Baking from the heart(h)

Published Feb 15, 2018, 1:23 am IST
Updated Feb 15, 2018, 1:23 am IST
Driven by a passion for cooking and infused with love, Neera Agarwal’s recipes are both wholesome and delicious.
Neera Agarwal, a good hostess known for her distinctly seasonal and elegant cooking, brings us a selection of delicious and easy-to-make healthy home recipes.
 Neera Agarwal, a good hostess known for her distinctly seasonal and elegant cooking, brings us a selection of delicious and easy-to-make healthy home recipes.

Neera Agarwal, a good hostess known for her distinctly seasonal and elegant cooking, brings us a selection of delicious and easy-to-make healthy home recipes. “I love baking no-fuss continental dishes, and I get inspired and pick up recipes as I travel. I am a completely self taught, passionate cook and enjoy entertaining people with my home cooked fare,” says Neera.

For the Dough
12-14 medium sized potatoes
6 tbsp corn flour 
8 slices bread
Salt to taste 
Oil for deep frying 
For the Stuffing 
1 kg peas
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 tbsp red chilli powder 
3 tbsp mango powder
3 tbsp coriander powder
4 tbsp oil
4 tbsp coriander leaves 
Salt to taste 
For the Stuffing
l Boil the peas and mash them while they’re still hot
l Heat oil and add cumin seeds, mashed peas, powdered masalas and salt to taste 
l Fry for a couple of minutes
l Cool and mix the coriander leaves 
 For the Dough
l Boil the potatoes and mash them while they’re still hot 
l Soak the bread in water. Squeeze out the water completely and add the bread pulp, corn flour and salt to the mashed potatoes. 
l Knead well and divide the dough into equal portions
l Grease your palm and flatten each portion 
l Stuff with a tablespoon of pea mixture and form round, flattened patties 
l Deep fry till golden 
l Serve with green chutney 



150 gm flour (maida)
1/4 tsp soda bi-carb
1½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon powder
4 eggs
150 gm brown sugar 
1/4th cup chopped walnuts
1/4th cup raisins
1½ cups grated carrots
1 ripe banana (mashed)
1 cup oil
l Grease 9 inch baking tin and dust with maida or line the tin with paper and grease it
l Preheat the oven to 180°C/300° F
l Sift flour, baking powder, soda bi-carb and cinnamon powder together
l Mix raisins and walnuts in 1/4th cup maida and keep aside
l Beat the eggs with sugar 
l Add oil and beat for 2 minutes
l Fold in maida little by little
l Add carrots and banana, fold in gently 
l Add raisins and walnuts along with the maida and mix gently.
l Put batter in the prepared tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°/300° F for 50 minutes or till done. Insert knife in the centre of the cake. It should come out clean. Remove the cake from the oven.
l Let it cool. Invert on a rack

Moist pumpkin CAKEMoist pumpkin CAKE

Moist pumpkin CAKE
2 cups flour
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
2½ cinnamon powder
½ tsp-salt 
4 eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 cups pumpkin (shredded)
1 apple (crushed)
3/4th cup chopped walnuts
1 cup coconut flakes 
l Preheat the oven at 180° C.
l Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt.
l In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil and eggs together.
l In this mixture, add the flour mixture. Stir in shredded pumpkin and mashed apple. Add walnuts and coconut flakes.
l Pour in a cake tin and bake for 40 minutes or till done.

Beans and Broccoli casseroleBeans and Broccoli casserole

Beans and Broccoli casserole
½ cup rajmah (kidney beans) (soaked overnight)
1 onion (chopped)
250 gm tomatoes (blanched, peeled and chopped)
4 cups broccoli (finely chopped)
2½ tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1½ cups (150 gm) cheese (grated)
½ cup cream
2 tbsp oil
Salt and pepper to taste.
l Pressure cook the rajmah with two cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt till one whistle. Keep on low heat for 2 minutes or till they are soft.
l Fry the onions and broccoli in 2 tbsp oil until the onions turn golden and the broccoli is cooked. Add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
l Drain the water from the cooked rajmah. Add tomatoes, rajmah, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to the onions and mix well. Check the taste for salt and pepper.
l Remove from the fire and add half of the grated cheese.
l Put the mixture in a greased baking dish.
l Mix the other half of the cheese with cream and add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4th tsp pepper. Pour this cream over rajmah and broccoli mix and spread gently.
l Cook at 180° C in a preheated oven for 25 minutes or till done.

Shredded Spinach bakeShredded Spinach bake

Shredded Spinach bake
3 cups spinach (shredded) (cut into thin ribbons)
2 onions (chopped)
3/4 cup mushrooms (sliced)
2 tbsp butter (softened)
2 tsp garlic (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients  for cheese sauce
  ½ cup milk
3 tbsp flour
  ½ cup grated cheese
3/4th tsp salt
  ½ tsp pepper
2 tbsp butter (softened)
l Boil ½ cup water with ½ tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt and spinach. Mix well and keep on fire for two minutes. Remove from fire and strain, squeeze the water out.
l Heat 2 tbsp butter and add garlic and onion. Cook till onions turn soft.
l Add ½ tsp salt, add spinach and cook till dry.
l Add the sliced mushrooms and saute for one minute. Remove from the fire. Keep aside.
l Heat butter in a pan and add flour. Stir on low heat for one minute.
l Add milk slowly. Keep stirring. Cook till thick.
l Add the spinach and mushrooms mixture and mix well.
l Add the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper if required.
l Pour in a greased oven-proof dish and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20-25 minutes, or till it turns golden.