Sunday, February 16, 2014

Marbled Coconut Panna Cotta

Sinfully Yours
And so the celebration continues ...and today it was a sinful dessert- a fusion of east and west .  A delightful combination of thick coconut milk mixed with cream and sugar and a few black cherries thrown it.  This is a very light, creamy concoction that could go straight to your heart (and waist line).  What the heck, we are on the Herbalife shake and can afford to do this once in a while.

The Recipe:

1 cup thick coconut milk; 1 cup cream; 1/4 cup caster sugar or to taste; 2 tbsp gelatine ; 1/4 cup hot water; few black cherries or any fruit of your choice; few drops pink food colouring.

Sprinkle the getatine on the hot water and keep aside to dissolve.  Heat the coconut milk on a medium flame until bubbles begin to form at the sides.  Remove from the stove.  Gently fold in the cream and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Once the getatine has dissolved completely stir it into the coconut milk and cream mixture.  Divide the mixture into two.  Pour one half into a glass bowl and pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes or until partially set.  Add the pink food colouring to the second half.  Next pour the pink mixture onto the partially set Pannacotta and using a wooden toothpick give it a swirl or two to create a marbled appearance.  Transfer to the refrigerator and when partially set, decorate with cherries or fruits of your choice.  Creamy, rich and absolutely wonderful.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Twenty First Birthday Bash Menu

 Birthday Girl's Menu
Any event is an excuse for good food and a twenty first birthday is certainly the time for special, delicious food.  I've been waiting for years to celebrate this day.  And we certainly outdid ourselves, birthday girl included.  I took out my various cookery books and went through various recipes and asked Ranita for her favourite foods.  Last week we sat down to celebrate and thank God for all the blessings in our lives.

The Recipes:

Sunshine Birthday Salad:   2 carrots grated; 1 large apple, grated; 2 tbsp raisins, chopped; 1/4 cup home made curds or yoghurt; 1/8 cup thousand island dressing; 1/2 tsp grated ginger; 1 spring onion, chopped; salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients together and taste for seasoning.  Garnish with love and affection and serve.

Asha's Birthday Salad:  2 carrots, grated; 2 oranges, peeled, pith and seeds removed; a few onion stalks, chopped; 1/2 tsp grated tender ginger; 1/4 cup curds or yoghurt; 2 tbsp tomato sauce; salt and pepper to taste.

Mix together and taste for seasoning.  Serve with the anticipation of enjoying a good meal with more to come.  This Recipe is from my sister Asha who is reknowned for her salads.

Anu's Yoghurt Chicken:  My sister Anu is a fabulous cook and this recipe is from her.

1 kg chicken, jointed and skin removed; 2 cups thick curds; salt and pepper to taste; juice of 1 large lemon; 2 tbsp grated garlic.

Wash and drain chicken.  Marinade overnight in the above ingredients.  Next day, bring the chicken to room temperature and  bake in preheated oven at 250 degrees Centigrade for 60 minutes until chicken is brown on top.  Test with a skewer for doneness.  Garnish with tomato and a few cooked peas and serve with Minty Rice, Sunshine Salad and Milky Way Chicken & Dry Fruits.

Milky Way Chicken (Baked Birthday Chicken With Dry Fruits & Spices:

1kg chicken, skinned, jointed, washed and drained; 2 tbsp masala powder (I use my own and this is a guarded secret), so use whatever you like and you will get a gourmet's delight); salt to taste; 1 onion sliced fine; 2 tbsp grated ginger and garlic; 6 dried Apricots, chopped, de seed and  reserve kernels for garnishing; 2 tbsp raisins, chopped; 2 tbsp almonds, sliced; 500 ml milk or cream; 2 large tomatoes, chopped;

Seasoning;  2 tbsp oil; 1 onion sliced fine and 1 tsp garam masala to taste.

Mix the milk or cream, masala powder, ginger, garlic, salt and onions and tomatoes together.  Marinade the chicken in this mixture overnight.  Next day  fry the onions and dried fruits until onions are glazed.  Keep half aside for the garnishing.  Add the chicken and lower flame, cover and cook until chicken is ready and coated with the thick sauce, turning every 10 minutes.  Add the garam masala, mix well, transfer to serving dish, garnish with the dried fruits and apricot kernels and serve hot.

There is no need to use any water with this recipe which I got from a cook book I was gifted with two decades ago.  However I have changed it to suit our family tastes.  Experiment and see what you can come up with.

Minty Rice:

1 large bunch of mint leaves, washed and chopped- discard the stalks; 2 cups basmathi rice, washed and drained; 1 large onion sliced; 2 tbsp grated ginger and garlic; salt to taste; a few whole almonds for garnishing; 2tbsp olive oil; 4 cups hot water.

Heat oil in nonstick pan and stir fry the onions, ginger garlic and min leaves until glazed.  Add the rice and stir fry until all the grains are coated.  This takes about 2 minutes.  Transfer to electric rice cooker, add salt to taste and 4 cups hot water. Cook till done.  Serve hot garnished with the whole almonds.

Black Forest Cake:

I first made this cake for my Mum in law's birthday three decades ago.  It was a great hit and it has remained a family favourite ever since.  Recipe from my sister Asha Elisha although I have changed the quantities to suit my baking pans and oven.

150 gms self raising flour; 25 gm dark cocoa; 1 level  tsp baking powder; 175 gms butter at room temperature; 175 gms caster sugar; 2 tbsp rum or whisky ( I used whisky); 3 eggs beaten in a large bowl seperately.

For The Layers:  1 large tin cherries- it could be 400 or 500 gms; 2 tbsp whisky; 300 ml thick whipping cream; 50 gms milk chocolate, grated; sugar to taste.

Grease and line 2x 8" sandwich tins.  Preheat oven to 180 Centigrade.

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and beat with electric cake beater until smmoth, pale and fluffy.  Divide the mixture between the two tins, using a metal spoon.  Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 or 25 minutes or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool overnight.  Next day, unmould cake number 1 on to a round 10 " cake board.  Make a few holes in the ake with a fork.  Drain the cherries, reserving about 4 tbsp of the liquid per cake.  Mix this with the whisky and spoon over the entire cake. Keep the beater and bowl  in the refrigerator until cold.   Whip the cream  and sugar with the beater until thick.  Divide into half and neatly spread one half over the first cake.  Divide the grated chocolate into two portions and sprinkle one half over the whipped cream.  Divide cherries into two lots and arrange one half on the grated chocolate.  Place the second cake on top of the first and repeat.  Spread the cream over the sides and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

NB:  Can make a four layered cake like I did.  After all this is a special occasion.  Just double the quantity used above.

Although this cake takes some time to make, it is one worthy of a grand occasion and served with the above a meal fit for a Queen- our Queen - Ranita Isaac.  Happy 21st Birthday and May Life be very good to you.  Cheers!