29 September 2010

Super-quick-one-step chocolate cake/cupcake

Kids love, love this cake!!!
A one-step easy to make delicious chocolate cupcake/cake recipe. It never fails. You can top it with an icing of your choice.
Got the recipe from one of my favourite books -- 'The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook'.


  • 2 cups     flour
  • 1¾ cups  sugar
  • ¾ cup     cocoa
  • 1¼ cups  milk
  • ¾ cup     butter/shortening (I use butter)
  • 03          eggs
  • 1tsp       baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp   salt (optional)
  • 1 tsp      vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp      baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place cupcake liners in 2 dozen 3-inch muffin-pan cups. Or grease and flour muffin cups. (Or two 9-inch round cake tins if you want to make a sandwich cake)
  3. Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl. (sieve and add the flour and cocoa)
  4. With a mixer at medium speed, beat for a few minutes till well mixed, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  5. Spoon into liners or pan, taking care to fill each half full.
  6. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire racks, then remove from pan and cool completely on  racks.
  8. Frost with an icing of your choice.
  9. For a cake, grease and flour two 9-inch round pans. Prepare mixture as above but pour into both pans. Bake 30-40 minutes.
  10. Sandwich the two cakes and frost with icing of your choice.
  11. Yields 2 dozen 3-inch cupcakes or two 9-inch round cakes.
Note:  I baked this as one big cake, so had to let it bake for about 45 minutes ...:)

In case you have tried this recipe I'll love to know how it turned out. 

Used this basic recipe for the one below..... gave it a simple Royal Icing topping

16 September 2010

Shiny Happy People....

Outside a monastery - Dharamsala...(Himachal Pradesh, India)

Preparations...for a prayer ceremony to be held later..

13 September 2010

Low-Cal Pumpkin Muffins

Low-Cal Pumpkin Muffins
Quick-n-Simple...easy to make..
Yields about 18 medium-sized muffins
Sift together..
½ cup        cake flour/self-raising flour (or 1/2 cup flour + 1/4 tsp baking pwdr,
½ cup        wheat flour,
3/4 tsp       baking powder,
¼ tsp         baking soda,
½ tsp         cinnamon powder.
Mix together...
2                eggs,
3/4 cup        sugar,
1/3 cup        vegetable oil,
Also have ready...
7-8 oz         pumpkin puree' 
 For crunchy topping (optional)...mix together...
1/4 cup       quick-cooking oats,
2tbsp          brown sugar.
To make...
Pre-heat oven to 350°F/ 175° C.
Into the dry ingredients alternate and add the wet mixture and the pumpkin puree' a few tablespoons at a time, mixing with a spoon. 
This batter is easy to mix by hand and doesn't require an electric mixer/beater.
For a crunchy topping sprinkle some of the topping mix on all the muffins. You could leave a few plain, if you liked.

Pour into muffin cases taking care to fill them only 2/3 rds of the way up.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes. 
When a toothpick/ skewer put into the centre comes out clean your muffins are done.
PS..I am a beginner at food photography and I can see there's scope for improvement!! Hopefully I'll get better with time...:)

12 September 2010

Sewing Gifts...part 2

Knitting Needle-cum-Crochet Roll
Some more sewing going on-to be given as gifts....Made this needle-cum-crochet roll....I made two of these - one was given away as a gift to a friend who's an avid knitter (minus the needles...:)), and one I kept for myself..
I used the guidance from this tutorial....knitting-needle-case-tutorial

Gift Bag-
Another one of my gift bags...picked the basic guidelines up from here..fabric-basket

Fabric and paints and block printing......

My endeavours in block-printing....these wooden blocks have mostly been scoured from Rajasthan (a state in  Western India) and Delhi. As you will see from the pictures the blocks are pretty old and have been put to use quite often...
You can find a detailed write up here now......
A table runner...

Plain cushions revamped..

09 September 2010

Sewing Gifts..

I love giving hand-made gifts..mostly churned out on my sewing machine...
These are some of them....
Multi-purpose make-up/toilet bags...
They are reversible!!

This fabric basket is one of the first I made as a gift (minus the wool..:)) and something I enjoy making. The know-how came from this super-easy tutorial ...fabric basket...
Again, its reversible..

This crayon roll was supposed to be given with the little diary for scribbling.. but proved to be impossible to roll up. So change of plans..sewed in another line as a divider and rolled it up with jumbo crayons..
Crayon roll for a little kiddo 
 The fabric basket inspired, once again, from this tutorial...fabric basket

07 September 2010

Roll-Up Project Bag

My main crafty passion-sewing!! I made these easy-to-carry project bags. The black check one was a gift for a dear lady who is amazingly talented. The 'hearty' one is for my own use. Since they are intended to be rolled up and popped into a bigger bag when you are on the go, I did not put any interfacing in.
Dimensions: 8" height; 14" width; 2 1/2" deep; 6" flap; a small pocket on the inside.

It is reversible too...

Embroidered motif...(beaded centre)
These were the first pictures I took, so my lighting etc..was not too good..

04 September 2010

Mum's 'Mini Meal'

Here's another quick-cook for you. This is a favourite from my childhood.
Something my Mum would make (I think, when SHE wanted to be lazy)...generally  in winters because of the variety of vegetables available then.These days I make it mostly  for my kids.

This is a chuck-in-what-you-have-at-home kind of dish....but you do need eggs for this.
Here's how you  will chuck everything into the pan:-
For 2-3 people:-
You need -  approximate measures.......
 06                  eggs,
2 diced            onions,
2 chopped       green chillies (optional)
1 cup each      diced tomatoes, carrots, peas,
1/2 cup each   diced cauliflower, beans, capsicum (since these vegs. have a strong taste and smell  so                            I prefer to use less of these. Please use as much as you like).
 3 tbsp              cooking oil
salt and pepper to taste
(to dice is to cut into small cubes)

Heat oil in a shallow saucepan. Chuck in the onions with green chillies and fry for a couple of minutes. No need to brown them. Throw in all the vegetables except the tomatoes. Cover and cook for a couple of minutes. The idea is to retain some of the crunch of the vegetables and not cook them through and through. They will continue to cook further when the eggs are added.

Now Toss in the tomatoes and fry for another minute. Do not cover. Add seasoning according to the vegetables.

Make six depressions in the veg mix with the back of the spoon and break and hurl in an  egg into each one of these pits. Do this bit of hurling carefully so as to preserve the poor yolks!!!
(By now your biceps too would hurting from all the chucks and throws, so take that much needed rest).

Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Cover and turn the flame to its lowest. Let cook for a 3-4 minutes and check if done according to your liking. If done take off the heat.
This depends on how runny you like the egg yolks to be.....it could be this stage .....

Or this....my family prefers this stage where the yolk is cooked through....

You are done. Hack up into pieces and serve with a simple bread-butter combo.
Easy to throw, eh???!!!
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