. These cupcakes were made to salvage one such failure, but the results were so good that I was rather glad that the original recipe did not work. I was excitedly trying to make Nutella at home, but I ended with a blob of good chocolate and hazelnut mixture which I did not want to throw. I referred some old recipes and I had these baking in my oven.

Ragi has high nutritional content, especially iron and calcium and Hazelnuts contains protein, carbohydrates, vitamins (vitamin E), minerals, dietary fibre and antioxidants.

Chocolate Hazelnut Ragi Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 cup Whole wheat flour

1/2 cup ragi flour (finger millet flour)

1/2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

50 gms of melted & cooled dark chocolate.

8 tsp powdered hazelnuts

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 thick plain yogurt

1/4 +1/8 cup milk

1/4 cup neutral oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170 degree Celcius.

Sieve together both the flours, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Meanwhile, melt your chocolate in microwave or in a double boiler and let it cool a bit.

In another bowl take sugar, vanilla extract, yogurt and milk. Mix well till sugar dissolves, then add oil and mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry in two parts and mix. Finally add melted chocolate and powdered hazelnuts and fold with gentle hand till it combines perfectly. You can add a tbsp. of milk if you feel the batter is too thick.

Line your muffin tin with liners and pour the batter upto 2/3rd. The above measurements shall give you 12 nos. medium sized cupcakes.

Bake for 22 -25 mins at 170 degree celcius, till the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. All ovens vary in temperature so adjust accordingly.

Cool the muffcakes on a wire rack and serve as it is or frost it with Nutella. I kept these at room temperature for two days and then in fridge for couple of days.

Chocolate Hazelnut Ragi Cupcakes

Baked Potato wedges

A simple recipe  . . . . .  enjoy it with friends and family.

Baked Potato Wedges

Baked Potato Wedges

Ready to go in the oven

Ingredients

Potatoes

1 tbsp Oil

Salt, Chilli flakes, Dry Oregano Powder as per taste

Method

Scrub the potatoes clean and remove the skin (can keep the skin intact, if preferred). Cut the potatoes in wedges and soak in an ice-bath for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 220 degree Celsius.

Pat dry the wedges and place them in a bowl. Add salt, Chilli flakes, Dry Oregano Powder, oil and toss them to coat the wedges completely.

Line a tray with a non-stick mat/ parchment paper and place the wedges in a single layer (It is important not to overlap the wedges.) Bake at 220 degree Celsius for 20 mins. Time taken for baking depends on the thickness of the wedges so, check for doneness when you see the potatoes turning brown. Turn the wedges once during baking.

Serve hot.

Baked Potato Wedges

Baked Potato Wedges