Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
Change... This 5 letter word is a biggie. Something that is hard to accept, but inevitable. You know its coming, but still afraid of it. This happens to me every year. The change sets in so quickly, it gets harder to accept Summer is no more. As I look out of the window on my drive to work, it seems only yesterday the leaves turned from green to mellow yellow. But today its various shades of yellow, auburn, burnt orange and reds covering the ground. The days have gone shorter and the long sunny days replaced by chilly autumn evenings. The weather’s unpredictable, it’s cold one day and colder the next. Berrymania replaces the grocers by Pumpkinmania. And before you know it its Halloween.
In the hope that Summer is not far-off, I embrace this change, welcoming it with these Pumpkin cupcakes and more such cosy comfort food (soon to follow).
Pumpkin Cupcakes (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can pumpkin purée
Handful of white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 180C & line the cupcake tins with liners. I have used gold here. In a bowl mix the dry ingredients and in another bowl mix all the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients with the mixer running on low. Stir in the white chocolate chips. Carefully ladle the batter onto the liners and bake for 20-23 minutes. Cool Completely.
1(300g) pack cream cheese (philadelphia)
1 cup double cream
Pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon & all spice
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Whisk everything together until smooth and has reached a soft peak stage. Either pipe or spread liberally on the cooled cakes.
I also made made these from the leftover puree.
Saturday, June 02, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
220g brown sugar
185ml vegetable oil
225g whole-meal or AP flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
About 5-6 med sized carrots grated
60g chopped pecan /hazelnut or walnut
Cream Cheese Icing
250g cream cheese/mascarpone, softened
3-4 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
zest & Juice of ½ a lemon or 1-2tbsp lemon curd
For the cream cheese icing: Beat the cream cheese in a food processor until smooth. Add the icing sugar and lemon juice/lemon curd and process until smooth. Spread frosting on the cooled cake as desired. I simply used it to sandwich the layer and just on top.
Friday, March 09, 2012
A little about the wine:
Product details: Domaine Bois d’Yer Chabilis 2007
Grape variety: Chardonnay
Country of origin: France
The wines from this region of France, are a touch more austere mainly as the soils here are composed of light, sandy topsoil with the Kimmeridgian (limestone-rich) subsoil. The cool climate produces wines with more acidity with a beautiful fresh minerality which makes them the best wine with seafood. The wine has a pale yellow-green tinge, plenty of lovely green apple fruit on the palate, with notes of smokiness & zesty lime but still crisp.
Product Details: Chabilis J. Moreau & Fils 2009
Grape variety: Chardonnay
Country of origin: France
These grapes grow on Portlandien limestone plateaus which is essentially a cool, cloudy climate. Hence the wine is golden in color, tangy with flavors of green apple and honeydew. Very fresh, lite bodied and round mouth with a tangy and lightly spicy finish.
I paired the Chabilis J. Moreau & Fils 2009 with cheese & the Domaine Bois d’Yer Chabilis 2007 with risotto.
Cheese Platter with Cheese Ball, Grapes and Wine (Chabilis J. Moreau & Fils 2009)
The cheese ball forms a perfect hors d'oeuvre along with crunchy vegetables,bread & cheese crackers. It is packed with flavors from mustard & herbs and has the crunch from chopped nuts.
For the Cheese Ball
mix of cheese or a sharp vintage cheddar
(I have used a mix of Goats cheese, Pié d’Angloys, Camembert)
1tsp of dijon mustard or horesradish
touch of honey if using horseradish or any spicy mustard
a little grating of garlic
chopped fresh herbs like basil or chives
grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
Bring all the ingredients to room temperature and whip together in a mixer until light & creamy. Wrap in a cling and place into a deep bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours before un-moulding. Serve with sour dough/rye bread along with cheese crackers and some fresh grapes or figs.
Yes, I used chabilis instead of the usual wine and absolutely loved the result. The general rule is to use the wine that you'd drink to cook . Instead of standing & stirring the risotto, I baked it (tip from Donna Hay) as I enjoyed my wine with the cheese board.
For the Risotto
300g carnaroli or arborio (i used carnaroli)
1 onion and a clove of garlic, chopped
500g chopped butternut squash
one glass of chabilis or any white wine
700ml of stock
couple of sage leaves
zafferano a pinch
freshly grated parmesan
touch of cream
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 200C. Heat a heavy bottomed pan saute the onions & garlic in the butter. Add the rice, zafferano & sage leaves and coat well till transparent. Now add the wine and stir till it has evaporated. Now transfer the contents to a oven safe pot and pour the hot stock. Season well, give it a stir and bake for about 30min. At this point the risotto will look watery but put it back on heat and add the butter, parmesan & the cream and simmer for 5 minutes. It should be ready tender & creamy but the grains still firm in the center. Serve with more grated parmesan, fried sage leaves & wine.
We finished the meal with a very light but very decadent Deconstructed Eton Mess with berries. Meringue topped with dollops of thick and light cream and fresh berries.
For the Deconstructed Eton Mess
handful of fresh berries
creme fraiche/sour cream/cream/greek yoghurt
some chopped pistachios or grated chocolate
Whip the creme fraiche/sour cream/cream/greek yoghurt lightly, with vanilla. I used a mix of creme fraiche and diary free cream. Place the meringue onto a plate, spoon the cream mixture and serve with fresh berries, nuts/grated chocolate and a drizzle of honey, just enough to sweeten the palate.
Monday, February 27, 2012
adapted from Rachel Allen)
500-550g wholemeal bread flour
50g mixed seeds like sunflower, linseed, sesame, pumpkin
1tsp baking soda
1tbsp mixed herbs like rosemary,oregano, thyme
I used the dough hook attachment of my kitchen-aid. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles bread crumbs. Slowly pour the buttermilk and the egg, until it all comes together. The dough should be soft but not very sticky. Dust the kitchen top with flour and scrape the dough onto it. Form into a round about 4-5cm and slit a deep cross. Bake in an preheated oven 200C for 30-45 minutes or until it sounds hollow. Cool on a wire rack.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Rasmalai is a very popular milk-based Indian dessert served in weddings & get-togethers. This sweet has two components: one a very rich milk cream scented with cardamom & saffron and gnocchi like flattened balls made out of milk cheese similar to ricotta. I reckon you could use ricotta hung in a cheese cloth for 3 hrs instead of making paneer from scratch. I have used ricotta instead of paneer here before and it worked well. You could use store bought Rasgullas and just make the milk cream at home for a quick recipe. Hopefully I will be able to post the carrot cake pics+recipe, that is if get a chance to click!!!
3 cups whole milk
1 can evaporated milk
2-3 crushed cardamom pods
1/2 cup sugar or as per taste
a pinch of powdered cardamom
handful of finely chopped pistachios
Bring both the milk to a boil until reduced to half, along with cardamom & saffron. Keep stirring occasionally and add the sugar. Fish out the pods and add some powdered cardamom & pistachios. Leave to cool & refrigerate until needed.
For the Rasgullas
4-5 cups whole milk
1-2 lemons, Juiced
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups water
Boil the milk in a wide pan and add the lemon juice. Once it sepates, collect the cheese curd to a sieve or cotton cloth and drain well. I left it for 2 hours. Now pulse the drained cheese in a processor until smooth. Meanwhile boil the water in a pressure cooker or a wide mouthed pan and dissolve the sugar. Shape the processed cheese into flattened balls and drop into the boiling sugar water slowly and let it simmer for 5-10 min or until double in size.
L addle out the rasgullas and let it cool. Squeeze excess liquid off them and place onto a serving dish and pour over the malai/milk cream. Serve chilled, decorated with silver leaves and more pistachios.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Anyway, the other day I was visiting a friend and she offered me some chikki with coffee and I just couldn't stop eating them. She was polite enough to say that she would box some for me to relish later(and boxed it away instead :-(!!!). That triggered childhood memories.
So when MacSweethearts wanted MacTweeters to create something truly extraordinary, worthy of a special fete, for Macaron Day, with a totally new creation, big or small, savory or sweet, something ready for a party I instantly knew this flavor combo of peanuts and bitter chocolate ganache would be perfect. Feel free to use milk chocolate if you feel the dark chocolate is too much. I have used salted peanuts for the recipe.
Salted Peanut Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
Dark Chocolate chopped – 100 gms
Heavy Cream – ¼ cup
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
There is no better way to express your love than these moist and almost fudgy Red-Velvet /Beet-Rose chocolate cake my way. I call it so as the cake gets its dark pinkish red from the beetroot, naturally.
For the Nutella-Dark Choc Ganache, simply warm 1/3 cup of heavy cream and stir in a good tablespoon worth of nutella and 120g dark chocolate. Stir everything till smooth and velvety. This cake is so fab and moist on its own but a real treat with the ganache.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I wanted to join the Donna Hay Styling and Photography Challenge for a while now and the minute I saw the soup I knew I had to make it. My suggestion is make a double batch to keep you warm through the bone chilling nights.
The original photo is by Ben Dearnley and styling is done by Justine Poole. The recipe comes from DHM #51. I too struggled in finding the right balance of light as there was too much light on the day I shot this. In the original the light is from the right, while I had diifculty in creating a dark atmosphere on bright sunny day. I tried covering the window and used dark absorbers. Moreover I had no props in blue so had to improvise with the black ones I had. I couldn't fold the black material to form crease as it was bulky. I crumbled some parmesan to replicate the marks in the original. I am glad at least I tried :-). Thanks simone for finding such challenging images and simple recipes for the DH challenge. It keeps me going.
§ 25g butter
§ 1 brown onion (chopped)
§ 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
§ 1 bay leaf
§ 1,5 head cauliflower (or 1,5 kg, chopped)
§ 500g potatoes (starchy potatoes, peeled and chopped)
§ 750ml veg stock
§ 500ml milk
§ 125 ml single cream
§ sea salt
§ cracked white pepper
§ 4-6 sprigs fresh thyme Parmesan cauliflower crumbs
§ 2 tablespoons olive oil
§ 20g parmesan (finely grated)
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf and cook for 5-8 minutes or until onion has softened. Add the cauliflower, potato, stock and milk, increase heat to medium and cook for 25-30 minutes or until cauliflower and potato is tender. Remove from the heat and, using a hand-held blender, blend until smooth. Stir through the cream, salt and pepper.
While the soup is cooking, make the parmesan cauliflower crumbs. Place the cauliflower, oil and parmesan in a bowl and toss to combine. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook the cauliflower, oil and parmesan in a bowl and toss to combine. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook the cauliflower, stirring for 2 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Top soup with cauliflower crumbs to serve.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Scones are a type of quick bread made with white flour dough, raised using chemical agents, usually baking powder and/or baking soda. Basic Scones contains flour, raising agent(s), butter (or shortening or lard), salt, and milk (or buttermilk or soured milk or cream). Most recipes just instruct to “rub the fat into the flour” then combine the dry and wet ingredients until “gathered together” and then “lightly knead” the gathered mixture until a soft dough forms. Then “roll or pat” out this dough, “cut” out rounds and bake them in a hot oven.
Audax Artifex was our host for Daring Bakers’ January 2012. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (aka biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our kitchen!
I have followed the basic recipe but used Wholemeal, buttermilk and freeze dried raspberries powder in one and Wholemeal-Ricotta-Orange(zest)-Pumpkin seeds-fresh raspberries for the other. Savory ones with mature cheddar and dill made up the third.
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead the dough very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until it forms a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) Scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two Scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
7. Place the rounds just touching each other on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your Scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the Scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The Scones are ready when the sides are set.
9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.
Cream – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with cream, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with cream.