Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Baking Blues..... Cracked

                     This would be my first attempt at writing about food in my blog. Food has always been a great part of my life, ever excited to try various cuisines and breaking down its nutrition factor. I was never the eager kid helping my mum around the kitchen but rather the one having it and burning it all playing outside. Being born and brought up in a Havyaka Brahmin household I have always been associated with healthy & nutritious vegetarian food. Havyaka cuisine is one of the few kinds that use healthy fresh produce and almost no oil to make excellent scrumptious food with taste and nutrition never being compromised for. There was never dearth for nourishing food and the knowledge of what it does to one’s body. Hence I have always looked up at the bigger picture of having wholesome food with occasional indulgence to satisfy my taste buds. As an outdoor person, always away playing in the grounds, my kitchen visits were very limited except for those rare Maggi cooking sessions and helping mother in baking cakes (I guess, No pain no gain & the only kitchen activity that excited me). Contrary to all this I enjoyed watching cookery shows & contests. It was during my stay in the hostel that I realised my folly of never having tried my hands in the kitchen. Nevertheless being a foodie has its own perks, as it goes ‘necessity is the mother of all inventions’, I began trying to cook up with a few resources I had back then and lo & behold there I was putting together a decent edible meal. However it never held my interest for long nor did I have the patience to slog in the sweltering kitchen. 
I have always had a big sweet tooth (well it runs in the family), treating myself with all kind confectioneries, Indian sweets et al, though I knew that these ephemeral joys from the loads of sugar could do me more harm in the long run. Consequently I have always striven to find healthier supplements for my sugar cravings. Incidentally I loved watching people present dainty & tempting three hat restaurant standard desserts & confectioneries in cooking contests. Julia Taylor, the ‘dessert queen’ of MasterChef Australia 4 whose delicious desserts enthused me to experiment with my culinary skills, but with an entirely different emphasis on finding a healthy alternative to the sugar loaded delicacies. My mother and her sisters have always eliminated egg from their cake recipes replacing it with curd & butter so my first step to making vegetarian confectionery was quite easy. However I still wanted to get rid of the superfluous calories from the butter and nutrition less all-purpose flour. So I started replacing it with whole wheat flour and oat flour as the nutritious replacement, but I couldn't think of or find healthy substitutes for curd and butter (though ready-made egg replacer are available in the market it’s not a very feasible replacement) until I came across flax seed meal in the internet which is not only highly fibrous and beneficial but also makes the cakes puffy and fluffy. This not only manages to satisfy everyone’s palate but also nutrition wise is much better than cakes loaded with calories. Though I used olive oil initially I eventually substituted it with water and got an equally good cake. So finally I have the perfect basic recipe which can be implemented to almost any confectionery recipe which is equally nutritious, delicious and Vegan, so you don’t have to count in the calories when you have your sweet cravings. So here I go with my healthy tasty recipe for vanilla cupcakes.

3/4th cup whole wheat flour
3/4th cup oat flour
2 tbsps. Flax seed powder + 6 tbsps. water
3/4th cup of powdered jaggery/unrefined cane sugar/white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla essence

 Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius. Mix the flax seed powder with water and keep it aside. If you are okay with dairy products take a cup of warm milk and add a tsp. of apple cider vinegar and allow it to curdle instead of the flaxseed meal and water.
Mix all the dry ingredients. You can dry roast ready to eat oats, powder it and use it. Mix the wet ingredients together and slowly add it to the dry ingredients and mix it well together until completely incorporated. 

batter in the cupcake mould.
I got in funky moulds to make the
process all the more fun. 
Line the cupcake tray and pour the mixture into it and bake it for 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool them completely on a rack and voila it’s all set to be devoured.  

Butterflies all set to fly ;)
Perfect with tea or coffee

PS: Tastes best as an evening snack with your beverages, you can top it with nuts or cream (if you are extremely skinny) :P

PPS: Hope you loved it & hope to come back with more.. :)