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|Rose Petal Jam Cake|
My sister gave me a bottle of Rose Petal Jam on my last visit to India and it took me back to the days when most Bangaloreans had dark pink and yellow roses in their gardens. We were no exception. My Dad was very interested in gardening and cooking and there was something interesting to learn every day. Early morning, when the roses were in bloom, he would go into the garden and carefully check the roses and other blooms. He taught me to collect these rose petals, wash and dry them very gently and layer them in a large glass bottle with sugar. Every other day, one of us would add more rose petals to the bottle and within a month to 6 weeks, we had the most exquisite jam I have ever eaten. More often than not, we ate it plain and thoroughly enjoyed every luscious spoonful.
This year, I decided to add it to a cake and see what happens. The result- a tempting, enjoyable, fragrant very unique Christmas Cake.
2 cups fortified wheat flour; 40 gms maida; 1 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp baking soda; 20gms sooji; 270 gms milk powder; 16 cardamoms, powdered; 2 cups milk; 1/2 cup caster sugar; ½ cup Rose Petal Jam; 1 cup butter at room temperature; 2 tsp vanilla essence; pinch of salt; ½ cup ghee residue (optional).
Sieve the flour, milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, sooji and salt together in a large bowl. Mix the milk, caster sugar, oil, cardamom powder, ghee residue and vanilla extract in another bowl.
Add the dry ingredients by the spoon by spoon to the wet ingredients and gently mix to a smooth glossy texture.
Grease and line 7 inches by 3 inches foil cake pans ( 3) and divide the mixture between them. Bake in a preheated oven at 180Celcius for 35 minutes or until metal skewer inserted in centre of cake comes out clean. Cool, pack and give to your lucky friends.
|Ginger Two Ways - Candied and Preserved|
The making of Ginger Preserve every year in August was a family ritual. That was the time tender ginger appeared in the market and my Mum would buy a couple of kgs from Russel Market, to last the whole year and to give as gifts to all her cronies. This is a recipe she got during her stay at Nazareth Convent, Mangalore and one we all loved. The whole family would sit around the table and skin and fork the tender ginger under my Mum's eagle eye. The process took a few days and after that we would all stand and gloat at the jars of Golden Ginger Preserve carefully arranged on the shelves in the store room, the key to which was always with her. Most of the bottles were given away and used in cakes and sometimes as a treat, we had a piece with thick, cream after dinner.
In Malaysia, tender ginger is available throughout the year, so I stock up during December and this year, I decided to make Candied Ginger as well which is an ideal tit bit after an appetizing lunch.
1 1/4 kg tender ginger; 1 medium raw egg; 6 cups (250ml x 6) water; 1,100gms white sugar ( I used brown for a gorgeous colour); juice of 1 lime.
12 cups water ( 250 ml x 6)
6 cups water (250 ml x 6)
Discard the fibrous parts of the ginger and scrape off the skin. Wash well. Fork both sides of the ginger pieces and place in water to cover. Change the water everyday for three consecutive days. On the third day, squeeze the ginger well, discarding the water and pressure cook the ginger in 12 cups ( 250 ml x 12) for 45 minutes. Cool and drain completely. Spread the ginger on a cutting board, place a clean kitchen towel over it and place a heavy weight on it over night for the water to drain. ( I used my cooker filled with water as a weight). Next day make a sugar syrup with 6 cups water and sugar. Add the egg (broken with the shell) and bring to the boil. (Boiling the egg with the syrup will make the syrup very clear). Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and strain through a muslin cloth, discarding the egg. Return the sugar syrup to the heat, add the ginger and boil till a honey like consistency is reached. Just before removing from the flame, add the juice of 1 lime. Stir well, boil for a minute and remove from heat. Cool overnight and bottle in sterilized glass jars or bottles. Label and store for as long as they last. Use in cakes, ice cream or serve with cream as a decadent indulgence.
NB: I used less sugar and the preserve was still good.
I acquired a taste for Candied Ginger thanks to my love for Ginger Preserve. When I came to Kuala Lumpur, I used to buy it whenever I saw it until I decided to make it myself. The results were successful and the rest is history. We now have our supply of Candied Ginger all year long.
500 gms tender ginger; 6 cups water; 500 gms brown sugar ( I prefer brown sugar as the ginger gets a glorious colour); juice of 1/2 lime
I used less sugar.
Scrape the skin off the ginger, discarding the fibrous parts. Wash and cut into equal sized pieces and then pressure cook in 6 cups water for 45 minutes until tender. Place in a collander to drain off the liquid, reserving 1/8 cup of the ginger water.
Next add the ginger, sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil on medium high heat, stirring frequently until the liquid has almost evaporated. Add the lime juice and boil till for a couple of minutes. As soon as the sugar begins to crystalize. This takes about 30 minutes. Transfer the ginger to a tray lined with baking paper and spread out to separate the pieces. Cool completely and store in an airtight container, using as desired. Keep the remaining sugar crystals for use in your tea or coffee or as a topping for ice cream.