Sunday, January 31, 2010

All About Apricots

Apricot Nut Squares
I am a fan of any recipe with apricots and this easy to bake cake is no exception. Some years ago when a vegetarian friend invited herself over, I was wondering what to give her. Thank goodness for the internet. Within minutes I had cut and pasted a few variations of vegetarian cakes and since I love apricots replaced the dried fruits with apricots. It was a hit and still is with everyone who tastes it.

The Recipe
15 dried apricots; 3/4 cup milk;125 gms sugar; 250gms flour; 125gms butter;1/2 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp baking soda; 1 tbsp nuts.
Soak the apricots in warm milk overnight. Remove the seeds. Crack and reserve the kernels for decoration. Add sugar and blend to a smooth paste along with the milk in which it is soaked in. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add butter and gently stir.
Sieve together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Gently fold in the flour,one table spoon at a time. Add the nuts and mix. Scatter apricot kernels on top.
Preheat the oven at 350F. Bake in a greased, square pan( 8") for 35-40min (or till a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean). Cut into 16 squares and serve with tea or coffee.
This cake has a wonderful aroma and your mouth will water as the cake begins to bake. Mmmmm.....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tasty Toast

Garlic Buns

The first time we ate garlic bread was a wonderful experience for all of us. Our hostess had transformed stale bread into a gourmet’s delight and we became addicted to it once I learnt how to make it. It is delicious with soup, as a snack or with a salad and roast chicken. Also great to whet your appetite. Any kind of bread is great for garlic bread and it can be whipped up in a jiffy.
The Recipe
4 buns, cut in half; 4 tbsp. butter, softened; 1 flake garlic peeled and crushed; 1/8 tsp. mixed Herbs.
Mix the garlic, butter and herbs. Spread on the cut buns. Toast or grill in oven 450C/230F /9Gas Mark for 1 minute each side or till golden brown. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Top grated cheese for a richer variation if desired. Serve hot with soup or as a snack.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dessert To Die For

Orange Cheese Cake

Cheese cake seemed like something out of a dream. I would look at all those delectable pictures in glossy magazines and wonder how anyone could create something so perfectly beautiful. Whenever I came across a cake shop I would gaze in wonder at the various cakes and collected endless files of recipes. I decided to try my luck when I bought a spring form pan and I still remember the first cheesecake I made…chilled lemon cheesecake…It turned out fine (no body died of food poisoning) and since then I’ve experimented with different fruits. The best part about this cheesecake is that it does not need to be baked. Chill it and enjoy.
The Recipe
1 cup marie biscuit crumbs; 60 gms melted,butter. Mix together and press into base of 22 cm. spring form pan. Keep in freezer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, beat 250 gms cream cheese at room temperature; 1/2 cup curds; 1 1/2 tsp. gelatine dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water; 1/2 tbsp. orange rind; 1/8 cup orange juice; 3/4 cup caster sugar with electric beaters until well combined. Gently stir in 1/2 cup of peeled orange segments. Pour mixture onto chilled crumb base. Refrigerate for 30 to 40 minutes and decorate with whole orange segments. Chill in refrigerator overnight. To unmould,gently insert a knife dipped in water all round the edge of the cheesecake. Place the base of the pan on your left hand and lift the adjustable ring of the pan up. Transfer to cake stand. Slice and serve.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Anniversary Menu

When Nehru gave me a book on Chinese cookery twenty five years ago, I was very excited. Chinese food was available in restaurants only and our Chinese culinary expertise limited to noodles and fried rice. Today, although I say so myself, I am quite adept at cooking up a fancy Chinese menu. Through the years, Chinese cuisine has ruled our roost and every anniversary was a chance to try out something new. This year, 9th January 2010, is no exception. And so I give you some of my favourite Chinese recipes – Sweet & Sour Pork and Glass Noodles along with a family dessert, the timeless fruit salad. Try eating with chopsticks to make it a gastronomic adventure indeed.To us and ours!
The Recipe

Glass Noodles with Chicken and Scrambled Egg

250 gms. glass noodles Stand in boiling water for minutes. Drain and keep aside), 1 cup peas, 1 egg omelette cut into strips, 6 chicken sausages cooked and cut into rounds, 1 soup cube, 3 cloves minced garlic, ½ inch minced ginger, soya sauce(optional), salt to taste.
Heat 3 tbsp. oil in wok. When hot add ginger - garlic and fry for one minute. Add the peas and soup cube and stir fry for 3 minutes. Next add the noodles, lower flame and mix gently. Add the sausage. Mix well. Adjust salt to taste. Keep on fire till hot. Transfer to serving dish. Add soya sauce and garnish with omlettte strips.
Sweet & Sour Pork

Sauce: 3 tbsp. tomato sauce; 2 tbsp. chilli sauce; 2 tbsp. white rice vinegar ( can use less); 1 tbsp. light soya sauce or ½ tsp. soy sauce; 2 tbsp. sugar; salt to taste; 100 ml water; 1tbsp.cornflour for thickening. Mix sauce ingredients together and keep aside.
1 capsicum cubed.
1/4 kg pork, cubed (medium sized pieces). Marinade 10 minutes in 2 tbsp cornflour, 1 egg, salt and pepper and deep fry till golden brown. Keep aside.

1 tbsp. chopped garlic; 1 tsp. green chillies, minced; 1 tsp. chopped ginger; 1 tbsp. chopped spring onions.

Fry garlic, chillies, ginger and spring onions till fragrant in a little oil. Add the sauce ingredients. Bring to boil. Add pork and capsicum. Garnish with corriander leaves. Serve hot.
Fruit Salad

This is my Mum's recipe acquired from her mum and I daresay she got it from her mum too. Fruit salad was a great favourite at large gatherings since all one had to do was peel/cut/chop the fruits and throw in all the ingredients. The mint leaves are my addition and I must say they make the difference to a very colourful dish.

Silver Jubilee Fruit Salad
1 apple, cubed, 2 oranges, segmented and pith removed, 1 mango cubed, 1 pear, cubed, 3 bananas sliced, a handful grapes, halved, sugar to taste, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 cup milk.

Add cut fruits and essence to milk and keep in refrigerator till chilled. Garnish with mint leaves and serve cold with or without icecream.