Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Vivek ~ Pineapple Upside Down Cake LOADED with RUM :-)

Happy Birthday, Vivek..... :-)
He's one of the pillars at Infoedge and one of my earliest mentors at Infoedge..... He's old wine that's been aging on the rack for over 10 years.....3rd March 1999 is when he joined Infoedge....
Isn't that ancient in an era where people change jobs at the drop of a hat.... Well am headed in a similar direction cause I've known Vivek for the last 7 years that we've been at Infoedge. He's one of the hardest and smartest working people I've ever known and learnt so much from and he is now the Business head of Jeevansathi.com after having worked his way up the techie ladder all the way to the top. Read more about his achievements here....

Readers, Long posts are boring... long posts are not read by most people..... So on n So forth...... But this is not a commercial website... This is my blog and I write about people n stuff I like..... This guy I like and revere a lot.... Brace yourself for a long post cause Vivek deserves this and a lot more......
His birthday deserved something special... He requested for 'Pineapple Upside Down Cake' and that's exactly what he got.... the bonus being LOADED with rum... :-)

That's his family.... Pushpanjali [did a Banofee Pie for her] and their darling princess...... n we all know who he adores more.... ;-)

That's Vivek with his favorite muse Pushpanjali in a 'Jab-We-Met' moment... They make such a lovely couple....

Vivek has this patent pose where he hides behind Pushpanjali...... like... alllllllllll the time....

The camera is his passion.... his work with it is just amazing... view some here.
This fabulous picture of mine is labeled ....'Vivek ke camere ka kamal'.... this was taken in office to try out his new flash and like WOW!!!!!!! The 2 guys jumping is Puneet M and Puneet C when we had gone to Tunganath.... What a trip it was, read about it here.

On the way to Tunganath we stopped over at a Dhaba outside IIT-Roorkie to have their favorite bread omlette and had quite an encounter with an extremely abusive owner... The hill top posing at Deveria tal was really worth the trek we did.

We have a blast at the parties at Vivek's place..... His favorite sorts of parties are those which have.... Booze and Cards. We've even played with plastic glasses n match sticks as money..... read more about beginners luck here. How hard all of them tried to tech me 3 patti [flash] but no avail.. I just can't deal with this game......

We played at a height of 8500 ft in Bir billing... first thing in the morning...... The view was amazing.

That's Vivek's feet dangling while parasailing in Billing, himachal pradesh at 8500 ft..... Check out more pictures of this awesome trip here. The dedicated guy to work that he is..... all of us are enjoying n Vivek's on the phone with Darshan in office checking sales reports and site performance...... poor Darshan.... ;-)

Camp Fires are his specialty.....
who even collects his own firewood... :-)
He's a deeply grounded guy who loves nature.....
These shots are spread out over Tunnganath, Manali, Leh, Rohtang Pass and Bali.... Yes, he driven to all these places and more..... Driving and Hills are something he's very passionate about....

This is his favorite picture of nature.... clouds rolled in within minutes of a clear sky to create this mystical shot.....

Pictionary is something Vivek n I both love... We've played pictionary in office n had really fun times...... We've even played in the train in the wee hours of the morning when finally the lady next door had to shush us up n break up our party.....

Pushpanjali is a great sport for themed parties and ensure that Vivek's also following the code.... That's us at my Red n White Theme birthday party..... Pl note he's in a red n white check shirt under the black jacket... :-)

His office cabin is right next to the conference room... people keep borrowing chairs for meetings and never return them.... what's the solution... he's got a notice pasted on his cabin door.... 'You can't take chairs from my room'.... and yes we love pulling his leg on it...... all the diwali party presentations feature this very prominently.....

The foodie that he is...... We gathered for the Gastronomical Tour of Chandni Chowk.....

We ate and ate ate and ate ate and ate ate and ate ate and ate ate and ate .......... till we were gonna burst........

Sharing was the only way we would get to taste all that was on offer in Chandni Chowk..... That's Vivek, Pushpanjali, Hitesh and Shalab sharing 1 glass of Nimbu Soda [Lemon Squash]

Pineapple Upside Down Cake


For Topping:
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

For Batter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 to 3 ground cardamom seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum [I used 4 caps full, which is why this cake was LOADED with rum :-)]
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tablespoons dark rum for sprinkling over cake

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Make Topping:
Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces.
Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly. in a dusted cake tin.
Melt butter in a pan.
Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes till the sugar caramelises.
Remove from heat and pour over the arranged pineapples in the dusted tin.

Make Batter:
Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt.
Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in vanilla and rum.
Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. [Better still just fold it in]
Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.) [Better still just fold it in]
Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Let cake stand in the tin 5 minutes. [wait it it's slightly warm and not completely cold else the caramel may stick to the pan and not invert evenly]
Invert a plate over tin and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and tin firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet.
Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.
Serve cake just warm or at room temperature.

Verdict: The caramel was awesome and the cake vanished in minutes.....
Happy Birthday, Vivek.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chocolate Butterfly Cake ~ For a Sweetie Pie, Mishti

9pm, No electricity on Sunday nite after a totally tiring weekend... am weary to the point where my eyes hurt if I close them, I lay down on the bed, close my eyes... n WHACK the thought hits me.... I promised my friend at work Komal, that I would do a cake for her daughter Mishti's birthday..... I sit ramrod straight in bed.... What do I do????
Call Komal, tell her no electricity n no enegry, so no cake..... Now I'm not getting thru Komal's number.... Total Panic attack in my head.... What do I do NOW????? How can a kid have a birthday party without a fancy cake......
My conscience got the better of me..... Started thinking what cake to do..... Thoughts whizzing thru my head..... just let me put a chocolate cake into the oven n be done with it.......

Awww... Come on nachiketa... The kids been asking for cake from 'Nachiketa'..... Can't make this any less special for her..... The butterfly formed in my head..... Went hunting for my cake base.... and chart paper... Got out my baking stuff... fired up the oven and finally finished by midnight.....

That's Mishti with her cake..... She loved it.... Was so lovely to see her eyes light up at the sight of the cake...... The effort was so totally worth it....

Chocolate Cake:
1+ ½ Cup All purpose Flour [Maida]
1+ ½ Cup Sugar [Powdered]
½ cup Refined Oil
4 Eggs
½ tsp Vanilla Essence
½ tsp Baking Powder
½ Cup Cocoa Powder

3 Cups Icing Sugar
40 gms Soft Butter
Few drops of Pink and Blue Food Colour

For Cake:
Pre-heat the oven.
Sieve All purpose Flour [Maida], Cocoa n baking powder together in a bowl.
In a separate bowl beat eggs till fluffy, slowly adding the sugar beat well.
Add the maida and oil alternatively, using the dry-wet-dry method.
Stir in. Do not over mix.
Grease a baking dish, and pour in the mixture.
Bake at 175 degree centigrade for about 30-40 minutes or till an inserted toothpick comes clean.
Cool on a wire rack

For Icing:
On slow fire, heat butter and icing Sugar till butter is soft.
Take off heat and stir till incorporated.
Add a few drops of water to get pouring consistency in the mixture.
Divide icing into half.
Add food colour to get the shade you like, Red and Blue to the divided mixtures. [I used a few drops of red... red n white makes pink ;-) ]
Pour the pink mixture over both the cakes and smoothen.
Fill the blue in an icing bag and pipe away.
Decorate with sprinkles.

Happy Birthday, Mishti :-)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Amit Guzzles ALL His Beer inorder To Get 'Chocolate Black Out Cake'

Met Amit, while doing a play with 'Living Room Theater' called 'Urban Tadka'. We hit it off instantly in a group of 4 Amit, Vikram, Dipali[had done the Caramel Cake for Dipali's Anniversary ] and me. We use to have a blast during practices.

We all went out a lot, did crazy stuff, Morning walks at Lodhi Garden, Humayun's Tomb, All American Diner, Sagar, Cafe Coffee Day, Stone, Movies, ran the Airtel Marathon........ We can chat for hours.

We use to have impromptu dance sessions at the play practice cause Dipali and Amit are both wonderful dancers. Going to Big Chill was a SUGAR HIGH for all of us.... :-) Tonino's had us asking for more..... Cheers at The Chinese was very cheery....

We went on a neemrana property spree and visited Patudi, Neemrana n Kesroli. The long drives use to be so much fun... not to forget the aweaome music in Amit's car.... Amazing collection ;-)

The play was held at gymkhana, we were quite nervous about it.... It went of well....

I was busy baking apple crumble n apple pie for neha didi's birthday....[that's another post coming up, Update: it's here] when Dipali called n said the doctor's[vikram] planned a surprise for Amit........... It was Amit's birthday. We[Dipali n I] would meet him at the venue whereIVikram was taking Amit and surprise him... by ringing in his b'day at midnite... interesting......
How much time do I have to make a cake.....after I get back from mall road....
2 hours to be precise... This included getting all the stuff prepared to bake, doing the cake, allowing it time to cool so that i could ice it AND get ready for the dinner....

Decided to do a cake I love[for it's moistness] n chocolate is a favourite with most men... :-) and I had a very very short span to make the cake in..... hence KISS..... Keep It Short n Simple..... Hence I made the Chocolate Blackout Cake...Hmmm.... am already drooling...

We went to one of our favourite places to celebrate after much venue changing... The Shack in Defence Colony... It was a fun filled evening with Amit finally drinking up all the alcohol he ordered.... no left overs this time....

Then came cake cutting time... The 'Foodus Bloggerus' awoke in Miss Chandra and I went crazy clicking pictures of the cake.... n even put an icing flower on Amit's nose... :-)

Hope you have a great time ahead and may we all cherish the wonderful memories....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Apple Crumble and Apple Pie for the Apple of our Eye ~ Krishna's Favorite Neha Didi

Happy Birthday Neha Didi....
She's one of the sweetest, loving and most sincere people I have ever met..... remember sharing my Nancy Drew books with her... have learnt so much from her... her patience is amazing.... She was the one who lost lots of weight and inspired me to get on track aswell.... If it wasn't for her... this post on 'Minus 17 kgs', would never have been possible.
The loveliness of golden apples.... tart yet sweet in their own way.....

My bua[my dad's sister] is an awesome baker [who needs post entirely dedicated to her] was over and i just had to learn something from her while she was over. This is her recipe...

Apple Crumble

Fruit Filling
6 cups peeled and cored apples chopped into 1/2-to 3/4-inch pieces (about 6 large apples)
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresah ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
5 Cloves

Crumble Topping (Makes about 3 cups crumbs)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 table spoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch pieces


Mix the Topping
Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and use a large spoon to stir them together.
Add the butter pieces, stirring to coat them with the flour.
Rub the butter pieces and flour between your thumb and fingertips or cut them together with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form that are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in size, there is no loose flour, and the mixture looks pale yellow rather than white and crumbly.

Prepare the Filling
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Put the apples in a glass or ceramic baking container.
Either an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish or a 9 1/2- to 10-inch diameter round pie dish, both with 1 3/4- to 2-inch high sides, works well.
Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
Sprinkle the sugar mixture and lemon juice over the apples.
Stir the mixture to combine the ingredients, spreading them in an even layer in the baking dish. Set aside.

Spread the crumbs evenly over the apple mixture.

Bake and Serve the Crumble

Bake about 40 minutes until the crumb topping is golden but with a few spots of light brown, and the apples are tender when tested with a toothpick.

Let the crumble cool about 15 minutes before serving.

Spoon the warm crumble onto individual plates and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

The crumble can be baked a day ahead, cooled, covered, and stored at room temperature. Warm it, uncovered, in a preheated 250°F oven for 15 minutes.
Apple Pie
Use all the above ingredients to make the fruit filling.
Rub some more butter to the crumble and knead it into a dough by adding ice cold water.
Let the dough chill for 30 minutes.
Pre heat the oven.
Roll it out into a disc 1/4 of an inch thick.
Place it in the pie dish and flatten it out.
Poke a few holes with a fork or knife.
Blind bake for 15-20 minutes, remove from oven.
Add the filling and seal the pie.
Bake for about 40 minutes or till the pastry is golden brown.

Neha didi is a huge fan of Lord Krishna.....

Love your smile Neha didi.....