Thursday, July 29, 2010

Peach-Raspberry-Cherry Crumble

"So we have a date?" S said "So shall we meet at Starbucks?". We had a coffee date in the evening and I was excited as if it was our first one. Over the years things have changed but we still manage to do such fun things together. I do love home-brewed coffee but the idea of 'designer coffee' hand-crafted for you is great at times even though you pay about 3 quid. While S enjoyed his hot coffee I enjoyed my tall Caffe' Creme Frappuccino over conversation and cookies. I had prepped dinner already and had to just make the stir-fry noodles and slide the ramekins with Peach-Raspberry-Cherry crumble into the oven when we got home. What an end to a perfect day!
Peach-Raspberry-Cherry Crumble (Makes 4 individual Ramekins)
1 ripe Peach
Handful of Raspberries
Handful of pitted Cherries
1 Tbsp Cornflour
1 Tbsp Vanilla Sugar
3 Tbsp Oats
1/2 tsp of Baking Powder
2 Tbsp Ground Almonds
1/4 Cup Flour
2-3 Tbsp Demarara Sugar
1-2 Tbsp Butter
Pinch salt
1 Tbsp Linwoods Cocoa-Berry-Flaxseed mix
Preheat oven to 180C. Toss the chopped fruits in cornflour and sugar and divide equally into 4 ramekins. In a Processor whizz the oats, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, butter, Cocoa-Berry-Flaxseed until it looks like a sandy rubble. I usually freeze this in a bag and keep it handy in case of dessert emergencies. Cover the fruits with this mixture leaving a few fruits peeking out and bake for 30 min or so or until the fruits are bubbly and top is crispy. Serve with a scoop of Ice-cream or whipped cream. I  served it with a scoop of Panna Cotta Ice-cream.

Verdict: Divine...The perfectly ripe, sweet peaches balanced the tartness of the raspberries. The raspberries and cherries rendered the crumble a deep Crimson hue, which poured out like lava when the crumble top was scooped. Oats and almonds gave the crumble an interesting texture (thanks Deeba for the excellent idea of using almonds). Fruit crumbles are definitely my favourite comfort puddings.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Strawberry-Balsamic Vinegar-Yoghurt Lollies

Just when the sudden rains shook my idea of perfect summer...rains haven't yet dampened my spirits. Nothing like frozen fruit lollies in summertime! With more than 7 cartons of delicious, thick, creamy Total Greek Yoghurt I received to sample last week sitting in my was time for yet another flavour super summer lollies. Having tried all the possible flavours like raspberry-avocado-mascarpone, mango-cardamom mascarpone, mango yoghurt to name a few, I tried the deadly combo of strawberry-balsamic. You really need good aged balsamic vinegar to make this. There is something unexplainable that happens to the strawberries when tossed in balsamic vinegar. It's as if the berries come to life...bursting with flavours. The Total Greek yoghurt was pretty thick, allowing me to skip the step of draining the yoghurt overnight as I would normally do.
Ingredients: (makes 6 lollies)
Strawberry - 1 cup
Aged Balsamic Vinegar - Just slosh a little into a bowl
(Total Greek)Yoghurt - 1cup
Sugar to taste
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Toss the sliced berries in balsamic vinegar and set aside for 30 min. Puree the mixture with sugar, extract and yoghurt in a processor and pour into the lolly moulds. Freeze for 2-3 hours.

Daring Bakers: Swiss Swirl Ice-Cream Cake

There are so many Firsts for me this month. One eventful month I would say. First my application to Daring Bakers got approved earlier this month, followed by a new purchase - Ice-Cream maker...(perfect timing considering I was supposed to make 2 Ice-Creams from scratch). Then came my first ever Digital SLR camera...perfect timing..I do need good clicks (not that good camera=good clicks..but its important) and this is the first time I've ever made a swiss roll. So many firsts and yet I would say the challenge was pretty straightforward and a SUCCESS! I completely enjoyed making it.The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by the lovely Sunita. Sunita (completes her 3 years with daring bakers..woohooh..) challenged the DB's to make Swiss Swirl Ice-Cream Cake. The challenge recipe has been adapted from this Swiss swirl ice cream cake from the Taste of Home website.
The challenge required us to make a swiss-roll from scratch, followed by a layer of Ice-Cream, then a Fudge sauce, followed by another layer of Ice-cream all made from scratch...yp that's right...I divided the man-work to two days for ease although it could be done in a day but requires quite a lot of freezing time between layers. So made the swiss-roll on Day1, slathered the Raspberry-Cream filling and chilled it in the fridge. left the yoghurt to drain overnight for the Mango-Yoghurt Ice-cream with the. On Day 2 I made the White chocolate Ice-Cream, Mango-Yoghurt Ice-Cream, Fudge sauce and layered everything patiently (waiting for the layers to freeze was like Eons). I also changed the components and made my (own recipe) Swiss Roll.
My Swiss Swirl Ice-Cream Cake slightly adapted from the Taste of Home
For the Swiss Roll
Cocoa - 30g
Flour - 20g (I used SF floor, that's all I had in my store cup-board)
Eggs - 3
Muscovado Sugar - 75g
Salt - a pinch
Vanilla Extract - 1tsp
Preheat the oven to 180C and butter a 24x32cm rectangle tin or a swiss-roll tin, line it with parchment and buttered this too for easy removal later. Sift the cocoa, salt and flour twice and set aside. Beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is mousse like (about 10 min). blend in the extract and add the four-cocoa mixture in three to four goes. Lightly fold the mixture until everything is incorporated well making sure not to overdo. Gently tap the tin to get rid off the air bubbles and bake for 10-12 minutes until the centre is springy to touch.
Lay out a slightly damp tea towel and sprinkle this with a tbsp of sugar. Turn out the cake onto this and carefully roll up tightly with the tea towel (I left the parchment in place). Allow this to cool on a wire rack and get on with the filling.
For the Raspberry-Cream Filling
Fresh raspberries 1 cup
Double Cream - 200ml
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Icing Sugar - as per taste
Whip the cream with Icing sugar and Vanilla extract till soft peaks form. Blend in the raspberries and beat just for a minute. carefully unroll the swiss-roll and peel off the parchment. Spread the cream on the cooled swiss-Roll and roll it up again tightly, this time without the towel. Cover with cling and chill this till required.
For the White Chocolate Ice-cream
White Chocolate - 175 grams
Egg Yolks -  2
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Milk - 300ml
Cream - 200ml
Vanilla beans scrapped from a pod
Heat the milk till bubbles form on the sides of the pan along with the vanilla beans. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave until most of the pieces are melted but you can still see a few pieces of chocolate. Beat the yolks along with sugar until pale and pour the hot milk into this, whisking continuously (else you will end up with scrambled eggs). Pour this mixture into the chocolate and whisk until everything is smooth and glossy. whip the cream till soft peaks form and fold this into the chocolate mixture. Churn this in the ice-cream maker according to package instructions and chill until required.
For the Chocolate-Fudge Sauce slightly adapted from Nigella's Butterscotch sauce
Muscovado Sugar- 1 tbsp
Plain Sugar - 2 tbsp
Golden Syrup - 2 tbsp
Cocoa - 2 tbsp
Butter - 2 tbsp
Heavy Cream - 100ml
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Heat all the ingredients in a saucepan until it reaches a boil, whisking constantly. Cool and set aside.
For the Mango-Yoghurt Ice-Cream
Mango Puree - 2 cups
Drained Yoghurt - 500g
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Icing Sugar - as per taste
Heavy Cream - 100ml
Whisk the Yoghurt, Cream, Vanilla extract, Icing sugar until smooth and freeze in an Ice-Cream maker until semi-set. Chill this.
Assembly of Swiss Swirl Ice-Cream Cake:
Slice the swiss-roll into thin slices. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl that you'd be using to set the dessert with a cling film. Arrange the slices onto the bowl covering the bottom and the sides. Freeze this for at least 1 hour. Next spread the semi-set ice-cream layer all the way up to the sides of the bowl. Freeze this until completely set about 2 hours. (Patience is not on of my virtues and I poured the fudge sauce in 1 hour that led to 2 white chocolate layers between the fudge sauce layer).
Pour the fudge sauce layer on top of the set ice-cream layer and freeze this at least for 2 hours. Layer the semi-set Mango-Yoghurt ice-cream on top of the set fudge sauce, cover with 2 layers of cling and freeze overnight or 5-6 hours.
To unravel the swiss-swirl ice-cream cake, remove the cling film and dip the ends of the bowl in a big bowl of hot water. Invert onto a plate and gently tap. It should come away easily. Remove all the cling film and slice using a knife dipped in hot water. Voila! It looks gorgeous and've got to try it to know.

Verdict: 'S' loved it and had his second serving in 3 hours (the slices are pretty huge). I loved the medley of flavours. The rich and very chocolatey sponge sandwiched with a fresh, fruity raspberry filling. Match made in heaven it is...This Chocolate and Raspberry...Then comes a light White chocolate Ice-Cream to tease your taste buds...which is a little sweet compared to the swiss-roll and gorgeously creamy. Next the Fudge sauce...a dentists nightmare..with sugar in 3 forms...(not a big fan but had to include it for the challenge). Then comes my favourite layer...Lovely and light Mango-Yoghurt Ice-cream. I was delivered a couple of cartons of Total Greek Yoghurt to try and test and I couldn't resist making this Ice-cream. Mango and Yoghurt have been a staple back home during summers...Mango lassis, Plain lassis, mango smoothies...What better way to combine the two summer favourites? I have discovered another favourite with this challenge...Mango and chocolate...absolutely wicked together. I completely enjoyed making this gorgeous looking dessert. Thanks Sunita for hosting this month's DB challenge.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I heart Music - Matcha Elaichi (Cardamom) and Nutella Mascarpone Macaroons

I remember my mum yelling "Turn down the volume" while my TV played Bon Jovi's "It's my life..It's now or never..I ain't gonna live forever..I just want to live while I'm alive"... volume turned way up to shatter the glasses around. I was a rebel at home and maybe that's why I loved songs like this that portrayed my state of mind (or maybe the high octane video). So wherever we travelled my precious vinyl collection travelled with me (although I have managed to lose quite a lot of my favourites).Music was always a big part of us back home. All our bollywood films have at least a dozen songs (yes even till date this hasn't changed) and they were played in the buses, autos (tuk-tuk... a 3 wheeled chauffer driven ferrari for the poor) we weddings and the parties we went to. Then there was MTV and Channel [V] to play our favourite numbers day in and day out. It is difficult for me to say my favourites as they keep changing but there are some evergreen ones like Bon Jovi, the Beatles, Scorpions, Billy Joel, George Michael, ABBA, Micheal Bolton, A.R Rehman...
A hopeless romantic at heart, I always dreamt that my MAN would play guitar, sing my favourite songs to me and we would have candle light dinners on special occasions...Well that pretty much didn't happen..You see Mr. S cant sing or play guitar but I am lucky that he does likes music and has a similar taste...Thank god for that at least we dont have keep fighting and ejecting CDs on our long drives..And Thank god we still do candle light dinners..
This month the MACTweets sweethearts and MACQueens Deeba and Jamie have asked us to create a MAC inspired, by our favourite song...So here it is my totally crazy and rebellious like me Matcha-Cardamon and Nutella Mascarpone Macaroon.. inspired by Bon Jovi's It's my life...
I love the mix of cardamom in my daily dose of chai and have incorporated the same flavour with matcha in my macaroons. I also love nutella and this time instead of slathering the macaroons with plain nutella I made it a little lighter with mascarpone. 
Ground Almonds 75gms
Powdered Sugar 75 gms
Egg whites 50 gms divided
Caster Sugar 75 gms
Water 25 gms
Matcha green tea powder 1/2 tsp
Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
Green food colour
Make a heart shaped template using heart shaped cookie cutter onto a parchment sheet. Place a silpat on this.
Sift the ground almonds, matcha, cardamom powder at least twice and sift the powdered sugar. Set aside. Whisk 25gms egg whites till peaks form and heat the caster sugar with water until soft stage (110C). Pour the syrup in a steady stream, into the the peaks beating all the time until glossy peaks form. Add the colour at this point and whisk. Now mix the 25gms whites to the almond powder mixture and gently fold the almond mixture into the glossy whites mixture. Transfer this into a piping bag and pipe onto the parchment paper using the stencil. Bake at 150C for about 12-14 min depending on the size of your macaroons. Mine were quite big.
Nutella Mascarpone filling
Nutella 4tbsp
Mascarpone 4 tbsp
Whisk the mascarpone till light and blend in the nutella.
Take two heart-shaped mascarpone similar in size and spread a little of the nutella-mascarpone mixture and sandwich. Store in the refrigerator for a few hours until set. 

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