Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

"One a Penny, Two a Penny Hot Cross Buns!"

This post is a little late, however if you are like me, you will surely love to have these delicious buns whenever you feel like it. And this post is for those who dare to bake Hot Cross Buns whenever they want! As far back as I can remember Hot Cross Buns have been part of our Lenten schedule and the highlight of our lives was the innumerable Hot Cross Buns made available to all the children (and parents) who attended the Children’s Service at St. Mark’s. The plummy buns were delicious, the aroma enticed every one and there was no one to count how many each ate and how many we took home.
Hot cross buns, are served on Good Friday to celebrate the resurrection following crucifixion on the cross., date back to the pre-Christian era and were first introduced to England by the Romans. They began being associated with Lent when in 1361, on Good Friday, a monk gave them to the poor people of St. Albans in Hertfordshire. He altered the traditional recipe by putting a cross made of dough mixture on the top of the bun. Hot cross buns came to be served on Good Friday and one would be saved as a good luck charm till next year.
Every year, we looked forward to this tradition and we must have our Hot Cross Buns, come what may.
The Recipe
4 cups wholemeal wheat flour; 8 tsp baking powder; salt to taste; 8 tbsp cold butter; 4 tbsp honey;2 tsp mixed spice; 1 cup black raisins; 2/3 cup milk; 2/3 cup sour buttermilk.

ICING: 1 cup icing sugar; 2 tbsp butter; 1/2 tsp vanilla icing. Mix to a smooth consistency and reserve for use later.

Mix wheat flour, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Cut in the butter as for pastry with a fork until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Gently add in honey, mixed spice and raisins. Make a well in the centre and add the milk and buttermilk. Stir quickly to form a ball in centre of the mixing bowl. Divide into 24 round portions. Flatten and using a knife scour a deep cross on each. Place on greased baking sheet two inches apart and bake at 210 C for 20 minutes or till done. When cool pipe reserved icing on the deep cross. Serve at once. Great for breakfast too. Warm in oven before use.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Of All Things Green

Green Chicken A La Ruth
Some time ago, while browsing in a second hand book shop I came across an ancient book with dog ears on the art of barbecue. It had no cover, so I do not know who the author was, but the recipes are absolutely brilliant and I spent an entire afternoon flipping through the pages and envisioning the various recipes. For some reason "Green Chicken" fasicnated me and I decided to make it at the first opportunity. I always add a twist of my own to every recipe, so although it turned out quite different from what it was supposed to be, the taste was fabulous and the empty plates a proof of this.

The Recipe

1 kg skinless chicken breasts, wash & drain.

For marinade: 1 medium sized onion, sliced; 4 flakes garlic, peeled; juice of 1/2 lemon; a handful of spring onions,corriander & mint leaves; black salt to taste; 2 green chillies and 1/2 tsp pepper powder or more to taste; 1/2 inch ginger & 1/4 cup grapefruit juice. Grind in mixer until smooth.

Marinade the cut & drained chicken overnight. Barbecue or grill for five minutes each side at 250 C till brown and done. Serve as starters or accompaniment to a meal. Goes well with garlic bread too.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mother's Secret Recipe

Ma’s Meat Balls & Masala Rice

Have been having an orgy of eating since my Mum came to KL and am making all our favourite recipes which I got from her in the first place. Meat balls and Masala Rice were one of our favourites and as children we had a great time picking out the meat balls, one by one until only the gravy and potatoes remained. My girls did the same, so I always made extra. Meat balls are a great combination with kichdi or with Masala Rice. When I’m lazy it’s kichdi and when I’m energetic it’s Masala Rice!
The Recipe
¾ kg mince, wash, drain & keep aside
Grind 3 green chillies; 1 ‘ ginger; 1 onion; 6 flakes garlic; few coriander leaves; 2 small pieces cinnamon; 2 cloves; ¼ tsp haldi; salt to taste. Mix with the mince. Keep aside.
Grind 8 red chillies; 10 pepper corns; 1 tsp jeera; 3 tsp coriander seeds; 1’ ginger; 2 flakes garlic; ¼ tsp haldi; 1” cinnamon; 2 cloves; 3 pinch mustard. Keep red masala ready for use.
Grind ¼ coconut and keep aside.
3 sliced onions; a few coriander leaves; juice of ½ a lime.
Fry coriander leaves and sliced onions golden brown. Add the red masala and fry well. Then add the ground coconut and 1 mug water to make a thick gravy. Cover and bring to the boil. Now roll the mince into small balls and drop them one by one into the gravy. Cover and keep on fire till done. Can also add peeled and cubed potatoes. Before removing add juice of one lime and salt to taste.
NB: Once the meat balls are added, do not use a spoon to stir the curry as the balls may break. Gently shake the dish from side to side to ensure even cooking.