Heaven on a Dessert Plate


Although I had decided to give this months DB challenge a go , I did a complete turnaround when I read that 2 of my favourite bloggers were this months hosts…..
Nothing could stop me.
Not the never ending guests we had this month, not the diet I was on, not the painting deadline that was inching so close.
Nothing!!

And I’m so happy I did try this lovely dessert that lives up to its name. It was delicious. Really!
I usually distribute everything I made to near and dear and not so dears..but this one we polished off on our own! I mean actually licked the plates clean!!!!It was excellent!!

I made the dessert over a period of 1 week…made the Savoiardi(Ladyfinger Biscuits) first, then the mascarpone cheese(I can NEVER thank you enough Deeba) and then yummy sauces.
hmmmmm….HEAVEN!!!!!!

TIRAMISU

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

(Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
For the zabaglione:

2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese(see below)
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (see below)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:
For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row.
You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.

Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

HOME MADE MASCARPONE CHEESE

Ingredients:
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

LADYFINGERS/ SAVOIARDI BISCUITS
(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.

Ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

Spicy Dry Prawn Masala

A few years back we were dinning at a family friends place and while serving us the prawn curry, this person started to to describe a prawn curry he had eaten sometime earlier. He said they(the prawns) sat in the gravy like big curled millipedes!

What a horrid way to describe food!!

I was so repulsed by the image that I stayed off prawns for many years since.
Its only NOW with my recent weight gain and resultant appetite, where i’ll eat ANYTHING, that Ive started to eat them again!

I’m going to share with you a typical Kerala Dry Prawn preparation that my mom makes( hoping my little anecdote has none of you cringing at the sight of prawns!)

Ingredients

Small Onions 12
Red chillies 5
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Ginger
Garlic 6 cloves
Curry leaves 10
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Grind the above with a little water.

Prawns 500 gms

Wash and clean the prawns and add some water,the ground spices and salt and cook in a deep bottomed vessel for 10 min or until cooked. Once slightly dry add some coconut oil( 2 tbsp) and curry leaves and let fry for a few more minutes.
There you have it …an easy peasy prawn dish..mallu ishtyle.

Last Minute Kachori for ICC

Seriously guys, what is it about a family wedding that can throw your life so out of gear.
I went home to Kerala for just 4 days for a cousins wedding. But it was 4 days of pure frenzied madness. I can’t really pinpoint what it was that has me feeling so distraught! Was it the fact that my baby cousin actually got married ( I felt sooo OLD), or was it the awful heat of Cochin coupled with the outrageous amount of jewelry I was made to wear,
or was it the million comments I had to hear about my weight( ranging from aunts asking if I was pregnant; to cousins asking me if I had balloons hidden under my clothes. One man(may he have a thousand sleepless nights….even asked me if the Himalayas have moved to Cochin!
All my excuses of thyroid related weight gain were met with incredulous looks! Anyway I am so glad to be back home in Goa………

Kachori- Fried Indian Snack


Kachori…forgive my poori-like horrible picture (it was taken just an hour before we left) but I must tell you these fried snacks were delicious ( I know what you are thinking…NO I just had a bite..a teeny weeny bite…)My kids LOVED them and I will definitely try them with different fillings sometime later…so here’s the recipe I used…

First make the dough:
Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour/Maida – 2cups
Oil/ Ghee – 1/4cup
Salt – 1/2tsp
Water for kneading

Method:

* Mix the flour and salt, Add the oil/ghee and mix till you get a bread crumbs texture.
* Slowly add water and make a soft dough. Knead well for about 8 minutes.
* Cover and keep aside to rest for atleast half hour.

Special Tips / Notes for the dough:

* Keep the dough covered at all times, if not it will dry up and not puff up when frying. If the dough is made right wet cloth can be used if not just a towel.
* The dough could spring back for many reasons:
* Dough is too cold (If wet cloth is used)
* Dough is not soft enough.
* Not kneaded for enough time.
* Oil is less.
* Not rested enough.

For the onion filling:
Onions – 2 cups
Nigella Seeds (Kalongi) – 2tsp
Fennel seeds (saunf) – 2tsp
Bay leaves – 2
Green chillies – 1 1/2tsp finely chopped
Bengal gram flour (besan) – 2tbsp
Coriander (dhania) powder – 2tsp
Chili powder – 2tsp
Garam masala – 1tsp
Coriander leaves – 3tbsp, finely chopped
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste

Method:

* Heat the oil in a pan. Add the nigella seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves, green chillies and onions and sauté till the onions turn light brown in color.
* Add the gram flour, coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
* Add the chopped coriander and mix well. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
* Divide into 12 equal portions and keep aside.

Assembling the Kachoris:

* Make a small ball from the dough. Roll out into a 2 inch diameter circle. Or flatten the ball using your fingers having the center thick and sides little thin.
* Place about 1.5 tsp of the filling in the center of the rolled dough.
* Cover the filling with the dough by slowly stretching it over the filling. Seal the ends and remove excess dough. Repeat with all the balls and keep aside for 5 -7 mins.
* Then using your palm, flatten the balls by lightly pressing it, as using the rolling pin will make the filling come out. (See notes below). Keep aside covered. Repeat with the remaining dough.
* Meanwhile heat some oil for deep frying. The oil should not become smoking hot. Test to see if the temperature is right by dropping a tiny ball of dough and see if it is rising slowly to the top.
* Drop the kachoris in batches of 3-4 gently into the oil. It should rise up slowly. If you don’t want to use lot of oil, use just enough for two or three at a time and fry them.
* After it rises up (about 2 minutes), turn it over.
* Cook for about 6 to 10 minutes till the side down gets a golden brown color.
* Turn and cook the other side for another 6 minutes or till its golden brown in color.
* Remove when done, cool and store in airtight container.
* Serve with coriander chutney and tamarind chutney

Special Tips / Notes for making the Kachoris:

* You can fry 3 kachori’s at a time.
* The oil should be at a heat when you drop some dough it should come up slowly, if the dough comes up too fast the oil is too hot, if it does not come up then the oil is cold.
* It will not be crisp if the oil is too hot.

The Disgusting and The Delicious

Use your kitchen sponge to clean your toilet.

Wait! Did u read that right? Yes you did because with the way many of us live we could do this and be none the dirtier. So read on for a few tips to get you going to a healthier, cleaner life…

Let’s start with the Kitchen Sponge; that innocent looking green scrub that no kitchen can do without.
(image courtesy offthemark.com)
Did you know that it carries more than 134000 bacteria per square inch …Horrible isn’t it.
Sponges are a popular party venue for bacteria and the moist environment is a total bacteria magnet. Often people use the sponge to wipe up raw meat or fish from the sink counter and then use the same sponge to clean their baby’s bowl. Nice huh!!
So what can we do, you ask?

For one you could disinfect them, or better still stock up on a few and REPLACE them every week or so. Also leave them to dry in-between every few uses as most bacteria can only survive a few hours on dry surfaces.

Your Cutting Board is also a hot bed for germs. Don’t believe me? Read on.
It is said that there could be more that 200 times fecal bacteria on your seemingly innocuous cutting board than your toilet seat..YUK YUK YUK!
So what can you do? Divide and Rule, I say! Use separate cutting boards for vegetables and non vegetarian food items. That solves a lot of issues.
Clean your board using hot water and detergent and the wash using a chlorine bleach-water mixture. Do this often (and I don’t mean once a month!)

Another potential bacteria breeding ground is the Kitchen Sink. Full or empty, the sink is housekeepers sink of woe, as germs tend to LOVE to live here. Keep baking soda and an old tooth brush near the sink at all times and clean using hot water as and when possible including the tap and tap handle as well.
Now that’s wasn’t too difficult was it? A few extra minutes is all it takes and you have a cleaner home and life!

After that bit of kitchen gyaan let me share with you a delightful cake that I made using the recipe that I found on the Purple Foodies blog..


Chocolate Walnut Marbled Cake

2 ½ cups flour
½ cup coarsely ground walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
9oz. / 250g. butter
3oz./ 85g. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/4th cup hot milk
1 3/4th cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/160C. Butter and dust a loaf pan.Use a loaf pan..I didn’t have one at the moment so used a regular cake dish…thats why they dont look so good…The marbled effect comes out beautifully in a loaf tin.
2. Whisk together the flour, ground walnuts, baking powder and salt.
3. In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt 2 tbsp butter with cocoa and chocolate. Heat until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
4. Mix together the butter and sugar for about 3-4 minutes .
5. Beat the eggs in one at a time, until the mixture looks smooth. Add the vanilla extract.
6. Now either on a reduced speed, or by folding in by hand, add the flour and hot milk alternately.
7. Now take a little less than half the flour and mix it with the chocolate mixture that you set aside earlier. Stir till it is thoroughly blended – don’t overmix.
8. Pour in the white mixture into the pan then the chocolate mixture and then the white mixture again into the bundt pan without stirring and then run a knife through it once or twice for very visibly distinct two layers. For a pronounced marbled look, stir the knife through the batter a few more times.
9. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until the knife comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes or so before unmoulding.
Hope you enjoy it…

I Finally Found what Im looking for…


Here’s the other recipe I tried out from our Book Club’s January selection Climbing the Mango Tree.
I must admit that this too I found kinda bland…but i upped the spice quotient and it was simple yet delicious.

Chicken Cooked in a Yogurt-Almond Sauce (Murgh Korma)

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

One 2 ½ -inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4-5 good-sized cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons blanched, slivered almonds
1 ½ cups plain (nonfat) yogurt
1 ½ teaspoons garam masala (see below for Madhur’s recipe)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
½ – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1 ½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons peanut or olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into fine half-rings
Two 2-inch sticks of cinnamon
8 whole cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
3 ¼ pounds chicken, cut into 8 pieces (see headnote)
2 tablespoons golden raisins (sultanas)
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Put the ginger, garlic and ¼ cup water into a blender. Blend until you have a smooth paste. Add the almonds and another 2 tablespoons water. Blend again until you have a smooth paste.

Put the yogurt in a bowl. Whisk it lightly with a fork or whisk until smooth. Add the garam masala, ground coriander, cayenne and salt. Stir well into mix.

Put the oil into a large, preferably nonstick sauté pan and set it over medium heat. When it is hot, put in the sliced onions. Stir and fry for 10-12 minutes, turning the heat don if necessary, until the onion slices are reddish brown. Remove the onion slices with a slotted spoon, squeezing out as much of the oil as you can with the back of a second spoon, and leaving that oil back in the pan. Spread the onion slices over a paper towel-lined plate.

Put the cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves into the same pan over medium heat. Stir once or twice. A minute later, put in the chicken pieces, only as many as the pan can hold easily in a single layer. Brown the chicken lightly on both sides, removing them to a bowl when done. Do all the chicken pieces this way. Add the golden raisins. Stir a few times and then add the paste from the blender. Stir and fry for two minutes. Now put the contents of the bowl with the chicken, including all the accumulated juices, the contents of the yogurt bowl and the fried onions. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer, still on medium heat. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook gently for 25-30 minutes, stirring gently now and then, until the chicken pieces are tender. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve.


To Make Punjabi Garam Masala used in Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe:

Put in a spice grinder
1 tbsp of cardamom seeds
1 tsp of whole black peppercorns
1 tsp of whole black cumin seeds
1 tsp of cloves
1/3 of a nutmeg
2″ stick of cinnamon

Grind finely and store in an air tight jar. This makes about 3 tbsp of Garam Masala

BTW ..WHAT was Lady Gaga wearing at the Grammy’s??????????????????Definitely Out-of-this-world!!!!!

  • February 2010
    M T W T F S S
    « Jan   Mar »
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 60 other followers