Sunday, November 14, 2010

Salad Days

Ranita's Masterpiece

It is very easy to get children interested in cooking and the best way to start is with simple salads. When Serita participated in various culinary competitions, Ranita was also eager to try her hand. The Women's Fellowship of my Mum's church provided the opportunity and the sisters decided to make a tried and tested recipe - Russian Salad. Many combinations and versions were experimented with before the final outcome. And of course the entry won the prize.

The Recipe

1 beautiful salad plate

1 bunch lettuce, washed and wiped; 1 carrot grated; ½ pomegranate; ¼ cup peas, boiled; 1 small yellow zucchini, diced; ½ apple, diced; ½ orange, peeled; 2 cucumber slices (ends); 2 tomato slices (ends); 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled; 5 tbsp. mayonnaise for dressing; 6 peppercorns and 4 cloves; salt to taste.
NB: Can also add 2 tbsp each of cream and yoghurt to dressing.

To make mushrooms: Slice off top and bottom of boiled eggs to enable egg to stand. This will be the stalk. Place tomato slice on top of egg for cap. Top with cucumber end. Make 2 mushrooms. Reserve top and bottom of eggs to make the mice tails.

To make Mice: Cut eggs in half. Place pepper corns for eyes at narrow end. Push 2 cloves in for ears. Cut tails from sliced ends of eggs. Make 3. Keep aside.

Shred lettuce very fine. Place on salad plate. Mix carrot, peas, apple, pomegranate seeds, zucchini; sweetlime and salt with 4 tbsp mayonnaise, reserving 1 tbsp. for later use. Arrange lettuce leaves to one side. Place mice in foreground on lettuce and tails behind them. Arrange the mushrooms on either side. Mix the 1 tbsp. mayonnaise with 2 tbsp. water and drizzle over lettuce. Serve with crusty garlic bread.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Festival of Lights

Deepavali Cakes

Deepavali has always been a time of fellowship and fun. Growing up in Bangalore, we were blessed with lovely neighbours- Nalini & Anu Prabhakar, Kala Gopal, Usha, Soghra and her sisters and so many other friends. Festivals and birthdays were always a time of bonhomie and good cheer and an exchange of cuisines, appreciated by everyone, especially us children. Deepavalli was no exception and we loved visiting each other and bursting crackers. Deepavalli in Kuala Lumpur is no different. We actually burst crackers this season and baked many cakes to give away to our friends who were kind enough to invite us into their homes. May the Festival of Lights bring joy and prosperity to everyone.

The Recipe

This recipe was given to my mother many, many years ago in Mangalore by a friend of hers named Mrs. Koshy. I use it as my basic recipe and change it to suit my requirements. Mrs. Koshy called it 1,2,3,4 Cake and I have changed it to the above.

1 cup salted butter (250 gms); 2 cups caster sugar (500 gms); 3 cups flour (750 gms); 4 large eggs; 2 tsp baking powder; 2 tsp vanilla essence; 1/2 cup tuitti fruity.

Sieve the flour and baking powder three times. Mix the tuiti fruiti with the flour and keep aside. This will ensure the fruit does not sink to the bottom of the cake. Cream butter and sugar together with electric beater till pale and fluffy. Add eggs one by one. Stir in the vanilla essence. Gently fold in the flour with a wooden spoon a little by little until all the flour is used up. Grease two 9 inch cake pans. Line with baking paper. Divide mixture into two and pour into prepared cake pans. Gently tap cake pans to even surface. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C and bake 40 minutes or until skewer inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Cool overnight. Next day ice the cakes.

Icing: 250 gms butter; 1 kg icing sugar sieved. Desired food colouring. I used yellow, orange and brown; 2 sheets of rice paper available at cake specialist shops; silver balls.

Beat the butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer adding the sugar a little by little until of spreadable consistency. Spread some of the icing on both cakes, top and sides. Keep the remaining icing aside.

Cut out two rice paper cirlcles of 9 inches diameter each. Trace the diyas on the rice paper with edible food pens. Position on cake. Divide the remaining icing into three portions. Add yellow food colouring to one, orange to the other and brown to the third. Using an icing gun pipe the different colours onto the cake follwing the tracing. Decorate with silver balls. Attach greeting card and give it to friends who invite you to celebrate with them. Cheers!