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  Life   Food  16 Feb 2018  Baking from the heart(h)

Baking from the heart(h)

Published : Feb 16, 2018, 7:32 am IST
Updated : Feb 16, 2018, 7:32 am IST

Driven by a passion for cooking and infused with love, Neera Agarwal’s recipes are both wholesome and delicious.

Carrot and banana cake
 Carrot and banana cake

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.

Carrot and banana cake

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

Grease 9 inch baking tin and dust with maida or line the tin with paper and grease it
Preheat the oven to 180°C/300° F
Sift flour, baking powder, soda bi-carb and cinnamon powder together
Mix raisins and walnuts in 1/4th cup maida and keep aside
Beat the eggs with sugar
Add oil and beat for 2 minutes
Fold in maida little by little
Add carrots and banana, fold in gently
Add raisins and walnuts along with the maida and mix gently.
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.
Let it cool. Invert on a rack

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

Boil the peas and mash them while they’re still hot
Heat oil and add cumin seeds, mashed peas, powdered masalas and salt to taste
Fry for a couple of minutes
Cool and mix the coriander leaves

For the Dough
Boil the potatoes and mash them while they’re still hot
Soak the bread in water. Squeeze out the water completely and add the bread pulp, corn flour and salt to the mashed potatoes.
Knead well and divide the dough into equal portions
Grease your palm and flatten each portion
Stuff with a tablespoon of pea mixture and form round, flattened patties
Deep fry till golden
Serve with green chutney

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


Preheat the oven at 180° C.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt.
In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil and eggs together.
In this mixture, add the flour mixture. Stir in shredded pumpkin and mashed apple. Add walnuts and coconut flakes.
Pour in a cake tin and bake for 40 minutes or till done.

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.


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.
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.
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.
Remove from the fire and add half of the grated cheese.
Put the mixture in a greased baking dish.
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.
Cook at 180° C in a preheated oven for 25 minutes or till done.

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)


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.
Heat 2 tbsp butter and add garlic and onion. Cook till onions turn soft.
Add ½ tsp salt, add spinach and cook till dry.
Add the sliced mushrooms and saute for one minute. Remove from the fire. Keep aside.
Heat butter in a pan and add flour. Stir on low heat for one minute.
Add milk slowly. Keep stirring. Cook till thick.
Add the spinach and mushrooms mixture and mix well.
Add the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper if required.
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.

Tags: moist pumpkin cake, carrot and banana cake