Saturday, October 22, 2011

Looks familiar?

Domino's Garlic Bread by Bombay Foodie

This is the ultimate quandary. I like pizzas from Pizza Hut but can't stand their garlic bread. And it's just the reverse for Domino's - LOVE their garlic bread but would rather pass on their pizzas. If only it was that simple.

Domino's steadfastly refuses to deliver anything unless you order a pizza first. And tired of ordering a pizza which I give away the next morning, I decided to make my own garlic bread.

It's a basic focaccia recipe, altered to fit the bill. First off, heat 1/2 cup water until it's warm but not hot. 20 seconds in the microwave usually does it. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast and let proof for 5 minutes.

To the now bubbling yeast, add 1 tbsp olive oil and a cup of plain flour. Mix until the flour is all blended in, then cover and let rise until doubled. Took about half an hour in Mumbai weather.

Now that you have a sponge, add another 1/2 cup flour, salt to taste and (this is most critical) 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Knead for around 5 minutes until you have a smooth dough. It will still be very wet. Let it rise again until doubled.

At this stage, preheat your oven to as high as it goes. Lightly flour your counter and roll out the dough to a rough rectangle. Transfer it to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush olive oil on top and open up a few packets of Domino's seasoning you saved from the last order to sprinkle on top (or oregano if you must). Cut into strips with a pizza cutter and bake until browned on top, about 10-12 minutes.

The bread looked and tasted "almost" like Domino's. Almost but not quite because my courage failed me at the last minute and I simply could not pour as much oil on top as Domino's does. But go ahead and do that if you like and you will never have to order extra pizzas again.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Night Salad

Salad with black cherry tomatoes by Bombay Foodie


I don't know about you, but I usually start thinking about making a salad by the time sunday evening rolls in. Sort of a compensation for pizza and chocolate excesses of the past two days.
Usually made with whatever I can find in the fridge, this sunday night salad can be a hit or miss affair. Today's was a hit. The salad is a mix of steamed corn, alfalfa sprouts, feta cheese and basil. Dressed simply with salt, pepper and lime juice. Then surrounded by my latest find this season - black cherry tomatoes.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Beach Cafe

Sometimes we get the best gifts and don't even realize how big they are. In the Beach Cafe, the book our club read this month, this happens to Evie, our heroine. Evie is one of those people who muddle alongside a highly successful family. They know Evie's not in their league and never fail to remind her. Everyone except for her aunt, who dies in a car crash and leaves her cafe set by a Cornwall beach to Evie.

Even then, Evie doesn't realize the gift she's been given. After a series of mishaps involving her trying to remotely run the cafe, dealing with some sticky staff situations, Evie comes over to this little Cornish town to live. And to enjoy her legacy. The book is all about this ugly duckling turning into a swan. There is also some romance thrown in and while the story is utterly predictable, this is a great sunday afternoon read.

What else is great on sunday afternoons? Cakes, specially since cakes were what made Evie's aunt so popular. And cakes were what put Evie back on track in running the cafe (well, Cornish pasties did too, but Sweatha already made some). And for this book, I decided to spend my sunday afternoon baking the ultimate vanilla cupcakes. Stef over at cupcake project nominated test bloggers for this one...I wrote in but she didn't pick me so I had to wait until she made the recipe public a few days back.

To make the cupcakes, leave 30 grams butter and an egg out of the fridge until they come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 175 C. Scrape the seeds off a vanilla bean and add them to 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, mixing to break any clumps of seeds and to infuse the sugar with vanilla. Mix 7/8 cup (or 90 grams) plain flour with 3/4 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda. Add vanilla sugar and mix to combine. Now add butter and mix until you get a fine crumb like texture. In another bowl, combine the egg, 1/6 cup yogurt, 30 ml (2 tbsp) canola oil and 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract. Add this to the flour and mix until just combined. Finally, add 1/3 cup milk and mix until everything's blended in. Don't worry that the batter's too liquid, that's how it's meant to be. Fill 8 muffin tins a little more than halfway with the batter. Don't be like me and try to fit everything in 7 cups (and dont even dare think about 6) - you need to get 8 muffin tins filled!

Bake for 15 minutes, test with a toothpick to see if it comes with any crumbs attached. If it does, continue to bake, checking every 2 minutes, until the cupcakes are done. So are these the ultimate vanilla cupcakes? Sure, they are. With a much lighter crumb and sponge like texture, these cupcakes displace the currently reigning French Yogurt Cake as my default go-to cake. There isn't a picture because they look quite ordinary. So you will just have to bake them yourself to find out how special they are.

And if you would like to find out what our next book is and read along with the club, just write in!