Thursday, December 31, 2015

Recipe For Life






With the aroma of garlic bread wafting through the house, I bid goodbye to 2015.  It has been an eventful year and this is my last post for 2015.   I thank everyone who has stood by me and supported me in all my endeavours and look forward to 2016, to life and to laughter.  Happy New Year everyone.  


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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Macaroon Fruit Cake



  Macaroon Fruit Cake



This is a one of a kind cake.  Fruit Cake and Macaroons are two of my favourite Christmas eats.  Put them together for a combination beyond compare.

The Recipe:
1 small cake, any type; 50 gms of Macaroon  mixture
Place the 50 gms Macaroon Mixture in the centre of the cake leaving room for expansion.  Bake in pre heated oven at 200C or 350F for 15 to 20 minutes until puffed up and done.  Remove and cool.
To Make the Macaroon Mixture:
250 gms sugar, 75 gms cashew kernels or bits, 9 cardamoms (seeds only), a squish of lemon juice; one medium egg white; a pinch of salt.
Grind sugar and cardamom in blender. Place in mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, salt and cashew kernels and mix with spatula. Add egg white a little at the time until the mixture becomes a dough like consistency.  Discard unused egg white. If too sticky add more sugar.
Reserve 50 gms for the Fruit & Macaroon Cake.    Make the rest into Macaroons.  

Arrange the 50 gms on the cake and bake at 200C for 15 to 20 minutes till puffed up and pale brown.  Cool and serve.

Break off pieces from the remaining Macaroon Mixture  and place on baking tray 2 inches apart. Preheat oven to 350 F or 200 C.   Bake 15 to 20 minutes until done or slightly brown. Remove and cool.

NB:  I used a sugarless cake as the combination of Macaroon and Sugarless Cake is just right.  Cup cakes would be a good option as the topping is very crumbly and it is best to avoid slicing this cake.  For cup cakes about 25 gms of Macaroon Mixture should do.




Friday, December 25, 2015

Edible Christmas Wreath






This has to be one of the prettiest recipes I have done.  A few weeks ago, I saw a video on how to make an edible wreath and made up my mind to do one this Christmas.  I changed the ingredients from tuna and dressing and chips to just green peas with tamarind sauce and cherry tomatoes. This makes a beautiful centre piece for the dining table and it was very regretfully that we all dug into it.
The Recipe:

500 gms frozen green peas; salt and pepper to taste; 3 cloves garlic, smashed; 1 inch ginger, smashed; 1 tsp coriander powder; 1/2 tsp jeera powder; 1 large onion, sliced.

Mix all ingredients together and pressure cook for 5 minutes without adding water.  If using fresh peas, add 1/2 cup water.  Cool and smash.  Oil a spring form pan and put the peas into the pan leaving space in the middle.  You can put a glass, rim down in the middle and firmly press the mashed peas all around in an even layer.  Freeze for 15 minutes.  Take out and gently unmould.  Serve with mixture and tamarind sauce or any sweet sauce of your choice.

Tamarind Sauce:

50 gms tamarind, soaked in 1 cup water for 15 minutes until soft and pulpy.  Strain into a deep bottomed cooking vessel.

Brown sugar or jaggery( unrefined sugar) to taste; 1/2 tsp jeera ( Cumin seed powder) ; 1 inch of ginger, smashed; black salt to taste.

Mix tamarind water and other ingredients together.  Bring to the boil on high heat.  Lower heat and simmer 15 minutes or until honey consistency is reached.  Cool and bottle.  Use as and when required.


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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Bread



Stollen – Christmas Bread

I have included this amongst my cake recipes because this is a bread that tastes like cake and makes your house smell like Christmas Cakes are baking.  I got the recipe from a book given to me by a good friend Dr. Susan D’souza and I have had a really good time going through the book . 
This bread has to rise for 5 hours, so start early in the morning.
The Recipe:
85 gms each of red and green tuitti fruitti, mixed; 55 gms  raisins, chopped; 2 tbsp candied peel, chopped; 2 tbsp whiskey; 55 gms salted butter; 375 gms unbleached bread flour plus extra for dusting; 1 tsp mixed spice; 2 tsp instant yeast; finely grated rind of 1 large lemon; 1 egg , beaten; 40 gms almond flakes; olive oil for brushing; 175 gms marzipan coloured pink; melted butter for brushing; sifted icing sugar for dredging.
Place the mixed fruits in a glass bowl, add the whiskey, mix together and cover and keep aside. Place the butter, milk and sugar in a pan over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts.  This takes a few minutes.  Cool until lukewarm.  Sift the flour and mixed spice into a bowl.  Add the instant yeast.  Nix together with a wooden spoon.  Make a well in the centre and stir in the milk mixture, grated lemon rind and egg.  Beat into a dough using the dough hooks. 
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes.  Knead in the soaked fruits with the whiskey and the almonds.  Transfer to a clean, oiled glass bowl.  Cover and let stand in a warm place for up to 3 hours or doubled in size. ( This is when you make the marzipan).  Turn out onto a floured work surface, knead for 2 minutes, then roll out to a 25 cm or 10 inch square.  (I rolled it out on the back of my 10 inch cake pan).
Roll the marzipan into a sausage shape shorter than the length of the dough.  Place in the centre.  Fold the dough over the marzipan overlapping it.  Seal the ends with a little water.  Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet, cover with cling film and let stand in a warm place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.  Bake in a preheated oven at 190 C or 375F for 40 minutes or until golden and hollow sounding when tapped.  Brush with melted butter, dredge with icing sugar and cool on a wire rack.  Slice and serve.  This is my idea of heaven.
Marzipan
500gms almond meal; 250 gms icing sugar; 250 gms caster sugar (blend in mixer); ¼ tsp. almond essence; white of two medium sized eggs; squish of lemon juice; food colouring to colour eggs. 100 chocolate nutties. Baskets for decoration.
Place almond meal in bowl. Add the icing sugar and powdered caster sugar. Mix together. Make a well in centre and fold in the almond essence and lemon juice. Add the egg white a little at a time until the mixture in the bowl becomes a soft dough. Discard remaining egg white. Divide into portions and wrap with cling film. Add a few drops of desired food colouring to one portion and knead until marzipan is evenly coloured.  (I used pink food colouring in this recipe).  Use as and when required.

This has been my most ambitious project to date and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Orange Liqueur Cake






I soak my fruits in January and make a list of cakes to make for Christmas early in the year.  There was this Orange Liqueur lying around and so I thought I may as well use it up.  The resulting fruit cake has a lovely, moist texture and a subtle, orangy flavour.   This is one of the most extravagant cakes I have made and well worth the effort.
The Recipe:
250 gms butter;  2 cups brown sugar; 3 cups flour; 5 large eggs; 1 tsp mixed spice; rind and juice of 1 large orange; 1 tbsp orange peel, chopped fine; ½ cup tuitti fruitti; ½ cup red cherries, chopped; ½ cup golden raisins; chopped; ½ cup black raisins, chopped; ½ cup almond meal or almond pieces ( can used cashew nuts also); 1 cup Orange Liqueur; a few hazel nuts for the top.
Soak the dried fruits in the orange liqueur as long as you can.  I soaked mine in a glass jar for nearly a year. Shake the jar every other day or when you remember too.
Sieve the flour and spice powder together. Add the almond meal and mix with a wooden sppon.
Whisk butter and sugar until creamy and pale yellow in colour.  Add eggs, one by one and gently mix.  If the mixture curdles, add a little flour and mix well.  Gently fold in the flour a little at a time until everything is used up.  Sir in the orange rind and orange juice.  Mix well.  Now add the fruits and liqueur and stir very, very gently to combine.  Batter should be of a thick, flowing consistency.   By this time you will be salivating as the fragrance assails your nostrils.  Be patient.   Pour into 10 inch by 6 inch greased and lined pan, arrange the hazel nuts on top and bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees Celcius for 15 minutes.  Reduce to 150 degrees Celcius and continue baking for 45 minutes or until skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.  Switch off the oven and cool the cake in the oven itself over night.  Next day, unmould, make holes with a skewer all over the cake and drizzle some additional Orange liqueur over the cake if desired.  Pack in foil and put away till required.  Keeps well.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Date & Walnut Cake


Date and Walnut Cake

This is a very rich, sticky cake- easy to make and to be cut into tiny squares and enjoyed.  It goes well with Port Wine.  So raise your glasses and have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
The Recipe:
125 gms butter; 1 cup brown caster sugar; 1 ½ cups flour; 1 tsp baking powder; 2 large eggs; 1 cup chopped dates; 1 cup chopped walnuts.
Mix all ingredients together until well combined.  Do not over mix.  Pour into greased and lined 9 inch pan and bake in a pre heated oven at 150 degrees Celcius for 40 minutes or until skewer inserted into middle of cake comes out clean.   This cake does not keep well.  So finish it within 3 days of baking or store in the refrigerator.










Monday, December 21, 2015

Apricot Orange Fruit Cake






Sugarless Apricot Orange Fruit Cake
The fragrance in the house while the Apricot Orange cake is baking is worth mentioning.  Before I left Bangalore, I baked a few cakes for my Mum and sister.  This can be made with or without sugar, wrapped in brown paper and foil  and stored away till Christmas.  Open every week and sprinkle  alcohol of your choice over the cake and eat it when you are ready to do so.

The Recipe:

250 gms salted butter; 200 gms dried apricots, chopped and stoned; zest and juice of 2 large oranges; 100gms sugar - optional; 4 large eggs; 260 gms flour; 1 tsp baking powder; 1 tsp cinnamon.

Crack the seeds and extract the kernels.  Keep aside for the topping.

Mix all ingredients together and gently stir  till mixture is smooth and glossy.  Pour half the batter into a greased and lined 10 inch pan, scatter half of the kernels on top and bake at 150 degrees celcius for 40 minutes or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.

Pour the remaining batter (half full) into cup cake cases and bake at 150 degrees celcius for 15 minutes or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.


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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Masala Chai Apricot Fruit Cake



Masala Chai Fruit Cake

As we have a surplus of Apricots this year,  we decided to make all our Christmas Cakes with Apricots.  So we searched all over the net and combined a few recipes to come up with our very own Masala Chai Apricot Fruit Cake.  And best of all it is a butterless cake that is absolutely delicious and moist and just what one would expect a Christmas Cake to be like.

The Recipe:

3 Masala Chai Tea Bags ( brand of your choice)- I used Taj Mahal brand; 500 ml hot water; 60 gms brown sugar; 375 gms maida or all purpose flour; 2 level tsp baking powder; 250 gms cashew bits; 2 tsp cinnamon; 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg; a pinch of salt; 300 gms dried apricots, stoned and chopped into tiny pieces- crack the nuts and extract the kernels-  keep aside for topping.

Soak the tea bags in the 500 ml hot water for 10 minutes or until dark in colour.  Remove bags and soak the apricots in the tea overnight at room temperature.  Next day preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and grease and line  a 9 inch square pan or  use cup cake cases like I did.  Strain the fruit and add to the rest of the ingredients.  Mix to combine.  Add the tea a little by little to the cake mixture, gently stirring until the batter is of a thick, flowing consistency.  Pour into pan, scatter the kernels on top and bake  for about 50 minutes or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.  

For Cup Cakes: Pour the batter (half full) into the cases and bake at 150 degrees celcius for 15 minutes or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.






Sunday, December 13, 2015

Raisin Walnut Bread


My journey with baking bread continues and my guinea pigs are very pleased with the results.  Here is another recipe I made a while ago.  It barely lasted for a sitting.  So I made it again and yet again.  I am sure, you will too.  




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Monday, November 30, 2015

Guilt Free Dessert



Anytime Dessert
This is a quick, delicious, guilt free dessert that you could make the previous night and keep in the refrigerator to soak in all the lovely flavours.  Children love it and so do adults.  We tried it out on a group of people a few weeks ago and it was walloped in 10 minutes flat.  Maybe you'd like to try it too.
The Recipe:

1 cup thick curds; honey to taste; 2 tablespoon oats; fresh fruits of your choice- I used two kinds of melon, pomegranates, grapes; 1 tsp chia seeds.

Beat the curds and honey till smooth.  Using a ball tool, scoop out the melon flesh into attractive rounds.  Peel the pomegranate and keep ready with other ingredients in a dish.

Assembling:

Take a transparent disposable plastic glass and put 1 dsp of oats at the bottom of the glass.  Pour 1/3 cup curds and honey mixture over.  Arrange a layer each of melon, grapes and pomegranate seeds on top.  Pour 1/3 cup curds over. Scatter the chia seeds on the curds.  Add the remaining oats and repeat the layers ensuring the melon and pomegranate are on top.  Close and keep overnight in the refrigerator.  Next day, enjoy this delectable desert whenever you feel like it.








Friday, October 30, 2015

Classique Moroccan Chicken




Chicken With Cous Cous

Chicken with cous cous tastes much better than it sounds.  I was quite curious as to how it would taste and to my surprise it was really good- feedback received from daughter number two.  I googled cous cous and found out it was similar to rawa or soji  so used that instead.  This is a baked dish, quite dry , low in calories and goes well with chappathis or bread of any kind.  For those who like it watery add more soup. 

The Recipe:

1 kg chicken jointed, washed and drained; 1/2 cup coarse  rawa ( soji) ; 1 cup hot water; 1 chicken soup cube; 1 large onion, chopped; 5 garlic cloves, minced; 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp coriander powder; 1 1/2 tsp jeera (cumin) powder; 6 dates, pitted and chopped fine;  1/4 cup almond flakes; 1 stick cinnamon; 1 tbsp honey; 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder; salt and pepper to taste;  stir fried vegetables of your choice to serve.

Dissolve the  soup cube in the hot water and pour over the soji or rawa.  Cover and keep aside for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and add 1 tbsp oil and keep aside till required.  
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a nonstick pan and stir fry onions and garlic till golden brown.  Stir in the coriander and cumin powder, dates and almonds and cook for two to three minutes or till soft.  Stir in the rawa mixture and add the chicken pieces and cinnamon stick to it. Season with salt and pepper to taste.   Mix together until all the chicken pieces are coated and transfer to a large baking dish.  
Whisk the honey, ground cinnamon, a dash of salt and pepper, remaining cumin powder and olive oil and pour over chicken.  Bake in a preheated oven at 200 C or 400 F for 40 to 45 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with a metal skewer.  Remove from oven, keep covered for 10 minutes and serve with vegeables of your choice.

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