Friday 30 December 2011

Sour Dough Bread Daring Bakers December 2011

In my earlier post I did mention that I was going to wite the Daring Bakers post and auto post it, but as you can see I didnt even had the time to do that.
Not that I am super busy here, Shyama is home but as She is having exams by middle of january, it is revising time for her. And the only thing the poor child is doing is learning. She starts by nine in the morning and then finish by 9 or 10 in the evening, ofcourse she do takes break inbetween for lunch , Dinner etc...
Ofcourse you must be thinking now why is it i don't have time to post my DB.
I would say pure lazyness and also Hans is in holiday for 2 weeks, so then there is less time to spend infront of the pc .

Any way now to the recipe, I am not a huge fan of Sourdough bread, but unlike me Hans is a huge fan, and I have been making them here at home sometimes, but then with the starter from The Bread Bkaers Aprentice book which I love.
And I didn't want to do start making a new starter, so I used the starter I had.
I made the french country bread.
I will write the recipe later but I am sure you won't have nay difficult in finding the recipe for the bread from other Daring Bakers place.

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Rum Drenched Vanilla Cake

I am glad end of the year is almost here, as I think my blogging passion is right now the lowest, have been lazy to write a new post , or even blog hopping.
So I have decided to go for a blog break, till the 10th of January.
Anyway this time of the year is a busy time, and also Hans is in Holiday and Shyama will be home too but don't think she will have a full holiday as she will have exams in her college by the middle of january so she will have to learn during the holidays.
I will write one of these days a post and Shedule Automatically for the Daring Bakers and then I think I am not going to even look to my blog  till i finish the break.

I didn't make any Christmas Cake this year, so I thought why not post a cake I made last month which was super delicious and it is soaked with Rum, so that is festive isn't it the load of rum in the cake.
The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan Baking From my home to your's, which I love, I have been in love with the book from teh time I bought and have tried so many recipes from the book and each time they all have come out so perfect and delicious.
The recipe given below is for 2 cakes but I halfed the recipe and just made one for us, but I still used the same amount of rum :-) for one cake .
When it come to the measurement of the cake pans I suck so I just used a laof pan I have.
Also Sharing a beautiful Gift I got from Asha. I am sure you all will know her from her two Delicious and beautiful blog Foodies Hope and Aroma I was so surprised when I got this in my post box.
Thankyou Asha for the lovely Delicious present. I can't stop eating those delicious biscuits :-)

For the Cakes .
2 2/3 cup of all purpose flour2 1/2 tsp of baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 1/3  cups sugar ( I added less sugar as the syrum is also sugary)
2 plump, vanilla beans split lengthwise , seeds scrapped out and reserved, or 1 1/2 tablspoons pure vanilla extract.
6 large eggs, preferably room temperature
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 table spoon dark rum
1 stick plus 7 tablespoons unsalted butter,melted and cooled.

For the syrup
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark rum

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter two 8 1/4- x - 4 1/2 - x 2 1/2 - inch loaf pans, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess.

Sift the flour baking powder and salt together.

Put the sugar and the pulp from the vanilla beans, if using them, in a large bowl and, working with your finger, rub them togehter untill the sugar is moist and througly imbued with the fragrance of vanilla. ( If you are using vanilla extraxt, add it later, after you've added the eggs).
Add the eggs and whisk them into the sugar, beating untill they are throughly incorporated.

Whisk in the extract, if you are using it, then whiskin the cream followed by the rum.
Coninuing with teh whisk or switiching to a larger rubber spatula, gently stir in the dry ingridients in  3 to 4 additions, the batter will be smoothband thick .
Finish by folding in the melted butter in 2 to 3 addition. Pour the btter into the pans, smoothing the tops with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 55 to 60 minuted, or untill a knife insterted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
(As soon as the cakes go into the oven, make the syrup).
After about 30 minutes in the oven check the cake if they are getting brown too fast cover the cake lightly with foil tents.
Meanwhile make the syrup.
Stir the water and sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium heat untill the sugar meltsn then bring it toboil.
Remove the pan from teh heat and stir in the rum.
Pour the surup into a heat proof bowl and let it cool.

When teh cake is baked transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.
Place the rack over a baking sheet waw paper ( I just ued a plate), using a thin skewer, cake tester or thin bladed sharp knife, poke holes all over the cakes.
Brush the cakes all over with the syrup, working slowly so that the cakes sop it up.
Leave the cakes on the rack to cool to room temperature.
You can serve the cake just like that but I served with a bit of fruit compote.

Wishing all my Readers and Friends a Very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Easy Mince Pies

I have not put our Christmas tree this year, Normally the tree is up and decorated the next day after Sinterklass feest on December 6th.
But this year as Mom is not there anymore, one doesn't feel like doing all this, last weekend when Shyama came home she asked hmmmmmmmm were is the christmas tree and I was like well I didn't had time to do it.
Didn't make a cake too this year like earlier years.
I know next year it will be better as they say always the first year is the most difficult .....

But then I coudn't resist to make these Mince pies for my blog today afternoon while I had nothing to do and it was too cold to go out, I was telling in my facebook, that I am making a mince pie but not because of the festive mood but just only for my blog.

I used good quality shop made Vegetarian Mince meat as I don't like the thought of suet etc in them.
And this recipe is so easy to make that I was really surprised and I was like I should make this recipe from now on every year.
I like a well filled pie so i added more filling.

Recipe Spurce: BBC Food by Ainsley Harriott.

140g/5oz cold butter, diced
225g/8oz plain flour
50g/2oz ground almonds
50g/2oz  caster sugar
1 orange, zest only
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1-2 tsp cold water
280g/10oz good quality mincemeat
1 egg, beaten
icing sugar for dusting

Preparation method

1.Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

2.Rub the butter into the flour and add the almonds, caster sugar, orange rind and salt until the mixture is a bit crumbly.

3.Combine mixture with the egg yolk and 1-2 teaspoons of water until it forms soft dough, then put it into a plastic bag and chill for 20 - 30 minutes.

4.Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 2-3mm(0.1in) and cut out about 18 rounds measuring 7.5cm(3in) with a pastry cutter.

5.Place in lightly greased patty tins and spoon the mincemeat evenly into the pies.

6.Re-roll the leftover pastry and cut out round lids, stars or other festive shapes to fit on top of the mincemeat.

7.Lightly brush the pastry tops with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes until golden.

8.Remove from oven and leave for a few minutes before removing from tins and cooling on a wire rack.

9.Dust with icing sugar.

Monday 12 December 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

I wanted to make a Ginger Bread House from the time Shyama gave me the cutter last New year as a present. But as you all know it is decorated with so much sugar and sweets that i would be a bit too much for just us.
So I asked Shyama if I make one would you take to her place so that she can share with all ther friends from her group.
But then she remarked I do agree to her, that it would be too dicfficult for her to take a delicate ginger bread house as she has to go by train for 2 hours and then walk 15 minutes to the place she is staying. Also when she goes back on sunday evening her luggage is filled with all her clothes , then the food I prepare for her for the week and her books, then she has her violin with her etc....
So as you can see I decided tomake ginger bread cookies as this I can put in a tupper ware and she can take with her.
So that is what I did , made them on friday decorated the same day and anyway Vera  had mentioned in her place that the cookies can be kept for long, not that it would surive that lonf with a whole bunch of college students. I am sure it will be finished in a flash with them.

The original recipe you can see here she used half rye flour and half normal flour, but I used fully normal flour. And i have written in brackets the amount of spices I used.
I could make 4 tray's of cookies, I forgot to glaze them with egg mix in the first two tray's, but I don't think that made any difference.
The cookies are really good, and this is a Keeper recipe so I am sure going to make this every year from now on and they are so easy to make too. Thankyou Vera for the recipe.

All ready for Shyama to take with her :-)

500 gm flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
2 tsp baking soda
120 g butter (at room temperature)
170 g honey
120 g sugar ( I used 90 gm)
3 tbsp milk or buttermilk
1 egg

3 star anise (used 1)
4 cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon ( added a bit more)
¼ tsp ground ginger ( 1 tsp ginger)
¼ tsp fennel seeds
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp aniseed

To glaze:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp water


1 egg white
170 g icing sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Food color of your choice to mix with the icing when you want to decorate with colors.

Start by grinding the spices in a grinder or with a pestle and mortar. Mix the spices with both flours, soda and cocoa in a large bowl. Add the butter, sugar and honey and mix well. Add the egg and milk and mix just enough to combine everything. Wrap the dough in plastic or put it in an air-tight container and let it rest in the fridge for up to 2 days, but at least overnight. This is important for the flavours to mingle.

On the baking day:

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Take the dough out of the fridge about 15 min in advance. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 4-5 mm thick. Cut into shapes of your choice and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The cookies do not spread much, but allow a little space between them. Mix the egg yolk with water and use the mixture to glaze the cookies.

Bake the cookies until crisp, about 10 to 12 min. Let them cool on a wire rack.


Mix the egg white with sugar and lemon juice until smooth and shiny. If the glaze is too thin, add a little sugar. If it is too thick, add a little lemon juice. Put the icing in a small, but firm plastic bag. Cut off one corner, making a tiny opening for the glaze. Pipe your design on the cookies by applying a steady pressure on the bag.

Let the icing dry completely before putting the cookies in an air-tight container and storing them in a cool room. The cookies can be made up to 4 weeks before Christmas.
Sending this to 'Only' Cookies and Cakes event Which is hosted at Foodelicious.

Thursday 8 December 2011


Few years back we went for holiday in Egypt for a month. It was Shyama's and my first trip to the country so we both were really excited. Hans though has been there 5 times and it was his 6 th trip with us, so it was like having our personal guide with us.
The only hotel we had booked was in Cairo and then we said we will decide how many days we will stay in cairo and then from there we will book hotels when we deiced were we want to go.
So we stayed almost a week in cairo and then from there went to Aswan, stayed couple of days and then from there went to other places, ended up in Luxor and stayed there in this hotel over looking Nile for more than a week etc......
I think during this time we ate hummus almost every other day.
One of the best meal we had in Egypt was in Aswan in a small restaurant. It was our first day in the city and we arrived mid morning after a whole night of train journey from cairo and after checking into a hotel was almost 2 O'clock we decided to have our lunch. So we went in search or a place to eat.

We didn't had to search long, there was this place near to the hotel, we wanted to go in but then I thought it was closed so we were just going to go away and this fellow from the place came out saying we are opend come in come in.
So as we were so hungry we went in, and that was a very local establishment, I didn't see any females I only saw males eating there, we took out place and the thing was they didn't had a menu card, and Hans told the fellow just bring us your local food for 3 people.
Well I have to say they started bringing these platters of food filled with various kind of dishes with meat and vegetable and pulses, heaps of rice and their local bread, when we though it was almost done they brough again other dishes and I was like my god wait till we get the bill we will have a heart attack not from teh abundance of food but seeing the bill.
Well the food was so good and as we were so hungry I have to admit we ate almost everything they brought
I have to admit I was a bit nervous when they brought the bill, but it was not that expensive at all . Normal price :-)
We still talk about that mal and the expirence, it just shows you don't have to go to a very expensive place to enjoy good food, especially when you are in a new country if you want to eat local food just go to the place the local goes you will have a real authentic dishes to enjoy.

200 gm dried chickepea. ( Soak them overnight and then cook in a pressure cooker)
5 to 6 tbsp of thaini paste
2 garlic cloves chopped fine
2 tsp cumin powder
80 ml lemon juice
6 tbsp olive oil
Cayane peper or you can use a bit of chilli powder
Salt to taste
extra olive oil to sprinkl before serving
paprika powder to sprinkle before serving
finley chopped parsley leaves for garnishing

Cook the chickpea after soaking them over night in a pressure cooker.
Drain them ( keep a little bit of the waterl) and cool.
In a food processor puree the chickepea with teh thaini paste,garlic,cumin,lemon juice, oliveoil ,cayanpeper and salt puree it to a smooth thick paste , add the ooking water a little and ( I don't know the correct measurement of water I just add till i get a smooth less thick paste)
Taste and if you think you need more salt or lemon juice add .
Pour this mix into a bowl, sprinkle with oil, paprika powder, parsley and serve with toaste pita bread, slices bagutte etc.....
I made this Hummus ages ago actually the day when I made this Tapenade but till now i has been sitting there waiting for me to post .

Monday 5 December 2011


I am sure most of you have not heard about Sinterklaas Feest or the Zwart Piet
I am surprised that I haven't written here about this famous feest in my blog, as I remeber from the time Shyama was born we celebrate this special day  every year.

Ofcourse it was more fun till she was 9 yrs ( by the time she found out her parents are Sinterklass and Zwart piet)
From the age of 2 every evening on December 5 th she used to take one of her shoe and keep in the living with a carrot ( which hans ate half of the carrot so that he can tell the horse from the sint ate it )  and then she will write ( well when she coudn't write she will cut the pictures from the ads from the toy shop ) and stick in a huge white paper and keep that next to her one shoe as that is what she is asking from Sinterklass.

To be honest I think we had more fun on that evening than Shyama, she was always nervous when she went for sleep and excited too as she didn't know if sint is going to bring the toys she asked as they say to kids here if you were not good this year Sint won't bring you any toy.

After Shyama went for sleep ( when we were 100% sure she was indeed sleeping) Hans and I used to decorate our dinning table with all the toys, book, chocolate etc.... we bought for her and I used to put chocolate gold coins from the living to her bed room door, so that when she got up next day and she came out of her room she will see the gold  chocolate coins on the floor and she will get excited and will start shouting calling us Mama ,papa Sint has come and we will hear the running steps from her, to the living and then she will run back to our bed room saying mama papa come out he has come :-)

Shyama is going to kill me for writting this here, One year she got out of the bed and saw all the chocolate coins on the floor but she badly wanted to go for WC so she first went there before she went to the living and me beeing sneeky went and knocked one of the window and Shyama thought it was Sinterklass comming and she said Mama would you tell Sint not to go as I want to see him :-)
 How I make fun of her when i tell this story to her.
We still do it for Shyama, but as she is not home we do on the weeked she comes but instead of toys it will be books and chocolates etc.....

The cookies have been so good that I made themagain this week, this time i only used milk to glaze than egg wash, you can see the difference, if you use eggwash i think it is more shiny.

Sinterklaas is a traditional Winter holiday figure still celebrated today in the Low Countries, including the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as French Flanders (Lille) and Artois (Arras).

He is celebrated annually on Saint Nicholas' eve (5 December) or on the morning of 6 December in Belgium and Northern France.

In Belgium, most children have to wait until the morning of 6 December to receive their gifts, and Sinterklaas is seen as a festivity almost exclusively for children.

Sinterklass has a helper too he is calle Zwart Piet  Zwart Piet is easily recoganised by the fact that he is fully coloured Black in color. He will also have a very curly hair style.
It seems Zwarte Piet during the Sinterflass feest in december brings prsents for kids. He climbs through the chimmeny of the home when the Kids/parents are sleeping and that is one reason he looks so black.

Now to the recipe:
"Klaaskoeken" (Saint-Nicolas cookies) are not your typical cookies-- they're actually shaped sugared bread. This is a typical West-Flemish dish that is eaten for breakfast or as a snack. People usually make these around Saint-Nicolas, a traditional holiday in Belgium and the Netherlands.

1 portion ( for 8 pieces ) Basic bread dough for Sweet breads
100 gm of chocolate chopped
1 egg yolk mixed with a little milk ( egg wash)
After the basic fermentation of 30 minutes in the sweet bread recipe, you mix the chocolate pieces, into the dough , make into a ball and keep it back in the bowl covering with a platci foil for another 30 to 30 minutes till it is double in size.
Now roll the dough with a little flour to 1 cm thick, cut using a cookie cutter and keep them in a tray covered with a towle  and keep in a warm place for 45 minutes.
After the 45 minutes brush them with the egg wash and leave for another 15 minutes.
Then bake them in a peheated oven for 200° c for 10 to 12 minutes.
Note : The bread is most delicious and good on the day itself, if you have left over next day what I do is just MW each one for few seconds so they get a bit fresher.
Instead of chocolate you can add raisins too.
And normally this comes in a shape like ginger bread man, well something like that, but I used my angle shaped cookie cutter.
Sending this bread to Yeastspotting

Thursday 1 December 2011

Pollo al Marsala con pinoli e uve sultanina

Hi hi actually in the magazine it is written in English and Italian but I coudn't resist to write the title in Italian :-) well it means according the magazine, Marsala Chicken with pine nuts and sultanas.

Marsala is a winein the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala in Sicily.
While the city's natives sometimes drink "vintage" Marsala, the wine produced for export is universally a fortified wine similar to Port. Originally, Marsala wine was fortified with alcohol to ensure that it would last long ocean voyages, but now it is made that way because of its popularity in foreign markets.

Marsala contains about 15-20% alcohol by volume. Different Marsala wines are classified according to their color, sweetness and the duration of their aging.
Thankyou Wiki for all the information.
You want to make a creamy Chicken Marsala Dish then try out my earlier recipe here.

This is yet another recipe from one of my favourite Magazine Taste Italia.
I have mentioned before I every month when I get the magazine I try to do atleast one dishe from that month.
And I have to say I was not at all disapointed with this dish, we loved it.
I serve it with potato croquetts.

3 tbsp olive oil
8 chicken pieces, such as thighs and breasts, skin left on ( I used a whole chicken which I cut in pieces) sprinkle with peper and salt
2 medium onions finley chopped
2 carrots finley chopped
2 celery sticks finley chopped ( I used white celery)
350 ml Chicken marsala
Salt and peper
50 gm pine nut, toasted
50 gm sultanas
a handful of flat leaf parsley finley chopped.

Heat the oil in a large cast iron pan or casserol over a medium heat.
Add the chicken pieces, and cook about 10 minutes turning them once or twice, untill they are golden all over.
Remove the chicken pieces from the pan.

Reduce the hat to low. Add the onion, carrots and celery to the pan, then sweat gently for a few minutes, untill soft.
Pour in the marala, pu the chicken back in the pan, then simmer gently for about 30 minutes, topping up with water a litle at a time if it begins to dry out, but don't add too much  because it should be fairly dry and the ater will dilute the flavour. Add peper and salt according to your taste.
Stir through the pine nuts and sultanas and cook for a few more minutes.
(When I cooked the chicken I covered loosley with a lid, this was not in the recipe)

Just before serving stir through the parsley.